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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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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX car accident lawyerRecently, two vans crashed near the intersection of SW Military Highway and I-35, after an alleged drunk driver crashed his Mazda transport van into a Dodge minivan carrying five people after driving the wrong way down the highway. Two adults, including the alleged drunk driver, and a three-year-old child were taken to University Hospital, with the adults in “serious” condition and the child receiving “minor injuries.” Law enforcement states that the Mazda driver will almost certainly be charged with intoxication assault, and in addition to the criminal charges, the family of the adult and child could easily file suit against the drunk driver for the injuries that their loved ones have suffered.

Elevated Dangers

The driver of the Mazda was allegedly driving while intoxicated, sending his vehicle down the wrong side of SW Military Highway before it struck the Dodge minivan. This tracks with nationwide statistics about wrong-way drivers - the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)’s analysis of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that approximately 60 percent of all those wrong-way drivers had at least some alcohol in their systems at the time of their accidents. In addition, the majority of wrong-way drivers also tend to be male (though women are represented to a degree in statistics) and on the younger side.

Wrong-way accidents are among the most dangerous, making up a disproportionately high fatality rate (between 12 and 27 percent higher than other types of crashes, depending on the studies one reads). Between the sheer force of what is often a head-on collision, plus the fact that alcohol is frequently involved, fatalities are far more common than one might expect, and even if someone survives a wrong-way crash, their injuries can be extensive. Your bills, or the bills for an injured loved one, can seriously affect your family’s livelihood, and it is important to know that you have options to try and seek compensation.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a black pickup truck ran headlong into the back of a parked 18-wheeler, on the access road on West Loop 1604. The semi-truck had been waiting for a client to unload inventory when the pickup struck the truck, wedging itself under the trailer. The driver of the pickup later died from his injuries, though the truck driver was unharmed. Law enforcement believes that the pickup driver was “speeding and distracted,” and thus was the prime mover in causing the accident. While the truck driver was unharmed, this is often not the case in distracted driving accidents. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation from them.

Distraction Kills

Everyone gets distracted for small moments behind the wheel. However, distracted driving is a real danger to everyone on the road, because when a person’s attention is diverted away from operating their vehicle, it means that they have less time to react to other motorists or obstacles on the road, which in turn leads to higher fatality and injury rates. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that one in five crashes in Texas involve distracted driving, with the corresponding rise in casualties.

By far the most commonly seen distracting activity while driving is texting, as it takes one’s attention off the road for an average of 5 seconds. If someone is driving 55 miles per hour, that means that their attention is off the road for the average length of a football field. That said, there are many other types of distractions that can endanger one’s own passengers or other cars around you, including talking to passengers, adjusting the radio or other music player, eating, applying makeup, or rubbernecking at something outside the car.

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TX accident lawyerRecently, a rollover crash on EB US 290 at Ben White Boulevard sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries. Both people became entrapped in their vehicles, requiring ATCEMS to cut them free before sending them to the hospital. Serious injuries are sadly common in rollover accidents, and if you have lived through one, your medical bills may add up very quickly. Bringing suit against a driver who struck you may be a good way to recoup some of your costs and recover for your losses.

Statistics Show Serious Injuries Common

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in a given year, roughly two percent of all accidents are of the rollover type. However, rollovers were responsible for approximately 35 percent of the fatalities from those accidents. It is possible to trace some causes for these high totals. One major factor is a lack of seat belt usage - in 2010, nearly 70 percent of those killed in rollover crashes were not using any seatbelt or restraint.

Another common cause of rollover crashes is the use of substances like alcohol or drugs. In 2010 data, the NHTSA estimates that nearly half of all rollover crashes involved alcohol use, and it is a known fact that driving while under the influence of alcohol (even if someone is not legally impaired) can cause a noticeable downgrade in your driving ability. There are also many causes that have more to do with location - for example, more rollover crashes occur on undivided rural roads and may have higher speeds.

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TX injury lawyerA true tragedy happened on February 20, when a 10-year old riding her bicycle fell into traffic, losing her life after being struck by a passing SUV. The accident happened in West Bexar County, in the Valley Ranch area, and while law enforcement does not anticipate filing any charges in the matter, it can be hugely traumatic for both the driver and the family of the deceased person when accidents like this occur. No criminal charges also does not mean that the family of the girl cannot file a civil lawsuit. If this happens to your family, you need to make sure you remain clear-headed as you determine how best to handle this.

Negligence Must Be Present

Despite how devastating they can be, not every accidental death is grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you must be able to show that their passing was the result of another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” - that is, you must establish that there was negligence or recklessness in their actions. If they could not have acted in any other way, or could not have acted any faster to stop the accident, there is no cause of action under Texas law.

In the Valley Ranch accident, for example, law enforcement saw no recklessness or negligence in the driver’s behavior because everything happened so quickly. The driver likely had no time to take evasive action or stop their vehicle - and if it is generally agreed that no reasonable person would have been able to stop or evade the girl on the ground, then it is not possible to call the driver negligent. The accident was horrible, but not necessarily avoidable.

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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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