Articles Posted in Car Accidents

dreamstime_xs_33822870-300x254So Who’s Causing The Avalanche of Accidents?

Teenagers? No, it’s their older brothers and sisters, the millennials. The largest generation of Americans between the ages of 19 and 35 are our worst drivers.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just released a troubling report that reveals that almost all admit that they exceed the speed limit by 10-15 m.p.h., run red lights, text while driving, and drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana on a regular basis.

Great, 75 million of the most dangerous drivers in America are driving next to us. Talk about accidents waiting to happen!

This helps explain why we have a whopping 80,000 collisions each year in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. A paralegal got stuck behind one involving an 18-wheeler and four other vehicles this morning that shut down I-20. It’s routine but shouldn’t be.

The epidemic of collisions keeps rising, despite the constant warnings about the dangers of texting while driving and speeding. You see PSAs and signs all the time on television, social media, highway signs, and billboards. But many young drivers don’t think dangerous driving is wrong.

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Click-it-ticket-300x200I’ve seen far too many car wreck injuries caused by people not using seat belts. This angers me.

I was reminded of this today when I read that nine members of a North Texas family were injured after their minivan was rear ended and flipped over into a ditch on I-30. Seven children were hurt, with one in critical condition. Some weren’t restrained and were ejected from the car. That’s inexcusable.

I want to again call attention to this serious problem to try to stop these senseless injuries.

Everyone must know that it’s the law that front and back seat passengers have to buckle up. Texas has a tough primary enforcement law where a police officer can issue you a misdemeanor citation even if no other traffic law has been violated. The ticket can cost up to $250.00 plus court costs.

If that doesn’t get your attention, presumably everyone knows that seat belts reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths.

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20130614_095558MediumYesterday the National Safety Council announced that an estimated 40,200 Americans died in traffic collisions last year. Picture the crowd inside the Texas Rangers ballpark to get an idea of how many people that is.

This number is just shy of the highest number ever in U.S. history.

While 3,412 Americans have died in any terror attack in the last 16 years (including the 2,996 people who perished on 9/11), by comparison 650,000 fellow citizens have died on our highways.

Americans very rarely die at the hands of jihadists. But each day about 100 Americans — including 10 Texans — die in a vehicle crash. Fortunately my client in this car was not killed when an 18-wheeler suddenly pulled out in front of her.

Even worse, 2016’s crash fatality rate is a substantial six percent increase from the year before, and that was seven percent higher than the year before that — the fastest two year increase in over 50 years.

Why is it that even though new cars and roads keep getting safer, more and more people die each year driving? And why doesn’t any one seem to care?

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https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/02/2016-01-18-Sifuentes_PD-Sifuentes.pdf-Adobe-Acrobat-Pro-Extended.jpgBerenson Injury Law has successfully recovered $385,00.00 on behalf of two clients in a commercial vehicle collision.

One man received $139,105.00 and the other received $95,504.00 after deducting medical bills (that I reduced substantially), fees, and expenses. The damage to their vehicle from the tractor trailer was relatively minor, they experienced neck, shoulder, and back injuries, and no surgeries were performed, making settlement negotiations harder.

My clients were extremely happy with their recoveries.  One kindly wrote this review on Google:

It  was another incredibly dangerous weekend on our North Texas roads. Intoxicated and hit-and-run drivers killed or injured innocent drivers in Dallas- Fort Worth. These were just the crashes reported in the newspapers:

  • At 9:35 p.m. on Friday, a Ford Focus hit a Kia Sportage, sending it over a guardrail and down a hill. The Kia driver was ejected from his car and died on the scene. The Focus driver was later determined to be under the influence of drugs and was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
  • A hit-and-run in Richardson just before 11 p.m. on Friday night left a motorcyclist with a broken arm. The northbound driver was changing lanes near Prestonwood Drive when they hit the motorcyclist. Police have no leads on the driver.
  • Early Saturday morning an Arlington police officer was treated for injuries after being involved in a crash with a suspected drunk driver. The officer was working to re-open lanes of I-30 after overnight construction.
  • Note that this is only one of the 10 DWI arrests made in Arlington Saturday night. This compares to a typical weekend night of four to six driving while intoxicated arrests, still a ridiculous number.
  • At 9 p.m. Saturday in Dallas, a man died after his speeding SUV spun out of control and careened into a ditch, ejecting him from the car. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol presumably played a role in the crash.
  • A collision on Berry Street in Fort Worth early Sunday morning tragically killed a woman and left a child critically injured.
  • Early Sunday morning, a wrong-way driver killed a man on I-30 in Grand Prairie. At around 5 a.m. a woman driving east in the westbound lane struck another car, killing its driver on the scene and shutting down I-30 for nearly five hours. The woman is in critical condition and police suspect alcohol was involved.
  • Note that this accident is the second fatal accident in January in Grand Prairie.

These are just a few of the hundreds of accidents across North Texas in January.

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wrong-way-for-blogI’ve posted about the surge in North Texas wrong-way crashes and the catastrophic nature of these collisions, which took the lives of 102 people and injured 251 people in 2015 in our state.  And I’ve pointed out that little, if anything, was being done to prevent these usually horrific head-on collisions.

So once again at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning in Southlake, another presumably drunk driver speeding the wrong way crashed into a SUV. He or she tragically killed its two occupants and seriously injured a third person. Here’s a photo of the scene at State Highway 114 near Kimball Avenue courtesy of CBSDFW.com. My prayers go out to the families.

But a wreck exactly like this one at the exact same location happened a few years ago, also killing two people. And far too many others have happened in North Texas.

So it’s great news that Texas is finally implementing a solution. The Department of Transportation is installing high-tech signs on 24 ramps here in Tarrant County and other cities across Texas. Sensors detect a vehicle travelling the wrong way which triggers flashing LED lights. Hopefully the driver will realize his mistake and and pull over.

The sensors will also alert the central command center, which will send messages streaming across boards to warn other drivers of the oncoming peril they face.

Further, the senhttps://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/01/34419.0.main_-300x225.jpgsors immediately notify police in the area so they can try to stop the driver before he crashes into somebody.

This photo shows what this would look like to you as you would be seeing as you drove towards the oncoming vehicle.

One of the most frightening aspects of a wrong-way collision is that other drivers don’t see it coming. Even the most careful driver does not expect to see a car coming straight toward her on a highway at 60 or 70 MPH. By the time she sees the vehicle, the combined speeds of the two cars often makes an evasive response impossible.

The first priority is getting the driver’s attention. The current big red signs that say “Wrong Way” often escape the notice of tired, confused and especially drunk drivers. The new signs will be hard to miss. If the driver doesn’t see the flashing lights, other drivers will at least now know to beware and police will know to swing into action.

In addition, TxDOT will implement a plan it announced last year to install “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs at eye level. The idea is that drivers are not looking up or around, but straight ahead at the road, so the signs should be low enough to catch their attention. Another good idea.

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EC-300x169I was prompted to post about Ethan Couch after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one of my favorite organizations, just emailed a list of its national accomplishments in 2016. Its top one was in our infamous case, where MADD helped convince a judge to give Couch the maximum sentence. Unfortunately, it was less than two years in jail, far less than the 20 years originally requested by prosecutors.

And it was in January one year ago when the “affluenza teen” was extradited to Fort Worth after fleeing to Mexico after he violated his generous probated sentence by drinking alcohol.

You’ll probably remember that the barely 16-year-old got extremely drunk at midnight in June of 2013 and sped down a dark residential road in Burleson in a huge pickup truck. Then Couch plowed into four people standing next to a disabled vehicle, killing them. He also maimed a young man riding in the bed of his pickup truck, whom I represented in the first lawsuit filed against Couch and his father’s company.

The case made international news after a defense psychologist said Couch suffered from “affluenza” and his spoiled upbringing should spare him from punishment. Then the judge gave Couch a probated 10 year sentence and several months at a rehab facility.

What happens next?

Couch will be released from jail next year and will be on probation through 2014. He will continue to be banned from drinking alcohol, using drugs, or driving and faces 20 years in jail if he violates the terms which judging by his past behavior, appears likely.

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0111-ezekiel-elliott-car-crash-scene-tmz-sports-3-300x234

Photo courtesy of TMZ Sportse Won’t Need Injury Lawyer. But Will You If You Are Crashed Into?

The Cowboys just need to win two games to play in Super Bowl LI in Houston. But this Sunday’s game against the Packers and the following week’s against either Seattle or Atlanta will be tough.

That’s why we all got nervous when we heard that the rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott had wrecked his truck Wednesday morning. The star running back was involved in a very minor rear-end collision near the Cowboy’s Frisco practice facility at Dallas Parkway and Gaylord Parkway.

The vehicles showed little if any damage, as you can see. Both were driven from the scene, an ambulance was not called, and no one reported any injuries.

Of course, Elliott is in incredible physical shape, has played football almost his whole life, and is used to his body getting slammed into. As he tweeted afterwards: “I’ve been in bigger collisions. Lol.”

What About The Rest Of Us?

However the other 99.99% of the world isn’t used to being collided into and isn’t in the same kind of physical condition. Getting hit by a car or truck weighing 3,000 to 6,000 pounds sometimes at a speed of up to 70 MPH isn’t going to hurt as much if you’re the top running back in the NFL.

We all have to get into our cars and trucks and drive around our spread-out North Texas area each day and our chances of being in an automobile accident are better than you might think. There were a whopping 80,000 crashes in Dallas and Tarrant Counties in 2015, or 221 a day.

Nobody ever thinks they’re going to be in a collision or get hurt. Until they are. That’s when they call a personal injury lawyer for help.

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Uber-233x300

Image from WFAA

 

People who call for an Uber and get into a Honda van are sometimes making a tragic mistake.

A 24-year-old college student from University Park is now a quadriplegic due to a horrific crash in Dallas a year ago.

Sarah Milburn was home from a break from Oklahoma State University. She was about to graduate and start a new job and her future was bright. After celebrating with friends in Uptown, instead of driving, they sensibly called Uber. Sarah buckled her seat belt, even though she sat in the third row of the Honda Odyssey.

She thought that she had done the right thing. But she couldn’t possibly know that Uber had failed to vet its driver. Or that the van she sat in was defectively designed. Or that she would nearly die.

The Uber driver, Anan Yusufzai, sped through a red light at the busy intersection of McKinney and Fitzhugh Avenues and was T-boned by a Ford 150 pickup truck. The van flipped upside down and Sarah dangled precariously upside down. She was cut out and rushed to the ICU at Baylor University Medical Center. Tragically, the crash broke broke her spinal cord.  Continue reading

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/01/Screen-Shot-2017-01-04-at-12.18.56-PM-300x226.pngTwo Texas-Based Lawsuits Attempt Uphill Battle

Texting from behind the wheel has reached epidemic proportions, with 53% of drivers admitting to this dangerous practice in a recent poll.

Don’t think this is a problem? More than 35,000 drivers died in 2015 in collisions, a huge 10 1/2 percent rise over the year before. And the alarming 2016 number is predicted to be 14% higher by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Still don’t think this affects you? The chances of dying in a crash in the U.S. are 1.3% — the highest rate in the industrialized world. By comparison, this rate is over six times that in Norway and Sweden, which have snowy/icy road conditions much of the year.

We know that rampant cell phone use is often responsible for automobile “accidents” in America. Many countries ban texting while driving and fine offenders heavily.

So what about holding the companies and carriers creating this epidemic accountable? Just like other corporations, should Apple, Samsung, AT&T and Verizon be held responsible for the damages caused by their products and services?

This is the argument at least two families have made to achieve justice after losing loved ones in distracted driving accidents. Families of these victims have filed products liability lawsuits against Apple claiming the corporation was negligent in selling a product it knew would be used while driving and cause injury to others.

Two women killed and young boy paralyzed by texting driver

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