On Texas roads in 2015, there were no deathless days. Texas had at least one traffic accident fatality per day last year, according to statistics generated from the state’s accident reports by the Texas Department of Transportation. If that statistic is alarming, there are others just as disturbing. Based on all the state’s crash reports:
• One person was injured every two minutes.
• One person was killed every two and a half hours.
Among people who work in the state’s capital of Austin, the second largest state capital city in the United States, 73 percent drive alone to work while ten percent carpool and five percent use public transportation and ride the bus. With so many drivers on the road, traffic accidents are inevitable. If you are involved in one, protect yourself and your interests by hiring an Austin auto accident lawyer to represent you.
Austin’s Highways and Traffic
The Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area has a 2016 population of approximately 2,010,860. The transportation needs of all these residents are served by several major highways and toll roads. After entering Texas and passing through the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Interstate 35 travels from north to south on the eastern side of Austin down through San Antonio to end near the Mexican border in Laredo.
Austin had the distinction of being the largest U.S. city with only one Interstate highway serving it. In addition to I-35, Austin residents also travel on the Mopac Expressway plus U. S. Highways 183 and 290 as well as State Highways 45, 71 (Ben White Boulevard) and 130, part of which is a tollway and has the highest posted speed limit (85 miles per hour) of any highway in the nation.
The more drivers and traffic the roadways experience, the greater the chances for traffic mishaps from fender benders to fatal crashes. If you are involved in an auto accident, it is important to protect yourself and seek aid from an auto accident attorney in the Austin area.
Texas Traffic Accidents
With so many multi-lane roads (both divided and undivided) upon which to travel in Austin, it is little wonder that one of the leading causes of traffic crashes is changing lanes unsafely. Other common accident triggers are animals in the road, disregarding stop signs and signal lights, using cell phones while driving, and driving on slick or defective tires. A driver under the influence of alcohol was a factor in 27 percent of the 2015 accidents with fatalities.
Motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, and pedestrians are also involved in traffic accidents, some with fatal results. In fact, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by almost 13 percent between 2014 and 2015. Among the motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents, 52 percent were not wearing their protective helmets at the time of the crash. Among automobile fatalities, 40 percent of the riders who were killed were not restrained by seat belts. Altogether 246,335 persons were hurt in auto accidents in 2015. Some of them experienced permanently incapacitating injuries.
If you or a family member have been hurt, or a loved one killed, in a motor vehicle accident in the Austin area, it is of the utmost importance that you get legal assistance from an Austin auto accident lawyer to make sure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you need and deserve to cover your lost income, medical bills and other expenses so you can begin to rebuild your life after the accident.
What to Do After an Austin Auto Accident: The Basics
There are state laws and guidelines prescribing what to do in the Austin area following an auto accident to help you make important decisions. The most important rule is that safety must come first. In some locations you may not be able to do all these things immediately. Getting to safety always comes first. Other things you must do after an accident include:
• Stop the car safely and remain at the scene. If the car is blocking traffic, move it to the side of the road if you can.
• Check for injuries and provide assistance for those who are, including calling 911.
• Exchange information, if you were the driver, with the other driver(s) and record theirs as well. This should include name, address, insurance provider, driver’s license and vehicle registration number. Use you cell phone to take a picture of other drivers’ insurance cards and licenses for later referral.
• Notify law enforcement, especially if there has been a fatality, injury, or one or more car s cannot be driven. Within the city limits, call the city’s police department or 911. In unincorporated areas, contact the Travis County Sheriffs Office. When in doubt, call 911.
You are only liable for the accident if you are determined to be at fault. While on the scene do not admit fault. Simply notify law enforcement and your insurance company of the accident and only describe what happened. If you fear repercussions, it is best to contact an Austin auto accident lawyer who can handle any legal issues for you. Your lawyer can also be sure you recover compensation for your losses if you are not at fault.
Ways to Protect Yourself Following a Car Accident
There are some further actions you can take following an accident to protect your chance of a personal injury claim after the crash. Beware of doing and saying things you shouldn’t and not doing those you should. For example, never let the other driver talk you out of calling 911. Make an official accident report for your protection.
If the other driver does not have a driver’s license, ask to see some other photo ID and make sure your get the driver’s address and full name. Some drivers may have serious and illegal reasons for not wanting you to know who they are. Take photos and videos on your cell phone of the people involved in the accident and of the vehicles from all sides. Get pictures of positions if they support your claim the other driver was driving in an unsafe or illegal manner. Photograph any skid marks, damage to cars, damaged trees, and other stationary objects, and broken car parts on the ground. Have someone take pictures of your injuries.
Record what the other driver says to the police or to you, in case he makes an admission against interest such as “It’s my fault” or “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you”. Get statements from all witnesses. Then record your own statement. When you consult with an auto accident or personal injury lawyer afterward, you will have the information needed to begin to build your case.