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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.

    Our roads should be safer since fewer people are driving during the pandemic. But wrongful death numbers from car and truck wrecks have skyrocketed here. North Texas just endured another tragic weekend with six fatality wrecks reported. Most were caused by hit-and-run drivers. And we have not even gotten to the Thanksgiving-New Years holiday period when alcohol-fueled collisions skyrocket every year.

North Fort Worth

A 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 Dallas

A 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 Worth

A 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 Dallas

A 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 Worth

A 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 County

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 available

Texas 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 paid

Usually 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.
If a commercial truck driver caused the wrongful death, this case is much more complicated and a personal injury attorney is required. The insurance policy and assets of the company and all participants need to be verified and all damages provided by Texas and federal law need to be obtained.

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 you

Berenson 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

This afternoon we enjoyed meeting with three women for our favorite part of our jobs: handing our clients large settlement checks! This horrible pandemic is made worse by all the reckless drivers in Dallas-Fort Worth who keep crashing into innocent victims and injuring them. You might assume that with fewer people on the roads, your chances of safely getting from Point A to Point B are excellent. But there are still thousands of crashes each month in North Texas. Statistics for this year are not yet available, but last year there were close to 90,000 reported collisions in Tarrant and Dallas Counties.  That is a frightening number. And now, some drivers are speeding faster and driving even more dangerously than ever with less vehicles to slow them down. This post is for the benefit of those who are researching the best Fort Worth car accident lawyer to hire for their case. Knowing about their past results and reading their reviews is one of the best ways to help you decide. We are blessed to have so many wonderful clients and are honored that they have written over 450 5-star reviews.

Client 1

Our young client (pictured above) was injured when a driver failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into her car on Forest Park Boulevard, not far from our main office on University Drive. She went to her family doctor, then to a chiropractor 10 times with a neck and back strain/sprain. This was a very small case that we easily handle -- except for the fact that the other driver's tiny, difficult to work with company filed for receivership (bankruptcy) in March. We discussed how this affected hers and other clients' cases in a blog post in March. We continued to fight for our client and were able to get her a good recovery, which was not easy. Our client was thrilled and very nicely wrote this 5-star review on Google:
Mr. Berenson is kind, generous, and great to work with on my case!
He and his assistant Mr. Stan Hare were always keeping me updated on the status of my case and ended it with a great win on my end.

Client 2

Another young client was seriously hurt when an incredibly drunk driver crashed into the Jeep her mother was driving in Northwest Texas.  The collision was so violent that it knocked the Jeep off the road, then it rolled over several times before coming to a stop upside down. Then the drunk did what most do in these cases: he hit and ran. Fortunately, state troopers chased him down and arrested him. Let's hope they throw the book at him and keep him from driving on our Texas roads. What to do if you are in a hit-and-run collision We handle a lot of DWI crashes and they anger us more than any other kind of collision because they are so easily preventable:
  • Don't drink or do drugs.
  • If you do, don't drink/take drugs and drive.
  • Stay home and drink/do drugs.
  • If you somehow have to get smashed at a bar or restaurant, have a designated driver or take a Uber ride home.
If you don't, you are breaking the law and possibly killing someone because you are stupid. It's that simple. Our client had to be rushed to a hospital, but fortunately only suffered minor injures. She never went to a doctor or therapist for additional medical treatment. We were still able to make the other driver's two insurance companies pay maximum damages. We also maxed out the two policies for her mother. Then we made our client more money by slashing the hospital's bill. This resulted in an even bigger recovery for our client. She was very happy and wrote this 5-star review:            "I have been satisfied with all my services.          Shannon has been very lovely and Mr. Berenson has been great."  

Case 3

A grandmother (and the mother of a former client) was driving her two young grandsons in Arlington when a woman in a SUV tried to beat them through an intersection. The three were taken to a hospital with head, neck and back strains that quickly resolved. The three cases turned out very well and our clients were very happy.   In her 5-star review, the driver wrote that she was very pleased with our firm's professionalism, quality, responsiveness, and value.

We can help you

It isn't just the personal attention, friendliness, and respect we give to each client. It's the results that we have delivered for the past 40 years. It's what what we live for. How do you measure results? From a financial perspective, we do the best job on these two fronts: (1) by working hard to force the insurance companies to pay or juries to award; and (2) by saving our clients as much money as possible for medical bills that legally have to be paid from the settlement or verdict, especially for hospital, Medicare or Medicare, or health insurance company subrogation liens. Just doing one or the other is not enough. Together, these two projects pay off big. We also cut and even waive our fees and do not charge our clients for various expenses. Today, we saved these women and their families a small fortune. (We have not used their names or other identifying information to protect their privacy.) If you have unfortunately been injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, or 18-wheeler crash in North Texas, please call us at 817-885-8000 (toll-free at 1-885-801-8585). Or email us and tell us how we can help you. Stay safe during these difficult times.

Dial 911

Burleson tragedy is the latest in a surge of fatal hit-and-runs

A driver hit a car on Monday night in Burleson, then fled the scene. The life of Tre Allison, a popular 16-year-old, was taken away. He was a top student at Burleson High School, a devout Christian, and found time to be start on its football, basketball, and track teams. Monday had been an exciting day for the Burleson football team. It was the first day that the quarantined players had been able to practice with their new football coach, the former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. On Wednesday night, a huge crowd of over 1,000 people held an emotional candle light vigil at the football stadium to remember Tre. A man named Eric Padilla was caught and charged with vehicular manslaughter.
A Gofundme page has been set up. We made a donation and hope readers of this blog will do so as well.
We send our prayers and condolences to the Allison family.

Other recent hit-and-runs in our area

  • On Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the afternoon, a man who was driving while intoxicated hit a woman walking on a sidewalk in Dallas. The drunk driver crashed into some trees then ran away. He was later caught.
  •  Last week, a pickup driver hit a woman in Fort Worth at the intersection of North Main Street and 14th Street and fled the scene. She is reported as being in critical condition. Please contact the Fort Worth Police Department if you know the owner or driver of a low-riding 2005 - 2007 dark grey Chevrolet Silverado. It will have front vehicle damage, cat eye headlights, and special edition Texas rims.
  • Two weeks ago, a young  woman who was working inside a hotel died after a reckless teenager crashed his stolen truck into the side of the building, then took off. He was apprehended.
  • A 7-year-old boy was killed as he played in front of his house in Fort Worth in April.
There are many others. Of course there will be since there are so many motor vehicle collisions in our area. Just here in Fort Worth there were about 15,500 crashes in 2018.

Hit-and-runs can be a double disaster

In the typical car or truck crash, the at-fault driver's insurance company pays the victims' medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. This can be a contentious and stressful process, so the services of a good personal injury lawyer are needed. But when the liable driver takes off, what happens? It can be difficult, if not impossible, to locate them. Berenson Injury Law gets information from the victim and passengers, eyewitnesses, police officers, dash cam video, and traffic and business cameras to track down license plate and vehicle information. We use several proprietary data bases and other resources. We try to find the driver and force their insurance company to pay the maximum damages available or we file a lawsuit, and sometimes file suit immediately depending on the facts. If we cannot locate the driver, we pursue a claim with our client's uninsured motorists benefits. Many people have purchased this valuable coverage and do not remember buying it. We are sometimes able to get this money for our clients even when they did not buy this coverage. However one of the first things that we do when we are hired is to demand that our clients' liability insurance company produce the legally required rejection of coverage. If and when the company fails to do that, we demand payment for our clients. We just did this this week and made our clients a lot more money on their underinsured motorist policy after we had already obtained the maximum available of $30,000.00 from the at-fault driver's company for one and a good recovery for her daughter. The mother had already written this 5-star review on Google before we told her this new good news:

     "The staff and Mr. Berenson were awesome! They actually worked my case quicker than expected and I received money from my accident. I appreciate Mr.   Berenson's prompt response to any and all questions. Best lawyer experience I have ever had!"

We also file on personal injury protection insurance policies and work with our clients' health insurance coverage. Patient with Doctor The at-fault driver's insurance company, contrary to popular opinion, does not pay for someone's ambulance, hospital, and doctor visits up-front. So we find good medical professionals and work with them. We also get their medical bills covered so our clients do not have to pay for these before a good settlement or jury verdict can be obtained.
Later, we reduce outstanding medical bills so our clients receive even more money.

What causes a driver to hit-and-run?

We see a variety of reasons.
  • Sometimes the driver is intoxicated.
  • Other times they are unlicensed or have a suspended license.
  • Or they have no insurance --or they do have insurance and don't want a claim being filed so their rates go up.
  • Or they have previous crashes or criminal convictions.
  • They may even have stolen the vehicle.
And these miscreants know they are at fault but are not the type to admit responsibility, let alone care if they have caused someone to be injured.

Texas Law Regarding Hit-and-Run Crashes

The law requires a driver to stop, provide identification, and render aid after being involved in a vehicle collision. That is also common courtesy - something our country sorely needs. If a driver flees and an injury or death occurs, he or she can be charged with a third degree felony if there is a serious injury or second degree felony if there is not. The punishment range for a third degree felony is two to ten years in a state penitentiary and can also include a $10,000.00 fine. Even if there is only property damage, the driver is required to stop and identify themselves to the driver or leave them a note if the vehicle is unoccupied. They can be arrested for a Class B misdemeanor if they do not and fined up to $500.00 and have to serve up to six months in a county jail.

We can help you

We certainly hope that you have not been in any type of automobile or truck wreck, but they are fairly common in Texas. There is no reason why we should have almost 600,000 collisions a year. Bill Berenson has aggressively represented thousands of victims of collisions over the past 40 years. He sees that car accidents happen every day across the state and knows that almost all could have easily been prevented. He wants to help change this terrible statistic: Texas has not had one day without someone dying on our highways for 20 years. His top-rated personal injury law firm wants to raise awareness of these sometimes catastrophic events so that drivers will be more careful and stop after causing a crash. Please  contact us online or at 1-888-801-8585 if we can be of assistance or you have any questions.

The COVID-19 virus has forced most people to stay home. So you would assume that our North Texas roads, with less traffic than in decades, would be safer, right? Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Many innocent drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have recently been injured in scores of collisions. And expect a return to the 80,000 crashes we have in the Metroplex each year once the restrictions are lifted and normal traffic resumes.

DFW crashes this week

Here are a few of the local crashes that were reported online in the past week:

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:

Tragic Reminder: Dallas Hit and Run Driver Sentenced on Monday

On Christmas Eve, a 31-year-old man was found guilty of manslaughter and failing to stop and render aid after he crashed into Rachel Lynn Spelman last year on Cedar Springs Road. After hitting her at a speed of 53 in a 30 mph zone, the man kept driving -- all the way to Oklahoma. There he repaired the car's windshield and hid. At trial on Monday, the hit and run driver actually had the nerve to blame his victim for crossing the street in front of him. With his criminal activity, arrogant attitude, and prior history of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, the judge sentenced him to the maximum 20 years for failing to stop and render aid and 10 years for manslaughter. This story angers us and would be horrible to read any time, but especially during the holidays. This beautiful woman had just graduated from Texas A & M with a 4.0 average and was working for Hewlett Packard in Plano. And on a personal level, she was a member of the same sorority Mr. Berenson's daughter, who also works in Plano, was in when she attended Southern Methodist University. We send our sincerest condolences to her family and hope that no other family has to go through this nightmare.

The only thing worse than being in a car wreck is seeing the other driver take off. But this happens often -- over 700,000 times each year in our country. In your shock, pain, and anger, you will not know what to do. This post will help you be ready if, God forbid, this happens to you - like it did to our clients injured in this photograph. The latest hit and run in North Texas happened Wednesday night in Cleburne where a Dodge pickup truck was driving on the wrong side of the highway and hit a 26-year-old man head-on, tragically killing him. Then the truck driver ran away. Liquor bottles were found inside the truck. Police found him walking down the road the next morning and arrested him for failing to stop and render aid, driving a stolen vehicle, and driving with a suspended license. The criminal, who had a very long record including DWIs, never had the decency to call 911 which might have saved the man's life. I hate to read stories like this. Criminals who kill or injure innocent people should be punished and made to repay the damage they cause. This mayhem has got to stop.

Hit and Run Crash Laws

Texas like all states regulates and punishes hit and run drivers. Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 requires drivers involved with a collision that causes injury or death to
  • Stop their vehicle as close to the collision site as possible without blocking traffic;
  • Remain at the scene;
  • Exchange certain information; and
  • Wait for the police to arrive.

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.

Hit And Run

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.
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