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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX crash attorneyOn a recent night, a woman exiting I-35 South onto Frio Street lost control of her car, causing it to flip over the side of the ramp and land in the grass below. Law enforcement stated that she was not wearing a seatbelt, and was thus ejected from the vehicle, sustaining severe injuries. Sadly this is all too common in rollover accidents, which are disproportionately responsible for car crash fatalities for a variety of reasons. If you survive one, and you believe that your crash was caused by another person’s negligence, it may be good to consult an attorney who is versed in this type of case.

The What and Why of Rollovers

Statistics done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) paint a grim picture. The NHTSA estimates that the fatalities from rollover crashes make up approximately 20 percent of all traffic deaths; in general, rollover accidents are more likely to cause fatalities than any other type of crash. Most rollover crash victims are male and under the age of 40, driving on two-lane roads without any dividing barriers.

There are several different reasons for the deadliness of rollover accidents; most notable is the sheer fact that a car’s worth of metal and glass rolling over, end over end, involves immense weight transfer, none of which is controlled. In addition, speeding drivers are infinitely more likely to roll over than those going the speed limit - it is not uncommon for rollover crashes to happen when a driver loses control due to speed and flips over a freeway ramp or guardrail, and when an accident occurs at that speed, fatalities are more likely.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, Round Rock police arrested a man who had been intentionally running into other vehicles with his car on I-35 S. The man had been deliberately causing accidents until he wrecked his car in a ditch between the highway and frontage road. Once his car was in the ditch, he barricaded himself inside, requiring a SWAT team’s intervention. Eventually, he was arrested on criminal charges, but the people whose automobiles were damaged can also file civil suits. Damage to your vehicle caused by another person gives rise to potential liability, even if a typical accident has not happened.

Many Different Types and Causes

Texas’ large population leads to a disproportionately large amount of car crashes each year, and a number of fatalities that are roughly proportional, with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reporting roughly 3,600 fatalities in 2018. Different factors affecting collision frequency can also be tracked via statistics - for example, in 2018, approximately 55 percent of all fatal crashes occurred on rural roads - which generally boast higher speed limits and fewer lanes, which can make the odds for a crash higher.

Different types of collisions can also lead to different injuries. While most of the accidents caused by the man in Round Rock were rear-end collisions, there are several ways that cars can collide with each other or with other fixed objects - front-end, sideswipe, broadside or T-bone, and rollover crashes all can lead to severe injuries and fatalities, especially if drivers and their passengers are not wearing seatbelts (as 43 percent of accident fatalities were not at the time of their crash).

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

b2ap3_thumbnail_bus-accident_20191014-233934_1.jpgThree people were hospitalized, with four more treated for injuries at the scene, after a van crashed into a VIA bus that had been turning onto northbound Highway 181 South, near Laguna Road. There were no life-threatening injuries, but the driver and some of the passengers in the van were transported to the nearest hospital as a precautionary measure. While this accident was clearly the fault of the van driver, bus accidents can go very differently, causing serious injury and even death. If you have been involved in an accident with a bus, and you have been injured, you may have a case against the driver or the bus company.

Same Causes, Different Effects

The number of fatal bus accidents nationwide have decreased steadily in recent years, with a 22-year low of 86 crashes. However, injury crashes have steadily risen by almost two-thirds between 2009 and 2017, leading to a high of 116,000. Busses are much larger than most automobiles, and between their weight and their larger driving radius, the potential for an accident is significantly higher than that of a lower vehicle, especially if the vehicle is in the hands of an untrained driver.

Many of the general causes of accidents involving buses are similar to the reasons for automobile or truck accidents. Speeding is one of the most commonly seen reasons, as well as poor maintenance on the bus (which can, in turn, lead to vehicle or part failures). Negligence on the part of the bus driver or the bus company can easily lead to a potential cause of action against the driver or their employer - transport companies have a duty to take reasonable care for their passengers’ safety and well-being, and an accident can imply that duty has been breached.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_car-crash_20191014-233900_1.jpgWhile traveling on Pecan Street in Pflugerville, a vehicle struck the protective barrier on the bridge over Highway 130, ejecting the driver out onto the lanes of 130 below. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicle appears to have been involved in the accident, but not all single-vehicle accidents are entirely the fault of the driver. If you have lost a loved one in a single-vehicle crash, you should be aware that not all single-vehicle crashes are solely the fault of the driver, and that in some circumstances you may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death.

Another Actor May Be Liable

In a standard accident involving multiple vehicles, the question of liability is either avoided (if neither driver brings suit), or it is apportioned between the drivers if a lawsuit happens. With a single-vehicle crash, it can be easy to simply assume that all the liability is on the driver when this is simply not always the case. There are multiple scenarios in which another person or entity might be held liable for a single-vehicle accident. Some examples include:

  • Dangerous road conditions, such as poorly marked potholes, broken lighting, or unmarked construction zones. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has a duty to manage the roads under their jurisdiction and to maintain them appropriately. If they fail to do so, they may be partly liable for your accident (assuming you can circumvent the Texas Tort Claims Act).
  • Mechanical failures or other potential product liability cases. If, for example, your brakes suddenly fail, you may have a cause of action against the manufacturer of the part, the manufacturer of the car, or anyone who has performed maintenance on the vehicle, depending on the specific situation.
  • The negligence of another driver who may have managed to avoid losing control over their vehicle. For example, a second driver may have swerved into your lane, causing you to lose control, but managed to drive away.

Proving Liability

While there are multiple situations in which you may not bear all of the blame for your single-vehicle accident, it can be quite difficult to prove this unless you have specific evidence. For example, in a case involving a mechanical failure, you need to establish not only that your vehicle malfunctioned, but that it malfunctioned in a way that directly caused the harm you suffered (with no superseding cause). An experienced attorney may have ways to try and establish the appropriate negligence criteria, but it can be very difficult to do on your own.

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TX injury lawyerAfter the legal battles in recent years over issues like background checks and employee classifications, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become regular parts of Austin life. However, there still remains quite a bit of misinformation floating around about them, especially about what can happen if you are unlucky enough to be in an accident in a rideshare car. The law surrounding these questions is not nearly as ambiguous as the average person might think, and if you are ever injured in an Uber or Lyft car, you have some fairly specific options to move forward.

Adjustments Required

Statistics regarding the impact of rideshare cars on traffic and fatality statistics are difficult to come by, given the relative novelty of the method of transportation. However, it is possible to examine traffic information and draw conclusions, especially about the number of non-fatal crashes. Texas, in particular, has seen a slight uptick in urban crashes in recent years, reaching 45.01 percent in 2018, and it is not unreasonable to see a potential link between the proliferation of Uber and Lyft and increased accidents, even if it cannot be borne out specifically.

Initially, ridesharing companies resisted putting down permanent roots in cities like Austin because of the insurance requirements and, eventually, the background check requirements instituted under state law. A compromise was worked out, and at this point, rideshare companies operate fairly freely in the city. However, it is critical for riders to know that they do not operate in the same manner as a taxi company or other hire-car service, and react accordingly if they are in an accident. Knowing your rights is never a bad idea.

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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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