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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 accident lawyerThe region of Texas between Austin and Round Rock has been one of the fastest-growing in the state in recent years, but with growth comes higher crime and traffic rates most of the time. However, the city of Round Rock has seemingly found a way to reduce both traffic accidents and attendant fatalities, even as the area continues to grow and change. If you do wind up involved in a traffic accident in Round Rock, know that the laws have been updated and strengthened so as to help those who still experience crashes.

Overhaul of Round Rock Traffic Enforcement

Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) show that collisions in the city proper have reduced significantly - April 2017-March 2018 saw 8 traffic fatalities, while April 2018-March 2019 saw just one. Collisions overall in Round Rock also dropped by roughly 5 percent, which does not sound like a lot, but is enough to push injury and fatality counts down enough to be statistically significant. Even one life saved is a positive, but Round Rock law enforcement continues to make positive changes.

Multiple initiatives have been started, each with the aim of lowering traffic fatalities. For example, Round Rock police have created three different, discrete units aimed at enforcement of different types of traffic laws - DWI, trucking regulations and enforcement, and education/community outreach. Between the use of social media and increased policing in so-called “collision reduction zones,” law enforcement says it is committed to making Round Rock a safe place to travel. None of this means that accidents do not happen, however, and if you are unfortunate enough to experience one, it is still important to understand your options.

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TX car accident attorneyA crash on August 13 has highlighted the potentially dangerous situation on Cameron Road and US-183, as a family of four was hospitalized after a car struck them as they crossed. This is not the first accident in this area, as three KIPP Texas Public Schools occupy a short stretch of Cameron Road, but traffic is constant and often very fast. In this type of situation, it is possible that the community or other entity responsible for road zoning and maintenance might wind up being liable for someone’s injury.

Finding Liability

Because so many schools are on Cameron Road, parents and school administrators have tried to lobby the city to mark the area as a school zone, so that drivers have some warning that pedestrians are common, as well as being required to lower their speed. However, the city has refused, stating that not enough children walk to class to warrant a school zone placement. They also point to the fact that the area is not zoned as residential. Yet the accidents keep happening.

It is possible in Texas to recover in civil court for injuries sustained due to poor road maintenance or oversight. However, it can be difficult to determine whether a governing entity (whichever agency maintains roads, such as a village board or the Department of Transportation) can actually be held liable or not, depending on the type of suit you choose to bring. You can bring suit under a theory of premises liability, or a theory of general negligence.

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TX crash lawyerIn the early hours of July 10, a delivery truck was struck head-on as an SUV suddenly veered into his lane on Castroville Road, on the west side of San Antonio. While the truck driver suffered no injuries, the driver of the SUV had to be cut out of his vehicle and was later transported to the nearest hospital. Both drivers are lucky that their injuries were not severe, as head-on collisions are notorious for causing severe injury, especially when one of the drivers is operating their vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner. If you have been involved in a head-on crash, you need an experienced car accident attorney who can fight for you.

Fatalities Are Disproportionately High

Despite the presence of airbags and other safety devices installed in the front end of most automobiles, head-on collisions account for a disproportionately high number of traffic fatalities. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that while front-end crashes made up approximately 2 percent of all the auto accidents in 2015 (the most recent available data), they caused 10 percent of the fatalities and approximately 4 percent of the injuries.

Even though the front end of the car, in theory, provides some protection for the vehicle’s occupants, a head-on collision usually visits quite a lot of force on both cars. This can lead to higher instances of broken bones, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries and all the other injuries that can result from sudden physical trauma. It is also quite common for head-on collisions to result from someone driving under the influence, or driving distracted, which can obviously play a major role in someone losing control of their car.

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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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