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TX injury lawyerInjuries from car crashes and other accidents often have a major impact on all areas of a person’s life, including their finances, their physical and mental health, their work, and their personal relationships. Texas law recognizes the many hardships that injuries can bring, and when those injuries are caused by another person’s negligence, victims can pursue compensation for a range of damages. While money cannot reverse all of the effects of injuries, it is often the best way for an injury victim to obtain the relief they need to move forward with their life.

What Damages Can an Injury Victim Pursue in Texas?

In Texas, damages available through a personal injury claim generally fall into three categories. Two of those, economic and noneconomic damages, are often referred to together as compensatory damages, and they are quite commonly awarded. The third category, known as exemplary damages, is less common, as it requires a higher standard of proof. As you prepare to file an injury claim, here is what you should know about each category:

  • Economic damages refer to financial costs and losses related to the injury, and they are a part of every personal injury case. Most commonly, they include the costs of all of the victim’s medical expenses, including emergency and hospital care, surgery, medication, and rehabilitation. Economic damages can also include damage to the victim’s vehicle or other property, as well as lost income due to missed time from work or long-term disability. It is important to keep detailed records of all expenses related to your injury so that you have support for the compensation you are seeking.
  • Noneconomic damages refer to negative effects of the injuries that do not have a clear financial value. This includes physical and mental pain and suffering, permanent scarring or disfigurement, inconvenience in the victim’s daily life, and the loss of personal relationships and enjoyment of life. Testimony from the victim, their friends and family, and health professionals can help to make the case for noneconomic damages, and an attorney can help to determine and negotiate for an appropriate amount based on the nature of the case.
  • Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are meant to penalize the negligent party rather than compensate the victim for losses. In personal injury cases, they are typically only awarded when the victim can demonstrate malice or gross negligence on the part of the defendant, and they are usually limited to a maximum of $200,000 or a figure calculated using the amount of compensatory damages awarded. However, this limit does not apply to cases involving intoxication assault, or manslaughter.

Contact a New Braunfels, TX Personal Injury Lawyer

At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to advise you on the appropriate amount to pursue all relevant damages and to negotiate or litigate aggressively on your behalf to achieve a fair result. Contact a New Braunfels personal injury attorney today at 830-606-0404 for a free consultation.

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TX accident lawyerEach year in Texas, around 15,000 people suffer serious, incapacitating injuries in car accidents, leaving them temporarily or permanently unable to walk or perform other activities as they did before the crash. Some of the most severe incapacitating injuries involve damage to the victim’s spinal cord. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.

Physical Limitations From Spinal Cord Injuries

In a car crash, spinal cord injuries are most likely to happen due to the crushing force of the collision between vehicles, or subsequent impacts when a vehicle enters a rollover or a driver or passenger is ejected from the vehicle. Because the spinal cord contains nerves that control a wide range of bodily functions, damage to the spinal cord can have far-reaching physical effects. These include:

  • Pain and stinging - Lesser nerve damage may initially result in sharp pains and intense discomfort.
  • Numbness and loss of sensation - Serious damage to the spinal cord can result in decreased sensitivity to touch and temperature, and in some cases, a total loss of feeling in the body parts affected.
  • Paralysis - Severe spinal cord injuries may also limit a person’s motor abilities, in some cases causing total paralysis from the neck or waist down.
  • Impairment of internal organs and body systems - The effects of spinal cord injuries can extend to the digestive, urinary, circulatory, and respiratory systems.

Spinal cord damage is very difficult to reverse, but it is possible to prevent further damage by seeking immediate medical attention after an accident and avoiding movement until medical professionals arrive to ensure you are safely transported to a hospital.

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TX accident lawyerProperly wearing a seat belt is one of the most important things that drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves from serious injuries in the event of a car crash. Vehicle occupants who are not securely restrained are more likely to suffer injuries in a secondary collision, meaning an impact that occurs after the initial collision with another vehicle. This includes injuries from colliding with parts of the vehicle in which the person is traveling, as well as objects outside of the vehicle after being ejected.

You may be aware of the increased injury risks associated with not wearing a seatbelt, but it may not be as clear that it can also result in legal consequences, including an impact on the compensation you can recover if you are injured in a crash with another driver. It is important to understand Texas law regarding seat belt use and to work with an attorney who can advise you regarding its impact on your case.

What Does Texas Law Say About Seat Belt Use?

With few exceptions, Texas law requires all motor vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt or be otherwise properly restrained. It is a misdemeanor offense for anyone who is at least 15 years old to ride in a vehicle without a seatbelt, and it is also an offense for a driver to allow minor passengers to ride in their vehicle without proper restraints.

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TX injury lawyerIn most cases, the driver of a vehicle bears full responsibility for operating the vehicle safely and upholding their duty of care to other people on the road, and in the event of an accident, a negligent driver is often liable for any resulting injuries. However, sometimes a driver is influenced by the behavior of a passenger to the extent that there is a question of whether the passenger may be partially or even fully liable. In San Antonio, a recent accident, in which a fighting driver and passenger collided with a police car, illustrates the possible complexities of driver and passenger contributions to a crash. If you have been injured in a car wreck and you believe a passenger may have contributed, it can affect your options for recovering compensation.

Passengers and Distracted Driving

According to a 2018 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passengers are a significant source of distracted driving, which may result in the driver causing an accident. Passenger distractions could be as simple as a conversation that removes the driver’s focus from the road, or the behavior of children in the back seat that requires the driver’s attention.

However, some forms of passenger distraction or influence on the driver can be especially harmful. For example, a passenger could attempt to grab the steering wheel or interfere with other vehicle controls, physically attack or threaten the driver, or encourage or pressure the driver into risky behavior.

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TX accident lawyerIt can be difficult to understand what would lead a driver to travel the wrong way on a divided highway, but unfortunately, it does happen on a regular basis. Just recently, law enforcement reported a suspected wrong-way driving crash resulting in at least one fatality on I-35 in Austin, and hundreds of people die in wrong-way car crashes each year throughout the U.S. Understanding the causes of wrong-way driving accidents may help you avoid them or know how best to pursue compensation if you or a loved one is injured in such a crash.

Common Factors in Wrong-Way Collisions

In recent years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a special report on wrong-way driving crashes in the U.S. after conducting several investigations and extensive data analysis. Through their research, they identified a few common factors that contribute to fatal accidents involving wrong-way drivers on the highway, including:

  • Alcohol intoxication - The report found that at least 60 percent of wrong-way drivers were impaired by alcohol, with over half of those having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher.
  • Time of day and week - The vast majority of the accidents studied occurred at night in conditions of low visibility, and a large number occurred on weekends.
  • Improper use of exit ramps - According to the results of the study, the largest number of wrong-way drivers on the highway entered using an exit ramp. Possible reasons for this include unclear signage; driver confusion, inexperience, or distraction; and intoxicating substances that impair a driver’s mental abilities. Other instances of wrong-way driving came from a driver missing an exit and making an illegal U-turn through an emergency turnaround.

With these factors in mind, it is important to stay alert for wrong-way drivers, especially on nights and weekends and in areas that you know have complicated entrance-exit interchanges or that are not clearly marked.

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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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