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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.

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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.

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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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TX injury lawyerBecause of Texas’ routinely mild weather, there is almost no dip in the number of motorcycles on the road during the winter. However, many drivers operate their vehicles as though they think there should be, which can make the road more dangerous both for cyclists and for auto drivers alike. If you have been in an accident with a motorcyclist, it is important to accurately reflect on whose behavior might be to blame, and to what degree you might be precluded from seeking compensation for your injuries.

Motorcyclists in Greater Danger on The Road

Because of a lack of protection between them and the road, motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured or killed in an accident, especially on a major road or freeway. Statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimate around 500 motorcyclists killed in 2017. While the TxDOT statistics explicitly mention that just over half (52 percent) were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident, this is only one factor in the elevated fatality risk for cyclists.

Statistics and anecdotal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) preach the need for motorcycle awareness, both in the abstract and quite literally. Motorcycles are significantly smaller than cars and trucks, and very often they are painted dark colors - both of which can make a motorcyclist all but invisible even in good weather. Even when they are visible to the eye, however, many drivers simply do not factor them into their calculations while driving - for example, when to turn, how wide to turn, how close or distant to follow, and so on. This type of neglect can lead to accidents and fatalities for all involved.

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

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