Our roads should be safer since fewer people are driving during the pandemic. But wrongful death numbers from car and truck wrecks have skyrocketed here. North Texas just endured another tragic weekend with six fatality wrecks reported. Most were caused by hit-and-run drivers. And we have not even gotten to the Thanksgiving-New Years holiday period when alcohol-fueled collisions skyrocket every year.
North Fort WorthA man was crossing the street at Sylvania Street and 28th Street when a Sports Utility Vehicle ran the red light Friday at 11:30 o'clock p.m. and struck him. That driver and another SUV driver hit-and-ran.
North DallasA 58-year-old woman was struck and killed in the 9200 block of Forest Lane in Lake Highlands Saturday night around 10:30 o'clock p.m. The driver of a large white vehicle hit-and ran.
East Fort WorthA woman was in a car accident and was lying in State Highway 121 in east Fort Worth Saturday when several vehicles ran over her and kept driving.
South DallasA man and woman on a motorcycle were involved in a collision on Interstate 45, then tumbled down an embankment. He died in a hospital and the passenger is reported as being in a critical condition. The other vehicle left the scene.
West Fort WorthA 19-year-old man lost his life in the 7200 block of Camp Bowie Boulevard when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a metal pole early Friday morning. It is not clear if other vehicles were involved.
Kaufman CountyA go-kart packed with six kids ranging from age 7 to 12 was hit by a Sports Utility Vehicle at an intersection, causing two of the children to lose their lives. Four other children were seriously injured. The photograph above was posted by the local fire department. It is not clear why the go-kart was driving on a road, why so many kids were on it, or how the collision happened. These stories are devastating. We wish to extend our condolences and prayers to the families of the deceased and the injured.
What is a wrongful death claim?Texas law defines a wrongful death as one that results from the "wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default" of another. It is a civil (not criminal) action that can arise after a vehicle collision. The sudden end of a person's life is often the worst experience their spouse and family can go through. There is no sum of money or punishment that can lessen the pain. The civil justice system allows the survivors to file a lawsuit or make an insurance claim to recoup their damages. However there are many legal, financial, medical, religious, and emotional issues that need to be dealt with.
Damages that are availableTexas law allows certain family members and heirs to recover damages they or the decedent incurred. They include the following:
- Physical pain and emotional distress;
- Medical and funeral bills;
- Loss of wages and job benefits;
- Loss of support, love, maintenance, society, and advice; and
- Loss of inheritance
Amount of money that can be paidUsually the at-fault driver has purchased the standard liability insurance policy which caps the payment to one person at $30,000.00. In a clear liability case, the at-fault driver's company will extend that amount and the services of a car accident lawyer are not needed. We have provided our services on a pro bono (at no charge) basis to help families with questions in this situation. Sometimes there are legal issues including the
- involvement of other drivers,
- liability of employers if they were on the job,
- existence of other insurance policies or assets, and
- payment of hospital, health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and other liens.
Why do we have so many wrongful death collisions here?Texas is always ranked as one of the most dangerous places to drive. We have the number one ranking for fatalities on our highways. Texas just passed a gruesome milestone last week. Every day for the last 20 years, there has been at least one traffic fatality on our roads. And six Texas cities rank in the top 13 in the U.S. for the most traffic fatalities. The list is headed by Dallas.
We can help youBerenson Injury Law has represented families in wrongful death cases for over 40 years. If you have any questions, call us at 817-885-8000 (toll-free at 1-885-801-8585) or click on this link to chat with us. Related posts: Texas car accident deaths hit new record Latest hit-and-run in DFW heartbreaking
Here's another thing out of control: Texas car accident deathsWe reached a sad new milestone yesterday: one or more Texas car accident deaths have happened every day for the past 20 years. During that time, over 70,000 innocent lives have been taken due to fatal collisions. That would almost fill up the AT&T Stadium for a Cowboys game last year. We are #1 in the country in this dismal statistic, even though California has 10 million more people. The head of the Texas Transportation Commission said that 90% of Texas car accident deaths were preventable. But she noted that we were "numb" to the carnage and took it for granted. That should not be happening. To combat this problem, the Texas Department of Transportation has started a campaign to #EndTheStreakTx. It has encouraged a grassroots movement to stop or at least curb the number of Texas car accident deaths. If you don't think this is a serious issue, consider what just happened here.
Seven Die in Fort Worth car wrecks -- just on Friday morningTraffic on our North Texas roads is back to normal, so bad drivers have returned with a vengeance. Here we all are, stuck in the middle of a grim pandemic with a lot of people still unemployed and staying home. But some can't even obey basic traffic laws designed to keep us all safe. Friday morning was an especially deadly time to be driving. There were four separate Fort Worth speeding accidents over a three hour period that killed seven people. That is shocking. We wanted to focus on one of these crashes that was especially devastating. Meg and Ben Arbour, who were both 39, were almost back to their home in far south Fort Worth when two cars racing on West Risinger Road near Hulen crashed into them. One of the racers then hit a wall and flipped over. The Arbours and that driver, who was 19, died at the scene. The Arbours were a wonderful couple. Graduates of Texas A&M University, they were very involved with their church and Christian causes. Ben held a Ph.D. degree from the University of Bristol in England, worked at Sewell Lexus, and was a professor of philosophy at Weatherford College. And to make this story even more heart-breaking, they were the parents of four beautiful children who range in age from 10 to 16. We extend our sincere condolences to their children and family. May God bless, comfort and sustain you. We made a donation to their GoFundMe account and ask others to consider doing so. The hit-and-run driver is at large. Hit-and-runs are another big problem here in North Texas that must be stopped by criminal and civil means. We support the Fort Worth Police Department's effort to to find this killer and file vehicular manslaughter charges immediately. Anyone who has knowledge of his identity should call them at 817-393-4885. Further, area residents have started an online petition to stop street racing on Risinger Road. They demand more four-way stops, stop lights, flashing lights, lit pedestrian crossings, speed bumps, and police patrols. Please sign and share it. We call on the city to make these necessary changes so that we don't have any more street-racing crashes there -- or anywhere else.
Speeding is a huge problem on Texas roadsThe two top causes of Texas car accident deaths involve speeding. Our state suffered almost 48,000 vehicle wrecks caused by speeding in 2019. That's 130 a day. READ: Car crash epidemic has to be stopped It is obvious that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the chance that it will cause serious injury or death. Due to their extreme force, speeding drivers cause up to 30% of all fatalities in Texas. And in the above tragedy, street racers often drive at speeds up to 100 miles an hour -- in residential zones with 35 to 40 mile per hour limits. And you see reckless drivers screaming by cars which are already doing 70 on our interstates. We have just been hired on a case where a man was passed by two street racing vehicles who must have been going over 100 miles and was in a major crash. While street racing is illegal, it is hard to stop. The criminal justice system attempts to do so by assessing long jail terms for second degree felonies and huge fines. The civil justice system, which is our side of the docket, also can exact a substantial punishment with substantial verdicts awarded. But we have way too many drivers who seem to think they are trying to win a race at the Texas Motor Speedway. By exceeding the speed limit, often while looking at their cell phone or being inebriated or high, they turn their vehicles into deadly weapons. The resulting collision is violent and almost guaranteed to lead to serious injuries or even deaths.
How a personal injury lawyer proves speeding to win your caseSpeeding is the number one cause of wrecks. Sometimes it is obvious or the at-fault driver admits he was going too fast. But at other times, it can be difficult to prove. Police officers rarely, if ever, personally witness a crash. When they arrive at the scene, hopefully they can determine that the other driver's negligence caused the collision and issue a citation. However, there is no law in Texas that prescribes speed limits. Instead, the Transportation Code merely discusses maximum speed requirements in Section 545.351. And subpart (b) weakly states the obvious: the operator shall control the speed of their vehicle as necessary to avoid a collision and to use due care. This allows a reckless driver a lot of wiggle room in court about whether their speed was reasonable. Here is a truck from a recent crash that killed one person and seriously injured our client and several others. We worked the case immediately - the two photos below are from the scene about 100 miles from Fort Worth - and obtained the full insurance company policy limit ($100,000 with our client netting $62,500). We are now going to file suit and attempt to get additional compensation.
Other ways to determine speedThe injury attorney and accident reconstruction expert, depending on the case, can use a combination of the following:
- interviews with drivers and eyewitnesses;
- photographs of the vehicles and analysis by an expert;
- photographs of the scene, including skid marks, yaw marks, and crash debris patterns;
- dash cam and area surveillance videos;
- downloads of the vehicle event data recorders;
- speed/reaction/stopping distance calculations; and
- aerial photography
Texas needs to increase law enforcement to save livesMost states have cracked down on speeders. We need to do more. Most other states heavily rely on points systems and quickly suspend and revoke driver's licenses for speeding offenses. We don't. Most other states have more police officers and cameras recording speed. We need more. According to a shocking study by Wallet Hub, these are the states and the District of Columbia ranked from strictest in law enforcement for reckless and speeding drivers (Delaware) to the least strict (care to guess?).
|Overall Rank (1=Strictest)||State||Overall Score||Reckless Penalties Rank||Speeding Enforcement Rank|
|T - 3||Arizona||17.00||7||2|
|T - 3||New Mexico||17.00||7||2|
|T - 8||Illinois||14.00||16||4|
|T - 8||Virginia||14.00||25||1|
|T - 8||Alabama||14.00||7||19|
|T - 8||Washington||14.00||12||8|
|T - 13||West Virginia||12.50||5||36|
|T - 13||Maryland||12.50||25||5|
|T - 17||Wyoming||11.00||11||32|
|T - 17||Vermont||11.00||12||29|
|T - 17||Georgia||11.00||25||17|
|T - 20||District Of Columbia||10.50||34||11|
|T - 20||New York||10.50||41||5|
|T - 20||Florida||10.50||34||11|
|T - 20||Rhode Island||10.50||25||19|
|T - 24||Hawaii||10.00||25||23|
|T - 24||Alaska||10.00||16||29|
|T - 24||Louisiana||10.00||40||11|
|T - 24||Maine||10.00||16||29|
|T - 29||Missouri||8.50||41||19|
|T - 29||Tennessee||8.50||41||19|
|T - 29||Pennsylvania||8.50||45||11|
|T - 29||South Dakota||8.50||16||40|
|T - 29||Utah||8.50||25||32|
|T - 34||Indiana||8.00||41||23|
|T - 34||Connecticut||8.00||25||36|
|T - 34||Minnesota||8.00||25||36|
|T - 34||Nevada||8.00||22||40|
|T - 34||North Dakota||8.00||22||40|
|T - 39||Massachusetts||7.00||34||36|
|T - 39||New Hampshire||7.00||16||49|
|T - 39||Michigan||7.00||16||49|
|T - 39||Wisconsin||7.00||45||23|
|T - 43||Kentucky||6.50||45||26|
|T - 43||Montana||6.50||33||45|
|T - 43||Ohio||6.50||45||26|
|T - 43||South Carolina||6.50||45||26|
|T - 47||Nebraska||6.00||34||45|
|T - 47||New Jersey||6.00||34||45|
|T - 49||Oklahoma||5.50||34||48|
|T - 49||Mississippi||5.50||45||32|
Most other states heavily fine speeders. We don't. The maximum ticket in Texas is about $300.00 but in Oregon, it is $6,250.00. Mr. Berenson related that he and his wife were traveling in Oregon years ago and were pulled over. The officer announced that the ticket was going to cost them $750.00. He nicely let them off with a warning. Fort Worth has a good aspirational goal, but we need solid results. Fort Worth adopts Vision Zero to reduce Fort Worth car crash deaths
The above measures would help reduce Texas car accident deaths. We wanted to publicize this urgent cause. One life lost is one too many.
Burleson tragedy is the latest in a surge of fatal hit-and-runsA driver hit a car on Monday night in Burleson, then fled the scene. The life of Tre Allison, a popular 16-year-old, was taken away. He was a top student at Burleson High School, a devout Christian, and found time to be start on its football, basketball, and track teams. Monday had been an exciting day for the Burleson football team. It was the first day that the quarantined players had been able to practice with their new football coach, the former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. On Wednesday night, a huge crowd of over 1,000 people held an emotional candle light vigil at the football stadium to remember Tre. A man named Eric Padilla was caught and charged with vehicular manslaughter.
A Gofundme page has been set up. We made a donation and hope readers of this blog will do so as well.
We send our prayers and condolences to the Allison family.
Other recent hit-and-runs in our area
- On Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the afternoon, a man who was driving while intoxicated hit a woman walking on a sidewalk in Dallas. The drunk driver crashed into some trees then ran away. He was later caught.
- Last week, a pickup driver hit a woman in Fort Worth at the intersection of North Main Street and 14th Street and fled the scene. She is reported as being in critical condition. Please contact the Fort Worth Police Department if you know the owner or driver of a low-riding 2005 - 2007 dark grey Chevrolet Silverado. It will have front vehicle damage, cat eye headlights, and special edition Texas rims.
- Two weeks ago, a young woman who was working inside a hotel died after a reckless teenager crashed his stolen truck into the side of the building, then took off. He was apprehended.
- A 7-year-old boy was killed as he played in front of his house in Fort Worth in April.
Hit-and-runs can be a double disaster
In the typical car or truck crash, the at-fault driver's insurance company pays the victims' medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. This can be a contentious and stressful process, so the services of a good personal injury lawyer are needed. But when the liable driver takes off, what happens? It can be difficult, if not impossible, to locate them. Berenson Injury Law gets information from the victim and passengers, eyewitnesses, police officers, dash cam video, and traffic and business cameras to track down license plate and vehicle information. We use several proprietary data bases and other resources. We try to find the driver and force their insurance company to pay the maximum damages available or we file a lawsuit, and sometimes file suit immediately depending on the facts. If we cannot locate the driver, we pursue a claim with our client's uninsured motorists benefits. Many people have purchased this valuable coverage and do not remember buying it. We are sometimes able to get this money for our clients even when they did not buy this coverage. However one of the first things that we do when we are hired is to demand that our clients' liability insurance company produce the legally required rejection of coverage. If and when the company fails to do that, we demand payment for our clients. We just did this this week and made our clients a lot more money on their underinsured motorist policy after we had already obtained the maximum available of $30,000.00 from the at-fault driver's company for one and a good recovery for her daughter. The mother had already written this 5-star review on Google before we told her this new good news:
"The staff and Mr. Berenson were awesome! They actually worked my case quicker than expected and I received money from my accident. I appreciate Mr. Berenson's prompt response to any and all questions. Best lawyer experience I have ever had!"We also file on personal injury protection insurance policies and work with our clients' health insurance coverage. The at-fault driver's insurance company, contrary to popular opinion, does not pay for someone's ambulance, hospital, and doctor visits up-front. So we find good medical professionals and work with them. We also get their medical bills covered so our clients do not have to pay for these before a good settlement or jury verdict can be obtained.
Later, we reduce outstanding medical bills so our clients receive even more money.
What causes a driver to hit-and-run?We see a variety of reasons.
- Sometimes the driver is intoxicated.
- Other times they are unlicensed or have a suspended license.
- Or they have no insurance --or they do have insurance and don't want a claim being filed so their rates go up.
- Or they have previous crashes or criminal convictions.
- They may even have stolen the vehicle.
Texas Law Regarding Hit-and-Run CrashesThe law requires a driver to stop, provide identification, and render aid after being involved in a vehicle collision. That is also common courtesy - something our country sorely needs. If a driver flees and an injury or death occurs, he or she can be charged with a third degree felony if there is a serious injury or second degree felony if there is not. The punishment range for a third degree felony is two to ten years in a state penitentiary and can also include a $10,000.00 fine. Even if there is only property damage, the driver is required to stop and identify themselves to the driver or leave them a note if the vehicle is unoccupied. They can be arrested for a Class B misdemeanor if they do not and fined up to $500.00 and have to serve up to six months in a county jail.
We can help youWe certainly hope that you have not been in any type of automobile or truck wreck, but they are fairly common in Texas. There is no reason why we should have almost 600,000 collisions a year. Bill Berenson has aggressively represented thousands of victims of collisions over the past 40 years. He sees that car accidents happen every day across the state and knows that almost all could have easily been prevented. He wants to help change this terrible statistic: Texas has not had one day without someone dying on our highways for 20 years. His top-rated personal injury law firm wants to raise awareness of these sometimes catastrophic events so that drivers will be more careful and stop after causing a crash. Please contact us online or at 1-888-801-8585 if we can be of assistance or you have any questions.
We are living through unprecedented chaos. Violent protests against racism and injustice coupled with the grim pandemic have rocked our country. Our hearts go out to everyone who is hurting and frightened, especially in the minority communities that are the disproportionately the victims of these two disastrous plagues that have beset the world. So the last thing we needed to see happen this weekend was this horrific crash that took the life of a woman of color. A 16-year-old male stole a truck and was driving recklessly in a parking lot in north Fort Worth when his truck hit a car. He kept driving and crashed the truck into the wall of the HomeTowne Suites. An employee who was inside a room named Maria Mancha tragically died. The teen hit-and-ran, was chased to a nearby hotel, and was arrested. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Ms. Mancha. You can assume the teenager has no liability insurance or assets. What causes a crash case like this and what can you do if it happens to you?
Building owners can occasionally be found liable if they knew there were prior safety issues.
Vehicle-Into-Building Crash CausesThey are such a big problem that ABC News reported on this serious topic. The videos on this clip are frightening. There are 20,000 vehicle-into-building crashes every year in our country -- about 60 a day -- that take the lives of 500 people and injure 4,000 others. Research shows that about half are caused by operator error, usually pressing the wrong pedal by mistake. But there are other causes including driving while intoxicated and still others that can't be explained, like the one on Sunday. These crashes can happen in different settings. Often a driver is arriving at or leaving a building or residence. Others happen when structures are located on busy roads, at T-shaped intersections, or curves in a road and a speeding driver loses control of their vehicle.
Liability for injuries where vehicle crashes into a building or homeThere are various factors that affect the amount of money a victim can receive. The key to all personal injury cases is liability. An immediate investigation is essential. The police and witnesses need to be contacted, photographs and measurements taken, and critical evidence obtained. Intentional acts are excluded under liability insurance policies and medical emergencies, e.g. a diabetic black-out, or poor weather conditions, e.g. ice, can be too.
Consult With An Experienced Lawyer After A Serious CrashBill Berenson has represented the victims in similar crashes over the last 40 years. Some of his clients have been sitting or sleeping inside their homes, businesses, stores, and restaurants when they were hit by vehicles. Others have been standing outside of buildings or simply walking down a sidewalk or street. Several months ago Mr. Berenson successfully resolved a case for a man asleep in his house in Fort Worth when the truck pictured above crashed into it. The total recovered was $102,500.00, the full insurance policies from all available sources. (The net amount received by his client was $53,024.00.) Our client was extremely happy and wrote this review on Google:
"Excellent staff, they worked very hard on our case. We are so lucky to have them on our side. Mr. Berenson is the best attorney you can hire.
I am very happy with results of my case. I will recommend this attorney to anyone who needs an attorney who will fight for you.
Thank you very much."Berenson Injury Law has been open for every day during the pandemic and we are working harder than ever. We can speak with you on the phone, by text or email, or another remote means, respecting social distance rules. Our top-rated personal injury law firm has helped the victims of car accidents for more than 40 years. We know how to investigate car accidents and we fight to get our clients the compensation they deserve. If we can help you, please contact our office by calling 1-885-801-8585 or by clicking on this link.
Tragic Reminder: Dallas Hit and Run Driver Sentenced on Monday
We here in Dallas-Fort Worth have some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S. This weekend, the news media reported three deadly crashes from Friday night through Saturday night which highlight the constant dangers from bad drivers: 1. East Fort Worth: Two children, six years and 11-months-old, tragically lost their lives Saturday night on East Loop 820 at Craig Street when a speeding pickup truck hydroplaned on the highway and hit their car. 2. South Dallas: A man driving while intoxicated failed to yield the right of way and crashed into another car on East Ledbetter Drive on Saturday at midnight, taking the life of his 23-year-old passenger. The driver was arrested for intoxication manslaughter. 3. East Dallas: A woman walking on Garland Road near East Northwest Highway was struck and killed by a driver who hit-and-ran on Friday night. The driver was found only because her license plate fell off at impact. Fatal car and truck wrecks are constant here. In Dallas on Wednesday night, a speeding driver in a Porsche 911 sports car lost control, hit another car, and flew off the ramp. He and his passenger flipped and landed below on Central Expressway, killing both. Today, former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent will testify in the case filed against the bar accused of over-serving him before he was in a crash that killed his teammate and best friend. We at Berenson Injury Law send our sincerest condolences to the families.
The only thing worse than being in a car wreck is seeing the other driver take off. But this happens often -- over 700,000 times each year in our country. In your shock, pain, and anger, you will not know what to do. This post will help you be ready if, God forbid, this happens to you - like it did to our clients injured in this photograph. The latest hit and run in North Texas happened Wednesday night in Cleburne where a Dodge pickup truck was driving on the wrong side of the highway and hit a 26-year-old man head-on, tragically killing him. Then the truck driver ran away. Liquor bottles were found inside the truck. Police found him walking down the road the next morning and arrested him for failing to stop and render aid, driving a stolen vehicle, and driving with a suspended license. The criminal, who had a very long record including DWIs, never had the decency to call 911 which might have saved the man's life. I hate to read stories like this. Criminals who kill or injure innocent people should be punished and made to repay the damage they cause. This mayhem has got to stop.
Hit and Run Crash LawsTexas like all states regulates and punishes hit and run drivers. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 requires drivers involved with a collision that causes injury or death to
- Stop their vehicle as close to the collision site as possible without blocking traffic;
- Remain at the scene;
- Exchange certain information; and
- Wait for the police to arrive.
A driver crashed into a motorcyclist in Bedford several weeks ago, then the driver sped away in broad daylight. Another hit-and-run driver almost got away with it. Fortunately police received tips based on this security video of the horrific accident and arrested a 22 year-old man.
Unfortunately this happens all too often here in Dallas Fort Worth. But you shouldn't be left holding the bag. I recently settled two of these cases. A mother and her child were struck by an SUV as they crossed the street and were seriously injured but the driver fled. I was able to obtain all available insurance policies for them. In another, a man was hit walking into a San Antonio restaurant when another young woman hit him with her SUV and took off. Witnesses tracked her down and I made her insurance company pay him a large amount of money. I'm about to file suit against an Uber driver's insurance company after he was crashed into in Fort Worth and that driver fled. Here are some tips on how you can recover your damages.