Motor vehicle operators, boat owners, and property owners/managers owe a duty of care to others when they operate their cars, trucks, boats, and properties in and around Houston. Specifically, they owe a duty of reasonable care to ensure that their actions and inactions do not cause accidents and bring about harm and injuries.
When people behave negligently and unreasonably under the circumstances, and an accident results and causes injuries, the accident victim could bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity.
If you or a person you care about suffered injuries in an accident that occurred because someone else acted negligently or unreasonably, the experienced and compassionate Houston personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman are here to help you.
Our legal team will take the necessary steps to investigate your accident and how it occurred. If the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company accepts liability, we can then file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, seeking the monetary compensation and damages that you deserve. Please reach out to us today to learn more about how we could assist you with handling every aspect of your Houston personal injury case.
Common Types of Accidents That May Result in Personal Injuries Near Houston
Houston is an enjoyable place to live or visit. However, serious accidents can occur in and around Houston to residents and visitors alike—and often through no fault of their own. Some of the most common types of accidents that occur in the Houston area that negligent individuals cause includes the following:
Houston Motor Vehicle and Traffic Accidents
There are numerous busy interstate highways located in the Houston area, including I-10 West (Katy Freeway), I-10 East (Baytown-East Freeway), I-45 North (North Freeway), I-45 South (Gulf Freeway), I-69/U.S. Route 59 Southwest (Southwest Freeway), I-69/U.S. 59 Northeast (Eastex Freeway). However, motor vehicle accidents can be just as common on rural country roads as they are on major highways and byways, depending on the actions and inactions of other drivers.
Drivers can behave carelessly and negligently by engaging in distracted driving (especially calling or texting), speeding, and violating other Texas traffic laws and rules of the road. Motor vehicle collisions also occur when drivers operate their motor vehicles while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These traffic accidents can lead to serious injuries and damages, depending upon how and where the accident occurs, the force of the collision, and how the accident victim’s body moves in the vehicle at the point of impact.
Houston Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
Like motor vehicle accidents that involve cars and trucks, motorcycle and bicycle accidents are unfortunately all too common on Houston highways and other roadways. Cars and trucks are much larger vehicles than motorcycles and bicycles. As you might imagine, when a car or truck collides with a much smaller vehicle, such as a motorcycle or bicycle, it is usually the bicyclist or motorcyclist who suffers the more significant injuries in the collision.
This is especially true if the force of the impact causes the motorcycle operator, motorcycle passenger, or bicyclist to fall off his or her vehicle and directly onto the ground. Also, in many cases, these types of accidents can be fatal for the accident victim—especially if the accident victim hits his or her head or back on the ground.
Houston Premises Accidents
Restaurants, bars, clubs, and recreational facilities located in the Downtown Houston area are popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. The owners and managers of these premises are responsible for ensuring that they keep and maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition at all times for the safety and benefit of their customers.
This means that business owners and managers are responsible for warning about—or correcting—hazardous conditions on their premises about which they are aware. Moreover, they should inspect their premises for unknown hazards that may exist on their properties that they might not know about.
When a Houston business patron injures himself or herself on someone else’s property, such as in a slip and fall accident, the accident victim could bring an insurance claim or lawsuit against the business owner, seeking monetary compensation and damages for the injuries he or she suffered in the accident. Premises liability is not just limited to slip and fall accidents, though. This liability for property owners can extend to accidents that occur in a parking lot or parking garage, as well as to physical assaults that occur on the premises due to negligent security.
Malfunctioning and Defective Products
When people purchase household goods, personal care products, and other merchandise in and around Houston, they expect that these products will work the way they are supposed to work when they properly use the product. When products are defective and malfunction, consumers can sustain serious injuries, including cuts, lacerations, burn injuries, and other serious damages.
Product defects and malfunctions can result from negligence and other shortcuts taken during the manufacturing and/or design process. When a consumer suffers an injury or illness because of a defective product, he or she could pursue a claim or lawsuit for damages against the product manufacturer, distributor, or some other person or entity that is in the product’s chain of distribution.
Houston Pedestrian Accidents
The downtown Houston area has numerous traffic intersections, many of which have crosswalks, traffic control devices, and pedestrian signals. When a motor vehicle operator collides with a pedestrian who is lawfully present in a crosswalk at a traffic intersection, the pedestrian could fall to the ground and suffer serious—and potentially fatal—injuries.
However, pedestrian accidents in Houston do not just occur at traffic intersections located in the downtown area. These accidents can also happen in parking garages, parking lots, near sidewalks, and other areas where pedestrians tend to be present.
Houston Boating Accidents
There are many lakes, parks, and other recreational areas located in the Greater Houston area, including Lake Houston, that are open for boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. Much like the owners of motor vehicles, boat owners are responsible for keeping their boats safe and ensuring that they operate their watercraft in a safe, prudent, and careful manner at all times. When they fail to operate their boats safely, and someone (such as a passenger or another boat operator) sustains an injury, then the accident victim could bring a claim against the negligent boat owner or operator.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in one of these types of accidents, the skilled Houston personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman are here for you. Our legal team will work to pursue monetary compensation on your behalf through the settlement or litigation processes.
Common Personal Injuries That Accident Victims Sustain in Houston Accidents
The injuries that an accident victim ultimately suffers in a Houston accident depend on various important factors, including the type of accident and the force of the impact, including the body part(s) involved. When an accident victim suffers an injury in an accident that someone else’s negligence causes, then he or she may be forced to undergo a significant amount of costly medical treatment and therapy.
Moreover, the accident victim may need to take time off work to recover from his or her injuries, losing considerable wages. Even if the accident victim can work, the accident victim’s employer might need to reduce his or her work hours or give the accident victim a ‘light duty’ assignment, often at a reduced rate of pay.
The most serious types of injuries usually occur when the accident victim does not have any protection surrounding him or her at the time of the accident, such as in a motorcycle accident or bicycle accident. These types of accidents can lead to fractures and broken bones, as well as back and spinal cord injuries. In some instances, these injuries can be so serious that they lead to one or more forms of paralysis.
In addition, accidents that are caused by another person’s negligence can lead to muscular strains, contusions, and sprains—otherwise known as soft tissue injuries. When an accident victim strikes his or her shoulder, the accident victim could suffer a rotator cuff injury, which might require surgery to correct.
In the most serious accident cases, such as a head-on motor vehicle collision that occurs on a Houston roadway, for example, the accident victim could die in the accident. When that happens, the deceased accident victim’s surviving loved ones could pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against the at-fault individual.
If you or a person you love suffered one or more of these injuries in an accident that occurred because someone else was careless or negligent, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side advocating for you.
Once you finish treating for the injuries you suffered in your accident, the experienced Houston personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman could file a claim on your behalf and attempt to negotiate a favorable personal injury settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company fails to offer you fair and full compensation for your injuries, your lawyer may file a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused your accident, seeking the monetary damages that you deserve.
Timely Filing a Houston Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
When compared with other states in the country, Texas has a relatively short statute of limitations for personal injury cases. If you suffered an injury in Texas that occurred because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, in almost all circumstances, you only have two years from the date of your injury (typically the date on which the accident occurred) to file a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation and damages.
Although there are some extremely limited exceptions, if you do not file your lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties within the applicable two-year statute of limitations deadline, you will no longer be eligible to pursue monetary compensation and damages for the injuries you suffered in your accident. Therefore, you should always assume that the two-year limitations period applies.
An experienced Houston personal injury lawyer can assist by investigating your case from the onset and making sure that you have named all potentially responsible parties to your lawsuit. If you fail to name one or more potentially responsible parties, and the statute of limitations expires, you can no longer pursue monetary compensation against that individual or entity (or the individual/entity’s insurance company).
The knowledgeable Houston personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can help you file your claim or lawsuit against the appropriate individuals or entities, seeking the monetary compensation that you deserve.
Proving All of the Legal Elements of Your Houston Personal Injury Case
To recover financially for the personal injuries you suffered in a Houston accident, you must satisfy certain legal elements of proof. In a personal injury case, you, as the accident victim, have the burden of proving all of the legal elements of your claim.
Specifically, you must demonstrate:
- Duty of care owed – The accident victim must demonstrate that at the time of the accident, the at-fault person owed a duty of reasonable care. When it comes to motor vehicle accident cases, for example, motor vehicle drivers owe other drivers a duty to operate their vehicles in a careful, safe, and prudent manner at all times while they are on the road—or in a parking lot or parking garage. Similarly, in slip and fall cases, property owners owe their customers a duty to ensure that their premises are clean and safe at all times—and that they are free from defects and other known hazards.
- Breach of the applicable duty of care – In addition to the accident victim demonstrating that the at-fault person or entity owed him or her a duty of care under the circumstances, the accident victim must show that the at-fault person violated—or breached—the duty of care in some way, by acting in a manner that was unreasonable under the circumstances. In the context of a motor vehicle collision, for example, the at-fault driver breaches the duty of care by violating a traffic law on the books, such as by running a red light or speeding, thereby causing the accident in which the accident victim suffers his or her injuries. In the context of a slip and fall accident, the at-fault person violates the duty of care by failing to correct or warn about a known hazardous condition that exists on the premises, and that may cause a customer to suffer an injury.
- Causation – In addition to demonstrating that the at-fault person violated the prevailing duty of care, the accident victim must show that the at-fault person or entity’s failure to follow the prevailing standard of care led to the accident in which he or she suffered injuries.
- Damages – Finally, the accident victim must demonstrate that he or she suffered one or more personal injuries or damages as a direct result of the accident. In other words, the accident must have been at least one cause of the injuries the accident victim ultimately suffered.
Houston Personal Injury FAQ
Personal injury cases arising from accidents in and around Houston can sometimes be difficult to navigate, and victims of serious accidents may not know where to turn next. Oftentimes, these accidents create more questions in the minds of accident victims than they do answers. The following is an attempt to answer some of the most common questions associated with personal injury cases in Houston.
What does it mean to file a personal injury claim in Houston?
When it comes to personal injury cases, Texas is a fault state. This means that an individual who suffers an injury in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence can file a claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault person—or that person’s insurance company.
Filing a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company typically involves sending a settlement demand, along with other pieces of pertinent documentation, to convince the insurance company to make a settlement offer on the case. In the process of bringing a personal injury claim, a Houston personal injury lawyer can also find out the limits of the defendant’s insurance coverage. In accident cases where the accident victim suffers a particularly serious injury, the accident victim’s initial settlement demand may be for the full amount of the available policy limits.
As part of a demand package, an experienced personal injury lawyer will typically include a settlement demand letter. The letter will also mention the circumstances behind the accident, the injuries that the accident victims suffered, and a list of all related medical treatment bills and expenses, along with any lost wages that the accident victim may have incurred following his or her accident.
Along with the demand letter, the accident victim’s lawyer will typically include several pieces of documentation that are pertinent to the personal injury case. That documentation typically includes a copy of the police report (if an officer prepared one) and copies of all medical records and bills that show the treatment that the accident victim received following his or her accident.
The personal injury lawyer may also include copies of photographs depicting the property damage in a motor vehicle accident case, along with photographs that depict the accident victim’s injuries. Moreover, if there are photographs or video footage that depict the accident scene, or the accident itself, those photographs can especially help if the insurance company disputes liability or fault.
Finally, if the accident victim lost income because he or she can’t work following his or her accident, the accident victim’s lawyer may include a lost wage statement that the accident victim’s employer prepares. The wage statement will indicate the amount of money that the accident victim lost following his or her accident.
Once the insurance company receives the settlement demand package, an adjuster will review everything. If the insurance company decides to accept liability/fault for the case, the adjuster will typically make an initial demand to try and resolve the matter by way of a settlement.
These initial settlement offers, in most cases, are so extremely low that they are not worth accepting. In fact, at this juncture, the insurance company is usually just trying to see if the accident victim will settle his or her case for a very small amount of money. After all, the insurance company does not make money by paying out large personal injury awards. Instead, it makes and keeps its money by collecting premiums from insured individuals and retaining as much of that money as possible.
A Houston personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf in an attempt to resolve your personal injury case fully and fairly. If the insurance company’s adjuster is willing to offer you a reasonable settlement that you decide to accept, your lawyer can help you finalize the settlement and resolve the matter in full.
However, in some cases, the insurance company may not be willing to offer you fair compensation for the injuries you suffered in your accident. When that happens, you have a couple of options. First, your lawyer could continue to try and negotiate a settlement in the case on your behalf. Second, you could file a lawsuit in the court system against the at-fault person or entity that caused your accident.
The experienced team of personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can assist you with filing a claim in your personal injury case while pursuing a full and reasonable settlement for the injuries you suffered. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or begin litigating your case by filing a lawsuit in the Texas state court system.
Will I need to file a lawsuit in my Houston personal injury case?
If the insurance company refuses to offer you the monetary compensation that you deserve for your injuries, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party can be a good option in your case. Just because you file a lawsuit against the at-fault person in your accident case does not necessarily mean that your case is going to go all the way to trial. In fact, the majority of personal injury lawsuits filed in the state court system settle before ever going to trial. Filing a lawsuit merely begins the litigation process, and the parties typically then partake in written and oral discovery.
Written discovery typically consists of interrogatories, in which the parties to the case exchange information about how the accident occurred, the injuries and damages sustained, and whether there is likely to be any permanency. Once the parties have completed the written discovery phase of litigation, the defense attorney will typically take the accident victim’s oral deposition. At a deposition, the defense attorney will ask the accident victim questions about the accident and his or her injuries.
In some cases, once the discovery phase is complete, the insurance company for the at-fault individual will offer more money to settle the case. If the case does not settle at that point, the parties will typically take part in a settlement or mediation conference. In some cases, the court is involved in the settlement conference, and a judge will meet with the parties to try and bring the case to a resolution. During mediation, the parties usually meet with a neutral, third-party mediator, who will work with both sides in an attempt to settle the personal injury case.
A case can typically settle until the jury issues a verdict.
Taking a case to a jury trial, in some instances, can be risky. This is because once the case goes to trial and the jury decides the case, you lose control over your case. The jury will decide all of the outstanding issues that are being disputed, including fault and/or damages.
An experienced Houston personal injury lawyer at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can help you decide whether you should take your personal injury matter to trial or whether you should accept a particular settlement offer. If you decide to take your case to trial, your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way and will advocate for your legal interests in court.
What damages can I recover in my Houston personal injury case?
The purpose of filing a Houston personal injury claim or lawsuit is to pursue and hopefully recover monetary compensation for all of the injuries and damages you sustained in your accident. To recover monetary compensation in the form of damages, you and your lawyer will need to satisfy the required legal burden of proof. Once you’ve met those elements, you should recover monetary compensation.
First, you may pursue and recover monetary compensation for all of the medical treatment that you had to endure as a result of your injuries. For example, you could pursue monetary compensation for your medical treatment bills, surgical costs, and the costs of other related medical procedures and treatments, including physical therapy. In addition, if Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance paid for some or all of your medical treatment, you may still recover this compensation.
In some cases, accident victims suffer injuries so severely that they have to miss a significant time away from work, and consequently, they may lose considerable wages. If you lost earnings as a result of an accident that occurred in Houston, you may recover some or all of those wages.
Also, if you suffered injuries to such an extent that you could not return to your former employment or occupation, your lawyer may file a claim for loss of earning capacity on your behalf. In addition to recovering medical expenses and lost wages, you could pursue monetary compensation for other out-of-pocket costs related to your accident.
In addition to pursuing and recovering these economic damages, you may also be eligible to recover non-economic damages as part of your Houston personal injury case. These damages compensate accident victims for all of the inconvenience, suffering, and pain they had to endure as a result of their injuries.
Accident victims may also recover compensation for loss of use of a body part, such as when a body part gets paralyzed in an accident. They could pursue compensation for loss of enjoyment of life if they can’t take part in the same activities that they could before their accident. Finally, an accident victim could pursue a claim for loss of spousal consortium and family support.
An experienced Houston personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can help you pursue the monetary compensation that you need for all of your injuries and damages.
Call Our Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorneys Right Away
If you suffered an injury in an accident that another person caused, you may pursue financial recovery by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity. The knowledgeable team of Houston personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can assist you with pursuing the monetary compensation you need from the at-fault person’s insurance company.
For your free case evaluation, you can reach us 24/7/365 at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH), or you can write to us using our online contact page.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
6330 Gulf Fwy Suite 110
Houston, TX 77023