As you drive around our DFW area, you never think you are going to be in an intersection crash. But the reality is that 50% of auto and truck collisions happen in or around them. Here’s a photo from a case we just concluded. And tragically, over 20,000 Americans lose their lives in an intersection crash each year. Heads up: here are the five most dangerous intersections in Fort Worth.
Why are intersections so dangerous?
They aren’t, it’s just that there are too many reckless and even hateful drivers on our roads. Many times the negligent driver is a young man in an over sized pickup truck who spots a smaller vehicle and thinks (or doesn’t bother to think) that he can barge his way through. And if there is an intersection crash, they don’t think they are going to get hurt.
There are other reasons why a driver may run a red light or stop sign. Sometimes it’s intentional, others it’s negligent. Whether the driver is impatient and doesn’t think they should have to wait a minute or two at a light or two seconds at a stop sign or they are texting while driving, someone gets hurt.
These cases are usually open and shut. We make the guilty driver and his insurance company pay for all medical bills, lost wages, pain, disfigurement, disability, vehicle damage, and other losses they caused.
These cases are what a car accident lawyer helps people out with every day.
Causes of intersection crashes
The most common ones we see are when a driver
- Runs a a red light;
- Runs a stop or yield sign;
- Fails to yield the right of way when turning left; or
- Fails to yield the right of way when turning right.
Occasionally there are other causes, e.g. traffic lights that are not working or bad weather.
Another common intersection crash happens when driver one sees the light about to turn red so they speed up. They don’t bother to notice that they are being followed by one or even several vehicles trying to do the same thing. Then at the last minute, the lead driver realizes the danger and slams on their brakes. A rear-ender is inevitable.
And then there are the tragic case where pedestrians or cyclists are struck at intersections as they are crossing. We were just hired today to represent a young man riding his bicycle who was seriously injured.
Obviously, drivers are required to stop for red lights and stop signs. The failure to do so constitutes negligence per se, that is, as a matter of law. So if a driver violates a traffic law that designates the required conduct, that person can be found “guilty” and should prevail in their insurance claim or lawsuit.
How to win your case
First, you need to prove that the driver ran the light or sign, especially now that Texas abolished red light cameras.
Taking recorded statements from independent eyewitnesses is critical. If you are able to get the names, phone numbers, and email addresses at the scene and write down what each witness saw, your injury lawyer can get statements to bolster your case.
Also, you must call 911 so that a police officer investigates liability, speaks to all drivers and witnesses, and writes an official report. It is heavily relied upon by insurance company adjusters, insurance attorneys, and juries. A report and testimony in court nailing the insured driver, especially when a traffic citation is issued, is another key to success.
The attorney will also obtain other essential evidence including dash cam, traffic light, or business surveillance videotape. Note that not all intersections have actual video and those that do often are overwritten quickly so you need to move quickly.
In addition, legal defenses must be anticipated and beaten, including comparative negligence, unavoidable accident, and sudden emergency.
Texas law regulating traffic control devices and stop signs
The Texas Transportation Code lists all of the traffic violations that lead to civil and sometimes criminal liability.
Section 544.004 regulates red lights. It states the obvious: the driver of a vehicle must comply unless he falls under the narrow exemptions of operating an authorized emergency vehicle or is directed by a police officer. That’s drilled into 15-year-olds in every high school driver’s education class.
Section 544.010 states the same thing for stop and yield signs. At four-way stops, the driver who gets there first has the right of way. If both drivers arrive simultaneously, the person to the right has the right of way. This causes a plethora of crashes.
Both laws hold that if there is a crosswalk or designated stop line, the driver must stop there, and if not, where he or she has a view of approaching traffic coming from the other direction.
There are other variations, including flashing red lights and yellow arrows that further confuse drivers and cause car accidents.
Section 544.152 governs how a driver can safely turn across oncoming traffic. Of course, that person has a duty to yield the right of way. However, as with any legal rule, there can be exceptions. For example, what if the other driver is speeding or driving without lights on at night?
Here are a few safety pointers: A driver has to
- come to a complete stop at lights and signs, not just slow down.
- if in doubt as to who got to the stop first, wave the other driver through.
- make a left turn from the designated left turn lane, usually the one to the far left, not the center or right one.
- use a turn signal.
- watch out before making a right turn on red.
- hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Case we just settled
Here is the front end of that truck from above to give you a better look from that case that Berenson Injury Law resolved this week. Our client was driving his pickup truck to work when a concrete truck suddenly pulled out in front of him. An intersection crash resulted, seriously injuring him. It is a miracle he did not lose his life. The case successfully concluded with a Dallas attorney. Our client was very happy with the results. (The amount and other details are confidential.)
His wife generously wrote this five star review on Google (one of five we are proud to have received this week):
“We had an awesome experience with Berenson Law. They were quick to respond, professional, helpful and great to work with. We are very appreciative of Berenson Law!”
We can help you
If you have been injured in a car, truck, 18-wheeler, bicycle or pedestrian collision, you would be smart to speak to a good Fort Worth personal injury lawyer.
Mr. Berenson has successfully represented thousands of injured Texans over the past 40 years and only handles these cases.
The first consultation is free and we only get paid when you get paid. Please contact us by clicking here or by calling 1-885-801-8585.
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