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TX accident lawyerOn a recent Sunday, a motorcycle and a vehicle collided near the intersection of West Howard Lane and the North I-35 service road. One person was declared a “trauma alert” and transported to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center with “potentially serious” injuries, though no other information is currently available. While law enforcement did not specify who the ‘trauma alert’ was, it is reasonable to deduce that it was the motorcyclist, given the immensely higher likelihood for motorcyclists to be injured and killed in this type of accident. If you are a motorcyclist and have been injured in an accident with a car, you may be able to file suit to try and recover compensation for the harm you have suffered.

Motorcycling Can Be Dangerous

Motorcyclists are at a serious disadvantage when struck by cars, simply due to size and weight. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to die than passenger vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. There is simply less protection available to a motorcycle rider - who usually just has the clothing they wear, and a helmet if they so choose - than there is to a vehicle driver or passenger sitting behind sheets of metal and glass.

 The underlying causes of many motorcycle-vehicle accidents are attributable to a host of different factors, most of which affect motorcyclists and car drivers about equally. Speeding, ignoring stop signs and red lights, and other types of negligence may happen to any driver, but only motorcyclists are adversely affected by issues such as size and visibility, and many car drivers have real problems effectively sharing the road with motorcyclists.

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TX injury lawyerRecently, law enforcement was called to an accident on IH-35, near Posey Road in San Marcos, 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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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecently, a man was hit by a pickup truck and killed as he and a friend walked along northbound I-35. According to the friend, they were walking south on the northbound lanes when a pickup truck struck the man walking on the outside, and sped off after the fact. While pedestrians walking along busy I-35 is less common than one might anticipate, this does not mean that both drivers and pedestrians do not need to be well aware of their rights and responsibilities while on the road.

Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Pedestrian accidents are a perennial issue in Texas, with its miles of rural roads and higher-than-average speed limits. The most recent available data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates approximately 5,700 crashes involving pedestrians in 2018, with roughly 615 fatalities. This is one of the higher state totals in the country for the last few years, despite several Texas municipalities enacting ordinances trying to regulate speed limits and other plans to fight against reckless driving in the works.

Infrastructure in Texas is also an issue for pedestrians. The think tank SmartGrowth America ranks metropolitan areas by their degree of danger for pedestrians (from drivers and also the lack of infrastructure like sidewalks, curb cuts, and traffic lights), and in 2019, six Texas cities/metro areas ranked in the top 50, with the McAllen/Edinburg/Mission area being deemed the most dangerous (#16), with San Antonio/New Braunfels (#21) and Houston/The Woodlands/Sugarland (#23) not far behind.

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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 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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