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TX injury lawyerRecently a driver deliberately struck and injured two pedestrians outside the Well, a bar near I-10, off UTSA Boulevard. Witnesses described one woman being struck, after which her companion jumped on the hood of the car and was then thrown off. Instead of stopping to render aid as required by law, the car sped away, and as of this writing, San Antonio police are still seeking the driver. If you are injured due to being struck by a driver, you have the right to seek compensation from them, and in some cases, they may even be on the proverbial hook for criminal charges.

Texas Law Is Clear

Hit-and-run, called leaving the scene of an accident in Texas, carries serious penalties, and the law is unambiguous about them. Sec. 550.021 of the Texas Transportation Code states that anyone who is involved in an accident that results in (or might reasonably result in) injury or death must (1) immediately stop their vehicle; (2) return to the scene; (3) try to determine if someone else was involved and whether or not they require aid; and (4) render assistance such as giving your information and insurance, as well as potentially summoning help.

If you are involved in an accident where you believe there has been injury or death, you must comply with all four orders laid out in the relevant law. Failure to do so may open you up to civil liability, and in most cases, to criminal charges, especially if someone is killed or seriously injured. In the event of death or serious injury, leaving the scene of an accident is a second or third-degree felony, which carries prison time between 2 and 20 years, with a fine of up to $10,000.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerA serious crash on I-35 N on the night of April 28 has claimed the life of one person. An 18-year-old woman was pronounced dead at University Hospital after the Toyota Yaris she was in was struck from behind by a GMC Sierra, which then caused her car to crash into a Dodge Durango. The driver and other passenger in the Yaris remain at University Hospital in critical condition, though the occupants of the Sierra and Durango escaped injury. While the driver of the Sierra will not face charges as of this writing and did stop to render aid, it is still plausible that the family of the deceased may seek to bring a wrongful death suit against the driver of the Sierra to recover medical bills and funeral expenses.

Wrongful Death Law Is Specific in Texas

Texas’ wrongful death statute sets out very specific requirements and facts that must be met in order to be able to file a wrongful death suit. Perhaps most notably, it stipulates the family members who are permitted to file suit - spouses, parents, and children, both minor and adult. Other family, such as siblings, aunts or uncles, are deemed to have had too remote a family relationship, rightly or wrongly. It also states that certain conduct is excepted from the statute; most notably, the right of action for wrongful death does not apply to an unborn child except in the rarest circumstances.

There are two types of wrongful death suits, but only one may be brought by the family. A survival action is a type of wrongful death case, but in Texas, it refers to a cause of action that the deceased had mounted before their passing. For example, if the deceased person had been suing someone over a property dispute, that action would survive under the personal representative of that person’s estate. But only the personal representative has the authority to maintain such an action.

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TX injury lawyerA 40-year-old Pflugerville man was killed in a head-on collision on the night of May 1, after his Mazda continued north after drifting into the southbound lane of FM 685 and striking a southbound Jeep. The Jeep driver was taken to Seton Medical Center Williamson where he was said to be in stable condition, while the Mazda driver was pronounced dead at the scene. This type of outcome is depressingly common for head-on collisions, where the weight and velocity can lead to fatalities all too easily.

Statistics Show Grim Trends

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimate that while head-on collisions between cars are comparatively rare - only around 3.3 percent of all crashes are of this type - but roughly 10 percent of fatal crashes nationwide are of this type. This does make sense when one considers the sheer weights involved in most collisions, especially when the vehicles involved are not of similar size. Pedestrians and passengers in smaller cars tend to bear the brunt of the damage in such accidents.

Head-on collisions can also occur between a car and a fixed object, like a pole or a guardrail. It can be difficult to determine the number of these crashes which qualify as head-on because they are most often classified as single-vehicle crashes. However, the same injuries tend to recur in any accident where the front end meets another object - whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and broken bones are the most commonly seen.

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TX accident lawyerCommuters on westbound I-90 experienced a very unusual phenomenon on April 23; a road collapse resulting from a failed sewer pipe close to Hunt Lane. The main lanes were closed for three days. As of this writing, no injuries or deaths were reported in the collapse, but it is worth mentioning that had there been, those injured might have had a difficult time bringing suit to try and recover for their injuries. If you are injured in an accident resulting from poorly maintained or dangerous roads, there are very specific times when an injured person can sue a governmental entity.

Sovereign Immunity May Apply

Whenever the government is implicated in a personal injury lawsuit, a principle called sovereign immunity is implicated. Sovereign immunity is a principle dating back to English common law (on which U.S. law is based) that basically holds the government - or at that time, the sovereign - immune from being sued, because their attention should be on the enforcement of laws and running the government, rather than defending itself from every perceived grievance. As many other states do, Texas has its own sovereign immunity statute, called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA).

Sovereign immunity was absolute back in England - this is not the case in the U.S. nowadays, and definitely not in Texas. The TTCA has specific exceptions to sovereign immunity, meaning that it illustrates situations where the doctrine does not apply and an individual can bring suit against governmental entities - thus, for example, if someone were injured due to the sewer pipe’s collapse underneath I-90, they might sue the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for their injuries, if the specifics of the situation fit the TTCA’s criteria.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, a serious crash in the 6500 block of Padre Drive, in south San Antonio, claimed the life of a 15-year old girl and caused significant property damage to a home and yard. A Ford Fusion lost control after hitting a curb, crashing through a wooden fence, hitting a tree and bringing branches down on the home. The remarkable fact about this accident is that police identified the driver of the Fusion as a 14-year old girl, who is now facing charges of intoxication manslaughter. This episode raises questions about Texas’ parental liability statutes, as many people do not have any idea that they might be held liable for damage that their children cause.

Property Damage Only

Texas, like most other states, does have a parental liability statute which states that parents can be held liable for the conduct of their children. However, the important thing to keep in mind about Texas’ particular law is that it only applies to property damage. If your child causes property damage, you as a parent can be held liable for that damage if one of two conditions applies. The first is if your child between the ages of 10 and 18 can be shown to have acted willfully or maliciously. The second is if your child’s conduct can be “reasonably attributed” to your negligent parenting. The owners of the home whose fence and tree were damaged in the Padre Drive accident could plausibly sue the young driver’s parents under this statute over the damage to their home.

The language used in both conditions is important. The key words are “willfully or maliciously” - meaning that if your child accidentally causes property damage, you will not be held liable - and “reasonably attributed.” The concept of ‘reasonableness’ is a difficult one to establish in law because it is so subjective, but in general, if a reasonable person would attribute your child’s conduct to your failure to parent them properly, then it is a good sign that you may be held liable for the damage caused.

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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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