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TX injuey lawyerCar crashes in Austin involving pedestrians and bicyclists often are debilitating and even deadly. Often, negligent motorists are responsible for these accidents and resulting injuries. For example, texting while driving might mean that a motorist fails to see a pedestrian who is crossing the street, or an aggressive driver who is speeding cannot stop in time to prevent a collision. Given that electric scooters came to Austin, Texas relatively recently, users of these devices are now at greater risk of involvement in a collision with a motor vehicle. Recently, a foreign exchange student at the University of Texas, Austin was killed while riding an electric scooter. The crash occurred between the student and a motorist in a 2006 silver Volkswagen Jetta.

Motor vehicle collisions can happen quickly and without warning. If you believe your injuries resulted from another driver’s negligence, it is important to learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation by speaking with an Austin car accident lawyer.

Collision Results in UT Student Fatality

The fatal collision occurred when a UT foreign exchange student from Ireland was riding an electric Lime scooter the wrong way while northbound in the southbound left lane of the I-35 service road. The 21-year-old scooter rider was struck by an Uber driver. Emergency medical responders rushed him to Dell Seton Medical Center, but he later died from his injuries.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecently one person was killed in a crash near Coupland, at the intersection of FM 973 and Richland Road. The crash involved two vehicles, with one being fully engulfed in flames when Travis County sheriff’s personnel arrived at the scene. While very little is known about the deceased, it is worth asking whether or not something in the design of the vehicle contributed to its catching on fire as a result of the impact. While car accidents are distressingly common, vehicles bursting into flames are much less so, and understanding all possibilities can keep you a bit safer from harm if you can see it coming.

Negligence vs. Product Liability

All motorists on Texas roads owe each other a duty to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicles. Normally, in most auto accident cases, a plaintiff sues a defendant for allegedly breaching that duty - this is known as the legal theory of negligence. In a negligence case, a plaintiff must show that duty has been breached, and must also show that they suffered harm because of it that was directly due to the defendant’s conduct, with no other supervening cause in between.

By comparison, product liability cases can often be much more complex. In these types of cases, a plaintiff must establish either that the product had an inherent design defect, that there was a defect in manufacturing this particular product, or that the manufacturer failed to warn of any dangers in use of the product that are not obvious. Texas law on product liability can be particularly strict, especially in defective design claims, because unlike in many other states, plaintiffs are required to establish that a safer alternative design existed - which can be very difficult in most cases.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerThe Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) performed sign maintenance work on I-35 recently, which forced many commuters to seek alternate routes as lanes were closed on Eisenhauer Road. All appeared to go well, with lanes reopening on schedule, but there were certainly enough honking commuters to infer that the closure caused problems. This type of maintenance is critical, despite the potential issues it may cause - obviously because road breakdowns cause problems, but also because failure to fix those breakdowns can put governments and other state entities like TxDOT on the proverbial hook for liability in the event of an accident.

More Than One Cause for Accidents

While the majority of car accidents can be ascribed, at least in part, to driver error, there are some incidents where neither driver may be at fault. Unforeseen road condition problems are recognized under Texas law as being grounds for liability, usually on the part of the state government or that of a city or town. Examples include potholes, construction zone-related issues, failure to prepare roads for inclement weather, faulty or absent guardrails, and missing or unusable signs or signals. In some rare cases, the design of the roadway itself (its overall visual plan) may be grounds for liability if a pattern of traffic crashes emerges there.

In most cases, a government entity has a duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the roads that fall under their jurisdiction. If they fail in that duty of reasonable care, the rationale is that they may then be held liable for any damages that occur as a result. This is a common-law theory still honored by Texas law. However, it is not unheard of that a private contractor may be responsible, especially in cases involving construction zones. In these cases, private contractors may be sued under a theory of premises liability. Bringing suit against a governmental entity is a different matter.

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TX injury lawyerAirport officials at Austin-Bergstrom have made the executive decision to shift the spot for hailing rides and taxis down to the rental car facility going forward, because of congestion and accidents happening in front of Barbara Jordan Terminal. Austin has had a somewhat bumpy path to integrating ride-sharing into the city’s traffic patterns, and many accidents have been reported as Uber and Lyft drivers try to fit in. If you are in an accident involving a rideshare car, there are certain differences in how you would bring suit, especially if you are a passenger in the car when the accident occurs.

Insurance Is Different

Perhaps the most important thing you should be aware of if you are in a rideshare-related accident is that insurance works very differently for Uber or Lyft than it does for a licensed taxi driver. While taxi drivers are generally covered by the taxi company in the event of an accident, which will then deal with any injured passengers, a rideshare driver must have a specific type of policy written for transportation network company employees and contractors, since the passing of HB 100 last year.

These policies are unique in that their policy limits will increase and decrease depending on which ‘period’ of use your car is in at any given moment - for example, period 0 is when you are not in your car, or when you are using it for personal business. The coverage limits are higher while you have a rideshare app on and are looking for a passenger, and higher still when you have a passenger in your car, en route to the destination.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerOn the night of November 4, a two-vehicle accident killed one person when an automobile going the wrong way down I-10 struck the tractor-trailer of an 18-wheeler, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The truck driver was relatively unharmed and able to walk away from the crash, but the driver of the car was killed on impact. This is sadly common in wrong-way accidents; while they are relatively uncommon, they cause serious injuries and death with regularity when they do occur. If you are lucky enough to survive one, it is a good idea to understand just what you may be up against.

Alcohol and Substances Often a Factor

Wrong-way crashes, more than most other types, are disproportionately affected by alcohol and drug use. Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that of 1,566 wrong-way drivers in the dataset surveyed (2004-2009), approximately 60 percent had “indications of alcohol involvement.” On some level this makes sense to a layman; unless the sign is obscured, there are very few reasons for a sober person to drive the wrong way down a street. The same statistical set also showed that approximately 10 percent of those wrong-way drivers surveyed had been convicted of driving under the influence (DWI) within the three years immediately prior to their wrong-way collision. In other words, even for those drivers who did not show signs of alcohol or drug use at the time of their wrong-way crash.

Of course, other reasons besides alcohol and drug use can account for a wrong-way collision. It is plausible for a street to be poorly marked, or for the “wrong way” sign to have been damaged, thus providing little indication to drivers which way traffic flows. Visibility may also be a factor, both in regard to weather and to the fact that most wrong-way crashes occur after dark. Drivers may also drive while distracted, rather than intoxicated, thinking it safer when in reality, distracted driving plays a major role in countless collisions around the state (and the country).

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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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