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Posted on in Personal Injury

TX car accident attorneyRecently, a man was struck by a car on Rundberg Road, in north Austin, but the vehicle that struck him failed to stop and administer aid. The man was taken to a nearby hospital, while he was pronounced deceased on arrival. While no other details were released at the time about either the deceased man or the vehicle that struck him, it is important to understand that the victim (or the family of the victim) in a hit-and-run accident has options to try and seek compensation for what they have gone through. Enlisting an attorney to help with that is also a good idea.

High Frequency, High Stakes

Texas has one of the higher hit-and-run accident totals in the country, partly because of its sheer population, but partly for other reasons. For example, Texas is one of the states that permits speed limits of up to 85 mph in certain areas, which in turn can breed recklessness, especially when alcohol is involved. In addition, the majority of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians, and Texas boasts a large pedestrian population, between its cities and the rural areas in which public transport is infrequent or inefficient.

It is important to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Texas - the Transport Code specifically states that leaving the scene of an accident where serious bodily injury or death results, without stopping to render aid, is a felony, with lesser injuries being punishable by between 1 and 5 years in jail. If the person who struck you is caught, they will very often (though not always) be charged with a crime - but you will still be able to file a civil lawsuit against them as well. The Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy only applies to two criminal proceedings - a civil proceeding is a different animal and can proceed.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX car accident lawyerRecently, two vans crashed near the intersection of SW Military Highway and I-35, after an alleged drunk driver crashed his Mazda transport van into a Dodge minivan carrying five people after driving the wrong way down the highway. Two adults, including the alleged drunk driver, and a three-year-old child were taken to University Hospital, with the adults in “serious” condition and the child receiving “minor injuries.” Law enforcement states that the Mazda driver will almost certainly be charged with intoxication assault, and in addition to the criminal charges, the family of the adult and child could easily file suit against the drunk driver for the injuries that their loved ones have suffered.

Elevated Dangers

The driver of the Mazda was allegedly driving while intoxicated, sending his vehicle down the wrong side of SW Military Highway before it struck the Dodge minivan. This tracks with nationwide statistics about wrong-way drivers - the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)’s analysis of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that approximately 60 percent of all those wrong-way drivers had at least some alcohol in their systems at the time of their accidents. In addition, the majority of wrong-way drivers also tend to be male (though women are represented to a degree in statistics) and on the younger side.

Wrong-way accidents are among the most dangerous, making up a disproportionately high fatality rate (between 12 and 27 percent higher than other types of crashes, depending on the studies one reads). Between the sheer force of what is often a head-on collision, plus the fact that alcohol is frequently involved, fatalities are far more common than one might expect, and even if someone survives a wrong-way crash, their injuries can be extensive. Your bills, or the bills for an injured loved one, can seriously affect your family’s livelihood, and it is important to know that you have options to try and seek compensation.

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TX crash lawyerRecently, a multiple-vehicle rollover accident occurred in the 6200 block of Loyola Lane, in East Austin. One adult was ejected from their vehicle, and was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with injuries “thought not to be life-threatening.” Another adult, as well as three young children, were taken to hospitals as well, though their injuries appeared to be less serious. Law enforcement originally thought that a third vehicle had left the scene, but later revised that assumption. If you are injured in this potentially deadly type of accident, the harm you suffered is likely extensive. If you believe that someone else was responsible for your injuries, you may be able to bring suit against that person and seek compensation for their negligence.

Causes and Effects

Rollover crashes are some of the most deadly, making up a disproportionate percentage of road accident deaths in most years. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that deaths in rollover accidents make up as many as 30 percent of the total, while the number of overall accidents only registers around two percent. There are many reasons for this increased lethality, though a major reason is that rollover crashes tend to be extremely sudden and violent events, which gives passengers little time to react, especially if they are not wearing seatbelts, which many are not.

Causes of rollover crashes are many, though multi-vehicle rollovers tend to be rarer than single-vehicle accidents. Rollover accidents disproportionately occur at night, on rural roads, at high speed, and very often alcohol is involved. While the Loyola Lake accident did occur in the wee hours of the morning, law enforcement did not report any alcohol usage or high speed. It is possible that these factors were apparent and just not reported, but there may also have been other reasons that one or both vehicles lost control.

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TX injury lawyerA gas station near the corner of Pleasanton Road and East Vestal Place was the site of a hit-and-run accident on a recent night after a man ran from an argument he had been having with four other individuals. The four all got into one car, appearing to hunt down the man and strike him near a fast-food restaurant. He was transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in “serious” condition. While these suspects appear to have had intent to commit a crime, even a suspect who has not acted with malice or recklessness may still be on the proverbial hook for your injuries. Pedestrian accidents are far too common in Texas, and even if no crime is determined to have been committed, you may be able to file a civil suit for monetary compensation.

Rights and Responsibilities

Texas registered 621 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, which was approximately a one percent increase from 2017. The statistics can also track other trends: for example, that the majority of pedestrian-involved accidents, such as the one involving the man at the fast-food restaurant, happened at night when visibility is lowest and alcohol consumption is highest. There are several reasons why these accidents and fatalities happen in Texas; distracted driving and speeding are near the top of the list, especially when combined with Texas’ higher speed limits in many counties.

If you are out walking or otherwise minding your own business, and you are struck by a vehicle, the potential liability for the driver can be quite serious. Pedestrians do have responsibilities when out using the road, such as crossing only at crosswalks and obeying traffic lights, but even if the defendant argues that you failed in upholding these responsibilities, the odds are in your favor in terms of being able to obtain monetary compensation. Florida honors a doctrine called comparative fault, meaning that even if you are ruled to be partially responsible for your own injuries, you should still be able to recover.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, law enforcement was called to an accident on IH-35, near Posey Road in San Marcos, where a Nissan 370Z had overturned after racing another vehicle, ejecting its passenger almost 70 feet through the air. While the driver suffered minor injuries, the passenger remains, as of this writing, in a hospital in Kyle in critical condition. The driver was charged with the crime of “suspicion of racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury” - a second-degree felony - but if you have been injured due to another driver’s similarly negligent behavior, you have the right to seek compensation.

No Double Jeopardy

Texas law defines ‘street racing’ as any kind of speed contest or race, and any kind of drag race or other competition involving speed is illegal on all public roads, regardless of how abandoned they are or how high the speed limit may be. As one can imagine, this kind of behavior is most common among younger drivers - both the driver and the passenger in the Posey Road accident were around the age of 20 - but older people do engage in it as well. Street racing was formerly just a traffic violation, but in 2003 laws were passed elevating it to a misdemeanor (Class B), carrying a one-year license suspension, as well as assorted fines and up to 180 days in jail.

People who are arrested for street racing may also face other charges such as reckless driving or speeding, but in addition to the criminal charges, they may face civil lawsuits from the people they allegedly injure with their negligent behavior. It can be easy to assume that since someone is being charged criminally, you are barred from filing a civil lawsuit because of the Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy (essentially, being tried twice for the same crime). This is not actually the case - double jeopardy only attaches if someone is tried twice in the same court system for the exact same crime. Being tried once criminally and once civilly is permissible because two different parties are thought to have been wronged (the state and the individual).

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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