Local sheriff investigates serious car accident

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and you’re looking to get compensation from the other driver, there are many pieces of evidence you’ll want to have to show that the other driver was at fault. One of these documents is the police report of the accident. The police report will need to be provided to your attorney and to your automobile insurance company so the appropriate damages can be pursued. Why Is a Police Report Important? As mentioned above, you’ll want to show that the other driver was at fault for the car accident and any resulting injuries. A police report is one of the most useful ways to prove fault because it generally includes detailed observations from the officer who was on the scene. Helpful evidence that is commonly included in a police report includes: Facts about the scene of the accident – These can include information about the weather conditions, the time of the accident, the location of the accident, the position of the vehicles immediately after the accident occurred, and whether or not the other driver was issued a ticket or violation. Witness reports – When an officer arrives at the scene, they generally look for people who witnessed the accident and take their statements. These witness statements are helpful to show what happened leading up to the accident and the circumstances around which the accident took place. Since there often isn’t video evidence of exactly what happened, eyewitness accounts can be critical in determining who was at fault. The officer may also include their opinion of who was at fault in the accident. Information about the other driver – The police report will also include information about the other driver, such as name, contact information, insurance information, and the make and model of the driver’s vehicle. Are Police Reports Required After a Car Accident in Texas? A police report will not always be required by law, but it is still a good idea to get one, as you never know what injuries or damages will show themselves down the line. Under Texas law, if the accident caused over $1,000 of property damage, injury, or death, you will be required to report the accident and file a police report. Even if you don’t think there is $1,000 worth of damage, it is a good idea to report the accident and get a police report. You can’t be sure of the exact amount of the damage or the full extent of any injuries, so you’ll want to cover your bases. A police report will be crucial if you decide to file a personal injury or accident lawsuit or if you need to deal with insurance companies. The police report is considered an unbiased account of what happened at the accident, so it is relied on by juries, courts, insurance companies, and any other involved party to help determine what took place and who was at fault. It’s important to note that Texas law provides you with 10 days to report the accident and file a police report. If a police officer cannot come to the scene of the accident, you’ll want to get on the Texas Department of Transportation website to fill out a crash report form, also called a CR-3. It is recommended that you fill out the form as close to the accident as possible. Doing so will allow you to provide the most accurate information. The information you’ll want for the crash report includes: A detailed description of the location of the accident, including the town, state, street names, and nearby intersections The date and time of the accident A detailed description of the vehicles involved in the accident, including make, model, year, license plate number, and vehicle identification number if you have it A detailed description of what happened from your point of view (Every driver’s account of the accident will differ based on their perspective, but it is important that you do your best to provide a truthful, accurate description of the events.) A detailed description of any injuries you suffered from the accident A detailed description of any property damage caused by the accident If you are unable to file a police report, you should still make sure to document the accident as best as you can. Make sure to take down pertinent information about the other driver, such as name, contact information, and insurance information. Use your phone to take pictures of the vehicles prior to moving them. Doing so will allow you to document any other conditions that may have impacted the accident, such as poor weather conditions or disrepair of the road. If there are any witnesses, try to speak to them and get their contact information. Get Your Police Report Since the police report is such an important document, you want to make sure that you get a copy to provide to your personal injury attorney and your insurance company. The steps to getting an accident report may vary depending on your location.  Under Texas law, not everyone is entitled to see police reports due to the confidential information many of them contain. Only individuals who are directly involved in the accident or individuals with proper interest are eligible to request the full, unredacted police report. Those individuals include: The owner of the vehicle in the accident The authorized representative of someone who was involved in the accident The parent, guardian, or employer of a driver involved in the accident Any individual who is financially responsible for a vehicle that was involved in the accident Any individual who may bring a lawsuit because of the death of someone involved in the accident An insurance company that has issued a policy covering a vehicle or person who was involved in the accident A qualified radio station, television station, or newspaper If you fall under one of the criteria above, you can request a copy of the police report. Some locations where our clients…

Negotiating a Settlement With GEICO

Below you will learn tips and secrets GEICO adjusters don’t want you to know in order to maximize your bodily injury settlement, including answers to frequently asked questions regarding GEICO car accident settlements. Who Owns Geico Auto Insurance Company?  GEICO, part of the holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, is the second largest property and casualty insurance company in the U.S (by direct premiums written). With GEICO’s unique business model, by initially only insuring the lowest risk drivers and operating without insurance agents, it has proved to be Warren Buffet’s best investment. GEICO was once a better insurance company to deal with as an auto accident victim. Their adjusters had more settlement authority, and their average settlements were much higher. However, over the last 25 years, GEICO, and many other insurance companies, have streamlined their claims process. They’ve adopted the use of claims software to calculate “reasonable and customary” medical bills as well as placing a dollar figure on the pain and suffering element of a bodily injury claim. The results: severely undervalued settlement offers and a host of future motor vehicle accident litigation. Avoid an Undervalued Auto Insurance Claim So, how can you avoid your claim from being one of GEICO’s many severely undervalued claims or have your case subject to several years of potential litigation in the congested court dockets? The following 10 tips will help you avoid being just another undervalued car insurance claim in the endless stack of claims on a GEICO claims adjuster desk: 1. Refuse the Recorded Statement If GEICO is the at-fault party’s insurance company, you should NEVER give them a recorded statement. You certainly are not required to give one. Don’t let them make you think it’s required for your claim to be valid. Many times, GEICO auto damage adjusters will say—without a recorded statement they will not be able to determine liability, which will leave you in a waiting game. If they are taking their time with liability because their insured isn’t cooperating, it’s time to call a lawyer. Pro Tip: You can always run your property damage through your own carrier’s collision coverage or uninsured property damage coverage (if hit by an uninsured driver or a victim of a hit-and-run). Your own carrier will usually treat you better and will try to recover your deductible from the at-fault party’s insurance company. 2. Get Medical Treatment Immediately After The Car Accident There are three very important reasons to get medical treatment immediately after your accident: Maximize Your Damages “Damages” are what determine your case value. In most cases, the largest part of an auto accident injury case is the amount of your medical bills. So, it’s crucial that you receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment, as well as document and present these bills to the insurance company. Go to the emergency room or urgent care if you feel like you need to. Also, if you feel it’s necessary, go by ambulance to the emergency room. This may be even better for your case. Of course, don’t go only to fraudulently run up your medical bills. Insurance companies are not stupid. They are very good at knowing whether you’re faking your injuries. Legitimize Your Injuries Doesn’t it make sense that if someone is injured they want to see a doctor as soon as possible? Sure, it does. And the opposite is also true. Seeing a doctor immediately will legitimize your injury before the GEICO claim adjuster. Of course, there are valid reasons why auto accident victims do not immediately see a doctor after their accident (e.g., no health insurance, don’t immediately feel pain, etc.). These need to be carefully explained to the insurance adjuster. Mitigate Your Damages The law places a burden on the injured party to avoid making their damages even worse by neglecting their injuries. A defendant is not responsible for damages that could have been avoided by the injured party. This means GEICO can use the fact that you didn’t immediately seek medical treatment and made your condition worse against you. 3. Don’t Let the GEICO Adjuster Minimize Your Injuries GEICO claim adjusters are skilled at minimizing your injuries. They’ll ask you questions in a way to have you second guess your injuries and categorize them as only soft tissue injuries that will heal in a few weeks. A very common way to minimize your injuries is when the adjuster tells the auto accident victim that they will only pay for a few weeks of treatment and that they are on their own after that. Don’t believe them! If you are really injured, you should be getting reasonable and necessary medical treatment until you have reached maximum medical improvement. Auto insurance adjusters are not doctors. They can’t diagnose your condition. 4. Don’t Agree to Anything Without First Consulting with a Lawyer I know this may sound self-interested but if you don’t hire a car accident lawyer from the start of your claim, you will almost certainly be putting yourself at a disadvantage in your case. There are studies that show auto accident victims that are represented by a lawyer get 40% more of a settlement than those without one. In our own experience when clients tried to initially handle their cases on their own then hire us to take over, we see the offers previously extended by GEICO are significantly less than what we were able to ultimately settle these cases for. It just makes economic sense even considering the fact that your personal injury lawyer will receive a portion of your settlement as attorney’s fees. Also, keep in mind: personal injury lawyers don’t charge any fees up front. So, you’ll never need to pay out of your own pocket for representation. It’s a win-win. 5. Don’t Ever Agree to GEICO’s First Offer GEICO’s first offer is never their best offer and will most likely be a lowball offer. You should always negotiate your case with the auto claims adjuster. Start off high. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by starting…

car accident involving rideshare vehicle

  Ridesharing is so popular that the chances are high of being involved in an accident with one of these drivers. After a collision, the next steps you take are critical to obtaining the compensation you deserve. Stop everything and try not to panic. Check if anyone is injured and, if possible, move yourself to safety or stay in your vehicle. Call 911. Emergency responders can attend to anyone injured, and the police will fill out an accident report. This report will play a vital role in proving liability when filing an accident claim. Even if everyone’s injuries were minor, it is in your best interests to have the accident officially investigated, especially when a rideshare driver is involved. Gather information. Ask for the names, contact information, and insurance details of everyone involved. If there are any witnesses, ask how you can get in contact with them as well. Eyewitnesses can have a significant bearing on how an insurance provider will treat your claim. Don’t admit fault. Choose your words carefully when you’re interacting with the other parties involved. Saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can imply guilt, which can possibly be used against you when you file an insurance claim. Take pictures and/or videos. Photos and videos of the scene, the damage to the vehicles, their positions, and your injuries can be beneficial. Along with witness accounts, photos and video can help you prove liability when it is being disputed. Seek medical care. If you were not immediately transported to the hospital, see a doctor as soon as possible. There must be medical records linking your injuries to the accident for you to obtain compensation. Call your insurance provider. After collecting all the required information on the other parties, you can notify your auto insurer of the accident and discuss your coverage options. Speak to a car accident lawyer. As soon as you can, call a trusted Houston Car Accident Lawyer who is experienced in rideshare accidents specifically. These cases and figuring out which insurance policies apply can be complicated. An attorney will immediately begin investigating to gather the evidence you need to prove liability and obtain compensation to cover your losses entirely. Can You Sue a Rideshare Company after a Car Accident? Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft consider their employees independent contractors, making suing them for liability very challenging. As of now, legal issues on rideshare company liability are being worked out in the courts, but you do have the right to file an insurance claim. Uber and Lyft carry commercial insurance coverage with a maximum liability limit of up to one million dollars. However, these policies will only kick in if the driver was on duty at the time of the accident. If the driver did not have an active ride at the time, you can only recover up to $50,000 per injured person, up to two people. Any additional compensation would come from the at-fault driver’s personal insurance policy. Accidents caused by off-duty rideshare drivers must be covered by their personal insurance. Contact Us Today If you or a loved one has been severely harmed in a rideshare accident, contact Milano Legal Group. Our Houston Car Accident Lawyer can help you navigate this process and protect your best interests. Schedule your free consultation today.

steering wheel of self driving car in an accident

Car accident claims are already complex, but when a self-driving or autonomous vehicle is involved, the level of complication rises significantly. Who is responsible for damages after a crash with a driverless car is an ongoing legal debate and the subject of many lawsuits. What is Considered a Self-Driving Car? A vehicle that is equipped with advanced technology and software systems so that it requires little to no effort by a human driver to operate. These vehicles have various levels of automation, from level one that requires driver assistance to level five, which is full automation. Potentially Liable Parties Concrete liability laws do not exist yet, but various factors unique to each collision will determine who is liable for a self-driving car accident. However, self-driving technology has not been perfected to where the car does not require some human assistance. In March 2018, a self-driving Uber car struck and killed an Arizona pedestrian, making it evident that autonomous vehicles could not sense, react to, and avoid unexpected danger. What this means is the human in a self-driving car involved in an accident, whether they are driving or remotely operating the vehicle, can be held liable if they cause an accident. If the driver or remote operator is an employee and working at the time of the accident, their employer could be vicariously liable for damages. Driver Liability Self-driving vehicle manufacturers are likely to blame a human driver in the event of an accident. On many autonomous vehicles, the software alerts the driver when they must take over the wheel. If the driver failed to take over when warned to do so, they can be held responsible. Manufacturer Liability There can be instances of a technological failure or the software failing to alert the driver quickly enough to avoid danger, making the manufacturer liable. In some cases, multiple parties will be liable, but it will depend on which parties were considered negligent and caused the accident. Texas’ Negligence Law Texas operates under the rule of modified comparative negligence. This law applies to self-driving accident cases and allows multiple parties to be responsible for damages resulting from a collision. However, each party’s percentage of fault will directly impact their recovery, and they must be 50% or less at fault to receive compensation. This is known as the 51% bar rule, which bars a claimant from recovering compensation if they are 51% or more to blame for an accident. Example: If you are awarded $100,000 and found 25% responsible because you were not wearing your seatbelt, you will receive 75% of your award or $75,000. On the other hand, if the jury determines you are 51% percent responsible, you will not receive compensation. Contact Milano Legal Group The manufacturers of self-driving vehicles or employers of those operating them will have teams of attorneys to help them devalue or invalidate your claim. When your health and financial future are on the line, you need an experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer to help you hold the liable parties accountable. Contact us online or call (713) 489-4270 today for your free consultation.

man taking notes on auto accident for insurance

When another driver is clearly at fault for your car accident, that doesn’t mean their insurance company will accept liability. There is evidence that is vital to supporting your accident claim, and here are some examples of what you need to obtain the compensation you are entitled to. Evidence from the Accident Scene The evidence you can gather from the crash scene includes photographs and videos, any available video surveillance, measurements of skid marks, the contact and insurance information for the people involved, and any witnesses. The positions of the vehicles after impact should also be noted, as well as the weather conditions and any surrounding factors that could have contributed to the collision. Police Report The police should always be called after a car accident so an official report can be made. The report will contain contact and insurance information for the parties involved if you were unable to obtain it. It will also include the position of the vehicles, how the officer believes the accident happened, who they believe caused it, and if any drivers were cited for a traffic offense that will also be noted. Although police reports are generally inadmissible in court, they will typically hold considerable weight with an insurance adjuster when determining who is liable. Eyewitness Statements Eyewitness statements or their evidence recordings can be an invaluable resource because they do not have their own interests in mind or care about the case’s outcome. However, it can be challenging to obtain a record of eyewitness testimony, so you likely need an experienced car accident attorney to help. Medical Records Medical records are vital to a car accident claim. They link your injuries directly to the accident and also testify to the severity of your harm and required future care. Information on your injuries can also possibly confirm the speed and position of the vehicles at the time of the crash. Documentation of Other Losses You will need to provide records and receipts to obtain compensation for any other financial losses related to the accident. For example, repair or replacement invoices for the damage to your vehicle and other property, a receipt for a car rental, etc. To show evidence of lost income, you can provide pay stubs and W-2s and any records of missing work. Expert Testimony Depending on the circumstances of your car accident, your case may require expert testimony. For instance, your attorney may hire a medical expert to testify to the extent of your injuries and how they will impact you in the future, a forensic accountant to calculate future losses, or an accident reconstructionist to gather additional evidence on how the accident occurred and who caused it. How Negligence is Proven in a Car Accident Case With the evidence you have gathered, you must be able to establish the following four elements to successfully hold another party liable for your car accident in court: Duty. The driver owed you a duty of care. (e.g., drivers have a legal obligation to follow traffic laws and exercise reasonable caution) Breach of Duty. The driver breached their duty by failing to use reasonable care. (e.g., texting and driving, running a stop sign, speeding, etc.) Causation. The driver’s negligence directly caused your injury. (e.g., medical records of treatment right after the crash) Damages. The last element you must prove is damages or financial losses. (e.g., medical bills, lost income, etc.) Proving negligence can be complex, and your actions immediately following a car accident are critical. Milano Legal Group Can Help You Our highly experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer can help you preserve the critical evidence you need to prove fault and obtain the compensation you deserve. Message us online or call (713) 489-4270 today for your free consultation.

woman injured in car accident

Those injured in a car accident in Houston are entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault party. There are two types of payment available to pursue: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory Damages Damages is a legal term that describes the different types of compensation available to victims in a car accident settlement or court award. Compensatory damages compensate a victim for their current and future losses. Within compensatory damages, there are two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic Damages: Financial losses that require evidence of the actual amount of money you have lost. Some examples include: Medical bills: emergency visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, outpatient procedures, prescription medications, etc. In-home medical care Nursing home or rehabilitation costs Medical treatment Property repair or replacement Lost wages from missed work Diminished earning capacity (if you are no longer able to work at the same level as before the accident) Non-Economic Damages: These damages do not reflect financial losses but are subjective. This makes them much more challenging to prove. For instance: Pain and suffering Emotional distress Loss of enjoyment of life Loss of opportunity Loss of consortium Physical impairment (e.g., disability, loss of a limb) Disfigurement Unjust hardship Punitive Damages The second type of compensation available in some car accident claims is punitive damages. They are rarely awarded and reserved for cases involving defendants who acted with malicious intent, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages are a form of punishment to deter similar harmful acts by others in the future. How Much Compensation Can I Get After a Car Accident? The exact amount of compensation you will get after a car accident cannot be predicted, but an attorney can give you an estimate of how much you are entitled to.  Here are the guidelines typically used to discern a car accident claim value. Liability and Strength of the Case Liability is the legal term for fault. If there is strong evidence to support another party’s liability, it can dramatically increase the value of your claim. On the other hand, your compensation can be reduced if there is evidence that you are partially or the majority to blame. Texas courts follow the rule of modified comparative negligence, which means you must be 50% or less responsible for the accident to recover compensation, and your percentage of fault will reduce the amount you recover. Damages The severity of your injuries and other losses will directly impact your claim’s worth. The following factors are generally considered: Did you have pre-existing injuries, and if so, were they made worse? Are your injuries permanent? Amount, type, and cost of your medical care. Amount, type, and cost of future medical care. Are there any gaps in medical treatment, and if so, why? Amount of lost wages. Whether you will be able to return to work. Restrictions on daily life activities. How your life has been impacted. Whether your spouse or children have suffered. Causation There must be documentation that directly links your injuries to the car accident. If you did not seek medical care immediately following the collision, the insurance company can fight causation and allege that your injury was not caused by the car accident or was a pre-existing condition. Contact Us to Obtain the Compensation You Deserve Our Houston Car Accident Lawyer will strive to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible. Message us online or call (713) 489-4270 today for your free consultation.

Mother putting her baby securely in a car seat in case of a car accident

Selecting the right car seat and securing it properly are critical to keeping your child safe in a vehicle. Not only will a car seat help protect your child in an accident, but they are also mandated by Texas law.  What are Texas’s Car Seat Laws?  Any child who is younger than eight years old must ride in a child passenger safety seat system when traveling in a motor vehicle. The only exception is if the child is taller than 4 feet, 9 inches. An approved child passenger safety seat system is one that is in accordance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and is:  Appropriate for the size and weight of the child; and Installed within and attached safely and securely to the motor vehicle, either: In accordance with the instructions for installation and attachment provided by the manufacturer of the child restraint system; or, In another manner that is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Car Seat Recommendations by Age The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) specifies the following seat recommendations by age, in order to keep children safe in vehicles:  All Children: Keep children in the back seat for as long as possible, or at least until age 12. It’s always the safest way to ride. Birth – 1 Year Old: Infants should be seated in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the seat manufacturer’s height and weight limits, typically around age one.  1 – 3 Years Old: Children should continue using a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Then a child can use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until the child has reached the seat manufacturer’s height and weight limits, which could be anywhere from 65 to 90 pounds.  4 – 8 Years Old: After outgrowing the car seat with a harness, children can use a booster seat that raises them, so the car’s seat belt fits correctly and until they’ve grown tall enough, which is typically around 4 feet 9 inches.  8 – 12 Years Old: Once they fit correctly, children must wear a seatbelt. The lap belt should lie across the thighs, not the stomach. Additionally, the shoulder belt should not come across the face or neck.  Seat Belt Tips: Children sitting in booster seats designed for shoulder belts should not use only a lap belt. At no time should items such as books, towels, or pillows be used to boost a child.  Shoulder belts should always lie across the chest and never behind a person’s arm or back since it will eliminate any protection for the upper body in an accident.  Get Assistance with Installing and Inspecting Your Car Seat The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a directory of inspection stations that can connect you to a certified technician in your area. The certified technician will perform a car seat inspection for free and will demonstrate how to install and use your car seat correctly. Have You Been Involved in a Car Accident?  If you or someone you love has been involved in a severe car accident, speak to a skilled Houston car accident lawyer who can help. We offer free consultations.   

man calling car accident lawyer after no-injury auto accident

Most car accident claims involve bodily injuries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover compensation if you aren’t injured in a collision. If your no-injury car accident resulted in damages of any kind, you can file a claim.  Types of Available Compensation for a No-Injury Car Accident After most collisions, you can file an insurance claim for non-injury damages. Non-injury damages is a legal term for compensation that covers losses from a car accident that do not involve medical care or treatment for an injury. Your non-injury damages might include compensation for: Property Damage Payment for the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, as well as any other personal items damaged in the accident.  Rental Car You can claim the costs for a rental car if you need one while yours is in the shop or while waiting for a check for reimbursement.  Lost Income If you have to miss any time away from work due to your accident, you can recover lost wages. In some cases, you may be able to recover damages for diminished earning capacity if you can no longer work or cannot work at the same level as before your car accident. Who Is Responsible For Paying My Damages? The driver who caused your accident is responsible for your damages. Typically, you will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This is called a third-party claim because you are the third party to the other driver and their insurer. The insurance company will process your claim, but they will also investigate the accident to determine that their policyholder was truly at fault. Most car accident claims settle outside of court. However, if the negligent party or their insurance company refuses to offer you a fair amount based on your losses, you may benefit from filing a property damage lawsuit. An alternative option is to file a claim against your own auto insurance policy. However, you will be responsible for your deductible until your insurer recovers compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  If you discover that the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will need to go through your own insurance company directly if you have UM/UIM (Uninsured/underinsured motorist) insurance coverage. If you happened to have rejected this coverage as part of your policy, you can still file a claim against your collision coverage. However, if you only carry liability insurance and the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your only option for compensation is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally.  Do I Need a Lawyer?  No-injury car accident claims typically do not require a lawyer, but hiring one can be beneficial. Car accident lawyers take the burden of dealing with the insurance company off of your shoulders. They will also gather evidence, evaluate your damages, and handle the negotiations for you. In the event that you pursue a lawsuit against the driver or their insurance company, an attorney will make certain that the proper steps are taken to ensure you recover the compensation you are entitled to.  Contact Milano Legal Group A no-injury car accident can still result in extensive damages. Speak to a Houston Car Accident Lawyer to discuss your legal options. Reach us online or call (713) 489-4270 today for a free consultation.

yield right of way sign

When driving in Texas, there are right of way laws that drivers must abide by to keep themselves and others on the road safe. Failing to observe them can result in penalties, or worse, a car accident. Intersections Motor vehicles driving down unpaved roads must yield the right-of-way when they come across an intersection with a paved road. At an uncontrolled intersection, ones that don’t have a traffic control signal or stop/yield signs, you must yield to those who are already at the intersection and proceed cautiously. For left-hand turns at an intersection, you must give the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the street, as well as vehicles traveling in the opposite lane. For right turns, you must also yield to any pedestrian and cars entering the lane you are turning into. When traveling down a private road, lane, or alley that opens up to an intersection, you must give the right-of-way to any oncoming traffic. At railroad crossings, you must stop at the indicated area to give trains the right-of-way. Stopping too close to the tracks can cause devastating consequences if an accident occurs and you are struck by a moving train. Pedestrians Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, even if they cross the road illegally, such as failing to use a marked crosswalk. Pedestrians are required to yield to vehicles that have a green light at an intersection. Pedestrians who are blind always have the right-of-way. Pedestrians lack the same amount of protection as a vehicle gives its passengers. As a result, accidents often cause severe injuries or even deaths. As a general rule of thumb, Texas drivers should always be extra cautious and give pedestrians the right-of-way. Emergency Vehicles Emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, etc., that have their sirens and flashing lights on have the right-of-way. You must move aside or even pull over if you have to let these vehicles pass. If you are in an intersection at the time, proceed through it, then pull over to the side. Penalties for Failing to Yield the Right of Way in Texas Drivers who fail to comply with Texas right-of-way laws can be subject to a fine between $50 to $200 and two points on their license. If a violation of a right-of-way law leads to an injury, the driver may receive three points on their license and a fine of up to $2,000. A larger fine of up to $4,000 may be issued if someone is seriously injured. Get Legal Help Understanding who should have legally had the right-of-way can help you better define who is at fault when an accident occurs. If you can prove that another driver caused the accident by violating a right-of-way law, you will have a strong claim for compensation. If you have been injured in an accident in Texas, an experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyer at Milano Legal Group can help. We will identify the liable parties and ensure you recover maximum compensation for your claim. Call (713) 489-4270 or reach us online today.    

distracted driving by texting

Negligence has a specific legal meaning, but the idea behind it is that a person did not act the way a reasonable person would have in a similar situation. It is a legal concept commonly applied to personal injury cases when a party acts negligently and, as a result, causes injury to another. However, different types of negligence may apply in certain Texas cases. Elements of Negligence It is essential to understand the elements of negligence before learning the different types. To prove another party acted negligently, you and your attorney must demonstrate the following: Duty:  the other party had a duty to act reasonably. For example, a driver owes a duty to others on the road (including pedestrians) to drive safely and to follow the rules of the road. Breach: the at-fault party violated that duty. In the case of a driver who struck a pedestrian, the driver may have violated his or her duty of care by being distracted while driving. Causation: the at-fault party’s breach of their duty of care directly caused your injuries. An added component is that this breach must be the proximate or “but for” cause of injury. In other words, you would not have been injured but for the other person’s actions. Damages: you must prove you suffered actual financial losses and the amount of those losses. Types of Negligence in Texas Negligence is a blanket term, as there are many types. Each one must be handled differently, making it critical to know which kind you are attempting to prove. The most common types of negligence in Texas are: Modified Comparative Negligence Texas courts follow the rule of modified comparative negligence. An injury victim who is somewhat at fault may receive compensation, but their percentage of fault will reduce the settlement or court ruling. However, the victim must be 50% or less responsible for the incident than the other parties involved. Also known as the 51% bar rule, if the claimant is found 51% or more at fault, they cannot recover compensation. Example: in a car accident case, if the jury awards you $10,000 and determines that you are 30% responsible for not wearing your seatbelt, you will receive 70% of your award or, in this case, $7,000. On the other hand, if the jury determines you are 51% percent responsible since you didn’t wear a seatbelt, you will not receive an award. Vicarious Liability This form of negligence holds a defendant liable for the actions of another person or animal. Vicarious liability is often used in cases involving: Minor children between the ages of seven to 17, as their parents, can be held responsible for their actions. Teenagers over the age of 18 are considered adults, whereas children under seven are legally defined as being incapable of negligence. Negligent actions of employees, since their respective employers can be vicariously liable if they cause injury to another while working. Animal bites or attacks, as owners can be vicariously liable for their pets’ actions. Gross Negligence In these cases, the act of negligence was so careless or reckless it showed a complete disregard for the safety of others. Gross negligence is a much more severe form of negligence that goes a step further than simple carelessness or failure to act—it is willful behavior. Examples include a driver speeding in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic or a physician prescribing a drug to a patient whose medical records clearly list that they are allergic to. Another type of negligence in Texas is criminal negligence. However, it is not used in civil law or personal injury cases. Contact Milano Legal Group If you believe you have been injured due to the negligence of another, speak to an experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyer. We are dedicated to the wellbeing of our clients and will make sure you recover the compensation you are entitled to. Call (713) 489-4270 today to schedule a free consultation.