Three fatal crashes in one day is insaneTexas may be fully open for business but there are less vehicles on the roads thanks to remote working, shopping, and schooling. So you would hope that at least the number of car accidents would have decreased. But looking at how many fatal crashes happened in the Fort Worth area just on Friday, it is apparent that our local highways are as dangerous as ever. This is what happened in those eight hours:
1. In Far North Fort WorthA tractor-trailer, flatbed truck and pickup were involved in a crash about 10:00 a.m. on Highway 114 at an intersection near the Texas Motor Speedway in Justin. Apparently a woman driving the flatbed truck died. Other people were injured, two of them seriously.
2. In ArlingtonA man who was driving while intoxicated took the life of a 21-year-old woman around 2:30 a.m on Interstate 20. Her car collided into an 18-wheeler that had jack-knifed and blocked all lanes of traffic after it was crashed into by the drunk man. The young woman was a college student, worked, and was loved by many. And shockingly, this was the third child that her parents had lost in a DWI collision, adding to the heart break.
3. Near DecaturAlso about 2:30 a.m., the 47-year-old assistant basketball coach at the University of North Texas died after his car hit a culvert in on U.S. 380. His vehicle flipped over and traveled through a fence. Other details were not reported. His team had finished its first NCAA tournament in the history of the school just several weeks before. These stories are devastating. Any one wrongful death from a car crash or due to any other reason is heart-breaking. There are so many ways someone can get hurt out on the roads. We send our condolences and prayers to their families and everyone impacted by these tragedies.
Texas wrongful death lawsuits will provide answers; Griddy also sued for price gougingA lawsuit was filed by three people injured in the massive 133-vehicle pile-up on the express lanes of I-35 on February 11. Six people tragically lost their lives and at least 60 people were injured. Many other Texas wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury suits will be filed to establish liability and collect damages. The plaintiffs accuse five companies of failing to hire, train and supervise capable drivers. The drivers are accused of driving too fast for the icy road conditions. The lawsuit was filed in the 93rd District Court in Hidalgo County where one of the companies is headquartered. The 18-wheeler companies sued were Federal Express Package System Inc., JB Hunt Transport, Inc., Rich Transport, LLC, GG's Produce Transport, LLC, and Go To Logistics, Inc. The chain reaction was caused by
- a thin layer of black ice;
- freezing rain;
- 75 miles per hour speed limit;
- lack of shoulders; and
- no warning signs.
Deadly winter storm caused by energy grid and local power companies according to new suitsIn related litigation news arising out of the historic freeze, several lawsuits have been filed against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on behalf of those who died in last week's paralyzing storm. ERCOT was widely condemned for its management of the electrical grid, turning off power to four million Texans when the wind chill was below zero. It then left power off for days instead of providing rolling blackouts as it first promised. ERCOT provides almost all of Texas's energy and we cannot borrow energy from the other two national sectors. Several local Houston-based energy company have been also sued. Several people froze to death, including an 11-year-old boy. It is tragic that at least 29 Texans were killed during the storm, including the six in the tragic Fort Worth collisions. That number is more than one-half of the 56 people who died in the United States. And we were 4 1/2 minutes away from having no power for months. Investigations are needed to make sure we understand how these deaths occurred and how they can be prevented in the future. The legal process will provide relief to the surviving families and victims.
Natural gas supplier Griddy also suedIn further related storm news, the power supplier was named in a $1 billion class action lawsuit yesterday. It was accused of price gouging by a Houston-area woman whose usual bill of $200 to $250 per month shot up to $9,340.
Due to the deregulated Texas energy market, Griddy and other electrical providers can increase their prices, depending on market conditions.
Natural gas bills increased by 10,000% for many customers. That is outrageous.
People need to be protectedFederal and state officials need to prevent deadly but preventable highway crashes, power outages, and energy price gouging from happening so innocent Texans are not hurt and killed next winter if the temperatures plummet.
Horrifying series of collisions shuts down I-35Early this morning, a thin layer of ice coating the high-speed toll lanes near North Side Drive on Interstate 35 North caused one of the worst series of crashes that Fort Worth has ever seen. The catastrophe made national headlines. This video shows the clean-up of the estimated 133 vehicles in the pile-up. Berenson Injury Law has handled many crashes on I-35, including a death caused when the reconstruction of the highway happened.
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|
"No Refusal weekends" will now be all year longHere's a fact you rarely hear: Texas is #1 in the U.S. for deaths caused by intoxicated drivers. Any one loss of life is tragic. Our figure of 886 is abysmal. So yesterday's announcement by the Tarrant County District Attorney's office that every weekend will now become a "No Refusal" weekend is certainly good news. Hopefully, the chances of being the victim of a Tarrant County DWI accident will be curtailed starting this Friday night. In the past, only a few weekends each year were designated as No Refusal Weekends, including New Year's Eve, Super Bowl, Labor Day, and several others when it was known there would be more DWIs than usual. But Dallas, San Antonio, and other cities and counties have cracked down on DWIs on every weekend for years. Currently in Tarrant County, if someone is stopped due to a police officer's suspicion that they are driving while intoxicated, they can refuse to undergo a breathalyzer or field sobriety test and be arrested. Texas is an "implied consent" state, meaning that a driver is presumed to have given permission to being tested by being issued a driver's license.A skilled lawyer can have the charges reduced or dismissed. Criminal defense lawyers in Tarrant County stay busy handling over 6,000 DWI charges filed last year. During No Refusal weekends, the officer immediately takes the suspected drunk driver to a police station. A magistrate is waiting to sign a search warrant and a nurse immediately draws blood and/or obtains a breath sample. This speeds up the process, which is critical since the longer it takes, the lower the driver's blood alcohol content becomes. Once the lab confirms that the .08% grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood threshold has been achieved, prosecutors obtain a 90% guilty verdict or plea bargain rate. North Texas is the epicenter of Texas drunk driving - which is saying a lot. If you add up Tarrant (1,534 DWI crashes), Dallas (2,191), Denton (545) and Collin (569) Counties, there were close to 5,000 DWI accidents last year just in these four counties. This is far higher than any other area, including Houston and its surrounding counties. Check out this map: counties with most DWI crashes We have to stop the madness.
How alcohol causes vehicle crashesAlcohol (and drugs) reduces the ability of the brain to function properly. It impairs vision, judgment, hand-eye and muscle coordination, and balance. Alcoholic beverages reduce the ability to perceive moving vehicles and judge their distances and speeds, basic requirements of driving safely. There is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol and the effects on the central nervous system. It is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine. Criminal and civil courts use blood alcohol concentration levels for different purposes. While criminal courts exact punishment in jail sentences, fines, and loss of rights, civil courts enable the victim and their family to receive monetary compensation for their damages.
Why you should be so worried about this problemThe country is facing multiple crises and perhaps, you might think that DWIs are not a big deal or can be overlooked because they won't affect you. But consider these startling facts:
- An American dies every 20 minutes from an alcohol-fueled collision;
- 29 of us lose their lives each day at the hands of a drunk driver;
- About 30 million Americans admit each year to driving while being intoxicated;
- Alcohol-impaired drivers take the wheel over 300,000 times each day, but only 2,800 are estimated (less than 1%);
- The typical drunk driver has already been intoxicated 80 times before they are finally (if ever) arrested;
- One in three Americans will be involved in a DWI accident in their lifetime;
- 54% of children who lose their lives in a alcohol-caused crash were driven by an intoxicated driver, usually their parents; and
- Our country is the third worst in the world for driving while intoxicated.
Other ways to cut the Tarrant County DWI accident rate
- Increase the number of police on the roads on weekends and nights;
- Establish sobriety checkpoints at known bar areas like West 7th Street in Fort Worth or Uptown in Dallas;
- Arrest and convict more drunk drivers and post these results on social media and in the press;
- Expedite civil lawsuits against these drivers and publicize high verdicts to send a message that drunk driving will not be tolerated;
- Require engine interlocks that cannot be easily evaded by convicted drunk drivers;
- Make car manufacturers install software that detects drunk and stoned driving;
- Lower the blood alcohol limit to .05% (it is 0% in many countries); and
- Increase public funding for DWI prevention programs like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which Mr. Berenson proudly supports.
Mr. Berenson takes on drunk drivers, their insurance companies, their employers, and the bars that overserve themHis law firm is filing a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a man who was horribly killed by a drunk driver last week. He is handling several others including this case and has represented many other victims and their families over the past 40 years. He is unfortunately all too familiar with the devastation and hardship that any car wreck can cause, but knows that a Tarrant County DWI accident can be horrific. Mr. Berenson has advocated for year-round No Refusal weekends and stronger DWI and traffic safety laws for years. He has served for years on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advisory board of directors for North Texas and supported this worth-while organization whose motto is "no more victims." MADD lobbies state legislatures to enhance drunk driving laws, supports victims and their families, and raises public awareness of this menace. Here are two posts Mr. Berenson has written for MADD's blog: Fort Worth injury attorney helps get drunk driving message out Pandemic has not stopped DWI epidemic If you have any questions about any car, truck, 18-wheeler, motorcycle, or pedestrian crash, please call us at 1-885-8585 or chat with us.
Brain injuries from car wrecksIf you have been in a car or truck wreck, how do you know if you have suffered a brain injury? It can often be difficult to know.
Symptoms may or may not be apparent immediately. Or they can arise the next day or weeks later. Signs can ebb and flow. The victim of the crash may not relate each symptom to the crash or may have suffered headaches or related problems in the past. Further, a closed head injury can be hard to evaluate, especially since the brain is protected by a hard skull and a sack of fluid.
After a person's head is thrown forwards and backwards, often striking the airbag, steering wheel or door, they often lose consciousness. When they come to, they may feel a little sore but okay. Or they may be in shock and not understand the extent of their injuries. The severity depends on where and how hard the brain was impacted.
And the Dallas Cowboys lose their first three players of the seasonSunday was a bad night for America's Team. Not only did they lose their first game, but three players either fractured a collar bone, tore an ACL, or sprained a knee. And you know that it's only a matter of time before someone suffers a concussion that will cost him to sit out the rest of the season -- and possibly affect him for the rest of his life. The NFL is still grappling with a $1 billion class action lawsuit filed in 2012 by several thousand brain injured players, including many Cowboys greats. Yes, football players play game after game, year after year, and sustain concussions. But a shocking two and one-half million Americans suffer a head injury each year. At least 50,000 lives are lost. The second leading cause of them is car accidents.
- Grade 1 - no loss of consciousness; altered mental state lasted less than 15 minutes
- Grade 2 - no loss of consciousness; altered mental state lasted more than 15 minutes
- Grade 3 - loss of consciousness
What to watch out forYou should seek medical care if you or someone you know experiences one or more of these symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Pain in the neck
- Disturbed sleep
- Loss of memory
- Amnesia about the crash
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unusual fatigue
- Delayed response time
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Severe headaches
- Repeated vomiting
- Weakness and numbness in hands and arms and legs and feet