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Hit and Run

Texas pedestrian injuries and deaths have reached all-time highs. Sunday morning’s tragedy on Interstate 20 in Fort Worth was just the latest. Two young women tragically lost their lives and a man was injured after they were in a collision at 2:30 a.m. near McCart Avenue. The three had started to walk on the right shoulder to get assistance when they were crashed into. The police identified the victims as Isabel Vasquez, 20, and Allison Zarate, 12. We extend our sincere condolences to the families and have made a donation to their GoFundMe account.

This is probably the best walking photograph of all time. Maybe some of us Baby Boomers have this etched into our brains as we have been trying to get some exercise during the unending pandemic. But just crossing the street should not be the cause of a pedestrian injury. Unfortunately, this is more common every year. In 2019, 668 Texans and 6,227 Americans lost their lives when they were on foot, the highest numbers in three decades. One would have been too many. Read: Pedestrian deaths in Texas alarming Two weeks ago in east Fort Worth, a woman crossing the street was killed and a man was critically injured when a SUV ran a red light. Stories like this where walkers and cyclists are hit by vehicles should not become routine.

What has caused the pedestrian injury spike?

  1. Cell phones: it seems like half of the people around you when you drive are talking on their phones and even texting while driving. Distracting driving is a major reason for the elevated number of all collisions.
  2. Larger vehicles: over one-half of new purchases are for pickup trucks and SUVs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They are so much larger with such bigger engines that they are guaranteed to inflict worse injuries on a person not protected by a vehicle. That is despite new-fangled safety enhancements like back-up cameras and motion detectors, because many drivers can't keep their eyes on the road with all the distractions. And their cell phones.
  3. Bad drivers: coupled with the above, if you add rampant speeding, reckless driving, and intoxication, a pedestrian injury is far more likely.
  4. Poor planning and infrastructure: these include insufficient or nonexistent walking trails and dedicated bike/walking lanes, badly designed cross walks, poorly timed crossing signals and traffic lights, and insufficient public transportation.
  5. Pedestrian error: Of course, sometimes the person who is walking or cycling is at fault. They may be in the road. Or they may have failed to abide by right of way laws contained in the Texas Transportation Code, Section 522. This problem is compounded if they were distracted by music on headphones and did not hear oncoming vehicles, were zoned out, and were reading and even texting while walking. This man walking his dog is next to a paved path to his left.

How to win a pedestrian vs. vehicle case

In a motor vehicle collision collision, the key is establishing which person had the right of way. A fast and thorough investigation is required to prove liability. Photographs and video, diagrams, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other evidence can make or break the case. Texas uses the modified comparative negligence standard. That compares the liability of all parties involved and divides the damages accordingly. More than one person can be found to be at fault by a jury. For example, if the injured pedestrian was not to blame, the vehicle driver will be found to be 100% at fault and all damages will be paid to the victim. However, if it is shown that the person walking was 30% to blame, they lose that amount of the proceeds, and if they are 51% liable, they recover nothing.
There are complicating factors that need to be analyzed including the timing of traffic lights and existence of crosswalks, other vehicles, poor weather, and obstructions to vision.
These cases often have to go to court to be successfully resolved. If there was a wrongful death, litigation is essential unless the insurance companies agree to tender all available proceeds. We just resolved the case for a man seriously injured as he was walking beside an interstate late at night for maximum value. More information about how to proceed can be found here.

How to avoid a pedestrian injury

You never think a car or truck is going to hit you as you are walking until it does. Here are some things you must do to prevent this from happening:
  • Maintain constant vigilance and walk defensively;
  • Wear high visible clothes, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours when drivers are dashing to and from work;
  • Don't wear headphones in both ears - or at all;
  • Don't run stop signs and lights if you are cycling; and
  • Don't walk and read your cell phone

Cases we are handling 

Our law firm just filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was seriously injured when his truck was rear-ended by an extremely intoxicated driver. That caused his truck to flip over and land on a man who was working outside, tragically taking his life. We just settled a major case for a man seriously injured as he walked next to an interstate highway late at night. We are representing a young man struck as he crossed the street to catch his school bus, a woman paralyzed after she was hit by a vehicle in north Fort Worth, and several other pedestrians. We have handled pedestrian and bicyclist injury cases over the past 40 years.

Berenson Injury Law can help you

Mr. Berenson runs, walks, and cycles on our roads and understands the dangers involved. He strongly recommends that Fort Worth residents use the wonderful Trinity Trail network. Here is a photo where it goes by his building for the last 37 years (his firm's offices can be seen near the top).
Other cities in North Texas also have good options including the White Rock Lake trails in Dallas, River Legacy Park in Arlington, and other off-road paths where you are guaranteed to be safer. Mr. Berenson is involved in groups working to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists by Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here to chat if you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle collision. We will answer all of your questions and tell you what your best legal options are at no charge for the first consultation.
Please stay safe out there during these difficult times.

Late Saturday night a man struck an Alvarado woman with his vehicle in the 3300 block of Interstate 35 in Burleson.  She tragically suffered fatal injuries. The driver failed field sobriety tests and was charged with intoxicated manslaughter with a vehicle, according to news sources. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased victim and hope that the driver gets the maximum punishment allowed by Texas law.

Fatal Driving While Intoxicated Crashes in North Texas are a serious problem

A shocking 10,000 Texans lost their lives in DWI collisions in Texas from 2010 to 2017. This number increases each year. About 100 of the victims each year live in the DFW area.
North Texas is at the epicenter of the driving while intoxicated epidemic. Dallas County has almost the highest number of DWI crashes in Texas, not far behind Harris County (Houston) with its much greater population. This has to stop. And Saturday night's tragedy happened near the site of the notorious "Affluenza Teen" crash in 2013 that took the lives of four people and horrifically paralyzed a young man whom this firm represented. We understand that due to the ruinous pandemic and then the wave of protests against our country's sinister racial injustice, DWIs probably seem insignificant by comparison. But we cannot afford to overlook them. Take a look at these horrible statistics and information from the worthwhile organization that combats this deadly problem, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to learn more about this deadly problem that is entirely preventable.

We can help you

Berenson Injury Law has handled many wrongful death and driving while intoxicated collision cases over the past 40 years.
We are also proud to support Mothers Against Drunk Drivers in its worthy goal of No More Victims. Please contact us by calling 1-888-801-8585 or by clicking here if you have any questions about any motor vehicle collision. We only handle these cases. Here are some of the hundreds of 5-star reviews that our clients have written in case you are researching the best Fort Worth car accident lawyer to help you with your collision case.
We posted this article to provide access to news-worthy stories and information that may be of interest to people who visit this website, but no legal relationship is formed until a contract is signed for legal representation.

You need to be extra careful on the roads starting today

We are all glad that Governor Abbott has relaxed the quarantine and that many people are returning to jobs, stores, and restaurants. But we Texans have not driven much for the past few months, are antsy, and maybe even a little rusty. There were many more vehicles on the road this morning as Mr. Berenson drove to the office and saw many vehicles driving way too fast -- almost like they wanted to be on the track of the Texas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately, we can unfortunately expect an increase in car and truck wrecks in the coming weeks. Statistics from Austin were just revealed that show that serious injuries from vehicle crashes actually increased during the last two months when driving was curtailed. So we wanted to give you ways to keep safe while driving to prevent you from being the victim of a Fort Worth car accident.

Health InsuranceHere we are in the middle of a terrifying global epidemic. The death rate is spiraling. We have been ordered to stay home, for the most part. Yes, it's frustrating. But some people somehow continue to drive around like normal. It's not just that they are probably spreading the coronavirus. They keep speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and texting while driving -- and causing car and truck wrecks, engaging in road rage, and hitting pedestrians. So even though many less people are allowed to be driving on DFW roads, personal injuries and wrongful deaths continue to happen. And we wonder if the quarantine is making some people drive even more recklessly than usual, as if nothing had changed. For example, here are just a few of the crashes that happened here in the past week:

As you walk in Fort Worth, Dallas, or another city in North Texas, you had better be extra careful. The number of pedestrian deaths in Texas has soared according to a new study. A shocking 619 Texans who were on foot perished last year. This is an all-time record. The latest victim died on Wednesday evening in north Fort Worth as she crossed a street. This post explains what families of the deceased should do if, God forbid, the unthinkable happens to someone they love.
I thought to write about this topic as I attended our monthly meeting yesterday morning of the National Safety Council's Road Safety Task Force. We help implement state and local government actions which attempt to curb pedestrian and vehicle deaths in the Fort Worth area. Then I attended the education seminar at the annual convention of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (day two is today). It was agreed by government planners and accident lawyers alike that pedestrian deaths in Texas are at epidemic levels.

It was exciting that school began last week but every year, a lot of people forget how much potential danger lurks. That's because roads are more congested in school areas and people won't put down their cell phones, even as kids are darting across the street. School buses pick up and unload over one million kids in Texas. So the need to be hyper-vigilent as we drop children off or make our morning and afternoon drives has greatly increased. Here are some helpful tips that will help stop these preventable car accidents with children.

March may be rushing in like a lion today, but soon it will be spring and more people will be outside walking. Maybe you and your spouse or friend will head down the street getting some exercise. Or maybe you'll just be walking into the grocery store. Unfortunately, far too many people are being crashed into and seriously hurt. This post explains who is responsible if this should unfortunately happen to you or a family member, who pays for damages, and how a pedestrian hit by a car in Texas can win his case. These are often very serious injury or even deadly cases. And they happen a lot. Last year this number rose by another four percent to the highest in the past 28 years. That's shocking. This week, a driver hit a man standing on the side of the road in East Fort Worth, killing him, then fled and a drunk driver in the Houston area ran over a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

There are far too many people getting hit crossing the street in Texas. It has become dangerous to be outside of a vehicle. Pedestrian collisions are more common -- and deadlier -- all the time. 550 Texans tragically died and thousands were injured last year. And almost 6,000 pedestrians died in the United States in 2016, the highest number in 20 years. The failure to yield right-of-way to walkers can be catastrophic. You can ironically end your life trying to stay healthy.

What causes these crashes?

There are many reasons but in the last few years we see more caused by distracted driving and SUV's/pickups. 1. Cell phones: trips to emergency rooms blamed on distracted driving have jumped a whopping 83 percent to almost 18,000 since the iPhone was introduced in 2007.  It seems like everyone is driving while talking on the phone or texting. Government statistics show that about about 2/3 million drivers are using their cellular devices while driving at any given moment. The head of the National Traffic Safety Administration called this a deadly epidemic. I'm sure this number is a lot higher because people don't want to admit that they they do this. Distracted driving is an accident just waiting to happen to someone crossing the street or walking through a parking lot.

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.
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