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Articles Posted in Alcohol and Auto Accidents

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road-people-street-smartphone-2224-300x200The risk of a motor vehicle crash is highest among teens aged 16-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Teens aged 16-19 are almost three times more likely than other drivers to be in a fatal crash. In 2017 alone, 2,364 teens aged 16-19 in the United States were killed. This means that six teens aged 16-19 died every day due to motor vehicle crashes.

According to one study, Texas teens are some of the most dangerous drivers in the country, putting them at high risk for a Texas motor vehicle crash. About 40 percent of teens in Texas reported texting and driving, seven percent reported drinking and driving, and an additional seven percent reported that they rarely wear a seatbelt. The primary factors that increased the likelihood of a crash among the teenage population are male drivers, the presence of other teen passengers, and newly-licensed drivers.

Texas drivers must exercise reasonable care while they are operating a motor vehicle. In the event of a Texas motor vehicle crash, an injured party must show that a defendant owed a legal duty to the injured party, that the defendant breached that duty, that the injured party’s suffered damages, and that the defendant’s wrongful conduct proximately caused the damages suffered. In some Texas car accident cases, violation of a statute may be evidence of a defendant’s failure to meet the standard of care. For example, driving while intoxicated may be evidence of failing to meet the requisite standard of care while operating a motor vehicle.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-07-at-2.28.58-PM.pngAustin Texas, April 7, 2020 On the evening of March 30th around 9:20 PM a collision happened that marked the 24th fatal traffic incident in Austin so far this year, resulting in 25 fatalities. Compared to last year at this point in 2019, there were 17 fatal traffic crashes. (APD)

The incident happened along the 5500 block of East Parmer Lane on the northeast side.  The driver of a Hummer H3 was moving south over the eastbound lanes of the street when she failed to yield to a 2008 Mercedes-Benz ML3 driven by Cain Perez Estrada, 34.  The Mercedes struck the passenger side of the Hummer injuring the two children passengers.  The children were transported to the Dell Children’s Medical Center with serious trauma.  One of the children, Daminik Lopez, 9 died from her injuries 5 days later. The other child also underwent surgery for their critical injuries and that child’s status is still unknown at this time.  The driver of the Hummer’s name has not been released by the police.

Estrada was also injured in the accident and was transferred to a local hospital for non life-threatening injuries.  After he was discharged, he was then arrested by Austin police on DWI which is believed to be a contributing factor in this accident.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-03-at-1.39.44-PM.pngWednesday, April 1, 2020: AMARILLO, TX-  Two women are dead, and a child is in the hospital after a Wednesday night wreck near the Ross Rogers Golf Course in Amarillo.  Police were called to a two-vehicle accident near NW 24th Avenue and N. Jefferson Street on April 1 around 9:50 p.m.  Police said alcohol is a factor in the crash.

According to a Police, a car driven by 32-year-old Margaret Finch was driving east on 24th Avenue.  An SUV driven by 36-year-old Ykevia Johnson was driving west on 24th and turning onto Jefferson. 

Police said Johnson did not yield the right of way to Finch and was hit by her car.  According to Amarillo police, Finch died at the hospital and 44-year-old Leskisha Nicole Washington, a passenger in Finch’s car died at the hospital later from injuries sustained in the accident. A 1-year-old child, also a passenger in Finch’s car was  taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

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March 10, 2020, Houston, Texas: Three men are dead and a fourth is in serious condition after a violent high-speed crash in northeast Harris County on Friday, March 6th.

Arturo Mireles, 19, the driver of a white Honda Civic, was speeding on Aqueduct Road near North Lake Houston Parkway when he ran a stop sign and crashed into a tree around 2 a.m., Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. The driver and front passenger were killed instantly, while one of the two rear passengers died on the way to the hospital, Gonzalez said.

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(Tyler, TX Jan 15, 2020) Tyler police have arrested a 19-year-old for causing a crash, sending three people to the hospital Monday night. Shortly after midnight, police were called to the 10700 block o f highway 271, where 19-year-old Jasmine Gonzalez in a Mercedes-Benz was driving Southbound in the Northbound lanes of 271 when she collided head-on with a Nissan Sentra, occupied by a 35-year-old mother and her two children, aged 13 and 8. The mother and 8-year-old are currently in critical condition, the 13 year old is in stable condition. Gonzalez was charged with two counts of intoxicated assault with a vehicle and remains in the Smith County jail awaiting bond.

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(El Paso Jan 12, 2020) A motorcyclist was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver late Thursday January 11th.  The incident happened at the intersection of Raynor and Randall near downtown El Paso when a Dodge Ram pick-up ran a red light and struck the motorcycle.  The victim, Celso Manuel Garcia (38) was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver of the truck, Ivan Romo (27) was arrested at the scene and charged with intoxication manslaughter.  He is being held at the county detention facility.  Romo, is currently a soldier stationed at Ft. Bliss

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PASADENA, Texas (Jan 3, 2020)–  A Motorcycle Crash in Pasadena kills one man and lands another in custody. Police said the crash happened around 3:40 a.m. on Genoa Red Bluff Road between Space Center Boulevard and Red Bluff Road. A speeding motorcyclist heading westbound on Genoa Red Bluff T-boned the passenger side of a small, four-door sedan. The impact caused the sedan and motorcycle to spin and catch on fire. The motorcyclist was thrown from his bike and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car — 30-year-old Stephen Dario Rodriguez — was transported to a hospital and is expected to survive.

Investigators determined Rodriguez had been driving under the influence and was charged with his third DWI. The victim of the crash has been identified as 24-year-old James Hubbs. The incident is still under investigation.

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In Texas, drunk driving is taken seriously by lawmakers, police, and prosecutors. Yet, despite the decades-long efforts of government agencies and non-profit organizations, drunk driving is still a major problem in Texas. Indeed, each year there are approximately 17,000 Texas DUI accidents, claiming the lives of nearly 1,000 Texans annually.

While a Texas drunk driver is subject to criminal penalties, they can also be held accountable for their actions through a Texas personal injury lawsuit. To establish that a drunk driver is responsible for an accident victim’s injuries, the accident victim must be able to prove the four elements of a Texas negligence lawsuit: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Typically, in a lawsuit arising from a Texas drunk driving accident, the elements of duty and breach are often established through the doctrine of negligence per se. Negligence per se is, in essence, a shortcut that lawmakers allow certain accident victims to take when developing their claim. When the elements of negligence per se are met, the defendant is found to have been legally negligent. This satisfies both the duty and breach elements of a negligence claim.

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Drunk driving is a serious concern throughout the country, but the issue is even more concerning in Texas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13,138 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Texas from 2003 to 2012. The rate of drunk driving deaths was higher in Texas than the national average across all age groups, according to data from 2012. In addition, the percentage of adults who reported driving after drinking too much was higher in Texas than nationally.The CDC recommends that states have harsh drunk driving laws, including zero-tolerance laws, sobriety checkpoints, and ignition-interlock devices installed on cars for all offenders, as well as mass-media campaigns and school-based instructional programs, among other strategies.

Texas DUI Law

All states have drunk driving laws in place to protect the public from drunk drivers. In Texas, the state’s blood-alcohol limit is 0.08% for individuals 21 and older, and 0.04% for commercial drivers. Additionally, there is a zero-tolerance law in effect for individuals younger than 21 years old. Being involved in a DUI accident can have devastating consequences, and individuals who are injured in a Texas drunk driving accident may pursue a claim against the drunk driver to recover compensation for their injuries.

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Back in July of this year, three teenagers were involved in a serious Texas car accident after the driver lost control of the vehicle. After losing control of the Nissan Altima, the car veered off the road and into the median, where it slammed head-on into trees that cut the vehicle in half. While the driver survived with relatively minor injuries, both passengers died from the injuries they sustained in the accident.While investigating the fatal accident, police believed the driver to have been under the influence of alcohol. That was confirmed, and the teenage driver was arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. According to a recent news report, authorities have subsequently arrested a 29-year-old gas-station clerk who they believe may have sold the teenage driver fortified wine on the day of the fatal accident. The clerk denies he sold the minor alcohol, claiming that he always checks customers’ identification prior to selling them alcohol.

Dram Shop and Social Host Liability

While the driver involved in this tragic accident may have obtained alcohol from a gas station, more often than not under-age drinkers get alcohol from a friend’s parents or from a bar or restaurant. In some cases, the bartender may be a friend or acquaintance who serves the minor, knowing they are under-age.

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