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TX accident attorneyAustin police have recently released more information on a July 14 crash that killed a pedestrian on I-35, in the 300 block of the interstate. A 43-year old man was crossing the street when he was struck by an SUV. He was pronounced dead at the scene, though the driver of the SUV did stop to render aid. If you are unfortunate enough to be struck by a vehicle while crossing a street, be aware that you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and for lost wages.

Texas Metro Areas Are Hazardous To Pedestrians

Statistics show that metropolitan areas are disproportionately hazardous to pedestrians, especially those over the age of 65 - the Centers for Disease Control estimate that 15 percent of all pedestrians injured in 2015 were elderly, as were approximately 20 percent of 2016’s pedestrian fatalities. The think tank Smart Growth America ranks metropolitan areas, giving each a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranks at #21 on the list (second in Texas; the first was McAllen-Edinburg-Mission).

The PDI of a metropolitan area in the Smart Growth study is calculated by using numerous factors, including injury and fatality rates per year, as well as the number of vehicles on the roads on average, to estimate just how hazardous it can be for a pedestrian to walk or cycle in the area. External factors are also noted - for example, poorly designed streets, missing or broken infrastructure like streetlamps and crosswalks, and crime rates. Several Texas cities, San Antonio included, are not safe for pedestrians.

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TX accident lawyerCommuters on westbound I-90 experienced a very unusual phenomenon on April 23; a road collapse resulting from a failed sewer pipe close to Hunt Lane. The main lanes were closed for three days. As of this writing, no injuries or deaths were reported in the collapse, but it is worth mentioning that had there been, those injured might have had a difficult time bringing suit to try and recover for their injuries. If you are injured in an accident resulting from poorly maintained or dangerous roads, there are very specific times when an injured person can sue a governmental entity.

Sovereign Immunity May Apply

Whenever the government is implicated in a personal injury lawsuit, a principle called sovereign immunity is implicated. Sovereign immunity is a principle dating back to English common law (on which U.S. law is based) that basically holds the government - or at that time, the sovereign - immune from being sued, because their attention should be on the enforcement of laws and running the government, rather than defending itself from every perceived grievance. As many other states do, Texas has its own sovereign immunity statute, called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA).

Sovereign immunity was absolute back in England - this is not the case in the U.S. nowadays, and definitely not in Texas. The TTCA has specific exceptions to sovereign immunity, meaning that it illustrates situations where the doctrine does not apply and an individual can bring suit against governmental entities - thus, for example, if someone were injured due to the sewer pipe’s collapse underneath I-90, they might sue the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for their injuries, if the specifics of the situation fit the TTCA’s criteria.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

b2ap3_thumbnail_truck-crash_20190215-225819_1.jpgRecently, the northbound lanes of SH-130 were blocked near Manor, just south of Highway 290, after an 18-wheeler overturned. The driver apparently lost control of the empty truck and it rolled, which also caused a rupture of one of its fuel tanks. The driver was hospitalized, and Austin firefighter and hazmat crews were able to contain the scene to ensure no explosions occurred. While this accident was contained, with only the truck driver sustaining injuries, sometimes innocent drivers will be caught in the crossfire. If this happens to you, it is important to understand your rights and understand whether or not you have a claim to compensation.

Serious Injuries and Fatalities Result

Because of the sheer weight involved when a truck crashes, the likelihood of injury or death is greater, as a general rule, than in accidents involving two smaller vehicles, such as automobiles or pickup trucks. Even when an 18-wheeler’s trailer is empty, the body of the truck is capable of inflicting crushing damage on you and your vehicle in certain types of accidents. Some of the most common types of injuries from trucking accidents include whiplash and other soft tissue damage, brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal injuries.

There are just as many potential causes for truck accidents as there are injuries, especially in urban areas - approximately one-fourth of all truck crashes occur on international highways. Many can be traced back to driver distraction or being physically compromised; for example, it is not uncommon for truckers to be pushed beyond the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s guidelines for maximum hours, which can lead to sleep deprivation and impaired driving. Other common reasons include substance abuse, improper maintenance of the truck, speeding and other unsafe driving practices, and poorly maintained roads.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerSan Antonio has joined the list of cities offering electric scooter and wheelchair rentals to tourists, but this can and does sometimes lead to more accidents. On October 30, there was one on North St. Mary’s Street, near College Street, where a man on an electric scooter was hit by a car as he attempted to cross the street against traffic. The tourist’s injuries were relatively minor, but if they had been worse, the driver might be in considerable trouble.

Not Much Info on Scooter Accidents

Because of the relative novelty of the phenomenon, there is not much data on the prevalence of scooter accidents. However, anecdotally, everyone seems to have a story of a scooter injury - falling off, being struck, or something else. There are numerous ways that these scooters can be involved in accidents - the vehicle itself can lock up or fail to respond to the rider, pedestrians can be struck or scooter riders can be struck by passing vehicles. Dockless scooters may also pose accessibility restrictions and/or be unforeseen obstacles, especially at nighttime, given their relatively low profile.

The Texas Transportation Code does regulate scooters, among other similar vehicles, despite their appearing in San Antonio and elsewhere relatively recently. There are specific rules that must be followed by riders and by motorists in relation to those on scooters. Most importantly, the law restricts scooters to being ridden only on streets or highways where the speed limit is 35 mph or less and requires them to be ridden as far to the right as possible (except when making a left turn). The statute holds that municipalities may bar their use on sidewalks, and while no regulations exist yet on this topic in San Antonio, city leaders do plan to restrict their use to roads only.

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TX truck accidentOn August 9, I-35 near Georgetown saw a severe crash between two 18-wheelers, causing damage but luckily no injuries. The first appeared to sideswipe the second, getting pinned in between it and the concrete guardrail. While it is unusual for two trucks to wind up pinned together, trucking accidents are sadly too common on Texas freeways, especially near major cities such as Austin.

Truck Wrecks Cause More Deaths

While deaths can occur in any kind of auto accident, truck crashes consistently cause more fatalities than car crashes, simply because there is so much more weight being spread around. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for 2016 shows 4,564 fatalities in 2015 resulting from crashes that involved large trucks or buses - which is approximately 5 percent up from the previous year. If an automobile is involved in an accident with a vehicle the size of the average 18 wheeler, it will get the proverbial short end of the stick, even if the trailer is not loaded - but if it is, it may be even more dangerous.

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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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