Legal 9/11/19 – gtg

Newspapers carry all too familiar messages: A mother of three was driving home from work one evening in October when she hit and killed a man with her car. The woman, who considers herself a safe driver, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she struck a 47 year old man with her car while he was walking across the street. With all of the distractions today with cell phones, iPods, texting while driving, this could happen to anyone, on any day, at any time. Although the woman was not found to be at fault, she was still left with the guilt of this death.

The key is to be as defensive of a driver as possible. Remember, 68% of pedestrian accidents happen when someone is crossing between intersections. Expect pedestrians to appear when you may least expect them.

• Stay focused! Put your cell phone away so you are not tempted to play with it. Looking away for even a couple of seconds could be fatal.
• Stay alert. Make sure you are not driving tired, distracted, or under the influence of any medications.
• Pay attention to your surroundings, where someone could be trying to cross the road.
• Keep your speed down.

Every year, over 3,500 pedestrians are hurt or injured in the state of Texas alone.

If you or someone you know has been hurt as a pedestrian, contact our office for your free consultation.

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No matter how safely you ride, there will always be other drivers and riders sharing the road with you. It is for this reason that you need to know your rights and responsibilities as a bicyclist.

Know Your Rights as a Bicyclist

Listed below is an overview of the rights for a bicyclist:

When on the road, a bicycle has the same rights and must obey the same laws as motor vehicles. State law also says that a bicyclist on the road must ride as far to the right as is practical. This does not mean you must ride as far to the right as is possible.
When biking on a road, you should maintain at least 2 feet of usable pavement for yourself. If a car lane does not provide adequate space for a bicycle and car to share the road safely, a bicyclist is entitled to use as much of the lane as he or she needs.
If a road does not have a curb, a cyclist is not required to ride on paved shoulders. Riding on the shoulder may place a cyclist in a vulnerable position for crosswalk accidents.
When riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, a bicyclist has the same rights as a pedestrian.

Contacting a Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Despite being well informed and obeying all traffic laws, no cyclist can control the drivers of vehicles sharing the road. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, a bicycle accident lawyer can provide the expertise you need in the event that you must seek compensation to address your medical bills.

If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, seek medical help and legal assistance immediately. Keep documentation of your necessary medical treatment and any time lost from work. Your bicycle accident lawyer will need this evidence in the event that you choose to seek damages in a claim.

Even if someone has stated that the accident was your fault, don’t assume they are correct. A witness may not be aware of all the laws pertaining to bicyclists. A bicycle accident lawyer knows your rights and can provide investigative and negotiating expertise to your case.

Recovering from your injuries after a bicycle accident should be your main priority, not dealing with insurance adjusters and complicated legal paperwork. Contact our firm to schedule a no-cost consultation with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. It would be in your best interest to talk to a qualified Bicycle Accident Lawyer about how to receive the compensation you need and to properly recover from your injuries.We have over twenty years of experience representing bicycle and pedestrian accident victims. Call today.

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Regarding Important Steps to Take After a Pedestrian Accident, we highlight a step that will most likely involve the help of a family member. That step is Take Photos of the Accident Scene As Soon As Possible.

We understand that your health and well-being is top priority after you have been struck by a car or otherwise injured as a pedestrian. But it is also important for the scene of the accident to be photographed and to obtain statements from anyone who might have witnessed what happened. If it is not possible for photos to be taken immediately (and usually due to the devastating injuries that these types of accidents cause, this is the case), have a loved one go back and photograph the scene as soon as possible. Make sure to capture images of the surrounding landscape (trees, bushes, etc.), the exact place of impact, closest street signs, as well as any speed limit signs near the scene.

When obtaining witness statements, make sure to gather the person’s name, phone number, address, and even email address, in case they need to be contacted at a later date. Have them give a description of what happened, including their estimate of how fast the vehicle was moving, where the injured pedestrian was at the time he or she was hit, and the actions of both parties after the accident. It may seem tedious now, especially if you are facing severe injuries, but it could make all the difference later on down the road.

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Traffic Laws Pedestrians & Drivers Need to Know

Q. Who is a pedestrian?
Clearly a pedestrian includes anyone who is walking. But the definition also includes someone who may be in a wheelchair, on skates, or even on a skateboard. When a bicycle rider is on a sidewalk or within a crosswalk, they are also considered a pedestrian.

Q. What are the duties of pedestrians?

If a pedestrian is walking along a road where sidewalks are provided, they should not, under normal circumstances, walk on the paved part of the road designed for vehicle traffic. If the pedestrian finds themselves on a road where a sidewalk is not provided, he or she should walk facing oncoming traffic using the shoulder to the left of that traffic. (Note: bicyclists are required to travel on the right in the direction of the traffic). No one on roller skates or riding on any other device, such as a scooter or toy vehicle, should go on the paved part of the road except while crossing the street in a crosswalk. In doing so, they are subject to the same rights as a pedestrian, but also with the same responsibilities.

Q. When is a driver required to stop or yield to a pedestrian?

Drivers are required to stop for a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk marked with signals or signage.
Drivers must yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk which has no signs or signals or in an unmarked crosswalk.
Where traffic signals are present, pedestrians should not cross the road at any place other than a crosswalk.
Drivers cannot pass or go around a vehicle stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. A driver making a right turn on red must yield to pedestrians crossing the intersecting road or proceeding as directed by a traffic device.

Q. What is an unmarked crosswalk?

Most intersections in have unmarked crosswalks. They exist when two intersecting roads having sidewalks or a walking path intersect. The unmarked crosswalk would be the extension of the sidewalk or walking path if extended across the adjacent road.

Q. What are common factors involved in pedestrian accidents:

The majority of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas and involve pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks away from intersections. A study showed that many of these accidents were affected by alcohol used by the driver or the pedestrian or sometimes both.

Q. What does comparative negligence mean ?

Texas s a “comparative negligence” state, which simply means the conduct of each party to an accident must be looked at to determine if they contributed to the accident. This means deciding who was “at fault” is often not simply an “either/or” proposition. It is possible a driver may be found at fault, a pedestrian could be at fault, or both the pedestrian and the driver acted in such a way they contributed to the cause of the accident. No one should assume a case may not be brought on behalf of the pedestrian, even if they were found to be “at fault” by those investigating the accident. Nor should it be assumed no case may be brought if law enforcement decided not to file charges against the driver involved in a pedestrian accident. These cases should be examined by a knowledgeable, experienced pedestrian injury lawyer.

Have you or someone you know been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident? Find out more information about Pedestrian Laws & Safety. It would be in your best interest to talk to a qualified Pedestrian Accident Lawyer about how to receive the compensation you need and to properly recover from your injuries. Our firm has over twenty years of experience representing pedestrian accident victims. Call today.

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Everyone makes mistakes; both drivers and pedestrians. But when it comes to fatal pedestrian accidents, nothing can seem more devastating or unfair. What starts out as an innocent street crossing can end in the tragic loss of life.

In those situations a claim may still be successfully brought to recover the tremendous loss suffered by loved ones left behind. Death claims for fatal pedestrian accidents have the potential for large jury awards due to the unique emotional, as well as financial, losses loved ones tragically suffer.

Insurance companies have the duty to protect the drivers they insure who might have caused, or only partially caused, the death of your loved one. This places pressure on them to try and get cases settled, even if the person they insure played only a small part in causing the accident.

For instance, even if the pedestrian was crossing a dark road, not at a marked crosswalk, it is possible to reach a settlement. Of course, every case is different. Many times your attorney must work with accident reconstruction and other experts to prove the driver was responsible. Such factors as speed, alcohol, drugs and driver distraction or impatience are commonly involved. The unique facts of each case will determine if it can be successfully pursued.

You need to deal with a lawyer who has successfully handled difficult cases and has experience working with families to get the result they believe is best for them. If you have questions about the loss of your loved one, don’t hesitate to contact our Law Office for a free consultation.

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Many of the semi truck crashes that occur are due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and happen along major highways, such as I-10, I-35, I-37, US 281, Loops 1604 and 410. Drug use and alcohol use on the part of truck drivers is always a crime, but it is especially dangerous when those truckers are driving on busy roads or highways. Although alcoholism and drug addiction are considered an illness in our society and should be treated as such, drug addicts and alcoholics have no business driving a truck or any other vehicle in the first place.

For a truck driver to get behind the wheel inebriated or under the influence of drugs is not only a crime, it could also lead to a civil suit. In some states, an award of punitive or exemplary damages can and should be made by a jury if the defendant is found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These damages should be awarded by a jury in any truck accident case where malice, expressly or impliedly, is involved, such as a driving under the influence case.

Drunk Driving Statistics for The State of Texas

According to the TxDOT, the DUI statistics for 2017 are:

910 Fatal DUI Crashes resulting in 1,024 DUI fatalities
1,594 Suspected Serious DUI Crashes resulted in 2,169 suspected serious injuries
3,530 Possible Injury DUI Crashes resulting in 5,841 possible DUI injuries
3,914 Non-Incapacitating DUI Crashes resulting in 5,666 non-incapacitating DUI injuries

Harris, Bexar and Dallas Counties had the highest number of DUI fatalities in 2017.

A truck driver who is a drug addict or alcoholic is under extreme mental and physical stress. On the one hand he has to make money to pay the bills for his family, and on the other hand he knows that driving under the influence is unsafe and illegal. The trucker’s failure to drive safely in some cases can be extremely dangerous for fellow motorists on highways and roads. Truck drivers addicted to drugs or alcohol should not be on the road at all and should seek treatment. The truck driver will be found to be criminally negligent if he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. There are many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers that may help the addicted truck driver.

Seeking Punitive Damages
Texas is one of the states that allows punitive damages awards, and will probably allow them in truck accident cases caused by a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some states do not allow punitive damages at all or in driving under the influence situations. It is important to hire a qualified truck accident lawyer to help with your case, so that you can rest assured you will recover the maximum amount of monetary damages and compensation available under the law.

As mentioned above, it is possible to seek punitive damages in addition to damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish in a truck accident lawsuit where the truck accident was caused by malicious conduct, either express or implied. Depending on the specifics of the case, damages may be sought against the truck driver personally or even against the trucking company as a result of its hiring practices.

Truck Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
Texas has a high incidence of drunk driving accidents. The statistics show that of the people that were killed in traffic accidents, a large majority of those were the result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have been injured or have suffered the loss of a loved one in, because of a drunk truck driver, you are entitled to special damages called exemplary, or punitive damages. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you recover your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering in addition to the punitive damages to which you may be entitled.

Under certain circumstances, trucking companies can be held responsible for paying a damages award when a jury finds that you are entitled to monetary compensation for the actions of a truck driver that was “under the influence” at the time of your accident.

Also, the legal basis for holding the company liable for the conduct of their driver is the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior: meaning that an employer or principal should be held accountable for the acts of its employee or agent acting within the scope of employment. This can be an intense, fact specific analysis, and only a knowledgeable trial lawyer knows how to get a jury to understand why they should hold the company liable in your case.

Insurance Policies Can Have Exclusions for Punitive Damages
Although most insurance policies allow claims for personal injury and property damage in truck accident cases where the trucker was either drunk or under the influence, their insurance policies typically exclude punitive damages. However, directly assessed punitive damages are insurable. “An insurer may insure against legal liability for exemplary or punitive damages that do not arise from a wrongful act of the insured committed with the intent to cause injury to another.” Vicariously assessed punitive damages would likely be insurable in because directly assessed punitive damages are insurable.

Commercial Truck Drivers & Alcohol Regulations
Drivers should never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is especially true of persons who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), like commercial truck drivers. Both state law and federal law prohibit commercial vehicle drivers from getting behind the wheel when they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. If a commercial truck driver injures or kills a person and they have alcohol or drugs in their system that may give rise to a finding of malice, and potentially punitive damages.

If a truck driver is legally intoxicated (DUI or DWI), meaning their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or greater, and they injure or kill another driver, then the victims of the accident may be entitled to seek punitive damages. Evidence of alcohol consumption could be admissible at your personal injury trial even if the driver did not have a BAC as high as 0.08%. Your personal injury attorney will hire a toxicologist to testify on the impact that alcohol had on the truck driver’s ability to safely operate a large commercial vehicle, depending on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system at the time of the truck accident.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) sets a lower BAC limit for commercial drivers, making the legal limit 0.04, half the 0.08 BAC limit for non-commercial drivers. Moreover, a commercial truck driver may be tested at random for drug or alcohol use before, during, or after driving a commercial vehicle. The commercial drivers’ license (CDL) may also be suspended if he or she is convicted of violating a state’s drug or alcohol DUI or DWI laws while driving a non-commercial vehicle. This means that if a truck driver gets a DUI while driving his own car, he will probably be in violation of the law if he later drives a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, big rig, or tractor trailer. As mentioned, a commercial truck driver violates both law and federal law if any trace amount of alcohol is detectable in the driver’s system. The Transportation Code provides:

Revised Statutes 484C.120. Unlawful acts relating to operation of commercial motor vehicle; affirmative defense; additional penalty for violation committed in work zone

1. It is unlawful for any person who:

(a) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;

(b) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.04 or more but less than 0.10 in his or her blood or breath; or

(c) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.04 or more but less than 0.10 in his or her blood or breath,

to drive or be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.

Don’t let trucker recklessness go unpunished. If you’ve been injured by a trucker driving under the influence, call a Truck Accident Lawyer immediately to discuss your rights.

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A considerable number of truck accidents occur in San Antonio due to its large population of approximately 1.4 million people, and its heavy traffic. Traffic congestion can cause a semi truck driver to drive aggressively by changing lanes, speeding, tailgating, running red lights, and even by experiencing road rage. When driving, a trucker has a duty to follow laws and to drive their vehicle in a manner that is not going to cause an accident or run another driver off the road.

As mentioned, aggressive driving by commercial truck drivers is a common cause of big rig and tractor trailer accidents, often caused by truckers who are trying to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry. The truck driver and trucking company would both be liable, but an everyday person might not know this. This is just one reason why you should hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to represent you.

Reckless Driving and Road Rage
Often times the truck driver will have anger issues which can result in a phenomenon called “road rage.” Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior that a big rig trucker can engage in, and may ultimately cause a serious roadway accident. This type of behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, running red lights, tailgating, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions, which result in injuries and even deaths. Road rage is considered an extreme case of aggressive driving. Under federal and state laws, truckers and trucking companies can be held liable for the driver’s road rage if it causes an accident.

Aggressive Lane Changing and Speeding
Truck accidents are caused by the drivers of tractor trailers and big rigs who tend to drive in an overly aggressive manner by changing lanes or speeding on roads and freeways. A truck driver is an expert driver and chose to drive trucks as a profession. Thus, a trucker’s failure to drive their vehicle in a reasonable, ordinary, and prudent manner equates to negligence. Because truck drivers are in the course and scope of employment while they are driving their big rig, semi, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler, their negligent behavior may be attributed to their employer under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior due to the principal-agent relationship existing between the truck driver and trucking company.

If you have been a victim of a tractor trailer or big rig truck accident caused by a trucker’s road rage, aggressive driving, or recklessness, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should immediately consult a qualified truck accident lawyer or a tractor trailer accident attorney who knows the federal laws and laws and regulations regarding commercial trucking, and who can protect your rights.

Towing & Recovery
If a truck accident is caused by a reckless or aggressive driving, the results are oftentimes not pretty. Severe injuries and even death may be the result of a truck driver who decides to speed, change lanes, run stops signs or red lights in order to meet a deadline. Towing companies are usually called to the scene of a tractor trailer accident or wreck.

Don’t be the victim of trucker recklessness, road rage, or aggression. Contact an experienced Truck Accident Lawyer now!

Residents deserve compensation when the negligence of another party causes them an injury or loss. If you have suffered a loss due to a truck accident and you believe the driver was at fault, make sure you have an experienced Truck Accident Lawyer fighting for you!

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