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Some people ride motorcycles for the freedom and excitement they provide. But that unfortunately comes with an increased risk of death or serious injury since they offer no protection after a collision. Tragically, there were another three fatal motorcycle accidents in the past few days in Tarrant County. That made us want to get the word out about motorcycle safety.

The pandemic caused people to drive less last year. Roads were almost empty for months due to lockdowns, virtual work and school, and home deliveries. So a new report showing that 2020 was one of the worst years for fatal car accidents came as a shock to safety officials.

All time high for fatal car accidents

According to the National Safety Council
  • Over 42,000 Americans lost their lives in car accidents in 2020 -- a huge increase over the year before and the highest total in 13 years;
  • A shocking 5,000,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes last year;
  • For the first half of 2020, while the number of miles dropped by 17%, the number of fatal car accidents increased by 20%;
  • Collisions are now the leading cause of death for our children and young people from ages 1-25; and
  • The cost to our country is an astonishing one-half trillion dollars a year.
  • Almost 4,000 Texans perished in a vehicle crash, the highest total in years. Year after year, Texas has the highest number of fatal car accidents in the United States.
This is crazy. How could this possibly have happened?

    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

The Texas Longhorns and its huge fan base (including Mr. Berenson who graduated from the University of Texas in 1976) are in mourning after learning that Cedric Benson died in a motorcycle crash in Austin Saturday night. What a terrible way to begin the football season. Cedric was one of the best running backs in the history of Texas high school and the University, then played eight years in the NFL with the Bears, Bengals, and Packers. He was 36 years old. We extend my condolences to his family and the family of his passenger who also died at the scene. We at Berenson Injury Law want our roads to be safer for all motorists, including for those who ride motorcycles. You have to ask
  1. Why does Texas have more fatal crashes than any other state?
  2. Why do about 500 people die each year riding their motorcycles in Texas
  3. What causes us to be #1 in this terrible category?
  4. How can we stop so many motorcycle riders and other motorists from dying and being injured on our roads?

Temps are up, so are bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth

Yesterday kicked off the annual Tour de Fort Worth sponsored by Fit Worth and it was an honor to get to ride with our wonderful Mayor Betsy Price. But the warmer weather unfortunately brings an increase in the number of bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth. Saturday sadly marked the latest motorcycle death in our area. Texas leads in the country in the number of fatal motorcycle crashes with almost 500 riders losing their lives each year. And though it happened it happened in New Hampshire on Friday, it was horrible to read that seven people riding motorcycles died when a man who was driving in the wrong lane crashed into the group of former Marines. He had to be either texting while driving or driving while intoxicated, or both.

What causes all of the bicycle and motorcycle accidents?

Bicycles and motorcycles are similar. They are small and offer no protection from injuries. Drivers often don't see them or ignore them; some probably consider them an annoyance. They are often ridden by younger people who enjoy going fast and take unsafe risks. So there's a constant friction between the motorists on four wheels and riders on two wheels. On the one hand, motorists must yield the right of way, pay attention to vehicles on the road, slow down, stop looking at cell phones while they drive, and not drink and drive, the usual causes of crashes. But cyclists must also obey the rules of the road, stop at red lights and stop signs, and not engage in risky maneuvers. If there is a crash, the negligence of all drivers and riders will be weighed. There are too many motorists and bicycle/motorcycle riders who don't seem to know basic traffic laws -- or follow them. So here's a refresher.

Fort Worth Fatal Motorcycle Crash Controversial

A 30-year-old man was riding his bike when he hit another vehicle at an intersection last week. Tragically, Da'Ron Miller was the victim of another fatal motorcycle crash here. We have far too many of these deadly crashes. Sadly, 501 people drivers and passengers lost their lives last year according to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation. The police found that Mr. Miller was to blame. But according to this article in the Star Telegram, there is a heated dispute about whether another driver was at fault. According to witnesses, Mr. Miller had just left a charity car wash by himself when a woman cut in front of him. The police officers did not interview these people. Based on the woman's account, the police said that Mr. Miller was speeding in a group of cyclists and that the crash was 100% his fault. The investigating officers obviously did not witness the collision (although they were down the street investigating another motorcycle crash). And people sometimes have preconceived ideas about who is at liable, especially when a young man is riding a motorcycle. The police are now saying that they want to talk to these eyewitnesses. A lawsuit for the wrongful death of Mr. Miller will presumably have to be filed to find out what really happened. There was a similar motorcycle crash yesterday in Arlington. A 23-year-old man riding his motorcycle on New York Avenue died after a woman in a SUV suddenly cut in front of him. And on Thursday there was another death arising out of a car accident in Fort Worth that was either caused by road rage or a suicide. Sometimes it is clear who caused a motorcycle, car, or truck collision, but other times it is not. Crashes happen in the blink of an eye. Legal questions about fault, damages, and payment of damages are common.
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