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Harris County Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

The details of motor vehicle accidents

Driving in any large city can be stressful and often dangerous. With a population of over 2 million in Houston, Texas, tragic motor vehicle accidents are a common occurrence. Collisions, especially in this congested area, require immediate action regarding safety procedures and the legal protection of each party involved.  

The Texas Department of Transportation informs the public about collision incidents in the state. In its 2015 report, TDOT reported that one person died in a collision roughly every 2 hours, and one person experienced an injury from a collision every 2 minutes and 7 seconds. Although collision-related deaths were not as common as less serious crashes, TDOT reports that there were no deathless days in Texas in 2015. The total number of those injured in crashes that year was 247,652, and most deadly crashes occurred during warmer seasons. 40.4 percent of those killed in 2015 had not been restrained. Knowing these crippling numbers can help educate Texas communities about the dangers of driving without a seatbelt, and can potentially prevent collisions in the future.

What is negligent entrustment?

Imagine driving down Houston’s streets and being suddenly struck by another vehicle. The injuries you could potentially sustain in such an accident could result in an extended hospitalization, as well as time away from work as you recover. Thrown in the damage down to your vehicle, and you could be facing some enormous expenses. That is okay, however, because the driver that struck you has insurance, right? If he or she turns out to be a teen, maybe not.

Hopefully, his or her parents have already added him or her to their coverage, because if they have not, there is a good chance coverage may not be extended. Even if it is, there is no guarantee that the combined payouts from both insurances will cover all of your expenses. This could place you in the position of needing to pursue compensation. Yet how much can you hope to recover from a teenager?

Don't let a car crash wreck your life!

Car accidents occur in Texas on a daily basis. While motor vehicle crashes can be caused by any number of variables – from bad weather to tire blowouts to a deer jumping in front of your vehicle – the fact remains that the majority are caused by human error. Luckily, most accidents are minor, but even one fatal accident is too many, especially when it is your beloved family member or friend.

Your own life is potentially at risk as well, which is why you're probably already careful to drive conscientiously and obey traffic laws. Unfortunately, just because you drive carefully doesn't mean that other drivers do the same. With everyone in a hurry and the constant multitasking of modern life, you may be at risk of injury or worse if the other drivers on the road happen to be distracted or make a mistake. While there are a number of potential causes for dangerous or even deadly crashes, three stand out.

How to handle a road rage incident

Aggressive driving may not always be the result of road rage. If a motorist in Houston discovers that a nearby driver is suffering from road rage, though, there is a good chance that some similar behaviors are being displayed. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, purposefully driving in an unsafe manner may be aggressive driving. However, if the situation also involves an intent to hurt someone else, it may be a case of road rage.

Being targeted by a violent driver may be frightening and dangerous, and in the heat of the moment, it may be difficult to know how to get to safety. Experts do not recommend stopping to confront the driver, or even to simply get out of the way. Instead, a person should avoid eye contact and allow the angry driver to pass.

Aggressive driver responds to fender bender with violent attack

A Houston traffic accident can lead to anxiety or anger for the person who is not at fault. The initial physical shock of the collision, the damage to the vehicle and other concerns may even lead someone to act out their aggression. However, road rage can become more dangerous than a crash when a person allows the emotional response to the circumstances to overwhelm his or her judgment.

Recently, a driver who caused a minor fender bender was threatened by the man in the vehicle he struck. According to law enforcement, the person at fault in the crash stated that the victim began to scream and curse at him, and then pulled out a firearm. He then fled the scene with the aggressive driver in pursuit. That crash is being investigated as a possible hit-and-run accident.

Auto collisions and the 4th of July

If you were hurt because of a reckless driver during the Fourth of July, you may be facing diverse challenges. From physical pain to financial devastation and mental flashbacks, the crash may have upended your life in numerous ways. Sadly, some people who were simply celebrating Independene Day have had their entire lives thrown into chaos because of the poor decisions of a reckless driver. The Martin Law Firm understands the struggles that victims of motor vehicle wrecks frequently endure in Houston, and in other Texas cities.

Even if you were not involved in an accident during the holiday, it is important to keep in mind the heightened risk of a crash during this time of year and with regard to future holodays. During the Fourth of July, auto accidents may be even more likely to take place for various reasons. On the one hand, traffic congestion and fireworks can increase the chances of an accident and cause drivers to become startled or distracted. Additionally, many people choose to celebrate this holiday by consuming alcohol, some of whom decide to get behind the wheel afterwards.

How to spot the signs of a drunk driver

Drunk driving is a serious problem for people in Texas, and for people throughout the country. Despite strict laws prohibiting motorists from drinking and driving, a number of people continue to engage in this deadly habit. In 2015 alone, at least 290,000 people in the U.S. were injured and 10,265 people were killed in drunk driving accidents, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It is crucial that you know how to spot the signs of a drunk driver, so that you can minimize the risk of being involving in a fatal car accident.

Some of the most common behaviors displayed by drivers who have had too much to drink include the following:

  •          Drifting in and out of traffic lanes, or swerving.
  •          Forgetting to signal or leaving the signal light turned on.
  •          Erratic breaking or stopping suddenly for no reason.
  •          Driving too closely behind the car in front.
  •          Abnormal response to traffic signals, such as a delayed start or sudden stop.
  •          Driving slower than 10 miles below the speed limit.

Selfies cause major distraction for drivers

Although many drivers are guilty of using their cellphones to text, type, search the internet and compose emails while behind the wheel, a number of motorists are taking it one step further. Driving selfies, or self-portraits taken by people who should be navigating the road, are not uncommon as people scroll through popular social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In fact, it is rather common to see selfies of people who are stopped at traffic lights and stop signs. Scarier yet are those that are taken as vehicles are traveling at high rates of speed.

When drivers use their cellphones to take pictures of themselves, they are forced to take their eyes off the road and remove at least one hand from the steering wheel. Their attention is diverted away from the road and directed toward their cellphone as they pull up an app, set the camera and position themselves in the perfect pose for a picture. Once the selfie is snapped, they then continue to comment on the picture and post it onto their site. All of this is done while navigating through traffic, putting everyone’s’ lives in danger.

A bicycle-vehicle accident doesn't have to wipe out your finances

There are numerous types of transportation that a person can utilize to reach a destination, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Motor vehicles offer a certain ease of travel, but they can also be costly, both in upkeep and fuel prices. Bicycles, on the other hand, do not require the same monetary investment, but, unfortunately, also don't offer the same amount of protection as motor vehicles.

Perhaps you ride a bike nearly everywhere, whether to save money or simply for the exercise, or both. While you have the same rights on the road as other vehicles, there is less in the way of protective barriers for a cyclist, and an accident could pose a significant threat to your health.

IIHS tests show the benefits of underride guards

Although there has been a debate as to whether side underride guards on a truck would really save lives in the case of an accident, studies performed by the International Institute of Highway Safety show the benefits this type of safety equipment may have. In one test, vehicles going 35 mph collided with trucks that were equipped with either AngelWing sideguards or fiberglass sideguards. Vehicles that hit the truck with the AngelWing sideguard, they did not go underneath the truck. Vehicles that struck the truck with the fiberglass underguard, however, continued to slide underneath the trailer and the accident often sheared off the roof of the vehicle.

Without the sideguard, 28 percent of a 53-foot trailer’s side would be protected from a collision, while a sideguard brings the protection up to 62 percent. Guards protecting the rear of tractor trailers have been mandated by the federal government for years. A famous actress lost her life when her vehicle hit the rear-end of a tractor trailer and she was beheaded as a result. Yet, there is no legislation regarding the use of side guards on these massive vehicles, despite the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that the guard would save lives.

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The Martin Law Firm
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Houston, TX 77068

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