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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

b2ap3_thumbnail_truck-crash_20190215-225819_1.jpgRecently, the northbound lanes of SH-130 were blocked near Manor, just south of Highway 290, after an 18-wheeler overturned. The driver apparently lost control of the empty truck and it rolled, which also caused a rupture of one of its fuel tanks. The driver was hospitalized, and Austin firefighter and hazmat crews were able to contain the scene to ensure no explosions occurred. While this accident was contained, with only the truck driver sustaining injuries, sometimes innocent drivers will be caught in the crossfire. If this happens to you, it is important to understand your rights and understand whether or not you have a claim to compensation.

Serious Injuries and Fatalities Result

Because of the sheer weight involved when a truck crashes, the likelihood of injury or death is greater, as a general rule, than in accidents involving two smaller vehicles, such as automobiles or pickup trucks. Even when an 18-wheeler’s trailer is empty, the body of the truck is capable of inflicting crushing damage on you and your vehicle in certain types of accidents. Some of the most common types of injuries from trucking accidents include whiplash and other soft tissue damage, brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal injuries.

There are just as many potential causes for truck accidents as there are injuries, especially in urban areas - approximately one-fourth of all truck crashes occur on international highways. Many can be traced back to driver distraction or being physically compromised; for example, it is not uncommon for truckers to be pushed beyond the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s guidelines for maximum hours, which can lead to sleep deprivation and impaired driving. Other common reasons include substance abuse, improper maintenance of the truck, speeding and other unsafe driving practices, and poorly maintained roads.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_motorcycle-crash_20190215-224805_1.jpgRecently, a man on a motorcycle ran a red light going north on South General McMullen Drive and then promptly collided with a dark-colored pickup truck. The motorcyclist was taken to University Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased. While this accident appears to have occurred due to the motorcyclist’s reckless driving, sometimes a motorcyclist can sustain grievous injuries in an accident that is no fault of their own. If you have been in a motorcycle crash and been harmed due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation that can help cover your medical bills.

Motorcyclists Are In Danger on the Open Road

While statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show a drop in the number of motorcyclist fatalities between 2016-2017 (the most recent available data), the number of motorcycle riders killed in accidents in 2017 is still over 5,000 people. This number is proportionally higher than the number of auto passengers killed in crashes - stats estimate that motorcyclists are a whopping 28 times more likely to die in a crash than a passenger car occupant, primarily because motorcyclists simply do not have as much protection between them and the road.

There are, unfortunately, trends that show some motorcyclists add to their own danger on the road. Many do not wear helmets (Texas does not require them for those over 21, but data has shown their ability to save lives), or speed recklessly. Another disturbing trend that also contributes to motorcyclist fatalities is alcohol usage. The NHTSA found that approximately one-fourth of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes showed signs of being ‘alcohol-impaired’ - as one might imagine, driving any type of vehicle while intoxicated will cause one’s risk for an accident to skyrocket.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_rollover_20190215-172143_1.jpgRecently, a young Dripping Springs man was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, after his car rolled over on Hamilton Pool Road. Lake Travis and Bee Cave police responded. Two men who happened to be passing played an integral role in getting the flaming vehicle upright, as well as extricating the driver from the flames, which is thought to have saved his life. While this young man appears to have been lucky, rollover crashes are among the most deadly types, and living through one can leave someone with significant medical bills. You may be able to seek compensation for yours if you believe that the accident was caused by another person’s negligent conduct.

Statistics Show Disproportionate Danger

Statistics from SaferCar, an initiative run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), show that while rollovers make up a relatively small portion of car accidents each year (roughly 2.1 percent), that small number of accidents was responsible for almost 35 percent of all traffic accident deaths in the most recent data studied. Rollover accidents, especially multi-vehicle rollovers, have the tendency to be deadly because of the sheer weight and volume of matter being thrown around, and the extravagant way in which the vehicle can change position - if a car flips end over end, for example, it will understandably cause far more damage to anyone inside the vehicle than, say, a sideswipe collision.

Data from the NHTSA also shows, however, that in many rollovers, the occupants of the vehicle neglect to wear seat belts, which certainly adds to the fatality count. Without a seat belt, any damage done to the vehicle is acted upon the person in its cab, as one might guess; while restraints might not necessarily entirely protect someone from injury, statistics show a much lower proportion of belted drivers losing their lives in rollovers than those who neglected to buckle up.

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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.

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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.

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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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