Houston, Texas is the fourth most populated city in the United States. It’s also a city that sees its fair share of auto accidents every year, mostly from negligent, distracted, or drunk drivers. Negligent driving includes speeding, reckless driving, running red lights and stop signs, changing lanes without checking for traffic, and improper turns. Weather conditions like torrential rain, floods, and dangerous winds can also cause auto accidents. Even night driving and roads pocked with potholes can cause an auto accident.
While there is no shortage of ways to get into an auto accident, there are also circumstances in which victims can be compensated for personal injuries and at-fault parties can be held accountable for their negligence. These circumstances are the area of expertise of auto accident attorneys who look into car accidents that are the result of various forms of negligent driving, not following traffic laws, and driving under the influence.
Many of the cases that auto accident attorneys look into fall under this category. Examples of negligent driving include driving while drowsy, driving while distracted, driving recklessly, speeding, driving on wrong-way roads, tailgating, and getting into accidents due to road rage.
Drowsy driving is one of the more common causes of auto accidents in the United States. This is largely due to the fact that many Americans don’t get enough sleep and have to get up early every morning to commute to work and/or take their children to school. Even with the consumption of caffeinated drinks like coffee and energy drinks, drowsy driving can still happen. In some cases, the consumption of these drinks can actually make the problem worse.
The effects of these drinks can wear off before the driver reaches their destination, causing driver fatigue. This fatigue can, in turn, impair motor functioning, decrease concentration and awareness, and in the worst-case scenario, even cause the driver to fall asleep at the wheel. Individuals that drive for lengthy periods of time such as delivery drivers, rideshare drivers, and truck drivers often experience drowsy driving.
Auto accident attorneys have also been seeing a rise in distracted driving over the last two decades, due largely to the increased use of mobile phones. In fact, many fatal collisions happen as a result of talking or texting while driving. Other ways drivers get distracted that facilitate both head-on and rear-end collisions include eating and drinking while driving, not facing forward, and even talking to a passenger.
Auto accident attorneys often see cases of reckless driving, characterized by a disregard for the safety of other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Examples of reckless driving include improper lane changes without signaling or checking for other vehicles, driving between two lanes, and not adhering to traffic laws at intersections.
Reckless driving also includes tailgating and making impulsive maneuvers due to impatience or road rage. It even includes driving on toll roads, expressways, and highways at dangerous speeds. Reckless driving can be both habitual and symptomatic of other conditions like drowsy and distracted driving, as well as driving under the influence. In many cases, reckless drivers violate one or more traffic laws.
Driving Under the Influence
Intoxicated drivers are a major cause of traffic law violations and collisions that auto accident attorneys investigate. While alcohol is the most commonly reported substance in driving under the influence cases, it is by no means the only one. Other substances that impair safe driving include both illegal recreational drug use and improper use of doctor-prescribed medications.
The side effects of both legal and illegal substance use often impair both motor and cognitive functioning. In cases where substances produce drowsiness like alcohol, drivers can be slow to make quick responses and even fall asleep behind the wheel, colliding with other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. In cases where drivers are high on hallucinogenic drugs and other narcotics, the risk of running over pedestrians, bicyclists, and crashing into other vehicles skyrockets.
Driving under the influence can also lead to running red lights, not stopping at stop signs, making wide turns, and driving at unsafe speeds.
Breaking Traffic Laws
Any violation of traffic laws can lead to a car wreck. Examples of violations include motorcyclists who zig-zag between cars and other large vehicles to speed their way through traffic, drivers who run stop signs on smaller roads with less traffic, drivers who speed through yellow lights to avoid having to stop at red lights, and drivers who refuse to slow down at dangerous “dead man’s” curves.
Street racers may be the worst type of driver that willfully breaks traffic laws and increases the risk of major collisions. Some street racers “challenge” other drivers on the road and start racing out of nowhere. Other street racers may plan their escapade. Street racing is typically characterized by two drivers competing against each other at dangerously high speeds. In many cases, street racers weave themselves in between other motorists as they pass them through traffic, run through red lights and stop signs at intersections, and even occupy two lanes, increasing the risk of a head-on collision. Accidents that happen as a result of street racing often end in severe personal injuries or death.
What an Auto Accident Attorney Can Do
Auto accident injuries and deaths are the most frequent personal injury cases. Auto accident attorneys in Texas have seen just about every different way that crashes can occur. So what can an auto accident attorney do for clients whom a bad driver has devastated? Injuries can be mild to catastrophic. The necessary medical care can be extensive and expensive. Some tragic crashes cause amputations, brain damage, paralysis, and even death.
In these significant injury cases, an auto accident attorney can help clients recover medical costs, pay for hospital bills and physical therapy, and win compensation for chronic pain and mental distress. In the event that a loved one was killed in a traffic collision, an auto accident attorney will also work to ensure compensation for the wrongful death of the loved one.