Intersection Accidents in San Antonio
Intersections are more dangerous than you probably realize. Accidents occur when drivers attempt to complete a movement or a maneuver that conflicts with another driver’s intended actions. Drivers crash when they make left turns. They T-bone other vehicles as they speed through red lights. Some drivers simply don’t pay attention as they move through an intersection. These distracted and reckless behaviors often trigger devastating consequences.
When crashes occur where two or more roads intersect, they often cause serious property damage. If a large vehicle or tractor-trailer rig causes the initiating event, the weight and impact enhance the potential for damages. Vehicle occupants and sometimes pedestrians sustain serious and catastrophic injuries. These preventable accidents cause fatalities and injuries from which some victims never recover.
Negligent Drivers Must Pay for the Damages They Cause
When accidents occur at an intersection, a negligent driver is usually responsible. At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we work to make negligent drivers pay for the damages they cause. We have earned our clients’ trust with a consistently solid effort that has produced the best possible outcomes.
We are a personal injury law firm and we handle cases for injured victims only. Our attorneys understand the full range of complex legal and liability issues. We have seen how catastrophic injuries affect our injured clients and their families. We understand that a financial recovery can’t take away our client’s injuries, but their settlements help them live a better life.
Our Law Firm’s Results
At The Law Firm of George Salinas, we put our knowledge, experience, and our law firm resources to work for every client we represent. We work hard to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. When possible, we have negotiated our clients’ cases with negligent parties and their insurance companies. We have also resolved our clients’ injury claims through Alternative Dispute Resolution. When it was in our clients’ best interests, we have had no problem presenting their cases in court.
Our lawyers are proud of the results we have achieved for our clients. We don’t reveal settlement or judgment details as a matter of confidentiality, but we nevertheless invite you to review our clients’ comments on our Testimonials Page.
An intersection accident is a crash that occurs at a location where two or more streets cross paths. Accidents happen during left turns and lane changes. Excessive speed, red-light running, and failure to comply with traffic signs and signals are also initiating factors.
Drivers neglect or refuse to stop when passing through an intersection. Some drivers move through intersections with such high speeds, other drivers can’t judge their approaching distance or anticipate their ability to stop. Inattention causes some intersection accidents as well. Some drivers simply don’t pay attention when entering or crossing through an intersection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2017 crash data shows that 30 people lost their lives in intersection crashes in Bexar County. Texas Department of Transportation documented 761 fatalities statewide due to intersection or intersection-related accidents during the same year. The causes of these accidents vary, but past studies by the Institute for Highway Safety, the US DOT Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and NHTSA reveal several relevant intersection accident trends.
Respondents to an FHWA Intersection Driver Attitude Survey and focus group interviewees in several major cities offered varying opinions which were often based on age:
- Middle-aged and older drivers said they would always stop at a red traffic light.
- Middle-aged and younger drivers who responded said they recognized the risk of running a red light yet they would do it anyway.
- Half of all drivers surveyed indicated that they would wait for the light to change before making a left turn at a busy intersection.
- Other drivers indicated that they would find an alternate route or make “extra right turns” rather than turn left at a busy intersection
- Younger drivers said that they would force their way into a busy intersection and make other vehicles stop to complete their left turns.
- Younger drivers explained that running a red light was their “default strategy.”
- In a city with red-light cameras, younger drivers didn’t feel they improved safety while older drivers did feel that red-light cameras improved safety.
- An NHTSA study, Intersection Crashes Among Drivers in Their 60s, 70s, and 80s, found several trends among aging drivers after reviewing national traffic statistics:
- Changes in aging drivers’ mental and physical status, medication use, and other conditions associated with aging contribute to intersection accidents.
- Drivers age 70 to 79 make critical “gap errors” where they misjudge the gap between vehicles when making intersection maneuvers.
- Drivers 80 years and older were sometimes “unaware” of oncoming vehicles.
- Aging drivers failed to yield the right-of-way most often when stopping at a stop sign as opposed to a traffic signal.
- IIHS Red-Light Camera statistics show that 21 percent fewer drivers died in red-light-related accidents when cities installed red-light cameras.
- 14 percent fewer people died in all types of accidents at “signalized” intersections.
- Cities that removed red-light cameras saw a reversal of positive trends.
Intersection Accident Injuries
When intersection accidents occur, they often involve two or more moving vehicles. Some drivers avoid intersection collisions but end up crashing into stationary objects such as a pole, a parked car, or a building. Given a driver’s speed as they enter, move through an intersection, and collide with another object, drivers and their passengers often sustain serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries on impact.
Vehicle occupants who are injured in intersection accidents sometimes live with the harmful after-effects for years. They undergo extensive emergency treatment and hospitalizations. They must manage long-term recoveries and related costs. When the injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, and other catastrophic conditions, injured victims may never fully recover. Often, they must find a new normal which sometimes involves changing occupations, renovating their homes to accommodate their disabilities, and giving up activities they love.
Vehicle occupants involved in intersection crashes may suffer a variety of injuries and conditions:
- Partial and complete paralysis
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injury
- Disc and spine injuries
- Nerve damage
- Severe burns
- Multiple fractures
- Shattered bones
- Multiple lacerations
- Traumatic amputations
- Internal organ damage
- Fatal injuries
Who Is at Fault for an Intersection Accident?
Intersection accident injuries are often complex, and the ensuing liability issues can be challenging to analyze. Collisions occur at intersections when one or more drivers fail to respond to traffic control devices, speed limits, or another vehicle’s right-of-way. However, intervening circumstances sometimes complicate the liability picture.
Some drivers avoid an inevitable intersection collision by veering away from an oncoming vehicle. This avoidance action often leads to equally problematic collisions with other moving vehicles, nearby structures, or non-involved motorists. It’s usually difficult to prove negligence when one vehicle doesn’t make contact with the other vehicle. Liability issues become complicated when the driver who caused the initial problem denies responsibility or leaves the scene unidentified.
When a traffic signal fails to operate properly, it creates another liability complication. A signal malfunction allegation often adds a governmental entity and/or a traffic light manufacturer to the list of potentially negligent persons and entities. Common parties to intersection accident claims include:
- Drivers. A driver is responsible for his or her direct or indirect actions in colliding with another vehicle and causing injuries.
- Vehicle owners. If the vehicle owner is a different person or entity from the vehicle driver, the owner is often responsible for the driver’s actions. This is especially true if the owner is the driver’s employer or if the driver had a poor driving record but the owner allowed him to drive anyway. Despite liability issues, a vehicle owner must establish financial responsibility under Texas Transportation Codes 601.503.
- Governmental entities. If a negligent driver alleges a traffic signal malfunction, his defense attorney may name a governmental entity as a responsible party.
- Manufacturers. If a vehicle or vehicle component defect causes an accident, the manufacturer is strictly liable or negligent under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, 16.102. This is also true of the traffic signal manufacturer if the evidence proves a malfunction.
- Maintenance companies. When a company is responsible for faulty vehicle or traffic signal maintenance or repair, they share responsibility for any resultant damages.
What Damages Can Injured People Recover for Their Injuries?
Persons injured in an intersection accident have a right to recover compensatory damages. These include economic, non-economic, and exemplary damages. Each has a specific purpose and involves different aspects of an injury claim.
Economic damages are the costs an injured person incurs for medical treatment, income losses, and recovery expenses. If an injured person’s physician anticipates continuing and future expenses, we typically obtain an economic expert’s cost projections. Economic expenses may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Mobility devices and prosthesis
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Medical transportation expenses
- Replacement services
- Plastic surgery and scar revision
- Funeral and burial expenses
While economic damages require arithmetical documentation, general damages often rely on the injured person’s subjective considerations. We evaluate an injured person’s general damages based on intangible losses, emotions, and lifestyle issues. General damages often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship and social interactions
- Loss of bodily functions
- Permanent scars and disfigurement
- Permanent limitations and disabilities
- Lifestyle changes
Based on Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 41.003, juries may award exemplary damages when they believe a defendant’s actions were particularly egregious enough to warrant punishment. An injured plaintiff must produce clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Can a Person or Entity Avoid Paying for an Intersection Accident?
Even when the evidence is clear, negligent drivers, their insurance companies, and their attorneys often use every available tactic to avoid paying high damages. Some insurance companies offer low settlements that encourage injured victims to accept less than the full value of their claim. They understand that plaintiffs often undergo financial hardships while waiting for a settlement, and may not be able to prosecute the claim fully. When a plaintiff files a lawsuit, discovery can lead to substantial expenses for parties involved in litigation. The potential for a long, costly legal process often motivates injured victims to settle low.
When an insurance company believes that another party is jointly responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries, they often attempt to reduce their liability exposure by adding another driver or a manufacturer, maintenance company, or governmental entity as a defendant in a pending lawsuit.
Responsible parties also defend themselves directly by citing traditional defenses to liability.
- Sovereign immunity. A governmental has the right to plead sovereign immunity. This defense can release governments from responsibility for their actions.
- Comparative fault. Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, 33.001 comparative fault statute, defendants pay their proportionate share of damages based on their liability percentage. If an injured plaintiff contributed to their own injuries the jury reduces their damages by their negligence percentage. If a plaintiff has 51 percent or greater negligence, they receive no damage award.
- No negligence. When a defendant convinces a jury that they did nothing wrong, they avoid paying the defendant’s damage award.
- Damage mitigation. Defendants often attempt to avoid liability by proving the plaintiff’s injuries did not occur as alleged, or that they are not as severe as claimed.
- No defect. When a manufacturer or maintenance company proves their product or service was not defective, they eliminate their liability exposure.
Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience with responsible parties, insurance companies, and their defense attorneys. We also have a thorough working knowledge of Texas legal provisions that allow a plaintiff to make a claim against a responsible government. Long before we present our clients’ cases in court, we evaluate and analyze the evidence and the issues. We have defeated numerous traditional and creative defense strategies by devising effective negotiation and litigation strategies from the moment we take a case.
Call Our San Antonio Vehicle Accident Lawyers Today
If you were seriously injured in an intersection accident, you have options, but it’s important for you to act quickly. You need to connect with an attorney who will protect your legal interests and provide timely representation. At The Law Offices of George Salinas, our experienced personal injury attorneys have recovered substantial damages that helped our clients improve their lives. We would like to review your case to determine if we can help you. Call us at (210) 225-0909 or complete our online contact form. We’ll arrange a phone or in-person consultation as soon as possible.