Below are some of the most frequently asked questions involving car accidents in Houston. Click on each question to learn more:

 


What should I do after a Texas car accident involving serious injury?

Immediately after a car accident that involves you, one of your passengers, or someone from the other vehicle sustaining serious injury, you should call 911 and request an ambulance. Make sure that the vehicles are out of the road and in a safe location.

Once emergency respondents have arrived, provide your information to the police officer who responds and to the other driver; you should also get the other driver’s pertinent information as well, including:

  • driver license number
  • phone number
  • address
  • email address
  • insurance policy details

Your Texas personal injury lawyer may ask for this and other vital information to help you with your accident claim. While you are at the scene of the accident, take photos of your surroundings and of the damage to both vehicles if you are able to.

After leaving the scene of the accident, you and any passengers you may have had should immediately seek medical treatment. The emergency medical respondents can stabilize you with regard to any injuries that you may have sustained, but you should see a doctor or go to the emergency room for a more in-depth evaluation to reveal the extent of those injuries.

Serious accidents are often accompanied by internal bleeding, traumatic brain injury, and a plethora of other health concerns that may not be immediately apparent to you or to the EMTs. After you have received medical care, notify your insurance company of the accident and contact a lawyer who handles car accident cases as soon as you are able to.


Am I supposed to report even minor accidents to the police?

Most people do not want to be a bother to anyone, let alone law enforcement officials. So often when we see an accident or suspicious activity, we consider reporting it to the police, only to decide against it.

Usually, we talk ourselves out of it, assuming that others have called or it isn’t serious enough to report.

In the case of your own auto accident, however, you have much more riding on that call to law enforcement. By calling the police, it may feel as though you are blowing a fender-bender out of proportion, or distracting officers from more serious crimes. Making that call, however, can mean the difference in receiving what you deserve and receiving nothing at all.

Furthermore, that call may be mandatory. In Texas, there are two scenarios where you absolutely must call law enforcement and fill out a crash report after an accident:

  • When someone involved has been injured or killed in the accident.
  • When the accident resulted in damage totaling over $1,000.

The reason for calling when someone has been hurt is clear; emergency responders will need to report to the scene to offer help or lifesaving support. The monetary damage limit is more for your own good—when police are called to the scene, official reports are filed including driver and witness accounts. This helps you when you need to file an auto insurance claim—not only does it back up what happened at the scene, but it can prevent costly backtracking and litigation if the other driver suddenly changes his or her tune about the damage they sustained.

There are some scenarios where the law may not require informing law enforcement of your accident, but calling will protect your case in the long run. These examples include:

  • A dispute between you and the other driver about what caused the crash
  • An uninsured driver was involved in your crash
  • Inclement weather or poor road conditions caused your crash
  • The other driver involved is belligerent

When in doubt about calling law enforcement, it is always best to err on the side of caution. It is better to realize that your call may not have been necessary than to wish you had called after the fact. If you have questions or concerns following a car accident of your own, attorney Steve Lee can help—simply click on the live chat feature to be connected with the firm now!


Should I speak with the police following a car accident?

Yes, you should speak with the police after your vehicle accident. However, you should be very careful about what you say.

What the Law Requires

You’re never obligated to answer all of a police officer’s questions at the accident scene, but you can’t be completely non-respondent, either. You must comply with the officer’s request to see your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card. Any driver who refuses to produce this information faces possible arrest and criminal charges.

Answering the Police Officer’s Questions

The wisdom of responding to an officer’s questions depends on your particular situation. If the other driver is clearly at fault and you haven’t violated any traffic laws, there’s really no harm in giving the officer your side of the story. If you do, be very careful to stick to the facts, and avoid speculating about anything you haven’t directly observed.

If you’re not sure what happened, there’s always the risk that you could be legally responsible for the accident or have committed a traffic infraction without realizing it. If that’s the case, you could easily say the wrong thing and incriminate yourself. If you’re the least bit uncertain about how the accident occurred, just play it safe and politely decline to answer questions until you’ve spoken with your attorney.

Things to Avoid

Regardless of what you say at the accident scene, some things should always be avoided:

  • Don’t say “I’m sorry” to anyone. Your words could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. You should always be polite and respectful toward police officers and other drivers, but never apologize, even if you think you may be at fault.
  • Don’t interrupt the police officer. When the officer is speaking with the other driver, resist the urge to interrupt the conversation or correct the story he is hearing. You’ll have the opportunity to set the record straight later.

Talk With an Attorney

When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You need representation by an experienced attorney in order to receive the compensation you deserve. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.


Who is responsible for covering damages after a car accident if the at-fault driver is uninsured?

Although it is illegal to drive without insurance in Texas, there are an estimated two million drivers on our roads who are improperly insured—either completely uninsured or woefully underinsured.

As a result, the odds of getting caught in an insurance-wreck of a collision may be higher than you thought. Luckily, there are still several methods through which you can pursue compensation and legal action to recover inflicted damages.

Recovering Damages

When an uninsured driver causes a serious car accident, it usually falls on the victim’s uninsured motorist coverage to help him recover funds. Uninsured (or underinsured) motorist claims can be used to cover expenses from medical bills and lost wages to ongoing care and pain and suffering. However, to use this coverage, you must be able to prove that the other driver not only has insufficient coverage but also that he was at fault for the collision. This is where an experienced attorney can help by providing you with the options you need for recovering damages.

When pursuing a claim, the first thing you must do—after contacting your lawyer—is inform the insurance company of the incident. Your insurance policy probably has uninsured motorist coverage, and this would potentially be the first place you would turn to get compensation. While you may not receive high sums of money from this avenue, it is a fairly reliable and fast way to begin covering damage expenses.

During your lawyer’s investigation into the accident, however, it is imperative that you remain cautious when replying to or signing anything the insurance company gives you. Remember, you need to be able to prove fault before you can successfully pursue a claim. If your attorney concludes that you must use your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, he can start this process while you decide on your other compensation options.

Additional Recovery Options

Once liability has been proven, you have two other avenues that you can pursue for compensation. These are:

  • The driver who hit you. Even if the driver is uninsured, you will be able to file a lawsuit against that person. Most people do have a certain amount of financial assets, and even if the negligent driver files for bankruptcy, you will still be entitled to a payout, as bankruptcy does not erase debts from car accidents and DWIs.
  • A negligent third party or business. Consider a case where you were injured by a drunk driver: not only can you sue the business that served the driver alcohol, but chances are the drunk driver can also sue the business. It is illegal to continue serving a person who is intoxicated, and if it can be proven that the establishment continued to serve the person after they became visibly intoxicated, your odds of receiving compensation are high.

Will I be stuck paying all of the bills for my car accident if the other driver is uninsured?

Being a car accident victim is always a scary, stressful, and emotionally draining experience, and this is particularly true when an uninsured or underinsured motorist caused the collision.

Even worse, in the case of a hit-and-run accident, it may not be possible to identify the responsible driver at all. Accident victims injured in a collision with an uninsured driver may receive compensation through uninsured motorist insurance coverage, or by filing a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Texas law requires all motorists to carry liability insurance, yet plenty of drivers in the state don’t. According to a 2017 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, over 14 percent of Texas motorists were uninsured during 2015.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages are frequently mentioned together, but they serve two different purposes.

  • Uninsured motorist coverage provides compensation when the driver responsible for a collision lacks insurance.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when the other driver’s insurance is inadequate to compensate the injury victim.

In Texas, it isn’t mandatory to add these to your policy, but insurance companies are required to offer them to all drivers.

Receiving Compensation

While purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage might provide compensation if an uninsured driver injures you, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay these claims. They employ legal counsel to limit insurance payouts, and these lawyers fight uninsured motorist claims just as vigorously as third-party ones.

An experienced vehicle accident attorney will help you fight the insurance company to secure necessary compensation. Drivers who haven’t opted for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may pursue damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver. A lawsuit is particularly effective when the uninsured driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision.


I was injured in a car accident while driving without a license. Will I be considered at fault?

You won’t automatically be considered at fault for your accident just because you were an unlicensed driver. However, you may face legal consequences for driving without a license.

Assessing Damages

In Texas, collision liability is determined by negligence, not by licensing. An injured motorist doesn’t lose his rights simply because he was driving without a license. He may still recover damages for injuries he has sustained due to the irresponsible actions of another driver.

At an accident scene, it’s not uncommon for one driver to be given a citation for driving without a license, while the other driver is cited for the traffic violation that caused the collision.

Consequences of Being an Unlicensed Driver

Driving without a license has serious legal repercussions in Texas. If you never applied for a license, or if your license expired, you may be fined up to $200 for your first and second offenses. Repeating the offense for a third time results in a fine of up to $500, and up to six months in jail.

Driving on a suspended license carries even stiffer penalties. If you were operating a vehicle without a license because it was revoked, suspended, or cancelled, you may be fined up to $500. If your license was suspended because you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be jailed for up to six months.

Other possible consequences of driving without a license include:

  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Towing and impound fees
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Difficulty obtaining insurance

My son was hurt while riding in a friend’s car—who will be responsible for his medical bills?

School is back in session, and that means that children and teens all over the nation are being shuttled back and forth to school and practices by their friends or their friends’ parents. While we all hope that each ride will be perfectly safe, it can be difficult to know what to do if your child is involved in a car accident as a passenger.

If the driver in question was the child’s other parent or guardian, he or she would be covered under the driver’s auto insurance policy. Things get a bit trickier in your scenario, however, because the driver was not a relative.

Third-Party Claims Protect Passengers in Accidents

Much of the answer to your question lies in which driver is responsible for the accident in question: was it the driver your child was riding with, or was it the other driver involved in the crash? Once liability is determined, you will be able to file what is known as a third-party claim against that driver’s insurer, and your son will be able to receive coverage for his medical bills through that driver’s insurance policy.

Third party claims can take a while to come to fruition, and you may be facing major medical bills while you wait for the other insurer to come through. In this situation, your own insurance policy may be able to front the bill for some of your medical costs. This coverage, known as med pay coverage, has some monetary limitations but is generally good for bridging the gap between treating injuries and a successful injury claim.

While it is devastating that your son was injured under someone else’s watch, his injuries will still be covered under one of the drivers’ insurance policies. Should you need assistance assigning liability or deciding on your next step, please call Houston accident attorney Steve Lee to schedule a free consultation.


Will it hurt my vehicle accident case if I see a chiropractor instead of a medical doctor?

When you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, you need a doctor. While a car crash victim may benefit from seeing a chiropractor, there are limits to the treatment they can provide.

Injuries Requiring a Doctor

Vehicle collisions can cause anything from minor bruises and cuts to severe organ damage. Chiropractic care may be helpful as one aspect of an injury treatment plan, but many of these ailments require more comprehensive diagnosis and treatment than a chiropractor can provide.

Some of the injuries that typically require a doctor include:

  • Spinal cord injury. Spinal cord damage may cause sensory deficiencies or difficulty in movement. These injuries require stabilization, hospitalization, and treatment by a neurological specialist in order to minimize their effects.
  • Internal injuries. Vehicle accident victims may suffer internal injuries without even realizing it. Pain from these injuries may be misinterpreted as back pain, prompting a visit to the chiropractor. However, chiropractic adjustments will do nothing for internal injuries or bleeding.
  • Injuries requiring surgery. Some vehicle accident victims may visit a chiropractor when they experience pain due to soft tissue tears, broken bones, and other traumatic injuries. These injuries cannot be resolved through chiropractic visits, and require treatment from an orthopedic specialist and surgeon.

Establishing Medical Evidence

Chiropractors aren’t medical doctors, and not licensed to write prescriptions for pain medication or perform surgery. Consequently, insurance companies often question the need for chiropractic treatment, and chiropractors may be viewed as less credible than medical doctors. Jurors also tend to trust a doctor’s injury diagnosis and his testimony regarding future medical treatment more than they trust a chiropractor’s.

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, it’s okay to visit a chiropractor if you want, but you should also see a medical doctor as soon as possible. Attorneys aren’t qualified to offer medical advice, but your physician can. This can provide peace of mind, if nothing else.