Car Accidents Every year in the US more than 2 million people are injured
If you were recently involved in a car accident in Austin or elsewhere in Texas, there is a strong possibility that the other driver’s speeding played a role. As Texas Department of Transportation figures show, these accidents are becoming a growing problem on our roads.
During the most recent three-year span for which statistics are available, total speed-related crashes rose by 10 percent in Texas, while fatal speeding accidents increased by 5 percent.
If a driver’s speeding caused a crash that injured you or caused the loss of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional and financial harm. The Austin car accident lawyers of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, want to help you.
For more than 50 years, we have assisted auto accident victims and their families in Austin and throughout Texas. We can review your case and go to work for you today. Call or reach us online for a consultation.
The recently released IIHS study estimates that increase in speed limits over a time period of two decades has cost tens of thousands of lives in the United States.
In 2013 alone, the study found, speed limit increase contributed to an additional 1,900 deaths. This fatality count canceled out the number of lives saved by safety technology such as air bags during that same year, according to the researchers.
Even though fatality rates actually fell during the study period, the researchers concluded that they would have fallen much lower if not for states’ insistence on raising speed limits.
To obtain a financial recovery in an auto accident claim, you must establish that the negligence of another party caused your crash and your injuries. Speeding can be a form of negligence.
When a driver speeds, it is clearly dangerous. This is because speeding results in:
Less reaction time — The faster a car is going, the less time the driver has to react and avoid an imminent crash by swerving or applying brakes.
Greater stopping distance — The higher a driver’s speed, the more stopping distance the car needs. So, in many cases, even when a driver hits his or her brakes, getting into a crash may be unavoidable.
More severe impact — Speeding increases the force of impact, which reduces the ability of a car’s safety systems (seat belts, air bags and child seats) to prevent occupants from suffering severe and potentially fatal injuries.
A driver who is speeding may also simply lose control of his or her vehicle or fail to keep a proper lookout for other cars, motorcycles, pedestrians or bicycles on or near the road.
Negligence is the failure of a person to exercise the care that an ordinary, reasonable person would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances. Speeding can be considered negligence when a driver:
|GOES FASTER THAN THE POSTED SPEED LIMIT||The Texas Department of Transportation sets the speed limits on state highways, while local governments set the limits on city and county streets and roads. The limits represent the maximum speed that is deemed to be reasonable and safe. It follows that driving above that speed is wrongful conduct.|
|GOES TOO FAST FOR CONDITIONS||A driver must use reasonable care in how fast he or she drives when the weather is icy, rainy or foggy, when roads are curvy or when traffic is congested. Failing to drive at a safe, reasonable speed in those conditions is clearly unreasonable.|
In an auto accident claim, you must show not only that the other driver was speeding, but also that the speeding caused you to suffer injuries or the loss of a loved one.
If the driver pleads guilty or is found guilty of speeding, it can establish negligence as a matter of law, or negligence per se. Other forms of evidence can include:
Eyewitness statements — Witnesses can testify about the driver’s excessive speed given the posted speed limit or conditions.
Electronic data recorder — Most late-model cars are equipped with EDRs, or “black boxes,” which can provide information about a car’s speed as well as braking, acceleration and an abundance of other data.
Crash scene evidence — In some cases, a vehicle’s speed can be determined by examining brake or skid marks.
An accident reconstruction specialist can analyze all of the evidence that is compiled and make a determination about a driver’s speed and the role it played in causing a crash that injured you or a loved one.
The Austin car accident attorneys at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will carefully prepare each case as if it is going to trial. This preparation allows us to operate from a position of strength when seeking a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In fact, many auto accident claims can be resolved by obtaining a settlement before a complaint is even filed. If a driver’s negligence is clearly established — for instance, the driver was found guilty of speeding or reckless driving — an insurer may be more likely to make a settlement offer.
However, if the insurance company fails to make a reasonable settlement offer, our highly experienced trial lawyers will be ready to go to court and seek just compensation.
Our goal is to recover full compensation for all of our client’s damages, including:
We may also seek punitive damages if the speeding driver’s conduct was grossly negligent or willful. Those damages are intended to punish and deter such conduct.
If you have lost a loved one in a crash caused by a speeding driver, we can pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf, which would seek a different set of damages. Please see our Wrongful Death section to learn more details about those claims.
In 1973, Congress passed a law requiring states to set their maximum speed limit at 55 miles per hour (mph). The measure was taken to address concerns about fuel availability. However, one thing that dramatically changed after the 55 mph requirement was that fewer traffic fatalities occurred.
Fourteen years later, Congress lifted the restriction, giving states the right to increase speed limits to 65 mph.
In 1995, the law was abolished altogether. States received the right to establish their own speed limits — no matter how high that limit might be.
Since that time, states have taken their new autonomy to heart. Speed limits have increased dramatically across the nation.
In fact, six states have speed limits of 80 mph in some areas. In Texas, drivers can go as fast as 85 mph on some roads.
Many people who support higher speed limits say that they have no real impact on accidents and injuries. They claim that people will violate the speed limit regardless of the maximum limit.
However, if this is the argument, one must also accept that if the limit is raised, a driver will travel even faster than they would otherwise.
The study highlights why it is important to always drive at a safe speed and why states should be more cautious about raising speed limits. The data is clear.
For this reason, you should always wear your seat belt — regardless of the speed at which you are traveling. If you are in a crash, a seat belt may save your life.
The faster the speed of the vehicle at the moment of the impact, the greater will be the damage. The laws of physics state that force is equal to mass (weight) multiplied by acceleration (speed). In other words, the faster something is traveling, the more force will be applied on impact — and the more likely it is for you to suffer severe or fatal injuries.
Speeding is a type of negligence. Traveling at a speed that is above the posted maximum speed limit or going too fast for conditions such as bad weather or heavy traffic are simply careless and reckless conducts.
If you can prove that negligence such as speeding occurred in a car accident that harmed you, and that your injuries were a direct result of that negligence, you can seek to hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries.
The same is true if you have lost a loved one and are in the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim. You must prove negligence (an unreasonable and unsafe act), and establish that the negligent act was the direct cause of the car accident and your loved one’s death.
Typically, you will seek a recovery through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. However, keep in mind that insurance companies are not always eager to offer a fair settlement amount.
The insurance company may try to offer you less than you deserve in order to save money. For this reason, it is imperative that you never accept a settlement offer without speaking with a lawyer first.
If you are unsure whether a settlement offer compensates you fully and fairly, you should have it reviewed by an attorney with experience handling car accident claims in Texas. An attorney can determine what you should seek in a settlement and work directly with the insurer on your behalf.
If you have lost a loved one or suffered serious injuries in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, the Austin car accident attorneys of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, can help you to seek just compensation for your losses.
When you work with our firm, you can be assured that you will communicate directly with your attorney, and your case will receive the hard work and attention to detail it deserves.
We serve clients in Austin and throughout Texas. Contact us today to get started with a consultation.