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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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TX car accident attorneyRecently, a two-car crash in the 600 block of North Business in New Braunfels killed one man and sent a couple and their four children to the hospital with “non-life-threatening” injuries. Law enforcement found that a Ford Focus was struck by the family’s Ford Transit 350 van after the Focus went over the road’s median and into the van’s path. The Focus driver was killed on impact, but the parents and their four children were only injured. It can be difficult to determine how best to proceed if you have been injured in an auto accident, especially if the person who caused your injuries is deceased. It is possible, though, and having an experienced attorney on your side can help make the process seem less intimidating.

Stats and Causes Vary

Because of Texas’ high population and high-speed limits (among other factors), the state posts high collision numbers every year. In 2019, almost 13,000 serious injury crashes occurred, with approximately 15,800 people sustaining a serious injury; this is a slight drop from the previous year, where only about 12,100 accidents occurred, with 14,900 individuals injured seriously. There was also a decrease in traffic fatalities from the previous year by about one percent. Still, a staggering 256,000 people were injured, overall, in Texas traffic crashes. Any type of drop-in injury and fatality statistics is a good thing, but it must be said nonetheless that Texas roads can be quite dangerous.

Auto accidents can be caused by any number of events, but some appear more often than others. The driver of the Ford Focus on North Business was found to have been speeding when he lost control of his car, and speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents in Texas. Others include failure to yield, operating your vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and distracted driving. If you can establish that any of these were happening at the time of your crash, you may have a case to argue negligence.

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TX accident attorneyRecently, one man was hospitalized after his BMW crashed “at a high rate of speed” on Interstate 37, near Fair Avenue. The man was swerving and passing slower cars, when he overcorrected his course and struck a concrete wall. The driver was thrown from his vehicle, suffering “severe” head injuries and a broken leg. As of this writing, he is at Brooke Army Medical Center in critical condition. No word exists on anyone injured by the driver’s actions, but this is the kind of accident that is ripe with the possibility for motorists to be injured by one driver’s negligent conduct. If you are injured in this type of accident, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

Negligence vs Recklessness

In accident cases like this, there is often debate about whether the at-fault driver’s conduct was negligence or recklessness. Texas law defines negligence as failing to uphold the duty of care that one owes to another person - essentially, not being careful enough in one’s actions. By comparison, recklessness is when someone is aware that they are potentially endangering others, but does not care at all. Negligent conduct is behavior that could have potential consequences for another person; reckless conduct is behavior that almost certainly will have potential consequences for another person. Both can lead to injury or death for someone who did nothing to bring it upon themselves.

Reckless driving is a crime in Texas, while negligent driving is a civil matter. It is possible to face both criminal and civil charges over the same matter - one might think that this would be precluded due to the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on double jeopardy, but double jeopardy only applies when one is tried multiple times in the same court for the same crime. Experiencing a civil and criminal trial does not trigger the doctrine.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

TX car accident attorneyRecently, a man was struck by a car on Rundberg Road, in north Austin, but the vehicle that struck him failed to stop and administer aid. The man was taken to a nearby hospital, while he was pronounced deceased on arrival. While no other details were released at the time about either the deceased man or the vehicle that struck him, it is important to understand that the victim (or the family of the victim) in a hit-and-run accident has options to try and seek compensation for what they have gone through. Enlisting an attorney to help with that is also a good idea.

High Frequency, High Stakes

Texas has one of the higher hit-and-run accident totals in the country, partly because of its sheer population, but partly for other reasons. For example, Texas is one of the states that permits speed limits of up to 85 mph in certain areas, which in turn can breed recklessness, especially when alcohol is involved. In addition, the majority of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians, and Texas boasts a large pedestrian population, between its cities and the rural areas in which public transport is infrequent or inefficient.

It is important to understand that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Texas - the Transport Code specifically states that leaving the scene of an accident where serious bodily injury or death results, without stopping to render aid, is a felony, with lesser injuries being punishable by between 1 and 5 years in jail. If the person who struck you is caught, they will very often (though not always) be charged with a crime - but you will still be able to file a civil lawsuit against them as well. The Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy only applies to two criminal proceedings - a civil proceeding is a different animal and can proceed.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, law enforcement was called to an accident on IH-35, near Posey Road in Bexar County, where a Nissan 370Z had overturned after racing another vehicle, ejecting its passenger almost 70 feet through the air. While the driver suffered minor injuries, the passenger remains, as of this writing, in a hospital in Kyle in critical condition. The driver was charged with the crime of “suspicion of racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury” - a second-degree felony - but if you have been injured due to another driver’s similarly negligent behavior, you have the right to seek compensation.

No Double Jeopardy

Texas law defines ‘street racing’ as any kind of speed contest or race, and any kind of drag race or other competition involving speed is illegal on all public roads, regardless of how abandoned they are or how high the speed limit may be. As one can imagine, this kind of behavior is most common among younger drivers - both the driver and the passenger in the Posey Road accident were around the age of 20 - but older people do engage in it as well. Street racing was formerly just a traffic violation, but in 2003 laws were passed elevating it to a misdemeanor (Class B), carrying a one-year license suspension, as well as assorted fines and up to 180 days in jail.

People who are arrested for street racing may also face other charges such as reckless driving or speeding, but in addition to the criminal charges, they may face civil lawsuits from the people they allegedly injure with their negligent behavior. It can be easy to assume that since someone is being charged criminally, you are barred from filing a civil lawsuit because of the Fifth Amendment right to be free from double jeopardy (essentially, being tried twice for the same crime). This is not actually the case - double jeopardy only attaches if someone is tried twice in the same court system for the exact same crime. Being tried once criminally and once civilly is permissible because two different parties are thought to have been wronged (the state and the individual).

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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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