Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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After the second rainiest year in the history of Dallas-Fort Worth which just ended a few months ago, we are all ready for some beautiful spring weather. But tomorrow more storms are expected and there is even a chance of hail and tornadoes in the region. Of course there is — this is Texas where if you don’t like the weather, just blink, right? It was only a few weeks ago that we were hit by 80 mph winds and large hail on another day. Yes, spring showers bring May flowers, but they also bring a lot of unexpected collisions on our roads. If you have been injured in one of our frequent weather-related auto accidents, you may not know how to proceed. This post offers tips about how you can succeed in your car accident case.

You will have questions including

  • Can I still recover my damages even though wet roads were involved?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Which insurance company will pay for my car or truck now, mine or his?
  • How much money can I receive?

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Many drivers in Texas have opened their mail to find a surprise traffic ticket, photograph of their vehicle, and a stiff fine. Of course, the red light camera program has been extremely unpopular in Texas since the state legislature authorized it 2007. But there is hope for those who hate these automated tickets. There are two ways that the controversial red light cameras could be removed soon.

A local state representative has introduced a widely supported bill in Austin that would eliminate them in May, although past efforts have failed. In addition, the Texas Supreme Court will rule in June on their legality in a case brought by a North Texas lawyer.

But we can all agree that red light runners are extremely dangerous. In a recent year, close to 1,000 people were killed and 137,000 people were injured, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Red light running crash

Photo courtesy of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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drowsy-drivingA shocking study revealed that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving while intoxicated, according to a CBS News report. The problem of drowsy driving is especially severe in Texas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Texas is #1 in sleep-related fatalities with 20% of all such fatalities — double the number of deaths of the #2 and #3 states combined.

There are a huge number of drowsy drivers on our streets and highways, day and night. Sixty percent of drivers admitted to driving while they could barely stay awake at least once in the past year and many do this on a regular basis. The NHTSA alarmingly notes that each year overly tired drivers cause over 100,000 car accidents, injure 71,000 people, and take the lives of 1,550 people.

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After being a Texas car accident lawyer for almost 40 years, I know that one of the first questions my new clients will ask is how easy or hard it is going to be to get a good settlement. This can be a difficult process with any company but I never cease to be amazed at the tricks insurance adjusters and attorneys from the worst auto insurance companies play. While the insurance industry takes in a stunning one trillion dollars a year in premiums, adjusters often refuse to pay reasonable compensation. While this is a hard category to judge, here are three lists that name the most egregious offenders.

Worst insurance companies for car and truck collisions:

The American Association for Justice (the nation’s largest group of plaintiff’s attorneys) listed the following (health and disability insurance companies are omitted):

1. Allstate

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The chances are very high that if you have been involved in a car accident in North Texas, it was caused by a driver who is insured with Allstate so I will focus on them. Don’t get your hopes up if you are hit by an Allstate insured though. You are not in good hands, despite what the company would have you believe in their advertising (that is only what it claims will happen if you are their policyholder). When their insured driver crashes into you, their claims representatives can be nitpicking. arrogant, and cheap.  Offers are often only one-half of what I estimate I can get from a jury. In my experience, you will usually have to file a lawsuit if you expect to get paid a reasonable amount of money.

Our law firm battles Allstate on a regular basis, as it is the second largest auto liability insurer in Texas. Only State Farm is larger. Allstate has 16 million customers worldwide, owns other companies including Esurance and Encompass, and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In Texas, it has 13 different companies registered with the Department of Insurance and any one of eight can be involved in a car or truck crash case. One company alone has a value of $48 billion. With that economic weight, it is used to bullying claimants around and getting what it wants.

We have a good track record of getting good results against them. Today for example, we were able to get them to pay our client his entire underinsured motorist benefits from them after he had already received a driver’s entire insurance policy amount in a hotly disputed case involving an 18-wheeler. He was very happy with the settlement on the first part of his case and very generously wrote this review:

“These guys are great. They’re very transparent and very aggressive. I hope I never need a personal injury lawyer again, but if I did, I’d go back to Mr. Berenson.”

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A chain reaction car accident is all too common here in North Texas. Late last night in Plano, an intoxicated driver of a Mustang crashed into a BMW which hit two other vehicles, causing four drivers to be rushed to hospitals. Last week in Dallas, Central Expressway was shut down all night after a four vehicle pile-up which took the life of a young man and injured three other drivers. And several weeks ago, Interstate 20 in Arlington was the site of interconnected accidents that claimed the life of a man and hurt others. This post explains what you should do if you are unfortunately injured in a multiple vehicle collision here.

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Questions you will have after being in a multiple vehicle collision

These are some of the questions we hear our new clients asking us after they have been injured in a chain reaction:

Medical bills after car or truck accidents often become financial nightmares. Money Magazine just wrote that a trip to an ER can destroy a typical family’s finances. But this is especially a crisis in Texas where exorbitant “surprise bills” are mailed at two times the national average. One third of Texans who go to a hospital get stuck with them. To combat this abuse, state lawmakers set up a medical bills mediation program ten years ago. The word is finally getting out and the demand for this invaluable service has overwhelmed the Texas Department of Insurance.

Why we need medical bills mediation

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Obviously no one ever plans to be in a car accident or have any kind of medical emergency. He certainly doesn’t think he will be rushed to an expensive hospital and charged enormous amounts by the ambulance, hospital, ER doctors, radiologists, and specialists.

Most people don’t have the ability to pay these bills and assume they will be paid quickly by the at-fault driver’s liability company and his own health insurance plan.

But the injured person won’t know until months later which charges, if any, were paid — assuming he was insured and met his annual deductible. Many are not paid by the health insurance company because a provider was out of the plan’s network or the hospital was is in but the doctor was out of network so the physician’s bill has to be paid in full.

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Good Injury Settlement Depends on Your Lawyer

Getting a good personal injury settlement means getting your vehicle repaired or totaled, healing as quickly as possible, and obtaining the financial compensation you are entitled to receive. This post explains the steps you should take to ensure these things after being in a car accident.

Fair Personal Injury Settlement

1. Seek Legal Advice ASAP

How does a wrong way crash even happen?

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Imagine that you were driving home late last night on an interstate in Fort Worth or Dallas. Maybe you had worked the late shift or saw a movie. Suddenly a speeding car or truck was headed straight at you. You had little, if any, time to react and may have no unoccupied lane to swerve into. This is how a wrong way crash occurs.

No, this was not some kind of horror movie. It happens here a lot, far too often. Texas leads the U.S. in the number of these wrong way crashes.

Yesterday morning, for example, a man driving a Honda led Springtown police on a high speed chase across Tarrant County. It started when the driver fled a police officer near Lake Worth. He accelerated and drove east in the westbound lanes of Interstate Loop 820. He wove in and out of traffic dodging oncoming vehicles at a speed of up to 100 mph. Officers from Fort Worth and Reno joined the chase and used road spikes to prevent the driver from going further. The driver spun out of control as he exited 820 and crashed his car. Miraculously, no other cars were hit during the chase or his wipe out.

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Ticket for Texting and DrivingI call on Dallas, Fort Worth, and the other cities in North Texas to establish a car crash task force to reduce our high death and injury rate on our roads. I understand that no one wants to be stopped and given a traffic ticket. And sometimes the cop is overly aggressive and the driver hasn’t been speeding or isn’t over the blood alcohol limit. But we have a shocking 80,000 car wrecks in Dallas and Tarrant Counties every year — 220 a day — that injure and take the lives of innocent drivers.

An illuminating article last week in the Houston Chronicle followed up on its previous investigation into that city’s worst auto crash rate in the country ranking. And the newspaper found that there enforcement of traffic laws had been reduced although officials knew that fatalities and personal injuries were rising. Now, in only two days in Houston, the officers on a new task force made over 400 traffic stops, wrote almost 300 tickets, and arrested 38 people — including 23 for DWI.

You never think you will be injured in a car accident. But after work yesterday, I drove a settlement check to a client who had major surgery after a young driver ran a light. I was saddened that the poor woman is still hobbling around behind a walker six weeks later. I took her to her bank since she has no car and is not able to work.

And I met a client this morning to advance her money to help pay for the surgery she is having later today after a drunk driver crashed into her car.

It is obvious that we are not doing enough to protect the public from bad drivers.

My guess is that DFW area police would have the same results here as in Houston since we know we have a major problem.  Tarrant County has 10 “No refusal weekends” throughout the year where blood draws to curtail DWIs are mandatory. This past Super Bowl weekend was one of them and the Stock Show weekends going on down University Drive from my building are also on the list.

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When is owner at fault for letting unsafe driver drive his car?

Drinking and Driving

People usually cannot be found to be responsible when someone else is negligent. But what happens when someone loans his vehicle to another person who he knew — or should have known — was not a safe or qualified driver? A car accident could result due to the negligent entrustment of the vehicle and in some cases, the owner can also be at fault. Giving a dangerous driver access to a potentially deadly 6,000 pound vehicle can be just as deadly as handing a child a loaded gun.

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