When Is the Deadliest Day To Drive Your Car? Today
We hope you are having a good summer. But June through August is the most dangerous time of the year to drive. So please be extra cautious on our roads this month.
And today, August 2nd, is the worst day to drive in America according to a new report.
Why is that? You might think it would be a traditional night of heavy drinking, say Super Bowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve, right?
The answer is that more people are rushing to or from their beach vacations, are more in a hurry and more careless, according to the report.
Dallas-Fort Worth is a very dangerous place to drive
We assume that when we start driving to a destination, we will arrive there safely.
But we have a shocking number of car wrecks here — 80,000 each year in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.
And just in the past two days, the press has chosen to report these two tragedies:
- two people died in Keller late last night; and
- an 18-year-old passed away on Tuesday after being in a crash in Grand Prairie last week. And as bad as that news was, the city has reached an all-time high record for the number of fatalities to date for a single year.
We extend out sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased.
And Texas in the deadliest state in the U.S.
It is horrible to think that almost 4,000 Texans perished in vehicle collisions in 2016. That’s a shocking one death every two hours.
Here are more sobering details.
We were #1 in the country in this dismal category, even though California has 10 million more people than we do so they should be first.
And an additional 265,000 Texans were injured in crashes.
Care to guess where the most dangerous highway is? Here in Fort Worth, the two-mile section of Interstate 30 between I-35 and Oakland.
Dallas also had many of the most dangerous roads on the list of the most dangerous roads. Of course.
These dangerous roads are all over our state. For example, Route 285 in West Texas is informally referred to as Death Highway. Due to the boom in oil and gas production, 18-wheeler drivers barrel down roads exceeding the speed limits of 75 miles per hour. Some of the drivers are addicted to illegal drugs and legal opioid medications.
Companies can’t find enough qualified drivers and are even hiring teenagers and those without experience to drive their big rigs. That’s frightening.
Information about wrongful death claims in Texas
We certainly hope you’ll never need to know this, but here are some the answers to frequently asked questions about death claims if a loved one or someone you know has lost his or her life in a car or truck collision.
1. What can families do to collect damages?
The last thing you will be thinking about after the loss of a loved one is hiring an attorney. We understand.
But with all the legal, insurance, financial, and medical questions you and others in your family will have, you should at least consult with a board certified personal injury lawyer.
If you wait, you can easily make bad decisions that can jeopardize the case with the usually aggressive insurance company or damage your chance of recovering your just compensation in court.
One of the best ways to combat the rash of reckless driving is to sue bad drivers and companies that hire them.
2. What money can be recovered?
Damages are paid by either the insurance company in an out of court settlement or after the jury awards damages for the following categories:
- Funeral expenses;
- Medical bills;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost income and job benefits;
- Lost care and services;
- Lost inheritance; and
- Punitive damages (in extreme cases)
These damages are allocated between the survival (pre-death) and death parts of the case, depending on what happened after the crash.
3. Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?
Usually, it’s the surviving spouse or parents of small children. However there is a difference between is legally allowed to file for survival claims and wrongful death claims and this can get a little confusing.
The bulk of the claim is allocated to the death case. The spouse, minor children, and parents are the legal beneficiaries. One can be the designated and court appointed representative of the estate. This person usually is the one appointed to be the lead representative of the heirs or the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
After three months, an executor or administrator of the estate may file suit and distribute any funds to the others, either by agreement or failing that, by court order.
Other family members, including brothers and sisters, do not receive money from the claim.
4. How are the funds divided between these family members?
The money is not just divided evenly between everybody. That might make the allocation easier but Texas law requires each person to show how much he or she has been damaged. It is as if each person is his own separate plaintiff in court and must prove his entitlement to damages.
These are some observations what we have observed from our work handling these cases and reading jury verdicts and legal articles:
- The spouse will receive the most compensation. That makes sense, especially in longer marriages or when the husband has been the bread-winner. The closeness of the husband and wife and income and household and marital services will be considered by the jury. If they had been married for 25 years and the husband dies and was earning a lot of money, the widow’s remaining years will be crippled with the loss of her husband. Her claim for pain and anguish, not to mention future lost income and benefits, will be enormous.
- Young children will also receive a great deal of money for these same reasons.
- If a minor child loses his life, his parents’ claims are substantial, as this is one of the worst experiences someone can ever go through.
- Adult children will receive a lot of compensation, but depending on their ages and their relationships with the deceased, considerably less than if they were younger.
- If the adult child is the one who is lost, his parents will not receive that much money by comparison.
Each case is different and each member of the family is affected differently. A personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of these values and help the family come to a good agreement dividing the proceeds, if requested.
5. How much money could be available to pay the family?
Again, each case is different. If a typical driver with the standard insurance limits ($30,000 per person injured and $60,000 for all people injured) is involved and liability is clear, the family probably does not even need to hire an attorney. Almost every company will pay out the limit unless there is an unusual problem like liability being denied.
However some drivers carry higher limits. In Texas, after the standard $30,000 limit, higher coverage is available at $50,000, $100,000 and on rare occasions, more than that. Other companies write a single limit amount that is different from these numbers.
If a commercial vehicle – usually a tractor-trailer – caused the death, depending on whether it was used for intrastate or interstate purposes, its gross weight vehicle rating, and other considerations, the available policy can be in the millions of dollars.
Sometimes the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster will tell the family how much is available. Other times they won’t. A good lawyer can find out.
How could we reduce the deaths on our roads?
We never make it a priority to make our roads very safe. We all accept that “stuff happens” and just hope we are not the victims of careless driving. That’s not enough.
Our government and law enforcement officials need to continue to crack down on the usual suspects: people who drink and/or take drugs and drive, or who talk and text while they drive, and/or who speed, tailgate, switch lanes without signalling, and drive recklessly.
Most so-called “car accidents” are just accidents waiting to happen. If drivers considered they could lose their lives, or cause others to do so, they would take driving more seriously.
We read and hear about deadly car wrecks and take them for granted. That’s the problem.
We could reduce the death total, if we wanted to. Other countries have.
We could cut the blood alcohol limit from .08% to zero. At least 13 countries have a zero tolerance policy. We are not suggesting that the U.S. adopt this stringent standard but at the least, we could reduce the level to 5%.
While we were at it, we could increase the number of sobriety checkpoints late at night and on weekends, especially in bar areas like Uptown in Dallas or the North Side of Fort Worth.
We could crack down on bars and alcohol retailers from over serving and over selling alcohol in the first place.
We could increase police department patrols, install more radar detectors and cameras, and lower speed limits.
We could make cell phone use illegal when the vehicle is moving by requiring software. Apple and Samsung already have this.
We could make seat belt usage universal with increased public education and criminal enforcement.
We could increase the number of red light cameras and increase fines to prevent people from running red lights.
We could have more education, public serviced announcement, and more awareness of the problem.
We could have more people defending criminal complaints and civil lawsuits.
Paying for these easily avoidable mistakes — and getting the resulting publicity out — would help immeasurably.
This is why Mr. Berenson is a proud supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and is honored to serve on the board of directors for its North Texas region.
And this is why Mr. Berenson is a fierce advocate for his injured clients.
He is always advocating for safer roads and safer drivers. God knows, we need them.
How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
These cases are emotionally devastating and often legally complicated. The stakes can be high. And often there is not enough money to go around.
For these reasons, the services of a good car accident lawyer can be invaluable.
Berenson Injury Law has handled a lot of these cases over the past 38 years.
We get calls all the time from people who were unfortunately crashed into and are now being jerked around by the other driver’s insurance company. We fight to get them the compensation they deserve, then try to reduce their medical bills to put more money in their pockets.
Representing injured victims of car and truck wrecks, motorcycle crashes, bicycle collisions, and pedestrians hit by vehicles are the only cases we accept.
Please contact us for a free, no obligation meeting to discuss your case so we can explain your rights under the law.
And please be careful on your drive home and tonight. August 2nd isn’t over yet.