The Bettersworth Law Firm

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS! CALL NOW!

Call Us830-606-0404   888-392-0039

New Braunfels San Marcos San Antonio Sequin Austin
Recent blog posts

Posted on in Car Wrecks

b2ap3_thumbnail_bike-crash.jpgA bicyclist was recently struck and killed by a drunk driver near I-10 and The Dominion. The deceased was an older man, who had been in a marked bicycle lane, wearing a helmet and otherwise taking all the necessary precautions, but a woman driving a white SUV struck him from the side and he died at the scene. These types of bicycling accidents are not common, per se, but they are more common than they should be, especially since it is fairly obvious that a bicyclist is not going to be as well protected in a crash as the driver or passenger of an automobile. If you have been struck by a reckless or negligent driver, you may be able to bring suit against them to try and recover for any medical expenses you may sustain.

Texas Bike Laws Insufficient

Despite having such a large population, Texas does not have many laws in place which protect bicyclists specifically. A few are on the books - for example, Texas has laws against “dooring,” which is suddenly opening a car door without properly checking for cyclists or anyone else in the bicycle lane. Also, Texas does define a ‘vehicle’ in such a way as to include bicyclists, which grants them both the rights and duties of any other driver. However, many other regulations could be in effect, and Texas either chooses to ignore them or to leave them to the cities to pass individually.

For example, some states have what is called a safe passing law - requiring motorists to leave space, usually at least three feet, when passing a bicyclist, so the bicyclist does not have to correct course or react hastily to avoid the passing car. Texas has no safe passing law. Cities like San Antonio, New Braunfels, and El Paso have their own city ordinances for this, but enforcement may not be as widespread. The same pattern is true with laws regarding bicycle helmet use - no statewide requirement exists, though many cities have passed helmet laws both for children and adults.

...

TX injury lawyerA woman was recently struck in a hit-and-run accident on San Antonio’s south side. She and her boyfriend were crossing the intersection of South Zarzamora and West Gerald Avenue when a black vehicle struck her and sped away, failing to stop and render aid at the scene. She was taken to University Hospital and expected to recover from her injuries, but definitely, not everyone who is involved in a hit-and-run is so lucky. Fortunately, Texas laws on hit-and-run accidents are clear and can work in your favor to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

Failing to Stop Is a Crime

The Texas Transportation Code sets out what one has to do in the event of a hit-and-run accident, depending on what level of damage or bodily injury was sustained. If any kind of damage was sustained, either to a person or to property, the driver must stop and render aid, or be guilty of a crime - a felony if injury or death has resulted, and a misdemeanor if property damage was the outcome. It is important to recognize this - in many states, failing to stop and render aid is a civil infraction - in Texas, it is a crime.

It is important, however, to note that a driver who does make a report - that is, admits to striking someone with their car or causing property damage - is protected from that report being used as evidence against them in civil court. Texas permits this small protection so as to encourage more motorists and pedestrians to file reports if accidents do happen. The state’s public policy wants more drivers to come forward, and while a driver can be sued in civil court if they do so, it is still a favorable policy outcome since more crime victims are able to have closure.

...

TX accident lawyerThe intersection of Braker Lane and I-35 in north Austin has seen 66 crashes in the last five years, according to the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), and the Department is set to try and remedy this issue. $1.25 billion in improvements will be made to the intersection over the next handful of months, including ADA-accessible curb cuts, improved pedestrian crossings, and the possibility of an extended median that would eliminate left turns into some of the retail parking, potentially cutting down on blind-corner accidents.

Road Improvements Mean Fewer Crashes

Despite the fact that construction can be annoying and difficult to navigate around for people in the area, the changes to the Braker Lane area are being made in order to minimize accidents, which have spiked after retail moved into the area. Because there are so many businesses and so much traffic at that intersection that was not there perhaps five years ago, the traffic demands have outpaced the lots’ and traffic lights’ ability to regulate it. Thus, ATD is using funds from the 2016 Mobility Bond to both regulate traffic and improve overall accessibility to the area, especially in specific improvements that will help the city comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

In particular, median extensions like the one planned for Braker Lane are thought to make a significant difference in the number of traffic accidents at a specific intersection. Statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation, citing the Federal Highway Administration, estimate that the intersection crash rate on divided highways is only 24 percent of the rate on undivided highways, and also show that on roads that see less than 24,000 vehicles per day, reducing ‘unrestricted’ left turns is generally a major key to reducing crashes overall.

...

Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerRecently one person was killed in a crash near Coupland, at the intersection of FM 973 and Richland Road. The crash involved two vehicles, with one being fully engulfed in flames when Travis County sheriff’s personnel arrived at the scene. While very little is known about the deceased, it is worth asking whether or not something in the design of the vehicle contributed to its catching on fire as a result of the impact. While car accidents are distressingly common, vehicles bursting into flames are much less so, and understanding all possibilities can keep you a bit safer from harm if you can see it coming.

Negligence vs. Product Liability

All motorists on Texas roads owe each other a duty to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicles. Normally, in most auto accident cases, a plaintiff sues a defendant for allegedly breaching that duty - this is known as the legal theory of negligence. In a negligence case, a plaintiff must show that duty has been breached, and must also show that they suffered harm because of it that was directly due to the defendant’s conduct, with no other supervening cause in between.

By comparison, product liability cases can often be much more complex. In these types of cases, a plaintiff must establish either that the product had an inherent design defect, that there was a defect in manufacturing this particular product, or that the manufacturer failed to warn of any dangers in use of the product that are not obvious. Texas law on product liability can be particularly strict, especially in defective design claims, because unlike in many other states, plaintiffs are required to establish that a safer alternative design existed - which can be very difficult in most cases.

...

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.

...

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

Texas Trial Lawyesr Association State Bar of Texas San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association
Back to Top