New Fort Worth Case: Supreme Court Caps Recovery for Death Caused By City Bus.
I filed a lawsuit last week against a school district whose loaded school bus driver crashed into my client’s vehicle.
The Texas Supreme Court just revisited the maximum damages that an injured person or the family of the deceased can receive in these cases.
The Texas Tort Claims Act places a $100,000 cap on the maximum damages if a local governmental vehicle (like a city or school bus) is involved.
The Supreme Court refused to raise that limit, even though different facts and statutes could have changed the results.
What happened in this case?
A Fort Worth woman was crossing the street downtown in 2010 when she was fatally struck by a Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus.
It was driven by a woman who worked for two independent contractors, not the local government agency.
A self-driving Uber struck and killed a pedestrian on Monday. It unfortunately won’t be the last time this happens.
The 49 year-old woman was walking her bike across the road in Tempe, Arizona when the SUV ran over her. A “driver” was behind the wheel of the SUV but the vehicle was set to the autonomous mode. The person sitting in the driver’s seat was supposed to safeguard against this type of collision but it clearly didn’t work.
This horrific accident highlights an important question: is this new technology ready to hit public streets?
I am a big fan of vehicle automation because it takes human error out of the equation. Self-driving cars may one day finally put an end to drunk, distracted, speeding, and tailgating car accidents. But those advantages are too far down the road at this point.
Our client was seriously injured riding his bicycle in Fort Worth several weeks ago. The police officer was not able to get his side of the story as he lost consciousness and did not awake until he was in the ER where he spent the next four days so the police report blames him.
To combat this error, I had a staff member immediately take our client to the pound so we could secure his bike. I took it to my bike shop and the head mechanic confirmed that my client had been rear ended, not hit as he cut across a busy road as the other driver told the police. I got a written report that the only part of the bike that was damaged was the rear wheel which I emailed to the insurance adjuster with color photos and what the police report should have stated. Today my client gave the driver’s insurance company a statement with my assistance. I am going to file suit if the company does not accept liability by Monday and pay its driver’s entire insurance policy limit.
On a similar note, we were hired today to represent a man who was crossing the street earlier this week when he was run over.
These two cases are reminders of how dangerous North Texas roads are for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. Last year, 65 people cyclists, 496 motorcyclists, and 678 pedestrians tragically died in collisions with vehicles, up a huge 21% from the previous year. I know this all too well, having represented thousands of injured people including those riding bikes.
I’ve spent more time on my bicycle this year, riding 75 miles on Sunday, and ran on streets for years when I was training to run many marathons. I ride and used to run on the Trinity Trail and off road as much as possible and encourage others to do so. Here’s a great link to Dallas-Fort Worth trails and roads that cyclists and pedestrians can more safely ride and walk on.
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.
Third Involving GirlIs On Tuesday. Why So Many?
This week I was in court finalizing two cases where small children were hit by big vehicles. And I will be in court on Tuesday where the young front seat passenger was seriously injured when her driver started ingesting drugs and crashed into the concrete median.
What in the world is going out there?
Fortunately all three young ladies have recovered from their injuries. I don’t know why we have so many pedestrian injuries. But a lot of good questions were asked by the parents about the legal process so I wanted to discuss how the personal injury case of a child differs from an adult’s.
For an example, today’s hearing involved a two year old who was walking next to her mother holding her hand in a crosswalk next to I-20 last year. They had the “walk” sign. Suddenly a young woman ran into them with her SUV. Then after apologizing, the woman fled the scene and could not be found.
I went to the scene and located several eyewitnesses. I then tracked down the driver and made her admit fault. I worked with the mother to get her daughter the medical, dental, and psychological help she needed, paying for some of this treatment up front so the mother didn’t have to. She was also badly injured and I assisted her in every way possible with her case.
I later negotiated with several adjusters and attorneys and collected the entire insurance limits from three different policies for both the mother and her daughter. To put more money into the four year old’s recovery, I reduced my attorney’s fee, waived expenses, slashed medical bills, and shopped for the best annuity plan which will allow the girl to attend college. The mother was thrilled — her very kind review is here.
Wednesday’s case successfully resolved the case where a seven year old girl was crashed into by a truck driver who refused to stop for her school bus on the side of the road with its red lights flashing. She broke her leg and required surgery. I again maxed out the driver’s large liability insurance policy, reduced my client’s medical bills, cut my fees, didn’t charge expenses, and set up a favorable annuity for her college tuition. I also made the driver’s insurance company pay a large sum for the emotional distress of the girl’s brother who was standing next to her and could have also been hit. My client was also very happy with the outcome.
Latest Fort Worth crash a shocking reminder of danger.
On Sunday morning several young women who had been celebrating a birthday in the Fort Worth Stockyards were walking back to their car near this iconic scene. But a truck speeding on North Main at 25th Street ran into Amber Underwood and Brooklyn Wammack and almost hit another woman.
The high-speed collision sent the two friends flying into the air, knocked them unconscious, and seriously injured them. The driver fled the scene — of course.
The Fort Worth Police Department has just asked the public to contact them to identity the hit-and-run driver of a 1998-2000 Ford 150 crew cab truck that is black on the top and bottom and tan through the center and has a missing headlight and a paper license tag in the back. There can’t be many trucks like that here. Call 817-392-4891 if you have any information.Amber Underwood photograph courtesy of WFAA
I hope this criminal is found, sentenced to a lengthy jail term in a criminal court, and a judgment is taken against him or her in a civil court to pay the victims’ damages.
My wishes for a speedy recovery go out to the two young women.
It is ridiculously dangerous to cross a street in America or even be outside of a vehicle. A recent poll showed that Texas was the third worst in the U.S. for pedestrian deaths. Over 5,000 people are killed after being hit by a car or truck each year with 550 Texans among them.
What can you do if you have been crashed into while you were a pedestrian or the other driver speeds away from a collision? Continue reading
My heart goes out to the North Side families of a 2-year-old girl who died yesterday and a 3 year-old boy who was killed last week when cars hit them.
The little girl was crossing the street in front of her house west of the Stockyards when a drunk driver hit her Sunday evening. The man has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.
The little boy was chasing his ball not far away in a neighborhood just off of Jacksboro Highway when he was struck. The driver didn’t even have a license. The collision happened in a cul-de-sac, so investigators said speed was not a factor. But even at a slow speed, a vehicle can seriously injure or kill a pedestrian.
In March, an 8-year-old girl on a scooter in front of her house died after being struck in east Fort Worth.
That’s a horrifying statistic: three children killed here in our streets in two months.
There seems to be no end in sight to pedestrian injury cases.
More than 5,000 pedestrians of all ages are struck and killed by vehicles each year. A whopping number of them (550) died in Texas in 2015.
I was just hired to represent a 7-year-old girl who was critically injured when she was hit by a truck in southwest Fort Worth several weeks ago.
And I’m going to court next week to finalize the case of a young girl seriously injured when she was crossing in front of a stopped school bus in north Fort Worth.
Like any personal injury lawyer, I have unfortunately represented many pedestrians and their families who have suffered injuries and deaths. Here are a few things I have learned about these devastating injury cases.
Children Are More Likely to Be Killed By a Car
Children remain a higher than average percentage of these pedestrian deaths until they are 15 years old. For children ages 5 to 9 years old, getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death.
We have the technology and the knowledge to bring pedestrian deaths to zero. Instead, the rate keeps rising.
In 2015, injury lawyers were surprised that pedestrian deaths had increased by the largest amount since national records were first recorded more than four decades ago. But 2016 has topped the previous record with 6,000 pedestrian deaths, another 11 percent spike. And no doubt, this year’s number will be even higher.
What is responsible for this record number of deaths? I’m sure you guessed correctly: texting.
But not just texting drivers. Texting walkers.
Everywhere you look, people’s eyes are glued to their phones, whether they are walking, biking, running, pushing baby strollers, and of course driving.
The phone-obsessed are oblivious to danger. We saw that firsthand last week when a texting driver killed 13 members of a church choir when his pickup truck collided with the charter van. If there were ever a case that should get our state legislature to outlaw texting while driving, this is it.
On Tuesday, a young woman plunged 60 feet from a bridge in Northern California and barely survived after taking a selfie.
People are so focused on the phone rather the risks around them that they are just accidents waiting to happen.
Mike Micallef was struck by an SUV near Reata, the excellent restaurant in downtown Fort Worth restaurant that he owns. He was standing on the sidewalk with coworkers at the corner of Throckmorton and Sixth Streets at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. Suddenly, a car travelling in the wrong direction hit the SUV, which caused it to jump the curb and almost crush the entire group.
Mike averted a disaster by heroically pushing the others out of the way before he was hit. He sustained a fractured skull, a crushed vertebra, and other serious injuries.
In this sweet photo he posted to his Facebook page, you can see the look of relief on his and his daughter’s face. I’ve seen seen that look before in my 36 years as an auto accident lawyer here in Fort Worth. But Mike should not be in the hospital. Continue reading