If I Miss Work as a Result of a Texas Car Accident, Can My Lost Wage Be Recovered?
If you missed work as a result of a car crash, Texas law allows you to recoup any wages you may have lost from the person responsible for you accident and injures.
What Are Lost Wages?
Lost wages are any income you were or will be unable to earn as a result of your injury. As such, lost wages are not limited to those you have already missed out on and may include future income you will be unable to collect.
Generally, Texas law breaks lost wages down into three categories:
- Lost wages – wages you lost during a period you were unable to work.
- Loss of earning capacity – if you have sustained a long-term disability from an accident and cannot make as much money as you did before your accident.
- Lost opportunities – this would include things like missing a job interview while you were recovering.
An important thing to remember is that if you lost your previous job due to your injuries and returned to work for lower pay, you may be entitled to the difference in pay between your previous job and the job you now hold.
Are Lost Wages Limited to My Hourly or Salary Pay?
When dealing with lost wages, all forms of lost income are considered. Whether you are a part-time worker, an hourly employee, or even self-employed, as long as you can document the wages you have lost or will lose, you can make a full recovery.
Beyond basic wage calculations, you may also claim:
- Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work
- Loss of commissions on sales
- Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury
- Loss of fringe benefits
- Loss of pension benefits
At Thomas J. Henry, we will oftentimes review your case with vocational experts and economists in order to accurately establish what wages were lost.
Can I Recover Vacation and Sick Leave I Used Following a Texas Car Crash?
Using sick leave or vacation pay due to an accident or injury is considered the same as losing pay itself.
Therefore, you are able to be reimbursed for the sick leave or vacation pay provided you can show:
- You missed work because of the accident.
- You have documentation showing the use of sick leave or vacation during that time period.
In addition, if you work in a commission based industry, you can still claim wages that would have result from commission on sales you missed while you were out of office. Remember, you were not “on vacation”, you were out of work to recover from an accident.
What if I Have More Questions About Wages Lost After a Car Accident?
If you have any questions about the wages you have lost or need help calculating just how much you are entitled to, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys can provide a free consultation so you better understand the laws surrounding your case and your best course of action. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our offices, we will send one of our attorneys to you.
Thomas J. Henry has been successfully resolving trucking accident claims for more than 25 years. We have the experience and resources to take on even the largest insurance companies. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends – attorneys are standing by.
If I Don’t Have Insurance, Can I Still Sue for a Texas Car Crash?
In Texas, if you are involved in an accident caused by the negligent or reckless driving of another, you are allowed to file a lawsuit even if you do not have insurance.
Some uninsured driver may be afraid to come forward or feel pressured into working out a deal directly with the driver at fault for fear that they may face legal consequences due to their driving without insurance. Do not fall for it – you are still entitled to your legal rights and fair compensation.
How Does Insurance Work in a Typical Car Accident?
When dealing with a typical auto accident, whose insurance pays for the damages is dependent on who is at fault for the collision.
- Liability Coverage Under the Other Driver’s Insurance – If the other person’s insurance company accepts that their driver was responsible for your accident, they will normally pay a standard amount for you to have your car repaired. Unfortunately, most insurance companies aren’t known for their timeliness. This means you could be left without a car for days or even weeks as the insurance company determines fault, damages, and how much they are willing to pay. Beyond that, the insurer may try to low-ball your payout.
- Collision Coverage Under Your Insurance – In situations in which the adverse driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will likely have to file your claim through your own insurance. In such situations, your deductible will likely be lowered or even waived provided you have uninsured and underinsured driver coverage. A major benefit of dealing with your own insurer is that they are much more likely to want to help than the adverse driver’s insurer and will be faster at getting your claim resolved.
Note that their is not prerequisite saying you are barred from seeking compensation from the other driver’s insurance if you do not have insurance of your own. They only requirement is that that driver is determined to be at fault for your accident and your injuries.
How Is Fault Proven in a Texas Car Crash?
In Texas, the legal standard for you to win your Texas auto accident case is by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you only need to prove that your version of the facts, damages, and fault is more likely correct than the defendants.
With that, your attorney will focus on establishing these five elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – As a driver, the defendant owed a duty of care not only to other drivers, but to all other road users. This duty of care means that they were required to act with a reasonable standard of care and practice the same watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person would practice under similar circumstances.
- The defendant breached that duty of care – The defendant breached the duty of care they owed you by action or inaction. This can include reckless driving, distracted driving, driving under the influence, failure to maintain proper attention, failure to observe to traffic signs, or failure to maintain safe following distance.
- Cause in fact – The defendant’s actions were the actual cause of the your injuries. This can normally shown through the “but-for” test. For example, if a bus driver ran a red light and hit a pickup and the driver of the pickup suffered back injuries, the “but-for” test would state “But for the bus driver running the red light, the pickup driver would not have sustained his back injuries.”
- Proximate cause – Your injuries were a foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior. For example, a drunk driver hitting and killing a pedestrian is a foreseeable consequence of the driver choosing to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, if a drunk driver were to collide with an 18-wheeler carrying volatile chemicals which exploded on impact and caused a poorly maintained utility pole a half-mile away to fall over and injure a pedestrian on a late night walk, it is unlikely the drunk driver would be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries as the collapse of the utility pole is a highly unforeseeable consequence of the defendant’s drunk driving.
- Damages – You have suffered hardship that the civil justice system can compensate you for. This may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or mental anguish.
What Should I Do After a Texas Auto Accident?
There are important steps you can take following an automobile accident that can help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones and protect your legal rights as an accident victim.
Steps to take after a car crash include:
- Stop immediately after the crash
- Even if a collision is minor, it is important to remain at the scene. Never flee from the scene of an accident as it is illegal and will only make matters worse.
- Assess the situation
- Car crashes can be disorientating. It is important that you take a moment to assess the situation. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Determine if it is safe to exit your vehicle and see what routes are available for a safe exit. Refrain from moving anyone who has suffered a back, neck, or spinal injury if at all possible.
- Make the accident visible
- Accidents are an unexpected disruption to traffic flow, and numerous accidents occur by drivers crashing into the site of a previous collision. You can prevent further accidents and hazards by turning on your vehicle’s warning lights, setting out reflectors, or activating road flares. It is also smart to keep a flashlight in your car – should an accident occur at night, you can carry the flashlight after exiting your vehicle to make yourself more visible.
- Notify the police. If there is an emergency, contact 911.
- Otherwise, contact your local police department – even if there are no serious injuries. If there is an injury, be sure that paramedics are called to the scene as well. If there is any confusion whether or not an injury has occurred, err on the side of caution and have an ambulance respond to the scene.
- Record the facts
- Speak with the responding officers and be as accurate and forth coming as possible. Do not feel like you have to have all the answers. Do not speculate at the facts of the accident or whether you sustained an injury. If you are unsure how the accident occurred or unsure if you have sustained an injury, it is okay to respond with “I don’t know.”
- Take pictures
- A major benefit that has come with the popularity of cell phones is that the vast majority of people have a camera with them at all times. Take photos of your vehicle, any visible damage, the scene of the accident, and any injuries that you or a passenger may have suffered.
- Gather and exchange information
- More often than not, the responding officer will obtain insurance information from all drivers involved. If this does not occur, gather the name, phone number, and addresses of all persons involved in the accident, including passengers and witnesses. You should also obtain the insurance information of all driver involved by requesting to see each vehicle’s insurance card.
- Seek medical attention
- Pain and injuries may not be immediately evident following an accident. In fact, much of the pain will occur a day or two following the crash. Again, if there is any uncertainty whether you have sustained an injury, err on the side of caution. There is no harm in getting a check-up at your local emergency room or in making an appointment with your primary physician. Let them have the final say, even if only for peace of mind.
- Contact an experienced car crash attorney
- The role of your attorney is not simply to file a lawsuit. An attorney is responsible for protecting your rights and for making sure insurance companies are acting in your best interest. A good attorney will help you obtain and protect valuable evidence, provide legal advice before you provide a statement to the insurers, ensure you receive the medical attention you need, and press insurers to process your claim in a timely and fair manner. Should your rights be infringed upon, the best attorneys are those who are willing and ready to go to trial.
I’ve been Hurt in a Texas Pedestrian Accident. What’s the First Thing I Should Do?
Accidents involving automobiles are traumatic in nature, especially those involving a pedestrian. Pedestrians have little to protect themselves when struck by a vehicle – no seat belts, no airbags, and no helmets. Injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents are oftentimes severe and in some cases fatal.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5,376 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2015 in the United States. In addition, an estimated 70,000 pedestrians sustained injuries in vehicular wrecks.
Similar to any type of auto accident, pedestrian-related incidents can be overwhelming and confusing, and those injured have the right to bring an injury claim or lawsuit when their injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. Whether you were walking in a crosswalk, on a sidewalk, alongside your vehicle on the side of a roadway, if a driver’s negligent actions caused you to suffer an injury, you are entitled to compensation.
Our law firm handles all types of personal injury claims, including auto accidents involving pedestrians. We believe negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions and injured pedestrians deserve to be compensated for their medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages they have incurred.
What Should Your First Steps be after being Struck by a Car?
- If you have been struck in a roadway, if possible, try to move to the sidewalk or off the street.
- In some cases, this may be difficult to do due to your injuries, but it is important to avoid any further collisions with another vehicle.
- Contact the police as soon as possible.
- If you have been injured, be sure an ambulance is sent as well. Provide the police with a detailed and accurate account of the accident without speculating. Be honest and do not embellish.
- Collect information from the driver as you would if you were involved in an accident between two cars.
- Get the driver’s license plate number, insurance information, and their driver’s license number if possible.
- Document the accident scene.
- Take photos of your surroundings, including the vehicle involved, your injuries, the intersection or sidewalk where you were when struck, and anything else you can see that could potentially help your case later.
- If you have been injured, seek medical attention immediately.
- Even if you feel fine after the collision, it is best to get checked out by a doctor. Adrenaline and shock can hide pain immediately after the accident, and some injuries do not become apparent until days or weeks later.
- Having a medical professional check for underlying injuries can help your physical health and your potential personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters may argue that you were not that injured if they see a delay in treatment after the accident.
- Speak with an injury attorney with experience handling car accidents, especially pedestrian accidents, and a track record of winning cases.
- At Thomas J. Henry, we’ve represented clients injured in automobile accidents for more than 25 years. Our experienced lawyers have achieved real results for our clients who are in dire need of compensation after an accident. Filing a claim on your own is a great risk — let our law firm battle the negligent party and the insurance companies on your behalf.
What to do in the Event of a Hit-and-run
Pedestrian accidents are difficult enough to handle, but what happens if the driver does not stop and drives away? Unfortunately this selfish and cowardly act occurs far too often in the United States. According to NHTSA, 19 percent of fatal pedestrian auto accidents involve a hit-and-run driver.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents can still claim compensation, even if the driver fails to stop and is never found. In Texas, victims of hit-and-run crashes that have uninsured motorist coverage through their auto insurance policy can seek payment for their damages.
This type of coverage is optional in Texas, but insurance companies are required to offer it when issuing an insurance policy. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is an important thing to have in any situation. Many drivers on American roadways drive without any insurance or with the bare required minimum. UM/UIM coverage can help make up the difference when you face extensive damages such as medical costs and lost wages.
Learn more about the importance of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in our blog post: What is the purpose of obtaining uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
Struck by a Car as a Pedestrian? Contact our Auto Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been hit by a car as a pedestrian, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to assist you and provide you with a free case review. The aftermath of an accident can be traumatic and difficult to handle, but our law firm is here for you in your time of need. Call us today for your free legal consultation.
What is Dram Shop Liability in Texas?
When an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are putting their life and the lives of others in jeopardy. Drunk drivers should be punished criminally for their negligent and destructive accidents and face civil justice if they caused injuries to others. Our firm has extensive experience representing victims of crashes caused by drunk drivers. In some cases, victims of drunk driving crashes may be able to hold the establishment that overserved the drunk driver partially liable for their injuries.
Texas is one of many states that allows injured parties to hold a bar, restaurant, or club liable for damages sustained from the drunk driving incident under the Dram Shop Act.
What is a “Dram Shop?”
Dram shop is an old-fashioned term for an alcohol-serving establishment. Today, a dram shop could be any commercial business that is authorized to sell alcohol to patrons, such as a bar, club, restaurant, sports stadium or arena. Dram shops have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their patrons and others by not overserving past the point of obvious intoxication.
About the Texas Dram Shop Act
The law states that dram shops can be liable for injuries or death to a third party caused by a drunk driver that was overserved in the establishment. The vast majority of states have a dram shop law or act, though the specific verbiage of each one can vary.
The law in Texas states that a bar can be held liable if they knew or should have known that the drunk driver was obviously intoxicated at their establishment yet continued to serve them more alcoholic drinks to the extent that he or she presented a clear danger to himself and others. Injured parties seeking compensation for their damages have to prove that the dram shop served the drunk driver after obvious intoxication and that the driver’s inebriation was the proximate cause of the auto wreck.
Dram shops can protect themselves from liability in these cases if employees attend seller training programs through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). If the employees in fact attended these programs, the employer has proof of such attendance, and the employer did not encourage employees to violate the law, the dram shop in question can potentially avoid a lawsuit.
It is important to remember that dram shop liability does not mean the drunk driver is off the hook from liability. In many cases, the overserving dram shop and the drunk driver share liability in the accident, and of course, the driver can still be punished criminally.
Dram shop laws can protect the community by keeping bars and restaurants in check when serving alcohol to patrons. The goal of these establishments is to make money, and serving alcohol helps achieve this goal. These laws prevent alcohol-serving establishments from putting profits above the safety of its patrons and community.
Contact an Experienced Drunk Driving Crash Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a crash with a drunk driver, call Thomas J. Henry immediately. Car crashes involving intoxicated drivers can be complex — it is important to hire a law firm with years of experience handling cases like yours. Our drunk driving attorneys will take immediate action on your case and investigate whether the driver was illegally overserved alcohol prior to the wreck. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call and provide you with a free legal consultation. Contact us today for your free case review.
My Motorcycle Was Totaled in an Accident. Will My Insurance Replace My Bike?
Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, you may have the ability to get your motorcycle replaced after it is totaled in an accident. However, if your accident was someone else’s fault, Texas law allows you to pursue the fair market value of your bike from that individual’s or company’s insurance.
How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2015. This marked an 8% increase from the number of fatalities recorded in 2014.
Additionally, 88,000 people sustained injuries in motorcycle accidents in 2015, marking a slight decrease from the 92,000 injuries reported in 2014.
While motorcycles only account for 3% of all registered vehicles on the road, motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic-related fatalities. This is due to the limited protection offered by a motorcycle in the event of a collision.
Texas reported the third highest motorcyclist fatalities of any state in 2014 with 443 deaths. Texas fell behind Florida with 616 deaths and California with 462 deaths.
What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
- Speeding motorists can mistake how fast a motorcycle is traveling, resulting in a rear end accident.
- Objects/items in the roadway
- Hazards that pose a minimal risk to automobiles can be major threats for motorcyclists. Potholes, uneven pavement, debris or objects in the road (like tire treads, things fallen from trucks, branches, or rocks) can quickly cause an accident.
- When commercial motor vehicles, such as semi-trucks, fail to properly secure their load, objects can fall onto the roadways. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to items in the road when traveling at high speeds.
- Motorists not seeing the motorcycle
- Because motorcycles are smaller and more easily hidden by objects on or off the road, other vehicles are less likely to see them.
- Many automobile drivers claim they “never saw” the motorcycle before a collision.
- Mechanical issues
- A defect in a motorcycle’s design or manufacturing can easily cause an accident; this could be the basis for a product liability case.
What Are Common Injuries Suffered in Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcyclists do not benefit from the protection and safety features enclosed passenger vehicles provide – so, when a crash does occur, the results are often catastrophic. The resulting injuries can lead to permanent damage and disability, astronomical medical bills, loss of wages, and a lower quality of life.
Among the most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists involved in a crash are:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injures
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Soft tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Eye injuries
When these injuries and damages are the result of someone else’s negligence, motorcyclists can file a personal injury lawsuit. By hiring an attorney, you are ensuring that you stand the best chance of receiving the compensation and justice you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights of motorcycle injury victims and work to make sure that the person responsible pays for the pain he/she caused.
Because we understand that being injured in a motorcycle accident causes lifetime pain and suffering, we put constant pressure on the insurance company and driver involved to ensure you receive the maximum monetary compensation you deserve. If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends and we represent clients/victims all over the country.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Texas Auto Accident Case?
How long it takes to settle your Texas car crash lawsuit generally depends on the complexity of your case and whether or not fault is being contested. For example, a multi-vehicle collision involving a commercial vehicle will likely take longer to settle than a crash involving two vehicles as there is more evidence to gather and liability may not be immediately apparent.
What Steps Will My Attorney Take to Build My Case?
As soon as you contact Thomas J. Henry, your attorney will begin taking steps to preserve and gather evidence for your claim. The early stages of your case are often the most crucial as the quality of evidence and the ability of witnesses to accurately recall your crash can diminish rapidly.
When investigating your case, your attorney will have one goal – to gather all the evidence necessary to verify how the accident happened and establish who was at fault. They will gather photographic evidence, witness statements, and official reports and may file a temporary restraining order to preserve any evidence that is at risk of damage, destruction, or tampering.
In addition to information about the accident itself, your attorney will request information from your doctor concerning your injuries. Once your doctor has determined that your physical condition is stable, your attorney will begin assembling medical reports, records, and bills. They will also seek out employment records in order to evaluate damages related to loss of wages and loss of earning potential.
When Can I Expect Settlement Negotiations to Begin?
Settlement discussions are not likely to begin until both your attorney and the defense have completed their pretrial investigations and the discover process. As part of discovery, your attorney and the defense will likely solicit written answers from the opposition, known as interrogatories, and may request sworn testimony be given under oath, known as a deposition.
It is very rare for an insurance company to engage in serious settlement talks prior to completing the discovery process. If your case is particularly complex or involves a commercial entity, the defense may even wait for your attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing potential settlement amounts.
In extreme cases, the defense will not engage in settlement talks until they have filed a motion for summary judgment, more commonly known as a motion to dismiss the case. If the motion is granted, it means your case is over; over, if the court denies the motion, this can be used as leverage in future negotiations.
What If a Settlement Amount Cannot Be Agreed Upon?
If your attorney and the defense cannot agree upon a fair settlement or if the defense continues to challenge liability, then your case will go to trial – and if your attorney has not prepared accordingl, then your claim to compensation could be in jeopardy.
At Thomas J. Henry, we treat every case as though it will go to trial. This way, if trial becomes necessary, has already gathered the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim before a jury or judge. It is important to understand that trials take time – as such, patience is key. While there is little that can be done to speed up the litigation process, there are ways to use this time to your advantage. While your case is pending, your attorney will coach you on court room procedures and how to handle questioning and cross-examination. They will also continue to review evidence for new opportunities to improve your claim to compensation.
Thomas J. Henry has been successfully trying cases against large companies for the past 30 years and has built a reputation by securing record-breaking jury verdicts. With a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to represent injured clients at a moment’s notice, we have the money and the resources to fight and win against even the largest trucking and insurance companies.
What can I Recover for a Texas Hit-and-run Injury?
A hit-and-run is a motor vehicle accident in which a person, usually the one at fault, drives away from the scene without stopping. Motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists can all fall victim to a hit-and-run. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal act, and if the accident caused bodily harm or death, it is considered a felony.
In many cases, drivers who flee the scene of an accident do so because they know they are at fault, they do not have auto insurance, they broke a traffic law that caused the accident, or they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Hit-and-run drivers leave the scene of an accident because they know they would likely be incarcerated otherwise. It is an unlawful, dangerous, and reckless decision to leave the scene after an accident.
Victims of hit-and-run accidents are entitled to compensation for losses, such as medical costs, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering, and other damages. Although the means from which you are compensated may differ, hit-and-run accident victims are able to recover damages just as any other person injured in a crash.
The collision between you and the other motorist may have been an accident at first, but the motorist’s decision to flee the scene after the crash is intentional. For this reason, victims in a hit-and-run case can oftentimes recover punitive damages from the defendant if they are found and sued in civil court. Punitive damages are designed to punish a negligent party due to their particularly egregious, reckless, and intentional act.
What to do after a Hit-and-run
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run, call the police immediately. Calling law enforcement as soon as possible can increase the chances of finding the hit-and-run driver and also get you the medical attention you need. In addition, a hit-and-run must be reported to the police if you intend on seeking compensation for your injuries or property damage.
It may not always be plausible to get a look at the driver or the vehicle before they flee the scene. If you do happen to get a good look at the vehicle (make, model, color, type of vehicle), the license plate number, or description of the driver, be sure to relay this information to the police. You can also ask witnesses to the accident if they saw the driver or the vehicle that hit you before driving off.
In order to find the driver that caused the wreck and fled the scene, law enforcement or your attorney may be able to check footage from surveillance cameras in the area. Our firm has experience handling hit-and-run accidents, and we will exercise all available options to try and locate the motorist in your hit-and-run.
How to Get Compensation if the Hit-and-run Driver Can’t be Found
Unfortunately, negligent drivers in a hit-and-run can be difficult to track down and are sometimes never caught. In these cases, for injured victims, there are still options available to receive compensation for their losses.
If you suffered a hit-and-run injury in Texas, you can make a claim with your insurer to cover your damages, such as property damage, medical costs, and lost wages. In order to do so, you must have uninsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance provider. Drivers are not required to buy uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage, but it is an option insurance providers are required to offer. When buying auto insurance, it is always a great idea to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
While you would assume your insurance company would be looking after your best interests after a hit-and-run, insurance claims adjusters may try to short you on the full amount of compensation you need to cover your injuries and other losses. An attorney experienced in hit-and-run accidents can help handle insurance adjusters and negotiate for the payment you are owed. If you believe you are being lowballed or underpaid by you insurance company, call our law offices today.
Injured in a Hit-and run? Contact our Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a hit-and-run, call Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. Hit-and-run cases can be delicate, especially when the other driver cannot be located. Our attorneys can ensure that your insurance company is acting in your best interests and help you get compensated for your property damage and injuries. Speaking with an insurance company without the help of a lawyer could be potentially detrimental to securing reimbursement for your losses.
After a hit-and-run, you don’t have to fight your battle alone. Our team of lawyers is available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and assist you. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.
Do I Have Right of Way if I was Struck in Crosswalk?
In Texas, if you are a pedestrian in a crosswalk, you generally have the right of way. If you were struck by a vehicle while walking in a crosswalk, it is essential you contact an attorney immediately.
How Does Texas Law Treat Crosswalks?
The unfortunate fact is that many motorists do not understand the laws regulating pedestrian crossings and assume that, because they are in a vehicle, their rights supersede those of an individual who is on foot. This is not true. In fact, federal and state laws make it clear that pedestrians have just as many rights on the roadway as vehicles do.
U.S. law dictates if you are crossing at a marked crosswalk in accordance with traffic signals or other indicators, you have the right to be protected in that crosswalk. Additionally, Texas law requires that vehicles yield right-of-way to pedestrians crosswalks, marked or unmarked, provided that the vehicle is in the same half of the roadway as the pedestrian or the pedestrian is approaching your half of the roadway from the opposite side of the road.
Unmarked crosswalks are a particular part of confusion, due to the like of painted lines or indicators, and pedestrians who do cross at unmarked crosswalks are often thought of as jay-walking. To be clear, almost every intersection is considered a crosswalk even when no lines or indicators exist, and the same rules regulating marked crosswalks apply.
How Common Are Pedestrian Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,884 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2014. This averages to about one pedestrian death every two hours. An additional 65,000 pedestrians were injured in auto accidents in 2014, roughly one injure every 8 minutes.
NHTSA also found that:
- Eighteen percent of pedestrian fatalities involved a hit-and-run driver.
- Pedestrians were killed more often in the dark (72 percent) than in daylight (24 percent).
- Nineteen percent of children 14 and younger who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
- California lead the nation in pedestrian fatalities (697), followed by Florida (588) and Texas (476).
What Are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable to the actions of reckless and negligent drivers. Common causes of pedestrian-related crashes include:
- Distracted drivers – here were 520 nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) killed in distraction-affected crashes in 2014.
- Poor visibility – In 2014, 72 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents occurred in the dark
- Drunk driving – An estimated 14 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a drunk driver in 2014.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way – Drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing streets in marked or unmarked crosswalks in most situations.
- Poor roadway design – Streets without sidewalks or crosswalks and other dangerous road conditions can increase the risk for a pedestrian accident.’
What Kinds of Injuries Are Associated with Pedestrian Accidents?
Being struck by a vehicle can result in serious physical trauma resulting in a multitude of injuries. Even at low speeds, a collision or run-over incident can result in life-threatening damage to a pedestrian. Among the most common injuries associated with pedestrian accidents are:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head/brain injuries
What Should I Do if I Was Struck by a Vehicle While in a Crosswalk?
If you or a loved one were hurt after being struck by an automobile, you may be entitled to compensation. Our team of experienced pedestrian injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. We will help you recover the maximum amount of compensation and bring the negligent driver to justice. In addition, you won’t pay a thing unless we win your case. Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys has a track record of achieving record-breaking verdicts, settlements, and judgments for clients. Extensive legal and financial resources allow our attorneys to put you in the best position possible to recover the damages you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.
Why is Using My Cell Phone while Driving Legal in One State and Illegal in Another?
In the United States, there is no federal law banning the use of a cell phone while driving. Most laws pertaining to traffic regulations are left to each individual state to decide. Depending on the state you drive in, there may be restrictions on only certain kinds of cell phone use, such as texting and driving or hand-held cell phone use, or bans affecting only younger drivers. In some states, cities and municipalities can set their own restrictions on cell phone use as well. In Texas, for example, more than 90 cities have adopted a cell phone ban while driving in some form.
Each state also determines how a cell phone-related violation is enforced by law enforcement. In states with primary enforcement, you can be pulled over and cited for the infraction even if you are otherwise obeying other traffic laws. In states with secondary enforcement, a police officer must witness you breaking another traffic law, such as speeding or running a red light, before stopping and ticketing you for the cell phone-related infraction.
Commercial vehicle operators are banned from using hand-held cell phones and texting while driving throughout the entire country. The United States Department of Transportation imposes this regulation and has oversight over interstate commerce. Large truck drivers risk losing their commercial driver’s license when they decide to use their cell phone while driving. Large truck accidents caused by drivers distracted by a cell phone are oftentimes severe in nature.
Cell Phone Laws in the United States
Laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving are implemented to protect drivers, other motorists, and pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately ten percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving.
- Talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving is banned in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
- Texas has a statewide ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving through a school zone.
- Texting and driving is banned for all drivers in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
- Thirty-eight states ban all cellphone use by novice or teen drivers
To find out about your state’s regulations, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has a chart describing each state’s laws restricting cell phone use while driving. Regardless of what the law is in your state, it’s important to understand how unsafe it is to drive distracted, either hands-free, with a cell phone to your ear, or texting.
Is All Cell Phone Use Dangerous?
No matter how you are using a cell phone while operating a vehicle — texting, hand-held, Bluetooth, or otherwise — it is a dangerous distraction that puts your life and other motorists’ lives in jeopardy. Studies have shown that the effects of distraction on a driver is similar to that of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thomas J. Henry has handled many cases involving distracted drivers in which expert witnesses testify to the similarity of impairments associated with distracted driving and drunk driving.
In order to safely operate a vehicle, a motorist must not have any visual, manual, or cognitive distractions. Texting and driving, for example, removes your eyes from the roadways, your hands from the steering wheel, and your mind off the task of driving. This creates an incredibly dangerous situation; distracted driving-affected crashes caused more than 3,400 deaths in 2015 in the United States.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney
Thomas J. Henry urges everyone to operate their vehicles safely and without any sort of distraction. Protect your livelihood, the safety of your passengers, and the motorists you share the road with. If you were injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys have experience handling distracted driving accident cases that result in catastrophic injuries. Call our law offices today for a free case review.
What Constitutes Pain and Suffering in a Texas Auto Accident Case?
In Texas, pain and suffering is a type of damage available in a personal injury claim, such as in an auto accident case. Pain and suffering addresses the physical and mental trauma that a person experienced in an accident, in the aftermath of the accident, and during any medical procedures that were needed as a result. In many auto accident cases, establishing significant pain and suffering is one of the most important pieces of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, cause tremendous pain and suffering. Auto accidents oftentimes leave victims with severe, long-lasting and debilitating physical injuries that can also lead to mental and emotional injuries. In these cases, pain and suffering (physically and mentally) is often easy to recognize. However, the amount awarded for pain and suffering is ultimately left up to a jury’s decision.
In order to successfully show the extent of an injured victim’s pain and suffering, it is imperative to have thorough and exhaustive documentation of medical treatments and therapies from physicians, surgeons, nurses, and psychologists. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you with this process and also help with presenting your case clearly and convincingly before a jury.
General Damages vs. Special Damages
In a personal injury case, an injured victim seeks to recover damages from the negligent party. Damages are awarded to make the plaintiff in a personal injury case whole again with monetary compensation. General damages and special damages (or non-economic and economic damages) are two categories of damages that could be awarded in a successful case. What is the difference between these two types of damages?
General damages can be difficult to quantify because there is no price tag or bill on an injury and its associated pain. The amount awarded for a type of general damage can vary greatly from plaintiff to plaintiff, even if the injuries sustained are quite similar. A jury will subjectively consider how much pain and trauma you have incurred as a result of the accident and award a monetary amount for each individual damage. Examples of general damages include:
- Disfigurement or impairment
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Your legal team and expert witnesses will help the jury understand and see what you have experienced physically, mentally, and emotionally after an accident. A life care plan expert witness can provide an assessment of the current and future needs of an individual suffering from a catastrophic injury and detail how much medical treatment will cost over that person’s lifetime.
Special damages can be proven to near exact monetary amounts because these damages have specific costs. These damages are awarded to compensate an injured victim for the out-of-pocket costs associated with the accident. Examples of special damages include:
- Medical costs (hospital and doctor visits, medications, therapies, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Repair of vehicle or property
These damages include costs that occurred in the past and are anticipated in the future. If a person is unable to return to work after an accident or is expected to require additional surgeries, therapy, and treatment in the future, they are able to seek compensation for these future costs.
Receiving compensation for the cost of a surgical procedure, such as a spinal cord surgery, may not seem sufficient enough. You can recover compensation for pain and suffering that resulted from an injury in addition to the medical costs of the procedure.
Injured in an Auto Accident? Call Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, contact our experienced accident lawyers immediately. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case review. If you cannot make it to one of our Texas law offices, we can come to you at your home, place of work, or hospital to discuss your injuries and the accident that caused them.
Our attorneys are dedicated to clients who have fallen victim to another person’s negligence and sustained serious, life-changing injuries. Let us help you achieve the real results you need and fight for the maximum amount of compensation possible. Call Thomas J. Henry today to begin your legal consultation.