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The average settlement of a car accident in Texas was about $15,000 a few years ago. That may seem like a lot of money. But on the other hand, if may be far less than the case value. If you have been in a car wreck, how do you know what your auto accident case is worth? How do you know if you should file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve?

The only way to know is to have a good car accident attorney on your side. When you are facing the pain and stress of being injured on top of mounting medical bills and lost income, it may be tempting to take whatever amount the adjuster offers. He or she is counting on that. It’s a mistake to try to negotiate the case yourself. You can cost yourself a lot of money. An experienced attorney can protect you.

1. Settling versus litigating

IMG_4298If someone runs a light and crashes into you, you are not going to want to pay thousands of dollars up front to hire a lawyer to recover your damages. But there is good news: a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer can recover your medical bills, lost wages, and other items without you paying any money down. Some people think it is a better idea if they try to handle all of the legal details on their own.  This is usually a big mistake. This post will explain why and answer these questions:

  • How much does a car accident lawyer charge;
  • How he can make you substantially more money than you can on your own

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2019/05/Uber.jpg.pngRide sharing services like Uber and Lyft are very popular in the fast-growing Dallas-Fort Worth area. But as more people are relying on them to get around, often when they have been out drinking, more of them are getting hurt in Uber and Lyft accidents when bad drivers cause crashes. Or they may be in the back seat when the vehicle is crashed into by another person who may not have any liability insurance or not enough coverage.

For example, early on Sunday morning a Lyft driver hit an Arlington bicycle officer near AT&T Stadium. The officer was on a marked bike with lights on a well lit street but the Lyft driver hit-and-ran.

And earlier this year, a woman received a multi-million dollar verdict in Dallas due to a defective seat belt design, but her permanent-paralysis-causing crash happened when her Uber driver ran a red light.

Your Uber and Lyft accident can cause you extensive damages

Just like with other auto accident injuries, the injuries you suffer due to a negligent Uber or Lyft driver have the potential to be very serious and even permanent. They can lead to surgeries that are caused by

  • Spinal cord damage,
  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Neck and back injuries, and
  • Broken bones

Continue reading

highway-crashThis weekend’s fatal crashes on I-35 show the need for increased safety measures

North Texas highways are unfortunately the scene of many serious injury and fatal car and truck crashes. Just in the past two days, a tragic Fort Worth accident took the life of a woman on I-35 near Rosedale Street on Friday night. And last night, a Dallas crash sadly took the life of a woman who was not able to avoid hitting a disabled SUV on I-35 near Medical District Drive north of downtown. This weekend reinforced why drivers should try to avoid driving on interstates if possible, especially at night.

Since all of our local highways are more jammed than ever with cars, trucks and 18-wheelers due to our region’s explosive growth, the only possible answer for why I-35 is so dangerous is increased trade due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As a result, we have more and more commercial trucks driving up and down the the highway to deliver goods from Mexico. And we have more trucks because of increased deliveries from purchases from Amazon and other online merchants. Plus it seems that I-35 is always under construction, at least here in Fort Worth where we have been in the midst of a frustrating widening for the past five years.

Adding to these perils, tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks drive with relative impunity. We see them tailgating and trying to run drivers off the road, speeding, failing to stay in their lanes – presumably because the driver is texting while driving or at least using his cell phone in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations – and driving while being exhausted. You rarely seem them pulled over for doing this. I call on Texas law enforcement to increase the number of patrol officers and other traffic safety techniques to make truck drivers obey traffic laws.

I also urge our state legislators to fix these problems. The Texas Tribune described several proposed laws that would help remedy this embarrassing title. None of these bills is apparently going to pass in the legislature days from concluding its biennial session.

Dallas interstates are especially dangerous and lead to far too many wrongful deaths. Most were listed in the top 100 deadliest highways list, with I-35 being one of the highest in the country at #13 and I-45 right behind it at #14.

Continue reading

It was a lot of fun to be at the school I adopted 15 years ago, Rufino Mendoza Elementary, the first thing this morning. I had just found about the national Bike to School Day that was only two weeks away, was surprised that no school in Tarrant County had ever participated in this event, and asked the principal if I could plan it. She and her staff enthusiastically supported the idea and I went to work.

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I found out about Bikes for Tykes, which graciously donated 23. The kids are excited they get their very own bicycles.

I also learned that the Tarrant County Medical Society Auxiliary gave away helmets and its gift of those red helmets you see is certainly appreciated. Fort Worth requires anyone under 18 to wear one (although Texas doesn’t) so I was about to buy these.

shoulderMy client was driving his car on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth when traffic suddenly came to a stop and an 18-wheeler next to him was not able to stop in time. The truck crashed into a motorcyclist and tragically killed her. It then sideswiped our client’s car and rammed into four other vehicles, seriously injuring several drivers. The damage to our client’s car was relatively minor and he drove home.

We conducted an immediate investigation and obtained all necessary evidence. Our client had torn a ligament in his left shoulder and he had to undergo two arthroscopic procedures to repair it. Our client did not have health insurance and we arranged the medical treatment he needed and assisted him financially. We filed a lawsuit and settled his case at a mediation.

The biggest problem with the case was that the trucking company was severely under-insured, as many are. Personal injury lawyers often learn later that there is only the minimum required amount of $750,000 to cover everyone who is injured or who loses his or her life. This amount has not increased in the almost 40 years since it was first instituted. Clearly, that is not fair to the people and the families of victims who are hurt in these multiple vehicle collisions. The truck company’s insurance company chose to quickly pay the wrongful death claim so there were insufficient proceeds for the other claimants. This is another reason it is important for injured victims to act quickly to preserve their rights. Continue reading

In an unanimous decision in Garcia v. City of Willis #17-0713, the high court dismissed a lawsuit Friday that would have eliminated the widely despised red light cameras in Texas. The plaintiff had filed a class action lawsuit to declare they were unconstitutional and sought to obtain a refund of the millions of dollars of fines Texas motorists have paid.

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On procedural grounds, the Supreme Court found the plaintiff lacked standing, chose to pay his fine and avoid the required administrative hearing, and governmental immunity barred the reimbursement claim.

The decision follows other attempts to outlaw the cameras. For example, in February the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago called a similar argument “a dud” and noted that the advantages of the cameras outweighed other concerns.

Continue reading

rear-end-crashTexas law regulating rear-end crashes

Today our Supreme Court issued a controversial decision that keeps red light cameras in place. However our state legislators continue to consider outlawing them. Sometimes rear-end collision are caused at intersections with those much hated cameras. But usually they happen when the following driver is not paying attention — probably because he or she is driving while distracted by their cell phone. In rear-end crashes, the law has a particular way of determining who was at fault and liable for the damages other people suffer. Anyone who tells you that the rear driver is always at fault or that a lead driver who brakes suddenly cannot ever recover for their injuries is wrong. To make sure you don’t get caught in these or other potential traps, you need the services of a good Fort Worth accident lawyer.

In Texas, every driver has a legal obligation to engage in ordinary care while behind the wheel. But to complicate this scenario, Texas law also observes what is known as the comparative negligence rule for determining each party’s culpability. What this means is that if the jury (or insurance company adjuster) decides that the other driver was more than 50% responsible for the car accident that injured you, then you can recover your damages. However that amount will be reduced by the percentage amount that the jury (or company) decides reflects your level of blame. That makes sense: a person should not be able to cause a crash and collect money. So a case can be allocated 100% to 0%, the other way around, or somewhere in between.

I see this all the time. This photo is from a routine case I recently settled where my clients were parked in front of a school waiting to pick up their children in Fort Worth when the SUV rear-ended them. That driver was (you guessed it) on her cell phone. In a school zone where cell phone use is prohibited.

On the other hand, if the lead car stops very abruptly because he mistakenly thought the light had turned or was turning yellow — perhaps due to a fear of getting a ticket a one of those red-light camera intersections — and you crash into him from the rear, then you may have a winning argument that the driver in front of you was liable. Unless you were also trying to run the light! I see that a lot too.

Deciding factors include proof of the following:

  • Following distance;
  • Speed;
  • Braking;
  • Rear driver’s attentiveness/distraction;
  • Road conditions;
  • Other vehicles;
  • Weather/lighting;
  • Aggressive driving/road rage; and
  • Alcohol/drug use. Continue reading

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                 Families of victims and survivors

The latest DWI deaths in Texas hit home on Saturday night when a Frisco family driving on I-35 south of Austin was crashed into by a Dodge pickup. Two beautiful sisters, Hayden Weissman, who was 18, and Peyton Weissman, who was 16, tragically lost their lives. Their father, his girlfriend, and another sister were also injured.

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To make this horrific crash even more maddening, Macario M. Hernandez, 61, ran away from the scene. Fortunately he was apprehended and is in the Hays County jail with a bail set at $250,000. At least he’s not getting back on our highways any time soon. Still worse, if that is possible, Hernandez had been arrested for DWI a shocking three times in the past.

This is infuriating. How does this keep on happening? And how can we stop the never-ending pattern of this never-ending carnage on our highways?

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