request a free consultation

See Over 24,000 Alcohol Involved Texas Crashes in 10 Seconds

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It’s no secret that driving after consuming alcohol is dangerous to yourself and to others around you. Unfortunately, we’ve represented several people in our great state who were harmed by drunk drivers and their lives were changed forever. We hear “Don’t drink and drive” all the time but sometimes when you hear a message so often, you don’t pay as much attention to it anymore. Sometimes a message is more impactful when it’s presented visually. Working together with data visualization company, 1 Point21 Interactive, we wanted to take a deeper look at alcohol involved accidents in the state of Texas over the past 4 years. Together we analyzed data from the Texas Department of Transportation for 2012-2015. The map above shows all the alcohol involved car crashes in the state of Texas in 2015. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 24,635 crashes this past year alone.

The 10 Largest Cities in Texas

Generally speaking, the larger the population the more alcohol involved crashes there will be in a city (although that’s not always the case). We wanted to find out which cities residents are involved in the most crashes involving alcohol, so we looked at the number on a per capita basis. Below are the results of the cities with a population of 250,000 or more.

Injuries & Deaths From Alcohol Involved Crashes per 100,000 People, 2012-2015

 

24,000 And Counting

On average, there are approximately three crashes related to a DUI every hour in Texas. This was emphasized by our study visualizing where all of the DUI-related accidents occurred in 2015, and then ranking the cities where most of them happen; Lubbock had the highest rate of these types of accidents, with 139 per capita. The rest of the top five, in order, consisted of San Antonio, Austin, Arlington and El Paso.

The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) keeps detailed records of when and where every one of these accidents occur, and there are certainly times when they are more likely; that will be covered in just a moment. But it’s worth noting that Texas has some of the most strict penalties in the country for drinking and driving.

What Are the DUI Laws in Texas?

Texas has an implied consent law, as does every other state, and it means that if you are arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence, you must submit to a breathalyzer or a blood test. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended for 180 days, no exceptions. This is average compared to the rest of the country in terms of how strict the punishment is, and your refusal can be used against you in a court of law. You can technically still refuse, unless the accident involved injuries and/or fatalities.

License suspensions and potential jail sentences vary greatly upon the amount of personal and property damage that was incurred by the accident, as well as the number of offenses. An important note about that is Texas has no “lookback” limits, meaning that even if your only prior offense happened 25 years ago, it would still count against you.

Fines can also have a broad range, and this all depends on whether you are over 21, have a passenger under the age of 15, have an open container in the car, and/or whether you are driving a commercial vehicle. Even for a first offense, the fine can be as high as $2,000, but if you have a child under the age of 15 in the car, it counts as child endangerment, and the fine could approach $10,000 for that. Jail sentences range from 3 days to a year in the first offense, the length of which also depends on the conditions listed above. Two DUI convictions within five years requires the installation of an interlock device.

Injuries & Deaths From Alcohol Involved Crashes, 2012 - 2015

When Do Most DUIs Happen In Texas?

Our study showcases the top 10 cities with a population of greater than 250,000 where DUI crashes occur, but when exactly do most of them happen? According to Texas DOT, most of them happen on Sunday morning between 2-3 a.m., with 891 happening during this time in 2015 alone. Many can guess why; in big cities, the bars close around this time and people who have had too much to drink decide to drive home. This same time period on Saturday morning saw 869 DUI-related accidents, so the early morning hours on weekends are by far the most dangerous to be on the road.

The age group with the most DUI crashes in 2015 yields no surprises as well, with those between 21-25 accounting for 21.7 percent of total accidents. Those under 21 comprised 8.6 percent of statewide accidents, which was only the fifth most amongst all the age groups.

Texas is a large state with approximately 15.7 million registered drivers, second only to California. About twice as many crashes occurred in urban areas as they did in rural areas, but on a per capita basis, the study shows that smaller cities and large suburbs of the big cities can be just as dangerous as the large cities themselves.

Posted by admin at 11:40 pm

Can You Be Sued for Texting a Driver?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The age of technology has brought about some interesting questions regarding liability. Although people may not have a physical influence at the scene of a crime or accident, their electronic presence could impact one party’s ability to perform certain duties. Although it is not yet a criminal act to text someone who is driving, more people are beginning to question the liability of texters due to recent law suits.

The Case of the New Jersey Texter

In 2009, a New Jersey couple was badly injured by a driver whose truck drifted into their lane. After settling with the driver, the couple decided to go after his girlfriend as well because she texted him before the crash and was said to be the cause of his distraction. The court could not prove the driver’s girlfriend knew he was driving when she sent the text, and, therefore, she was not liable. However, this case led to many questions about the liability of those who text a driver.

What Does the Law Say?

The driver of a vehicle is responsible for operating under a “duty of reasonable care.” This means drivers must take an ordinary amount of care to ensure the safety of passengers and others on the road. If the prosecution proves a driver breached the duty of care, and that breach resulted in harm or injury to others, the driver is guilty of negligence.

In some states, the passenger of a vehicle must also act with reasonable care. If the passenger doesn’t take reasonable care, he or she could bear the guilt in an accident. It usually takes a great deal of investigation to prove liability in such a case. If a non-driver’s text directly affected the driver’s ability to act with reasonable care, the texter could be found guilty if a prosecutor proves he or she was aware the driver was operating a vehicle at the time. Because the texter is not physically in the vehicle, liability is even more difficult to prove, but it’s not impossible.

Elements of Negligence

For the courts to find someone guilty of negligence, the prosecution must prove all elements of negligence. First, the prosecution must establish a duty of care based on the relationship between the defendant and plaintiff. All drivers assume a duty of care when they operate a vehicle, and it extends to those with direct impact over the driver’s behavior. Once the prosecutor establishes the texter has a duty of care, he or she must prove the texter broke that duty by sending the text.

If the prosecutor can prove a breach of duty, there also needs to be evidence that the breach caused the harm or injury. The law calls this a “cause in fact” or “but-for” causation. If the defendant could have reasonably foreseen the resulting harm, even if the actions did not directly impact the damages (such as texting from a different location), his or her actions fall under proximate cause, and the courts can still apply liability. Lastly, the law must legally recognize the harm, known as damages, resulting from the defendant’s actions to prove liability in a negligence case.

How to Avoid Liability

Even though it can be difficult to prove liability of a texter in a text-related accident, all involved parties should be careful. If you suspect the person you are texting might be on the road, don’t send the text. It is better to be overly cautious than to unwittingly cause an accident. Additionally, if you are the driver of a vehicle, don’t let new messages distract you from your responsibility to drive with care. As tempting as it may be, checking your phone while driving could cause harm to you, those around you and possibly your message sender.

Posted by admin at 8:39 pm

How do you calculate lost wages from a car accident?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A car accident resulting in injury tends to have a snowball effect; hospital stay, recovery time, surgery if necessary and extensive bills for all of the above are just a few of the problems with which you might have to contend. Another is lost wages from missed work. This can have lasting damage on your finances if not fully compensated, but your options to do so are not limited; one can be to sue the responsible party.

How Can I Calculate My Lost Wages?

This can largely depend on what type of job you have and how you are paid. If you work in a full-time salaried position, this calculation is rather simple. If you work on an hourly basis or your salary is largely dependent upon commission, it’s more difficult to calculate an exact figure.

If you have kept the same job and the same earnings, you could show your previous year’s tax return for an accurate estimate on how much you’re owed. If you have been working consistently before the accident, copies of recent pay stubs would also suffice. But if you have the type of job where earnings change from week to week depending on contracts, commission or the general scope of your work, you’ll need to show what you missed while you were away.

This is especially true if you are self-employed or work on a freelance basis. Showing proof of assignments and work you missed, the contract agreement for said work and/or what you had earned on similar projects in the past will all be important.

Wage loss doesn’t just include what you did miss, but also what you might have missed; future earning capacity and lost opportunities (such as a raise or promotion) can very well be included in your claim if you can verify them. Accurate calculation of lost wages depends on proper documentation; you’ll need:

  • Physician’s letter, describing the extent of your injuries, medications prescribed, suggested recovery and the total length of time you must miss work.
  • Employer’s letter, stating that you are in fact an employee there, and that you did indeed miss all of that time from work.
  • A copy of the police report.

The aforementioned paperwork, such as tax returns and previous pay stubs, will also be crucial for documenting your wages.

Wage Loss Insurance

It’s not a guarantee that your car insurance plan covers lost wages due to missed work. This usually happens if you choose the option with the lower deductible. Typical liability, uninsured motorist and personal injury protection plans will cover for lost wages, but as always, read the fine print to be certain.

Liability and uninsured motorist plans will cover 100 percent of lost wages. Personal injury protection can be very important, because even though it will only cover 80 percent of lost wages, it does this regardless of whether or not you were at fault.

In the event of a car accident, missing work can seriously hinder your ability to pay your medical expenses. Filing a lawsuit or claim for compensation against the responsible party can help you recoup what you had lost.

Posted by admin at 9:04 pm

What is Drowsy Driving?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The dangers that exist when behind the wheel are perilous and apparent; drunk and distracted driving garners much attention, and is something most drivers avoid themselves while remaining vigilant for it in others. One danger that we perhaps don’t pay enough attention to, however, is distracted driving, which, according to a AAA study, is just as likely to cause an accident as driving while intoxicated.

Fatigue Behind the Wheel

Lack of quality sleep can affect a lot of areas of your life, but driving is perhaps the most hazardous. Even if you’re awake, less than six hours of sleep per night can drastically increase your chances of being in an accident. Side effects of such little sleep include:

  • Impaired reaction time
  • Problems processing information and with short-term memory
  • Decreased performance and vigilance
  • Increased aggravation or short temper

If you’ve ever reached your destination and realized you don’t remember any of what you saw while driving there, yelled at another driver for a minor inconvenience or have felt yourself take an extra second to apply the brakes, this could be an indicator of lack of sleep.

Fatigue cannot be measured or tested for after an accident like drunk driving can. It’s therefore tough to tell just how often driver fatigue is the main cause of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents involve drowsy driving. However, because of the difficulty estimating drowsiness, that number could actually be anywhere from 15 to 33 percent.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Of 19 states surveyed in a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 6.1 percent of Texas drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel within the past 30 days, the highest rate of any state. It’s unclear why Texas was the worst of the states surveyed, but it’s well above the national average of 4.2 percent.

An interesting anomaly in the CDC study concluded that it’s not just how much sleep we’re getting, but how well we sleep. Those who get less than six hours of sleep and snore reported falling asleep at the wheel at a rate of 8.5 percent, compared to 5.2 percent for those who don’t.

Getting the recommended amount of sleep is easier said than done, but it’s imperative to recognize the signs of a drowsy driver, whether it’s yourself or someone else. If you notice the driver appears fatigues, offer to drive for a while. If you feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull off the road and close your eyes for a few minutes. If you have taken a medicine that may cause drowsiness, don’t drive until you know how it affects you.

Posted by admin at 9:01 pm

Have Distracted Driving Laws Reduced Crashes? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Distracted driving poses a serious threat to our health. According to government research on driver behavior, in 2014 nearly 3200 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in which distracted driving was a factor.

Distracted driving is defined as any activity that can divert a person’s attention away from their primary task, which is driving. Examples of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, applying makeup, reading maps, consulting a navigation system, even adjusting a radio. Since text messaging requires digital, cognitive, and visual input, it’s often seen as the biggest threat. And we text a lot – according to federal data, we sent nearly 170 billion texts in December 2014 alone. A lot of us text while driving – around 660,000 at any given time.

To reduce the number of distracted driving related crashes, lawmakers have passed sweeping regulations to address texting on the road. Today, nearly every state in the union prohibits it. But are they doing any good?

New York was the first to pass a handheld device provision in 2001. Not only are residents not allowed to text, but they’re not allowed to talk or use their devices (hands-free talking is allowed in some states). Currently, fourteen states have this provision, as well as the District of Columbia. Forty-four states prohibit texting while driving, but allow talking and use of a navigation system.

Texting-Related Bans Save Lives

A review of hospitalization data show that texting bans have led to a decrease in crash-related hospitalizations across all age groups, according to a study in The American Journal of Public Health. On average, such hospitalizations have decreased by seven percent. The improvement was most drastic among crash victims aged 22 to 64. Crashes among adolescents and teens, on the other hand, dropped only marginally.

Researchers in the study concluded that these reductions translate into annual prevention of 30 motor-vehicle hospitalizations per hospital (in states with a primary texting ban). This suggests that texting bans work and are improving public health.

Insurance Companies Tell a Different Story

Interestingly, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found conflicting information. While they found bans on hand-held phone use have curbed the behavior of texting behind the wheel, they haven’t produced a subsequent reduction in crashes. According to their analysis, cell phone and texting bans have not reduced the number of crashes reported to insurers, even with strong enforcement.

The institute’s research found that in places with a handheld device ban, such as New York, cell phone conversations dropped by as much as 76 percent. They also found, however, that motor vehicle crash claims haven’t been significantly reduced in the years following the ban.

There are several possible reasons for this – for example, drivers who were on their phones may have been distracted by something else. Another is that drivers may be switching to hands-free calling, which is legal but still provides a cognitive distraction. These drivers would still be distracted by the conversation, even when their hands are on the wheel.

What’s the Final Word on Texting Bans?

It’s important to note that one study analyzed insurance claim data, while the other analyzed hospitalization data. One possible explanation for the cell phone ban data discrepancy is that there are fewer serious crashes producing hospitalization although they may still result in an insurance claim.

Distracted driving still poses a threat to our health. Each year, there are several hundred preventable deaths related to cell phone use. Lawmakers must continue to recognize the efficacy of texting bans in reducing serious injury and encourage states without texting bans to adopt legislation. Together, we can reduce the number of distracted driving deaths.

Posted by admin at 5:24 pm

How to Avoid Aggressive Drivers

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Busier schedules, longer commutes, and more traffic on the roadways have led to an increase in aggressive driving around the country. Major cities, like Dallas, have an issue with aggressive drivers trying to make it to work on time in heavy rush hour traffic. Aggressive drivers put everyone on the roadway in danger, allowing rage to cloud their judgment and potentially lead to acts of violence. Recognizing an aggressive driver and staying away is the best options for protecting yourself from this human hazard.

Obey Roadway Rules

Many bouts of aggression behind the wheel stem from another vehicle disobeying the rules of the road. When one driver speeds, cuts another driver off, weaves between lanes, or fails to yield the right of way, it can trigger another driver’s rage reflex. You’ve likely felt this anger yourself. When a careless or negligent driver nearly causes an accident, it can make everyone else on the road feel heated. Don’t be the bad driver who makes other commuters angry. Wait your turn at a four-way stop, use your blinker when merging, and don’t use the left lane if you’re a slow driver.

Keep the Passing Lane Open

The “fast lanes” on I-30 and freeways in Dallas are passing lanes, according to Texas roadway rules. While many drivers stay in the left lane for the duration of their commutes, it’s actually only meant for passing slower vehicles in the middle and right lanes. To avoid an aggressive driver tailgating behind you, keep the passing lane open except when passing.

A driver in a hurry may get angry with you for blocking the passing lane. Resist the temptation to speed up, slow down, or “brake-check” the driver behind you to get him or her off your back. This could cause a rear-end collision or cause the angry driver to use other lanes to pass – a dangerous maneuver. Instead, carefully exit the passing lane using your blinker and allow the aggressor to pass you.

Leave Space Between Your Vehicle and Others

Keeping a safe driving distance between your vehicle and those around you is not only good safety advice, it can also help avoid road rage situations. Following the vehicle in front of you too closely can translate as tailgating, potentially making the other driver angry. The driver could then slam on his or her brakes, causing a rear-end collision if you can’t react in time (for which you’ll be responsible). Driving too closely to others could also cause an accident. Even a minor collision or scrape could set the wrong person on a rampage.

Don’t Use Inflammatory Gestures

Drivers often feel overly confident in the confines of their vehicles and do or say things they might not in a face-to-face altercation. Unfortunately, actions behind the wheel to another driver could cause a real-life confrontation. Avoid honking your horn unnecessarily, flashing your lights, or using rude hand gestures toward other drivers. It may be tempting to show another driver you’re irritated because he or she cut you off, but it isn’t worth making a heated situation worse. Save your horn for preventing collisions, not letting someone know you’re angry.

Stay Calm

Prevent triggering a conflict by avoiding eye contact with a driver you know is angry. If an aggressive driver purposefully causes a collision, follows you home, or tries to exit his/her car for an altercation with you, call 911. For every moving violation related to aggressive driving in Texas, a driver can pay fines of up to $200 and even face jail time. Trust law enforcement to handle an aggressive driver – never try to neutralize a dangerous situation on your own.

Posted by admin at 11:27 pm

What Do I Do When Another Driver Has an Accident in My Car?

Monday, December 19, 2016

It’s bad enough to crash your own car and have to take responsibility for the damages, but when someone else has an accident in your vehicle, you can feel trapped. Loaning your vehicle to a friend or family member seemed harmless at the time, but now you have to face the consequences of a collision. Luckily, car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. However, someone else crashing your car can lead to your premium going up and having to pay a hefty deductible. Here’s what to do after someone else has an accident in your vehicle.

Call Your Insurance Company

The first step after a friend or family member causes an accident in your car is to call your insurance company. The company will tell you who your policy includes. Typically, insurance policies cover people in your household automatically, as well as friends if you give them your permission to drive the car. However, some policies have an excluded list that describes certain people the insurance company will not cover.

Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the driver’s insurance company, and the damage to your vehicle, your company will handle the situation in a variety of ways. If the driver suffered an injury in the crash, his or her own personal injury protection (PIP) policy would cover the costs. Unlike liability coverage, PIP policies cover the driver first and the vehicle second. If the driver does not have this protection under his or her policy, he or she could claim it against your own PIP coverage.

Find Out Who Will Pay for Damages

In a common scenario, where you and the driver both have car insurance, both companies may foot the bill for the accident. Your car insurance would serve as the primary coverage, and the driver’s insurance would be secondary. If the vehicle’s damages exceed the coverage limit on your policy, the driver’s insurance would step in and cover the remaining balance. Your own insurance coverage would pay for all damages if:

  • The driver did not have insurance
  • An excluded driver borrowed your car
  • Someone stole and crashed your vehicle

Remember, if the accident wasn’t the driver’s fault, the other involved driver’s car insurance would cover damages and your personal insurance wouldn’t change. Arm yourself with information in these situations by speaking with your insurance company and finding out what your policy covers. If you don’t have the right type of coverage, you may end up paying for damages out of pocket.

Speak to an Attorney Regarding Liability Issues

When someone else crashes your car, it’s possible for victims in the accident to hold you liable for damages. While this may not seem fair, it does make sense in certain scenarios. A party may hold you responsible for injuries and property damage even if someone else was driving your car. Such a situation might include you knowingly letting an intoxicated person operate your vehicle, letting an unlicensed driver take your car, or if issues relating to the car itself caused the crash.

If, for example, the car’s badly maintained brakes failed while someone else was behind the wheel, the courts may hold you, the vehicle’s owner, responsible for a crash. Liability issues can be complex when a crash involves a vehicle owner and separate driver of the vehicle. Speak with an attorney if you believe you might end up in court regarding a car accident – whether you’re the driver or someone else was.

Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future

Dealing with car insurance companies and liability problems resulting from an excluded driver crashing your car can be a major headache. If there’s even a small possibility of a friend or family member driving your vehicle, include him or her on your insurance policy.

Posted by admin at 11:36 pm

What Are the Deadliest Distractions in Your Car?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A daily commute can be a tedious, boring part of the day, especially when stuck in bumper-to-bumper Dallas traffic. Many drivers turn to devices to make their commutes more enjoyable, scrolling through social media on smartphones or grabbing a bite to eat on the go. Unfortunately, any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road can be deadly.

In 2014, distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 more in the United States. Distracted drivers are unable to react to changes in roadway conditions or hazards in time to avoid collisions. The best way to put an end to distracted driving is to understand what activities are dangerous behind the wheel. Avoid becoming a statistic by avoiding these 10 most deadly car ride distractions.

Lost in Thought

The most deadly distraction in your car is getting lost in thought. Driving can be a soothing, therapeutic task that causes some drivers to detach from reality. Driving in a haze, daydreaming, or in autopilot can slow your reaction time and increase your odds of crashing. According to a report by Erie Insurance, 62% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were lost in thought.

Cell Phone Use

Surprisingly, cell phones do not come in at the top of the list of deadly distractions. They account for about 12% of fatal distracted driving accidents. Thirteen states ban the use of cell phones behind the wheel for all drivers, while 37 (Texas included) ban them for teen drivers only. Texting, talking, dialing, listening, and accessing the Internet on a mobile device while driving cause thousands of car accidents every year.

Rubbernecking

Staring at outside events, such as a car accident, leads to about 7% of accidents. Drivers take their eyes away from the road for extended periods of time to look at an event, object, or person, and crash into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Drivers should always keep their eyes on the road ahead.

Passengers

Other occupants in vehicles can cause an accident by distracting the driver or moving the driver’s hands or feet, such as jerking the wheel away as a joke. Bad company in your car can easily lead to an accident from occupants talking too loudly, making conversation that upsets you emotionally, or physically making you crash.

Reaching for Objects

Drivers who try to reach for objects in their vehicles, such as napkins from the glove box, headphones, or navigational devices account for 2% of all distracted driving crashes. Drivers are especially at risk of reaching for devices they bring into their vehicles.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking while driving is one of the most common mistakes drivers make. Many drivers are in the habit of eating breakfast or sipping coffee on morning commutes, or taking lunch breaks on the go in their vehicles. Saving a few extra minutes isn’t worth the risk of a major traffic accident.

Changing Vehicle Controls

Fiddling with the devices or controls in your vehicle can take your eyes away from the road just long enough to cause an accident. Changing the radio station, air conditioning, repositioning your mirrors, moving your seat, or using a GPS navigation system while driving can be fatal distractions.

Moving Objects

Moving objects in the car can cause a distraction or lead to an object impeding the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Moving objects may include pets or insects inside the car that take a driver’s eyes, hands, or attention away from the road.

Smoking

Activities relating to lighting cigarettes or other items, as well as ashing a cigarette in a car ashtray, can cause a distracted driving accident. Lighting a cigarette takes a driver’s eyes and hands away from the driving task, leaving him or her prone to crashes.

Posted by admin at 11:21 pm

What Is the Texas Dram Shop Law?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When one person injures another, the injured party may seek compensation for his or her injuries and associated expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person who injured him or her. In some situations, a third-party may share some of the blame. This third-party may not have directly contributed to the injury-causing incident, but his or her involvement enabled the defendant (the person being sued) to commit the action.

One of the most prevalent examples of this situation would be a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron. In Texas, the laws meant to prevent such incidents are known as dram shop laws.

How Do Dram Shop Claims Work?

Any establishment or “social host” that provides alcohol to guests may be held responsible for any injuries that those guests cause to others after they leave the premises. Additionally, liquor stores and other alcohol vendors can be held responsible for damages in some cases, including any instance of alcohol being sold or given to anyone under the age of 18 or any instance of providing alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.

A “social host” describes any individual who knowingly supplies alcohol to individuals under the age of 18. This does not apply to parents – a parent cannot be held accountable as a social host if his or her child injures another person due to intoxication. Under Texas laws, social hosts include any adult who is not a parent, legal guardian, or spouse of the minor under 18. Social host laws also apply to individuals who knowingly serve alcohol to minors under 18 or permit alcohol consumption by minors under 18 on his or her property.

Damages

As with any other personal injury case, a personal injury lawsuit involving dram shop laws can provide the injured party with various forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses. Compensation for medical costs can include emergency response services and care, hospital bills, the costs of any necessary subsequent treatments (such as physical therapy or reconstructive surgeries), prescription costs, and any other medical expenses resulting from the incident.
  • Pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s attorney will consult with medical professionals who will act as expert witnesses. Expert witnesses have no personal involvement in a case, but instead, provide their expertise to the court to help a jury determine how an injury affected the plaintiff. Although it sounds difficult to quantify physical pain and emotional trauma with a dollar figure, expert witness testimony allows a court to determine a reasonable amount of compensation.
  • Lost income. If an injury prevents the plaintiff from returning to work for an extended period, he or she can claim lost wages as compensation. If an incident results in a permanent disability that prevents the plaintiff from resuming his or her job permanently, he or she can sue for the income that he or she would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
  • Property damage. This includes damage to a vehicle or destroyed personal belongings.

Cases involving dram shop laws often involve extensive investigation, such as interviewing patrons and staff of the establishment who saw the intoxicated individual, security footage from the establishment, and consultations with expert witnesses. An attorney is crucial for successfully navigating any personal injury case and any case involving Texas dram shop laws – which will likely be complex.

The individual directly responsible for the incident and the establishment that served alcohol to the individual can both be held accountable for the incident. For example, if you were struck by a drunk driver and injured, you can sue the driver for compensation for the damages listed above. Additionally, if that driver just left a bar that continued to serve him or her alcohol after he or she was visibly drunk, the bar can also be held accountable for contributing to the incident.

Posted by admin at 5:27 pm

What Are the Right-of-Way Laws in Texas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The rules of the road enable drivers to anticipate the actions of others. Quite often, drivers must yield to other drivers or pedestrians before moving. The phrase “right of way” describes how you determine when to yield to another driver or pedestrian or when that other driver or pedestrian must yield to you. Right-of-way laws exist to ensure public safety on the road and to provide the smoothest flow of traffic possible.

Right-of-way laws are meant to keep drivers and pedestrians safe, so it’s important for Texans to know the state’s right-of-way laws. Understanding these laws can help prevent traffic accidents, injuries, and even fatalities, and it can help drivers avoid traffic tickets for illegal maneuvers.

Right-of-Way at Intersections

There are specific laws concerning the right-of-way at intersections in Texas:

  • When driving on an unpaved road, if you come to an intersection with a paved road, you must yield the right-of-way to traffic driving on the paved road.
  • At uncontrolled intersections, you must yield the right-of-way to any traffic already in the intersection and any traffic to the right of your vehicle.
  • When making a left-hand turn at an intersection, you must yield to pedestrians crossing the street as well as traffic traveling in the opposite lane. This also applies to making a right-hand turn. You must yield to through traffic entering the lane you wish to turn into as well as any pedestrians crossing in your path.
  • Whenever you approach an intersection at a main road from any private road, alley, or driveway, the right-of-way must be yielded to traffic driving on the main road.
  • Trains always have the right-of-way at railroad crossings. Always stop at the indicated spot. Trains are typically much wider than the tracks, and if you stop too close to the tracks, you risk being struck by a moving train. Such collisions are extremely deadly.

Emergency Vehicles

Emergency vehicles are equipped with lights and sirens to let other drivers know that they are nearby and responding to an emergency. It’s vital for other drivers to quickly ascertain the location of the emergency vehicle and pull over so personnel can reach the emergency.

In Texas, motorists must always give the right-of-way to any fire trucks, ambulances, or police vehicles. Pull over to the right as soon as possible, unless you’re within an intersection at the time. In this case, continue through the intersection and pull over to the right side of the road as soon as you can.

Pedestrians

Every Texas driver must always give pedestrians the right-of-way, even if they aren’t crossing legally at the time. Pedestrians have no protection from oncoming traffic. As such, it’s vital for drivers to exercise caution around pedestrians and areas with heavy foot traffic. Not every intersection will have a “Walk/Don’t Walk” signal. Regardless of whether such a signal is present, a pedestrian has the right-of-way during a green light. Additionally, pedestrians have the legal right-of-way even if the light changes to red as they cross.

A good rule of thumb is to simply always yield to pedestrians, even if they’re violating the law or crossing the road illegally.

Right-of-Way Violation Penalties

As with most driving infractions, drivers found in violation of right-of-way laws can expect to receive points on their licenses. A failure to yield violation will typically result in two points and a $50 to $200 fine. A failure to yield violation that leads to an injury will result in three points and up to $2,000 in fines. Serious injuries may incur an even larger fine up to $4,000. Any right-of-way infractions committed by Texan drivers outside the state will still result in these penalties.

Posted by admin at 11:54 pm