Citizens expect that the city and other agencies are responsible for roads and will keep city streets and highways in good repair. Potholes and other road hazards can be a cause of car accidents, as well as a source of frustration for drivers experiencing traffic delays. There is no excuse for allowing dangerous roads to remain in bad repair.
Our city constantly monitoring the city roads it maintains. In keeping with community transportation needs it can add lanes, change lane widths and make other alterations in existing roads.
For example, we clean up bottlenecks to allow freer traffic flow. In one case, it increased a traffic lane from 9.5 feet to 11 feet in width. The increase allows a more realistic turning radius for trucks frequently using that intersection.
Visionary planning can go a long way toward making it safer to travel ’s roads. Sometimes, though, a hazard can exist for a while before being repaired and corrected. And during road repairs, construction zones are a dangerous area for traffic.
What Is A Dangerous Road?
Any road, even one in excellent repair, can be dangerous if a driver is traveling too fast for conditions. Even highways can’t safely accommodate a vehicle doing 80 miles per hour on curves that were engineered to keep traffic on the road at 50 miles per hour.
Drivers have to be on the lookout for conditions like heavy traffic and bad weather, which can make a road dangerous. A smart driver knows to adjust speed, use headlights and keep safe spacing between vehicles as necessary when the road is crowded, slick with ice or hard to see in the dark.
A road can also be dangerous if traffic control signals are out of order or signs are hard to see. Drivers who are used to a route will immediately notice when a traffic light is not working, but people new to that road could be caught unaware, leading to a crash.
Road Construction Risks
Road construction is a blessing when it results in a smoother, safer trip in the long run. At the same time, it can be a curse that leads to lengthy traffic delays, detours and an increased risk of accidents. Ditches, trenches, rough roads and piles of sand are just a few of the obstacles that could be present. Accidents due to distraction can easily happen if drivers are not alert in construction zones.
In zones where road construction is going on, Texas law provides that fines for any driving violation are doubled. The extra penalty is to serve as a motivation for drivers to exercise special caution on these dangerous roads. Among other harmful incidents, collisions kill more than 50 workers a year in construction zones.
The NHTSA offers good advice for driving in road construction zones. Above all, be ready to react to changing conditions, slowing down to allow greater spacing from the vehicle just ahead. Keep well away from workers and equipment.
If you’re hurt in an accident despite your precautions, take action to obtain compensation for your injuries with the help of an experienced attorney.
As the holiday season approaches, it is likely that motorists in will see an increase of tractor-trailers on the roads as retailers prepare for the shopping rush. However with that increase the likelihood of a truck accident also becomes greater, leaving people at risk of severe injury or death.
Just recently a motorist died after his vehicle was caught in an accident involving two tractor-trailers. They did not provide details of how the accident occurred or who was responsible, but did state that the passenger vehicle was found underneath one of the tractor-trailers. Law enforcement said that the man died in the crash.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 3,300 people died in collisions involving commercial trucks during one year and 66 percent of those deaths were people in passenger vehicles. This should not be surprising, giving the difference in size between a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle. A large truck, such as a tractor-trailer, is generally three times the size of a passenger vehicle and if that truck is pulling more than one trailer, the risk of death or serious injury rises.
Causes of accidents
There are many factors that can contribute to an accident. These include weather conditions, behavior of truckers, negligence of trucking companies and actions of motorists themselves. While it is important for truck drivers and their employers to do everything they can to prevent an accident, it is just as vital for motorists to also do their part.
In order for motorists to do their part it is necessary for them to understand that tractor-trailers and other large vehicles have different abilities then a passenger vehicle does. Many times a motorist can cause an accident by doing one of the following:
Cutting off a tractor-trailer – Sometimes motorists speed past a truck and then cut in front of it, but if that motorist has to hit the brakes suddenly, the truck will likely hit it as a truck traveling 55 miles per hour takes the length of two football fields to stop.
Squeezing a tractor trailer during a right turn – Due to their immense size, a truck often needs to make a wide turn and sometimes a motorist may try to squeeze by the truck only to find himself or herself trapped.
Driving in the no zones – trucks’ blind spots are referred to as no zones and they are quite large. These zones are located directly in front of the truck’s cab, just to the rear of the driver’s side of the cab, the entire right side of the cab and behind the trailer itself.
Tailgating – Aside from the fact that a motorist is now in a no zone, tailgating of any kind is dangerous. When motorists tailgate a semi, they do not have the ability to see what is happening ahead and if the semi suddenly brakes, they could find themselves in danger.
In addition, motorists should act courteously towards truckers, allowing them to merge onto the road in front of them or change lanes as needed. If motorists choose to understand and respect the differences between their vehicles and large semis, they can help make the roads safer for everyone. When someone is injured by the actions of a truck driver or a trucking company, they should meet with an experienced attorney to learn about their rights.
“Why do I need a lawyer?” You may be asking this as you contemplate filing a personal injury claim after an auto accident injury. Our car accident info resources might give you some understanding of what to do on your own.
With a skillful lawyer on your side, you have the benefit of an advocate who works hard for you.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer? There’s No Substitute For Knowledge
Lawyers are thoroughly familiar with Texas statutes, traffic codes and case decisions concerning state car accident law. A lawyer’s educational background makes it possible to place an individual case in context considering the full body of applicable law. Without a legal education, a layperson can’t realistically see the possibilities available through the law.
Besides knowing about written laws, lawyers have daily experience practicing the law. Their experiential knowledge is invaluable. A lawyer can analyze the facts and relevant law to determine whether you have a case in the first place.
Why Hire An Attorney? Procedures Are Tricky
Lawyers are familiar with procedures for filing a complaint, obtaining depositions, arguing cases in court and engaging in settlement negotiations. This is unfamiliar territory for most people.
If a case goes to trial, the experience is a difficult one for a non-lawyer appearing on his or her own behalf. Questioning friendly witnesses in order to extract the right testimony is an art that lawyers know. A lawyer extensively prepares witnesses for trial so they feel more comfortable and can confidently provide the needed evidence about your accident.
It’s also hard to cross-examine witnesses for the other side in a trial. A lawyer knows how to challenge opposing testimony and will fight hard to discredit evidence that could work against you.
Working out settlements is an invaluable skill. Many personal injury lawsuits end up settling without a trial, and your lawyer knows how to talk with opposing counsel to work out the best possible outcome for you.
What Good Is A Law Firm? Resources Matter
To present an argument that will win a car accident injury case, expert testimony is often needed. Accident reconstruction professionals can clarify the accident causes. Doctors familiar with the type of injury in the case can provide authoritative evidence about the injured person’s prognosis and future treatment and medical costs.
Lawyers are paid for their work in personal injury cases as a percentage of the damages awarded; clients do not pay upfront. Reimbursement for the cost of expert witnesses is included in the damages the court awards, but the witnesses will want payment for their work long before the court makes a ruling. A personal injury law firm has the resources to hire the experts when they are needed – a cost well above what most people can afford on their own.
Experienced lawyers also know the best experts to provide the service needed to prove the case. Individuals don’t have access to the information network available to a law firm.
When asking, “What is a car accident case worth?” the answer includes everything it would take to make up for what you’ve lost. Medical care for car accident injuries is expensive. Lost pay while you cannot work is an additional cost.
In the car accident info center, we can’t provide a precise answer to this question. Every case is different. An attorney can estimate the damages you could receive.
Initial Medical Expenses
If you’ve fully recovered from injuries, it’s possible to come up with a definite sum for medical costs. Medical billing records will tell the full story. It is important to include all the bills, from emergency services right after the accident to hospital inpatient care, and on to any aftercare.
Besides the hospital bills, doctors typically submit their own bills. For example, the cost of a CAT scan that the hospital bills for is amplified by fees from the radiologist who reviews the scan results. Surgeons and other physicians who practice in the hospital may also bill separately.
The cost of items like prescription drugs, crutches, mobility devices and personal care attendants should be added to the list of medical expenses.
Extended Care And Wrongful Death Injury Costs
If a person is disabled as a result of a motor vehicle accident, medical costs could stretch forward indefinitely into the future, but a lawsuit to recover costs happens now. It will be necessary to determine an amount of money to cover future care. Actuarial guidelines based on similar kinds of injuries can be used, and an award can be structured to pay medical bills over a lifetime.
If the case is a wrongful death case, all the medical bills for the person who died are reimbursable, along with funeral and burial costs.
Wage Loss Also Figures Into What A Car Accident Case Is Worth
Motor vehicle accident damages usually replace wages lost due to injuries. When it is impossible to return to the career an injured person had previously, there should be payment for training in a different line of work. If the accident results in total disability and inability to work at all, lost wages over the expected lifetime of employment should be repaid.
In a wrongful death case, the court will award relatives for the amount the fatally injured person would have contributed to them. That can include what the person would have put into investments that would have been a part of the deceased person’s estate, as well as future lifetime earnings.
Pain And Suffering
An injured person often receives a financial award for the pain and suffering the accident caused. There’s no billing statement to look at to determine how much money will compensate you for the emotional anguish and pain you may have endured because of someone’s negligence.
However, it is possible to look at what amounts have been awarded for pain and suffering in comparable cases. You’ll need a lawyer to ensure a thorough review and to come up with a realistic amount to ask for to cover pain and suffering. Pain and suffering awards can be surprisingly large.
Wrongful death damages can include a pain and suffering amount for what the person who died went through before succumbing to injuries.
A car collision can cause muscle and ligament strains and sprains, disk injuries and spinal cord trauma. Back injuries can cause chronic pain, while spinal cord damage can result in paralysis and loss of sensation.
It is likely that someone with a back injury will miss many days of work and may even be unable to resume the same career as before the injury. When a person’s livelihood is threatened, the whole family’s well-being is placed at risk.
After a car accident, a person with a back injury might have to retrain for a new line of work. Anyone in this situation may justifiably feel apprehensive and doubtful about the future.
In these circumstances, a consultation with a capable legal professional can be very reassuring. A lawsuit to recover financial damages due to this kind of common car crash injury might be the best course of action.
Herniated Disk Is One Kind Of Back Injury
The spinal column or backbone is made up of a series of vertebrae that enclose and protect the vital nerves in the spinal cord. Disks made of a resilient material cushion the spaces between the vertebrae, allowing the spine to bend and flex. Large nerves branch from the spinal cord in these spaces.
Sudden violent force in an auto accident can force a disk out of place. This kind of back injury is known as a herniated disk, sometimes called a slipped disk. Herniated disks most commonly occur in the lower part of the back, called the lumbar region.
A slipped disk can affect the back in several ways. Bending the spine can become difficult or painful. Nerves can be pinched or pressed, leading to numbness or weakness in the back. The injured person may experience painful back spasms.
Slipped Disk Effects And Treatment
A herniated disk in the lumbar region could cause pain in one or both legs, even down to the calf and the sole of the foot. The affected leg may feel numb or weak, and the same symptoms might also affect the hips or buttocks. An injured person might find it difficult to sit, so this kind of back injury could make a return to a desk job difficult, let alone performing physical labor.
After a car accident, treatment for a slipped disk begins with rest and pain medication. Doctors often prescribe no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for long-term pain relief, using narcotic drugs as necessary for acute pain. Muscle relaxants can help relieve muscle spasms.
People may worry about taking pain medications for an extended period of time with good reason, as they pose the risk of developing a dependence on narcotics.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If the spinal cord is damaged, the injury can diminish or cut off the brain’s signals that direct movement and enable sensations. The effects depend on where the injury is and whether the spinal cord is bruised, partly severed or completely cut through.
Depending on where in the back the spinal cord is damaged, paralysis and numbness can occur below the level of the injury. With a low back injury, the legs can be affected. The spinal cord can also be damaged much higher up due to a neck injury, in which case the torso and all four limbs could be paralyzed.
Spinal cord injuries are a serious potential consequence of a car accident. Anyone who suffers this kind of injury needs information about recovering financial damages, especially if another driver has been negligent.
A motor vehicle accident can be a turning point in a person’s life. Some common car accident injuries result in lifelong disability or chronic pain. Recovery and rehabilitation can take months or years, and some patients never regain their health.
It is hard to know what to expect after a car accident injury has put you in the hospital. It’s important to communicate with health care professionals, asking plenty of questions. An injured person will want to know what the prospects are for recovery and what to do to smooth the process. If surgery is recommended, a patient should find out the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Some people are unable to return to the same job after a car crash, leading to concern about how to make a living. Through the legal system, there is a path to receive help with finances.
Some Common Car Accident Injuries
Minor auto accident injuries can include cuts and bruises, which may leave a person in some discomfort for a while. A person will probably recover normal function after sustaining a minor injury or even a fracture, though surgery and physical therapy might be necessary.
Of course, any injury can be distressing, but extensive injuries are more likely to be life altering, including:
Back injuries: Some back injuries result in chronic pain, and some involve spinal cord damage that could result in impaired mobility. Back injuries can make it impossible to endure the physical demands of many jobs.
Head, neck and brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating to an injured person and his or her family. Brain injuries are difficult to diagnose and treat and can even alter personality traits. Other head and neck injuries may require extensive medical treatment, too.
Wrongful death: There is no conceivable way to replace a lost loved one who has been killed in a crash. Financial relief can be helpful, though, and surviving relatives may be able to obtain compensation when a driver was negligent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a government agency that offers extensive information about injuries that happen in car accidents. Car accidents affect many Americans, amounting to a serious public health problem in the CDC’s view.
Many Are Injured
The CDC tallies injuries Americans receive in crashes. The most recently compiled statistics show that, in one year over 2.3 million adults received emergency treatment after car accidents.
The economic impact of car accidents is significant. In one year, those hurt in auto accidents could look forward to an estimated $70 billion in total lifetime cost for their injuries. Costs include hospitalization, doctor bills, rehabilitative therapy and wages lost while an injured person cannot work.
The effect on the national economy is considerable for the country as a whole, but it also represents critical life changes for many thousands of injured individuals.
Accident injuries can result in ruined finances, even bankruptcy. It is important to obtain financial compensation to cover medical costs, lost wages and other expenses for a person who has a common car accident injury. The pain and suffering caused by an accident also has measurable value. Recovering costs for accident victims is a job for an attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits.
Even if a motor vehicle occupant is well restrained by a lap and shoulder belt and protected by air bags, a car accident can cause extreme, sudden forces that inflict head, neck and brain injuries.
Some of these injuries due to car accidents can appear to be relatively mild, but they may have profound long-term effects.
The full effects of head and brain injuries are becoming better understood, largely because so many members of the military have received this kind of injury in the recent wars. Also, the effect of concussion on professional athletes has been well publicized over the past few years.
Medical professionals have responded by developing diagnosis and treatment guidelines. It is now known that any impact to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.
Severe TBI often causes loss of consciousness, even coma. The injured person may have a splitting headache, violent bouts of nausea and vomiting, and loss of coordination. These striking symptoms make a diagnosis fairly easy.
With a milder form of TBI, the affected person may not lose consciousness and symptoms may not be apparent immediately after an accident. Diagnosis is more challenging. Symptoms like headache, confusion and sleepiness can start to appear hours, even weeks afterward.
TBI Effects And Treatment
Whatever the degree of TBI, its effects on the injured person’s personality and social interactions can be disturbing for friends and family. They may comment that their friend or relative has turned into a different person.
Irritability, depression, memory problems and anxiety are common among TBI sufferers. Mood swings can make living with injured persons difficult.
Recovery from TBI is slow and may never be complete. It is important to enlist a team of professionals, including not only physicians but also a variety of therapists. Physical and occupational therapy, psychotherapy and family counseling all can contribute to TBI treatment.
Injuries to the neck that affect the spinal cord used to result in permanent immobility. Back injuries can also damage the spinal cord and cause a loss of mobility. Spinal cord injuries are receiving increased attention, and new technologies promise to improve mobility and expand possibilities for people with such injuries.
Devices that allow paralyzed people to stand and walk are being developed. Instead of sitting in a chair, a person is encased in a wearable robot that provides a brace to hold the person’s body upright and mechanical power to move the person’s legs. These devices are not yet widely available and are very expensive.
Minor Neck Injuries Are Still Painful
It is a relief to learn that you have a neck injury that is less serious and has not damaged the spinal cord. A common neck injury is whiplash, which results when the head is violently jerked backward, then forward. The extent of this forceful movement stretches neck muscles, ligaments and nerves.
While whiplash doesn’t cause paralysis, it can bring chronic pain for a long time. An affected individual may be treated with pain-relieving drugs, heat and cold applications and chiropractic manipulation.
When a careless driver’s negligence causes an accident leading to a head, neck or brain injury, it is comforting to know the injured person can receive adequate compensation to ensure the best possible medical treatment.