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TX injury lawyerThe morning of October 1 saw traffic slowing noticeably on Highway 281 near Bitters Road, due to an accident involving a VIA bus, a pickup, and an automobile. While the accident was characterized as ‘major,’ what immediately occurred was not disclosed by law enforcement. Still, the relative scarcity of bus accidents still means that the event is worth marking because when bus accidents do occur, they can be devastating. Yet so few people understand how best to seek compensation for any injuries they sustain.

Buses Are Not Cars

Buses, especially those owned or operated by government agencies, occupy their own special place in Texas law. Certain requirements, such as insurance coverage (generally, those buses that carry 15 passengers or fewer have to carry less insurance than those who carry more) and duty of care toward their passengers, hinge upon how many a bus can carry and in what context. For example, the regulations covering chartered buses, such as those for casinos or churches, are very different than those surrounding city buses or school buses owned by cities and counties. Understanding the difference matters in an accident situation.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerOn October 3, a man was killed after he tried to pass an 18-wheeler on I-35, winding up going under the vehicle on the right side. The car wound up coming to a stop just off the Manor Road exit, after sustaining severe damage. The driver was found deceased in the car. While there are no charges pending against the truck driver, this type of accident does illustrate how easy it is to misjudge distances and speeds when dealing with large trucks, and how it can be very easy for either you or the trucker to make a mistake. If you are involved in an accident with a big rig, understanding your options is a good idea going forward.

Numerous Causes of Accidents

If one examines statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), one can see that in approximately 5,430 fatal crashes in 2017, 433 (approximately 8 percent) involved semi-trucks or trucks with trailers. For injury crashes, the number lowers - of approximately 135,934 crashes involving injury, 3,325 involved big rigs (approximately 2 percent). It may not sound like much, but only passenger cars (including pickup trucks and SUVs) and motorcycles were responsible for more. Across these categories, one can infer numerous causes - for example, a lower percentage of injury crashes involve large trucks because the accidents involving large trucks tend to be more serious (thus, causing more fatalities than injuries).

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TX injury lawyerDuring the last weekend of September, a hit-and-run accident on Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander left one motorcyclist dead, and the driver missing. According to law enforcement, the truck turned into the path of the motorcyclist, who was headed southbound, and the cycle hit the rear part of the truck, which caused the rider to be thrown. The truck did not stop to assist the injured man, instead choosing to drive on. There are multiple things that might breed a cause of action in this story, especially for the family of the deceased motorcyclist, as they seek compensation that could somehow even partially mitigate the loss of their loved one.

Failure to Stop and Render Aid Is a Crime

Motorcyclists are in some danger while on the roads, even if they operate their vehicle perfectly, simply because they lack the protection and the weight that automobiles have, and this, unfortunately, translates to injury and fatality statistics - on average, around 500 motorcyclists per year are killed in auto accidents on Texas roads, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). While this obviously does not excuse reckless or negligent driving or other actions, it is worth remarking on how an action that can be lethal against a motorcyclist might cause an automobile’s driver mere irritation. If an accident occurs, it is the responsibility of both vehicles involved to stop and render aid to anyone hurt.

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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX injury lawyerWhen a person is involved in a truck accident, there are multiple potential reasons why it might have happened. Many of them can be attributable to driver error, meaning that the driver is the one who should, in theory, be liable. However, a truck driver may not always have the funds to be able to meet the amount of a jury award. It begs the question of whether it is worth the time to sue the driver or to seek compensation elsewhere.

Causes of Truck Accidents Are Disparate

Recent available data shows that approximately 4,400 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal accidents nationwide in 2016, with as many as 73 percent of those crashes being at least partially initiated by encroachment into the truck’s path. However, if one breaks down those stats, one will see a host of different events that may play a role in truck crashes - distraction, substance abuse, reckless driving, lack of sleep or otherwise poor reaction times, and so on. In addition, there are multiple other potential causes that can be attributed to other actors besides driver error, such as poor road maintenance.

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TX injury lawyerOn the night of September 17, a truck crash pulled power lines down all across Bee Caves Road, closing the road and causing a power outage up and down Loop 360. While there were complaints about traffic blockages, the road remained closed until the middle of the day on Tuesday, the 18th, with Austin Energy and law enforcement wanting to ensure a thorough job was done on both the accident investigation and the repairs. It is to their credit that this was done because any failure could have opened both the company and the City of Austin to liability for injuries if any had resulted from the downed power lines.

Hard to Sue Governmental Entities

Normally, if someone is injured in an accident where the cause is traceable to another person’s (or company’s) negligence, the injured person would sue the other in civil court. However, governmental entities are a different matter, because they enjoy protection - and sometimes, complete immunity - from civil suits by residents of the state, under a principle called sovereign immunity. Both Austin Energy and the Texas Department of Transportation are publicly owned entities, which means that they are part of local and state governments, and would thus be covered by Texas’ sovereign immunity laws. Sovereign immunity law is based on the idea that if every citizen wronged by the state were permitted to sue, the state would have neither time nor money enough to govern.

Thus, in a state where sovereign immunity was total, someone who was injured as a result of the downed power lines might allege that Austin Energy did not work hard enough or fast enough to correct the problem, thus leading to their injury, and the state might conceivably have to pay damages. However, if someone truly was injured in such a fashion and the suit was denied, the injured person might be stuck with thousands in medical bills. Neither is an optimal situation.

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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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