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TX injury lawyerWithin the past several days, there have been several serious car accidents in the San Antonio area involving drivers pulling out into the path of oncoming traffic. Such situations often result in T-bone collisions that can have severe consequences, including catastrophic injury and death, depending on the speed at which the vehicles were traveling and other factors. It can also be complicated to determine who is at fault for a crash of this nature, which can complicate personal injury claims.

Where Do These Accidents Occur?

A vehicle pulling out into traffic can happen under a variety of circumstances. It could occur at an intersection with a traffic light, for example, when a driver attempts a right turn on a red light while traffic is approaching from their left, or when a driver fails to acknowledge a red light at all. However, these accidents tend to be more common at intersections that are not so well regulated. One common example is an intersection at which drivers in one direction have a stop sign, but traffic in the other direction is not required to stop. Accidents are also common at intersections where there is no traffic sign or signal at all, such as a driveway, alley, or parking lot exit that intersects with a busy road. In some cases, visual obstructions like buildings or landscaping can make it difficult for a driver to see oncoming traffic, thereby contributing to a crash.

Questions of Liability

One of the most important questions, when someone is injured or killed in an accident of this nature, is, which driver is at fault? Is it the driver who pulled into traffic, or the driver who was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision? In many cases, the answer is complicated. For example, a driver who pulls into traffic after ignoring a stoplight or stop sign will likely be considered at least partially liable. The same may be true if the driver is distracted or simply makes a poor judgment call.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, drivers on several highways in San Antonio had their commute interrupted by hundreds of drivers who shut down the road to engage in risky behavior like doing donuts, shooting off fireworks, or racing each other in the main lanes. These stoppages affected Highway 90 on the West Side, Highway 281 at Hildebrand Ave, and I-10 near Vance Jackson Road, though as of this writing only one person has been arrested and charged with racing on a highway. If you or a loved one has been injured by a street racer or someone engaged in other types of reckless behavior, be aware that you may have a civil claim for compensation even if they are not arrested for the offense.

Both a Crime and a Civil Tort

Texas law on racing on highways explicitly bans participating in a race, a “vehicle speed [or] acceleration contest,” or any type of drag race or “physical endurance” test as the operator of a vehicle. Because this definition clearly includes more than simple drag racing, it is sometimes used as a catch-all charge for disorderly or reckless behavior on a highway, such as that seen on San Antonio’s highways recently.

A first offense for this is a Class B misdemeanor, which only carries up to 180 days in jail plus fines up to $2,000. However, if someone is convicted of this charge more than once, or if they cause property damage or death, the charge can rise up to a second-degree felony. While the state files criminal cases, and the injured plaintiff (you) would file a civil lawsuit, understanding the potential criminal consequences is still relevant, especially if the fines imposed as a part of a criminal sentence are steep.

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TX crash lawyerOn August 10, an 80-year-old woman was driving through the intersection of Bradbury Lane and Dessau Road when she was struck by a Nissan Armada traveling through the same intersection. It took law enforcement roughly two weeks to identify the deceased woman, but eventually, they were successful. The crash marked Austin’s 58th traffic fatality in 2020, which is a notable rise from the previous year. There does not appear to be any indication that the deceased woman’s family intends to file suit against the other driver, but if they did, they might conceivably be able to file a claim for wrongful death under Texas law.

File Your Suit ASAP

When someone dies in a traffic accident, it can sometimes be merely a tragic mistake. However, if someone dies due to the negligence, wrongful act, or carelessness of another person, their death is considered wrongful under Texas law (if the connection between the death and the other person’s actions can be proven). A finding of wrongful death can result in financial liability for the defendant, both for tangible expenses like funeral costs and for intangible damages like mental anguish or pain and suffering.

Be advised that if you are in a situation where you believe it may be a good idea to file a wrongful death suit, you have a very short window of time to do it. Texas law allows only two years from the death of the person in which you can file suit - in other words, if you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, you must file your wrongful death suit within two years of their passing, Any longer and witnesses become unreliable, while physical evidence will be forgotten or lost.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX accident lawyerOne recent morning saw all the lanes of northbound I-35 closed near Stassney Lane, in South Austin, after a “multi-car crash” occurred. The highway was closed for several hours while crews cleared the debris from the accident, only opening hours later to morning traffic. No word as of this writing as to how many people were injured or killed, but it is reasonable to assume that someone sustained an injury due to the sheer tonnage and potential dangers of a multi-car crash. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to be aware that establishing liability in a multi-vehicle accident is generally more difficult than doing so in a single-car crash.

Causes and Effects

Multi-vehicle accidents are less common than single-vehicle crashes, but when they happen, it is most often on highways or at busy intersections. The causes of multi-vehicle crashes are many, but some of the most often seen include inclement weather (and, indirectly, driver recklessness, such as failing to take precautions while driving through bad weather), speeding, and, in rural areas, so-called “highway hypnosis.” Distracted driving is also a particular issue in multi-vehicle crashes, especially since one wrong move can lead to significant damage and injury.

One of the major issues in a multi-vehicle crash is determining just who the defendant or defendants might be. Texas personal injury cases allow for multiple defendants, but it can be difficult to determine who they might be - unless you are able to determine who started the chain, so to speak. Multi-car crashes are sometimes caused by a chain reaction, after which you may be able to determine the two vehicles that crashed first - but sometimes the cars simply pile up. Either way, you may be able to file suit to recover for your injuries.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_head-on-crash_20200717-015337_1.jpgRecently, an accident at Loop 1604 and Pue Road left one person dead after a car veered into oncoming traffic. The impact caused one car to roll over, and the other to wind up far off the road, leaving the driver who veered into traffic trapped in their vehicle, and the second driver dead at the scene. While as of this writing, no information exists on whether or not the driver’s family intends to seek redress for their loved one’s wrongful death, if they decide to do so, they may be able to recover from the first driver. If you lose someone in a similar accident, know that while money will not bring back your loved one or family member, it can help keep your family afloat while you adjust.

Two Types of Suits

Technically, there are two types of wrongful death lawsuits under Texas law, though a bereaved family generally only pursues one. A standard wrongful death suit seeks damages for the loss of a loved one due to another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” It is brought by the estate’s personal representative on behalf of the surviving family (parents, spouses, and children), and seeks to recover damages like lost earning capacity, loss of support and services, mental pain and suffering, and potentially lost inheritance.

A survival action, by comparison, is brought by the deceased’s personal representative on behalf of the estate, and it seeks to recover for damages that the deceased person potentially sustained before their passing - for example, for medical bills or lost wages - instead of damages for the family. Which type of suit is best in your situation is dependent on the specific nature of your case, but in most situations, a court will not allow both types to move forward.

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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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