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What’s the difference between pro bono and a contingency fee basis?

I’m hurt and I need a lawyer, but I can’t afford to pay one. What should I do?

We hear this question all the time, and two terms that get thrown around to answer it are “pro bono” and “contingency fee.” Here’s what you need to know.

What does “pro bono” mean?

Pro bono is a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” An attorney who does pro bono work does so for free, without any expectation of pay regardless of the outcome, typically for people who can’t afford an attorney any other way. Lawyers can work pro bono in more or less any area of law.

Pro bono work is an important part of the legal profession, but it’s not the way most personal injury victims get compensation for their losses. There are a lot of costs that go into moving a personal injury case forward—hours of research, hiring experts, court costs, depositions, and more—and law firms that represent injured people need to cover their expenses and keep enough resources on hand to handle the next case. Rather, the legal work that goes into successfully resolving a personal injury claim is usually done on a contingency fee basis.

Okay, so what’s a “contingency fee”?

A contingency fee is an arrangement where the lawyer’s fee depends on the outcome of the case. When you hire a lawyer on a contingency fee, you agree to pay a percentage of the recovery as the attorney’s fee, typically one-third. The lawyer takes on the case at their own expense, paying the costs required to move the case forward. If you don’t win, you don’t owe your lawyer anything. In other words, the attorney assumes the risk of not getting paid but does not expect to work for free.

Unlike pro bono work, contingency fees are only allowed in certain areas of law, most commonly personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, disability, and similar. The vast majority of cases we handle at Smith & Hassler are on a contingency fee basis.

Why do personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis?

Nobody plans on getting hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or other incident. In most cases, people who have a valid personal injury claim are also in a terrible position to afford to pay a lawyer. You’re injured, you have medical bills piling up, you’re not able to work, you need to repair your car… the last thing you need is a bill from an attorney. We don’t want to charge you anything upfront because we believe in equal protection under the law and equal access to the civil justice system. You have rights, and you should be able to exercise those rights regardless of your ability to pay.

Working on a contingency fee also means we’re laser-focused on results. We don’t get paid by the hour; we only get paid if we can get a positive outcome for our client. We get deeply invested in our clients’ cases, share in the victory if they win, and assume the risk if they lose.

In short, when you hire a contingency fee lawyer, you’re getting a strong ally and advocate for your interests from start to finish.

What should I keep in mind when hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis?

Not every contingency fee agreement is the same. Contingency fees vary from law firm to law firm in terms of the percentage of the recovery to be charged, as well as responsibility for other costs associated with the case (like court costs and filing fees). It’s important to understand all those details before you hire a lawyer. When we meet with a prospective client, we put in the time to review the contingency fee agreement in detail, answer any questions and make sure you know what you’re signing.

In short, you have nothing to lose by talking to a lawyer about your options, and potentially much to gain. We’d be happy to meet with you and discuss your legal options, as well as our contingency fee agreement, during a free consultation.

How to pursue a claim after a rear-end car accident

Rear-end collision

Even though rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident, no one ever expects to get rear-ended and injured. Rear-end crashes are almost always the result of negligence and typically occur at intersections, stop signs, and during traffic jams. This usually makes establishing fault very easy. For example, if you were hit from behind by another driver while you were legally stopped at a red light, the other driver is almost certainly at fault. The driver who hit you could have been texting, speeding, or driving while impaired.

While establishing fault in a rear-end crash usually isn’t difficult, dealing with the at fault driver’s insurance company and getting appropriate compensation for your injuries is a different ballgame. That’s why it’s important that you consult with an experienced attorney who can gather the facts, build your case, and advocate for your best interests.

Linking your rear-end collision to your injury

Rear-end accidents often cause injuries that require medical treatment, even when they occur at low speeds. The most common injury linked to this type of crash is whiplash, which occurs when the victim’s head jerks back-and-forth in a rapid, whip-like motion, causing the soft tissue in the neck to become overstretched and damaged.

People who sustain whiplash in a rear-end collision often don’t realize that they’re injured until days later. Common symptoms include neck pain and stiffness; loss of neck mobility; tenderness in the shoulders, upper back, and arms; tingling in the arms and hands; fatigue; dizziness and vertigo; difficulty focusing; and difficulty sleeping.

If you did not experience these symptoms prior to your accident, your attorney can help prove that your condition was a result of the crash. This is why it’s critical that you see a doctor as soon as possible to get a proper medical evaluation and diagnosis. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the easier it will be for the insurance company to argue that your injury isn’t that serious.

Whiplash is typically treated with heat and cold applied to the neck, pain medication, and rest. It can take several months to make a full recovery. During that time, you may have to avoid working and engaging in certain physical activities. In high-speed rear-end collisions, it’s possible for crash victims to sustain traumatic brain injury, broken bones, lacerations, serious spinal injuries, and damage to internal organs.

Gathering the evidence

Before your attorney negotiates a settlement with the insurance company, your accident should be investigated. Even when it’s clear who caused the crash, the other driver’s insurance company may try to place some of the blame on you so that they can offer you less in compensation. They may even attempt to blame the weather or roadway conditions for the crash rather than the actions of the other driver.

Furthermore, Texas is an “at-fault” or “tort” state. That means a burden of proof of negligence exists when litigating your case. Through an in-depth investigation, your attorney can find evidence to prove the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. Evidence can be gathered by:

  • Interviewing witnesses and asking them what they saw.
  • Obtaining electronic records from the other driver’s cellphone company.
  • Measuring the tire marks in the road (or lack of tire marks) to determine how fast the other driver was traveling.
  • Obtaining video footage from surveillance cameras or witness dashcams, if possible.
  • Getting a copy of the official police accident report.

Your attorney will also need to calculate the total cost of all your accident-related losses, including but not limited to:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages if you can’t work
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Contact our Houston lawyers if you were hurt in a rear-end crash

The car accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler have more than 30 years of experience fighting for injured crash victims throughout the greater Houston area. Our passionate and professional legal team is committed to helping victims and their families recover every penny owed to them in compensation. If you were hurt in an accident, contact our law firm online or call us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Obtaining and reading your Texas car accident report

Houston auto accident attorney

If you were recently involved in a traffic collision, there was likely a prompt investigation conducted by a law enforcement agency. When police arrive at the scene of a crash, they gather important details regarding how a crash occurred and who was at fault. This information is documented in a car accident report.

Your car accident report can serve as evidence to support your case against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance provider. This can be obtained online at the Texas Department of Transportation website and costs $6 for a regular copy and $8 for a certified copy (the official document used for a legal proceeding).

When you obtain a copy of your crash report, it’s important that you know how to read it and ensure that all information is accurate. To better understand your Texas car accident report, Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law has offered a complete guide below.

Page 1 — The basic information

Here is what you will find on page one:

  • Identification and location: Here, you will find the time, date and location of your crash. This will include the street, city/town and county where your crash occurred. It will also mention whether the crash occurred at an intersection or construction zone and what the posted speed limit was.
  • Vehicle, driver and persons involved: This section includes driver and vehicle information and if anyone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Identifications of parties involved: This is where the names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle information and driver’s licenses are documented. It also states whether or not seatbelts were used or airbags were deployed, as well as if anyone was ejected, injured or killed.
  • Drug/alcohol information: In this section, police will document the names, addresses and phone number of parties who were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. In addition, it will include whether or not a sobriety test was given or if specimen was taken.

Click here for a visual reference of page one.

Page 2 — The narrative of the crash

On page two, you find:

  • Injuries and deaths: This section will list the names of parties who were injured or killed in a crash. This will include the names, date of birth, if they were taken to a hospital and how they were taken to a hospital.
  • Criminal charges and citations: Here, you will find a list of parties who were criminally charged or issued citations by police.
  • Damage to property: This section lists damage inflicted on property other than vehicles, as well as the names of the property owners.
  • Commercial vehicle crash information: If a commercial vehicle was involved in your crash, the carrier name, cargo type, vehicle weight and driver information will be documented here.
  • Narrative and diagram: The investigating officer will provide a written narrative on how he or she thinks the crash occurred. In addition, the officer will draw out a diagram on how the crash occurred. This will include the directions of both vehicles involved, any intersections involved and the potential events that led to the crash.

Click here for a visual reference to page two.

How can I pursue a car accident claim after obtaining my car accident report?

After obtaining your accident report and getting medical attention, it’s critical that you speak to an experienced Houston car accident attorney who can help you pursue a legal claim. Our law firm can conduct a further investigation and reveal more about how your crash occurred than what is stated on the crash report.

You do not have to wait until you have your police report before contacting Smith & Hassler for a free case evaluation. In fact, if you choose to retain Smith & Hassler before your police report is available, we will obtain a copy of the accident report so you don’t have to.

We’ll also handle the insurance companies on your behalf and fight for a fair financial settlement. Contact us online and schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

How to drive defensively around reckless drivers

Houston auto accident attorney

Reckless drivers rarely ever use caution on Texas roads, and it’s the good, responsible drivers who often pay the price when serious crashes occur. Thousands of people are killed in crashes across Texas each year, because of reckless drivers. Several thousands more suffer serious injuries.

We have all seen these drivers zipping down the highway, weaving through traffic, or engaging in grossly negligent behavior at some point. It’s not hard to spot these drivers on the road with enough attentiveness and awareness. While you can stay safe by keeping a safe distance from them, a crash could be unavoidable.

Common reckless driving behaviors

Knowing which drivers to keep your distance from isn’t difficult. All it takes is to be aware of the following actions and keep your distance when you see them:

  • Driving too fast when road conditions are unsafe: Whether it’s during a traffic jam, roadside construction, a rainstorm, or other hazardous conditions, reckless drivers often drive at speeds that are not safe and prudent.
  • Disregarding the safety and rights of other road users: All drivers are expected to give others on the road the right-of-way. Failure to do so can lead to a serious crash and injure or kill others on the road. Not only do reckless drivers often refuse to yield the right-of-way, they too often ignore the rights of bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians and treat them as a nuisance.
  • Failing to obey traffic laws: When some drivers are in a rush, they may deliberately blow through red lights or stop signs. They may also make illegal turns or travel well above the posted speed limit.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving: Alcohol causes impaired judgment, decreased reaction time, and decline in physical and cognitive control. The degree of impairment depends on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration, which at 0.08 percent is illegal.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving: Distracted driving has been one of the main causes of serious and fatal crashes across Texas and the United States. In 2018, 2,841 people died in crashes nationwide due to distracted driving.

What should I do if I was injured?

If you or a loved one was injured by a reckless driver, the Texas car accident attorneys at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law can help you pursue a claim against the at fault driver and his or her insurance company.

Our legal team is committed to helping injured motorists recover medical bills, lost income, and other damage accrued from your crash. To learn about how we can help you maximize your compensation, contact us online and schedule your free case evaluation. We serve clients in the greater Houston area.

Best ways to prevent drowsy driving on long trips

Houston auto accident attorney

Feeling tired behind the wheel is something we can all relate to. Most drivers have felt heavy eyelids and struggled to stay awake at some point in their lives.

Some people are more prone to drowsy driving than others. These people usually include commercial truck drivers, business travelers, night-shift workers, parents of young children, people who take sedative medications, and people with undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders.

For everyone else, drowsy driving can happen after a night of inadequate sleep or a long driving trip. One study that was conducted in 2000 found that staying awake for 17-19 hours within any given night can have a similar effect to driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent.

A BAC of 0.05 percent is considered “buzzed driving.” Think about how of great of a chance buzzed drivers have of being involved in a crash in comparison to sober drivers. The likelihood of being involved in a crash is also high among drivers who don’t get enough sleep.

Long-term drowsy driving safety tips

Lack of sleep can be especially problematic when embarking on a long driving trip. BMW’s Changing Lanes podcast discusses the factors that can lead to drowsy driving and the many ways it can be prevented on long driving trips.

Here are some long-term prevention tips shared on the podcast:

  • Be sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep before driving on a long trip.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving. These often include frequent yawning, frequent blinking, heavy eyelids, poor concentration, wandering thoughts, memory loss, restlessness and difficulty staying within the lines of the road.
  • Take 20-minute naps every four hours in a parking lot or rest stop.
  • Avoid driving between 2-5 a.m. and between 1-3 p.m., when the body is naturally programmed to sleep.
  • Take frequent breaks by getting out, walking around and getting fresh air.
  • Avoid driving on an empty stomach or after eating too much.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during a long trip, as this can induce drowsiness.
  • Listen to music or have a conversation with a passenger to stay mentally active.
  • Avoid taking certain medications that can cause drowsiness before a long trip.

Short-term fixes to stay awake

For drivers who may be experiencing drowsiness, but only need to stay awake for a short amount of time, the podcast offers these short-term fixes:

  • Consume sugar or caffeine for a temporary energy boost, but never rely on this method to stay awake.
  • Roll down the window for a short boost of oxygen, which can temporarily increase alertness.
  • Chew on gum to temporarily increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Listen to loud music to stay mentally engaged temporarily.

What should I do if I was injured in a drowsy driving car accident?

If you were hurt in a drowsy driving crash, you may be overwhelmed with high medical bills. In addition, you may be dealing with the emotional and financial devastation of not being able to work or engage in certain activities.

That’s why it’s important that you speak to an experienced Texas car accident attorney who can help you rebuild your life after a crash. Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law can fight to help you recover all economic and non-economic damages owed to you. We have been serving crash victims in the Houston area since 1989. To schedule your free case evaluation, contact our law firm online.

Top 5 reasons we’re seeing an increase in truck accidents

Houston truck accident attorney

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our daily lives have changed dramatically, including our interactions with others, how we work and how we shop. Believe it or not, the pandemic has had some impact on road safety and may be contributing to an increase in large commercial and delivery truck accidents.

Here are five reasons why this may have led to an increase in truck accidents.

1. Drivers are untrained or have poor driving habits

Large online retail companies, such as Amazon, need to hire more drivers in order to keep up with the increased demand. This could lead to companies hiring anyone they can get, including drivers who lack experience and/or a proper Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Operating a large commercial truck or delivery truck requires skill. Drivers who don’t know what they’re doing are at a greater risk of causing crashes than those who do.

2. Drivers are overworked

Delivery drivers could be making about 200 stops and delivering up to 300 packages per day. When drivers are in a hurry or overworked, they may be more likely to bypass traffic rules or make careless mistakes behind the wheel.

Not only can this lead to crashes with other vehicles, but it can also lead to drivers hitting pedestrians or bicyclists when making deliveries in residential neighborhoods.

3. Shortage of company trucks and overloaded cargo

Online retail companies, such as Amazon, may not have enough company trucks to keep up with the increased demand. As a result, some employees may use personal vehicles, budget box trucks, or U-Haul vans to make deliveries.

Many of these vehicles could lack proper maintenance and may not be safe to operate. All it takes is a loose wheel, tire blowout or brake failure to cause a serious catastrophe.

4. Increased demand due to next-day deliveries

Not only are deliveries surging, but there is also an increased demand for next-day deliveries. This places a constant need for speed and efficiency on drivers to make deliveries within a short amount of time.

This can lead to fatigue, increased stress, speeding, aggressive driving and ignoring the safety of others on the road.

5. Increase in distracted driving

Delivery drivers who are in a hurry may try to multitask while driving. Moreover, the anxiety related to COVID-19 may give some drivers the urge to check their cellphones and notifications, which can potentially lead to a distracted driving crash.

What should I do if I was injured in an accident with a delivery driver?

If you were injured in a crash with a delivery truck driver, get an experienced Texas truck accident attorney on your side who can investigate the crash scene, the driver’s behavior and gross negligence on part of the trucking company.

Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law has been helping truck crash victims in the greater Houston area obtain compensation since 1989. Contact us to find out how we can help you. Our case evaluations are free and confidential.

5 Dangerous Driving Habits That Lead to Accidents

Houston auto accident attorney

In Houston and throughout Texas, car accidents are a frequent occurrence. People’s lives can be changed in an instant. They are seriously injured and need medical treatment. They may not be able to work or take part in their usual activities. The medical expenses add up quickly and they are left to fight with the insurance companies over compensation.

Why do car accidents happen? Most of the time, they are caused by negligent drivers practicing dangerous driving habits.

Distracted Driving

Texting while driving is against the law in Texas, but that hasn’t stopped many people from doing it. There are other types of distracted driving, too. Some drivers talk on the phone or read social media posts. Others adjust dashboard controls or use a GPS while driving. There are some drivers who don’t see a problem with eating or drinking while on the road.

The problem is that engaging in these or other activities while driving takes the driver’s eyes off the road. It may only be for a few seconds, but that is more than enough time for a driver to fail to see a car stopping suddenly, or a car pulling in front of them.

Speeding

We’ve all seen drivers going way too fast – on the highway, on streets and on back roads. Whether the speed limit is 75 mph or 35 mph, exceeding that limit can easily lead to a crash.

The speed limits are set for a reason. Those are the top speeds at which a vehicle can be driven safely. Traffic conditions can change quickly, and drivers need to be able to respond. Driving above the speed limit makes it more difficult to control a vehicle, making it much harder to avoid a collision if a driver needs to quickly slow down or come to a complete stop.

Reckless Driving

There are many drivers who seem to think that state driving laws don’t apply to them. These are the drivers who weave in and out of traffic on the highway. They pass other cars on the wrong side of the road or suddenly change lanes without signaling. They speed up to try to beat the light. If there’s heavy rain, they don’t even think about slowing down. Then there are the tailgaters who are following much too closely. These are all dangerous driving behaviors that put others at risk.

Driving Under the Influence

Too many people still think they’re OK to drive after having a few drinks. Alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines and illegal drugs can all have powerful effects. They can reduce the ability to focus, negatively affect judgment and slow reaction times. Driving under the influence of any of these substances greatly increases the risk of a crash.

Fatigued Driving

This can happen when drivers don’t get enough sleep or spend long hours on the road. A driver who is fatigued is not fully alert and may be slow to recognize and respond to changes in traffic conditions. Fatigue also slows reaction time, making it more difficult for a driver to prevent a crash with another car.

Since 1989, Smith & Hassler has been fighting for the rights of people injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. If you’ve been injured in the Houston area, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

The 10 Most Dangerous Intersections In Houston

Houston auto accident attorney

Everybody knows that busy intersections can be dangerous places for pedestrians and bicyclists. One negligent driver can cause an accident that leaves someone seriously hurt. LINK Houston, a non-profit organization that advocates for transportation options for underserved communities, set out to answer one question.

What are the 10 most dangerous intersections for people walking or biking in Houston?

LINK Houston analyzed 12,707 crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists that occurred in the Houston area from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2017, using data from the TxDOT Crash Records Information System (CRIS).

So what did they find?

The 10 Most Dangerous Intersections in Houston

  • Fannin & Pierce (Downtown, near Midtown)
  • Ranchester & Bellaire (Sharpstown)
  • Westheimer & S Dairy Ashford (Eldridge West Oaks/Briar Forest)
  • Long Point & Gessner (Spring Branch West)
  • Westpark Dr & US 59 South (Gulfton/Mid-West/Sharpstown)
  • Old Spanish Trail & 288 South (AstroDome Area)
  • Fondren & West Bellfort (Greater Fondren Southwest)
  • Bissonnet & Wilcrest (Alief)
  • West & Airline (Greater Greenspoint)
  • Bellaire & S Gessner (Sharpstown)

The study found that during the time period analyzed, there were seven crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists each day on average. There were 618 fatalities and 1,634 people seriously injured.

What types of car accidents happen at intersections?

Houston intersections see countless cars traveling in several different directions every day. Not surprisingly, they are also the location of many car accidents in Houston. One of the most common types are T-bone accidents. The front of one car crashes into the side of another, creating the shape of the letter “T.” They often happen when one car is making a turn.

Other types of car accidents happen at intersections, too. They include:

  • Rear-end accidents – The front of one car crashes into the back of another.
  • Head-on collisions – One car veers into another lane and crashes head-on into an oncoming car.
  • Multi-vehicle accidents – There is a chain reaction of crashes at intersection involving multiple drivers.

It only takes one negligent driver to cause an intersection accident that injures a pedestrian or bicyclist – or another driver or passenger. Common causes of intersection accidents include speeding, distracted driving (such as texting), reckless driving, fatigued driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What types of injuries happen in intersection accidents?

People involved in intersection accidents can suffer broken bones or injuries to the head, neck or back. In more serious cases, they can suffer traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury. Medical treatment may involve surgery, hospitalization, medication and physical therapy.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are at greater risk of suffering severe injuries because they have no protection in a crash. As a result, recovery from their injuries may take months or even longer. They may even be left with a permanent disability, and medical expenses can quickly add up.

If you were injured in a Houston intersection accident, it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law have been serving the injured in Houston since 1989. We have the experience and resources to fight back against insurance companies and get results. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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.