Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

imagesWant to see who can snap a selfie while driving the fastest? Or chase cartoon characters across Texas? OK, just download an application and put the pedal to the metal.

This is just another reason why there are so many auto and truck collisions here.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cited drivers using apps as a major factor in the biggest spike in traffic fatalities in a half century.

During the past 50 years, innovations have drastically improved car and roadway safety — thanks in part to the legal crusaders Clarence Ditlow, and Ralph Nader and their Center for Auto Safety that I blogged about yesterday. Seat belts, air bags, improved body design, increased corporate accountability — and yes, lawsuits — drove the steady decline in highway fatalities. Then everything changed.

2015 was previously named the worst year for traffic accidents in five decades. And it looks like 2016 will far outdo even that deadly year, based on the first 6 months. 17,775 people were killed in traffic accidents during the first half of 2016. This number does not include the July 4th, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and the Christmas holiday season, when alcohol related accidents skyrocket.

Texas leads the United States in the number of traffic deaths each year.

Is any one paying attention?

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460xEarly Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.

The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.

Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.

“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.

In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.

This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.

As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.

Why are insurance limits so low?

And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?

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The race car movie star Paul Walker died in a fiery crash in 2013 that devastated his fans. His friend and business associate — also a race car driver and the owner of a Porsche dealership – was driving a 2005 Porche Carrera GT. Both men died.

The super car, which sold for $450,000 and was powered by a giant V-10, 610-hp engine, was reportedly being driven at a speed of 80 to 90 miles per hour on a suburban street outside of Los Angeles. The driver lost control, hit a curb, the car spun, hit a tree, and erupted into flames.

A lawsuit filed by representatives of Paul’s 15-year-old daughter settled for $10 million.

However a second lawsuit against Porsche claiming that the car was defective and failed to protect its occupants lost in court.

Speed is by far the leading reasons collisions happen here in Texas. We were just hired to represent the victim of one of those crashes today. Last year, over 100,000 so-called accidents were caused by drivers driving excessively fast and failing to control their speeds.

But in addition to the Porsche driver’s recklessness, what was the cause of that — and far too many other — crashes?
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Berenson Injury Law has recovered $2.75 million on behalf of the wife, adult children, and mother of a man who died in a collision in Fort Worth on Valentines Day last year.

The man was driving to work early in the morning when his car collided with highway equipment.

After conducting a detailed investigation into what caused the collision and opening an estate in probate court, we filed a lawsuit.

An 18-year-old all-state pitcher at Paschal High School, Drew Medford, who was about to start college at TCU, tragically died early this morning on the new Chisholm Trail Parkway.  The news shocked his family and friends. But given that at least one Texan has died every day in a traffic crash for the past 15 years, the story wasn’t as surprising as you might think.

Traffic deaths increased last year by a whopping 7.7 percent, the largest percentage in 50 years.2015-12-30 Pics- Caldwell

This  photo was taken on I-35 in north Fort Worth after a man died and his passenger was severely injured while they were at a complete stop. I’m filing a lawsuit this week to help the passenger recover her tremendous damages. Our investigation has found that the 18 wheeler driver, who was only four feet eight inches tall, was exceeding the speed limit. Further, his truck had not been properly inspected or repaired. In addition, the commercial driver admitted that he was not paying attention to the vehicles on the road and he had just received a phone call before the crash.

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Another deadly crash in North Texas

Early on Sunday morning, the life of a beautiful 21-year-old woman who had just moved to Dallas was cut short on Central Expressway. She was a passenger in a car driven by her best friend when they were struck by a driver, possibly drunk.

After they got out on the median, an Audi hit the young woman. That driver fled the scene but police found the abandoned Audi and arrested another 21-year-old. Here’s the article from the Dallas Morning News about this tragic intoxication manslaughter crash.

What happens if the family of the deceased woman has to file a lawsuit against driver to recover the estate’s damages and she refuses to cooperate with her insurance company or her liability carrier claims that she is excluded from coverage based on a technicality?

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09XP-DRUNKDRIVING-blog427Far Too Many Repeat Offenders Are On Our Roads

16 year-old Joshua Hayden was driving home from the grocery store in Houston when a vehicle turned into his lane and crashed into his car head on. Thankfully the teen was not injured in the crash.

The man who hit him, Donald Middleton, ran into a convenience store and begged to be hidden from police. He had good cause to believe he would be arrested. He had been driving drunk — again.

dreamstime_xs_37408397Sister of Retired Supreme Court Justice Among the DWI Victims

This weekend’s mayhem left a deadly path on our roads. In just these six collisions, drunk drivers drove the wrong way and crashed head-on into other vehicles. These people were so drunk that some actually entered the highway in the wrong direction or veered over the center lane.

  • At 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, a car was travelling the wrong way on the Dallas North Tollway near I-635. A 20 year-old Lewisville woman crashed into two cars at Royal Lane, fled that scene, crashed into two more automobiles at Walnut Hill Lane, fled again, then hit another vehicle at Park Lane before police were finally able to stop her. In addition to arresting the wrong-way driver for DWI and fleeing the scene, police arrested one of the drivers she hit for DWI. Really?

Early Friday morning, a driver rear ended another car that had rolled over after striking a concrete barrier in Richardson. That driver was ejected from his vehicle on Central Expressway at Midpark and died. The driver who crashed into the stopped car was driving while intoxicated.

Also, on the way from Dallas back home to Fort Worth Saturday night, traffic came to a halt on Interstate 30. This morning, I read that a man driving while intoxicated hit a car near Beach Street, causing another vehicle to roll over, The driver of that car tragically died at the scene and her husband and three children were rushed to the hospital.

And driving to Dallas early that day, traffic was stopped by a major crash in Arlington. In Dallas, I passed another major collision. I passed sign after sign warning that police were arresting drivers for DWI’s, I assume due to the St. Patrick’s Day weekend drunkathon going on all over the Metroplex.

In addition, this morning’s Dallas Morning News reports that early Saturday morning, a Dallas police car that was blocking traffic on I-35 near Loop 812 was hit by a Lexus. Fortunately, no one was injured.

And on Saturday afternoon, a convoy of five buses taking Army boot camp graduates from Oklahoma to Fort Hood on Interstate 35 crashed. Again, it is fortunately that the injuries to eight of the graduates were only minor.

And who knows how many other collisions occurred this weekend here?
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car crash -- single car on its side

A Shocking Number of People Were Killed in Vehicle Accidents

The National Safety Council just released its annual auto fatalities report that showed traffic deaths in the U.S. increased in 2015 by the most in 50 years. 

The Council estimates that a whopping 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million people were seriously injured last year in car and truck accidents. Deaths increased by eight percent over the previous year. 

What is going on out there?

Texas Leads the Nation in Auto Accident Fatalities 

We Texans pride ourselves on being number one. Unfortunately, the state also leads the nation in auto accident fatalities. Almost 4,000 deaths occurred on our roadways last year. And if you thought that this was due to our state’s large size,  think again: California has about 12 million more residents but 240 fewer deaths than Texas. 

The good news — if there is any — is that traffic deaths in Texas increased by only one percent between 2014 and 2015, compared to the nation’s eight percent increase during the same period. That’s because our numbers were already so high.

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