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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerWhen you are driving in Texas, you are required to obey the general rules of the road, including allowing other drivers ahead of you when it would be reasonable or appropriate to do so. However, sometimes you may get confused, or you may decide not to stop or yield, and an accident may happen. This kind of behavior is called failure to yield, and if someone is hurt by your failure, the City of Austin now requires that the matter be dealt with in court. This is a change made recently that may escape the average person, and if you do not know of the change and fail to appear in court, the consequences can be serious even if you plead ignorance.

Too Many Injuries and Fatalities

Historically, the City of Austin would allow anyone charged with failure to yield to pay the citation off online or at the Municipal Court, but that is no longer allowed if your failure to yield caused another person’s injuries. Those accidents are now going to be held to “higher minimum and maximum” financial penalties, with fees reaching up to $4,000 if the degree of injury is serious. These are not criminal charges - that may be another headache for drivers entirely - but these types of civil infractions can be quite costly in the long run.

The reason for the increased charges is because failure to yield has become more and more of a factor in fatal and serious injury crashes, with roughly 1 in 6 being affected last year. In 2016, Austin created its Vision Zero program in 2016, aiming for no traffic deaths within city limits, but so far numbers have not been lowering. Some of the reasons for this are out of the city’s control - for example, many accidents happen on I-35, which the City of Austin does not oversee.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_reckless-driving_20190816-184414_1.jpgThe Villa Coronado Homeowners’ Association and other citizen’s groups may finally get some of the safety improvements to Roosevelt Avenue that they have been seeking, since the passage of a 2017-2022 bond earmarked for the area. The stretch between the Loop (I-410) and I-10 has historically played host to significant numbers of fatalities, and those who live and work in the area have cited these statistics as reason to improve the road. As of this writing, a pedestrian mobility project is in the works, and other improvements will follow - but it is still wise to use caution in walking and driving around this area, as accidents can and do occur.

City May Be Liable

If you are involved in an automobile accident, even as a pedestrian, it is sometimes true that the cause of the accident can be linked to problems with the road or its surrounding conditions. Texas has a problem with poorly maintained roads - statistics estimate that only around 33 percent are in good condition, with the majority being in fair condition and roughly 15 percent in poor condition. San Antonio specifically only has around 20 percent of its roads in good condition. Poor conditions can mean anything from an uneven driving surface to poor lighting and can cause significant damage to a vehicle.

In addition, some roads and intersections are simply designed poorly from inception. For example, roads which curve in a certain way so as to create blind spots for drivers turning a corner can be argued to have been designed poorly, and thus be dangerous, even if they are kept in pristine condition. It can be argued that Roosevelt Road was designed poorly, or at least the stretch between I-10 and Loop I-410, given the frequency of accidents and fatalities that occur in the area.

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TX crash lawyerHilliard Road in Hays County is a fairly commonly used thoroughfare, hitting Lime Kiln Road just a few miles north of San Marcos. To help with the increasing traffic level on Hilliard, the county installed approximately 150 Botts’ dots, which are small ceramic button-like discs ostensibly intended to slow speeds. However, residents have found that the dots are coming loose, causing damage to cars and nearby homes. What many do not realize is that in situations like this, you may be able to sue either the city or the contractor who installed the dots, and try to recover for any medical expenses or property damages you might have incurred after being struck by a flying disc.

Poorly Maintained Roads Cause Damage

Texas is a very large state, and its roads require constant upkeep. Average wear and tear is something that every driver accepts as part of using Texas roads, but when something out of the ordinary happens, drivers should know that they have options to seek redress. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates that almost 40 percent of Texas roads are in poor or mediocre condition. If a road is in poor repair, in theory, it means that the governmental entity in charge of its maintenance is not doing its job.

In order to hold a governmental entity responsible for an accident caused by poor road maintenance, a driver must be able to show that the entity (in Texas, most often it will be the Texas Department of Transportation [TxDOT]) either knew, or should have known of the dangerous condition, and they failed to remedy it. The law generally holds that the government must keep roads reasonably safe, though ‘reasonable’ is a subjective term.

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TX crash lawyerIn the early hours of July 10, a delivery truck was struck head-on as an SUV suddenly veered into his lane on Castroville Road, on the west side of San Antonio. While the truck driver suffered no injuries, the driver of the SUV had to be cut out of his vehicle and was later transported to the nearest hospital. Both drivers are lucky that their injuries were not severe, as head-on collisions are notorious for causing severe injury, especially when one of the drivers is operating their vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner. If you have been involved in a head-on crash, you need an experienced car accident attorney who can fight for you.

Fatalities Are Disproportionately High

Despite the presence of airbags and other safety devices installed in the front end of most automobiles, head-on collisions account for a disproportionately high number of traffic fatalities. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that while front-end crashes made up approximately 2 percent of all the auto accidents in 2015 (the most recent available data), they caused 10 percent of the fatalities and approximately 4 percent of the injuries.

Even though the front end of the car, in theory, provides some protection for the vehicle’s occupants, a head-on collision usually visits quite a lot of force on both cars. This can lead to higher instances of broken bones, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries and all the other injuries that can result from sudden physical trauma. It is also quite common for head-on collisions to result from someone driving under the influence, or driving distracted, which can obviously play a major role in someone losing control of their car.

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TX injury lawyerA crash on San Antonio’s northwest side recently left one injured, and one detained by police after a van crashed into a pole. The crash occurred near the intersection of West Hausman Road and University Heights Boulevard, with the passenger from the vehicle being transported to University Hospital for their injuries. Witnesses described the driver as ‘straddling the median’ before the vehicle crashed, and police detained the driver, though as of this writing there is no word on the exact reason for the driver’s detention. This type of single-vehicle accident can be difficult to recover from, though having an attorney by your side can help the process go more smoothly.

Single-Vehicle Accidents Are Deadly

Statistics show that single-vehicle accidents contribute a high number of fatalities to the overall yearly total of road deaths because many single-vehicle crashes involve rollovers. Rollovers are by far the most deadly type of car accident; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that while rollover crashes only comprise about two percent of the yearly total, they are responsible for as much as 35 percent of the fatalities.

Even in those single-vehicle crashes which are not rollover in nature, the injury and fatality count can be high. Many are head-on collisions, like the crash on West Hausman Road, which often leads to whiplash and brain injuries, though fewer fatalities than rollover accidents occur. In 2017, Texas was second in the U.S. in the number of single-vehicle crash deaths (1,863), which made up exactly half of the state’s total road deaths. If you have been in a single-vehicle accident, it is critical to get checked out immediately, even if you think you have escaped unscathed.

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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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