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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

Can I Have a Case If I Was in an Accident But Suffered No Injuries?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

It may seem counterintuitive to file a personal injury claim in Texas if you do not have any personal injuries. If you consider the other potential ramifications of an accident, however, such as property damages, lost wages and emotional distress, you will understand how some clients can file claims without physical injuries. It may be possible to bring a claim to damages if you were in an accident that did not physically injure you. Consult with a Dallas personal injury attorney for more information about your specific case.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Suit in Texas

 Emotional distress is common damage sought during personal injury claims in Texas. It refers to damages other than a physical injury that arose from a traumatic accident. Living through or witnessing an accident such as a car crash could inflict many nonphysical injuries on a victim. The defendant at fault for causing the accident may be legally responsible for a victim’s emotional distress in Texas even if the victim did not have a physical injury.

  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Shock 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lost quality of life
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Loss of someone’s love or companionship
  • Grief or bereavement

 If someone was negligent, reckless, or malicious in causing an accident that gave you emotional injuries or distress, that person may owe you compensation. Although most personal injury claims in Texas involve physical injuries as well as emotional distress, some claimants can recover mental anguish damages without physical injuries. If you lost a loved one in an accident, for example, you could seek damages for your emotional distress through a wrongful death lawsuit.

How to Prove Emotional Distress

 If you wish to bring a claim for your emotional injuries alone, you will need to prove that the defendant negligently or intentionally caused your emotional distress. Hiring a personal injury lawyer could help you with this burden of proof. Your attorney will know what elements are necessary to prove to obtain compensation for emotional distress, as well as what evidence to gather on your behalf.

 In a claim for emotional distress alone in Texas, it is not enough to prove the defendant was negligent. You or your lawyer will need to prove that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. You must prove the defendant guilty of particularly outrageous or horrific behaviors to qualify for emotional distress damages alone in Texas. Additionally, if another tort applies to your claim, such as harassment, you may only be able to recover under that claim. In other words, you cannot file a separate emotional distress claim in addition to your harassment claim.

 Although it can be difficult to fulfill the increased burden of proof during a claim only for emotional distress, it is possible. Claimants in Texas have and do successfully obtain compensation for claims that do not involve physical injuries. Evidence that could help a plaintiff prove this type of case include psychological evaluation records, letters from therapists, eyewitness reports and testimony from mental health experts. A lawyer could help you identify sources of evidence for your particular emotional distress claim.

Contact a Lawyer About an Emotional Distress Claim

 In general, hiring a personal injury attorney could increase your odds of having a successful emotional distress claim in Texas. An attorney can let you know if you qualify to bring this type of claim, as well as what it will take to win compensation. Then, your lawyer can take over the legal process on your behalf. A lawyer could also be an asset if you wish to file a claim for other damages not related to physical injuries, such as lost wages from having to miss time at work or property damage repairs. Contact an attorney as soon as possible if you suffered emotional injuries in an accident in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:53 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

Can I Sue If I Am Partially At Fault in a Car Accident?

Monday, April 20, 2020

Many car accidents are not black and white. Even if you believe the other driver is 100% at fault for your collision, he or she might have a different opinion. It is common for the victim of a car accident to be at least partially to blame. The victim might have been speeding, for example, when another vehicle pulled out in front of him or her. This case could involve the shared liability of both the plaintiff and defendant in a car accident claim. In Texas, you can still bring a cause of action and obtain compensation when you are partially at fault for a car accident.

 Texas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Law

 Most states have transitioned from contributory to comparative negligence laws. In states that still abide by strict contributory negligence laws, even the smallest amount of fault on a plaintiff’s part will bar him or her from financial recovery. If you live in one of these states (Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia) and are partially at fault in a car accident, you might be unable to sue. Speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer before assuming you do not have grounds for compensation, however.

 Luckily, Texas is a comparative negligence state. In Texas, you can still file a claim even if you contributed to the crash that injured you. Texas’ modified comparative negligence law – the law of proportionate responsibility (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 33.001) – states that in an action with a claimant’s comparative fault, he or she may still be eligible for partial financial compensation. Under this law, you have the right to file an insurance claim or injury suit for damages even if you were at fault for the car accident.

 In a crash you contributed to, you could receive a reduced compensatory award. The courts will subtract an amount from your financial recovery that is equal to your percentage of comparative fault. Texas’ modified comparative negligence rule means the state caps the ability to recover damages at 50%. If the defendant can prove to a judge or jury that you were more than 50% at fault for the auto accident, you could lose all right to recover compensation. The defendant’s ability to prove your majority share of fault would result in $0 in a settlement or verdict for you in an auto accident claim.

 Does Insurance Pay If You’re Partially At Fault?

 On top of using a modified comparative negligence law, Texas is also a fault-based insurance state. After a car accident in a fault-based state, all victims will seek financial compensation from the insurance provider of the at-fault party. In a case involving comparative negligence, however, insurance rules can be difficult to maneuver. Bring your initial claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Start with a third-party claim for the best odds of maximizing your recovery award. Then, report the crash to your insurer as well.

 The other driver’s insurance company will investigate the crash to determine fault. Meanwhile, hire a car accident lawyer to investigate things for you. Your personal injury lawyer may find evidence that contrasts what the insurer finds. Your lawyer can also represent your rights and interests during insurance settlement negotiations, fighting against bad faith practices or allegations of comparative negligence. A lawyer can improve your odds of minimizing your percentage of fault and maximizing your financial recovery.

 In a crash you contributed to, you might seek recovery from your own insurance provider as well. In this case, you cannot recover the costs of pain and suffering. Your insurer may, however, pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. Since the other driver also contributed to the crash, you might be able to seek pain and suffering damages from his or her insurance provider. The rules of comparative negligence during an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit can be tricky to navigate. Contact an attorney for assistance filing your claim if you believe you are partially at fault for a car accident in Texas.

Posted by admin at 5:10 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

What Does it Mean to Subrogate a Claim?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

As the victim of an accident in Texas, you will need to deal with many processes you might never have encountered before. Sorting through the insurance system in pursuit of compensation for your claim can be difficult as the injured party. Insurance subrogation can make things easier. Subrogation is a common process in which your insurance company gives you money for your damages upfront, then goes up against the defendant for reimbursement. A Dallas injury attorney can help you understand subrogation after a serious accident in Texas.

What Is Insurance Claim Subrogation?

 All insurance companies reserve the right to bring their own claims against at-fault parties after harmful accidents. Subrogation is the term used to describe this legal right. If someone else gave you an injury, for example, and your car insurance company fronts the costs of medical care, your insurer will then have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party to repay what it spent on your care. Since you did not cause the accident, your insurance company may not intend to pay the costs. Subrogation is the insurance company’s right to pursue repayment from the at-fault party.

 Subrogation specifically refers to the act of one party filing a lawsuit on behalf of another to collect a debt. It is the process by which an insurance company pursues recovery of the financial losses it – or its policyholder – incurred due to the carelessness or negligence or a third party. Successful subrogation could repay the insurance company for what it paid on your claim. It could also end in some reimbursement for you, such as for any deductibles you paid your insurer to receive the coverage. Subrogation is most common after auto accidents, especially when you file a claim with your own auto insurance provider for a crash you did not cause (e.g. an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim).

 How Long Does a Subrogation Claim Take?

 If your insurance company decides to subrogate your claim, you should receive payment for your vehicle repairs, medical bills and other expenses from your insurance company right away. You will file a first-party claim and receive benefits within 15 to 30 days, in most cases. Your insurance company will need to notify you if it plans to subrogate your claim. If subrogation succeeds, you can receive your deductible back. If your insurance company does not subrogate your claim, you may have the right to seek the reimbursement of your deductible from the defendant on your own.

 Your role is generally small in insurance claim subrogation. Your insurance company and the claims process will need minimal involvement from you. If the other driver or party was clearly at fault for your accident, it may be easy for your insurance company to receive reimbursement from the defendant. A simple subrogation claim can take around 30 days to a couple of months to complete from start to finish. If, however, it is difficult for the insurance company to prove the defendant’s fault, subrogation could take longer. A subrogation claim could take one to several years in complex cases.

 Some insurance policies have waivers of subrogation. This is a provision in the policy in which the insurance carrier waives its rights to subrogation. Insurance policies with these provisions often cost more, since it puts the insurer at greater financial risk. If your insurance company chooses to subrogate your claim, you cannot seek damages yourself from the third party that caused your accident. You cannot seek recovery from both your insurer and the at-fault party. It is important, therefore, to choose your recovery method wisely before you file. Speak to a Dallas injury attorney before deciding how to file your claim. A lawyer can review all your options and choose the one with the best odds of fully reimbursing you for your losses.

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