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Posted on in Truck Wrecks

TX accident lawyerOn the night of December 6, northbound I-35 had to be closed near Oltorf Street in Austin, after an 18-wheeler lost control and crashed into the cinderblock barrier in the middle of the interstate, pushing the blocks into the lanes themselves. As of this writing, there appear to be no injuries, but it is very easy to envision such a crash injuring many if certain factors were different. If you are injured in a crash such as this with an 18-wheeler, it can be difficult to determine whether you have a claim for compensation.

Many Possible Causes

While each accident is different, there are several causes that seem to keep showing up in the relevant statistics. One of the most common is simple distracted driving - any driver is prone to change the radio, to look in the mirror, to eat, to do any manner of potentially distracting things instead of keeping their eyes on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 481,000 drivers are using their cell phone while driving at any given time - it stands to reason that some of them will be 18-wheeler drivers.

Other common causes for trucking accidents include poor roads, which can affect big rigs even more than automobiles simply because of their size, reckless driving - whether on the part of the truck driver or someone else and substance abuse. Also, perhaps most commonly, bending or ignoring the rules set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) regarding driver hours, which can lead to drivers operating on very little sleep or with shoddy maintenance done on their vehicles in order to move quickly enough to meet a client deadline.

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TX injury lawyerAirport officials at Austin-Bergstrom have made the executive decision to shift the spot for hailing rides and taxis down to the rental car facility going forward, because of congestion and accidents happening in front of Barbara Jordan Terminal. Austin has had a somewhat bumpy path to integrating ride-sharing into the city’s traffic patterns, and many accidents have been reported as Uber and Lyft drivers try to fit in. If you are in an accident involving a rideshare car, there are certain differences in how you would bring suit, especially if you are a passenger in the car when the accident occurs.

Insurance Is Different

Perhaps the most important thing you should be aware of if you are in a rideshare-related accident is that insurance works very differently for Uber or Lyft than it does for a licensed taxi driver. While taxi drivers are generally covered by the taxi company in the event of an accident, which will then deal with any injured passengers, a rideshare driver must have a specific type of policy written for transportation network company employees and contractors, since the passing of HB 100 last year.

These policies are unique in that their policy limits will increase and decrease depending on which ‘period’ of use your car is in at any given moment - for example, period 0 is when you are not in your car, or when you are using it for personal business. The coverage limits are higher while you have a rideshare app on and are looking for a passenger, and higher still when you have a passenger in your car, en route to the destination.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerState Highway 130 runs from its concurrent route along I-35 in San Antonio, up through Seguin, north through Pflugerville and eventually ending in Georgetown. It handles a fair amount of traffic and has its fair share of injuries and fatalities. According to statistics cited by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 37 people have died on SH 130 since the speed limit was modified in 2012 to allow cars to go 85 mph, making it the fastest highway in the United States. However, one wonders if it was worth it - the families of those injured or killed might say no.

Speeding Kills

Higher speeds make travel immeasurably more dangerous. TxDOT statistics show that roughly 750 people died in speed-involved crashes in Texas in 2017, with many of those deaths being the speeding drivers themselves, but too many were passengers or even innocent bystanders. Most causes of highway crashes can be linked at least indirectly back to elevated speed - for example, if someone has an accident in poor weather, it is highly likely that they will have been traveling too fast for the weather conditions. If someone is engaging in distracted driving, it is common for their speed to increase beyond the posted limits without their knowledge.

If you are injured in a highway accident, the most common theory under which most people bring suit is negligence, which has three criteria that must be met. A duty to exercise reasonable care is put on all motorists on any given road. In order to show negligence, you must show that the driver breached that duty, which caused tangible harm to you (not necessarily physical, but something more substantial than cuts and bruises) and that they did so via their conduct, with no other superseding cause. If you are able to establish these criteria, you have a good shot at prevailing in your case.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerOn the night of November 4, a two-vehicle accident killed one person when an automobile going the wrong way down I-10 struck the tractor-trailer of an 18-wheeler, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The truck driver was relatively unharmed and able to walk away from the crash, but the driver of the car was killed on impact. This is sadly common in wrong-way accidents; while they are relatively uncommon, they cause serious injuries and death with regularity when they do occur. If you are lucky enough to survive one, it is a good idea to understand just what you may be up against.

Alcohol and Substances Often a Factor

Wrong-way crashes, more than most other types, are disproportionately affected by alcohol and drug use. Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that of 1,566 wrong-way drivers in the dataset surveyed (2004-2009), approximately 60 percent had “indications of alcohol involvement.” On some level this makes sense to a layman; unless the sign is obscured, there are very few reasons for a sober person to drive the wrong way down a street. The same statistical set also showed that approximately 10 percent of those wrong-way drivers surveyed had been convicted of driving under the influence (DWI) within the three years immediately prior to their wrong-way collision. In other words, even for those drivers who did not show signs of alcohol or drug use at the time of their wrong-way crash.

Of course, other reasons besides alcohol and drug use can account for a wrong-way collision. It is plausible for a street to be poorly marked, or for the “wrong way” sign to have been damaged, thus providing little indication to drivers which way traffic flows. Visibility may also be a factor, both in regard to weather and to the fact that most wrong-way crashes occur after dark. Drivers may also drive while distracted, rather than intoxicated, thinking it safer when in reality, distracted driving plays a major role in countless collisions around the state (and the country).

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX injury lawyerNormally, when someone is in an auto accident, the matter is pursued in civil court, with the plaintiff seeking damages from the defendant. However, in some auto accidents, such as the alleged shooting on Thanksgiving night on I-10, near Loop 410, both a civil cause of action and a crime may have occurred. If you have been in an accident of this type, it is easy to be confused about what is civil, what is criminal, and what your role is in either or both actions.

Civil Actions

The majority of auto accident cases wind up as civil actions, if they go to court at all because usually no laws are broken. Civil cases are mounted by one private person against another, or against an entity deemed to have been negligent. Money damages are being sought, as opposed to jail time, usually as recompense for injuries sustained (medical bills, but also lost wages, lost quality of life, and lifestyle adjustments like needing a wheelchair or an addition to one’s home, and so on). In some states, there are caps on damages for intangible causes of action, such as lost quality of life, but as of this writing, Texas does not have one except in medical malpractice cases. This means you can sue for as much as you believe you can get - with the caveat that the amount will almost certainly be reduced by a jury.

Once a civil action goes to trial, Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule to determine whether a plaintiff can recover, which means that if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries, they cannot recover. This means that even if a plaintiff is responsible for part of their own injuries, as long as it is less than half, they can collect an award from the defendant (minus the percentage they are ruled at fault). A defendant may wind up being judgment proof, however, meaning that they lack the resources to pay the award.

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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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