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TX accident lawyerIn a recent Texas car accident, the driver of a passenger vehicle collided with an ambulance operated by the San Antonio Fire Department, resulting in injuries to the patient who was being transported. Accidents involving ambulances and other emergency vehicles are somewhat frequent, and they can result in serious injuries to both occupants of the emergency vehicle and the other vehicles involved. It is often possible for injury victims to recover compensation for damages, but these cases can be especially complicated.

The Complexities of Liability in an Emergency Vehicle Accident

The process of obtaining compensation for injuries in an emergency vehicle crash can vary substantially depending on who is responsible for the accident. If the occupant of an ambulance is injured and the driver of another vehicle is found to be at fault, the personal injury claim may proceed similarly to how it would in an accident between passenger vehicles. It will be important for the victim to have evidence of the other driver’s negligence, perhaps due to a failure to yield to the emergency vehicle, or other unsafe behavior such as speeding, drunk driving, or distracted driving.

However, the case will likely be more complicated if the victim had pre-existing injuries before the crash (hence the need for an ambulance). It may be important to document new injuries from the crash, as well as injuries that were exacerbated by the crash. A personal injury claim could also potentially seek damages for a delay in necessary emergency treatment caused by the crash.

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TX accident lawyerRoad improvements in late 2018 were meant to streamline traffic in Helotes, but residents at a town hall meeting on June 10, 2019, were airing some troubling concerns. More specifically, residents and local workers informed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representative present at the meeting that far from streamlining traffic, the finished construction project created what is essentially a blind curve at the intersection of FM 1560 and Bandera Road, as well as a near-blind intersection at FM 1560 and Riggs Road, nearby. If you are involved in an accident of this type, that can be attributed to poor city planning, it is possible to win compensation for your injuries, but it can be difficult without an experienced attorney to help.

Government Liability for Accidents Is Specific

Road accidents happen every day, and while most of them are due to the negligence of one or more drivers involved, there is a subset of car crashes that happen as a direct result of poor road maintenance or planning. Road maintenance issues like potholes, missing guardrails or signs, poor drainage, or unmarked drop-offs can sometimes even be a result of poor planning - for example, using the wrong grade of concrete or other materials can lead to an uneven surface to drive on, or it can upset the water table to the point where signs or lights cannot be installed.

There are also other potential road safety issues that can plausibly be laid at the door of the entity that handles the maintenance for that particular thoroughfare. For example, construction zones often create safety issues through lack of signs, lights, or other clear markings - TxDOT data reports just over 27,000 crashes in work zones in 2017. Another common cause of traffic crashes is debris on the road - for example, items falling off trucks or natural debris like rocks or dirt. The maintaining entity has a duty to clear the road as soon as possible, and sometimes this simply does not happen.

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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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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerIn early December, a school bus belonging to the Northside Independent School District (NISD) was struck as part of a four-vehicle crash on Babcock Road, near Wurzbach Road. An SUV struck the bus and was in turn struck by two other vehicles, pushing the bus on top of a gas main, which warranted a partial evacuation of the nearby area. The bus did have passengers, but none of the 11 children on board was injured, nor was the driver. Thankfully, no injuries or fatalities were sustained, but with school buses, accidents can be devastating. If you or a loved one have been in a bus accident, it can be very confusing to try and seek compensation for your injuries.

Finding Fault

One thing that must be kept in mind after a school bus accident in Texas is that just because your child might have sustained an injury on a school bus, it does not mean that the school or the driver are responsible for that injury. Children are children, and sometimes injuries and accidents do happen. The injury is only compensable if your child was injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness (or, obviously, if someone else intentionally sought to injure them). If it can be shown that your child was injured because someone else’s actions were negligent or reckless, however, you may have a claim against the driver, the school, the bus manufacturer, or another actor, depending on the specifics of the situation.

The majority of school bus accidents that are held to involve negligence will generally get laid at the door of the school bus driver, who is the most likely person in most situations. However, if the school bus driver is acting within the scope of their employment, the driver’s employer (the school district, in most cases) will almost always be pulled into the case, because of a common-law doctrine called respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Texas law holds that as long as an employee is engaged in work within their “general authority,” and “for the accomplishment of the object for which the employee was hired,” their employer may be held vicariously liable.

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TX injury lawyerA school bus was struck by an 18-wheeler on October 25, causing injuries but no deaths. The crash occurred on Highway 71 at Tucker Hill Lane, just outside of Austin, where the truck driver ran through a red light - surveillance video from a nearby gas station shows the accident and showed the truck clearly failing to stop. The bus driver and 9 students were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, though the exact extent of the damage remains unknown as of this writing. While school bus accidents are rare, parents should know that if their child is injured, it is possible to try to hold someone liable for the accident.

Bus Drivers Have Rules

There are multiple potential causes of school bus accidents, though the cause of the Hwy 71 crash appears apparent enough. Many of them usually have to do with bus driver error (yes, even school bus drivers) - speeding, driving recklessly, such as going too fast in inclement weather, and alcohol or drug abuse can all contribute. Other causes may include poorly maintained roads (especially with a large vehicle like a school bus, a pothole can cause problems).

School buses have heightened duties with regard to the duty of care owed to passengers. While drivers must meet specific requirements in order to be licensed and certified, school buses are also classified in general as common carriers in Texas (the state follows the common law classifications for such things). A common carrier is a commercial company or entity paid to transport goods or people, who is then responsible for the well-being of the transport. If someone suffers an injury while using a common carrier like a school bus, they may be able to receive additional compensation above what they might otherwise, just because a common carrier has a higher duty it is supposed to uphold.

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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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