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Car Wreck

Chest Pain Auto Accident Reasons

Reasons for Chest Pain After an Auto Accident

By | Car Wreck

Chest Pain After an Auto Accident

Chest Pain Auto Accident ReasonsCar accidents are common sights on Texas roads. Whether on busy highways or country backroads, accidents happen daily. Even though improvements in vehicle safety features continue to lower a driver’s risk of injury or death on roadways, the chances of completely avoiding an injury as a result of a collision are pretty slim. Most drivers will walk away with at least some bruising, small cuts and scrapes, or whiplash. These drivers would most likely consider themselves lucky to have avoided more serious injuries. Unfortunately, though these “minor” injuries are easily seen, they may not necessarily be the complete extent of a person’s injuries.

Should I Be Worried if I Experience Chest Pain After a Car Wreck?

Following an accident, a person may begin experiencing chest pain. If his external injuries were little more than some scrapes or bruises, he may be inclined to attribute the chest pain to the similar soft tissue pain that many experience in even low-speed accidents. This thinking could be very dangerous. Pain in your chest following an accident could indicate an injury to your ribs, your lungs, or even your heart. You should take every pain symptom seriously and get a full and thorough examination by a doctor to rule out any great chest injuries that could have occurred.

Common Causes of Chest Pain Following a Car Wreck

Having handled hundreds of car accident cases, we have seen our share of chest injuries following a car crash. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Muscle Strains

  • Bruised Ribs or Broken Ribs

  • Internal Injuries (Heart and Lungs)

Chest Pain Injuries from Seatbelts and Airbags

The number of lives saved by seatbelts and airbags is undeniable. However, each year seatbelts and airbags are responsible for face, neck, and chest injuries. The impact to a chest from a sudden stop can break ribs and bruise delicate heart tissue. In the latter case, symptoms may not appear for weeks or months following an accident.

What to do if You Experience Chest Pain After an Accident

If you are experiencing any chest pain following an accident, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention quickly. Left untreated, chest pain can develop into more serious, sometimes life-threatening, conditions. If you or your loved one have suffered personal injuries due to a car accident, please speak with an attorney. Our attorneys can help point you in the right direction to the best doctors that can help you with your pain and suffering. We do not charge a fee on injury cases unless we collect damages for you. Call us today at (817) 993-9249 or contact us online.

Accident on Icy Road

Accidents on Icy Texas Roads: Who is Liable?

By | Car Wreck

Accident on Icy RoadWhen we think of extreme weather in Texas, we generally think of severe thunderstorms, hail, wind, and tornados, but ice storms can be just as dangerous and damaging. There’s also a human factor when snow and ice hit Texas that increases the likelihood of severe injuries and even death-the untrained, inexperienced, and careless driver.

A Federal Highway Administration report states that on average, icy roads cause 151,944 vehicle accidents, 38,770 crash injuries, and 559 crash fatalities a year. These ice-related accidents produce roughly 11% of all weather-related accidents in the country. This is alarming because it shows how dangerous icy roads can be, but it should also alert you to the possibility of personal injury or property damage if you decide to drive in icy conditions.

Icy Roads in the Texas News Recently

The Basics of Negligent Driving in Texas

In the simplest form, negligence involves:

  • A duty to a person (the duty to be a careful, safe driver);
  • A breach of that duty (driving too fast, etc); and
  • That breach causing damages to another person (property damage, injuries, or death caused by a car accident).

Every driver has a basic duty to other drivers to drive safely and not collide with anyone. This requires them to drive as a reasonably prudent person would drive in the given situation. When they breach that duty, or collide with another person or vehicle, they may be liable for the physical or financial damages they caused. But what if the roads were icy and the driver lost control?

Ice is NO Defense to an Accident! | Liability for Accident and Injuries in Winter Conditions

Drivers are expected to take note of weather and road conditions and adjust their driving accordingly. When the temperatures are near or below freezing and precipitation is present, there is a strong possibility of ice on the roads. Because a driver should know of the chance of icy conditions, they should drive as a reasonably prudent person would drive on icy roads.  Blaming the ice will not work if the driver crashes into another car on the road.

Precautionary Measures for Driving in Icy Weather | Driving in Texas in the Winter

When there may be ice on the roads, you should take precautionary measures when driving:

  • Don’t drive unless you have to;
  • Follow your local news or go to drivetexas.org* to get updates on road conditions;
  • Drive below the speed limit;
  • Do not get distracted from the road; and
  • Avoid hills, bridges, and low spots if you can.

If you are hit by a driver who was driving in icy conditions, even if they lost control, they may be liable for negligently driving. You should contact your attorney with the accident report and any other information from the accident to help work through your options.

For more winter weather driving tips, click here.

*drivetexas.org is run by the Texas Department of Transportation who also posts on social media outlets.

Distracted Driving Injury Lawyers

The Dangers of Distracted Driving in Texas

By | Car Wreck

Distracted Driving Injury LawyersSince the invention of cellphones and the growing popularity of texting, car accidents resulting from distracted driving have increased year after year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives and injured 391,000 people nationwide in 2015. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that 1 in 5 crashes in Texas are caused by distracted driving. This is a nationwide issue that is taking the lives of Americans every day. However, distracted driving is an issue that can be prevented.

What is Distracted Driving?

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” There are three types of distractions, according to DMV.org; visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, for example looking at something in the vehicle or an event taking place on the side of the road. Manual distractions include removing one or both hands from the steering wheel, such as adjusting the air conditioning controls or radio. Cognitive distractions take your mental focus and attention away from driving, for example, day dreaming or deep thinking. Common distractions include eating, drinking, smoking, talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, adjusting the radio or air conditioner, looking in the mirror, applying makeup or shaving, watching a video, responding to emails, and texting. Using a cellphone or texting while driving is incredibly dangerous because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. To send a text while driving, a driver takes his eyes off the road to look down at his phone screen, he takes at least one hand off the steering wheel to hold the phone, and stops paying attention mentally to think about what he is typing. Looking down at the phone just for 5 seconds while going 55 mph means that the vehicle traveled the distance of a football field without the driver paying any attention. In that distance, many things can happen, including an accident with devastating effects.

Distracted Driving Impact on Texas

Distracted driving is a growing problem in Texas. In 2016, TxDOT reported that distracted drivers in Texas caused:

  • 109,658 crashes (a 3% increase from 2015),
  • 3,000 injuries, and
  • 455 deaths

In Tarrant County alone, distracted drivers were responsible for 8,210 crashes, 23 of which were fatal crashes in 2016.

Texas Laws Regarding Texting While Driving

Laws regulating cellphone use while driving differ between states and cities. As of September 1, 2017, the use of a “wireless communication device for electronic messaging” while operating a motor vehicle is prohibited in the state of Texas after the adoption of House Bill Number 62. The offense is considered a misdemeanor and punishable with a fine between $25-$99, however it may increase to between $100-$200 if there is a prior conviction for the same offense. This includes texting and emailing while driving. The Texas Transportation Code Title 7. Sections 545.424, 545.425, 545.4251, 545.4252 provides, in relevant part:

  • If the driver is under 18, they cannot use a wireless communication device.
  • A bus driver may not use a wireless communication device while operating the bus if a minor is present.
  • All drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving in school zones.

Exceptions to these laws exist for cases of emergency, reporting illegal activity, using a hands-free device, using a global positioning system, playing music, or when the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle and is part of the operator’s duties.

Ways to Bring About Change in Distracted Driving

Distracted driving isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s our problem and it could impact you or your loved ones. There is no badge of honor for multitasking while driving. We all share the road and when we are distracted while we are driving, we endanger the lives of everyone around us. Here some things you can do to prevent distracted driving and make a difference on the road:

1. Eliminate Distractions

Before you start driving, enter your destination into the GPS, adjust the air conditioning, find the right radio station or queue up your songs, and send your last text or email. Secure loose objects that might roll around once you start driving so you aren’t temped to reach for them and so they don’t roll under your feet. Take care of grooming and eat at home. Get everything done before you start driving. If you absolutely need to respond to something, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road.

2. Some Apps are Good

Recent iPhone software iOS 11 has a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature that can be manually or automatically enabled or be activated when connected to a car Bluetooth system. This feature can sense when you are driving and silences notifications such as text messages. It can even send an auto-reply to people who have messaged you, telling them that you are busy driving. Phone calls will only come in if connected to a Bluetooth hands-free system. The customizable feature can be found in the “Settings” app under “Do Not Disturb.” An app with similar functions is “LifeSaver,” which can be downloaded in the App Store or in Google Play.

3. Speak Up When You are Riding With a “Distracted Driver”

While we can only control our own actions, we can encourage those we ride with to avoid distracted driving as well. When you’re a passenger in a vehicle and the driver is distracted, speak up and remind them about the importance of focusing while driving. Offer to take care of the distraction for them. Politely tell them that you’re uncomfortable riding in their car while they’re distracted. Talk to your friends and family about the dangers of distracted driving and hold each other accountable.

4. Make a Pledge

Hold yourself accountable by making a pledge not to drive distracted. There are many websites with pledges, some where you can donate to different foundations or dedicate your pledge to someone, such as the “Just Drive” pledge with the National Safety Council.

Injured By a Distracted Driver? Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We have offices in Fort Worth and Keller or we can send one of our attorneys to meet with you if you have a difficult time traveling. We do not charge any fees for injury cases unless we win a damages award for you. Contact us today at (817) 993-9249 or send us a message.

Uber Lyft Accident Liability Texas

Are Uber and Lyft Liable for the Accidents of their Drivers?

By | Car Wreck

Uber Lyft Accident Liability TexasIn the past couple of years, rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have risen to prominence, grabbing a sizable market share from traditional taxi cab and town car companies. With more and more of these companies offering rides from their part-time drivers, we are also seeing accidents involving the drivers for these companies. These accidents can sometimes have confusing liability issues that accompany them. It is important to know how to proceed and what you are entitled to if you are involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, as a passenger or another driver.

Can You Sue the Rideshare company? Who is Liable in a Lyft or Uber Accident?

As with most legal questions, the answer is, it depends. Liability for an Uber or Lyft accident will depend upon whether the driver is logged on to his rideshare company’s app, and if so, whether the driver is waiting for a ride request or actively giving a ride. The Texas Insurance Code Chapter 1954 requires rideshare drivers to carry specific insurance policies that provide coverage regardless of their activity, so you will need to ascertain a few facts before you determine your course of action.

Was the Driver Logged on to the Rideshare App?

If the driver was NOT logged onto the ridesharing app, then the driver’s personal insurance will be responsible for covering the driver in the event of an accident. There generally will not be any ramifications for the rideshare company, and no real reason to pursue any claims against them. Of course, we would need many more facts to determine the exact course of action. If the driver is logged on to the rideshare app, you will need to determine whether they are in-between rides, or actively participating in a ride.

Was the Driver in-between Rides When the Accident Happened?

This is the largest gray area in the new insurance law. While coverage is required, there is no requirement regarding who must cover the driver. Many insurance companies exclude coverage on drivers using their personal vehicles for ridesharing purposes, and rideshare companies are hesitant to provide the additional coverage since they are not required to by law. Ridesharedashboard.com lays out the coverage options in Texas, pointing out that currently, only GEICO and Farmer’s offer coverage to both Uber and Lyft drivers, while MetLife will cover Lyft drivers only, and Allstate is currently working on their rideshare policy.

Nonetheless, the Texas Insurance Code Sec. 1954.052 requires rideshare drivers to be covered by a 50/100/25 policy. This means that they must be covered up to $50,000 for bodily injury or death of each person in an incident, $100,000 for bodily injury or death of a person per incident, and $25,000 for damage or destruction of property of others. This is a higher level of coverage than the standard 30/60/25 policy required for Texas drivers. This should not be an issue as drivers are required to notify their insurance provider if they are driving for a rideshare company. However, it will be very important to determine who is covering the driver in the event of an accident. Fortunately, there is a safeguard in Sec. 1954.054 that requires the rideshare company to cover claims in the event the driver’s policy has lapsed or does not cover the claim. If you find yourself in this situation, please get as much information from the driver as possible and contact an attorney immediately.

For driver’s logged onto the rideshare app but currently in-between rides:

  • Uber Provides: 50/100/25 coverage for its drivers and can supplement the personal policy
  • Lyft Provides: 50/100/25 coverage in the event a driver’s personal policy does not cover this much.

Was the Lyft or Uber Driver Engaged in a Ride?

The term “engaged in a ride” can mean two things: either the driver was on his way to pick up a passenger, or the driver currently had a passenger in the car. If the driver involved in the accident was currently engaged in a ride, that driver MUST be covered by a $1 million coverage policy according to Texas law. Recent legislative action in many states has pushed for this coverage, influencing these companies to adopt these insurance policies. Should you be involved in an accident with an engaged rideshare driver, whether as passenger or third party, this insurance should provide coverage for damages caused by the driver.

For drivers “engaged in a ride:”

  • Uber Provides:
    • $1 million coverage for damages caused by driver
    • $1 million coverage for damage done by an under/uninsured motorist
    • Supplemental coverage for collision and comprehensive personal policies
    • These will cover the rider if a rider is in the car with the Uber driver
  • Lyft Provides:
    • Lyft will take over as primary provider
    • $1 million coverage for damages caused by driver
    • $1 million coverage for damage done by an under/uninsured motorist
    • Supplemental coverage for collision and comprehensive personal policies

What Should You Do if You are Involved in an Accident with a Rideshare Driver?

  1. Get to a safe place and call 911. Safety and health are the first priority.
  2. Take pictures of the accident and surroundings.
  3. Get the names, phone numbers, addresses of everyone involved and any witnesses.
  4. Get the name of the rideshare driver, determine whether they were logged on to the rideshare app, whether he/she was engaged in a ride, and get a picture of the insurance policy
    • Under Sec. 1954.056b, the drivers are required to provide this information in the case of an accident
    • If you are the passenger of a rideshare when the accident occurs, screenshot the app on your phone
  5. Call your attorney.

 

To review companies’ insurance policies, click on their Logo below:

Uber Accident Coverage TexasLyft Driver Liability in Texas