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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 lawyerEarly September has seen a significant amount of rain across central and southern Texas, which has led to accidents and potential dangers that are not always seen on state roads. Low-water crossings have closed several roads in the Austin area and out in Travis, Hays, and Williamson Counties, but perhaps the most shocking incident came on 360 Capital of Texas Highway on September 9, when rocks fell near Courtyard Drive southbound onto the highway itself. If you are involved in an accident due to weather-related issues, know that sometimes you may be able to recover for your injuries, but sometimes, the accident will be seen as so unforeseeable that no one can be held liable.

Each Case Is Different

On the whole, weather-related vehicle crashes play a role in more deaths in the U.S. than major disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) estimate approximately 5.9 million vehicle accidents every year, with about one-fifth having a weather-related component. Roughly 16 percent of all vehicle deaths in the country each year result from weather-related accidents, while the average for natural disasters (floods, lightning storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heat) is only about 380.

There are several different factors that can play a role in weather-related crashes, with wet pavement being one of the most common. Limited visibility from precipitation and fog are others that are seen most often, especially in situations where sudden storms hit and visibility worsens very quickly. In Texas, rain accumulation is also the cause for stalled vehicles and injuries when low-water crossings become flooded. Any of these types of accidents can lead to serious harm, but you being able to recover monetarily will depend on the specific facts of your situation.

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TX injury lawyerLabor Day is traditionally a time for people to be out on the roads, having one last hurrah before autumn begins. However, because so many people are usually on vacation or trying to get to their vacations, it does mean that Texas roads can become somewhat dangerous. While traffic may be less than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still worth taking particular care on Labor Day weekend, lest you wind up in an accident that could have been avoided.

DUI Accidents Are Common

Last year, Texas troopers handed out over 102,000 citations and warnings, with roughly 1,200 arrests, in the three day period, and an untold number of civil lawsuits stemming from the same incidents. The most common types of civil lawsuits that occur as a result of Labor Day accidents are those involving driving under the influence and those where a passenger is injured. While it is often fairly simple to establish liability in cases involving drunk or high drivers, it is difficult for many injured passengers to determine just who might be liable for the harm they suffered.

If you are injured by a driver you believe was under the influence of something, you have several options to establish liability, either against the driver themselves or in some cases, against the third party that overserved them (referred to as a dram shop lawsuit). Texas’ dram shop law allows an injured plaintiff to file suit against an establishment that allegedly overserved a drunk driver, assuming that the driver was “obviously intoxicated” enough to present a “clear danger” to themselves or others.

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TX car accident lawyerIn August 2020, law enforcement was finally able to identify a 58-year-old man who was struck and killed while walking on I-35 North in April. He was hit by a truck in the early evening, but due to his lack of identification, could not immediately be identified upon his passing. While the man’s family can now at least get some closure, it is important to keep in mind that pedestrians are the most likely people on the road to suffer serious, life-changing injuries due to another person’s negligence. If you have been struck by a vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered.

Pedestrians Are Vulnerable

The most recent available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 6,300 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2018, with the highest percentage of fatal accidents happening between 6 PM and 9 PM. While senior citizens are the most likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident, every age group is affected by the factors that lead to these types of crashes - for example, poor infrastructure, such as a lack of sidewalks or streetlights, may lead to pedestrians walking in the road.

The causes of individual pedestrian accidents are varied, though some tend to reoccur more often than not - speeding, distracted driving, lack of visibility, and substance abuse are some of the most commonly seen factors that can lead to pedestrians being struck by vehicles. Injuries in these types of accidents also tend to be more severe than those involving multiple vehicles, simply because pedestrians do not have the protection of vehicle passengers and drivers. The sheer weight and velocity involved can lead to life-changing injuries.

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TX crash lawyerRecently, a speeding Ford Explorer ran a red light at Wurzbach and I-10, colliding with another vehicle. Once the crash settled, however, three men exited the Explorer and tried to run away, making it about half a mile before police caught up. The men were arrested, but each vehicle also had one passenger injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. While the men who ran face a host of charges, including failing to stop and render aid and possible driving under the influence (DUI), they may also face potential civil liability. If you are involved in a crash where someone is trying to avoid police, it is important to keep in mind that criminal charges have absolutely nothing to do with civil liability, and both must be addressed.

“Reasonable and Prudent” Speed

Speeding, as the Explorer was doing, can lead to both civil and criminal liability, depending on the circumstances. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that almost 9,400 people died due to speeding accidents on U.S. roads in 2018, and estimates that excessive speed plays a role in as many as one-third of all accidents. Most states have laws against speeding, and Texas is no exception, with its Transportation Code mandating that drivers not drive at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent” for the specific situation.

Speed can be a major factor in a traffic accident. It lessens the amount of time that a driver has to stop or take evasive action - which is even more of a problem if the driver is impaired, but even a sober driver must react much quicker going at speed. In addition, it multiplies the energy at play in a collision, which means harder crashes, more things breaking, and the possibility of forces being too high for the structure of a car to withstand. Crashes where a vehicle is crunched out of shape are almost always the result of high speeds.

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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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