It’s Just A Fender-Bender, Do I Really Need To Call The Cops?

If you are in a multi-car accident on a busy highway, calling the police is a no-brainer. They can direct traffic and make sure nobody else slams into you. 

But what should you do after a less serious accident? Is it always necessary to call the cops? The answer is yes. 

Safety First 

Even if you are in a minor fender bender in the mall parking lot, it is important to report your accident to the police. The most important reason is for safety sake. You may not be on a busy highway, but the scene of your accident could still pose a hazard to other motorists. The police will secure the area, and if necessary, call in a hazmat team to clean up spilled liquids and broken glass. 

Being in an accident can also be so upsetting that you don’t realize you or another person involved has been injured. You may be distracted or in a state of shock and not realize an ambulance should be called. The police are trained to assess an accident and call in medical support if needed. 

Police Reports are Important Evidence 

It is also important to call the police so that an official, unbiased record of the accident will be created. This report is often the most valuable piece of evidence when it comes time to negotiate a settlement with your insurance company or file a lawsuit against the other driver.

Most police reports contain the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident.
  • Contact information and insurance information for all of the people involved in the accident.
  • The names and contact information of witnesses.
  • A summary of the statements provided by the parties and the witnesses.
  • Information about the scene of the accident – including the condition of the road, the weather, and the lighting in the area.
  • A description of the damage done to the vehicles involved in the accident.
  • Information about any tickets or warnings given out.

If you get lucky, the report will also include:

  • A diagram of the accident.
  • Pictures of the scene and the damage.
  • The officer’s opinion on who was at fault.

A police report is a key piece of evidence in every accident case, and if you don’t call the cops, you won’t get a report. 

Not Every Driver is Trustworthy 

If the other driver insists that you should not bother calling the police, you should be suspicious. 

What are they trying to hide? Are they drunk? Did they let their insurance expire? Are they hiding some sort of contraband in their trunk? 

Even if the other driver gives you all of their contact information and allows you to take a picture of their insurance card and license plates, you should still call the police and make a formal report.

It’s the Law

In Texas, as in many other states, reporting your accident to the government is required by law. The police will forward any accident report they write up to the state Department of Transportation so you don’t have to worry about doing any extra paperwork. 

If you don’t report your accident to the police, you are responsible for filling out a crash report form. Failure to do so could result in a license suspension or fine. 

Don’t risk your safety, your license, or losing out on the compensation you deserve. Report every car accident to the police, no matter how minor it may seem. 

Still Unsafe At Any Speed?

It’s been over half a century since Ralph Nader published his groundbreaking book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, but we are still living in a world where product defects cause a disturbing number of car accidents each year

Nader Blows the Whistle 

Although he is best known today as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2000, Ralph Nader built his reputation as a crusader for consumer rights. When he published Unsafe at Any Speed, which exposed the auto industry’s downright disdain for consumer safety it was like a thunderclap. 

Forty-nine states passed seatbelt laws. Congress created the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, the auto industry begins to take consumer safety more seriously because the public demanded it to do so.

We take it for granted that it is safe to get behind the wheel and hit the road, and Nader’s book is a big reason why. But perhaps we shouldn’t be so trusting. There are still many accidents each year caused by product defects. 

Not Quite Corvair Level, but Still Concerning  

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2018 National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), around 2% of all car accidents are attributable to problems with the vehicle. The NHTSA notes that this percentage might be too low because it only tracks problems that are visible on the outside of a car after a crash. There could be engine problems or instrument problems that are not getting captured in this data. 

At the Sherman Law Firm, we know product and design defects continue to cause car accidents because we represent clients who have been in accidents caused by the car they were driving

Our legal system allows drivers who have been injured in such an accident to hold the manufacturer or dealer responsible, just like they would hold a negligent or reckless driver who caused an accident responsible. 

Depending on the specifics of your case, we may file a lawsuit against the car manufacturer, the manufacturer of its parts, the party that assembled or installed the product, the wholesaler or retail establishment that sold you the car. We just have to be able to prove that:

  • Part of the vehicle was poorly designed, mistakenly manufactured and/or didn’t come with appropriate instructions or warnings.
  • You sustained serious injuries and/or financial losses due to the aforementioned defect.
  • You were using the vehicle as intended when you were injured.

This task is getting easier since cars continue to become more high-tech, with computers and sensors recording lots of information about what was going on in a car at the time of an accident. 

It Takes One Spark To Get A Fire Burning 

It is important to hold the auto industry responsible for each an every accident it causes. While one accident may be a fluke, multiple similar accidents can identify a serious defect that is liable to injury many people if it is not fixed. This is how the industry and the public learned about problems with Volvo’s steering mechanism, GM ignition switches, Takata Airbags, Chrysler Jeep fuel tank defects, several brands of SUVs with a propensity to roll over. 

If you were injured in a car accident, and you suspect your vehicle is to blame, it is your right and your responsibility to come forward, seek compensation, and shed some light on a potentially deadly defect. 

Shocking Traffic Accident Data Highlights A Serious Problem

The Texas Department of Transportation has released the traffic accident data it collected last year, and it is shocking. 249,241 people were injured in vehicle accidents in Texas in 2018. 14,908 of these injuries were classified as “serious.”

A crash occurred every 58 seconds. One person was injured every 2 minutes 7 seconds. Every 2 hours and 25 minutes, a human being lost their life traveling on our state’s roads. 

There were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2018. A total of 3,639 people lost their lives. Single vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes resulted in 1,289 deaths in 2018. This was 35.42% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2018.

940 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol. This is 26% of the total number of people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

701 people killed in crashes occurring in intersections or related to an intersection.

There were 548 people killed in head-on crashes.

398 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving. This is a 12% decrease from 2017.

Slightly more fatalities in traffic crashes occurred in rural areas of the state than in urban or suburban areas — 54.99%. There were 2,001 deaths in rural traffic crashes.

What we can learn from this data is that it is impossible to be completely safe on our state’s roadways, no matter how good of a driver you are. Accidents happen, and very few of them are single vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes. It is therefore important to know what to do if you are involved in a car crash. 

If you are in an accident, it is critical that you do three things: 

1) Contact the police. 

Even small accidents that you feel you should be able to handle on your own should be reported to the police. 

You will be understandably upset and may say or do something you regret without a neutral third party on the scene. You may actually be in shock and not realize you or another person involved in the accident needs emergency medical attention. The police are trained to help people stay calm, and can recognize when an ambulance or a hazmat team should be called to the scene of an accident. 

The police are also going to write up an accident report. Sometimes, this is the only evidence of fault available when insurance claims are filed. 

2) Seek medical attention. 

Maybe you don’t need to call an ambulance for a ride to the emergency room, but you should seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries, like soft tissue damage, can get worse and cause problems later even if they don’t seem serious in the day or so after the crash. 

3) Contact an attorney. 

Soon after your accident, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the insurance claims process and, if necessary, the legal system. 

Despite the claims they make in their tv commercials, insurance companies are not on your side. They exist to make money, and in order to make the most money, they are going to low-ball you when you file a claim on your policy. Working with an attorney will help you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s so you can hold your insurance provider to the terms it promised you.

If the accident involved multiple cars or was caused by poor road conditions, you may need to file a lawsuit to seek compensation from another person involved in the accident — or more likely, that person’s insurance company. 

If you have been injured in a car accident, and you want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve to put yourself back in the position you would have been in if the accident had never occurred, the Sherman Law Firm is ready to take your call

Mass Transit Can Cause Massive Accidents

If you admit that you are afraid of flying, and the person you are talking to does not share your fear, you can almost guarantee that they will gleefully try to convince you that you are wrong. 

They will, of course, remind you that flying is safer than driving in that condescending way that assumes your fear is logical. If you have been searching for years for a reasonable response that allows you to justify your fears, we’ve got you covered. Accidents involving planes — or other mass transit vehicles — may be rarer, but they are also more severe. 

Size Matters 

When a bus, train, or plane crashes, passengers are more likely to be injured than when a car crashes. There are more people involved, so the odds of injury increase, but that is not the only reason why. 

The size of buses, trains, and airplanes means they weigh much more than an average automobile. Thanks to the laws of physics, this means they are much more difficult to maneuver and slower to stop when a dangerous situation arises. 

Their size and speed can also make something that would cause minor damage to a car much more frightening. Just recently, a charter bus ran into a guardrail on I-59. Three people were taken to the hospital — and more probably should have been because you should always get a medical exam after an accident. The highway was closed, and the bus was smashed up so badly passengers had to crawl out a window because the door wouldn’t open. 

Seat Belts Optional 

Wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car has gone mainstream, but using safety restraints on mass transit is often uncomfortable or impossible. 

Most people on a plane would not buckle up if the flight attendants did not walk around forcing them to. Buses and trains are rarely equipped with seat belts or other safety restraints. If they are, there is certainly nobody going around making sure you have yours securely fastened.

This is another reason why mass transit accidents are more deadly than car accidents. 

Carriers Must Be Held Accountable 

When a mass transit accident occurs, the bus company, airline, or train operator who owns the line must be held accountable. However, this is easier said than done. Mass transit owners and operators often hide behind confusing corporate structures that make it difficult to determine who is responsible for what went wrong. 

They also employ enough lawyers and PR workers to fill up one of their oversized vehicles. They are experts at denying responsibility and spinning any story to make it seem like they are the good guys. 

However, the Sherman Law Firm is not afraid of a challenge. We know how to dive into financial statements and corporate records to find out who is actually in charge. We regularly comb through police reports and records of government inspections to find out what caused or contributed to the accident. And we are prepared to take our client’s case up to the highest courts in the land if that’s what it takes to get justice. 

Multi-Car Accidents Typically Mean Multiple People Are At Fault, So Who Pays?

You slam on the brakes, your tires skid, and you hear that sickening metallic crunch. Seconds later, you hear another crunch and are jolted forward. You are in the middle of a multi-car pile-up. 

Houston’s rush-hour traffic is the catalyst of many of these accidents, but it is the drivers involved who are held responsible. Under Texas’s modified comparative fault rules, where you are in the pile, and how soon after the first crash your part of the accident occurred often determine whether you can seek compensation for your injuries, or if you will be on the hook for the injuries suffered by others. 

Modified Comparative Fault 

Under Texas law, anyone involved in an accident can seek compensation for their injuries. However, any person who is more than 50% at fault for whatever caused the accident will not be able to recover. 

In these cases, a jury hears evidence and decides how much damage has been caused to each plaintiff — which means they add up all the medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. 

The jury then determines what percentage of fault to assign to each of the parties responsible for the accident and reduce each plaintiff’s damages by their fault. 

So, if someone is in a car accident, and they end up paying $50,000 in medical expense, lose $10,000 because they have to miss work, total their $30,000 car, and get awarded $10,000 in pain and suffering because the injuries suffered were particularly traumatic, they will have a $100,000 damages claim. But if the jury finds the plaintiff was 30% at fault because he or she was speeding, then the $100,000 will be reduced by 30% to $70,000.

If the plaintiff in the scenario above were found 55% at fault, he or she would not be able to recover anything from the other drivers involved because he or she was over 50% at fault. This fictional driver would probably be the person claims were being made against by other drivers. 

Calculating damages is pretty straightforward, but in a multi-vehicle accident, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. Below, we will go over two of the main factors considered when several cars have been involved in the same accident — where you are in the pile, and how soon after the first crash your accident happened. 

Where You Are Matters 

In a chain-reaction accident or a multi-car pile-up, it is often the first drivers that hit one another that are found most at fault. Maybe they were following too closely, or simply not paying attention when the cars in front of them slowed down. 

Other drivers involved in the accident may be held blameless if it would have been impossible for them to avoid the accident. Or they may be held a little bit at fault because they were speeding or following too closely, which made the accident worse than it would have otherwise been. 

Timing Is Everything 

How soon your car crashed into the others on the scene after the original accident occurred is also important. If you could have avoided the accident but crashed anyway, you will be deemed at fault for your injuries. Generally, the closer in time to the original crash, the less at fault you are. 

Don’t Hesitate To Act – Contact Our Houston Car Accident Attorney 

Multi-car accidents happen so quickly, they are often impossible to avoid. Your split-second reactions can make the difference between a minor scrape and a major crash. 

Your ability to react quickly after the accident matters as well. The sooner you secure experienced legal counsel, the easier it will be to make a claim that is backed up with sufficient evidence to prove your case. 

If you are looking for counsel, the Sherman Law Firm is here to help. Contact our Houston office today to schedule an initial consultation. 

Who Is Responsible When Road Debris Causes An Accident?

Earlier this summer, the City of Houston and the Texas Department of Transportation closed a key Spur 527 connection to Brazos Street just a few miles from our office. A bridge spanning Smith and Holman had deteriorated to the point that it was dangerous for vehicles to drive on it. Officials were also concerned that broken chunks of the bridge would fall on to the two streets below and cause accidents. 

Sobering Statistics 

No matter where it comes from, debris on the road is a serious problem. Even small amounts can cause serious car accidents. Researchers at the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated that road debris plays a part in around 50,000 crashes each year. Around 9,800 people in those accidents are injured, and 125 of them are killed. 

Where did that come from?

Getting into an accident caused by debris on the road is frustrating as well as dangerous because it is often difficult to determine who was at fault. 

Semi-trucks regularly drop tire treads, and hitting a piece can cause serious damage to your car. If you didn’t see the piece come off, you may never identify the trucker who lost it. 

Construction companies regularly lose tools and equipment that are not properly secured. Sometimes it is labeled and the owner can be tracked down, but often it is not. 

And we have all seen a couch or two on the side of the road that the owner was too embarrassed or scared to go back and pick up after it fell off of their car. 

If the person or company that littered the roadway can be identified, they can often be held responsible for the harm they caused because they acted negligently or violated a law or mandatory safety standard. 

When it is unclear how the debris got on the road, or who is to blame, we do the best we can to help our clients track down the responsible parties. But more often than not, the best thing we can do to help our clients get the compensation they need to heal their injuries and fix their cars is negotiated on their behalf with their insurance company. A lot of policies cover injuries and damages caused by road hazards. The key is gathering the relevant information and submitting a claim quickly and accurately, then advocating for the compensation you deserve. 

A Clear Culprit 

Sometimes bad roads or ongoing road construction are to blame for the condition of the highway. In those situations, we help our clients hold the relevant government entities accountable for the harm they have caused. 

In these situations, it is important to figure out exactly where the accident occurred so we can identify the roadway’s owner. Our highway system is a mishmash of roads owned and maintained by the state, by the county, by the city, and by individual property owners. Who is at fault can have a big impact on the ease of recovery. 

Don’t Suffer 

While the old saying “accidents happen” may help you feel better about what happened to you on the roadway, it should not discourage you from seeking compensation if you have been injured or your car has been damaged in an accident caused by road debris. Our team can help you get the money you need to treat your injuries or repair your vehicle. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. 

Deadly Design: Houston’s Highways Are More Dangerous Than They Need To Be

Accidents are called accidents because they don’t happen on purpose. But figuring out exactly who caused an accident is important in a fault-based state like Texas where the person who causes an accident is the one responsible for paying for it. But what happens when the thing that caused an accident is not a who but a what? 

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle that is part of an excellent in-depth series on traffic deaths in our area suggests that some accidents may be caused by the design and condition of our roadways. 

Houston, We Have A Problem

According to the Chronicle, which compiled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Houston metro area, which includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties, “leads the nation for fatal crashes involving drugs and alcohol… It’s No. 2 for fatal crashes, per capita, on federal highways… [It] ranks second for fatal wrecks that involve speeding and also trails only Dallas in crashes blamed on someone slamming into stopped congestion on the freeway.”

The data suggests it is not just our local drivers that cause accidents. Road design and maintenance play a role as well. As the article points out, “The tight curves of older freeway intersections such as Loop 610 and Interstate 69 northeast of downtown, for example, force motorists to lean on the brakes to avoid a barrier or railing. In the merge lanes along frontage roads parallel to Interstate 10, veteran drivers know that a speeding car could suddenly appear from any direction. Spots along Westheimer and FM 1960 have morphed into a string of shopping center entrances, crossed by streets pocked by potholes and sloppy asphalt patches that mimic motocross ramps.”

Issues like this make it incredibly dangerous to drive in our city. Even if you are obeying all the traffic laws, the roads themselves increase the risk of being in an accident. 

Holding Our Government Accountable 

If you were involved in an accident, and you think the design or maintenance of the road was partially or completely to blame, you should share your concerns with an experienced personal injury attorney. It may be possible to hold the municipality responsible for building and maintaining the road partially responsible for your accident. 

If the municipalities is found to have acted negligently or worse, they may be forced to compensate you for your injuries. You may be able to recover lost wages, get your medical bills paid, repair your car or purchase a new one, and get money to cover future medical expenses. 

You may also be able to get the government to agree to fix the problem that caused your accident. It can be particularly rewarding to know that what happened to you will not happen to someone else because you had the guts to stand up to the government and tell them what they are doing — or in many cases not doing — is wrong.

5 Steps To Take If You Are Injured On Vacation

Going on vacation is supposed to be relaxing and fun. But what happens when you get hurt or injured while you are away from home? Below are five things you should do if something bad happens while you are traveling. 

  1. Seek Medical Attention 

If you have been seriously injured, the first thing you should do is get to a doctor. If you are traveling in the United States, you should be able to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. If the injury is not life-threatening, you can find the nearest clinic by searching the internet or using a GPS mapping app on your phone. 

If you are traveling abroad, the State Department recommends contacting the local American embassy or consulate for assistance locating an appropriate caregiver or arranging transport back to the United States. 

Do not skip the trip to the doctor just because you cannot see “your” doctor. You may not realize how seriously you have been injured, or you may make your slight injuries worse by postponing care. 

When you return from your trip you can and should follow-up with your primary care physician. 

  1. Notify the Authorities

If you have been in a car accident, it is often against the law to leave the scene without contacting law enforcement. 

If you have suffered some other sort of personal injury in a store, hotel, restaurant, museum, or amusement park, let the manager on duty know about the incident. Many companies in the travel and entertainment industry have their own protocols for handling guest injuries. Give them your contact information, but don’t sign any waivers or other documents. And be sure to get their contact information to bring home with you. 

  1. Collect All the Information You Can

Building on the last point, don’t be shy about asking for the contact information of witnesses and other people involved in the accident. If you want to hold the party responsible for causing you harm accountable, you need to know who they are!

If possible, you should also take pictures and video of the place you were injured and the surrounding area. The camera on most cell phones works well for this, and allows you to gather crucial evidence before it gets cleaned up and forgotten. 

  1. Contact Your Insurance Provider

You may want to contact your insurance provider, just like you would do if you had been injured at home. Accept the help they can provide you to get home or just get back on the road. This is one of the reasons you have insurance, so you should take advantage of it. 

Be careful, however, about discussing fault or assigning blame when you are talking to someone who works for your insurance company. Admitting you were in the wrong could hurt your chances of having your policy cover your injuries. 

  1. Contact An Experienced Attorney

As soon as you get home, or even before then, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in your home area. There are a lot of complex rules about where lawsuits can be filed, and who can file them, and an experienced attorney can navigate that mess on your behalf. 

We recommend working with an attorney near your home rather than near the scene of the accident because that is going to be more convenient for you. Your local attorney can hire someone near the scene to work as a sort of subcontractor at a later date if necessary. 

If you are in the Houston area, the Sherman Law Firm should be your go-to group of advisers if you have been injured while traveling. We have assisted numerous clients who were in accidents while on the road, and we are ready to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

The Cost Of Crashing

At the end of an exceptional series of articles in the Houston Chronicle on our area’s dangerous roads, there is a piece on the rising costs of car accidents. The last article tells the story of young man named David Jacob Anzaldua while slipping in details about the staggering cumulative costs of car accidents.

Million Dollar Man

The article focuses on David Jacob (D.J.) Anzaldua. The 19-year-old has racked up over $1 million in medical expenses since falling asleep at the wheel and crashing his truck just a few months before the article was written.

A couple of helicopter rides to various hospitals cost $135,000. His caretakers bought a $41,000 van to take him home and transport him to various appointments. A couple of infections sent him back to the hospital, and that cost $24,722. Each week his caretakers pay private nurses between $450 and $600 to look after him when they are unable to do so, or need help with specific tasks. The costs keep adding up.

D.J. is not the only person in this situation. “Factoring all economic losses — deaths, years of recovery and treatment from serious injuries, insurance, property damage and police time — the National Center for Statistics and Analysis set the annual national cost of roadway crashes at $242 billion, or 1.6 percent of the nation’s 2015 GDP.”

As a firm that works almost exclusively on personal injury cases we have grown numb to these numbers. No matter the amount, we know that is what our clients need to recover, to heal, to keep living their lives.

Whatever It Takes

These numbers are why we do whatever it takes to get our clients the compensation they deserve. It is a task that is getting more and more challenging. As the article in the Chronicle notes, there has been an 86% increase in the cost of crashes since 2007.

It is our job to ensure that the insurance companies and the justice system recognize the rising cost of healthcare and provide adequate compensation. The money you may be eligible for after an accident is supposed to compensate you for your injuries and put you in the position you would have been in if the accident had never occurred. As healthcare costs increase, compensation must keep pace.

If you have been injured in an accident, and you are worried about paying all of your medical bills, you need to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to show your actual costs, and negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company or advocate on your behalf in the courtroom.

Having someone fighting for you, who you can lean on when the torrent of paperwork and bureaucratic hoops get to be too much is what you need so you can focus on healing.

I Wrecked My Friend’s Car. Now What?

Your friend did you a favor and let you borrow their car. And because no good deed goes unpunished, you wrecked the car. What happens next? Below is a timeline that covers that basic things that happen if you have been in a car accident while driving someone else’s car.

First Things First

If you are still at the scene of the accident, the first thing you need to do is call the police and file an accident report. The police report can provide important evidence that will be used to determine how the accident occured, who was at fault, and what damage was caused.

You should then notify your friend, and seek medical treatment. It’s up to you which call you want to make first. Your friend is going to have information about the car and his or her insurance policy that the police, and you, are going to need. But if you are seriously injured, you should seek treatment before worrying about gathering insurance information.

If you do seek medical treatment, be sure to follow the doctor’s advice so your injuries do not get worse than they already are. Go to follow-up appointments, and if the doctor recommends it, physical therapy. Avoiding the doctor, is not a good idea if you have been in an accident, even if you are worried about who will end up paying the bills.

Into The Insurance Quagmire

In most accidents, there are four different things to worry about — your own injuries, the injuries other people suffer, damage to the car you were driving, and damage to the other cars or property involved in the accident. This means you are going to be negotiating with your insurance company, your friend’s insurance company, and the other driver or drivers’ insurance companies, all at the same time.

Your injuries will be probably be covered by your own insurance, but may also be covered by your friend’s insurance and the other driver’s insurance. Damage to your friend’s car will be covered by your friend’s insurance and maybe the other driver’s insurance. The other driver’s injuries and car damage will be covered by their own insurance, and maybe your insurance and your friend’s insurance. It’s a tangled web of claims and cross claims.That’s where we come in.

It’s What We Do

One of the main things our firm does is negotiate with and sue insurance companies. There is a common misconception, which is perpetuated by insurance companies, that your insurance company will look after you if you are injured in a car accident. The truth is, the only person the insurance company is looking after is itself. It will fight tooth and nail to minimize the money it has to pay out to you, or on your behalf.

Our firm will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, no matter who was at fault. Depending on the circumstances, we many also be able to represent your friend, but usually we recommend that each person hire their own, separate attorney.

If you would like advice about what to do after you wrecked a friend’s car, or a friend wrecked your car, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Please contact our Houston-based office to schedule a free initial consultation.