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blind-spot-image One of the helpful tips we learn about in driver’s education is to check for blind spots and how to avoid them. Sometimes it’s a risk we ignore while driving until we nearly collide with another vehicle. Some of the most common blind spot accidents involve the driver not checking their surroundings before merging onto another lane and not adjusting their mirrors to see the blind spot as much as possible. We’ll discuss some ways on how to avoid an accident due to blind spots.

But first, what is a blind spot?

A blind spot is an area around your vehicle that is not viewable from the driver’s view. Individuals who drive SUVs, large trucks, or vans are the ones who experience significant blind spots. When they are not able to see smaller cars in their view, the likelihood of an accident happening increases. It is important to understand the dangers of blind spots and how to prevent them from being the cause of an accident. Here is a chart showing the blind spots for the driver of a car:

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drowsy-driving-picture We have become accustomed to living a fast pace life. We are continually trying to keep up with the business of life. For example, we strive to make it to appointments on time, complete specific tasks to meet a deadline or manage parenthood with young and energetic children. As we continue to live up to the expectations of our responsibilities and schedules, we get fatigued. To compound the problem, we often don’t get the proper sleep we need.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest study in 2107 concluded that 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. Out of the 91,000, people were injured in 50,000 of those crashes, and 800 resulted with fatalities. They also reported accidents that involve drowsiness occurring more frequently between midnight and 6 am as well as in the afternoon. Why is that? Because the circadian rhythm is known as your internal clock that is a part of the hypothalamus. The internal clock cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Adults commonly experience these cycles during these times because between midnight and 6 a.m., a time period when we people normally sleep. We become drowsy in the afternoon because we want to rest or nap after lunch, so it signals our body to release melatonin; thus, we become sleepy.

It is a false statement to conclude that driving tired or sleepy is safer than driving drunk. For example, an individual might be the designated driver when spending a night out with friends. If he is tired from a long, busy, hectic day without proper sleep the night before, even without drinking alcohol with his friend, he could very well be impaired and an unsafe designated driver. The reason for that is because the result of either driving intoxicated or driving sleepy is the same- impaired cognition and performance.

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road-rage-picture Why does road rage contribute to auto accidents?

As a society, we tend to be emotional drivers. Throughout the day, an individual can feel emotions such as excitement, anxiety, sadness, or frustration, depending on what a person deals with daily. All of these emotions hinder our ability to pair attention to the dangers of the road; thus our emotions become distractions. We develop these emotions when we get into a fight with a spouse, learn some frustrating news with work, or by the actions of other drivers. Statistically, Texas is one of the top states to have the most road rage drivers. One of the reasons could be that many of the Millennial generation consists of road rage drivers. This may be because this generation was taught to inhibit those behaviors while they drive. Children learn by example, so parents who expressed road rage taught their children to believe it is okay to act on their emotions while driving. This learn habit problem has caused many young drivers to exhibit road rage while driving.

How do you know if you have dealt with a road rage driver?

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motorcycle-picture In 2017, James Burton, an author for Worldatlas rated Texas as the third highest state, with a number of 443,856 registered motorcyclists. Many of these motorists choose to drive a motorcycle because of the purchase price compared to a four-door vehicle, affordable fuel costs, and the enjoyment of riding along on the motorcycle-friendly roads. The unfortunate factor of motorcycles, like unlike four-door cars, is they are more susceptible to experience a more serious vehicle accident. Motorists tend to use more speed on the roads to bypass traffic. Some motorists like to test their skills on the road, such as doing tricks while riding or zipping through lanes on the highway underestimating vehicles getting in their way. For example, earlier this summer a motorcycle driver died after a collision. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the motorcycle driver drove across three lanes colliding with another vehicle, and lastly, he hit a concrete barrier.

These accidents have the potential to be fatal because motorcycles lack the exterior steel frame, seat belts, and air bags. Since the motorist does not have these protections, they are more likely to experience serious injuries compared to the other driver involved. Some common injuries include extensive head/brain injuries, broken bones, burn marks from the pavement, and soft tissue injuries.

Regardless of the bias against motorcycles, they are not bad vehicles to invest in. However, there are some precautionary measures the riders should take into consideration as they are maneuvering through the roads, such as:

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teen-driver-picture August is the time of year children return to school. Many teenagers work all summer long to meet the requirements to receive a Texas driver’s license, so they can drive to school on their own. Although these young individuals might have met all of the requirements, they still lack the experience to maneuver through the fast pace of Texas roads. According to the Texas Department Transportation’s statistics, there were 211,803 car crashes of teen drivers who were younger than the age of 21 in 2017. 42,890 of those drivers were in accidents due to distractions, such as eating, drinking and/or focusing their attention to backseat passengers. 2,075 of those car crashes were a result of the teenager texting while driving. These statistics can be alarming for parents who know their teenagers are driving daily on busy highways and roads.

One way to reduce these horrifying statistics is to encourage parents to continuously remind their teen of safe driving tips; such as:

1. Millennials and Generation Z are the two generations who use cell phones. These two generations will not leave their destination without their phone on hand. However, cell phones are not entirely wrong, especially when parents need to get in touch with their child for specific reasons or emergency use. The problem with cell phone use is when the driver chooses to extend its use in the car by always choosing which song to play or responding to a message. It is encouraged for drivers to turn off their notifications on their phone. If the child has an iPhone turn the “Do Not Disturb” option on. This option silences calls, text messages, and notifications until the user turns it off.

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multi-car-collision-picture- Who’s at fault in a multiple vehicle collision?

Multiple vehicle car accidents can be one of the most dangerous collisions an individual can experience. These types of collisions can cause severe injuries to the parties involved. Some of the most common causes of multiple car accidents come from distracted drivers. Distracted drivers consist of people using their cell phone while driving, eating, or focusing their attention to the backseat passengers. Speeding is another well-known cause. People who are in a rush to get to another location tend to accelerate their speed as they drive reducing their ability to stop in time for traffic. Another common cause is weather. Inclement weather, such as fog or heavy rain cause drivers to have poor visibility on the roads. When an accident occurs due to one of these common causes the parties involved immediately question who’s at fault for the collision.

The question of who’s at fault is not always easily answered. In these situations, the parties involved tend to point the finger at each other. When liability is disputed, there are various factors to be taken into consideration.

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comparative-negligence-picture-I was hit in a car accident, but the other driver wants to blame me. Who’s at fault?

In the busy state of Texas, people are constantly going their own directions to get where they need to be. Many are in a rush to get to work, drop the kids off at school/day care, or arrive at an appointment on time. The craziness of everyone’s schedules can lead the driver to be negligent in some way, such as answering a phone call on their cell phone, or eating on the go. Along with many other common causes, these distractions can be one of the reasons why two drivers may be at fault for their collision. For example, a police officer gave one driver a ticket for speeding and gave a ticket to the other driver for reckless driving. This type of situation evolves into a comparative fault issue.

Depending on how the accident happened, it can become difficult to determine who caused the accident, which is how these cases can involve a Texas doctrine called comparative negligence. Section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code refers to this concept as proportionate responsibility. When one party (plaintiff) brings a personal injury claim against another party (defendant), the jury will determine the percentage of negligence (if any) of each party based on the evidence presented to them.

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Bicycle-Accident-picture I may have a bicycle accident claim, what can I do?

Bicycle accidents happen frequently in the all areas of Texas, urban and rural, especially during the fall, spring, and summer. People participate in cycling either causally with their family and friends or competitively. Regardless of how people enjoy this activity, they are still obligated to follow the rules and regulations of the road set forth in Texas state law. Motorists often do not pay attention to cyclists who are riding small, unprotected, light-weight bicycles. This inattention to cyclists often result in accidents. Some common bicycle accidents occur when a motorist fails to stop at a red light or stop sign; or swerves into a cyclist’s lane, or simply ignores the presence of the cyclist and strikes them while passing. Clearly when a motorized vehicle comes in contact with a cyclist, there is potential for property and personal injury damages to the cyclist.

When an accident like this occurs, the cyclist may be unsure if they are able to maintain a claim against the careless person who may have caused the accident. Nevertheless, it is important to collect as much evidence as one can while at the scene of the accident, such as taking photos of the vehicle and bicycle involved, the accident scene, and the injuries caused from the accident. Also, it is helpful to get a police report, contact information of any witnesses and the parties involved. If the cyclist sustained is injured, it is recommended that they get medical treatment as soon as possible.

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Pre-litigation-process-picture- Pre-litigation Process

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is constantly busy with traffic. Unfortunately, traffic contributes to automobile accidents whether the traffic is stop-and-go or an individual not paying attention to their surroundings. Once an individual is hit by another vehicle, he or she may be concerned with their bodily pain or they are worried about the property damage. Either one of those concerns is suitable enough to seek an attorney to determine how to address those concerns. The hired attorney or law firm will begin the case in pre-litigation.

Pre-litigation starts with a law firm sending a letter of representation to the insurance company. This letter informs the insurance company you are filing a claim against the person or company who caused the accident. The letter will include the attorney’s contact information, a brief summarization of the facts of the case, and the injuries the individual suffered as a result of the accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, the attorney’s office will advise the individual to see a doctor to receive medical treatment for their suffered injuries. If the doctor determines the individual’s injuries are more extensive than the care the doctor can provide, the doctor may refer the person to a specialist. The attorney’s office will gather all of the medical bills to calculate the total cost of treatment and other costs that were incurred due to the accident. For example, some of the other costs could be lost wages, the total cost of out-of-pocket medical expenses, and pain and suffering. All of these costs will be exhibited on a summary of expense sheet created by the attorney’s office. The is formally known as a demand letter.

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dram-shop-picture-Can I sue a bar or other liquored licensed vendor after an alcohol-related accident?

The term “Dramshop” refers to a shop typically known as a bar, tavern or restaurant to sell alcohol sold by the dram, which is a small unit of liquid. Wright v. Moffit 437 A.2d 554. The legislature enacted the Dram Shop Act to prevent bars, restaurants, clubs and other licensed vendors to not sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated individuals who could potentially harm others or themselves. Dram shop liability lawsuits are known in most states. The purpose of this law is to allow individuals to sue not only the person who caused the accident but the alcohol provider, for example, a bar, to prove that they were negligent in selling alcohol to an obvious intoxicated customer.

An individual who wishes to pursue this type of claim should be aware that there is absolutely no guarantee that the court will find the establishment liable to pay damages. The person needs to recognize that filing a claim against the establishment could be another source of recovery for the plaintiff. The complexity of Dram shop cases can be too challenging for one to handle on their own. To pursue a Dram shop case, the plaintiff will have to prove standard negligence and that it was apparent to the provider of the alcohol that the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated and presented a clear danger to himself and others. Washington v. Liem. The Act does not provide a definition of what “clear danger” is. An example would be an individual exceeded their limit of alcohol at a bar, an employee leads the intoxicated person to a room to sleep it off, and two hours later the employee escorts the intoxicated individual out of the bar. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, two hours of rest does not relieve the individual from their intoxication, especially if he or she leaves the bar driving a car, so it can be argued that the individual still presented a clear danger to himself and others. To prove the latter can be challenging because the establishment can easily claim they did not believe it was apparent the individual was heavily intoxicated.