Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/07/Screen-Shot-2021-07-02-at-9.08.29-AM-300x163.pngWhile some car accidents seem straightforward, upon investigation, most cases contain various factors that may impact liability and financial recovery. Most Texas motor vehicle accidents involve negligence or recklessness. However, while specific actions may seem “negligent,” Texas law has a precise definition of what amounts to legal negligence. Even if an injury victim can establish the other party’s negligence, they might still need to refute any claims of contributory negligence.

Contributory negligence and comparative fault are two approaches to liability in a Texas personal injury accident claim. Many accidents involve more than one reason or set of circumstances that led to the accident. There are various contributory negligence and comparative negligence theories that impact recovery. Texas courts use the “modified comparative negligence” laws to determine liability and subsequent recovery. Under this system, a plaintiff that is more than 51% responsible for an accident cannot recover compensation.

In light of the state’s comparative negligence laws, insurance companies will go to great lengths to refute a victim’s claim and reduce their compensation. In some cases, insurance companies and defendants will provide significant evidence to establish the victim’s liability. For instance, a recent Texas accident highlights a situation where a defendant may claim that the victim was negligent. In that case, a 73-year-old man suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. According to police, the man was in the process of picking up an item that fell out of his truck when he got hit by a Jeep. At the time of the report, the police did not issue any citations.

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CS-San-Antonio-9-300x300The Supreme Court of Texas recently issued an opinion finding that a trial court abused its discretion in denying a defendant’s discovery request. The case arose after the plaintiff suffered injuries in a Texas car accident with a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant’s employee. After the accident, the parties took photos, exchanged identifying information, and drove away without reporting injuries. A few days after the accident, the plaintiff sought medical treatment and underwent several surgeries on his spine and shoulder. His medical providers charged him over one million dollars for the surgeries and treatment. The plaintiff did not pay for the care. His attorneys notified the healthcare providers that they would protect the healthcare providers’ interest if they settled the underlying personal injury lawsuit. However, they specified the settlement would only include reasonable and necessary medical charges.

During the trial, the defendants served subpoenas on the plaintiff’s healthcare providers. Specifically, they wanted information related to the providers’ billing practices and rates. Three of the providers filed motions to quash the subpoenas, and the trial court granted the motions. The defendant narrowed the requests, but the healthcare providers responded that the narrowed requests contained the same defects.

Under the rules of evidence, evidence is “relevant” if it has “any tendency” to make a fact more or less probable. For pre-trial discovery, evidence that may not be admissible at trial may still be permitted, so long as it’s “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” In the context of personal injury lawsuits, medical records and bills reasonably related to a party’s injuries or damages are typically relevant.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-9.59.08-AM-300x298.pngThe law provides that Texas insurance companies owe several duties to their policyholders. These procedural and substantive rules aim to ensure that insurance companies settle claims fairly and promptly. Insurance companies that fail to abide by these standards may be liable under Texas’ insurance bad faith and breach of contract laws.

While insurance companies are subject to significant oversight, many companies continue to engage in questionable practices that can adversely affect policyholders. Insurance companies typically maintain a team of experienced attorneys to defend their practices, which often leaves policyholders in a daunting and precarious financial position. Policyholders who face difficulties settling a claim with their Texas insurance company should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Under Texas law, policyholders pursuing a common law bad faith claim must establish their insurance company improperly denied a lawful claim. These causes of action usually stem from misrepresenting a policy, failing to settle in good faith, failing to explain a denial, failing to clarify coverage, and refusing to settle a claim without a reasonable investigation. The most common insurance business practices that lead to these claims are, claim undervaluation, delaying claims or payments, canceling or changing terms of a contract, requesting unnecessary information, alleging fraud without justification.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/04/Screen-Shot-2021-04-27-at-2.37.08-PM.pngSelf-driving, or autonomous cars, are revolutionizing the way the public looks at travel and car ownership. These vehicles turn active drivers into passive passengers, allowing motorists to rely on the car’s advanced computerized system to navigate the roads and avoid collisions. However, these cars may result in a serious Texas car accident, as the new technology is still being refined.

Autonomous vehicles rely on complex computer systems, sensors, actuators, and various algorithms to operate on the roads without an active driver. In theory, these cars provide a glimpse into a more environmentally friendly and safer future for road users. However, as it is, these features often present more dangers than benefits.

For example, recently, a national news report described a fatal Tesla crash involving a driverless vehicle. According to reports, the vehicle did not have a driver and was operating on high or full automation mode. As such, one of the occupants was in the front passenger seat, and the other occupants were in the back seat. The car was speeding along a dangerous curve when it slammed into a tree. Emergency responders used over 30,000 gallons of water to put out the massive fire that the collision sparked. Tesla did not respond to this incident but previously stated that their vehicles are intended to be used with an attentive driver who has their hands on the steering wheel. However, safety officials argue that the company does not do enough to deter drivers from depending too much on the vehicle’s features.

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car-crash-cartoon-pictures-19-300x210Texas car accidents range in severity, and individuals may exhibit significant differences in their responses to these potentially traumatic events. The magnitude of an accident may not become evident until some time after the incident; thus, Texas accident victims must take steps to address their injuries and preserve their recovery rights. Although it is unreasonable to expect motorists to fully prepare for another driver’s negligence, there are specific preparations motorists can take in the event of these unanticipated situations.

Motorists should ensure that their cars are in proper working order and keep their insurance and registration information easily accessible in their vehicles. Although many people do not find the need for pens and paper as they once did, it is advisable to keep these supplies handy to jot down and exchange information quickly.

After an accident, adrenaline and emotions are often running high, and the full extent of damages and injuries may not be readily apparent. Those involved in a Texas accident should err on the side of receiving medical treatment after an accident. While immediate transportation to a hospital may not be necessary, accident victims should consult with their primary physician or urgent care after an accident. Drivers should also check on their passengers and other people involved in the incident.

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activity-board-game-connection-desk-613508-300x200Texas has specific procedural requirements that parties must adhere to when they proceed with a lawsuit. If these procedures are not followed and prescribed deadlines are ignored, it could result in your case being dismissed or leave you unable to get the compensation you deserve. Thus, hiring an experienced attorney is crucial when you decide to proceed with a lawsuit—especially someone who understands the ins and outs of Texas laws and procedures.

In a recent Supreme Court of Texas case, a plaintiff challenged a court order allowing the defendant in the dispute to designate an unknown person as a responsible third party. The plaintiff initially sued the defendant for negligently causing a chain-reaction car accident that occurred when a truck driver employed by the defendant rear-ended the truck behind the plaintiff. The defendant initially filed an answer asserting a general denial of responsibility and that the plaintiff was comparatively responsible for causing the accident. Then, 135 days later, the defendant filed a motion to designate an unknown person, referred to as “John Doe” as a responsible third party, arguing that John Doe negligently caused the accident. Although the plaintiff objected to the defendant’s filing, the trial court allowed the defendant to designate John Doe as an unknown responsible party in an amended answer.

More than two years later, the defendant filed its amended original answer, which still did not include allegations of John Doe’s responsibility. The plaintiff objected, stating that the defendant failed to meet the procedural requirements necessary to designate responsibility to John Doe since it was not in the amended complaint the defendant filed. In response, the defendant filed a second amended answer, this time including allegations stating that John Doe caused the accident. The trial court then denied the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion, and the plaintiff filed for relief with the Supreme Court of Texas.

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pexels-antonio-batinić-5364345-300x200Every time we get behind the wheel in Texas, we must accept a certain level of risk as drivers. Even if we are careful, proactive, and courteous on the road, there is no guarantee that external factors will not cause a car accident. Other drivers, poor weather conditions, or unexpected obstacles on the road can all play a role in the chances of being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, for many of these accidents, there is nothing you can do to prepare outside of staying vigilant and ensuring your vehicle is properly maintained.

According to a local news report, a mother was killed after a tragic and sudden accident. The mother and her 17-year-old son were on their way home from a baseball game and were traveling southbound behind a white pickup truck when the tire and wheel from a pickup truck flew off. The tire and wheel went over the highway’s concrete barrier and smashed into the mother’s windshield, killing her instantly. At the time of the accident, the woman’s son was asleep in the front passenger seat. He was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. After the tire and wheel crashed through the mother’s windshield, she lost control and rear-ended a GMC ahead of her, which had four passengers. All four were transported to a local hospital, reportedly in serious, but stable, condition. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities, and the cause of the tire and wheel falling off is not yet clear.

According to officials, although this accident may seem like a freak accident, these types of collisions are more common than you may expect. Based on 2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 people died in tire-related crashes similar to the accident that took the mother’s life. In addition, more than 19,000 people are hurt every year from these accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Many of these accidents, however, can be preventable or the impact lessened with some easy steps.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/02/Screen-Shot-2021-02-11-at-6.04.35-PM.pngDuring the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency, many aspects of life as we know it in Texas have changed. One change is traffic safety, especially now that driving patterns have been altered as a result of social distancing and more people staying home. Unsurprisingly, traffic patterns changed significantly throughout the course of 2020, and some of these changes may also affect Texas residents and drivers if you’re planning to get back on the road or have been back to commuting for a while.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent report, changes to driving and travel patterns have been significant during the pandemic. The NHTSA reported that despite initial declines in traffic crash fatalities in 2020, the fatality rate increased during the second quarter of the year. From April until June, the fatality rate rose per 100 million vehicle miles traveled from 1.06 in 2019 to 1.25 in 2020. There was, however, an initial decrease in the first six months of 2020, which is likely attributable to the early onset of the pandemic and initial social distancing requirements and stay at home orders.

Drivers were taking on increased speeds in the second half of the year, according to the NHTSA. Although the reasons behind this are unclear, this may have been due to less bustle and congestion on the roads, which may have encouraged drivers to take advantage of the space. The NHTSA also reports that across nearly all roadway classifications, speeds observed in 2020 remained higher than in 2019. This, the NHTSA argues, presents a significant safety concern because a 10 percent change in the average speed of traffic has been historically shown to have a greater impact on traffic fatalities than a 10 percent change in traffic volume. Increased driving speed, the NHTSA contends, increases the risk of crashes and the severity of injuries associated with those crashes.

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pexels-matheus-bertelli-799463-300x169According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Texas motor vehicle collisions occur less than every minute. Those that suffer injuries in a Texas car accident may be able to recover for their injuries against a negligent driver. Over 10% of Texas accidents result from inclement weather conditions, such as fog, sleet, ice, rain, and wind. In some cases, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and electric storms also result in a higher number of severe Texas car crashes. Texas weather can change quite quickly, and weather conditions can vary drastically from one part of the state to the next. Although safety officials stress the importance of postponing driving until after a severe weather event, it is not possible in some cases.

Before getting on the road, drivers should ensure that their vehicles are in proper working order. Motorists should inspect their windshield wipers, headlights, tire pressure and tread, and brakes. Most importantly, drivers who must drive during inclement weather should plan their route and travel time in advance. Driving during severe weather conditions can be stressful and take longer than usual. Drivers who find themselves on a Texas road during bad weather conditions should slow down, leave room in front of them, use turn signals early, buckle up, turn off cruise control, avoid sudden braking, and pull over safely, if necessary.

Rain accounts for the majority of weather-related car accidents in Texas. Hydroplaning is one of the main reasons for accidents in rainy conditions. This occurs when a vehicle’s tires lose contact with the road and begin to skid and veer. These accidents often result in chain-reaction collisions and can cause severe injuries and even death to motorists, passengers, and bystanders.

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pexels-lukas-rychvalsky-1600909-300x200Although this past holiday season has looked a little different from previous ones because of the pandemic, Texas roads remain busy as families continue to take road trips, commute around town for necessities and daily errands, and travel. Even though COVID-19 may have kept many at home this holiday season, Texas drunk driving accidents still continue to claim too many lives.

According to a recent news report, a local mom lost her husband and two children after a tragic car accident. The two children and husband were driving along when the driver of a Ford F250 crashed into them. Although the driver of the Ford F250 survived, the local mom lost her entire family in the crash. So far, no charges have been filed against the truck driver. However, the mom retained attorneys who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit because the Ford F250 driver was allegedly intoxicated when the accident took place. The investigation remains active, and officials are still assessing potential charges. While charges are pending, the local mom and her attorneys are hopeful that criminal charges against the at-fault driver will be filed.

The legal system can often be challenging and confusing to navigate when it comes to certain claims. Unfortunately, when criminal charges are officially filed against an individual, it does not mean that they will automatically be responsible for paying damages to the party who suffered harm. Because criminal law and the criminal justice system were not designed to protect victims or survivors individually, but rather to protect society as a whole, damages are not typically awarded to specific people who have been harmed through the criminal system.

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