Distracted Drivers Hurt People

Texas has taken a stand against Texting while Driving

Car and Trucking accidents caused by distracted drivers are in the media every day.  Those accidents that make the news are often the ones where people have died.  Texas’ new law will no doubt save lives.  If you have questions about the law, have discussed it in this post.

Following this one law it not enough.  There will still be many accidents caused by distracted driving.  NHTSA has a entire page dedicated to distracted driving.

Many of our clients, even before cell phones were victims of distracted drivers.  For whatever reasons, driving is the last thing on the mind of many drivers.  They are thinking about work, what they will eat when they get home, the fact that they are running late, etc.  In our fast paced world, it has become necessary for us to multitask.  That’s great, except when you are driving.

When things go bad while you are driving, those bad things happen fast. Failure to focus on your driving can cause the bad thing – ” I didn’t see the stop sign” or  “I didn’t realize the cars in front of my were stopped for construction” and can affect your ability to react to someone or something else.

Think about the steps that must take from the time of the bad thing to hopefully avoiding it.

  1. The brain has to perceive the bad thing,
  2. The brain has to decide how to respond to the bad thing,
  3. Your brain has to tell you muscles what to do,
  4. The muscles have to respond,
  5. The mechanical device  (brakes, steering wheel) has to respond to the input from the muscles.

The point is a lot of things have to happen when things go bad while driving, and whether someone is hurt depends on a lot of things, but the one thing you can control is how focused you are on your driving.  If you are interested in the details, take a look at this article.

So, when you are driving, drive.  It seems like a simple and mundane task, but it is one that can kill or seriously injure you or someone else.

And in the unfortunate event you are in a car wreck or truck wreck caused by a distracted driver, please give us a call at 903)236-4990.

Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney

I am Chris Jones, and I am a Texas lawyer,  Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law.

Burn Injury Lawyer

burn injuriesBURN INJURIES

Burns are a major cause of suffering and death in the United States.

According to the American Burn Association there are over 486,000 burn injuries each year requiring medical treatment. American Burn Association Burn Incidence Fact Sheet 2016. 43%  of the burns are caused by Fire/Flame, 34% by Scalds, 9% by Contact, 4% by Electrical, 3% by Chemical and 7%by other causes.  73% of the injuries occur at home, 8% in the workplace, 5% on streets and highways,  5% in recreational and sport activities and  9% Other at other locations. Approximately 30,000 of these burn injuries require treatment in hospital burn centers.

Many burn injuries are caused by unreasonably dangerous and defective products.  If you or a loved one has suffered burns as a result of a product, please see our post regarding products liability. Motor vehicle and trucking accidents can involve fires. Part of a vehicle being “crashworthy” includes avoiding post collision fuel fed fires.

Electrical accidents  often result in very serious burns.  Many of these accidents involve working around power lines or work in the oilfield. improper packaging and transport of flammable gases and liquids can cause other wise avoidable fires and burn injuries. The improper use of flammable material in clothing has caused a number of burn injuries.  This list can go on and on…

The pain and suffering, disfigurement and physical impairment caused by burns and other personal injury damages are often horrendous.  These damages should be documented from the beginning.

If you or one of your family members has been the victim of these horrible injuries, please do not delay in giving us call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Chris Jones of Longview, Texas is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law  is an experienced burn injury lawyer and passionate in the representation of those suffering from burn injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or dangerous and defective products.  Mr. Jones is rated as a preeminent Lawyer by his peers.

Fatal Car Accidents, Texas Lawyer

Traffic  Fatalities

fatal crashOne cannot turn on the news without learning of another fatal car accident.  Thankfully, we are usually comforted to know that none of our family members or people we know were involved in the fatal accident.  Although it is little relief for those that have learned of a traffic fatality involving someone they know, it appears the number of fatal accidents is on the decline.

According to the National High Traffic Administration,  traffic fatalities for the first half of 2013 are projected to show a  4.2 percent decrease with 15,470 people killed in early 2013 compared to the 16,150 fatalities that were projected to have occurred in the first half of 2012.  National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2013, October). Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half of 2013.(Crash•Stats Brief Statistical Summary. Report No.DOT HS 811 845). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you look back over the years from 1994, there has continued to be a drop in fatal accidents year by year – with 40,716 deaths in 1994 down to 32,367 in 2011.  These number are obviously still significant numbers, especially if one of the victims is your loved one.  FARS Encyclopedia: Trends.

As a personal injury liability lawyer I can not help but to attribute the reduction in deaths to the many years of trial lawyers fighting for crashworthy vehicles, airbags, safer seat belts, better warnings and instructions on vehicles, tires and child seats.

If you are one of one of those whose life has been turned upside down by a fatal accident, please feel free to review our personal injury blog and our posts Automobile Insurance Made Easy, East Texas Auto Accident Lawyer, Truck Accident LawyerMotorcycle Accident Lawyer, Documenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?

If the accident was caused by a distracted driver, please see our posts; Distracted Drivers Hurt People and Texas Texting While Driving Ban Becomes Law. 

In cases in which governmental vehicles are involved, you may find helpful information in Governmental Tort Liability.

East Texas Personal Injury Attorney

We have experience with cases involving car and trucking accidents caused by negligent driving, and if you or one of your family members has been seriously injured or killed as a result of  a negligent driver and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Car and Trucking Accidents – Making an Insurance Claim

East Texas Car and Trucking Accidents

Experienced Car and Truck Accident Lawyer, Chris Jones of Longview, Texas is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and passionate in the representation of the victims of Driver Negligence.  Mr. Jones is rated as a preeminent Lawyer by his peers.Interstate 20 Auto Accident

It is very important to seek health care for your potential injuries caused by the accident.  Often, injuries are not noticed immediately after an accident because of the excitement surrounding the accident.  If you have any doubt as to whether you have been injured in a truck or car accident, you should immediately see  a health care provider.  It is also important to make sure the scene of the truck or car accident are documented.

We encourage you to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer before attempting to handle your trucking or automobile accident claim on your own.  In Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization certifies Personal Injury Trial Lawyers. Lawyers with experience handling trucking and automobile accidents should understand how to deal with the insurance company and help you avoid the potential pitfalls of handling your claim on your own.  Please remember, the insurance adjuster has been trained to handle accident claims, works for the insurance company and has experience dealing with  claims involving automobile accidents and trucking accidents on a day-to-day basis.  The less the insurance company pays out in claims, the higher the potential bottom line for the company.

Please feel free to review our personal injury blog and our posts Automobile Insurance Made Easy, East Texas Auto Accident Lawyer, Truck Accident LawyerMotorcycle Accident Lawyer, Documenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?

In cases in which governmental vehicles are involved, you may find helpful information in Governmental Tort Liability.

East Texas Personal Injury Attorney

We have experience with cases involving car and trucking accidents caused by negligent driving, and if you or one of your family members has been seriously injured or killed as a result of  a negligent driver and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Safety Tips from over 27 years of Practicing Personal Injury Law

Personal Injury LawyersBuyer Beware see a lot of death, pain, suffering and horrible injuries.  The immediate goal is to obtain redress for our clients.  The ultimate goal, however, for every lawyer, should be to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths so that others may avoid what our clients have suffered.

In this regard, I am sharing my list of things I’ve learned over the years to help keep me and my family  safer:

  • Keep your eyes on the road;
  • Driving while intoxicated is just plain stupid and can ruin your life and the lives of others;
  • Driving while using a smart phone to text, surf the internet, or use social media may be as bad as driving while intoxicated;
  • Do not drive or fly if you are fatigued;
  • Slow down;
  • Maintain sufficient space between your vehicle and others;
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, look at the safety data; (see Crashworthiness – Protect Yourself)
  • Wear your seatbelt;
  • Nothing good happens after midnight;
  • Use nose plugs when submerging you head in warm fresh water;
  • Use distilled water in products that force water up your nose;
  • If you drop a tire off the road, slow down before you try to correct back onto the road;
  • Vehicles are not designed for aggressive turns;
  • Read and follow the instructions, especially the warning labels;
  • Never fly into weather;
  • Always do a preflight check;
  • Never remove safety guards from equipment;
  • Read your safety manual, and follow it;
  • If you are concerned that someone doesn’t understand, they probably don’t;
  • Keep the car doors locked while driving;
  • If it can happen, assume it will;
  • Never point a gun in a direction where it is not safe to fire;
  • Never drive a vehicle in a direction in you cannot see;
  • Never rely on backup alarms alone;
  • Use lockout tagout;
  • Wear your safety equipment – hard hat, steel toe shoes, safety glasses, etc…
  • Use fall protection;
  • Better done safely than done quickly;
  • Any risk of serious injury or death that can be reduced or eliminated using means that are technologically and economically available is an unreasonable risk.

NFPA offers free safety tip sheets on a variety of fire and life safety topics.  OSHA has a number of publications that are specific to a variety of situations.

Please feel free to comment with your suggested additions to this list.

We have experience with many types of accidents, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one and need a Texas accident attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Rules of Evidence in Jury Trials

If you have ever served on a jury or watched trials on television, you have seen lawyers object to evidence that the jury was not allowed to see. It raises the question in the jury’s mind of “why they are keeping information from us if the trial is about truth and justice”. The answer to this question lies in the rules of evidence. The Texas Rules of Evidence state that ” [t]hese rules shall be construed to secure fairness in administration, elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay, and promotion of growth and development of the law of evidence to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.” The Federal Rules of Evidence have a similar purpose.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

One issue that seems to come up in voir dire is insurance. The rules state that “[e]vidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully.” Rule 11. There are circumstances where the existence of insurance coverages is allowed in evidence, but the general assumption by Defendants is that the jury is more likely to find liability if they know the Defendant is insured. Watch the lawyers in the courtroom freeze when insurance is mentioned by a witness, jury panel member or anyone. In fact, courts will go so far as to prevent the lawyers from asking if anyone works for an insurance company during voir dire – hence the question “is anyone involved in the claims handling process”.

CHARACTER EVIDENCE

Character Evidence is another area that can cause a fight “outside the presence of the jury”. Rule 404 provides ” [E]vidence of a person’s character or character trait is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion”. In other words, the jury should not find that a person or entity is guilty of a wrongful act on a particular occasion on the basis that they had done it before. Character evidence may be admissible if it is a habit or to prove defect in a product where there have been other similar instances.

SUBSEQUENT REMEDIAL MEASURES

After an accident, the defendant may take measures that, if taken before the accident, would have made the injury or harm less likely to occur. Although there are circumstances where such measures are admissible, Rule 407 provides that evidence of the subsequent remedial measures is not admissible to prove negligence, culpable conduct, a defect in product, a defect in product’s design, or a need for a warning or instruction. The rationale behind the rule is that you do not want to penalize or prevent a Defendant from doing what is necessary to prevent others from being injured.

OPINIONS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY

Rule 702 seems like a simple rule: “[i]f scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.” In cases involving experts, huge amounts of time are spent dealing with whether an expert should be allowed to testify. Ultimately, it is up to the jury to decide whether to believe an expert, but case-law requires the Court to act as a gatekeeper and examine the qualifications of an expert and the opinions they are giving before allowing them to testify.

Obviously, there are many Rules of Evidence, but these are examples of areas that may come up during a trial that require the court to dismiss the jury to the jury room so that rulings can be made.

It may seem that the Court and lawyers are wasting the jury’s time or hiding evidence from the jury, but what they are doing is following the rules in an effort to see that “the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.”  In you are on a jury, simply follow the Court’s instructions, require the other jurors to do the same, and justice should be served.

If you are in need of an experienced  Personal Injury or Labor and Employment Lawyer in East Texas or local counsel in Gregg County or the Eastern District of Texas,  please contact Chris Jones or Michelle Jones, Jones & Jones, Attorneys at Law, at 888-236-4878 or contact us by email.

Car Accidents, Negligent Driving, East Texas Attorney

Texas Car Accidents

Car Accidents are caused by negligent driving. Yes, this is obvious, but what exactly does negligent driving mean?

If you have a car wreck and end up in court, the question for the jury will be:

Did the negligence, if any, of DEFENDANT DRIVER proximately cause the accident in question?  YES or NO

” Negligence,” when used with respect to the conduct of DEFENDANT DRIVER means failure to use ordinary care, that is, failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances or doing that which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.

The law requires ______________. A failure to comply with this law is negligence in itself.

It is safe to assume that “a person of ordinary prudence” will follow the Texas Drivers Handbook.  But when was the last time you looked through the Texas Drivers Handbook?  Take a look now.  You will find something you didn’t know about driving, or that you have forgotten.

Have you ever read the Texas Rules of the Road in Chapter 545 of the Texas Transportation Code?  There are specific requirements for drivers depending on the situation.  Do it wrong and you may not only receive a citation, but may also be found guilty of negligence per se if you cause an accident. Negligence per se is when a person’s expected standard of conduct is defined by a statute – instead of being judged by the ordinary prudent person test.  In other words, fill in the blank above with the law violated and the judge is now instructing the jury that the DEFENDANT DRIVER was negligent.

Did you know that there are also specific laws on what you must do if you are in an accident?  Please also review  CHAPTER 550. ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS of the Texas Transportation Code.

NHTSA did a study in 2008 and found that motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for every age 3 through 6 and 8 through 34.  There many statistics,  but one death caused by negligent driving is one death too many.

Know the rules of the road,  keep your eyes on the road, put down the cell phone, do not drive if you are intoxicated or fatigued, and drive defensively.

To avoid car accidents the Texas Drivers Handbook recommends:

DEFENSIVE DRIVING
To avoid crashes, the defensive driver should:
1. Stay alert and keep his eyes moving so that he [or she] can keep track of what is happening at all times.
2. Look for trouble spots developing all around him [or her].
3. Have a plan of action if the other driver does the wrong thing.
4. Know that the law requires drivers to protect each other from their own mistakes.

You cannot drive defensively if you are DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED.  According to NHTSA, you are 23 times more likely to be in a crash if you text while driving.  So “OMG” please put down the phone and watch the road while driving.

If the accident was caused by a distracted driver, please see our posts; Distracted Drivers Hurt People and Texas Texting While Driving Ban Becomes Law. 

This post was not meant to be the lecture it turned out to be.  Oh well, if it helps one person drive safer, then it was worth posting.

Please also refer to our personal injury blog and our posts, East Texas Auto Accident Lawyer, Truck Accident LawyerMotorcycle Accident Lawyer,  Documenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?

East Texas Personal Injury Attorney

We have experience with cases involving car accidents caused by negligent driving, and if you or one of your family members has been seriously injured or killed as a result of negligent driving and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Texas Truck Accidents

18 Wheeler Truck Accidents

Truck accidents accounted for 3,380 fatalities and 74,000 people injured in the United States in 2009.  296,000 large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) were involved in traffic crashes according the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Texas has one of the best systems of interstates and highways.  A map of the United States Interstate System reveals why there are a large number of 18 wheeler trucks on the roads of Texas.  Unfortunately, trucks on the roads ultimately lead to truck accidents, injuries and deaths and the need for an experienced Texas truck accident Lawyer.

Truck drivers have a difficult job.  They are subject to a number of laws and regulations.  Even though there are regulations concerning hours of service, truck drivers drive for long hours – and must be completely attentive the entire time. If a truck driver daydreams, texts or simply fails to keep their eyes on the road, they can quickly cause an accident.  Many truck accidents are catastrophic.

Although most 18 wheeler truck drivers do not understand physics formulas and calculations, they must respect the laws of physics if they are to avoid accidents. You do not need to understand Albert Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence equation (E = mc2) to realize that an 80,000 pound mass traveling at a speed of 55 to 75 mph is a huge amount of potentially destructive energy that must be controlled by the driver.

Federal Motor Carrier Rules and Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) provide rules and regulations that Federal Motors Carriers must follow. The Texas Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Handbook provides driver license testing information for drivers who wish to have a Texas commercial driver license (CDL). Thankfully, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are being amended to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. There are many rules and regulations which, if followed, will help avoid truck accidents.

Truck Accident Evidence

Every truck accident is different, but there is important evidence that should be collected after any trucking accident.  The regulations require the drivers to keep logs which can be examined.  The truck and its maintenance records are important evidence.  Some trucks may be equipped with GPS and other transmitters that allow the home base to locate the truck and monitor the speeds of the truck.  There should be fuel receipts that can be used to retrace the route taken, and may help determine the hours worked and speeds driven by the driver.  If documented soon after the accident, the scene will have clues as to what happened.  In more serious accidents, the highway patrol will often document the scene and perform an accident reconstruction. Eyewitnesses can be extremely important evidence.  There are many other types of evidence that may be important.  The trucking companies know this and start collecting evidence immediately.  For this reason, it is important to hire a lawyer with whom you are comfortable as soon as possible after an accident.

You may also refer to our posts, Truck Accident Lawyer, Documenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?.

Experienced Texas Truck Accident Attorney

We have experience with truck accidents, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident and need a Texas truck accident attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris Jones, Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Compensation

What is my personal injury or wrongful death claim worth?

This is the question asked by those with personal injuries or a wrongful death claim resulting from wrongful conduct, whether from negligence in a car accident or truck wreck, injury in the oilfield, or as a result of a defective product, etc..  It is the question that the Defendant, Insurance Adjuster and Defense Lawyer must consider in determining whether to settle a personal injury claim.

The answer to the question is that the claim is worth whatever the trier of fact (judge, jury or arbitrator) may ultimately decide after considering the elements of damages available in a particular claim – if their decision is allowed to stand after any available appeals are exhausted. Accordingly, documentation of personal injury damages is extremely important.

Every client is different.  Every claim is different.  Every judge and jury is different and every lawyer presenting the case is different.  Without a crystal ball, there is no certain answer.

Often, it is the uncertainty and the desire to control the outcome that leads to the settlement of cases.

Personal Injury Damages

You must understand what types of personal injury damages are available for your case (known by lawyers as the elements of damages).  Looking at the questions that will ultimately be decided by the trier of fact (judge or jury) is a great way to start understand what you may or may not be entitled to receive. In Texas, we have the Pattern Jury Charges, which are a good resource to see what the trier of fact will decide.

Generally, these are the elements to be considered in a Texas personal injury case:

Damages to Injured Person

  • Physical pain and mental anguish sustained in the past.
  • Physical pain and mental anguish that, in reasonable probability,
    will be sustained in the future.
  • Loss of earning capacity sustained in the past.
  • Loss of earning capacity that, in reasonable probability, will be
    sustained in the future.
  • Disfigurement sustained in the past.
  • Disfigurement that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in
    the future.
  • Physical impairment sustained in the past.
  • Physical impairment that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained
    in the future.
  • Medical care expenses incurred in the past.
  • Medical care expenses that, in reasonable probability, will be incurred
    in the future.

Damages to the Spouse of an Injured Person

  • Loss of household services sustained in the past.
  • Loss of household services that, in reasonable probability, [Spouse of Injured Person] will sustain in the future.
  • Loss of consortium in the past.
  • Loss of consortium that, in reasonable probability, [Spouse of Injured Person] will sustain in the future.

Survival and Wrongful Death Damages

In Texas, the estate of a deceased or heirs may be able to recover compensation for the deceased under the Survival Statute.

Survival Damages

  • Pain and mental anguish.
  • Medical expenses.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

In addition, there is a Wrongful Death Statute that allows the spouse, children and parents of someone killed by a wrongful act to recover compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Wrongful Death Damages

  • Pecuniary loss sustained in the past.
  • Pecuniary loss that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the
    future.
  • Loss of companionship and society sustained in the past.
  • Loss of companionship and society that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the future.
  • Mental anguish sustained in the past.
  • Mental anguish that, in reasonable probability, will be sustained in the future
  • Loss of inheritance.

Exemplary Damages

In certain cases exemplary damages may be awarded as a penalty or by way of punishment but not for compensatory purposes. Exemplary damages include punitive damages.

There is much law on what and when personal injury and wrongful death compensation is available. This post is simply to give you are general idea of what types of damages may be available.  For further information on this topic, please  refer to the article by Stephen M. Horner. Assessing Economic Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation: The State of Texas. Journal of Forensic Economics 20 (1), 2007, pp. 49-71.

If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident, please do not hesitate to give Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Documenting Personal Injury Damages

Documenting your personal injury damages after an accident causing personal injuries or death is extremely important.  Juries come into the courtroom conditioned by cries for tort reform and claims of jackpot justice.  For jurors to understand your damages, especially your personal injuries such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, they must see them to appreciate them.

Even though most cases settle, a fair settlement is based upon what the jury may find as the dollar amount of damages.  It is easy to calculate past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past lost earnings, future loss of earning capacity and property damages.  Pain and suffering, mental anguish and physical impairment are more difficult to prove and often depend on how well these damages are documented.

Photographs and video are excellent ways to document personal injury damages.  With cell phones that take photos and videos, there are many opportunities to make a record of the accident scene, property damage, bruises, lacerations, stitches,  hospital stays, trips to the doctor, difficulty in doing simple things such as getting dressed or grooming.  Bruises fade, stitches and casts are removed and thankfully, people get better.

Photographs or videos?  It depends on the situation, but both are usually the best answer.  Digital photos and videos  are easy to share, and the videos can be edited to make the trial presentation flow.

Obviously, seeking medical care is the first priority!  When possible you should always photograph and video your injuries and damage to the vehicles.  If you are documenting the accident scene, do it safely.  Do not get in the roadway and cause another accident!

Consider having someone video you doing the simple activities that are difficult because of your injuries.

If the accident involves a death, consider documenting the funeral.  You should also gather photographs of your lost loved one doing the things they enjoyed and spending time with the family.

Finally, as creepy as it seems, be aware that the Defendant may attempt to video or photograph you doing things that you say you cannot do.  If there is a vehicle with dark windows sitting across the street, you may be being watched!

If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident, please do not hesitate to give Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Automobile Insurance Made Easy

The Texas Department of Insurance has a great page entitled Automobile Insurance Made Easy where they describe the 8 automobile insurance basic coverages.   It is important to understand these coverages after an accident;

1.  Liability  (Basic liability coverage meets the state’s financial responsibility requirement.)

2.  Collision (damage to your car)

3.  Comprehensive (physical damage other than collision)

4.  Medical Payments

5.  Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

An insurance company must offer you $2,500 in PIP, but you can buy more. If you don’t want PIP, you must reject it in writing.

6.  Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM UIM)

There are two types of UM UIM coverage:

  • Bodily injury UM/UIM pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability. There is not a deductible with this type.
  • Property damage UM/UIM pays for auto repairs, a rental car, and damage to items in your car.

Insurance companies must offer UM/UIM coverage. If you don’t want it, you must reject it in writing.

7. Towing and Labor

8.  Rental Reimbursement

It may be even more important to understand what the coverages you are receiving when purchasing your automobile insurance.  You do not want to learn after an accident that you would be able to recover you losses if you would have purchased one of the above coverages.  We recommend purchasing coverage beyond the state mandated Liability coverage.  Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverages are both important coverages to have to help protect yourself and your family.  Again, you must reject both of these coverages in writing.  Please have your insurance agent explain all of the coverages in detail, but understand the benefits of Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverage before rejecting them.  If you are involved in a car accident, there is a good chance that you will wish you had not rejected these coverages.

Please also refer to our personal injury blog and our posts, East Texas Auto Accident Lawyer, Truck Accident LawyerMotorcycle Accident LawyerDocumenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?

I you have been involved in a car accident and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Crashworthiness – Protect Yourself

Crashworthiness – the degree to which a vehicle will protect its occupants from the effects of an accident. The easiest way to understand “crashworthiness’ is to imagine that you are in the grocery store buying eggs. They are stacked in a basket and you need carry them to the register and then take them home without breaking them. How are you going to do it? You need to put them in a container that will protect them. Thankfully, Joseph Coyle of British, Columbia invented the egg carton. The carton keeps the eggs enclosed, keeps the eggs from contacting each other and absorbs energy and shocks, and doesn’t collapse when stacked. The more crashworthy the carton, the safer the eggs. Thank you Mr. Coyle.

The same principles apply to protecting us. If the automotive and child restraint manufacturers apply these principles in their designs, it can help prevent catastrophic injuries and deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a website dedicated to Vehicle Safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is also “dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from crashes on the nation’s highways” and also publishes vehicle safety information. Another NHTSA website to research is safercar.gov.

What can we do with this information? Since crashworthiness is about preventing injuries and deaths, the time to learn about it is before you or you family members are in a crash. Research the vehicles you drive. Research before you buy new vehicles. Research child restraints before you buy them for your children. Understand how to use them. Always take them time to make sure you and your passengers are buckled, and bucked properly. Even the best seat belts and child restraints can not protect you if you do not use them.

Finally, if you or you loved ones have been seriously injured in a crash and the vehicle failed to protect you please see our post Defective Products. We have handled a number of vehicle crashworthiness lawsuits against the automotive manufacturers, and have hopefully helped make vehicles safer. If you need an experienced Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Car Accident, Now What?

You have been involved in a car accident.  Now what?

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH from Chapter 11 of the Texas Driver’s Handbook provides:

1. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash (or as close as possible to the scene of the crash) without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If your vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the crash, you must immediately return to the scene of the crash. You must remain at the scene of the crash until you have complied with the following:

a. Give your name and address, the registration number of the vehicle you were driving, and the name of your motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

b. Show your driver license (if requested and available) to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; and

c. Provide any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangement for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

Failure to stop and comply with the above requirements is an offense punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for up to 5 years; confinement in the county jail for up to 1 year; a fine not to exceed $5,000; or both the fine and imprisonment or confinement. (This is for the 1st offense. Second and subsequent offenses have enhanced penalties.)

2. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting ONLY in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close as possible to the scene of the crash without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If your vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the crash, you must scene of the crash (or, if the crash occurs on a main lane, ramp, or shoulder, median, or adjacent area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move their vehicle as soon as possible to a designated crash investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location) until you have complied with the following:

a. Give your name and address, the registration number of the vehicle you were driving, and the name of your motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

b. Show your driver license (if requested and available) to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; and

c. Provide any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangement for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

3. If you are operating a motor vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle, you must immediately stop and;

a. Locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle; or

b. Leave in a conspicuous place in (or securely attach in a plainly visible way to) the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.

4. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting ONLY in damage to a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway, you must:

a. Take reasonable steps to locate the owner (or person in charge) of the property and to notify them of the crash and of your name and address and the registration number of the vehicle you were driving;

b. If requested and available, you must show your driver license to the owner or person in charge of the property; and

c. If the crash is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and the crash resulted in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more, you must make a written report of the crash and file the report with the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash.

Failure to comply with the above requirements is an offense. If the damage to ALL vehicles is less than $200, this offense is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. If the damage to ALL vehicles is $200 or more, this offense is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for up to 180 days; or both such fine and confinement. (This is for the 1st offense. Second and subsequent offenses have enhanced penalties).

5. If you are operating a vehicle involved in a crash that results in injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven, you must immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the crash to the: local police department if the crash occurred in a municipality; local police department or the sheriff’s office if the crash occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or sheriff’s office or the nearest office of the Texas Department of Public Safety if occurs elsewhere.

6. When you give your name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information to anyone who was involved in the crash, if requested and available, you must also show your driver license to the other driver(s) involved in the crash. Be sure to get the same information from the other driver(s). Record the insurance company name and the policy number exactly as shown on the driver’s proof-of-insurance card. Similar company names can cause confusion. If you have the name of the driver’s company, call the Texas Department of Insurance toll-free at 1-800-252-3439 to get the company address and telephone number.

7. Remember, if you are involved in a crash and the crash is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and the crash resulted in death or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more, you must make a written report of the crash and must file the written report with the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash. The written report must be on the appropriate form approved by the Department.

8. If you are involved in a hit-and-run crash, report this to a law enforcement agency for investigation. The Texas Department of Insurance advises that uninsured motorist coverage will pay for damage in hit-and-run crashes reported to a law enforcement agency.

AIDING THE INJURED

When calling a doctor or ambulance, state the place of the crash clearly and correctly.  Do not assume that people are not injured simply because they say they are not. Send for skilled help as quickly as possible. Unskilled handling can do more harm than good.

Do not move or lift the victim unless it is absolutely necessary. If victims must be moved get help and try not to change the position in which they were found.

Stop serious bleeding with thick cloth pads, as clean as possible, applied with pressure by hand or by bandaging.

Keep the victim comfortable. If it is hot, cool the victim and provide shade as much as possible. If it is cool, cover the victim with blankets or coats if necessary and if available.

After obtaining health care, you should consider hiring a lawyer.  You will also want to notify your insurance company of the accident.   You should seriously consider hiring a lawyer before giving  statements, allowing anyone to record you or signing anything.

There are also specific laws on what you must do if you are in a car accident.  Please also review  CHAPTER 550. ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS of the Texas Transportation Code.

If the accident involved a 18 wheeler truck, please see our post Texas Truck Accidents.  Please also see our Negligent Driving post.

Please see our page Hiring a Lawyer for more information. We have experience with car  accidents, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident and need an East Texas  attorney, please do not hesitate to give Longview Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

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