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TX accident lawyerIn late November, a 3-year-old child was killed when the car he was riding in collided with another vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, child injuries and fatalities are all too common in car accidents, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting that over 97,000 children age 12 or younger are injured and over 600 are killed in the U.S. each year. Ensuring the safety of your children while on the road is of the utmost importance, as is knowing what to do if they are injured.

Promoting the Safety of Child Passengers

Although you cannot control the behavior of another driver, you can control the safety measures you take to protect your children from car accident injuries. Some of the most important steps you can take include:

  • Make sure your children are properly secured. According to the CDC, one-third of child fatalities in car accidents occur when the child is improperly restrained. Ensuring that your child always wears a seat belt can significantly reduce injury risk, but depending on your child’s age, a seat belt alone may be insufficient. For example, the CDC recommends that children under the age of 4 be secured in a rear-facing car seat and that a front-facing car seat or booster seat should be used until a seat belt fits your child properly.
  • Keep your children in the back seat. The CDC also recommends that children under the age of 12 ride in the back seat of your vehicle, in the middle if possible. Passengers in the front seat or near the outside of a vehicle are at greater risk of injury, and front passenger airbags can also be dangerous to young children.
  • Avoid driving with your children after drinking alcohol. Around 20 percent of child passenger fatalities result from accidents involving drunk drivers, often the driver of the vehicle in which the child is traveling. Driving under the influence is dangerous under any circumstance, but when your children are involved, you are putting more than your own life at risk.

Personal Injury Claims for Minors in Texas

If your child is injured in a car accident, you can file a personal injury claim on his or her behalf. With the assistance of an attorney, you can work to obtain compensation for your child’s medical expenses and other damages and to ensure that the case is settled or resolved in your child’s best interests.

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TX accident lawyerIn Austin, a woman was recently killed when she was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the road at a crosswalk. This unfortunate incident serves as an example of the fact that despite Texas traffic laws aimed at protecting pedestrians, accidents still occur and leave victims and their families struggling to recover.

What Does Texas Traffic Law Say About Pedestrians?

In Texas, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing at a crosswalk with a walk signal, or at a crosswalk for which no signal is in place if the pedestrian is on or closely approaching the side of the road on which the driver is traveling. In general, drivers are also required to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian. Failure to follow these traffic laws may justify a claim of negligence if it results in injury to a pedestrian.

Contributing Factors in Pedestrian Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nationwide, more pedestrians died in car accidents in 2018 than in any year since 1990. Some of the factors associated with pedestrian accidents include:

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TX crash lawyerOn August 10, an 80-year-old woman was driving through the intersection of Bradbury Lane and Dessau Road when she was struck by a Nissan Armada traveling through the same intersection. It took law enforcement roughly two weeks to identify the deceased woman, but eventually, they were successful. The crash marked Austin’s 58th traffic fatality in 2020, which is a notable rise from the previous year. There does not appear to be any indication that the deceased woman’s family intends to file suit against the other driver, but if they did, they might conceivably be able to file a claim for wrongful death under Texas law.

File Your Suit ASAP

When someone dies in a traffic accident, it can sometimes be merely a tragic mistake. However, if someone dies due to the negligence, wrongful act, or carelessness of another person, their death is considered wrongful under Texas law (if the connection between the death and the other person’s actions can be proven). A finding of wrongful death can result in financial liability for the defendant, both for tangible expenses like funeral costs and for intangible damages like mental anguish or pain and suffering.

Be advised that if you are in a situation where you believe it may be a good idea to file a wrongful death suit, you have a very short window of time to do it. Texas law allows only two years from the death of the person in which you can file suit - in other words, if you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, you must file your wrongful death suit within two years of their passing, Any longer and witnesses become unreliable, while physical evidence will be forgotten or lost.

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TC crash lawyerRecently, a four-vehicle crash on the southeast side of San Antonio killed one woman after a man driving a stolen car struck three cars as he ran through a red light. The man ignored a red light and drove a stolen Toyota RAV4 into a Ford Focus, which triggered a chain reaction with two other cars. One of the drivers of the other cars was hospitalized after the crash, only to eventually die from her injuries. The man has been charged with murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and theft of a vehicle - but one may wonder why the man is facing criminal charges, while many who accidentally cause the death of another person face only civil liability.

Homicide vs. Wrongful Death

When someone dies due to another person’s actions, it may result in either civil liability, criminal guilt, or both. The general principle is that while homicide may fall under the umbrella of wrongful death, not every wrongful death rises to the level of homicide. Texas law defines homicide as causing the death of another individual “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence.” Conversely, wrongful death is when someone’s death is due to another person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”

While negligence or carelessness is a standard that implies a lack of care on the part of the defendant, it is not the same as acting recklessly or with intentional malice. In short, while wrongful death and most other civil torts require a showing that the defendant did not act with sufficient care, crimes usually involve the defendant acting with no care at all. The man in the story from above cannot be said to have acted with any degree of care with regard to the safety of the other occupants of the vehicles he struck - thus his being charged with murder and other crimes.

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TX wrongful death attorneyA 24-year-old Austin man was killed in a car accident on the night of July 16, when the Cadillac STS he was riding in crossed the centerline of FM 1438 and struck two other vehicles. The accident occurred around 9:40 PM, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, though another driver, a 61-year old Lago Vista man, died later at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center. If someone loses a loved one, they may be able to recover monetary compensation, for both the tangible and the intangible, and if the man had been killed in an accident by the negligence of another driver, his family could seek significant damages. The man was an up-and-coming boxer who won the World Boxing Council-NABF Super-Welterweight title in January and had aspirations to higher titles.

You Must File Quickly

The Texas Wrongful Death Act says that the surviving family of a deceased person may seek compensation from a defendant if it can be shown that the deceased person died because of the defendant’s “wrongful act, negligence, carelessness” or any conduct where it can be shown that they failed to exercise reasonable care. Only the surviving family of the deceased person may file suit - generally parents, children, and the surviving spouse - though the personal representative of the estate can do so if the family has not filed within a certain time frame (usually 90 days).

The time frame in which you must file a wrongful death suit is relatively slim; you have only two years in which to bring suit. This can sound like a very long time, but in reality, it is quite short; notice has to be given to the other side, and time must be taken to build an appropriate case. If you fail to file, your suit is forever barred, which many people do not realize until it is too late. It can be easy to let the limitation slip your mind when you are dealing with grieving and winding up the deceased person’s affairs, but it is crucial not to let this happen.

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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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