Glaring lapses in public safety were revealed by a horrific New York limo crash last week. The New York governor said that the vehicle and its driver were not legally allowed to even be on the road. As a result, 20 people lost their lives. The crash marks the deadliest transportation collision in our country since 2009. We must take stronger action to prevent disasters like this from happening in the future.
When Bad Weather Crashes Happen To Good Drivers
A massive downpour has brought another three inches of rain to North Texas, this on top of soil that is saturated from last week’s deluge. Treacherous driving conditions increase the chances of people getting into bad weather crashes. And determining which driver’s insurance company must pay for the associated costs can become a complicated legal question. But hundreds of drivers have unfortunately been in wrecks here just in the past week and may be unexpectedly facing this problem.
In Fort Worth yesterday there were at least 80 crashes. Two people tragically died in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In South Dallas, a man’s car got stuck in the mud of the median and he was struck when he attempted to cross the highway and just west of Fort Worth, an 18-wheeler jack-knifed and a van crashed into it. Our law firm is handling a crash case at almost that same location when an automobile driver and 18-wheeler were driving too fast on a rain-slick Interstate 20 and caused a six-vehicle pile-up last year at about this same time last year.
It is common for people to have head and brain injuries after a car accident. Although these injuries vary in severity, when it comes to your brain, they are never minor and should not be ignored. The brain is your body’s control center. You need it to move, to think, and to breathe. And a traumatic brain injury can be severely debilitating and lead to a coma, lifetime paralysis, or even death.
More than half of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by vehicle accidents. They can occur in one of two ways. Some injuries occur from blunt force trauma, when the person’s head strikes something, usually the steering wheel or door. When people don’t buckle up, they are at a greater risk of striking their head during an accident.
The second way that people get TBIs from car accidents is from the force of the impact. If the impact is strong enough, it can cause the brain to move around inside the skull. When the brain hits against the bones of the skull, it can cause bruising and bleeding that often isn’t visible at the time. The jolt can cause the brain to pull loose from connective tissue that holds it inside the skull. This results in an injury to that area as well.
Southlake man learns how astronomical air ambulance bill can be
A helicopter flying a critically injured patient to a hospital can save his life, but when he finds out what the air ambulance bill is, he might have a heart attack. The average cost for the ride is now over $40,000. A med evac invoice is the poster child of our skyrocketing health care costs.
On Monday an article in the Dallas Morning News showed how enormous a bill can be. A young doctor in Southlake was severely injured and was rushed by ground ambulance to a local hospital in Wichita Falls. He had to be immediately flown 100 miles to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the closest level one trauma center.
Sadly, after eight operations, the doctor had to have his arm amputated. A few days later as he was recovering in the hospital, he received the first of many demanding calls from the company wanting him to pay a stunning $56,603. Yes, you read that correctly.
The doctor’s health insurance company only paid about $12,000 — and only after being forced to do so since the ambulance company was out-of-network with his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Right after his crash, he was obviously not in a condition to verify whether the ambulance company was in-network and demand a different helicopter.
Most of these companies choose not to be in-network. If they are, they refuse to bill health insurance plans, instead billing the patient for the full amount. Or sometimes they bill Aetna or Blue Cross, which pays what it considers to be the reasonable cost of the ride. The patient is stuck with the balance, like here. The helicopter company then hires aggressive bill collectors and attorneys to file lawsuits when the exorbitant expense is not paid in full. Medical bills are the leading cause for people to file bankruptcies that ruin their credit.
The man still owed a shocking balance of $44,631. This is in addition to other inflated hospital and doctor bills he has to pay. This is a serious problem for many people after they are in a car or truck collision.
There’s been a lot of controversy over issues related to the NFL lately. But one issue that isn’t getting as much attention as it deserves is the serious connection between NFL games and DWI’s. For example, there was another driving while intoxicated arrest last week of a NFL player.
The arrest occurred at 6:30 in the evening after Aaron Neary had watched the Rams defeat the Cardinals. A Los Angeles area police department reported receiving numerous calls about a driver who had crashed into a bus stop sign, trash cans, and mailboxes. Police pulled over Neary. His Breathalyzer test showed that he had a blood alcohol level of .17% — more than twice the legal limit there and in Texas. Police arrested Neary for driving while intoxicated and causing property damage.
At least no one was hurt. But if he had hit another vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian, the outcome could have been far worse and even fatal. Often drunk drivers don’t realize they are driving in a school zone or at another pedestrian crossing. People who drive at this high level of intoxication put everyone at risk.
People often confuse filing a personal injury claim with going to court. Most of the time, a personal injury settlement can be reached without ever filing a lawsuit. An agreement occurs when the two parties negotiate to reach a settlement amount that is reasonable. Sometimes the injured person attempts to handle the negotiation on his or her own. But they rarely get the best outcome when they handle the negotiations themselves. Insurance companies are known to use every trick in the book to take advantage of them.
Negotiating is a fine art that requires skill and experience. When it is used to settle something as important as a personal injury claim, it is best left to a trained professional. The process follows a fairly structured process that needs to be understand in-depth. There are many ways to do the case substantial harm. A personal injury victim only has one chance to get a fair settlement. He cannot afford to gamble on his own capabilities.
Before you talk to anyone about your personal injury settlement, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows your rights. The first meeting is free and will be invaluable.
Fort Worth car collisions have surged due to overly tired drivers
We all know that we have too many collisions in Fort Worth. While everyone will agree that intoxicated drivers must be stopped, not many people understand that tired drivers are just as dangerous.
Driving while exhausted (DWE) is far more common than driving while intoxicated (DWI), but you rarely hear about it. We need to publicize this forgotten cause of crashes so they can be stopped.
Just two days ago in Fort Worth, an overly tired driver caused a horrible wreck here two days ago. A man fell asleep at 3:00 p.m. while he was driving on Interstate 35 in far north Fort Worth. This caused him to crash his vehicle into the guard rail and tragically take the life of his passenger, 25-year-old Sarah Million.
You might wonder how someone can fall asleep in the middle of the day and still be driving a car or truck, right? But a whopping 32% of people have admitted that they had driven at least one time in the last month when they could barely keep their eyes open.
62% of drivers admit to regularly driving when they are too tired to do so safely. Many people are chronically sleep-deprived. Some thrive on how far they can push themselves and how long they can stay up.
Over 100,000 car collisions are caused by overly tired drivers each year in our country. They took the lives of over 5,000 people — and this is just in reported cases where the police can determine the cause of death, which is obviously impossible a one car crash. And that doesn’t begin to account for the hundreds of thousands of injuries, not to mention near-misses.
If the Fort Worth driver was that tired, he should have pulled over, bought a Coke or cup of coffee, let the passenger drive, or better yet, stayed home and taken a nap. Driving is not an automatic right that a person can exercise if he or she is too tired or impaired. DWE isn’t illegal but it has the same effect as DWI. A crash is a crash.
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.
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.
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.
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.