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The Rise in Roadway Fatalities in Texas During COVID-19

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

One of the biggest changes COVID-19 brought to Texas was stay-at-home orders. Many cities enacted mandates requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities. As a result, traffic volume on some of Texas’ busiest streets drastically decreased. Law enforcement officers assumed this would correspondingly decrease the number of fatal car accidents. Unfortunately, it did not.

Death Rate in Texas Stays High Despite Decrease in Traffic

 In theory, a dramatic dip in the number of cars on the road should lead to the same type of drop in the number of fatalities from traffic accidents. Yet in Texas and many other states around the country, this was not the case during COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the most recent updates by the Texas Department of Transportation, the month of March 2020 saw 241 traffic accident fatalities. This was a decline of only 21% from March of 2019. This death rate is alarming since there was about half the number of cars on the road in March 2020 compared to 2019. The death rate should have also been cut in half, yet this was not the case.

What Is Causing Fatal Car Accidents During COVID-19?

 The explanation for the high number of deaths on the roads in Texas during a stay-at-home order is simple: drivers are being more reckless on emptier roads. A Facebook update from Ed Gonzalez, Sheriff of Harris County, stated that many of the fatal accidents during COVID-19 lockdown orders were during nonessential trips. Furthermore, he said that most of the deadly collisions involved reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding. Reports from around the country reiterate Sherriff Gonzalez’s sentiments, finding that most fatal accidents during stay-at-home orders occurred due to one or both drivers’ reckless actions behind the wheel.

  • Traveling at excessive speeds
  • Racing
  • Running red lights
  • Rolling through stop signs
  • Ignoring rights-of-way
  • Driving while drunk
  • Texting and driving
  • Driving while fatigued 

 Reckless drivers appear to be taking advantage of less traffic on the roads in Texas during COVID-19. They are speeding, racing and breaking other roadway laws, either with the belief that it is safe to do so due to less traffic or that they will not get caught due to fewer police officers on patrol. Breaking roadway laws, however, is just as dangerous as it was before the pandemic. Reckless drivers are the reason crash rates remain high despite fewer people being on the road. 

roadway fatalities during covid-19

Pedestrians Are Especially at Risk in Texas 

 The disparity between low traffic volume and a high number of fatal accident rate is also apparent in Austin, where police reported 381 car accidents and 111 injuries in March 2020. March 2019, in contrast, had 450 accidents but only 99 injuries. Significantly, only one pedestrian died in March 2019, while three victims in March 2020 were pedestrians. This shows an increased risk of fatal accidents for pedestrians during COVID-19 conditions in Texas. 

 Pedestrians may be more at risk than others for fatal collisions during the COVID-19 pandemic due to driver inattention. Drivers may be paying less attention to the roads because of a decreased risk of encountering other drivers. There has also been an increase in the number of pedestrians walking, jogging and running in Texas during the pandemic. Gym closures due to COVID-19 have led to many people getting out and exercising on their own, in the streets. 

How to Stay Safe on the Roads in Texas During COVID-19

 Do not assume your risk of being in a vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian accident is lower because of less traffic in Texas during COVID-19. According to the most recent crash statistics, your risk of being in a fatal accident remains almost the same – and they may have even increased for pedestrians in Texas. 

 Do your best to avoid an accident by always paying attention when driving or walking around Texas. Obey traffic laws, including speed limits, even if you appear to be the only one on the road. Look both ways before turning, entering an intersection or crossing the road. If you get into an auto accident during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact a Texas car accident lawyer for a consultation about your legal options.

Posted by admin at 5:34 pm

What Happens If You Get in an Accident With a Suspended License?

Friday, June 5, 2020

A car accident case in Texas can involve many different factors. One is the invalidity of one of the drivers’ licenses. Driving with a suspended license can lead to serious penalties in Texas. If a driver gets into an accident with a suspended or revoked license, the consequences for breaking the law can be even more severe. Learn the potential consequences of driving without a valid license and causing an accident with a suspended license in Texas.

What Is a Suspended License?

 A suspended driver’s license means the driver lawfully cannot operate his or her motor vehicle until driver’s license reinstatement. Some license suspensions are definite while others are indefinite. Definite suspensions have set timeframes, at the end of which the driver will be able to pay for reinstatement and start driving again. Indefinite suspensions can last as long as is necessary for the driver to complete the required actions, such as passing a safety course or satisfying a judgment. 

 In Texas, the Department of Public Safety may suspend a driver’s license for committing traffic infractions or crimes while operating a motor vehicle. Common reasons for license suspensions are excessive speeding, racing, drunk driving, reckless driving, red-light running, causing an accident and accumulating too many points on a driver’s record. Driving without insurance at the time of a car accident could also lead to license suspension under the Texas Safety Responsibility Act, as can causing an accident that results in personal injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages.

 If the state suspends your driver’s license, it will notify you by mail to the address on record. It will explain the reason for the suspension, in most cases, and provide the option for a hearing. If you wish to schedule a hearing, you have 20 days from receiving the notice to do so. You may be able to argue the suspension at a hearing, with or without help from a traffic violation attorney. Reinstating your driver’s license after suspension takes fulfilling all the requirements and paying a $100 fee. 

What Are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License?

 You cannot drive on a suspended license in Texas. Doing so could result in a Class C misdemeanor charge. A conviction for driving on a suspended license in Texas can come with a fine of up to $500. You may also need to satisfy other fines, such as a $250 surcharge to reregister your license for the following three years. 

 You could face steeper penalties – a Class B misdemeanor – if you have a previous conviction for driving without a license, driving while intoxicated or similar offenses. A Class B misdemeanor conviction could result in heftier fines, as well as up to six months in county jail. Finally, driving with a suspended license can increase the timeframe of your suspension or lead to driver’s license revocation. Revocation is the permanent removal of your driving privileges.

What If You Cause an Accident in Texas on a Suspended License?

 Causing an accident while driving on a suspended license can lead to severe penalties. You may face criminal charges depending on the situation. In addition to a traffic citation and hefty fines, you could also face civil liability for causing an auto accident. Civil liability will not depend on whether you were driving on a suspended license, although the victim may be able to hold this against you to make you a less reliable witness. Instead, your liability will depend on whether you were negligent or reckless in causing the car accident. 

 Proof of your fault for causing the crash could make you civilly liable for the victim’s damages. This will mean your auto insurance company must pay for the victim’s losses related to the crash, such as medical expenses and vehicle damages. Your insurance premiums will most likely increase if found guilty of causing an accident on a suspended license. Your insurance company may even drop you as a customer. You may also have to pay a significant amount more for SR-22 insurance – auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Hire a Dallas car accident attorney if you cause an accident while on a suspended license in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:30 pm

I Was in an Out-of-State Car Accident, What Do I Do?

Monday, May 4, 2020

No one can predict an auto accident. Collisions can happen when you least expect them – such as while on an out-of-state road trip or vacation. The insurance claims process can look different than it does in your home state after an out-of-state collision depending on the laws. Knowing what to do and how to handle these types of crash claims may take assistance from a local Dallas personal injury lawyer.

out of state car accident

What Happens When You Get in an Accident in Another State? 

 The rules you are familiar with in your home state may not apply in a car accident in another state. If you live in Texas, for example, you might be familiar with the state’s fault-based car insurance laws. These laws state that the person who caused the car accident will be liable for victims’ damages. If you were driving in a no-fault state such as Florida or New York, however, fault for the collision may not matter. In no-fault states, all drivers seek compensation from their insurers regardless of fault, with exceptions for serious injuries. You may need a car accident lawyer in the state where your crash occurred for legal advice about how to proceed with a claim.

 First, take the steps you normally would after an accident in your home state. All states have similar hit-and-run laws that require drivers involved in collisions to stop and provide contact information. Pull your vehicle over and ask if anyone has injuries or requires medical assistance. Call 911 if the crash appears to have caused expensive property damages ($500 to $1,000 or more), injuries or deaths. Give your full name and contact information to the other driver. Provide proof of insurance if asked but do not admit fault for the car accident. Take photographs of your vehicle and the crash scene for use during an insurance claim.

 Complicated out-of-state car accidents often require assistance from attorneys. Hire a car accident lawyer if your crash involves expensive property damages, debilitating injuries, liability disputes, or a crime such as a hit-and-run or drunk driving. You may also wish to consult with a lawyer for an overview of the state’s car accident laws, including fault and comparative negligence statutes that may differ from your home state. A lawyer in the state where your crash occurred could assist with the insurance claims and/or personal injury lawsuit process.

Will My Car Insurance Cover Me in Another State?

 Yes, your car insurance covers you while driving in another state. In general, auto insurance policies do not have restrictions when drivers are out of state. If you permanently move to another state, however, your auto insurance company may have the right to deny your claim if you fail to update your address on your policy. Most states require you to update your insurance and acquire a state driver’s license within the first few weeks of residency. You will not need to change your insurance if you are simply visiting or driving through another state.

 After a car accident in another state, call your insurance company to report the wreck. Your insurance provider will explain the claims process and investigate the crash. If your insurance company believes the other party is at fault and liable for your damages, it may file a claim on your behalf. You might receive a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company within a few days after the collision in this case. Be careful when talking to the insurance claims adjuster, as he or she will want to minimize your recovery. Do not admit fault and do not accept a settlement offer without first consulting with a lawyer.

If you were at fault for the car accident or the crash occurred in a no-fault state, your own insurance carrier may cover your damages up to your policy’s maximum. It should not matter if your collision occurred out of state. Your insurance provider will still be liable for your damages according to the language of your insurance policy. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and/or property damages through a first-party insurance claim. Discuss your insurance options and rights after an out-of-state car accident in more detail with a personal injury lawyer.

 

Posted by admin at 6:32 pm

Can No-Fault Insurance Cover Vehicle Damages?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

 No-fault insurance is a type of auto insurance that restricts a driver’s ability to hold someone else responsible for a car accident. It covers the policyholder’s medical expenses for injuries from an auto accident, regardless of fault, using personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Mandatory PIP insurance in no-fault states offers benefits for medical care after a car accident. It does not, however, cover property or vehicle damages.

no fault insurance

What Is No-Fault Insurance? 

 No-fault insurance is a type of car insurance that is mandatory in only 12 states. It places financial responsibility on the policyholder after an auto accident regardless of whether he or she caused the crash. PIP insurance covers the policyholder’s medical bills without having to prove fault. Most states, however, exclude property damage coverage in no-fault insurance requirements. Therefore, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for property damages in a no-fault state unless you purchase comprehensive or collision coverage.

 No-fault insurance aims to make the claims process more efficient by restricting litigation, reducing costs and avoiding delays in payouts. Since a driver does not have to prove fault, he or she can receive insurance benefits sooner than with fault-based insurance. The driver also does not have to pay for an investigation or litigation. In exchange for a faster and easier claims process, however, a driver in a no-fault state gives up the chance to hold the at-fault party liable for damages. This often means no payments for vehicle damages in no-fault states.

What States Are No Fault?

 Most states in the U.S. use fault-based auto insurance laws, with only 12 exceptions. These 12 states use pure no-fault laws, meaning all drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance. Living in a no-fault state means drivers file accident claims with their respective insurance companies, regardless of who might have caused the collision. In pure no-fault states, drivers will not have the option of filing fault-based car accident claims unless their injuries qualify as serious under the state’s threshold.

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

 Other states are not true no-fault states but offer no-fault insurance add-ons to drivers. These states are Arkansas, Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Drivers in add-on states have the option to add no-fault insurance to their regular fault-based policies. After an accident, these drivers can decide whether to file no-fault or third-party claims depending on which would foreseeably result in greater compensation.

What Is the Serious Injury Threshold?

 No-fault states bar most crash survivors from filing third-party claims unless their injuries are serious enough to qualify as an exception under the state’s injury threshold. This threshold differs from state to state. In general, serious injuries include broken bones, disabilities, or permanent scarring or disfigurement. If your accident is serious enough to meet the threshold in a no-fault state, a claim against the at-fault driver could pay for your vehicle damages as well as your medical bills. Otherwise, you might only qualify for vehicle repair compensation if you have the correct type of add-on insurance. 

 If you live in a fault-based car insurance state, the driver who caused your accident will be liable for your medical bills and any property damages. In Texas, for example, you may receive insurance benefits from the other driver if you or your car accident lawyer can prove his or her fault. All drivers in Texas must carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. This will pay for your vehicle repairs in an accident the other driver caused. If you caused the accident or live in a no-fault state, you may only receive coverage for vehicle damages if you have more than the minimum amount of insurance. The best way to ensure a fair insurance process after a car accident in any state is with help from a personal injury lawyer.

Posted by admin at 6:38 pm

Who Is At Fault in a Blind Spot Accident?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Even the most prudent driver cannot prevent blind spots. Blind spots are areas of the road that are impossible to see in one’s mirrors due to the design of the vehicle. It is possible, however, for a driver to mitigate the risks of blind spots and avoid accidents through maneuvers such as glancing over his or her shoulder before merging or changing lanes. When a blind spot does cause a car accident, it can be difficult to determine fault. The car accident may require an investigation of fault before victims can file personal injury lawsuits.

blind spot car accident

How Can Blind Spots Cause Accidents?

 A blind spot can be deadly at the wrong time and place. The inability to see surrounding vehicles when making a turn, backing up or changing lanes, for example, could lead to a collision between a vehicle and another driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian. All vehicles have blind spots. Longer vehicles, such as pickup trucks and semis, have larger blind spots than compact cars. Blind spots can lead to car accidents in many ways in Dallas.

 

  • Accidents while reversing. Safely reversing a vehicle requires being able to look in a driver’s mirrors and see obstacles, pedestrians or children. Unfortunately, blind spots can prevent a driver from noticing objects directly behind the vehicle. This can lead to devastating collisions while reversing.

 

  • Merge accidents. Merging onto a highway or road takes checking to make sure the way is clear before completing the maneuver. Although surrounding drivers should be courteous and allow the driver to merge, the merging driver has the responsibility of yielding the right-of-way and only merging when it is safe to do so. A blind spot could interfere with this ability. 

 

  • Unsafe lane changes. Lane-change accidents are some of the most common car accidents in Texas. Many of these collisions occur due to blind spots impeding the driver’s view of the destination lane. A blind spot could hide a vehicle hovering next to the driver, for example, resulting in a serious lane-change collision.

 A driver often has the power to prevent blind spot accidents. First, the driver should do everything he or she can to prevent blind spots. This includes adjusting side and rearview mirrors correctly to see more of the road. A driver should be able to see both sides of the road and the rear fully in the mirrors. Then, the driver should be aware of potential blind spots when making turns or merging. A driver should look over his or her shoulder rather than relying on mirrors alone to see obstacles a blind spot may hide.

Why Is Your Blind Spot Especially Dangerous?

 Most drivers have blind spots. As a driver in Dallas, it is your legal responsibility to drive safely despite these blind spots. You must take measures to minimize your blind spots and ensure the safety of a maneuver before its execution. Your blind spot is especially dangerous due to the risk of striking a bicyclist or pedestrian. When driving around downtown Dallas, a blind spot could lead you to merge, collide, or turn on top of an oncoming bicyclist or pedestrian. Pay special attention to turn signal lights, bicycle lanes, and your blind spots in areas with vulnerable road users.

Liability for a Blind Spot Accident

 In most cases, liability for a blind spot accident will go to the driver that had the blind spot. A blind spot is typically not a suitable defense for crash liability since the victim could argue that another reasonable and prudent driver would have been able to work around the blind spot and prevented the accident. If two vehicles merge at the same time and collide, however, liability can be more difficult to determine. In this situation, an investigation may be necessary to determine which driver was in the wrong. The at-fault driver will be the one who did not have the right-of-way, in most cases. A portion of liability for a blind spot accident may go to both drivers depending on the situation. Speak with our Dallas injury lawyer if you were in an accident and need legal advice.

Posted by admin at 6:17 pm

What If I’m in an Accident Involving Minors?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Adults are not the only ones who make mistakes that injure others. Children and minors can also be guilty of negligence, recklessness, maliciousness and the wanton disregard for the safety of others. If a minor caused your accident in Texas, you may be able to hold him or her directly responsible. You might also have grounds to bring a case against the minor’s parents, depending on the situation.

car accidents involving minors

Can You File a Case Against a Minor?

 Yes, you can file a case against a minor after an accident. Texas’ civil laws give you the right to bring a cause of action against any individual or entity that negligently, carelessly, recklessly or intentionally caused your accident. If a 16-year-old driver crashes into you while texting and driving, for example, you could file a case against the minor for your damages. Under Texas’ parental responsibility law, however, your case may technically go to the minor’s parents rather than the child himself or herself.

 In a car accident case specifically, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. For a minor driver, this will most likely be his or her parents’ insurer. When a minor drives a car, the insurance of the vehicle’s owner should cover damages related to an at-fault auto accident. You will go about your claim as you normally would with the vehicle owner’s insurance provider.

 In some personal injury and property damage claims, you can file a lawsuit directly against the minor instead. This might be possible if the parents do not have insurance that covers the minor, for example. You and your lawyer can go to court and request a legal judgment determining how much the minor owes you. Upon the minor turning 18, he or she will have to pay you what he or she owes. The legal process against a minor, however, can be long and complicated.

 Parental Responsibility Laws in Texas

 You might be able to file a claim against the parents of the child who caused your accident in some cases. The State of Texas passed a law holding parents civilly liable for the acts of their minor children in some situations. Texas Family Code 41.001 states that a parent or someone else with the duty of control and discipline over the child will be liable for any property damages the child causes, in certain circumstances.

  •         The child was negligent in his or her conduct. This will be a valid reason to hold a parent vicariously liable if the child’s negligence traces back to the negligent failure of the parent or legal guardian. For example, if the parent negligently failed to supervise a child while using fireworks, and the child negligently sets fire to your property, the parent could be liable for the negligence of the child.
  •         The child was willful or malicious in his or her conduct. If the child is at least 10 years old but under 18, and your lawyer can prove his or her actions in destroying your property were willful or malicious, the parents will be vicariously liable. This may take proving the child’s knowing intent to destroy your property. Your lawyer will not need to prove the parent or guardian’s negligence if you base your case on this grounds.

 If you pursue compensation through the willful or malicious intent route, the cap on the damages you could receive from the child’s parent or guardian is $25,000 per occurrence, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs. Under the traditional principles of common law liability, a parent could still be vicariously liable for the actions of his or her child even if one of these two circumstances does not apply. If a parent knows of a child’s propensity to destroy property, for instance, but does nothing to reasonably prevent an altercation, the parent may be liable for resultant damages. Hire a Dallas personal injury attorney to help you understand liability and parental responsibility after an accident involving minors in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:59 pm

Is Brake Checking Illegal in Texas?

Friday, April 10, 2020

 

Brake checking occurs when one driver abruptly hits the brakes while another is following him or her too closely. It is a dangerous practice that can lead to a rear-end collision. Brake checking often goes hand-in-hand with aggressive or road rage driving. Drivers may become angry at the person who did the brake checking, leading to assaults or acts of violence on top of a car accident. As a driver in Texas, you should never brake check another vehicle. You could end up liable for an accident, and potentially end up in a personal injury lawsuit.

Brake checking in Texas

What Is the Point of Brake Checking?

 A driver might be guilty of brake checking if he or she slams on the brakes without reason – such as without a red light or an obstacle causing the car to stop. Most drivers brake check to communicate to drivers behind them that they are following too closely. A driver may brake check as a warning, letting the other driver see that he or she may not be able to stop fast enough if following too closely. The goal is usually to force the following driver to allow for a greater distance.

 Brake checking is an aggressive driving tactic that is not the standard procedure for these situations. If someone is tailgating you, calmly switch lanes to allow that driver to pass. Even if the following driver is speeding, tailgating, driving aggressively or otherwise in the wrong, do not put yourself at risk by brake checking the driver. Put your blinker on and move out of the other driver’s way when it is safe to do so. If you are on a two-lane road, try to ignore the driver until you can switch lanes. If you feel in danger, pull off to the side of the road someplace safe to let the driver pass.

Brake Checking Law in Texas

 Texas does not have a specific law in place that makes brake checking illegal. It does have laws requiring drivers to maintain safe following distances (Texas Transportation Code 545.062), however. This law states that while following another vehicle, a driver must leave enough distance to ensure he or she can stop without colliding with the front vehicle. Texas also has a law prohibiting reckless driving. Texas Transportation Code 545.401 makes it an offense to willfully or wantonly operate a vehicle with a disregard for the safety of others. If you brake check someone and cause a car accident, the police can cite you for reckless driving.

 Can You Be At Fault for Brake Checking?

 It is possible to be at fault for a rear-end collision caused by brake checking. Although a rear-end collision will be the fault of the following driver in most cases, if that driver can prove you abruptly slammed on your brakes for no reason, you might at least share liability for a crash. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. If the other driver can prove you contributed to the car accident by brake checking, you might receive less money – or none at all – in an injury or property damage lawsuit. If the courts find you more than 50% at fault for brake checking, you will lose any right to hold the other driver liable.

 Brake checking is unsafe. It can cause or contribute to a rear-end collision in Texas. You could receive a ticket for reckless driving if brake checking causes you or the driver following you to crash. You could also face liability for the wreck. If the other driver swerves out the way, for example, and collides into a guardrail, you could share fault for the accident – even if the other driver was following too closely. If a tailgater annoys you, switch lanes and let him or her go around. Write down the driver’s license plate number as he or she passes. Report reckless drivers to the nonemergency police number in your county.

Posted by admin at 3:15 pm

Texas Hit and Run Laws

Monday, March 16, 2020

If a driver leaves the scene of an auto accident without stopping and fulfilling his or her legal obligations, it is the crime of hit-and-run. Texas takes hit-and-run crimes seriously, penalizing perpetrators with consequences such as hefty fines and potential jail or prison time. As a driver, it is important to know Texas’ hit-and-run laws to stay out of legal trouble. It can also help you understand your rights if you become the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

crashed car on street

What Is a Hit-and-Run?

Motor vehicle drivers have dozens of responsibilities they accept when they get behind the wheel. One of these duties in Texas is to stop at the scene of any accidents. State law requires you to pull over immediately after getting into a car accident, whether the vehicle you struck is occupied or unoccupied. You must park as close as you safely can to the scene of the collision and check for injuries. State law requires you to do your best to assist anyone with injuries, such as by calling the police or offering the victim a ride to the nearest hospital.

If the car accident involves a personal injury, fatality, broken roadway law (e.g. a drunk driver), uninsured driver, property damage above $1,000 or a hit-and-run, call the police to report the crash from the scene. Note the location of the crash, the names of those at the scene and the contact information of any witnesses. Obtain the other driver’s insurance information if he or she stayed at the scene. Always call the police after a hit-and-run so they can inspect the crash scene for evidence that could identify the at-fault driver. Failing to stop at the scene of a wreck and fulfill your driver’s duties is a hit-and-run crime.

Can You Deny a Hit-and-Run?

The biggest issue with hit-and-run accidents is identifying the driver that caused the damages. The responding police officers may take steps to try to identify the driver that fled the scene, such as examining any debris or paint chips the offending vehicle left behind or talking to eyewitnesses. Sometimes, however, the police make mistakes. Upon reviewing surveillance cameras, monitoring the neighborhood and taking other steps to identify the hit-and-run driver, the police may apprehend the wrong suspect.

If the police wrongfully accuse you of committing a hit-and-run, you have the right to deny the charges and plead not guilty. With a lack of evidence against you, the prosecution may have no choice but to drop the charges. If the prosecution has evidence putting you at the scene of the crime, however, the criminal courts may proceed with the case and even find you guilty, depending on the circumstances. Hit-and-run is a crime in Texas, not just a civil wrongdoing. A conviction can come with serious criminal consequences. Always remain at the scene of an auto accident to avoid criminal charges.

What Is the Penalty for a Hit-and-Run in Texas?

Causing a car accident and driving away without stopping can have criminal and civil ramifications. On the criminal level, leaving the scene of an accident can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The severity of the crime will depend on the seriousness of the injuries or damages caused. It could be a felony if the hit-and-run causes serious bodily injury or death. The penalties for hit-and-run in Texas include six months in county jail to 10 years in state prison and/or fines of $500 to $5,000 or more.

The civil consequences could include having to pay for a victim’s damages in restitution, either through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company or out of pocket. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Texas, you could be eligible for compensation if the police find who caused your crash. If the police do not catch the perpetrator, you may still be able to obtain compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, if available. Talk to a Dallas injury lawyer for more information about your case.

Posted by admin at 6:28 pm

Who’s At Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Who’s At Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

T-bone accidents, also called broadside and side-impact collisions, can easily be catastrophic. Vehicle drivers and passengers can sustain serious and life-threatening injuries in T-bone accidents. Texas is a tort-based insurance state, making it necessary to identify the at-fault party before you can obtain compensation for a T-bone accident. You might need a Dallas personal injury lawyer’s assistance in determining fault after this type of auto accident.

t-bone car accident

What Type of Injury Is Commonly Associated With T-Bone Accidents?

A T-bone accident happens when one vehicle collides with the broadside of another, forming the shape of a T. Side-impact crashes can cause many serious injuries to all parts of the body. One of the most common injuries is whiplash. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury of the neck that may involve a muscle strain or sprain. Whiplash is common in T-bone accidents due to the sudden jerking of the head and neck one way and then another. This jerking motion could be enough to strain or tear the tendons and ligaments of the neck. A T-bone accident could cause many different personal injuries.

  • Cuts or lacerations from shattered glass
  • Chemical rash from airbag deployment
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Nerve injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Burn injuries
  • Head and skull injuries
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Broken bones
  • Crush-related injuries

A devastating T-bone accident could also cause emotional injuries, including mental anguish, anxiety, nightmares and psychological trauma. Victims with injuries from side-impact crashes in Texas may be eligible to recover financial compensation for their losses and damages. This could include compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and vehicle repairs. To obtain compensation, however, victims will need to determine and prove fault under Texas’ tort-based insurance system. This will take identifying the at-fault party.

How Do T-Bone Accidents Happen?

T-bone accidents in Texas occur most often when one or more drivers break the rules at intersections. Intersections are dangerous areas where it is imperative for all drivers to follow applicable traffic laws, including traffic signals and rights-of-way. If a driver breaks a rule at an intersection, it could place his or her vehicle in a dangerous position – such as directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

  • Turning left in front of an oncoming vehicle
  • Turning without the right-of-way
  • Running a red light
  • Rolling through a stop sign
  • Speeding
  • Driving drunk or drugged
  • Driving distracted
  • Texting while driving
  • Making an unsafe or illegal U-turn

Most T-bone accidents stem from driver error. Some, however, relate to dangerously designed roadways and intersections. If a city planner did a poor job of designing a reasonably safe intersection and this contributed to a side-impact accident, the government could be responsible for paying victims’ damages. The law gives you the right to file a lawsuit if someone else caused your T-bone accident. Even if you partially contributed to the crash, you could still be eligible for compensation under Texas’ comparative negligence law.

Should You Hire an Attorney?

Litigating a T-bone accident claim can be difficult. The other driver might refute fault or his or her insurer might deny your claim to damages. The defendant may also allege your comparative negligence in causing the collision. The most effective way to combat insurance bad faith practices and prove another party’s fault for your broadside accident is by hiring a lawyer to represent you during negotiations.

Consult with a lawyer about your rights as soon as possible as the victim of a T-bone collision. You do not have an unlimited amount of time to bring a claim. Texas’ statute of limitations gives you no more than two years to file a lawsuit for your injuries. If you miss this deadline, your lawyer will most likely be unable to convince the courts to hear your case. The defendant could use the missed deadline against you to make your claim invalid. Contact an attorney right away after a T-bone accident in Texas.

Posted by admin at 6:13 pm

About Texas (PIP) Personal Injury Protection

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of auto insurance the State of Texas does not require. In general, PIP pays for your damages and losses after an at-fault accident. Understanding personal injury protection, when you might need it and how to pursue benefits from a PIP policy could help you recover financially after a car accident in Texas. Contact a car accident lawyer near you for answers to your specific questions about personal injury protection coverage.

texas personal injury protection law 2020

What Does PIP Cover?

Texas is a fault-based insurance state, meaning that an at-fault driver or party will be liable for crash-related damages. If you cause an accident, you will have to pay for damages. If you only carry Texas’ minimum required amounts of insurance, your policy will not cover your own damages in an at-fault accident. Personal injury protection is optional, but you must tell the company in writing if you wish to reject this coverage. Personal injury protection auto insurance pays for a few different damages the policyholder suffers if he or she needs extra coverage.

  • Medical coverage. PIP will pay for 100% of a policyholder’s necessary medical services. This can include ambulances, doctor’s appointments, treatments, surgeries, x-rays, prosthetics, medications, professional nursing, dental fees and nursing expenses.
  • Death damages. If the policyholder passes away in the auto accident, PIP insurance could pay for funeral and burial costs, as well as the medical expenses the victim incurred prior to death.
  • Lost wages. PIP will reimburse the person for 80% of lost income if he or she had to miss work because of the accident. The insurance company will need proof of the amount of income lost.

Most PIP insurance plans provide $2,500 to $5,000 or more in coverage for the at-fault party and his or her passengers. As someone involved in an auto accident, you may be eligible for coverage under PIP insurance as well as other policies, including that of an at-fault driver, vehicle owner, employer or multiple parties. If you do not have PIP coverage, you may have other policies available to take your claim.

How Does Texas PIP Work?

After an auto accident, if you wish to recover compensation through your policy’s PIP coverage, you will need to document your accident, injuries, medical expenses and related losses of income. Your insurance company will need proof of the losses you are claiming. Report on the car accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most companies make it mandatory to report a wreck within 24 to 72 hours. You will submit the necessary documentation for your insurer to review, then wait up to 30 days to hear back from the insurance company. The insurer will either accept your claim and offer a settlement or deny coverage.

What Is a PIP Settlement?

You may not need to file a PIP claim with your insurer if someone else caused your auto accident. If another driver or party is to blame, that person’s policy may be liable for your damages. Hire an attorney to investigate your crash if you are not sure of the cause. If the at-fault party does not have enough insurance or you caused the accident, file a claim seeking PIP benefits from your insurer. If your insurance company accepts your claim, it will offer a settlement according to the perceived value of your losses and the limits of the policy.

Your insurance company might not offer a high enough settlement for your losses depending on the situation. Insurance companies often try to protect their bottom lines more than their clients. If you believe your medical bills and lost wages combined are worth more than your insurer has offered, negotiate for a higher settlement with help from an attorney. A lawyer can take over communications with your insurer to pursue the fair amount of your claim or the maximum under your policy’s limit. A lawyer could also help you explore recovery options outside of a PIP settlement for greater compensation.

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