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TC accident lawyerAn unusual accident took place on a recent night, where a driver experienced a medical episode and crashed his car into the side of a house. The crash occurred in the 3200 block of East Southcross Street, causing relatively minor damage to the house. No one was hurt, but it is very easy for accidents of this type to cause major injury or death, as well as extensive damage to whatever building is struck. However, proving liability can be difficult, and enlisting an attorney to help with your case is highly recommended.

Negligence 101

Normally, when a driver crashes into a home, and there is damage or injury, the homeowner can bring a civil suit against the driver under a theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory in Texas under which a plaintiff is trying to establish three things in court. They are (1) that a defendant acted in a way that did not show reasonable care for other people; (2) that the defendant’s conduct directly caused the harm to the plaintiff; and (3) the plaintiff did actually suffer tangible harm, as opposed to just a fright or mere cuts and bruises.

In Texas, motorists on the road have a duty of care toward other motorists on the road, and while the law does not explicitly state this, it can be inferred that a driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward people off the road as well - certainly, one might infer a duty to not crash into a house while driving! Either way, this type of case can often be straightforward - for example, if a driver is under the influence of alcohol - but in some rare situations, they can get much more complex. The existence of a duty has to be proven before you can sue.

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TXnjury lawyerTragedy struck in the early hours one morning when a one-year-old was with his family in the front yard of his home on Norfleet Street and ran into the road. A dark-colored car struck the boy, and the driver continued on, not stopping to render aid as is required by Texas law. While there appear to be some issues in this particular case involving why the young child was in the yard in the first place, the fact remains that the driver of the car is guilty of a serious offense. Hit-and-run drivers can face serious lawsuits or even, in some cases, prison time.

Victims Deserve Justice

Texas has a vested interest in ensuring that its citizens and their loved ones are able to receive justice if they are injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence. As such, Texas law treats hit-and-run accidents as serious wrongdoing, because failing to stop and render aid has the potential to deny the victim any justice or closure. Without being able to hold someone responsible, a hit-and-run victim may not be able to get their needs met or might otherwise suffer financial harm through no fault of their own.

The Texas Transportation Code states that if you are involved in an accident that results in or is “reasonably likely” to result in death or injury to a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so and to return to the scene of the accident. You must remain there until you have given all your relevant information to either the injured person or to law enforcement, as well as providing any “reasonable assistance,” such as summoning the police or an ambulance.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, a three-vehicle crash between a VIA bus, a sedan, and a pickup truck sent 5 people to the hospital, one of whom was in critical condition. According to law enforcement, the woman driving the sedan ran the stop sign at Schuwirth Road and Loop 1604, striking the bus, which then skidded into the pickup truck. While law enforcement assigns fault primarily to the sedan driver, very often buses do contribute to accidents that they are involved in. It is worth asking how this accident might have played out in terms of liability had the bus had passengers, whether or not the bus driver was the immediate cause of the crash.

Who Is Liable?

In the case of the Schuwirth Road accident, the bus driver was not found to have played a role in causing the accident, though in other states, that fact would not immediately insulate him or his employer from liability. Many states have what is called a “common carrier” provision in their personal injury laws, which holds a bus company (private or public) to a higher standard of care than would normally be expected of any one driver, but Texas does not have such a law, so an injured plaintiff must be ready to show negligence (if possible) by other means.

If there is reason to believe that the bus driver might be liable, it is worth noting that their employer might also be liable. Texas does observe a concept called respondeat superior, which states that if an employee commits a tort (basically the civil law version of a crime) while acting “within the scope of employment,” their employer is vicariously liable for any damages. The rationale is that the employer ought to have taken more care before allowing the employee to act for them.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecent law enforcement operations in Austin have shown that while most people are aware of the laws requiring pulling over for emergency vehicles, very few are aware that this also applies to tow trucks. Drivers are required to either move over or slow down to 20 miles per hour for tow trucks, but Austin police report almost “zero compliance” with this law. If you are ever in an accident involving a tow truck, you would not be barred from recovery solely due to not observing this law. However, it can play a role in reducing a defendant’s liability, so it is important to be aware of all the information in your case.

More Dangerous Than Believed

Statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), show that tow truck drivers are actually in an extremely dangerous profession. Reports released in February 2019 show that tow truck drivers are up to 15 times more likely to die on the job than the average private sector worker, and this manifests itself in a variety of ways. Many accidents occur simply because drivers do not pay enough attention to the road.

If you fail to move over or slow down for a tow truck, and you are stopped by law enforcement, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, usually with a fine of $500 or more, though if you cause an accident or bodily injury, you would then be charged with the appropriate offense (for example, if you struck someone with your car, you would be charged with assault or vehicular manslaughter). If you are struck by a tow truck, your remedy lies in civil law.

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TX accident attorneyRecently, a crash on the I-10 access road near Ramsgate Road led to a 19-year-old driver being ejected from his car, sustaining significant injuries. Law enforcement was unable to explain why the young man crashed his vehicle into a tree, but upon impact, he was thrown from the vehicle. San Antonio police are treating the crash as a single-vehicle accident, and because of this, it may be difficult for the injured motorist to seek compensation for his injuries even if anyone else turns out to have been involved. Single-vehicle accident cases often require the services of an experienced attorney to navigate successfully.

What Causes Single-Vehicle Crashes?

Single-vehicle accidents are often painted as the sole responsibility of the injured driver, and sometimes this does turn out to be true. The driver in the Ramsgate Road accident may have been intoxicated and was almost certainly speeding - these are both common causes of single-vehicle accidents, as they can cause a driver to lose control of their car or truck much more easily. Other causes can include distracted driving (most commonly, texting and driving or otherwise being engaged with your phone) and poor weather conditions.

Many single-vehicle accidents are of the rollover variety, and these are disproportionately deadly. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that while rollover accidents make up only around 2 percent of crashes in any given year, almost 35 percent of the road fatalities can be attributed to rollovers. This is often simply because an enormous amount of metal and plastic is flying around in rollover crashes; so much weight will do more to a passenger or driver inside than a sideswipe or head-on crash.

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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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