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When the fun and festivities of the holidays end, we all come back to reality and realize that the roads are still terribly unsafe. You’re not just focusing on your own driving, but you’re also worried about how everyone else is handling their driving. We see hundreds of cases each year from responsible drivers who found themselves involved in car accidents in Houston. Here are some safety tips we’ve gathered that will help you navigate the roads this coming year:
Whether we like it or not, it doesn’t matter how good of drivers we are; it matters more about the world around us. Drive defensively as if you’re surrounded by incompetent drivers, and always remember to:
Map It Out
Some of us are glued to our GPS or the apps on our iPhone to direct us. If you’re dependent on your navigation system, you probably get a touch of anxiety when you make the wrong turn, or end up somewhere you didn’t intend to be. Don’t worry: Map it all out ahead of time, but if you find yourself in an odd spot, just remember that your navigation has gotten you this far—it can get you out of there, too.
When you plan ahead, you should also schedule stops to rest and eat. Focus these stops around times with heavy traffic (it’s always a good idea to stop and get dinner during rush hour; you’re not really moving in that traffic, anyway). Doing this ensures you’ll be around fewer drivers, which potentially minimizes the risk of getting into a collision as well.
You Follow the Rules of the Road, But Not Everyone Does
Treat every single driver as if they’ve lost their mind. Just because you follow the rules doesn’t mean your fellow drivers do. Houston car accident attorney offices see some of the most ridiculous ways that people have gotten into accidents- if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened!
Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
Don’t focus on the car radio, the GPS system, or talking to the passenger beside you. While you’ve probably heard, “Ten-and-two, eyes on the road” a million times when you went through driver’s education, the fact remains that those rules are drilled into your head for a reason. According to the NHSTSA, 3,450 distracted driving-related deaths occurred in 2016. That’s nine people a day.
Hand Over the Right-of-Way
Everybody wants to be first out there on the open road, but that’s where accidents pop up. If you’re in a tight spot and someone else is trying to wedge in, let them. It may not get you home faster, but it will get you home safer.
Your Houston car accident attorney’s office is the first place you should go after an automobile accident. If you’ve recently been injured, contact the offices of Hilda Sibrian today to discuss the next step.
In light of Harvey’s recent destruction across the Lonestar State, we’ve seen some of the most heroic acts by your everyday man. We’ve also seen how underprepared most of us are when severe weather strikes. It isn’t just hurricanes—any type of severe weather puts us in a specific predicament. Here are a few tips on how you should prepare from your Houston personal injury attorney’s office.
Store Ample Food and Water
There’s nothing worse than getting to a superstore and realizing that they’re sold out of bottled water and nonperishables, or foods with extremely long expiration dates. Get ahead of the curve before the next Harvey strikes, or we endure a nasty drought. There’s no disaster that doesn’t call for a stock-up of necessities. Even your local car accident lawyers’ Houston office will have an emergency stash (just in case we get stuck at the office).
We saw it recently with Irma in the Florida Keys—gas becomes the most-required necessity. Even if you have all that extra food and water, it’s going to be useless if it’s trapped in the trunk of your car. Try to have at least 10 gallons of gasoline at-the-ready for disasters. Even if we’re just enduring inclement weather, additional gas can help you, your family, and your neighbors if resources are scarce.
Have a Home Prep Plan
The second wind gets inside of your house, it can do major damage. If a tornado is on the horizon, it’s going to launch lawn chairs, children’s toys and other loose yard items through your windows, allowing wind to get inside and cause real harm. Have a fifteen-minute home plan in place so you can secure everything, close the shutters, and if you have to leave, you’ll at least be able to come back to an intact home.
Keep Valuables Safe and Accessible
If you have to evacuate in a hurry, especially if a tornado is on the horizon, you’ll want to take the important things with you. Jewelry, family photos, and anything of value should be able to be thrown into a box or secured in a backpack, and thrown into the trunk in a hurry. You don’t want to leave valuables behind, but you also don’t want to risk your safety or that of the ones you love in order to save some memorabilia.
Check Your Roof
You should inspect your roof once a month, especially in Texas. You rarely get enough of a warning that warrants finding money and time to repair your roof, but just as wind can enter your home through broken windows, it can get under your roof tiles and cause serious damage to the structural integrity of your home. The last thing you need is to return and find your living room soaked with a hole in the roof.
The Houston personal injury law offices of Hilda Sibrian is the first place you should call if you end up in a traffic collision when you’re evacuating or driving to/from the store for supplies. Take the first step before real disaster strikes.
Certain, simple mistakes can be the difference between receiving a settlement or botching the entire claim. As your local Houston car accident attorney office, we see victims of personal injury make the wrong moves all the time. Here are the biggest mistakes people can make after being in a car accident in Houston.
Waiting Too Long to Seek Medical Aid
There is a timeline of events that needs to be established to get your compensation. It starts with the accident, and step two is always seeking out medical attention. If you’ve failed to do this until days after the incident, it will look like you’re seeking compensation without probable cause. Even if the incident was traumatic for you, it’s not going to hold up well in a claim if you’ve let too much time pass.
Providing Insurance Adjusters With Too Much Information
Insurance companies have a goal: Try to find every possible way not to pay. Insurance adjusters will skew every bit of information you give them to save money for the insurance companies—it’s their job, and while it may not be right, it’s how they play the game. Provide insurance companies with the right information, not every minor detail. This is where you need to seek legal aid before calling in your claim.
Signing Documents Without Legal Aid
Insurance companies may ask for your signature on certain documents hours or even days after an accident. If you’re signing them without reading them over and without legal representation present, you could be signing away your right to compensation under the right circumstances. Again, their job is to make sure the insurance companies can get around as many claims as possible without outputting a dime. Don’t let this happen to you.
Ignoring Medical Advice
In many situations, depending on your injuries, your condition can worsen. If you’re not obeying medical advice from your doctors, you’re making an enormous mistake. Your medical records (relating to the injuries sustained from a crash) are vital to your claim, and they need to be as accurate as possible. This means that if you’re ignoring these pieces of advice from your doctor, you’re making your injury seem better or “not that bad to begin with” on paper. That’s going to backfire on you later in the claim process, and if it comes to it, a courtroom.
Not Seeking Legal Advice Soon Enough
If you haven’t sought out your local Houston car accident attorney as soon as possible following a collision, you’re allowing valuable time to slip away. In some cases, if the driver at-fault has already sought out legal aid and built a bulletproof defense, the entire claim process could be drawn-out and take far longer than it would have. Get the right legal help right from the beginning.
The Houston law offices of Hilda Sibrian are fully equipped to handle your case. Contact our office today and see why our clients call us the best personal injury legal team Houston has to offer. Before it’s too late to get the compensation you deserve, seek out the best legal aid available.
In the grand scope of things, ride-sharing is still a new concept that we’re working through as a society. We’re trying to figure out how it works, how it becomes part of the “norm,” and what the future is surrounding ride-sharing. Part of this is solidifying laws and regulations for these companies because when you’ve been injured in a ride-sharing accident in Houston, it gets rough.
Your Driver’s Insurance May Not Cover You
If you’re a passenger, and your driver gets into an accident that causes you trauma or physical injury, there’s a fair chance that you won’t receive any form of compensation for your injury. Ride-sharing companies are touchy; when you get into a car accident as a passenger, they may not offer compensation for your injury, which is when you need a Texas car accident attorney by your side.
When it’s a collision with an Uber driver and you’re in your own car, there’s still an issue that could arise. Since Uber drivers can have insurance specifically to cover them during commercial time, if they’re in a commute on their way home and not currently clocked-in on their Uber app, the insurance doesn’t have to cover your injuries during an accident.
Ride-Sharing Services Have Different Insurance Coverage Policies
For the most part, you’ll be encountering Uber or Lyft since they are the behemoths in the ride-sharing industry. Their insurance policies are similar, but here’s what you need to know about the key differences between them that make or break a claim:
Uber: Three Degrees of Coverage
Uber has their insurance coverage split up into three degrees or periods. Period 1 is the least beneficial type of coverage. If a driver is active on their app and clocked-in, but they’re driving around and waiting for a potential client when an accident occurs, you’re in period 1. Under period 1, the uber driver if at fault will receive coverage by uber if the minimal insurance policy provided by Uber is higher than the personal insurance provided by the driver. These numbers hover at $100,000 and below, depending on liability coverage per person, property damage, and coverage per accident.
Period 2 is when the driver is on their way to pick up a rider, and period 3 is when the driver currently has a rider in their vehicle. Both of these are protected by $1,000,000 bodily injury insurance policies.
Lyft: Two Types of Policy
Though similar in insurance policy coverage amounts, Lyft’s process is a little more straightforward than Uber’s. If the driver’s coverage will not apply, Lyft’s insurance comes in to offer $1,000,000 in personal bodily injury, or $100,000 and lower for per accident, per person, and property damage.
Have You Been in an Accident With a Ride-Sharing Company?
Ride-sharing companies are still in the gray area of the law because they’re still being regulated. Each injury, accident, and case shapes how they will be perceived by the public, and by lawmakers. It’s best to get in touch with a premier Houston car accident attorney as quickly as possible to go over every option regarding compensation and protecting yourself.
Auto insurance is a big industry, and as such, there are numerous different “products,” or coverage options available to you as a consumer. Knowing about each one and their benefits is arming yourself with knowledge; car accidents happen every single day, so it’s best to understand the different types of coverage to make the smartest decision for you and your family.
You’ll see this term commonly thrown into most insurance policies. A lot of companies will use this as a “buzzword,” deterring you from looking further into your contract before you sign it. Beware of the wording. Liability car insurance focuses around covering others that are harmed when you’re at-fault in an accident.
Liability insurance covers you from being responsible for the other driver’s medical debt, compensation and any other financial responsibilities that may arise from the accident. When you look to purchase liability insurance, you’ll see breakdowns of the coverage depending on what the scenario calls for, broken down into 25, 50, and 10 (in most cases).
This pertains directly to costs that affect the physical nature of your car. When a tree branch falls and shatters your windshield, or you end up involved in a collision, you need to have solid physical damage car insurance to pay for auto repair costs. Putting your car in the shop can be expensive, and physical damage insurance can also be expensive.
Utilize every method possible to keep the cost of your physical damage insurance down- things like keeping your car in a personal garage, removing hazards in the yard that could potentially damage your vehicle, and keeping proper alarm and lo-jack systems on your car. Theft counts as a reason to file a physical damage claim. These tips not only decrease your insurance premiums but also keep your car safer, which is the entire point.
Despite the fact that most states in the US require drivers to carry some form of auto insurance, as many as one in every eight drivers are operating without insurance. That being said, some drivers who are carrying the state minimum insurance can be considered underinsured if their coverage isn’t great enough to apply to all damages sustained.
If a driver is underinsured but follows all regulations and state laws, there will be a gray area—the gap in between what you need, and what you get. Underinsured motorist coverage is absolutely crucial, especially when medical bills stack up against you and affect your quality of life.
Minimum Insurance Requirements by Texas Law
In the state of Texas, you’re required by law to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to comply with statewide regulations. As of January 2018, these include $30,000 in coverage per person for bodily injury, $60,000 of protection per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 of insurance per accident for property damage. It’s recommended to go for policies that cover at least $100,000 in each category. You don’t know how many people are going to be in a vehicle, how expensive that vehicle is, or what the nature of the accident will be. Ensure that you’re covered so you can drive free and easy. (Please note that the above coverage minimums are subject to change and as listed reflect the law as of January 2018)
In most states, car insurance is fault-based. When you’re at-fault, you end up paying for all of the damages, and 100% of the blame falls on you. However, Texas isn’t like every other state, and insurance companies are constantly ruthless. Texas is a non-at-fault state—here’s what you need to know.
Document All the Evidence You Can
Since Texas is a special case, you could be going down a short road to a courtroom or other actions to determine who is at-fault. That being said, it’s imperative to acquire as much evidence as possible early on. Gathering the proper information as quickly as possible after the auto accident can save you a lot of time, money, and stress in the future. Here’s what you should do to aid your attorney in defining your case:
One of the best things in the world is that we always have a camera with us. This means that immediately following the incident, so long as nobody is severely injured, you can begin photographing the scene. These pictures are invaluable, and in many cases, can be make-or-break to determining who is at-fault.
Gather Witness Statements
This one isn’t always easy, but if it’s possible, definitely make this a priority. Witnesses can come and go as they please, so it’s best to get their statements and contact information as quickly as possible. Whether you’re out on the highway at night or rolling through a crowded intersection, there’s a good chance that someone saw the incident, and can offer their insight into exactly what transpired.
Get a Copy of Medical Records
Were you sent to the hospital as a direct result of the crash? If that’s the case, you’ll want to request a copy of your medical records when you’re discharged. In some cases, it can take days for a hospital staff to actually get you copies of your records, which is why it’s best to tackle it early-on and be diligent. If you have to call them to remind them and ensure that you get those records, then do so.
These Steps Aid in Accident Reconstruction
Looking at photographs, reading statements, and going over the evidence of a hospital stay and the injuries sustained—these are all common practice to reconstruct the accident and take a good hard look at what happened. A case may use this evidence with the help of a professional accident reconstructionist to recreate the accident with digital animation for your attorney and possibly a jury to review.
A Jury Might Decide
If your crash goes to trial, every piece of evidence and information that you’ve gathered for the claim process will be brought into a Texas courtroom. When and if it reaches this stage, the jury will ultimately decide who is at fault based on various pieces of evidence, and the representation of your Texas car accident attorney.
To say that every attorney is equal in terms of education and adequacy would be false. Different states and counties have different laws, different branches of the law have different stipulations—attorneys are built for a specific field of law, and most will practice that for their entire career. What makes the best attorney when it comes to car accidents in the Houston area?
Immense Attention to Detail
One aspect of law—personal injury—doesn’t hinge on local laws all too much. Different states have different laws when it comes to automobiles and how insurance deems an accident, which can sometimes play into a case. In a car accident, every little detail is a major pivotal point. Personal injury comes with trauma, vehicle damage, and sometimes, there is more than one passenger in the vehicle. There’s a lot to consider.
A great attorney isn’t going to just say, “This is 100% in your court,” if they don’t mean it. A quality attorney will be completely transparent with you about their expectations, and their predictions. It’s more than just the skills to analyze a situation properly—it’s personal judgment, perceiving the case in a play-by-play show in their mind, and deliberating from that. Analytical skills are an absolute must, and you can know from the first conversation just how competent and ready-to-go your attorney is.
Logical problem solving is a key component, but there’s a problem with using solely logic to solve an issue: you hit the wall early. A top-notch attorney will also have the creative skills behind them to find alternative solutions around an issue, while presenting your case and representing you in the best possible way.
In a conversation, when someone is caught looking like a deer in the headlights, they have immediately admitted weakness both intellectually, and in terms of the solidity of their case. An attorney is always supposed to have an immediate response to every potential question that is hurled their way, because they’ve spent a lot of time in their own heads playing out these exact situations before.
When an attorney looks at your case, they’re not just reading a fact sheet or a statement from the police after the car accident. They’re playing over every single detail, how it can be used in your favor, and how, if at all, it can be used against you. An excellent attorney has already thought of the results of the case, and every fork in the road along the way to get you to where you need to be: receiving compensation for your injury.
The Best Car Accident Lawyer in Houston
When looking for the best possible results, you seek out the best attorney to get you to where you need to be. In Houston, car accidents happen every single day. Only a Houston native like Hilda Sibrian has seen these cases before, and will certainly see these cases again. For the best chance at the compensation you deserve, hire the best attorney in Houston. You’ll be glad you did.
Often times, terms can be confusing when they come with a whole mess of different definitions. You feel like you need a college textbook just to decipher all the gibberish. Defining a personal injury should be simple—you know when you’ve been injured, but the lines can get a bit gray. Take a look at what a personal injury really is.
In a Nutshell
When you’ve received psychological, emotional, or physical trauma due to an incident, you’ve become a victim of personal injury. One of the most common incidents are car accidents. When you’re not at fault, especially when you’re just sitting at a red light, waiting for it to turn, everything changes in a second. You didn’t see it coming and it put you into shock—psychological trauma. A loved one has become injured, or worse—emotional trauma. You have become a victim of physical harm to your body, whether it be whiplash or more serious injuries—physical trauma.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
These are legal issues that arise after someone has endured some form of trauma due to the negligence or acts of another. These can be filed through the court system, or personal settlements through informal means can be arranged from your personal injury attorney’s office to the office of the one at fault.
Your Personal Injury Matters
In any form of law, through what is called the “statute of limitations,” you only have a certain amount of time to file your claims before they’re deemed invalid. The longer you wait between a personal injury, and bringing it to the attention of a personal injury attorney, the less likely chance that it will be believable. Be proactive; realize that you have endured a personal injury, and act upon it.
Legal Obligations to the Public
A personal injury is not always out of negligence. Accidents do happen. When you are behind the wheel of a car, for example, you are responsible for every pedestrian, other vehicle, and piece of public property that you could potentially damage. You would expect the same from any other driver, and so it applies to everyone.
Even if you were on the other end of a personal injury situation, whether it was an accident or not, it can still be considered a personal injury. Utilizing a privilege, such as driving, comes with responsibilities. Consequently, other drivers have that same obligation to you. When an accident occurs, personal injuries arise, and they need to be addressed.
What To Do If You Have a Personal Injury
Don’t hesitate; contact your local personal injury attorney office. Keep documentation of the incident as best as you can. If you were required to be taken away by emergency services, the statements garnered from the police and eyewitness testimonies from the EMTs can also be deemed valid as material, should your case ever go to court. When you incur a personal injury, treat it as one—you’ve been wronged, one way or another. It’s time you get compensation.
Call the Houston offices of Hilda Sibrian, personal injury attorney, today at 713-863-1515.
The biggest thought after being in a car accident is, “Where do I go from here?” Many times, victims of a car accident take the wrong steps. You have to take the right steps going forward to ensure compensation, and to alleviate any psychological or emotional trauma that may have altered your way of life due to interrupting your source of income. So how should you proceed?
If you’re reading this before ever being in an accident, you’re arming yourself with knowledge, and that’s invaluable. The first thing you should do after a car accident, provided that you aren’t seriously injured, is take down every piece of information you can. Eyewitness names, phone numbers, information of the other driver(s), photographs of the scene, and anything else that appears important. You can never have too much information when trying to build your case.
If you’ve been seriously injured, emergency services will also have a record of what happened through police statements and medical forms.
Being Hit as a Pedestrian
There’s nothing more traumatizing than being the victim of a car incident when you weren’t even driving in the first place. The negligent acts of another driver have resulted in your personal injury—you’ve been seriously hurt. In most cases, being hit as a pedestrian or a cyclist involves dire injuries, requiring you be brought to the nearest hospital for medical attention and treatment. You won’t be able to take photographs, or take down eyewitness information. The ball isn’t out of your court yet.
In a case like this, you’ve been injured so severely that you weren’t able to consciously call 911 for yourself, and either an eyewitness or the driver of the vehicle will end up doing that for you. The driver has stayed around (as they always should) and this won’t go down as a crime. However, that doesn’t impede upon your right to full compensation. Your quality of life, income, and other aspects have been temporarily or permanently altered due to no fault of your own—don’t assume that accidents happen, and that it’s just an unfortunate part of life. You have been injured, and you are entitled to compensation.
Contact an Attorney
You must contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. This is going to show the immediate need for compensation and trauma relief to put this incident behind you, all without affecting your quality of life for longer than necessary. When you wait for an extended period of time before contacting an attorney, you’re injecting disbelief into the urgency of the case.
When you’re recovering from an accident, it can take a little while to wrap your head around everything that’s happened. Even so, you should still be certain not to hesitate too long, and contact your local Houston attorney to handle the situation as quickly as possible. Contact Hilda Sibrian to get the best attorney in Houston on your side without the wait.
Uber and other rideshare companies offer an affordable way to get home after a night on the town. Having such an easy, safe alternative to drunk driving reduces the risk of injury or death due to a drunk driving crash, and also eliminates the chances of getting an expensive and stressful DUI. Drunk driving statistics in some areas even directly attribute the decrease in DUI crashes to rideshare companies.
While we always recommend Houstonians take a taxi or use an Uber instead of driving after drinking, we also know Uber accidents do happen. For this reason, it is important to know how to react if you get in a car accident in an Uber. Taking the right steps after an accident ensures you can recover the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and other accident-related expenses later.
No matter if you are in an Uber or Lyft or in your own personal car, your priorities are the same after a car accident. Your health must always come first, so if you have obvious injuries you need to dial 911 to get first responders to the scene as soon as possible.
If you opted out of emergency medical care and transport at the scene, it pays to visit your nearest emergency department or make an appointment with your doctor for an exam as soon as possible. Not only will this exam rule out any internal injuries, it also offers documentation of your condition if seemingly minor injuries worsen later on.
Use your cell phone or a digital camera to take pictures of the scene from every angle. Pay careful attention to skid marks and other signs on the road. Document the damage to each vehicle as well.
Grab a pen and paper or your phone to jot down some information about any involved parties. This should include:
If you have time, you may want to make a few notes about exactly what happened immediately before, during, and after the crash. These details fade faster than you realize, and your notes could hold a clue to proving fault in the accident.
Once your health is stable and you have the information you need about the crash, it is time to report it to Uber. Select “Help” from the menu, and select the correct trip. Then select “I was in an accident.” This forwards you to the appropriate area of the app to file your report.
Unless you live in a no-fault car insurance state, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for your medical treatment and other damages after a car accident. This is why drivers must carry a certain amount of liability coverage to drive a vehicle. If another driver ran a red light and hit your Uber, that driver’s liability insurance would cover your accident-related expenses.
If your Uber driver caused the accident, you would rely on his/her policy for coverage. Because your driver had a passenger (you) in the car at the time of the collision, Uber’s $1 million liability policy should cover your injuries.
When comparing Uber and Lyft, their insurance policies are nearly identical. While they vary somewhat from state to state based on local laws, most offer $1 million in liability coverage any time a paying passenger is in the vehicle. For example, imagine your Uber driver failed to yield to oncoming traffic and caused a crash. Uber provides
$1 million in liability coverage to split between you, other passengers, and anyone injured in the other vehicle.
Aside from these general rules, many of the insurance questions you have about a car accident in an Uber are probably still up in the air. Ridesharing services are still in their infancy, and local and state laws are not yet in place in all areas. The best way to understand the law in your area is to contact a local car accident attorney who is familiar with Uber and Lyft accidents. Enlisting the help of a knowledgeable professional is the best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve after an accident.
Once you know who caused the crash, you can file an insurance claim to collect compensation for the injuries you suffered as a passenger in an Uber accident. You can contact the insurance company on your own, but we highly recommend letting an Uber accident lawyer handle your claim.
If you do choose to handle the claim on your own, it is paramount you understand how to calculate your damages. Do not sign an agreement or offer any recorded statements without first discussing your case with a lawyer. You could lose the right to collect just compensation for your injuries.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Hilda L. Sibrian have dedicated their careers to helping injured Houstonians recover the compensation they deserve. For help with your Uber accident claim, contact Hilda Sibrian today.