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TX accident lawyerRoad improvements in late 2018 were meant to streamline traffic in Helotes, but residents at a town hall meeting on June 10, 2019, were airing some troubling concerns. More specifically, residents and local workers informed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representative present at the meeting that far from streamlining traffic, the finished construction project created what is essentially a blind curve at the intersection of FM 1560 and Bandera Road, as well as a near-blind intersection at FM 1560 and Riggs Road, nearby. If you are involved in an accident of this type, that can be attributed to poor city planning, it is possible to win compensation for your injuries, but it can be difficult without an experienced attorney to help.

Government Liability for Accidents Is Specific

Road accidents happen every day, and while most of them are due to the negligence of one or more drivers involved, there is a subset of car crashes that happen as a direct result of poor road maintenance or planning. Road maintenance issues like potholes, missing guardrails or signs, poor drainage, or unmarked drop-offs can sometimes even be a result of poor planning - for example, using the wrong grade of concrete or other materials can lead to an uneven surface to drive on, or it can upset the water table to the point where signs or lights cannot be installed.

There are also other potential road safety issues that can plausibly be laid at the door of the entity that handles the maintenance for that particular thoroughfare. For example, construction zones often create safety issues through lack of signs, lights, or other clear markings - TxDOT data reports just over 27,000 crashes in work zones in 2017. Another common cause of traffic crashes is debris on the road - for example, items falling off trucks or natural debris like rocks or dirt. The maintaining entity has a duty to clear the road as soon as possible, and sometimes this simply does not happen.

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TX crash attorneyA front-end crash between an SUV and a motorcyclist has left one man dead and one woman with “potentially life-threatening” injuries. The driver of the SUV was attempting to avoid hitting a vehicle that suddenly stopped in front of him on East Oltorf, and instead swung into traffic, striking the motorcyclist. The young man was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries, while the woman’s condition is unknown as of this writing. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in accidents involving motorcyclists, as they have so much less protection to rely on in the event of a crash. If you have been injured in a crash with an automobile, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Motorcyclists Are at Greater Risk

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely to die in traffic crashes than automobile drivers or passengers. In Texas, fatal crashes involving motorcyclists made up approximately 10 percent of the total, even though motorcyclists only make up around 5 percent of drivers at any one time. There are multiple reasons for this, and very often, the fault does not lie with the motorcyclist.

Causes for motorcycle crashes are legion, but many of them revolve around inattention or ignorance on the part of an automobile driver. For example, one of the most common fact patterns in motorcycle accidents is for an automobile driver to turn left, not seeing the motorcycle in their blind spot. Another common scenario is being unaware of a motorcyclist’s presence at all, whether due to cycles’ small sizes or to another type of carelessness.

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TX injury lawyerJust after midnight going into May 22, a motorcyclist was injured when he was struck by a vehicle heading westbound on Loop 410. While the driver appeared to be uninjured, the motorcyclist required hospitalization. As of this writing, nothing is known about his present condition, but San Antonio law enforcement stated that fault for the crash was unclear. Unless a determination is later made that the motorcyclist was predominantly at fault, they would do well to bring suit against the vehicle that struck them, because too many drivers are not held accountable for their carelessness in such accidents, and motorcyclists’ injuries can be extremely severe.

Fatality Rates Are High

2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that approximately 5,200 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes nationwide, which represents a 3 percent drop from the previous year. The same data estimates that motorcyclists are a whopping 28 times more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than passenger car occupants. They make up approximately 14 percent of all road deaths, even though motorcyclists are only around 3 percent of those on the road at any given time.

There are multiple reasons for these trends. Some of them do have to do with rider negligence - the NHTSA estimates that almost 30 percent of cyclists killed in traffic crashes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their crash. Others are more the fault of automobile drivers - for example, one of the most common crash patterns is when a car will try to turn left, having failed to check their blind spots for motorcyclists. Lack of awareness among automobile drivers is a major cause of motorcycle crashes.

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TX injury lawyerA pedestrian on East Mulberry Street, not far from Hwy 281, was struck by a car in some unusual circumstances on the night of May 14. The man had stopped to “toy with” a 6-foot long snake in the roadway, which somewhat understandably diverted his attention. He was struck by a pickup, sustaining minor injuries, declining any hospitalization. As of this writing, it is unknown whether or not the pickup driver will face charges, but it does bring up the timely question of pedestrian responsibility in these types of situations. If you are struck by a car while walking, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, though the issue of whether or not you are at fault will have to be weighed as well.

Pedestrian Accidents Are Common

Texas ranks in the top ten states for dangerous pedestrian environments, though there are many different reasons why. The state has high-speed limits, and a lack of crosswalks and lights, especially in more rural areas. Alcohol and abuse of other substances also play a role, both on the part of drivers and pedestrians. Distracted driving is also common in Texas; whether due to electronics, distracting passengers in the car, or some other issue, Texas drivers are less likely to pay enough attention to the road.

Sometimes, people like the East Mulberry Street pedestrian may downplay any injuries they may have sustained in a pedestrian accident, though this is never a good thing - it is not at all uncommon for injuries to manifest themselves days or even weeks after an accident. This is especially true for injuries to the soft tissue, such as whiplash, as soft tissue is so malleable that it may not be painful or show any unusual symptoms right away.

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TX injury lawyerIn 2017, a young man was struck by a pickup truck and killed while riding his bicycle in Georgetown. The driver was sentenced to two years in prison and 10 months’ probation after pleading to manslaughter and accident involving death. However, due to a peculiarity in Texas law, he was released to mandatory supervision before ever serving any time of his sentence, causing the victim's family serious pain and mental anguish. Now, a bill is before the Texas legislature which would close that loophole. If you are involved in a hit-and-run, it would significantly alter your prospects at sentencing.

Hit-And-Run Is a Crime

In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, punishable by anywhere between a $500 fine and a 10-year prison sentence, depending on the nature of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident where someone was killed or seriously injured is a third-degree felony. The driver in the above case did leave the scene of the accident, and he could have been found guilty of leaving the scene had he not negotiated a plea deal. The penalties are lesser if your accident only involves minor injury or property damage, but serious injury or death is taken very seriously.

However, even with the sentencing guidelines, Texas law has a loophole depending on how long a person has spent in detention. It is possible for someone who has spent a significant amount of time in pretrial detention to be released into mandatory supervision without ever actually spending any time in prison once they are sentenced. This occurred in this, given the defendant spent almost 400 days in detention before his trial and sentencing. However, the victim's family was never notified.

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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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