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New Braunfels personal injury lawyerStatistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that more than 3 million people are injured in auto accidents each year. Many of these injured parties are victims of negligent drivers—motorists who were intoxicated, texting while driving, or otherwise behaving in a way that compromised the safety of those around them. The end result is a life that has been turned upside down. Sadly, it may be a long time before things are set right again. For some, life will never be the same. 

Long-Term Injuries and Wrongful Death

While some injuries do heal over a relatively short time period, there are those that can have long-lasting effects. Those that experience such injuries are likely to need rehabilitation, long-term medical care, and they may miss time from work. Some may be so severely injured that they are unable to return to the activities that they used to enjoy. Examples of severe and long-lasting injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

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New Braunfels personal injury attorneyEach month in the United States, there is a different issue that is focused on in order to help bring attention and education to the general population. The month of March is designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month, which is one reason why we recently wrote about brain injuries that are sustained in accidents caused by other parties’ negligence. The month of April, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks, is National Alcohol Awareness Month and safety advocates will not only provide information about alcohol addiction, but also to remind people about the tragic consequences of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

Alcohol Addiction

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence established National Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987. The goal was and still is to increase awareness about alcohol abuse and to help end the stigma often associated with alcohol addiction. In addition to the month-long awareness campaign, there is also an Alcohol-Free Weekend, usually held the first weekend of the month, where everyone is encouraged to remain alcohol-free for 72 hours.

It is estimated – based on a 2019 survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) – that there are almost 15 million Americans, 12 years or older, who have some level of alcohol addiction. The problem appears to be more prevalent in men, with 9 million estimated to have an alcohol problem, and 5.5 million women sharing this addiction.

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New Braunfels car accident lawyerEach year, around 2.5 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the United States, including many who were injured in car accidents and truck crashes. A large majority of TBI victims suffer only minor complications and eventually heal from their injuries. Tens of thousands of others per year, however, suffer either fatality (around 56,000 per year) or long-term complications that may ultimately lead to death. When such situations are the result of negligence, financial assistance to cover medical expenses, treatments, and life expenses is crucial. It is important to understand your right to pursue this compensation, and where you can find quality assistance to improve your chances of a positive outcome. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Negligence

Negligence is not a factor in every traumatic brain injury case, but it is more common than most people realize. For example, auto accidents are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Many traffic accidents are directly caused by drivers who fail to pay proper attention to their surroundings.

Falls, which are the leading cause of TBI, can also involve an element of negligence. Examples might include slip and fall injuries in a store, down a flight of stairs in a business establishment, or a fall in the parking lot of a grocery store. This is known as premises liability—a situation in which the owner of a building or parking lot has failed to ensure the safety of its patrons. 

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New Braunfels car accident lawyerAll states, including Texas, require that drivers carry auto insurance. Sadly, there are still situations in which you may be involved in a crash with an uninsured driver. For example, you might crash into someone who is driving a stolen car or a person who is explicitly excluded from the vehicle owner’s policy. Do you have any recourse in such a situation? What can you do about your medical bills? A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you find the answers to these questions and any others that you might have following an uninsured motorist accident.  

Do Not Make Assumptions About the Other Driver

Many people automatically assume that an uninsured driver is “poor.” More specifically, the common presumption is that since the driver does not have insurance, he or she cannot afford to pay out for medical expenses, property damage, or other losses experienced by the victim. This is not always the case, however. The driver who hit you could have been a young teen with a history of driving recklessly, so their parents took him or her off the policy to avoid liability. Such a driver could still have the means to cover your losses. Alternatively, the person that hit you could have non-liquid assets that a judge could find as sellable in order to cover your expenses. Either way, talk to an attorney before you make any decisions about what you think the other driver can afford to pay.

When All Else Fails

Not everyone can pursue damages from the uninsured driver after an accident. The person might not have any assets worth selling, or they may not even be a licensed driver. In such cases, your own insurance becomes the fail-safe option. Hopefully, you have comprehensive and collision coverage and possibly uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as well. Even if you do not, your insurance should at least cover your medical expenses. In such a situation, it is critical that you speak to an attorney. You might be surprised to learn what you can or cannot pursue compensation for, even when filing against your own insurance company. In addition, getting your insurer to pay your claim is not always as straightforward as it should be.

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Comal County personal injury attorney car accident

There is nearly an infinite number of issues that may cause a car accident. Driving under the influence, reckless driving, inattention to the road, and traffic law violations are some of the most common causes of auto accidents. However, in many cases, more than one factor leads to a car accident. For example, one motorist involved in an accident may have been driving over the speed limit while the other driver is texting and driving. You may wonder, “In car accidents involving shared blame, how is the at-fault driver determined? Can I still recover damages even if I am partially at fault for an accident?”   

Texas Comparative Negligence Law

The state of Texas uses what is known as a “modified comparative negligence” model for shared-fault personal injury cases. In Texas law, this is referred to a “proportionate responsibility.” This means that Texas courts allow injured individuals to seek compensation for their injuries even if they were partially to blame for the injuries. In fact, as long as an injured party was not more than 50 percent at fault for the incident that caused the injuries, he or she can still bring a court action for damages. 

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