Car Accidents in Texas – A Big Problem for a Big State. If you’re a resident of the Lone Star state, chances are you’ve done some serious driving–whether it be up north in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex or further south near Austin and Houston. One thing all Texans can agree on is just how much driving is necessary for life in Texas, but the more time we spend on the road, the higher the probability becomes of ending up in a serious car accident or car wreck.
Would you be surprised to know that Texas is the state with the most fatal car accidents? In 2020 alone, the state saw 3,542 fatal car accident collisions. And the number of car fatalities on Texas roads is increasing–the state saw a 7.54% increase in vehicle traffic fatalities from 2019. Although the average number of total non-fatal car crashes and automobile collisions has been decreasing, it’s still unnerving to know that every time you hit the road in Texas, you may be at risk of getting in a serious car accident–one that may potentially end your life. Knowing this, it’s important that you’re familiar with your legal options if you should ever find yourself in this difficult situation.
The Worst-Case Scenario
Every day since November 2000, there has been at least one fatal traffic accident in Texas. That’s twenty-two years or 8,030 days of traffic fatalities. When looking at the cause behind these fatalities, one driver factor sticks out–driving under the influence (DUI). DUIs accounted for 846 of the 3,542 fatal crashes of 2020, an incidence that makes Texas cities some of the worst in the nation for DUI-related traffic accidents. The most upsetting thing about the nature of these accidents is that they are completely preventable; those who insist on driving while inebriated demonstrate extreme negligence, and in Texas, that behavior rarely if ever goes unpunished.
DUIs and DWIs have slightly different meanings: A DUI refers to driving under the influence, while a DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. With a DUI, the charge could mean that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
DUI Car Accident tragic death
Case in point, on the night of January 10, 2022, a young Texan woman named Unique Brown lost her life in a drunk driving accident at the intersection of Great Trinity Forest Way and Jim Miller Road in South Dallas. She was riding in the passenger seat of a Ford Crown Victoria, helmed by another young woman who was unfortunately intoxicated and speeding. Everyone knows that alcohol can impair your vision, reaction time, and perception–and driving at night especially demands extra attention and responsiveness.
The combination of the darkness, alcohol and excessive speed would prove to be a fatal mistake that night as the driver of the Victoria recklessly rushed through the intersection, traveling westbound and striking a vehicle that had been approaching from the east, turning leftward onto Jim Miller Road. This eastbound car, a Chrysler 300, had four adult passengers and was being driven by a 17-year-old boy who was not found to be under the influence of any substances by the Dallas Police Department.
The speed limit traveling west on Jim Miller Road is 50 MPH, so even at this speed there would have been the potential for catastrophic damage–but the driver of the Victoria, speeding and not in full control of her senses, couldn’t react quickly enough to bring her car to a stop; after the initial collision she swerved and struck a pole before the car completely came to rest. The damage was instantaneous and severe, and both cars were destroyed beyond repair.
Unique Brown, unfortunately, died in the accident while the adult passengers of the Chrysler all sustained unspecified injuries. The driver of the Victoria automobile survived the crash as well, and after receiving surgical treatment was turned over to the police and was then charged with intoxication manslaughter and four counts of intoxication assault.
Losing your life as a result of someone else’s reckless driving is clearly the worst-case scenario in a traffic accident, but outcomes such as injury, property damage, or emotional trauma and distress are also incredibly costly to resolve.
The Legal Aspect
Car accidents in Texas are processed under the civil court system for which the statute of limitations is two years to file from the date of the accident. Additionally, there’s a statute that governs when you’re required to report the details of the accident to law enforcement–this occurs in the case of deaths, injuries, and when the vehicle cannot be safely driven from the scene. Finally, the rule of “modified comparative fault” dictates that the claimant may only be eligible for financial compensation if their fault in the accident is less than that of the other involved party.
In accidents involving DUIs, one would think that it should be relatively easy to prove that the inebriated driver is entirely at fault, but this isn’t always the case. For example, if you got into a wreck and the other driver was driving under the influence but you were found to be speeding or distracted (by your cell phone, music, eating, et cetera), then the defense could argue that you’re at least partially at fault–say, 20%–for the accident. In this example, this fault entitles you to only 80% financial compensation.
An attorney may be able to help you settle for more compensation depending on the damage sustained. If you ever find yourself needing legal assistance after getting in a serious car accident, give the Dr. Shezad Malik Law Offices a call at 214-390-3189 and we’ll get you started on your road to peace of mind and fair compensation.