Car Crashes, Injuries, and Texas Law
Ever since the invention of the “horseless carriage,” there have been car accidents. Drivers are often careless and distracted – an issue that is becoming increasingly prevalent due to our society’s dependence on cell phones. Since approximately 6 million car accidents occur annually in the United States, chances are that you, or someone you know, has been involved in a vehicle accident.
“Defensive driving” is a phrase that new drivers often hear during their required driver’s education classes, and it advocates a heightened awareness your surroundings while behind the wheel. But not all drivers pay attention.
Who Is to Blame?
Texas is a comparative negligence state. “Comparative negligence” means that a jury will place percentages of responsibility on each driver for his or her role in the accident. Also, if a person’s degree of fault is found to be more than 50%, that person will not recover any damages in a lawsuit.
If you were hit by another driver in the Fort Worth area, contact Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP to speak to a personal injury attorney. There may be compensation available for you, and we’ll investigate your case to maximize your recovery.
Common Causes of Accidents in Fort Worth
Is there anything more frustrating than being behind a distracted driver after a traffic light turns green? Research says that about 481,000 drivers in the U.S. are using their phones while driving every single day! On average, it takes most people five seconds to take their eyes off the road to read or send a text. While five seconds may not sound like a long time, consider this: If you are traveling at 55 miles per hour, that equates to driving the full length of a football field with your eyes closed.
While there is rightfully a lot of focus on the use of cellphones while driving, it should be noted that there are other forms of distraction as well. Listening to music, tending to a crying child, or transporting the family dog are also common distractions for drivers.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is often called “drunk driving” but this is an inaccurate nickname for a serious crime. Describing impaired drivers as “drunk” perpetuates the false idea that someone has to be drunk in order to cause an accident. People often feel “fine” and are just “a little buzzed” after drinking alcohol, so they believe they can drive safely. Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive; it impairs your judgment about whether you should drive.
Texas officially uses the term “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) instead of “driving under the influence” (DUI). Texas’s DWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. In general, a driver is considered “intoxicated” if he or she “lacks the normal use of mental or physical faculties” as the result of ingesting alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.
DUI accidents are not always caused by alcohol. Drivers who use or ingest drugs (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes. With the growing number of states legalizing medicinal and/or recreational marijuana, the use of this substance is increasing. It is important to emphasize that even if marijuana is legal in a state, it is still illegal to drive while under its influence.
Out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on the U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions can range from fender benders to serious accidents causing injury or even death.
When victim’s neck is suddenly forced to move beyond the normal range of motion, a whiplash injury can occur. Common symptoms of whiplash-type injuries include:
- Neck or upper back pain or stiffness;
- Shoulder pain or stiffness;
- Dizziness; and
- Burning sensations in the neck, shoulders, or arms.
Side-impact accidents, also known as T-bone collisions, happen when the side of a vehicle is struck by the front or rear of another vehicle, or hits a fixed object. Side collisions tend to cause more serious injuries than frontal or rear-end crashes, according to the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences. These types of collisions are dangerous because drivers and passengers who are hit from the side have little or no warning of the impact. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, side-impact collisions are the deadliest for children. Unfortunately, over the past 20 years, deaths caused by side-impact crashes have increased by 20%.
Common causes of side-impact collisions include:
- Adverse weather conditions;
- Distracted driving;
- Failure to obey traffic signs or signals;
- Parking lot accidents; and
- Turning across traffic.
Unexpected Injuries in a Crash
Car accidents often result in serious injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association estimates that when seatbelts are used properly, they save an average of 13,000 lives every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Sometimes, however, seatbelts can cause injuries, such as:
- Broken collarbones: If the seatbelt is placed too far to the left or right of the shoulder bone, the force may be unevenly distributed, causing the clavicle to snap.
- Trapping injuries: A seatbelt’s locking mechanism can sometimes malfunction after a collision and trap the occupant in the vehicle.
- Rib injuries: Seatbelts can cause bruised or fractured ribs, which can be painful and potentially dangerous (if the rib punctures the heart or lungs, for example).
- Abrasions: Seatbelts can add to the multitude of bruises that often result from a crash, and may cause cuts on the skin from the rough material.
Another safety feature that can cause injury is the airbag. The blunt force of a rapidly expanding airbag may cause severe head injuries. The airbags are deployed at a high rate of speed and can also cause abrasions or burns. Additionally, chemicals that are released from the airbags can irritate the lungs and airways.
After a Crash in Fort Worth, Call a Legal Team That Can Help
Being involved in a car accident can be scary and confusing. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we offer you 25 years of experience and a free case evaluation. We are ready to help you during this difficult time. Please contact us at (214) 231-0544 today.
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