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What Should I do After A Motorcycle Accident in Houston?

Texas motorcycle accident lawyer

Step-by-step advice from experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyers

Knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident in Houston can be confusing. Even knowing what your rights are might not be clear. That’s why it’s important to be prepared if the unexpected happens and another driver crashes into your motorcycle. That’s why we created this guide for what to do after a motorcycle accident in Houston.

Our experienced Houston motorcycle accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law created this guide based on over 30 years of experience representing motorcycle accident victims. We know the challenges injured motorcyclists face. We know the issues that often come up. That’s why we want to meet with you if you sustained an injury in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. Simply contact our Houston law firm and schedule your free consultation with a lawyer you can count on in a crisis.

What to do after a motorcycle accident in Houston

Contact the police – The first thing you should do is call the Houston Police Department and tell them you have been in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver. Ask the police to respond to your accident. Having a police officer respond to your motorcycle crash can often make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. That’s because an official police accident report matters a lot to insurance companies. Often, they use this form to determine who was at fault and who should be compensated. We can help you make sure your accident report is accurate and truly reflects what happened.

  • Seek medical attention – Ask the police to send an ambulance to your motorcycle accident if you or someone else feels seriously injured. Even if you feel fine, it’s always best to have a medical professional examine you right away. That’s because you could have a life-threatening internal injury and not even realize it. Don’t take chances with your health. Have a medical professional examine you right away.
  • Talk to witnesses – If someone saw your motorcycle accident, talk to them before they leave. Eyewitness testimony can make a huge difference in your case. Make sure to get the witness’ full name, address and best phone number to reach them. That way, you or anyone else investigating your motorcycle accident can reach them later.
  • Take pictures of the accident – Pictures of your motorcycle accident can be important pieces of evidence. If possible, take pictures of your accident right away away. Pictures of damage to your motorcycle can be valuable pieces of evidence. So can pictures of the exact location of the accident, damage to the car that caused your crash and more.
  • Get driver’s information – Make sure to get the driver’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. Feel free to provide the same information to the driver about yourself. Other than that, don’t say a word. Anything you say to the other driver could be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company to deny your claim.
  • Call your insurance company – Tell your insurance company you have been in a motorcycle accident in Houston caused by another driver. Provide only very basic information. If your insurance company asks you detailed questions about how the crash happened or what injuries you have, don’t answer them at this time. Until more is known about your crash, it’s always smart to be cautious when dealing with insurance companies, especially if you’re a motorcyclist. Insurance companies, even your own, can sometimes be difficult to deal with after an accident.
  • Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company – This step is very important. The other driver’s insurance company will almost surely contact you after your motorcycle accident. Their questions might seem innocent or straightforward, but they’re likely fishing for information to use against you. You don’t legally have to talk to them. We know how to deal with insurance companies and can talk to them on your behalf.
  • Carefully consider any settlement offer – The other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you and make a settlement offer for your motorcycle accident. It’s tempting to take an offer but the reality is these offers often don’t even come close to covering all your accident-related expenses. That’s why it’s important to talk with an attorney who can review your offer and advise you on what to do. We’d be happy to go over any offer you receive, free of charge, during your initial case evaluation.
  • Schedule follow-up doctor’s appointment – Some motorcycle accident injuries take time to develop. It might be a few days or weeks after your motorcycle accident when you notice something’s wrong with your neck or back or another part of your body. Have your doctor examine you and make sure there’s nothing wrong. You health and well-being must come first.
  • Contact a lawyer – The sooner you contact an attorney, the better. Having a lawyer in your corner after your crash can often make a big difference. Your attorney can help you in so many different ways, including:
    • Help fill out any forms related to your motorcycle accident.
    • Review your motorcycle accident report to make sure it’s accurate.
    • Correct any mistakes, if possible, on your official motorcycle accident report.
    • Deal with insurance companies on your behalf.
    • Investigate your accident in detail.
    • Consult with accident-reconstruction experts, if necessary.
    • Negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
    • File a motorcycle accident lawsuit on your behalf, if necessary.
    • Represent you at all court proceedings related to your motorcycle accident.

Get the respect your motorcycle accident deserves. Get an experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law. We get results.

How rollover truck accidents wreak havoc in Texas

Houston truck accident attorney

Rollover accidents involving large commercial trucks often wreak havoc on Texas roads. That’s because large trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs when fully-loaded with cargo.

Once a semi-trailer tips over on a high-speed roadway, a great deal of damage can be inflicted on other vehicles and roadside structures. As a result, multiple people can be injured or killed in a single crash.

According to the state crash data from the NHTSA, 664 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks on Texas roads — up from 657 the previous year. It’s unclear how many of these fatalities were caused by truck rollovers. Rollovers are one of the leading types of truck accidents in Texas, however.

What causes semi-truck rollovers?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the most common causes of semi-trailer rollovers include:

  • Driver error: The FMCSA says that roughly 78 percent of rollovers involve driver error such as drowsy driving, distracted driving and poorly navigating curves, as well as abrupt or over-steering.
  • Mechanical defects: Studies have found that more than 50 percent of truck rollovers are caused by brake defects.
  • Improper cargo loads: Improper loading of cargo is a contributing factor in more than 60 percent of rollovers. This often occurs when partial loads are not properly balanced, allowing for cargo to slosh from one side to another and disrupt the balance of the semi-trailer.

Myths about truck rollover accidents

Some myths about what causes truck rollovers include:

  • They’re caused by poor driving conditions: While poor driving conditions can contribute to truck rollovers, more than half of them occur on straight roads rather than curves or ramps. According to the FMCSA, nearly all truck rollovers happen on dry roads and two-thirds happen during daylight hours.
  • Speeding causes most rollovers: Speed is only a contributing factor, not a cause of rollovers. According to the FMCSA, driving too fast for conditions contributes to about 28 percent of rollovers.
  • Only inexperienced drivers cause rollovers: Rollovers can happen regardless of how much experience the driver has. In fact, approximately 66 percent of truck rollovers involve drivers with more than 10 years of driving experience.

What should I do if I’m injured in a rollover truck accident?

If your injuries are minor enough, you may be able to follow the standard crash protocol. This includes:

  • Calling the police
  • Taking pictures of the crash scene
  • Speaking to witnesses
  • Exchanging insurance information with other parties involved (name, address, phone number, insurance provider, and trucking company name and contact information)

Not all people involved in truck crashes have the luxury of taking these actions. If your injuries are severe, you will need prompt medical attention. You may not even remember exactly what happened.

The legal team at Smith & Hassler Attorneys at Law can help you get your life back. Our attorneys have been litigating truck crashes since 1989 and have a proven track record of getting results.

We serve clients in the greater Houston area. Contact us online or call 800-946-9461 (WIN WIN 1) to find out how we can help you.

GHSA study calls for treatment for impaired drivers

Houston auto accident attorney

The good news: Drunk driving deaths in 2018 were at their lowest rate – 29 percent – since the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration began compiling the data in 1982. The bad news: A fatality still happens once every 50 minutes, which is about 29 a day.

A report on the subject, High-Risk Impaired Drivers: Combating a Critical Threat,” recently was released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Responsibility.org, a liquor industry drunk driving prevention group. It says offenders lack self-control while meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or higher. These drivers were involved in 60 percent of impaired fatalities in 2018.
  • Driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. The number of these drivers has climbed 16 percent in the past 10 years.
  • Having more than one previous DUI arrest. Repeat offenders are involved in about one-third of impaired fatalities each year.

Fines and jail terms not enough

Obviously, offenders need to be punished, particularly if they cause damage, injuries and, at worst, fatalities. In addition to fines and jail time, the study calls for “individualized justice,” which criminal justice experts say is more efficient at deterring bad behavior.

The key, the study says, is treating underlying issues that plague impaired drivers. That means screening, assessment and testing drivers for drugs besides alcohol. Currently, they believe, many drivers escape detection because they are not tested.

“Right now, our approach is to catch, convict and punish the high-risk impaired drivers and then release them. It’s a cookie-cutter approach that doesn’t treat the underlying problem,” said Chris Swonger, CEO of Responsibility.org. “Instead, we need to identify the root cause of each individual’s behavior and then determine what treatment, along with sanctions, should be administered so that we break this cycle and prevent impaired driving deaths.”

Victims should not have to pay, too

Treating people with substance abuse problems is a noble endeavor. It doesn’t help you, however, if you are the victim of a drunk driver. While the offender is getting help for their addiction, you may be injured, out of work and unable to support your family. The bills are piling up while an insurance company, knowing your financial situation, tempts you with a settlement that does not come close to meeting your short- or long-term needs.

You need an advocate, too. The car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler have been handling cases just like yours in the Houston area since 1989. We will aggressively pursue justice for you and your family. Contact our Houston firm today for a free case consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we win your case.

I was hurt by the Watson Grinding & Manufacturing explosion. What are my legal options?

Houston Watson Grinding & Manufacturing Explosion AttorneysAt approximately 4:24 a.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020, a huge explosion ripped through Watson Grinding and Manufacturing’s premises, located at 4524 Gessner Road in Houston, TX.

Channel 13 News reports that a propylene tank exploded at the facility and the debris field expands for a half-mile. It appears that the Westbranch neighborhood is most affected. Pictures and videos posted to social media by residents near the site of the explosion show considerable property damage to homes and vehicles, including windows that have been cracked, and glass completely blown out.

Who is most likely impacted by the explosion?

Residential homes most likely to be severely impacted by the explosion are on the following streets:

WEST OF GESSNER ROAD: Talina Way, Hollow Hook Road, Rockcrest Road, Lybert Drive, and Goodrum Road.

EAST OF GESSNER ROAD: Old Brickhouse Drive, Heatherford Court, Lybert Road, Ivy Oaks Lane, Juniper Glen Drive, Lone Brook Drive, Stanford Court, Bridgeland Lane, Valleywood Drive, Sunwood Drive, Rockcrest Road, Cottage Field Road, and Field Stone Drive.

What to do if you were injured by the explosion

Here’s what you can do if you were injured by the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing explosion in Houston:

  1. If you have visible injuries, for example from flying glass or structural damage to your home, it’s critical that you take good-quality photographs to document your injuries.
  2. The Mayo Clinic’s web site explains that a condition called tinnitus, which is noise or ringing in the ears, can result from injury to the ear. Short-term exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage. If you were present near the explosion site, by virtue of being closer, you are more susceptible to this type of hearing damage. Tinnitus involves the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. The symptoms include phantom noises in your ears, such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing and humming noises. If you believe you have suffered damage to your hearing due to the Watson Grinding explosion, see a doctor and report your symptoms as soon as possible.
  3. Seek medical attention for your injuries. You should use your own judgment whether it is necessary for you to go to the emergency room. If you do not think your injuries require emergency medical attention, consider making an appointment with your primary care physician. Your medical records will help document your injuries closest to when the injury occurred.
  4. Do not sign any documents that affect your legal rights. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and preserve your claim.

To speak to a personal injury attorney about injuries you suffered due to the Watson Grinding blast, call Smith & Hassler at (713) 739 1250, or 1-800-WIN-WIN1, or visit us online at www.smithandhassler.com.

Smith & Hassler, a Houston law firm, has represented injured people throughout the state of Texas since 1989. Our attorneys possess a wealth of legal knowledge and real courtroom experience. We have earned a reputation in Houston and across the state of Texas for helping victims seek justice and delivering results.

Texas adopts Vision Zero initiative of no fatalities

Houston auto accident attorney

Texas hasn’t had a single day when there hasn’t been a traffic fatality in nearly two decades. That day was November 7, 2000. Since then, more than 67,000 have died in crashes on Texas roads.

The biggest contributor to Texas’s massive death toll is the general attitude and culture surrounding traffic fatalities. The concept that fatal crashes are inevitable rather than preventable only normalizes the problem, thus ousting the possibility of finding solutions. It shows in Texas’s per capita traffic fatality rate, which currently exceeded the national average between 2010-2018. What’s worse, Texas outpaced other large states such as Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York.

In 2018, approximately 3,642 people were killed on Texas roads — 612 were pedestrians and 69 were bicyclists. High speed limits, dangerous roadway infrastructure, distracted driving, and drunk driving were cited as the leading causes.

Can Texas achieve its Vision Zero goal?

For years, safety advocates have pushed for change. Now, the Lone Star State is finally taking their pleas seriously, according to D Magazine.

Texas transportation officials have launched a new Vision Zero initiative to eliminate statewide traffic fatalities by 2050. Laura Ryan is a member of the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). She tells The Texas Tribune that the state has become “very numb” to the rate of traffic fatalities.

“This is probably one of the most deadly situations we have in the state, and it’s one of the most controllable situations we have in the state. Ninety percent of the deaths that we’ve had over the 19 years are preventable,” said Ryan.

Texas officials have set aside $600 million in funding to widen some roadways, upgrade guardrails, and improve safety conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. These efforts are only one component of a bigger picture.

A change in infrastructure and driving culture is needed to get to zero deaths

Vision Zero seeks to make infrastructural changes that accommodate all road users, not just motorists. This poses a problem due to Texas’s primarily suburban landscape, where pedestrians and bicyclists are left to fend for themselves. Most Texas roadways have been designed to accommodate high-speed vehicular traffic. For pedestrians, crossing the roadway or navigating intersections is particularly risky.

Another major component is education. Serious and fatal collisions should be viewed as preventable, rather than be accepted as something that just happens. Obtaining the goal of zero deaths by 2050 may seem far-fetched, but the pursuit of the goal may have a profound impact on the safety of Texas roadways. Just maybe we’ll see another day like November 7, 2000. That feat would be a major milestone for the Lone Star State.

Until then, we will likely continue to see more deaths and serious injuries on our roads. That’s why the attorneys at Smith & Hassler are dedicated to fighting for the rights of crash victims and their families.

If you were hurt in a crash or lost a loved one in one, contact our Houston law firm to find out how we can help. We offer free case evaluations and operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win your case.

Texas ranks in top 5 U.S. states for pedestrian fatalities and projections show deaths will increase

Houston pedestrian accident attorney

Texas continues to be a deadly place for pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities in Texas totaled 621 in 2018, six more than the 615 fatalities in 2017, according to Houston Public Radio and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

The Lone Star State’s pedestrian deaths in 2017 accounted for 10 percent of America’s total.

The most dangerous roads in the nation

TxDOT reported that there were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2018, meaning that each day saw a death or deaths of pedestrians or car occupants.

Estimates from state and local officials to the federal government project 635 pedestrian fatalities in Texas in 2020, 657 in 2021 and 680 in 2022, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From 2008-2017, Texas was among the 20 most dangerous states in America in terms of pedestrian fatalities with 4,831, topped only in that period by California’s 7,127 and Florida’s 5,433. That’s according to the Pedestrian Safety Index compiled by advocacy groups Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Texas and four other states — Florida, California, Georgia and Arizona — accounted for nearly half of the 6,227 pedestrian accident deaths in the United States in 2018, said the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Among the factors that make Texas dangerous for pedestrians, according to the media and government reports:

  • Drivers distracted by using cell phones, applying cosmetics, eating, petting dogs and performing other activities
  • An increase of SUVs and other larger vehicles on the roads
  • Population growth that has more people out walking
  • Contentions from critics that projects to make roads, intersections and driver behavior safer for pedestrians are underfunded
  • Pedestrians who themselves are walking distracted and sometimes step into traffic
  • Speeding
  • Alcohol impairment
  • Too few crosswalks that make them too far a walk for some pedestrians. Research has found most people will walk only 300 feet to the nearest crosswalk

In Dallas, streets are dangerous for pedestrians because they often feature multiple lanes of high-speed traffic without a significant buffer. While most pedestrian accidents happen in places where high numbers of walkers, cars and trucks come together, pedestrian deaths are most likely when people on foot walk near cars moving at high speeds, according to the Dallas Observer.

TxDOT plans to dedicate $600 million for improvements along roadways for:

  • Widening roads
  • Adding rumble strips along center lines and shoulders to help drivers
  • Adding and reinforcing shoulders along roadways
  • Adding select turn lanes
  • Making technological improvements

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise

From 2008-2017, pedestrian accident deaths in the U.S. increased 35 percent, to 5,977 from 4,414, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report.

After adjusting for anticipated underreporting in some state data and considering trends in pedestrian fatalities, the report estimated the number of pedestrian accident deaths nationwide in 2018 to be 6,227.

That puts pedestrian deaths at a near-30-year high, given that 6,482 pedestrian accident deaths occurred in 1990, according to commonwealthmagazine.org.

Contact the car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law in Houston, Texas today if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident.

Truckers still making simple electronic log mistakes

Houston truck accident attorney

Violations are down but many American truckers keep making mistakes with electronic logging devices that the federal government ordered to replace paper logs in late 2017.

That’s according to a story on the Heavy Duty Trucking website.

The installation of electronic logging devices (ELD) in trucks has improved compliance with the federal rules that require recording drivers’ hours of service (HOS). The percentage of driver inspections with at least one HOS violation fell to 0.57 percent in June 2019 and to 0.69 percent in April 2018, from 1.3 percent in December 2017.

Successful transfers of electronic logging device data are occurring at a rate of 35,000 monthly, an 80 percent success rate.

A US official said the number of trucking ELD violations could be lower

“There are a lot of drivers that are misapplying the rule,” said Joe DeLorenzo, chief enforcement officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

A lot of the trucking ELD violations found in roadside inspections involve “really simple stuff,” such as:

  • The device failing to transfer log data when requested by an inspector
  • Improper mounting of the portable ELD
  • Drivers being unskilled at transferring data using the ELD
  • Drivers sometimes lacking required documentation during an inspection stop

Keep going over the basics with drivers, DeLorenzo said.

Trucking companies share the blame regarding trucking ELD violations. Common violations include failing to ensure records are accurate, to produce records on request and to review records of unassigned driving or to annotate the record explaining why the time is unassigned.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates compliance of trucking companies and drivers with hours of service rules. The rules are intended to improve safety on the road by limiting driving time and ensuring drivers are rested.

The federal rules require that drivers work no more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight days.

Drivers must maintain a log for seven days and eight days after, respectively. Drivers may be on duty for up to 14 hours following 10 hours off duty, but they are limited to 11 hours of driving time.

A driver can restart the consecutive-day cycle after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Editing or additions to ELD records can be done but these changes cannot shorten the drive time that was listed in the original ELD. Also, the data in the ELD must be recertified and the original records must be maintained.

Trucking companies can request edits after ELD records have been submitted, but annotations are required to explain the edits.

An ELD in size is between a smartphone and a computer tablet. They can be mounted on a truck dashboard and picked up for mobile use.

According to ELDfacts.com, the devices:

  • Track a driver’s hours of work electronically
  • Must be synchronized with a truck’s engine to ensure the truck’s drive segments are captured
  • Transfer data electronically to a manager who can see the logs in real-time.

In assessing trucking ELD violations, it may be helpful to note that the devices perform numerous functions. The devices can record vehicle inspection reports, different states’ fuel taxes and driver behavior in relation to speeding, idling and hard braking.

Among benefits trucking companies have seen from ELDs are that they save time by reducing paperwork and they update dispatchers about drivers’ status, such as allowing for improved planning for trucking loads.

Contact Smith & Hassler Attorneys at Law in Houston, Texas today for help with issues related to trucking ELD violations and for car, truck and motorcycle crashes.

Houston car accident lawyers weigh in on the lack of commercial truck law enforcement

Houston truck accident attorneyLarge commercial trucks are an absolute necessity to the economy in Texas, but they can be dangerous when sharing the road with drivers of smaller cars or other road users. With a fully-loaded trailer, a commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and can take up to the length of two football fields to stop when traveling at 65 mph.

Dangers of limited enforcement

A booming economy in Houston and other Texas communities, while good for business and residents, brings in more heavy commercial vehicles, which means more potential accidents.

Commercial trucks are causing damage to Houston’s roads, crashing on highways and injuring motorists, and creating traffic problems and noise concerns for Texas residents.

Some roadways lack the infrastructural capacity to handle large commercial trucks. When these massive vehicles use these roads, they often leave behind large potholes, cracked concrete, and damaged shoulders – all of which put every day road users at risk of being injured in a crash.

Compliance is the answer, according to experts and lawmakers who are working to bring change when it comes to heavy-truck inspections and enforcement.

In Austin, legislators filed eight bills related to commercial vehicle inspections granting specific police or sheriff’s departments the authority to enforce trucking rules.

The Houston Police Department’s Truck Enforcement Unit offers a free program to commercial businesses that employ commercial vehicle drivers. Police also perform safety inspections throughout Houston but not every community can enforce these laws yet.

According to the Houston Chronicle, a bill filed last week by State Rep. Gina Calanni would allow local law enforcement to apply for a “certification to enforce commercial vehicle standards for overweight trucks” that pass through their city limits. Similar legislation has passed in previous sessions.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is currently the only law enforcement agency authorized to enforce overweight commercial vehicle safety standards. Calanni’s bill includes several conditions for communities that apply.

Fewer state troopers on the streets have contributed to truck accidents as well, said State Rep. Terry Canales, chairman of the State House Transportation Committee.

According to the Chronicle, lawmakers are lined up to approve the requests but remain skittish. Granting cities commercial truck oversight could, some fear, make some municipalities speed traps for trucks. So, they are taking enforcement requests on a case-by-case basis.

What you can do in the event of a crash

Victims of Houston truck accidents caused by commercial vehicles have recourse. If you’ve been injured in a crash, you need an experienced attorney on your side fighting for you every step of the way. Truck accidents can be complex and overwhelming but the legal team at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law, have a wealth of legal knowledge and the competitive edge to take on trucking companies and their insurers. Don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

5 Things to Expect in the Days Following a Crash

Houston auto accident attorneyIf you have a driver’s license, you likely know the standard procedures to follow after a crash: exchange insurance information, call the police, get medical attention and report the crash to your insurance company. What about the aftermath of a crash? Even after following the standard procedures, pursuing a car accident claim can be complicated and overwhelming.

That’s why it’s important to know what to expect in the days that follow. Here’s what you should know.

1. You may be in shock

You may feel absolutely nothing after a crash. If your crash was serious, the feeling as if nothing happened may be unsettling. This is actually quite normal and often a result of being in shock. A crash can traumatic. You may have adrenaline running through your body, making it difficult to process what just happened.

2. Physical and emotional stress after the shock wears off

Once the shock begins to wear off, you may experience a wave of physical and emotional stress. In addition, emotions such as anger, pain, guilt, and even fear of driving may begin to surface. In time, this can turn into physical pain, especially if you sustained an injury that didn’t produce any immediate symptoms. Delayed reactions such as this is why you should always seek immediate medical attention after a crash.

3. A long list of things to do

The days after a crash can be messy. You have paperwork to handle, medical appoints to schedule, and insurance red tape to deal with. In addition, your car may need to be towed to an automotive shop for repair. While some shops may provide you with a loaner car, not all do. You may have to be issued a rental car from your insurance company, which could cost you upfront money out of pocket until you are reimbursed.

4. The other driver’s insurance company will contact you

It’s inevitable. You will receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. They may either be pushy and try to pin the blame on you, or they may be friendly and try to offer to a small settlement. They are not your friend and are only looking to protect their own bottom line. They know that they can save more money in the long run if you take a lowball settlement. They’ll ask you trick questions in hopes that you’ll provide answers that can later be used against you.

It’s important that you refrain from speaking to them. The only insurance company you should speak to is your own, and even then, the details you provide should be minimal. If the insurance companies have any further questions, an experienced car accident attorney can answer on your behalf.

5. You will need legal representation

Car accident claims are highly complex and often create further stress for crash victims. Having a highly-skilled attorney in your corner can help ease some of that stress.

The only thing you have to do is set up your free case evaluation with Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law. Contact us to schedule one today.

6 Pieces of Evidence to Collect After a Car Wreck

Houston auto accident attorneyToo many people attempt to pursue a car accident claim without first gathering important evidence after a car wreck – especially when it’s not a catastrophe. Even a minor fender bender can result in whiplash or some other injury that may not produce any immediate symptoms. That’s why it’s critical that you always collect these six recommended pieces of evidence after a crash. They can be helpful when it comes time to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party and his or her insurance company.

Information from the other parties involved in a crash

Taking down the names and phone numbers of all parties involved in a crash is essential but there is more information you should get, including the other person’s address, license number and car registration. You should always exchange insurance information, including policy numbers.

Details of other vehicles involved in a crash

Always gather information on the other car. Document the year, make and model; license plate number; and VIN number. The VIN can be found where dashboard and windshield meet.

Information regarding the responding law enforcement officer

Always call the police after a crash, even if it’s just a fender bender. Document the officer’s name and badge number and ask him how you can obtain the crash report. This document highly sought after in car accident claims and can help you in the long run.

Crash scene photos

If it’s safe to do so, you should always take photos of the crash scene from different angles. Be sure to snap pictures of car locations, skid marks in the road, and any damage to nearby buildings or structures.

Statements from witnesses

Witness statements are very helpful in car accident claims. If there are any witnesses available at the scene of a crash, take down their names and phone numbers.

Details of the crash scene

While at the crash scene, it’s important to document specific information regarding the location, directions in which cars were traveling and situated, the road and weather conditions, and other factors that may have lead to the crash. You may take note of these details or take photos and videos. If a police officer arrives at the crash scene, he or she will also document these details in the crash report.

You’ve followed all the recommended steps. Now what?

So you were involved in a crash and followed all the recommended steps. Now there are only two people you should share the evidence with: your insurance company and an experienced Houston car accident attorney. You are required to report your crash to your insurance company within a certain time frame but only provide the required details. Everything else should be discussed with your attorney.

Let the legal team at Smith and Hassler Attorneys at Law handle your claim. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation and operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if you win. Contact us today to learn more.