What To Do After A Speeding Car Accident In Texas
Houston car accident lawyers explain legal options available to injury victims
Speeding remains one of the leading causes of car accidents in Texas and across the country. Nearly 9,500 people each year die in speeding car accidents nationwide, making speeding one of the leading causes of motor vehicle fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In an instant, you or a loved one can sustain a serious injury due to a speeding driver. Such high-speed accidents frequently result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other severe injuries that require emergency medical care at Houston Methodist Hospital or another hospital in Texas.
Expenses due to speeding accidents can add up fast as well – from medical bills to vehicle repairs and replacement income if you cannot work due to a serious injury. But knowing what to do next and what options are available to car accident injury victims might not be clear. That’s why it’s critical that you understand your rights if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash caused by a speeding driver in Houston or elsewhere in Texas.
How common are speeding accidents in Texas?
Nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities nationwide occur due to speeding drivers. As for Texas, the state consistently ranks near the top for speeding accidents nationwide. One recent study by Value Penguin ranked Texas first nationwide for the most motor vehicle accident fatalities in the past decade due to speeding.
On average, there are 26,781 motor vehicle accidents in Texas each year due to speeding drivers, according to the most recent statistics for the past five years compiled by the Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT). Such speeding car accidents result in 1,068 fatalities and more than 13,100 injuries on average each year in Texas. That’s an injury or fatality every 37 minutes in Texas due to speeding drivers.
Where do speeding accidents happen in Texas?
Many speeding accidents in Texas occur on interstate highways, including I-10, I-45 and I-69. Texas has some of the highest speed limits in the country. The maximum speed limit on some highways is as high as 85 mph.
The majority of speeding car accidents in Texas happen in three counties – Harris County (Houston), Bexar County (San Antonio) and Dallas County, according to accident statistics compiled by the TxDOT.
More than 10 percent of Texas speeding fatalities – 110 deaths – and more than 1,000 injuries occur in Harris County on average each year. Such figures – especially the death toll – place Harris County at the top of the list for most speed-related fatalities of any county in Texas.
Dallas County comes in a close second with 104 deaths and 1,800 injuries on average each year due to speeding drivers. Bexar County ranks third statewide with 57 deaths and 950 injuries each year on average due to speeding car accidents, according to the TxDOT.
What makes speeding so dangerous?
There are two main reasons why speeding accidents are so dangerous. Speeding drivers have less time and space to stop because they’re going so fast, which increases the likelihood of causing a collision.
In addition, speeding accidents often result in more severe injuries since a speeding vehicle hits with greater force than a vehicle traveling at the posted speed limit.
This is why the Texas Department of Transportation advises drivers to adjust their speed depending on driving conditions, which can include adverse weather conditions, heavy traffic or construction zones. These four steps include:
- Slow down in order to have more distance to stop.
- Look for flashing beacons or other warnings at intersections.
- Look for pavement markings, especially near construction zones.
- Watch for warning signs alerting drivers to a reduced speed limit ahead.
What should I do after a speeding accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, it’s important that you take certain steps right away for your health and safety and to protect your rights. At the scene of the accident, such steps include:
- Contact the police and tell them you have been in a collision caused by a speeding driver. Ask them to send a police officer or state trooper from the Texas Highway Patrol. Having an officer respond and investigate your crash can make sure the facts are clear about exactly what happened. It’s also the law in Texas. All car accidents that cause injury or more than $1,000 in vehicle damage must be reported to the police.
- Have a medical professional examine you right away. Injuries sustained in speeding accidents can often be very serious. Don’t try to diagnose yourself. Have a doctor diagnose exactly what’s wrong.
- If someone saw your crash, get the person’s full name and phone number. Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful piece of evidence.
- If you can safely do so, take photos of your accident. Make sure to take pictures of speed limit signs and skid marks on the road, which can often be a telltale sign that the driver was speeding.
- Exchange information with the other driver. This includes your name, address, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Once you have exchanged information with the other driver, do not talk about your accident. Anything you say could later be used by the other driver’s insurance company to deny your accident claim.
After your accident, take the following steps several hours or days later:
- Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor. Many injuries sustained in car accidents, including whiplash and concussions, take time to develop. Ask your doctor to carefully examine you to determine if you sustained a serious car accident injury.
- Follow your doctor’s advice. This might seem obvious, but failure to do so could slow your recovery and hurt your ability to be fairly compensated for your injury-related expenses.
- Call your insurance company and tell them you were in a crash caused by a speeding driver. Keep your comments brief. Insurance companies, even your own, can be difficult to deal with after an accident.
- Contact the police officer or state trooper who investigated your crash and ask for a copy of your Texas car accident report. Officially known as a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (Form CR-3), this document is one of the most important pieces of evidence in a car accident investigation. Insurance companies carefully review accident reports. Make sure your report accurately reflects what actually happened.
- If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, don’t talk to them. Their questions might seem simple or straightforward. The reality is they’re often just fishing for information they can use to reduce or deny your claim. Tell them to talk to your lawyer.
- Do not post anything on social media about your accident. Anything you say or write could be used as evidence by the at-fault driver’s insurance company to deny your claim.
- Contact an experienced Texas car accident attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you have a lawyer investigating your speeding accident, the better.
How can a Houston car accident lawyer help me?
Texas has an at-fault car insurance system. This means the at-fault party – and their insurance company – is responsible for paying for an injury victim’s accident-related expenses.
Accident-related expenses associated with speeding accidents often add up to thousands of dollars or significantly more. This is why the other driver’s insurance company will likely go to great lengths to reduce or deny your claim by trying to blame you for causing the crash.
Your attorney can set the record straight about exactly what happened. This is why it’s important to hire an experienced Texas lawyer who knows how to investigate speeding car accidents and how to find the evidence you need to build a strong legal case.
The Houston car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler, Attorneys At Law have decades of experience handling injury claims involving speeding accidents in Harris County and throughout Texas. We know how to find the facts that prove the other driver was speeding and caused your collision. Such evidence can include statements from eyewitnesses, the investigating police officer’s accident report and testimony from accident reconstruction experts.
Many insurance companies agree to negotiate in good faith once they see we’re serious about your case. If they refuse to make a fair settlement offer or act in bad faith in any other way, we will not hesitate to take strong legal action on your behalf. We’re serious about winning your case.
Discover what our dedicated legal team can do for you after your speeding accident. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Houston car accident lawyer you can count on in a crisis. We have four offices located in the greater Houston area.
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