Car accidents take a great toll in human suffering, causing death and disability in Texas and nationwide. Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 2.3 million people suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents in 2013, which was less than the previous year: 2.4 million injuries occurred in 2012. Passenger cars, primarily because they are the most numerous vehicles on the roads, account for more injuries and deaths than any other single vehicle type.
Travis County Motor Vehicle Accident Trends
Austin, TX is located within Travis County. The above chart shows the total number of motor vehicle accidents in Travis County, TX from 2006 to 2015. As of 2015 there was a total of 17,804. This is a staggering 13.18% increase from the vehicle accident totals in 2006, which had a total of 15,730 accidents that year.
Fatal Car Accidents
In recent years, car accident fatalities have been numbering well in excess of 30,000 each year in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the annual cost of car crashes to our economy is around $242 billion dollars.
In 2014, 3,534 lost their lives in fatal traffic accidents in Texas at an estimated economic cost of $28,800,000,000.
Types of Austin Auto Accidents
Rear End Collisions: Rear end collisions, the most frequent of all traffic accident types, are usually caused by distracted driving, speeding, and/or tailgating. They are nearly always considered to be the fault of the driver in the rear who failed to maintain the proper distance between vehicles. While rear end accidents result in fewer fatalities than some other types of accident, injuries can be serious. Soft tissue injuries to the spinal cord, neck and back from rear-end crashes can be extremely painful and persistent; but they may be difficult to prove, because sprains and strains don’t show up on x-rays. Herniated discs, which may require surgery, are also common in rear-end crashes. Many insurance companies routinely deny claims related to rear-end accidents, so you need to fight back by hiring a good Austin auto accident lawyer to negotiate a fair and appropriate settlement if you’ve sustained this type of injury.
Head-on Collisions: The most deadly of all car accident types, head-to-head collisions often result in fatal and catastrophic injuries. They are usually the result of driver impairment, whether distracted driving, driving while over-fatigued, or driving drunk or drugged. The impaired or inattentive driver drifts out of the correct lane, travels the wrong way onto a one-way street, or enters a highway ramp going the wrong way and drives into the path of vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Undivided roads in rural areas are associated with the highest number of head-ons.
T-Bone Accidents: A t-bone collision is a direct impact between the front of one car and the side of another at a right angle, often occurring at an intersection when one car runs a stop sign or red light. T-bones are often deadly, causing fatalities and catastrophic injuries.
Sideswipes: Sideswipe auto accidents tend not to be as serious as t-bones, although they often cause neck and back injuries. A sideswipe is a glancing impact to the side of another car that may occur when a driver switches lanes without checking the blind spot. Insurance companies tend to deny most sideswipe injury claims, so make sure you have a good personal injury lawyer to help make your legal case if you’ve been injured in this type of collision.
Rollovers: Another extremely serious accident type, a rollover is when a car flips over, often when going around a sharp curve, and then rolls onto its roof. Occupants can be thrown from the vehicle and crushed as it rolls onto them, or they may be caught inside and crushed when the roof collapses. Rollovers are more common on older SUVs manufactured before 1993 that have a high center of gravity. These accidents can be attributed to faulty vehicle design. Newer model SUVs have been redesigned for better stability.
Texas Vehicle Accidents By Vehicle Body Type
In the above chart, we displayed a breakdown of the motor vehicle accidents in Texas by vehicle body type. The mass majority of the accidents each year involving passenger vehicles, however there were quite a few accidents involving larger vehicles like pickups trucks and sport utility vehicles, or SUVs, for short. There were increases in accidents across the board from 2014 to 2015. We saw a 8.58% increase in passenger vehicle accidents. For pickup trucks, there was a 8.64% increase. And for SUVs, there was a 10.64% increase from the previous year. And for van accidents, there was a 4.95% increase.
Pedestrian vs. Car Accidents
Perhaps you were not driving, but were hit by a car as a pedestrian. Drivers owe a duty of care to others with whom they share the road. Pedestrians are, of course, extremely vulnerable when hit by cars weighing several thousand pounds. Pedestrian accidents are often fatal or catastrophic.
Running lights, failing to yield the right-of-way, and running off the road onto a sidewalk or shoulder are negligent acts on the part of a driver that can easily injure or kill a pedestrian. If you’ve been hit or a family member has been killed as a pedestrian, waste no time getting a lawyer. The insurance company can be relied on to try to place the blame for the accident on you. You need a powerful legal advocate to fight for your rights.
As with pedestrians, bicyclists are highly vulnerable in accidents with cars. Many drivers seem to feel that cyclists have no right to be on the road. Not true. You have every legal right to be there, and impatient or aggressive drivers can be made to pay for their wrongdoing if they knock you down. But it’s never easy. They will attempt to blame you for being in their way. Your lawyer will protect your rights against insurance company tactics in the event of a bicycle accident in Austin.
Underlying Causes of Texas Car Accidents
Most car accidents in Texas are caused by someone’s bad driving and could be prevented. But road hazards and defects in cars can also cause preventable crashes. Keep reading to learn about the underlying causes of Texas car crashes caused by the negligence or error of some party other than the accident victim: distracted driving; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI); speeding and aggressive driving; road hazards, and manufacturing and design defects.
Heading the list of car crash causes is driving while distracted. Distracted driving has always caused accidents, but today’s technology has produced more distractions than ever before, and the Smartphone tops the list.
It only takes seconds of inattention for a driver to wander into the wrong lane, the wrong way onto a highway entrance ramp or one-way street, run a stop sign or red light, fail to yield the right-of-way, or hit a pedestrian or bicycle rider.
For more information, see our page about Austin Distracted Driving Accidents.
DUI: Drunk and Drugged Driving
Another major cause of crashes, which comes as news to no one, is drunk driving and driving while under the influence of drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational. DUI was the cause of 10,322 fatalities in the U.S. in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Drunk driving accidents (blood alcohol content over .08) take a life every 51 minutes, MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) reports, in addition to causing countless devastating injuries. The cost of impaired driving to society is more than $132 billion annually, in addition to the suffering of victims’ families.
In Texas, 1,041 fatalities were DUI-related in 2014.
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Exceeding the legal speed limit and failing to slow down to accommodate weather and traffic conditions can result in deadly crashes. When a driver loses control of a speeding car, resulting high-impact collisions are often deadly and catastrophic. Speeding contributes to about a third of all traffic accidents. If you’ve can show that the person who caused your accident was speeding, you will have the right to make a claim against the driver to be compensated for your damages.
Aggressive driving is often paired with speeding. It includes cutting other vehicles off, weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, using obscene gestures and language directed at other drivers, and displaying road rage. These aggressive behaviors can lead to serious accidents in which the aggressive driver can often be held liable for injuries or death that result.
Excessive Speeding Fatality Breakdowns: The Disastrous Repercussions
When a driver is driving recklessly above the speed limit, there can be fatal results…not just for the speeding driver, but other people on the roadways as well. Below is a breakdown of the total number fatalities each year in Texas since 2010:
- 165 Speeding Drivers
- 57 Passengers
- 62 Non-speeding Drivers
- 13 Pedestrians
Total: 297 Fatalities
(NOTE: There has been a 13.4% decrease in speed related fatalities comparing 2014 numbers to 2015. We hope for more decreases each year!)
- 210 Speeding Drivers
- 66 Passengers
- 62 Non-speeding Drivers
- 5 Pedestrians
Total: 343 Fatalities
- 182 Speeding Drivers
- 51 Passengers
- 58 Non-speeding Drivers
- 8 Pedestrians
Total: 299 Fatalities
- 173 Speeding Drivers
- 68 Passengers
- 48 Non-speeding Drivers
- 5 Pedestrians
Total: 294 Fatalities
- 185 Speeding Drivers
- 47 Passengers
- 49 Non-speeding Drivers
- 7 Pedestrians
Total: 288 Fatalities
- 198 Speeding Drivers
- 72 Passengers
- 44 Non-speeding Drivers
- 9 Pedestrians
Total: 323 Fatalities
We read about it all the time: cars being recalled for manufacturing defects that have been found to cause accidents. Sometimes it a manufacturing auto defect, sometimes it is a design defect that makes the vehicle inherently dangerous, and sometimes it is a faulty component. In 2014, more than 62 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S., more than any prior year. Defective tires, brakes, steering, air bags, acceleration, and a plethora of other problems have resulted in people being killed and injured.
Dangerous defects are generally discovered only after they have caused accidents.
Manufacturers of defective products are held strictly liable for any harm they cause, meaning you don’t have to prove negligence; you do need to demonstrate that it was the defect that caused the accident and that you suffered demonstrable damages.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Potholes, cracks, ruts, and other pavement defects, lack of a level shoulder, debris and construction materials left in the road, missing or confusing signs or pavement markings, blown out tire treads (“road alligators”) and poorly designed highways are some dangerous conditions that can cause car wrecks. The negligent party may be a civil engineering firm that designed the road, a construction company under contract to build or repair the road, a government department responsible for maintaining the road, or a truck that has dropped cargo or littered the highway with blown-out tire treads. These cases can be tough. Government immunity, compliance with engineering standards, and identification of the actual cause can complicate matters and make liability difficult to establish. You need a good car accident injury lawyer, such as the Austin personal injury attorneys at Briggle & Polan, PLLC. We have the connections and resources to call upon appropriate experts to assist in building a powerful case and to testify in your behalf in depositions or at trial.
Auto Accident Injuries
You may be the most careful driver in the world and still be seriously injured in a car accident. You can control the way you drive, but there’s nothing you can do to prevent the dangerous behavior of others who cause accidents. You may find your life torn apart by catastrophic injuries that someone else caused. At Briggle & Polan, we help clients with a great variety of painful, debilitating, and life-wrecking accident injuries. For example:
- TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Spinal cord injuries causing complete or partial paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia
- Severe burns
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Damage to vital organs
- Internal bleeding
- Neck and back injuries
- Herniated discs
- Damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Joint injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Blindness and deafness
- Lacerations, abrasions, and scarring
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
- Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What You Do after the Accident Can Affect Your Case
- The most important thing for you to do when you’ve been injured is to get medical attention right away. Get checked out, even if you don’t feel all that bad. Adrenaline masks pain. You may feel a lot worse tomorrow. Don’t take chances; have a doctor look you over as soon as possible.
- Assuming you are conscious and able to speak, get the names of the driver and owner of the car that caused the accident, along with the plate number and insurance information.
- Write down names and contact information of any witnesses.
- If you are able, take photos of the accident scene and the vehicles involved, including points of impact,
- Call law enforcement and make a report.
- Do not discuss the accident or your injuries with anyone at the scene.
- And most importantly, do not discuss the accident with the insurance adjuster or allow any company representative to record a statement from you. Do not sign anything, unless directed to do so later on by your attorney. The adjuster is looking for ways to protect the company’s bottom line—not to help you. Stick to your guns and refer the adjuster to your lawyer.
In Pursuit of Justice: Recovering Compensation for Damages
Texas is a liability state, and in order to recover money for your damages you need to prove:
- That the other party caused the accident
- That as a result of that accident you suffered real, demonstrable damages
This is best accomplished with the help of an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer.
When your life has been damaged by someone else’s wrongdoing, you may feel powerless, angry, and frustrated. It is entirely possible that you will never have the same quality of life you had before the accident, and if you lost a loved one in a fatal crash, nothing can bring that person back or alleviate the grief you feel. You may not feel up to going through the demanding process of filing a claim. But you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
When you have Austin personal injury attorneys Hayden Briggle and Parker Polan fighting for justice for you and your family, you will have a good shot at recovering enough money that you can get the medical care you need and be compensated for your lost earnings and accident related expenses, as well as for your pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life. We will handle everything for you, so you don’t have to deal with the stress of pursuing a claim and can focus on your healing.
Justice matters. It is important that negligent drivers and others be held accountable for the pain they’ve caused. And the money you’ll receive can go a long way toward giving you and your family the best possible life in the face of your losses.
Hit and Run Auto Accidents and Uninsured Drivers
In Texas, a few years back, almost one in every five drivers was uninsured. But that number has come down, and now stands at about 13 percent. But many drivers carry the bare minimum the law requires, which is often insufficient to cover large claims for serious and catastrophic injuries. Furthermore, sometimes a driver will cause an accident and flee from the scene, never to be identified. So how do you get paid in these hit and run accident cases?
Insurance companies don’t always like to tell you about it, although they are required to by law, but you should always take the optional uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) when buying car insurance. If you have UIM coverage, and the other driver is not insured, is underinsured, or flees the scene, you will be able to make a claim for damages with your own insurance carrier. Have your attorney review your coverage. Even if your insurance company denies that you have this important coverage, if they cannot prove that it was offered to you and if you did not decline it in writing, they may have to cover you. Your attorney will discover whether your insurance company will have to pay your claim. All discussions with your insurance company concerning UIM coverage should be handled by an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer.
Choose the Best Austin Auto Accident Lawyer for Your Texas Car Accident Case
For the best recovery award, you need experienced, aggressive, and focused legal counsel. The Austin Accident attorneys Hayden Briggle and Parker Polan form an exceptionally energetic and skilled legal team, committed to fighting for justice for you when you’ve been through so much. Located in Austin, our attorneys handle car accident cases throughout Texas. We are experienced negotiators who can often settle cases without your ever having to appear in court; but when a trial is needed to get you the money you need and deserve, you can count on us to be fully prepared to present a persuasive case to the jury.
If You May Have Been Partly to Blame
Call us even if you think you might have been partly at fault for the accident. Because Texas is a comparative negligence state, you may still be able to recover money for your injuries.
Free Consultation and You Never Write a Check for Legal Fees or Expenses!
We believe that equal justice is everyone’s right, regardless of financial status. You won’t pay us anything until you win money. That’s right–no win, no fee – ever. You have nothing to lose, but potentially a lot to gain. Call the Austin car accident attorneys at Briggle & Polan, PLLC today at 512-472-1926 to arrange for your free consultation and protect your legal right to the best monetary recovery the law allows.
Texas has strict time limits, known as statutes of limitations, on the amount of time you have to file your claim. If you wait, it could be too late. Make that call now for a better tomorrow.