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TX accident lawyerIn Austin, a woman was recently killed when she was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the road at a crosswalk. This unfortunate incident serves as an example of the fact that despite Texas traffic laws aimed at protecting pedestrians, accidents still occur and leave victims and their families struggling to recover.

What Does Texas Traffic Law Say About Pedestrians?

In Texas, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing at a crosswalk with a walk signal, or at a crosswalk for which no signal is in place if the pedestrian is on or closely approaching the side of the road on which the driver is traveling. In general, drivers are also required to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian. Failure to follow these traffic laws may justify a claim of negligence if it results in injury to a pedestrian.

Contributing Factors in Pedestrian Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nationwide, more pedestrians died in car accidents in 2018 than in any year since 1990. Some of the factors associated with pedestrian accidents include:

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TX accident lawyerOne night in late August, a bicyclist was rear-ended by a small SUV while riding in the center lane of Ben White Boulevard, near Alvin Devane Boulevard. The cyclist was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene, though the driver remained near to assist and did not face any charges as a result. Another fatal bicycle crash happened exactly two minutes later, in the 13700 block of Research Boulevard, near Lake Creek Parkway. While the crashes do not appear to be related to each other, they do illustrate the potential hazards that bicyclists face on Texas roads. If you have been injured in a crash while riding your bicycle, understand that you do have potential options for seeking compensation in most cases.

Bicycles Are Vehicles

Bicyclists and other pedestrians deal with significant hazards on Texas roads, given that the primary focus of state officials is on making the roads safer for drivers, not pedestrians. Texas has some of the highest speed limits in the country, as well as most of its cities ranking low on pedestrian infrastructure in several studies. Texas as a whole also ranks near the top in terms of the pedestrian danger index (the measure quantifying how potentially hazardous its roads are for people walking, bicyclists, and other non-drivers).

It is important to keep in mind that colloquially, bicyclists are seen as pedestrians because their conveyances are not motorized. However, under Texas law, bicycles are seen as vehicles and thus are covered under all of the state’s vehicle safety laws (except those that do not apply by their very nature). A bicyclist has the same rights as the driver of a car, which means that if you are injured in an accident, you can use any provision in the law that applies to vehicle drivers to press your case.

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TX crash lawyerRecently, a 70-year-old woman died in a two-car accident near the Blanco River exit on I-35 SB. The crash involved a semi-truck and a Dodge Journey. Law enforcement stated that they believed the woman was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, which may have played a role in causing her injuries. Hays County EMS transported her to Ascension Seton Hays Hospital in Kyle for further treatment, but she eventually died of her injuries. While too many lives are lost in road accidents every day, many plaintiffs who sue for their injuries worry that they may face reduced awards because they failed to wear a seatbelt. Texas law on seatbelt use has only become settled within the last few years, and it can be difficult to understand what responsibility it may convey.

Use or Non-Use Is Relevant

Up until 2015, Texas law on seatbelt use evidence was that while the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seatbelt in a car accident might have played a role in causing their injuries, it played no role in causing the accident itself, so it was seen as inadmissible on the grounds of relevance. However, this outlook began to fall out of favor as seatbelt use climbed and the concept of responsibility evolved; while it is true that seatbelt use or lack thereof would not have caused the accident itself, eventually the case of Nabors Well Services Ltd. v Romero (2015) established that it was still relevant evidence for the purposes of determining the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Essentially, Nabors held that while it is true that seatbelt use or non-use could not have caused the crash itself, it could easily have caused some of the plaintiff’s injuries, or made injuries worse. That makes the issue relevant, and a jury should be able to factor it in when trying to apportion liability in a personal injury case. So if you are injured in a vehicle accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt, a jury is permitted to consider that factor in determining who was most responsible for the harm you suffered.

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TX accident lawyerIn recent days, Travis and Williamson Counties have seen quite a lot of rain, with more storms on the way. When the weather is bad outside, drivers have a responsibility to take defensive measures and to not drive in a way that a reasonable person would consider dangerous. However, this does not always happen - traffic accidents occur very commonly, in fact, killing more annually than large-scale weather disasters like tornadoes. If you are involved in a car accident where you suspect that rain has been a factor, it can be difficult to establish liability, but certainly not impossible. An experienced attorney can also be of help in your seeking compensation.

Bad Weather Plays A Big Role

Accidents are very common after it has rained or snowed, as one might imagine; wet pavement plays a role in as many as 70 percent of weather-related accidents, according to Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) data, with rainfall specifically playing a role in nearly half the number. Every aspect of driving can, in theory, be affected by wet pavement or rainfall - visibility, stopping distance, and all the other factors are vastly inferior to their dry-weather counterparts. The injuries from this type of accident can be quite severe, as well, because it is so easy to lose control of one’s vehicle in bad weather, which in turn may prevent any kind of defensive measures.

If you are involved in a bad-weather accident, there are multiple potential causes, with only some of them being actionable. The commonly seen difficulty in this type of case is that it can be very hard to tell which factor was specifically the cause of your accident, and who, if anyone, should be held liable for it. Sometimes accidents simply happen despite everyone doing everything right, and it is very common for defendants to argue that your injuries resulted simply from bad luck. It is important to be able to refute this kind of argument in order to possibly receive damages from the defendant or defendants.

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TX injury lawyerOne recent night, a serious three-car accident on the south side of San Antonio claimed the life of one person. A 33-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, about 30 minutes after the impact when his Dodge Challenger was T-boned by two cars in succession after he tried to cross Texas 16, near Mission Gate. The Challenger’s driver-side door was crushed, and the man had to be cut free before law enforcement could assess his injuries properly. While San Antonio police stated that no criminal charges are pending for either of the drivers who T-boned the man’s car, this does not mean that the man’s family may not choose to file suit against either (or both) drivers for wrongful death. If you lose a loved one in a similar accident, your options may seem very similar to the man’s family’s.

Two Types of Cases

Texas has two types of wrongful death-related actions. A standard wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the surviving family, seeking damages on the family’s behalf for injuries they have sustained since the deceased person’s passing. The surviving family can file, or the estate can file on the family’s behalf, seeking compensation for harm like funeral and medical expenses, loss of the deceased’s love and companionship, and the loss of support and services.

The other type of case is called a survival action, and it is brought to preserve a cause of action that a person might have had before their death. In other words, a survival action is a suit brought on behalf of the injured person (and their estate), trying to recover for damages that the person would have been able to recover had they survived the incident. For example, if the deceased man had survived his accident, he would likely have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence - sadly, he did not, but his estate can file a survival action alleging the same things.

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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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