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TX injury lawyerOn the night of January 6, 2019, a speeding Dodge Charger T-boned a pickup as it was turning onto FM 78 in San Antonio. The driver of the pickup was killed on impact, going through a steel fence and into a ditch. The driver of the Charger was treated for minor injuries, along with his two passengers, and then taken into custody on a charge of manslaughter. Manslaughter is a criminal charge, but it is not implausible that the family of the pickup driver might bring suit against the driver of the Charger for wrongful death on top of that. Criminal charges lead to jail time for a defendant if found guilty, while a civil suit for wrongful death leads to a defendant being held liable for their actions, and required to pay monetary damages.

Side Impact Collisions Can Be Deadly

According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact collisions led to approximately 24 percent of all passenger vehicle deaths on the road in 2017. Some side-impact collisions can turn into rollovers, which are particularly deadly all on their own (only around 2 percent of all vehicle crashes in 2010 were of the rollover type, but rollovers accounted for almost 35 percent of all crash-related deaths that year), but even if your car does not roll, side impact collisions can cause particular harm.

Side-impact collisions can be deadly, especially for young children, because the protection in a car is mostly congregated at the front and back. Comparatively speaking, there is very little to shield a passenger from a side-impact crash, and it is a large reason why the deaths in a side-impact crash tend to be clustered statistically at the point of impact. Some vehicles do have more protection than others, such as side airbags or side impact bars, but it is still not the same level of protection that frontal and rear crumple zones and airbags provide.

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TX accident lawyerA crash on the afternoon of December 19 caused a fairly significant problem on Loop 1604 in San Antonio, between Stone Oak and Highway 281 - a utility truck was involved in an accident, which then caused it to leak a substantial amount of fuel onto the roadway. While ultimately, no injuries were reported, these types of crashes can be dangerous, and they can also pose complex questions about just who is liable if injuries or fatalities do occur.

Utility Trucks Occupy Unusual Legal Ground

Trucks are grouped under the law by their weight, in most situations. Pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are regulated the same way as automobiles. 18-wheelers and other big rigs are usually overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other authorities that can competently regulate commercial trucking and its nitty-gritty details. Utility trucks very often wind up in the middle, both in terms of weight and in terms of the regulations imposed upon them, and it is because they can differ significantly in terms of size and weight within that classification.

Texas has very few regulations that apply specifically to utility trucks, but many of the most common tend to be treated as pickup trucks - for example, communications companies and landscaping businesses use utility trucks which are retrofitted pickups. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that while they may be the same size as a personal or private vehicle, they are invariably treated as commercial vehicles. This may put their employers on the proverbial hook.

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TX accident lawyerA new highway is opening in Austin in 2019. State Highway 45 Southwest (SH 45 SW) is billed as an “environmentally sensitive” four-lane toll road that will connect MoPac (State Hwy Loop 1) to FM 1626, and in addition to water quality checks and other environmental initiatives designed to keep the nearby region in good shape, it will also boast a wrong-way detection and notification system. While construction is not yet complete, this may be a significant help toward getting Texas’ problem with wrong-way crashes under control.

Wrong-Way Accidents Are Deadly

One might think that wrong-way accidents would be less common than certain other types of car crashes, and they are, but they are much more deadly than the numbers would suggest. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) examined wrong-way driving nationwide in 2012-13, in which statistics showed that wrong-way crashes were much more likely to be fatal - for example, studies in California and Virginia found that wrong-way crashes were between 12 and 27 times more likely to be fatal than other types of accidents, such as side-impact or head-on.

In Texas specifically, the Texas Transportation Institute has visited the question of what causes wrong-way accidents. Perhaps their most notable finding was that in their sample, drivers who had been drinking or engaged in the use of other substances were overrepresented, making up between half and ¾ of the total number of wrong-way drivers examined. While obviously, it is a good idea to try and reduce the number of wrong-way crashes by cracking down on those who drink and drive, the proposed system to be installed on SH 45 SW prefers to take a proactive approach, sending out alerts both to the driver via red lights, and to law enforcement and other motorists via dispatches and TxDOT active signs.

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TX accident attorneyA crash near Elgin on Tuesday morning, December 11, took the lives of three people when a semi-truck failed to yield the right of way as it tried to turn onto Roy Davis Road and struck a Chevy Tahoe. The driver and two passengers in the Tahoe were pronounced dead at the scene, with the truck driver sustaining no reported injuries. This is unfortunately common with regard to accidents involving trucks; the sheer size of the vehicle often protects the driver, while those in smaller vehicles are injured. If you have been through this, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.

Truck Accident Statistics

For roughly the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatal road accidents involving large trucks, up approximately 30 percent from 2009. Injury accidents have also sharply risen since then, going from 60,000 in 2009 to approximately 119,000 in 2016. Texas mirrors this pattern as its cities continue to grow and evolve, though many of its roads do not (tangled traffic is a major cause of auto accidents, and many Texas highways have been recognized as among the most dangerous in the country, especially I-35).

The accident at U.S. 290 and Roy Davis does share some of the most common characteristics of fatal truck accidents, most notably that it occurred during the day, that it occurred on a weekday, and that it occurred on an interstate highway. The significant majority of fatal truck accidents occurred, in the data set, on weekdays during the daylight hours (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), and a significant minority - about one-third - of fatal truck accidents occurred on interstate highways. Also, the first harmful event in this accident was a collision with another vehicle - in other words, no one did anything unlawful or inappropriate until one vehicle struck the other. While this may seem inconsequential, it matters because more common types of accidents are often less difficult for insurance companies to deal with.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX accident lawyerTexas has weather that is often changing, especially during this time of year when rain or even snow can come out of nowhere. If you are in a car crash on Texas roads during the winter months, it is a definite possibility that poor weather or conditions have played a role in the accident occurring. Consulting an experienced attorney well versed in these types of cases is a good idea, as sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether you have a case or not.

Bad Weather Can Be Deadly

Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show very clearly that the risk of having an accident in poor weather is quite serious. “Weather-related” auto accidents in the years studied made up approximately 21 percent of all the crashes that occurred in the United States, and roughly 16 percent of the fatalities. Precipitation and wet pavement were the conditions that consistently impacted the highest number of traffic factors, both for drivers on the roads and for those planning around them. Examples include driver stopping distance and traction, but also traffic signal timing, road treatment strategy (to salt or not to salt?) and the like.

This may not sound like much, but the data averages out to a significant loss of life and overall casualty count, with over 5,000 killed and over 410,000 injured per year. That is a serious amount of potentially avoidable injury, with countless hours of productivity lost. Employers find their workforce tied up at one of the busiest times of the year in many industries. It is incumbent on every driver to exercise due caution when on the road in these types of conditions - however, many simply do not, and if you are injured by one of them, you may be able to make them regret it.

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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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