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The Worst Holidays for Drinking and Driving Accidents

October 24th, 2016 by admin

windshields-150x150Holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and family gatherings. Unfortunately, these occasions are also associated with a higher-than-average number of drunk driving incidents and accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has instituted an annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to alert drivers to the risks of drunk and impaired driving. For those who have been injured or who have lost a loved one due to a drunk driving incident, filing a Houston auto accident lawsuit with experienced Houston car crash attorneys can provide closure and can hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Identifying the Most Dangerous Holidays

Independence Day is statistically the most dangerous holiday for traffic accidents. A 2010 study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that an average of 148 people lost their lives each Fourth of July from 2004 to 2008. New Year’s Eve, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Labor Day weekends are also high-risk holidays for drivers across the country. Taking special care on these holidays can ensure greater safety on the road.

Staying Safer on the Road

Especially during the holidays, staying safe on the road can be a challenging task. Here are some key strategies for ensuring that you and your family enjoy a happier holiday season:

  • Always designate a sober driver for get-togethers and family gatherings. Even if you have had only one drink, you could be putting yourself and your passengers at risk on the road. If a designated driver is not available, using Uber or taking a taxi home are viable alternatives that can keep you and your loved ones safer.
  • Be alert for drivers who are exhibiting erratic behavior. Weaving, unexpected stops and starts and unannounced lane changes can be signs of drug or alcohol use. Avoid driving too close to these individuals.
  • Distracted driving can be almost as dangerous as drunk driving. Stay off the cell phone and avoid other distractions behind the wheel.
  • Buckle up every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Seat belts save lives and are legally required in nearly every state in the U.S.
  • Try to plan your drive during non-peak daylight hours. Driving at night or in heavy traffic can present greater risks for you and your family.
  • If an accident does occur, consulting with qualified Houston car crash attorneys can help you manage the aftermath of these automotive mishaps.

By remaining alert to hazards and dangerous drivers, you can more effectively protect yourself and your loved ones from serious accidents and injuries when driving on holidays.

A little extra care can protect you against accidents caused by drunk drivers on U.S. streets and roadways. If you are involved in an accident involving the use of alcohol, seeking the help of professional Houston auto accidents lawyers can help you deal with these issues more effectively in and out of court.

Any Auto Accident Claim Can Be Disputed

October 17th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston auto accident attorneys at DeSimone Law Office have had several cases in recent years where clients that had been involved in a rear end collision had their claims denied by the negligent party’s insurance company.  The denial of responsibility was by the negligent party’s insurance company even though their insured had struck our clients from behind.   The reasons for denying these claims which were accidents that happened here in Houston, Texas were varied but were not reasonable excuses for their policy holder’s negligence.  One excuse was that our client had stopped suddenly and their insured did everything they could reasonably do to stop but still struck our client.  The argument was that since their insured had acted reasonably, their insured was not liable. Are you kidding me?  Sudden stops are a fact of life when driving in Houston. Children or dogs run in front of cars all the time.   People slow down all of a sudden to make a turn they thought they were going to miss.  When an individual is driving a car it his responsibility to  not hit the person in front of him regardless of the reason for the sudden stop.   Remember the rule we were taught in driver’s education class?  Stay one car length away from the car in front of you for every ten miles per hour in speed you are travelling.  Today’s insurance companies think their insureds don’t have to follow that rule any more. In their never ending attempt to not pay injured parties the insurance companies will lower themselves to the aforementioned arguments and other arguments to wrongly deny injured parties’ traffic accident claims.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a rear end collision, don’t assume  that an insurance company is going to treat you fairly. All auto  claims have become battle grounds for most insurance companies to deny  legitimate claims.  If you have recently been involved in a Houston car crash, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office. We will force the insurance company to pay all of your damages including your medical bills, lost time from work, automobile damages and rental car charges.

How Auto Insurance Companies Determine a Total Loss

October 10th, 2016 by admin

auto-insuranceThe United States is a car nation. Almost every driver owns a car or truck. We depend on them to get us to our jobs and elsewhere. We love our cars. We name them and can be very sentimental about them. However, insurance companies are not emotional. If you are involved in a crash, sentiment will not play a part in a Houston auto accident compensation settlement. The amount you are offered might not be enough to replace your car if the insurer considers it to be a total loss.

Houston auto accident settlements are based on the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. If the cost to repair it is more than the car’s value, the insurer is likely to call it totaled. This is especially true if the car is an older model. Body work can be very expensive, which is why insurance companies deem a car totaled even if it could be repaired. A serious accident could require a new hood, grill, fender, bumper and other parts. Even after a minor crash, it can cost quite a bit to restore a newer car to its former condition. Some insurers consider a car totaled at a threshold percentage of the ACV, such as 75 percent.

Your insurance company will have a claims adjuster examine your car, but some damage is hard to detect until the chassis is inspected. You might need to get a repair estimate from a shop that the insurer trusts and has worked with previously.

If your insurance company decides to cover the repairs, they will only pay to fix the damage caused by the accident. Any pre-accident damage will remain as it was before the wreck.

To establish their settlement offer, your insurer will check a resource like the Kelley Blue Book, which factors in the make, model, trim package, age, condition and mileage to determine the vehicle’s fair market value. If it was already dented or damaged, the ACV will be decreased. In the event that you receive a full “totaled” settlement, you must turn the vehicle over to the insurer, and it will be sold in its current condition at an auto auction.

There is no cut-and-dried rule. Each case is unique, and insurance companies have been known to make surprising decisions regarding totaled vehicles. In some cases, Houston car crash attorneys can successfully argue that the vehicle is not a total loss and is worth repairing. Then, the insurer could be required to pay for the repairs.

One Out of Five Drivers On Texas Roads Are Uninsured

October 10th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Accident Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office recently wrote a series of blogs urging our clients and readers of this blog to obtain the appropriate coverages for their motor vehicles to protect themselves in the event of a traffic accident with an uninsured driver that results in property and personal injury damages. We went through the various coverages that one needs to have on his vehicle in order to be fully protected.  We discussed that there is no such thing as full coverage on any auto policy, just specific coverages you can choose in order to try and be fully covered for any car accident. For example, the most frequent circumstance we see happening is that some consumers buy collision coverage on their car and are told by an insurance agent that they are fully covered.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While collision coverage will take care of property damages to a car, if that is the only coverage you purchase, and you have a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will have no coverage for a rental car, medical bills, lost time from work , or other elements of a personal injury claim such as pain and suffering.

The reason we bring all this to your attention is that a recent article in the Dallas Morning News states that more than one in five Texas Motorists lack the insurance required by law despite a recent program by the state of Texas to sharply reduce the number of uninsured drivers. Think about it the next time you get on a Houston freeway.  One out of every five cars that zoom by you, making unsafe lane changes, having drivers on cell phones, or just not following the traffic laws in general, do not have automobile insurance.

If you have been involved in an accident wth an uninsured driver, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  We will make sure you obtain the monies to which you are entitled.

The Insurance Company Will Not Pay As You Go

October 3rd, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office have been discussing insurance company tactics implemented by automobile insurance companies whose drivers have been at fault in accidents.  The first two things potential auto accident clients want to know are who is going to pay for my medical bills and my car is not drivable and how am I going to get around.  An initial call to an insurance company by an unrepresented client is likely to be met by the response that the insurance company is investigating the insurance claim and after they have finished their investigation they will then be able to get to the matter of compensating the traffic accident victim.  After several days if things go smoothly the insurance company may actually admit that their insured driver is at fault for the car accident.  The unrepresented claimant is excited and asks about a rental car and payment of his hospital bills and future medical expenses as he or she has been without transportation for several days, has collection notices coming in the mail and is in much pain and unable to pay for any medical treatment out of pocket.  The insurance company response will be as to the rental car go ahead and rent one and we will reimburse you 25 dollars a day.  The injured claimant thinks to himself he does not have the funds to rent a car and on top of that what kind of car can be had for 25 dollars per day.  The insurance company says with regards to the pending medical bills that those will be paid when the case is settled. In other words give up your right to future medical treatment in exchange for us paying the bills we owe today.  With regards to future medical bills they state they will reimburse the injured party when the case settles. In other words pay for thousands of dollars of medical bills out of pocket and we will see about paying them in the future.  The injured claimant thinks I did not cause this accident and now it looks like the insurance company can get away without paying for my property damage, my past medical bills or my future medical bills. How in the world am I, and injured claimant living from paycheck to paycheck going topay these expenses and wait for reimbursement at some undefined time in the future? They think this is not fair and they are right. These tactics by the insurance company are meant to discourage collection of claims.  What should a claimant in that situation do?

Call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  If you have been in an accident, need transportation, need your pending medical bills handled and treatment for your current injuries, they will make sure that you are provided these costs an no up front costs to you. You will get the medical treatment you need and not have to pay out of pocket.

Pre-Existing Injuries: Navigating Your Texas Auto Accident Claim or Lawsuit

September 21st, 2016 by admin

HelecopterOne of the most common tactics used by insurance companies to avoid paying out claims is to assert that the injuries sustained by their policyholders are attributable to pre-existing conditions and not to the accident in question. If you are seeking Houston auto accident compensation from one of these companies, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in negotiations with insurance adjusters and to pursue your case in court if it becomes necessary.

Why Pre-Existing Injuries Matter

Under Texas state law, accident victims must first prove that the defendant is responsible for the injuries and losses sustained during the accident. This generally involves three basic principles:

  • The defendant must have had a duty toward the victim to drive in accordance with traffic laws or to exercise a certain degree of care in his or her actions.
  • The defendant must have failed in that duty by behaving in a negligent or careless fashion.
  • Their lack of care must have been the direct cause of the injuries sustained by the victim.

If the insurance adjusters can avoid paying for your Houston auto accident claim by asserting that you were already injured prior to your traffic accident, they can save large sums of money for their companies. It is in the best interests of these company representatives to pay as little compensation as possible for your injuries and losses. By claiming that you were injured prior to the crash, insurance adjusters may be able to reduce the amount their company owes you in settlement funds or compensation.

The Eggshell Principle

One factor that may weigh in your favor during your Houston auto accident lawsuit is the “thin skull” rule. This oddly named legal principle states essentially that plaintiffs cannot be penalized for being injured or in a weakened state prior to the accident. If the forces at play in the automobile accident aggravated injuries already sustained by the plaintiff or caused complications related to those injuries, the defendant is still responsible for the increase in injuries and the medical expenses incurred because of his or her actions.

Full Disclosure Is Required

If you decide to pursue legal action to recover medical expenses and damages from the other drive, you will be required to disclose your medical records to your own attorney and to the opposing legal team. Old football injuries, previous accidents, broken bones and other medical issues may be used as evidence that your current injuries are the result of pre-existing conditions and not directly caused by the accident. Retaining the services of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can even the playing field for your compensation claim and can prevent insurance adjusters from succeeding in these unfair negotiation tactics.

Evidence Is the Key to Success

By collecting ample evidence that the accident was responsible for your injuries, your legal team can ensure the most positive outcome for your insurance negotiations or courtroom proceedings. Toward that end, you may be asked to consult with medical professionals and to discuss your case with expert witnesses who can testify regarding the likely cause of your injuries and the extent to which the accident caused or exacerbated these medical issues. Your attorneys will work with you to ensure that you receive the largest settlement possible for your accident claims.

By retaining the services of a Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can enjoy greater peace of mind during the aftermath of a serious traffic accident in Houston.

There Is No Such Thing As Full Coverage Auto Insurance

September 19th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

Last week the Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office showed that many drivers in The Houston area are uninsured and how it is virtually impossible to recover any monies from an uninsured driver who causes a car or truck accident.  The solution to this problem is to have the coverages in place on your car that will take care of your injuries, your property damage, any rental car charges and any other damages associated with a car accident  with an uninsured driver.  Many potential clients of the DeSimone Law Office think they are covered for these items when in fact they are not. They go to an insurance agent and ask for full coverage and are sold a policy that they think will cover the aforementioned items when in fact all they have purchased is coverage to take car of their car no matter what and not their rental or personal injuries.  Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage is considered full coverage by some agents.  These coverages will take care of your automobile damages if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver but nothing else.  Many clients call me after having a car accident with an uninsured driver and want to pursue an injury claim because they purchased full coverage. They think they have purchased the coverages necessary to pursue a personal injury claim when in fact all they purchased was the coverage to take care of their car in the event of havng an accident with an uninsured driver. As a matter of fact most of them are not only surprised to have no medical coverage but that they don’t even have something as basic as rental car coverage.  There is in fact no full coverage in Texas, only parts of an insurance policy that cover an insured driver for different outcomes of an accident.  Never ask an insurance agent for full coverage because you are not likely to get the coverage you want and need. Next week we will cover what coverages you need to ask for when attempting to cover yourself for any outcome of an accident with an uninsured driver.

If you have had an accident with an uninsured driver, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office right away.  We will be able to assist you with all of your injury and property claims and make sure you get the money

Guidelines for Victims of Hit and Run Traffic Accidents

September 9th, 2016 by admin

auto-insuranceWhen motorists are involved in an accident in Texas, the drivers are legally required to stop and exchange contact information and insurance data. Sometimes, a driver will not be so cooperative and will flee the scene. This can be for a number of reasons. None of them are beneficial to you. Other parties may leave the scene of a collision because they are uninsured. They could have bench warrants and fear being arrested, or they might be driving with a revoked or suspended license. Other times, they are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs. Hit-and-run accidents can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It depends on how extensive the damage is and if there are any injuries or deaths. There are laws to protect you and experienced Houston vehicle accident lawyers can protect your legal rights.

Immediately after the accident, there are a few things you should do to help yourself. If possible, try to get the license number of the vehicle that fled. It would also be advantageous to use your cell phone to take a photo of their vehicle’s damage, so a team of Houston car wreck attorneys can match that damage to yours. Then, call the police to report the incident. Give them the other driver’s license number if you were able to get it. The next thing you should do is complete an accident report with your insurance company by phone or online.

It is important to get written statements, including the names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses. These statements will confirm the Houston car accident and can make a big difference if the case goes to trial. This step is frequently overlooked during the confusion after a motor vehicle wreck, especially if there are injuries involved. Take several photos of the scene of the accident, including skid marks and sight lines. Record your version of the wreck in writing or on a cell phone. Document all of your contact with the police. Take notes of what they have to say regarding who was at fault. Their words may prove to be very valuable later.

Be sure you have your registration and proof of insurance to show the authorities. They will want to see this information so that they can properly report the incident.

Just as there are things that you should do after a hit-and-run accident, there are things that you absolutely should never do. Do not chase the other driver. Remain at the scene of the wreck. You will not make the situation any better if you leave the scene too. Pull your car to the side of the road so that you do not block traffic while you are waiting for the police to arrive. If you cannot move your vehicle, do not wait in it if it is in a lane of traffic. Find a nice, safe seat off the roadway, and try to calm yourself.

Hopefully, you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance company. This is very important in a hit-and-run case. It may prevent you from having to cover the cost of repairing your car or the cost of visiting the emergency room. You can adjust the limits of both types of coverage so that you are protected in such a situation. Some drivers carry the lowest liability coverage that is allowed by law. If the accident caused an injury to you or one or more of your passengers, that minimum will probably be exceeded. In that case, your uninsured coverage limits can be supplemented by your underinsured coverage.

Protect yourself in the event of a hit-and run accident by knowing what to do and what to refrain from doing. When deciding on a Houston attorney, look for one with experience and a staff of investigators who will find the culprit and gather evidence so that you can win a civil suit and be compensated for the damage to your vehicle and any health care costs incurred by you or your passengers.

What Happens If the Other Party Does Not Have Insurance?

September 6th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office get many calls from potential clients who have been in a traffic accident with another driver who does not have insurance.  Unfortunately in hard economic times many people who are struggling to pay for food with rapidly increasing food prices will have to forgo paying for something else which is often times their liability insurance.  Clients will ask what they can to do to the uninsured driver to pay for their property damages  and personal injuries.  Unfortunately the answer is nothing that will net anything in the way of a significant amount of money.  The thing is that if someone can’t afford car insurance then they probably are judgment proof, meaning that if you obtain a judgment against them it won’t be collectible.  In Texas a person’s homestead on one acre of property not matter how valuable the property is protected from a judgment.  Also certain pieces of personal property such as cars and furniture are protected from judgment.  Getting a judgment against someone is not easy either. First a lawsuit has to be filed and filing fees paid. Then you have to serve the lawsuit and wait for the other party to file an answer to the suit before getting a hearing before a judge.  This process will take a minimum of several months.  Now you have a judgment that is probably uncollectible. You can do an asset search of the uninsured party on your own which would be time consuming or pay a private investigator a 1000 dollars to do an asset search. One thing you can do is send the judgment to the Texas Department of Public Safety which will suspend the unisnured driver’s Texas driver’s license for ten years or until the judgment is paid. By this time of course you have probably experienced hardship in getting around in a damaged vehicle and have suffered considerable pain with no way to pay for medical treatment.  What is the solution to this problem? The solution is making sure you have coverages on your car that will make you whole if you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver.  Of course you have to be on your guard when calling your insurance agent and asking for “full coverage” as that can mean diferent things to different people.  We will cover that next week.

In the meantime if you have any questions regarding insurance coverages or have been in an accident with an unisured motorist, contact the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office immediately. We will be more than happy to advise you on what coverages to purchase or assist you with any uninsured motorist claim.

Get Other Driver To Admit To Fault In Writing

August 31st, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office receive many calls that go as follows. The injured party calls to say that they had a car accident with a negligent party and the negligent party admitted fault at the scene.  Since the at fault driver admitted fault at the scene of the accident the injured caller did not bother to call the police.  Later on when the injured caller to us called the at fault driver’s insurance company to recover for his property and personal injury damages the insurance company informed the injured caller that they would not pay since their insured (the at fault driver) is not admitting fault. The injured caller has no evidence to disprove the at fault driver’s lie to his insurance company, and thus the injured party’s chances of recovery fron the traffic accident are not very good. What can be done to prevent this situation? First if you have been in an accident, insist on calling the police to get a record of the accident and an admission of fault by the other driver to the police officer. This statement can later be used to impeach a lying at fault driver. If the at fault driver does not want to call the police, tell them they need to write out an admission of fault which can also be used later to impeach an at fault driver. Make sure to get the names address and phone numbers of any witnesses whose testimony can be used later to impeach any lying at fault driver’s statement. Also take pictures of the position of the vehicles immediately after an accident. Said pictures sometimes can also be used to impeach a lying at fault driver’s statement.

If you have been in an accident, are injured and confused about how to proceed, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  We have been handling auto accident cases for over 20 years and will make sure you obtain all of the compensation to which you are entitled.

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