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TX injury lawyerIn 2017, a young man was struck by a pickup truck and killed while riding his bicycle in Georgetown. The driver was sentenced to two years in prison and 10 months’ probation after pleading to manslaughter and accident involving death. However, due to a peculiarity in Texas law, he was released to mandatory supervision before ever serving any time of his sentence, causing the victim's family serious pain and mental anguish. Now, a bill is before the Texas legislature which would close that loophole. If you are involved in a hit-and-run, it would significantly alter your prospects at sentencing.

Hit-And-Run Is a Crime

In Texas, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, punishable by anywhere between a $500 fine and a 10-year prison sentence, depending on the nature of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident where someone was killed or seriously injured is a third-degree felony. The driver in the above case did leave the scene of the accident, and he could have been found guilty of leaving the scene had he not negotiated a plea deal. The penalties are lesser if your accident only involves minor injury or property damage, but serious injury or death is taken very seriously.

However, even with the sentencing guidelines, Texas law has a loophole depending on how long a person has spent in detention. It is possible for someone who has spent a significant amount of time in pretrial detention to be released into mandatory supervision without ever actually spending any time in prison once they are sentenced. This occurred in this, given the defendant spent almost 400 days in detention before his trial and sentencing. However, the victim's family was never notified.

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TX injury lawyerThe Buena Vista corridor, between 19th St. and Colorado St., has seen 22 car crashes in the past few months. A study was commissioned from Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI), which showed that roughly 8,000 cars travel that particular corridor every day, and on average, each car is traveling above the posted speed limit by 6-8 mph. Given the potential for liability, the city is seeking solutions to make the area safer. If an injured plaintiff could establish that the city has been negligent in allowing Buena Vista to become dangerous, it could lead to significant compensation.

Poor Roads Cause Liability

Most people think of accident lawsuits in the frame of bringing suit against a negligent driver. However, in some cases, it is eminently possible to allege negligence against a company or governmental entity that is tasked with maintaining roads and all their appendices. The specific facts of the situation do matter, as well as the company or government agency that would be in the frame, so to speak. In Texas, lawsuits have been brought over issues like poorly marked potholes, missing guardrails, and inadequate signage.

Most of the time, governments are immune from suits brought by the average taxpayer. This is due to a doctrine called sovereign immunity, which dates back to English common law. The rationale behind sovereign immunity is that if the government was required to defend against every suit brought against it, no time would be left for governing. However, Texas has waived sovereign immunity to a limited extent, allowing certain types of suits under a law called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). Auto accident cases are one of the permissible types of suits.

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TX injury lawyerA crash on TX 130 near Lockhart has claimed one life and injured several others, with one person being hospitalized. As of this writing, details are scant, but apparently, several motorcycles came into contact with an 18-wheeler, crashing and completely shutting down the northbound lanes for several hours. Unfortunately, one motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, which is all too common in accidents involving one larger vehicle and one or more cycles. If you are a motorcyclist, you need to be well aware of the potential dangers facing you, and of what options you have if you are injured.

Motorcyclists Disproportionately Die on the Roads

Statistics show that motorcyclists are vastly overrepresented in road fatalities, dying in crashes almost 28 times more often than automobile drivers and passengers. While there has been a general downturn in motorcyclist injuries and fatalities, there were still approximately 5,000 cyclist deaths due to road accidents in 2017. There are several reasons for this disproportionality, and while some are the fault of cyclists themselves, many are not.

Driver distraction is a major cause of injury and death for motorcyclists, especially in rural areas. One common scenario is turning too far and failing to see a cycle in your blind spot. Another is neglecting to notice a motorcycle in the lane opposite yours, and merging too quickly. Alcohol and drug abuse is another factor in many accidents, though both cyclists and drivers are guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence to varying degrees. Either way, no one deserves to die as a result of negligence.

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TX injury lawyerRecently a driver deliberately struck and injured two pedestrians outside the Well, a bar near I-10, off UTSA Boulevard. Witnesses described one woman being struck, after which her companion jumped on the hood of the car and was then thrown off. Instead of stopping to render aid as required by law, the car sped away, and as of this writing, San Antonio police are still seeking the driver. If you are injured due to being struck by a driver, you have the right to seek compensation from them, and in some cases, they may even be on the proverbial hook for criminal charges.

Texas Law Is Clear

Hit-and-run, called leaving the scene of an accident in Texas, carries serious penalties, and the law is unambiguous about them. Sec. 550.021 of the Texas Transportation Code states that anyone who is involved in an accident that results in (or might reasonably result in) injury or death must (1) immediately stop their vehicle; (2) return to the scene; (3) try to determine if someone else was involved and whether or not they require aid; and (4) render assistance such as giving your information and insurance, as well as potentially summoning help.

If you are involved in an accident where you believe there has been injury or death, you must comply with all four orders laid out in the relevant law. Failure to do so may open you up to civil liability, and in most cases, to criminal charges, especially if someone is killed or seriously injured. In the event of death or serious injury, leaving the scene of an accident is a second or third-degree felony, which carries prison time between 2 and 20 years, with a fine of up to $10,000.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerA serious crash on I-35 N on the night of April 28 has claimed the life of one person. An 18-year-old woman was pronounced dead at University Hospital after the Toyota Yaris she was in was struck from behind by a GMC Sierra, which then caused her car to crash into a Dodge Durango. The driver and other passenger in the Yaris remain at University Hospital in critical condition, though the occupants of the Sierra and Durango escaped injury. While the driver of the Sierra will not face charges as of this writing and did stop to render aid, it is still plausible that the family of the deceased may seek to bring a wrongful death suit against the driver of the Sierra to recover medical bills and funeral expenses.

Wrongful Death Law Is Specific in Texas

Texas’ wrongful death statute sets out very specific requirements and facts that must be met in order to be able to file a wrongful death suit. Perhaps most notably, it stipulates the family members who are permitted to file suit - spouses, parents, and children, both minor and adult. Other family, such as siblings, aunts or uncles, are deemed to have had too remote a family relationship, rightly or wrongly. It also states that certain conduct is excepted from the statute; most notably, the right of action for wrongful death does not apply to an unborn child except in the rarest circumstances.

There are two types of wrongful death suits, but only one may be brought by the family. A survival action is a type of wrongful death case, but in Texas, it refers to a cause of action that the deceased had mounted before their passing. For example, if the deceased person had been suing someone over a property dispute, that action would survive under the personal representative of that person’s estate. But only the personal representative has the authority to maintain such an action.

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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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