Articles Posted in Car Accidents

The force that accompanies the impact of a car accident makes the neck and spine especially vulnerable to injury. That’s one reason why it’s very common to have a back injury after a car accident, even if you don’t realize an injury has occurred immediately afterwards. Another is the structure of the spine itself.

Spine Structure

The spine extends from the base of your skull to your tailbone. The entire spinal column is made up of small bones called vertebra. The area where one vertebra joins to the next is called a facet joint. Like other types of joints throughout your body, facet joints are what allow the spine to move in different directions.

There is cartilage between the facet joints, which gives the joints flexibility. Flat, round, gel-like cushions called the inter-vertebral discs act as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. The spinal cord and nerves pass through an opening in the middle of the vertebrae called the spinal canal.

The shape of the spine is also designed to protect it. Even when you ‘stand up straight’, like your parents and teachers probably told you as a child, the spine has a natural ‘S’ shape when viewed from the side. These curves help support your body’s weight and make it more resilient to stress than it would be if it were straight.

The spine also consists of soft tissue including tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The muscles provide movement while the tendons and ligaments connect muscle to bone and bone to bone. During a car accident, damage can occur to any area of the spine, leading to damage and pain.

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The future is now, at least with regards to our roadways. Self-driving cars are already legal in some states and some serious issues have already come to light. A concept that we once thought of as something out of a sci-fi movie is already a reality in a few areas of DFW, including Frisco in a closed business park and on public streets in Arlington starting next month.

Although it’s difficult to say when autonomous cars will become the standard, there’s already been an impact on personal injury law. Even if it is gradually implemented into our roadways over time, now is the time to determine some important issues about liability.

Self-Driving Cars

Changes in Legislation

Proving fault has always been the primary task of any personal injury attorney. Without it, there is no way to make the liable party pay for the damages he or she has caused. But who is liable when there is NO driver behind the wheel? Some legislation is already law and more is in the works. But some of the new laws are leaving drivers unhappy with the potential effect it could have.

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School started today and the streets of Dallas-Fort Worth have suddenly changed. Roads that were not busy in the morning and afternoon are now crowded school zones. Buses are back on the roads carrying one million of our precious students between their homes and schools in Texas.

School is Starting

Unfortunately there were 671 accidents in school zones throughout Texas during the 2015-2016 school year.

UPDATE 8/22/18: The Star Telegram reports that a car crashed into a school bus in north Fort Worth this morning causing one child to be rushed to the emergency room and injuring nine other children. It’s only the third day of the new school year.

One collision or injury is too many. We adults have to use extreme caution to make sure no more children are injured this year.

Ways to protect our kids

These accidents most often occur as children are walking or riding their bikes to school. When you fail to heed the school zone laws including the slower speed limits, you could be the cause of a child getting injured. We all know how frustrating it is to get stuck behind a slow school bus or waiting while a group of children cross a crosswalk. But these rules protect kids from getting serious injuries. We have to be responsible for them and assume they might be careless.

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New Law Not Working

The number of injuries and deaths caused by distracted driving in Texas keeps increasing every year.

It’s the new normal. We take it for granted. But this is a serious mistake we are making.

We at Berenson Injury Law were hopeful when Texas finally became one of the last states to adopt an anti-texting while driving law last year. But unfortunately that hasn’t stopped — or even slowed — this deadly problem on our roads.

The Texas Department of Transportation reported a shocking increase of 20% of distracted driving crashes last year.

Texts on the Rise

Those collisions were responsible for at least 450 of the more than 3,721 people who sadly perished on our roads.

And there’s good reason to believe that this number is far higher, as it is often impossible to know exactly what caused a car crash.

Even before the new state-wide texting while driving law was finally passed, this was such a vital issue to public safety that 100 cities had already enacted statutes to prevent their residents.

It’s also made drivers far less likely to admit they were texting before the accident. They know it’s illegal and no one wants to take the blame for an accident; especially if they are responsible for another person’s serious injuries or death.

There’s also the issue of single driver accidents. A car might run off the road because of a deer . . . or be distracted by an incoming text. If there aren’t any witnesses, it’s often a matter of taking the driver’s word about what happened.

If the accident ends in a fatality, law enforcement officers never know what caused the wreck, so the numbers are artificially lowered and we are not as afraid to text as we blissfully drive on roads at 65 or more miles per hour.

We talk about this alarming topic a lot on our site because this is a problem that needs to stop.

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If you have been injured in a car or truck accident, you will have a lot of questions especially these:IMG_7993

  1. Will I have to go to court?
  2. How much money can I receive?
  3. How long will it take?

This post answers the first question and the other two are addressed in these posts:

How much money is my car accident case worth?

The litigation process

Will my case settle out of court or go to a trial?

There are two ways that someone can collect his or her damages: an insurance company can pay them an agreed amount of money or a jury can award them monetary damages.

Statistics show that about 99% of all injury cases settle outside of the courtroom, usually before a lawsuit is filed.

So the chances of your case settling are excellent. But that answer as well as the amount of money you might receive and the length of time the process may take depend on many factors including the following:

Key information that is needed

  • Your case’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • Your liability facts and vehicle damage;
  • Your chance of winning a trial totally or partially, as negligence is attributed between all drivers and companies involved;
  • Your injuries – are they permanent or temporary, hard tissue or soft tissue, did you have surgery, etc.
  • Your medical expenses – how many are outstanding, were paid, and were written off;
  • Your lost wages, lost job benefits, and lost capacity to earn a living;
  • Your disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other damages;
  • Your financial condition – your need for a quick recovery of money or your ability to wait for a trial;
  • Your desire to go through the usually frustrating and slow court process;
  • Your injury lawyer – his experience, ability, and reputation;
  • Your negotiating ability (if you are trying to represent yourself) and knowledge of legal, insurance, and medical issues;
  • Your goals; and
  • The other driver’s/company’s insurance company insurance policy limits and his/its assets

We at Berenson Injury Law evaluate these and other variables when we first meet with our new clients. We ask if our clients would prefer us to try to get the maximum amount of money from the insurance company or sue. After practicing personal injury law for almost 40 years, Mr. Berenson has never had a client who wanted to go to court if he could avoid it.

Later, we analyze these variables and recommend that our clients take their case to court or accept a settlement offer. We then try to reduce outstanding medical bills and perform other services to make our clients more money.

If you are undecided between entering into settlement negotiations, accepting a settlement offer, and going to a jury trial, we are happy to analyze your car or truck accident in a free no-obligation meeting or phone call. Continue reading

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Everything you wanted to know about Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys’ young sensation was sued yesterday in Collin County district court after he caused a wreck in January 2017, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Zeke Elliott was driving to the Cowboys headquarters at 7:00 o’clock a.m. when he ran a light on the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco and apparently severely injured Ronnie Hill.

We here at Berenson Injury Law are obsessed with car wrecks and sports and we blogged about the crash here.

Zeke, who is 23, ran for 983 yards last season and scored seven touchdowns despite being suspended for six games for legal reasons. He  was the #1 rusher in the NFL his rookie season.

Hill’s attorney said that his client was left with “serious, life-altering injuries,” so apparently his neck and back discs have been damaged.

Hill’s expensive BMW was totalled with over $33,000 in property damage. Media accounts initially downplayed the wreck, calling it a fender-bender. Both vehicles were driven away from the scene and no ambulance was called for Hill.

Of course injuries can be delayed and in the state of shock — and maybe here a little celebrity worship — the injured person may not rush to an ER or begin feeling pain until hours or even days afterwards.

Zeke was driving a huge GMC Yukon when he “accidentally” ran a red light, according to the police report which was apparently written by a big Cowboys fan.

The Yukon hit the BMW on the front driver’ side panel and, according to the lawsuit, caused it spin more than 90 degrees. A tow truck was required to pull the two vehicles apart, as they were wedged together. The air bags deployed in the Yukon but not in the BMW.

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When Is the Deadliest Day To Drive Your Car? Today

We hope you are having a good summer. But June through August is the most dangerous time of the year to drive. So please be extra cautious on our roads this month.

And today, August 2nd, is the worst day to drive in America according to a new report.

Why is that? You might think it would be a traditional night of heavy drinking, say Super Bowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve, right?

The answer is that more people are rushing to or from their beach vacations, are more in a hurry and more careless, according to the report.

Dallas-Fort Worth is a very dangerous place to drive 

We assume that when we start driving to a destination, we will arrive there safely.

But we have a shocking number of car wrecks here — 80,000 each year in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.
And just in the past two days, the press has chosen to report these two tragedies:
  •  two people died in Keller late last night; and
  • an 18-year-old passed away on Tuesday after being in a crash in Grand Prairie last week. And as bad as that news was, the city has reached an all-time high record for the number of fatalities to date for a single year.

We extend out sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased.

And Texas in the deadliest state in the U.S.

It is horrible to think that almost 4,000 Texans perished in vehicle collisions in 2016. That’s a shocking one death every two hours.

Here are more sobering details.

We were #1 in the country in this dismal category, even though California has 10 million more people than we do so they should be first.

And an additional 265,000 Texans were injured in crashes.

Care to guess where the most dangerous highway is? Here in Fort Worth, the two-mile section of Interstate 30 between I-35 and Oakland.

Dallas also had many of the most dangerous roads on the list of the most dangerous roads. Of course.

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BLOGVictory of the month

Bill Berenson finalized the lawsuit for a 10-year-old girl who was injured when her vehicle crashed into a commercial truck. She was rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth after she fractured her leg and had two surgeries.

Unfortunately, the download of her vehicle’s black box confirmed the police officer’s finding that her driver was solely at fault. Further, the company’s driver stated his vision was partially blocked and the girl was not wearing her seat belt.

Mr. Berenson negotiated the settlement at mediation. He then made her driver’s liability insurance company pay his entire liability insurance policy and other benefits.

After medical expenses (which he reduced to $85,000) and legal expenses, the girl will receive $210,000 in graduated payments beginning when she reaches the age of 18. We are delighted she has fully recovered from her injuries.

Our client’s review 

Our client’s family was extremely happy with the amount of the recovery. The father kindly wrote this review online:

What can I say, Bill Berenson is the man! If I ever have to deal with anything along the lines of what I have been through previously, I would love to have him and his team along for the ride. Bill, Jessica, Andrew, and Mindy have been more than a rock for me and my family … and when it came down do it they got the job done! It was amazing watching Bill Berenson work … such a ball of fire! From what I was able to gather a case like mine was impossible to achieve the settlement amount that awarded! My life will never be the same! Thank you Bill Berenson and the Berenson Law Firm!

Other reviews from clients can be found here if you are searching for a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer who can get you the compensation you deserve.

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We gave important advice about what you should do if you have been in an auto accident in our last post.20130614_095558Medium-300x225

Unfortunately, stuff happens. Here’s a photo of our client’s car after an 18-wheeler suddenly pulled out in front of her on a dark country road. She was seriously injured – it’s lucky she survived – and called us the next day. That was a smart move since the 18-wheeler company blamed her for the wreck. We quickly filed suit and fought to get her a large recovery of money.

Car crashes happen far too often here in North Texas, so we want to give you more tips about things not to do if you have been unfortunately involved in one and are thinking about representing yourself — which we do not recommend unless you want to get shafted.

1. Do not give a statement 

Adjusters will insist on “asking you a few questions.” People agree and later regret the answers they gave. For example: “how are you?” – “fine” – will be used against them later.

Our office never allows statements unless there are extraordinary reasons and then Mr. Berenson refuses to allow them to be used in court. He meets with his clients after emailing a list of probable questions and practices with them so they are not blindsided.

Mr. Berenson objects to any questions asked to obtain confidential information about his clients. Adjusters dig to find damaging information including past injuries and doctors, criminal charges, bankruptcies, and other data that has nothing to do with their claims.

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If you have just been in a wreck, do you know the most important things you should do?

How you proceed is important. The stakes are high.

There are an incredible 80,000 car and truck wrecks in Dallas and Tarrant Counties each year. They happen in the blink of an eye.

But in the shock and pain you are feeling, you won’t be thinking clearly.

So you can easily damage your medical and legal recovery by doing the wrong things. The insurance company is hoping you do and will also try to harm your case so it can pay you less money — or none at all.

Bill Berenson Injury Law handles several hundred crash cases each year. Mr. Berenson only handles vehicle collisions and has almost 40 years experience that can help get you the best possible results.

If you want to try to represent yourself — usually a bad idea — here is what you should do if you have been involved in a car collision in North Texas.

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