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Car Crash Checklist

What To Do After A Car Accident: A Detailed Post-Accident Checklist 

No matter how much we try to prevent them, car accidents still happen on our roads every day. It’s sad, but it is the truth. These accidents are caused by a wide range of factors such as harsh weather conditions, driving under the influence, driving while on the phone, etc, and they can either be minor with few to no injuries or major with severe consequences. What should you do after experiencing a car accident? We’re going to look at a comprehensive checklist detailing what you should do to ensure everything works in your favor in the end.  

First Things First, Don’t Panic 

One mistake people when they’re involved in a vehicle accident is panicking. Feeling shaken up and confused is normal, but don’t allow these feelings to take over your head. Panic can make you do something out of the ordinary, such as hitting other cars on the road and making the problem even worse. Also, since you’re be taking crucial details about the accident, this process will need a clear head. Therefore, relax and don’t panic. 

Park Your Vehicle Somewhere Safe 

If your car has not sustained lots of damage and is still drivable, move it to someplace place. Don’t leave it on the road. Other drivers may not be able to see it; they may hit you and worsen the situation. Leaving it there on the road can also cause a huge snarl-up and disrupt transportation. What you need to do is find somewhere safe on the side of the road, but not too far from the scene. Don’t forget to turn on hazard lights to notify other motorists your vehicle is parked there. And if you feel like you’ve sustained serious injuries, stay in your car if it’s safe. 

Call 911 

This is the next step you should take. Get your phone and call 911 to notify emergency personnel about the accident. They’ll then send an ambulance and the police to the scene. Even if there are other people around the accident scene, and you think they’ve already made the call, do it yourself so that you’re sure. If you’re seriously injured, the police will be responsible for collecting all the relevant details about the situation as you’re rushed to get emergency medical attention. If you feel you’re severely injured, let the police handle the process of collecting information. Remember that your health and well-being come first. 

Evaluate the Accident Scene 

This step only applies if you did not sustain devastating injuries and can walk around. While it’s natural to feel angry, especially if you think that the accident was someone else’s fault, don’t get confrontational with anyone. Ask the other party how they feel and whether they’ve been injured. However, there some things you should keep in mind even while assessing the situation. One, you should never discuss the accident’s fault with the other party. You may get yourself in trouble later by giving out some details, even if you were innocent. 

Second, even if you feel you were at fault, never admit it. Showing care and compassion especially if the other party has been injured is human, but avoid statements like you were on a call and didn’t see them coming. Even if you were on call, something else may have caused the accident and not you. You may accept fault for something that you’re innocent. Therefore, assist if anyone needs help, but don’t admit you were on the wrong. 

Collect All the Relevant Details 

While evaluating the accident scene, collect the following information: 

  • Details of the accident. Note down the accident’s location, time, weather, and distractions on the road. Also, note the direction you were driving, the other party’s direction, your speed before the accident, and any traffic signs around. Include as much information as you can while everything is still fresh in your head. 
  • Details of the other party involved in the accident. These details should include the driver’s full name, phone number, address, plate number, and insurance details, including the name of the insurance company, policy number, and contact details. If they ask for your details, give me too. 
  • Witness details such as name, phone number, email address, and physical address. These details will help you follow it up with them just in case you need their assistance with information concerning the accident. 
  • Photos of everything concerning the accident. Since most likely you have a smartphone with you, take pictures of the scene, your damaged vehicle, and any injuries you sustained. 

Get Medical Attention 

When you’re satisfied with the information you’ve collected, it’s time to get checked out by a medical professional. Even if you feel like you’ve not sustained any severe injuries, it’s still crucial to get medical attention. The injuries may seem minor at that time, but they turn out severe later. A medical professional will assess your body to determine if you have any internal injuries and recommend medications to solve any issue found. Don’t ignore going to the doctor; that visit can save lots of health complications in the future. 

Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company 

After getting medical attention, notify your car insurance company as soon as possible. Don’t stay for a long time without informing them because you may end losing out on the benefits of your policy. Some insurance companies can even help you tow the car wreck to a repair shop. 

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer 

If the accident was a result of another person’s negligence, then you deserve to be compensated. Rather than going up against the other party alone, hire the services of an automobile accident attorney. How can this professional help you? He/she can help deal with your insurance company, protect you from lawyers hired by the other party, and explore the various settlement options available. If the case goes to court, an experienced car accident attorney will help prepare your case for trial, manage court proceedings, and fight for you so that you get a fair outcome. 

Note: First, never answer questions or sign any documents from the other party’s attorney without consulting your lawyer. Second, keep track of everything after the accident. Track your medical visits, over the counter medications, lost wages, missed school time (if you’re a student), and any other expenses related to the accident.  

Vehicle accidents are always devastating, and we would never want them to happen to anyone. But if it happens, this checklist can come in handy to ensure you do everything right from the start to the end. 

A Guide to Tractor Trailers

Trucks move over 71% of the nation’s freight by weight. 11.49 billion tons of freight, primary shipments only, was transported by trucks in 2018, representing 71.4% of total domestic tonnage shipped. To carry the loads, these large trucks require a wide variety of trailers. Trailers are attached to the trucks as an extra carrier vehicle. They have no engine, only a chassis and wheels. This article reviews some of the basic types of trailers that operate in Texas and the United States. 

1. Flatbed Trailer 

Flatbed trailers are open-type trailers. Flatbed trailers are used to haul many kinds of materials. This type of trailer is the most common trailer being used today since it is very versatile. It can carry almost any type of product or material. Steel is the most common product they transport. The weight of flatbed trailers is around 100 pounds per foot of deck length. So, if the deck length is 16 feet, then it will weigh around 1600 pounds. The legal load for a flatbed trailer is 8.5 feet in height, 8.5 feet in width and 48 to 53 feet in length. The freight weight should not exceed 40,000 pounds. 

2. Dry Van or Enclosed trailer 

Products that don’t require a controlled temperature environment can be transported in a dry van. These are enclosed trailers that usually haul pallets or boxes of cargo. These freight containers are the most common in use. They are fully closed and sealed so the freight is protected from external influences. The goods inside are kept dry since these vans are weatherproof. The maximum freight weight for dry van trailers is 42,000 to 45,000 pounds. The maximum length of the dry van trailer is from 48 to 53 feet; its width is 8.2 feet, and the maximum height is 8 feet. 

3. Refrigerated or Reefer Trailer 

This type of trailer is temperature-controlled. Perishable and frozen food items are hauled in this type of trailer. The temperature inside of the trailer is controlled. Reefer trailers have a maximum freight weight of 42,000 to 45,000 pounds. The maximum reefer trailer length is 48 to 53 feet, its maximum width is 8.2 feet, and the maximum height is 8 feet. 

4. Drop Deck Trailer 

Drop deck trailers are also called step deck trailers. These are similar to flatbed trailers which are open space trailers. But a drop deck trailer can have a maximum freight height of 10 feet or less. Any goods that a flatbed could not carry, can be carried by a drop deck trailer. The maximum legal dimensions are 48 to 53 feet in length, the maximum width of 8.5 feet, and the maximum height is up to 10 feet. The maximum freight weight from drop deck trailers is 48,000 pounds. 

5. Lowboy Trailer 

A lowboy trailer has two drops in deck height. The first drop is after the gooseneck and the other one is right before the wheels. The deck becomes extremely low compared with other trailers. This type of trailer can haul heavy equipment such as bulldozers, industrial equipment, and more. The maximum freight weight for a lowboy trailer is 40,000 to 80,000 pounds. This depends on the number of axles used. The maximum well length is from 24 to 29 feet. Its maximum well height is from 18 to 24 inches, and the maximum width is 8.5 feet. The maximum legal freight height is from 11.5 to 12 feet, 

6. Conestoga Trailer 

The Conestoga trailer is designed with a sliding tarp system. This covers the cargo so that the items are not damaged underneath. Finish or moving parts of goods or equipment are protected with this tarp system. If the tarp is slid around the goods and equipment, they are protected from scratching and damage. The length of this trailer ranges from 48 to 53 feet. The maximum legal width is 8.2 feet and the maximum height is 8 feet. Its maximum weight capacity is up to 45,000 pounds. 

7. Power Only Trailer 

This type of trailer is used for towing other trailers. It usually comes with a fifth-wheel hitch. An overweight freight only allows four axles to be used. The maximum weight and dimensions of power only trailers depend on the type of trailer that is being towed. 

8. Removable Gooseneck Trailer or “RGN” 

Tall and heavy loads and equipment can be hauled by an RGN trailer. These trailers can carry loads of up to 150,000 pounds. This depends on the number of axles the trailer has. This type of trailer can have up to 20 axles. The maximum weight for an RGN is from 42,000 to 150,000 pounds. The maximum length is 29 feet with a width of 8.5 feet. The legal maximum height is 11.5 feet. 

9. Stretch Removable Gooseneck Trailer 

This trailer is similar to the RGN but its maximum length is 65 feet. This trailer can transport a great amount of load and equipment. The maximum freight weight for stretch RGN is from 42,000 to 150,000 pounds. The maximum width is 8.5 feet and the legal maximum height is 11.6 feet. 

10. Side-Kit Trailer 

The side-kit trailer has a wood side paneling and can carry loads that are not packed like gravel, dirt, and other unpackaged materials. The maximum height of a side-kit trailer is 8.6 feet, and the maximum width is 8.2 feet. The maximum load weight is 45,000 pounds. 

11. Belly Dumper Trailer 

To unload the payload, the belly dumper trailer opens its clam-shell type dumb gate at the bed’s bottom. This type of trailer is commonly used in road maintenance and agriculture. The belly dumper trailer typically weighs 12,500 pounds. It can haul 26 to 27 tons of aggregate per load. 

12. Converter Dolly 

Converter dolly trailers are used for towing trailers. It can usually haul two or more trailers behind one truck. This makes it possible to haul bigger loads. Dolly trailers are of different types and so have different weights. They typically weigh 400 pounds or more. Since the weight of the dolly trailer varies, its weight capacity also varies. But these types of trailers can carry very heavy loads.  

13. Specialty Trailer 

If you are hauling specific types of products or hazardous materials, then you should use a specialty trailer. With a specialty trailer, you can haul fuel and other liquid. But these types of trailers are under a lot of regulations. They can hold up to 200,000 pounds. The other dimensions are determined by state regulations.  

Most Dangerous Counties in Texas for Auto Fatalities

Out of the 254 counties in Texas, those that had the highest number of car crash fatalities might surprise you. For reference purposes, the top ten counties in Texas by population are listed below.

RankCountyPopulation
1Harris County4,698,619
2Dallas County2,637,772
3Tarrant County2,084,931
4Bexar County1,986,049
5Travis County1,248,743
6Collin County1,005,146
7Hidalgo County865,939
8Denton County859,064
9El Paso County840,758
10Fort Bend County787,858

Texas Counties with the Most Car Crash Fatalities in 2018

The first two counties on the car crash fatality list line up directly with the county population chart. However, this is not surprising given that Harris County (number 1) has 4.6 million people and Dallas County (number 2), has over 1.3 million less people.

Bexar County routinely eclipses Tarrant county in automobile crash fatalities year over year. In fact, despite having a population difference of less than 100,000 people, Bexar County had more fatality accidents than Tarrant County in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Travis County had the fifth highest number of automobile fatalities in 2018. This is expected given that this placement matches its placement in the population chart.

Smith County, which is the 22nd most populated county in Texas, has a remarkably high place on the fatality chart. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Smith County, it is located just east of Dallas and its county seat is Tyler, you can learn more about it HERE.

Another high-placing county for car crash fatalities is Ector, which has a population of only 162,124. Ector County landed in 8th place for traffic fatalities on the 5 year chart below.

Denton County, with a population of 859,064, was the ninth highest county in automobile fatalities in Texas. This, however, is no surprising as Denton County is also the 8th highest populated county in Texas. What is surprising, however, is that Denton County had more traffic fatalities in 2018 than Hidalgo County. Hidalgo County has had a significantly higher number of fatalities than Denton County in each of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

2018 Most Dangerous Counties in Texas for Car Crash Fatalities

#County20142015201620172018
1Harris County417391447458389
2Dallas County238259315282295
3Bexar County184189226164181
4Tarrant County145157167183169
5Travis County95145120120118
6El Paso County6662815887
7Smith County4361574758
8Ector County4854344856
9Denton County3738494952
10Hidalgo County6567756051

Texas Car Crash Fatalities by Crash Type

In each year since 2014, over 3,500 Texans were killed in automobile crashes on Texas Roads. While the specific numbers have varied up and down, the unfortunate trend is that crash fatalities are generally increasing in Texas. In 2014, there were 3,536 automobile crash fatalities in Texas. That number has gone as high as 3,797 in 2016. The most recent year for which data is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is 2018 which shows 3,642 traffic fatalities in Texas.

Single Vehicle Crashes

There were 1,894 single vehicle crash fatalities in 2018. This makes up just over half (52%) of the 3,642 total fatalities in Texas. This number has improved over the last three years, being 3,797 in 2016 and 3,732 in 2017.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities3,5363,5823,7973,7323,642
Single Vehicle1,9131,8481,9821,9171,894
Percentage of Total54.1%51.6%52.1%51.352.0%

Large Truck / 18 Wheeler Crashes

Large truck, 18 wheeler, and tractor-trailer involved crashes make up a relatively small portion of the overall traffic fatalities in Texas. The numbers for each of 2014-2018 are below:

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities3,5363,5823,7973,7323,642
Large Truck Crashes553567602657664
Percentage15.5%15.8%15.9%17.6%18.2%

As can be seen from the statistics above, the number of large truck-involved fatalities has increased each of the last five years. More concerning, however, is the fact that the percentage of truck related fatalities is increasing. In other words, large truck-related traffic fatalities are not just increasing in number. They are also making up a larger part of the total fatal crashes in Texas.

Rollover Crashes

For the last five years, rollovers have played a part in over one quarter of Texas traffic crash fatalities.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities3,5363,5823,7973,7323,642
Involving a Rollover1,0919831,020942967
Percentage30.9%27.4%26.9%25.2%26.6%

Roadway Departure Crashes

Fatalities in a crash involving at least one vehicle that departed the roadway routinely make up about half of all crash fatalities in Texas. As shown below, these numbers are fairly consistent year over year, with the percentage remaining within 1.5% for the years 2015-2018.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities3,5363,5823,7973,7323,642
w/ Roadway Departure1,9121,8001,8601,8341,831
Percentage54.0%50.3%49.0%49.1%50.2%

Intersection Crashes / Intersection-Related Fatal Crashes

The number of fatal crashes at intersections has steadily increased over the years. However, while increasing, the percentage of the total auto accident fatalities in this category has remained within 1.1% of its 2014 number.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities3,5363,5823,7973,7323,642
Involving an Intersection667709719730734
Percentage18.9%19.8%18.9%19.5%20.1%

Texas Car Crash Fatalities 2018

Car crash fatalities are an all-too-common occurrence in Texas. Sadly, we lose many Texans every single day on the road in Texas. This article reviews the statistics on traffic fatalities across the state and in certain counties where the fatalities tend to cluster.

Texas Traffic Fatality Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we had 3,642 traffic fatalities in Texas in 2018. Averaged out, that means we lose approximately ten Texans each day in car crashes.

Of the 3,642 traffic fatalities in 2018, the nearly 58% (2,110) occurred in urban environments and about 42% (1,520) occurred in rural areas. This 8% difference, however, is flipped in relation to fatalities per miles driven. The 2018 statistics show 2.06 fatalities per 100 million miles driven occur in rural. The rate for urban areas is only 1.11. Thus, while more fatalities occur in urban areas, a driver who drives exclusively in rural areas is nearly twice as likely to be killed covering the same number of miles. Accordingly urban miles are “safer” on a per-mile basis.

Texas greatly exceeds the national average on fatalities per mile on a year over year average. While statistics are not available for 2018 yet, Texas’s fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled exceeded the national average in each of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. When compared to the “best state” for each year, Texas more than doubled that number.

Alcohol-Related Driving Fatalities in Texas

There are few messages as clear in Texas as “don’t drink and drive!” Numerous campaigns have attempted to highlight the well-known dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. These campaigns, however, sometimes fail to tie in the numbers in favor of communicating the general message not to drink and drive.

Let’s be clear – drinking and driving kills. The NHTSA shows that alcohol plays a very significant role in traffic fatalities. Of the 3,642 traffic fatalities in 2018, 1,439 were classified as “alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.” That works out to nearly 40% (39.511%) of 2018 traffic fatalities in Texas being alcohol-related.

Texas has the unfortunate distinction of being far above the national average for alcohol-related crashes. Only 29% of traffic fatalities nationwide qualified as alcohol-related in 2018. As stated above. That means that Texas is 11% higher than the national average. Stated differently, Texas has 1.38 times more alcohol-related traffic fatalities than the national average.

Speeding-Related Fatalities

Speed played a role in over a quarter of traffic fatalities in 2018. Specifically, of the 3,642 traffic fatalities in Texas, 990 were speed-related. Speeding

Negligence and Traffic Fatalities

The common denominator in speed-related and alcohol-related traffic fatalities is negligence. Driving too fast and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol are both clearly negligent activities, both under a common law and negligence per se standard.

Losing a loved one is an unimaginable tragedy. That loss is made more painful when the loss could have been avoided had another driver simply made better choices. Professional and effective legal representation can help you make the best decisions for you and your family going forward following a tragedy.

Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Every year motorcycle accidents result in far more severe injuries and fatalities than accidents involving cars or trucks. Motorcycles, which lack exterior body and cage protection, provide very little protection to riders. Therefore, motorcycle accident injuries are frequently severe and often fatal. Motorcycles may score over cars in some respects, such as gas mileage and acceleration. However, make no mistake – riding a bike is quite dangerous. There are no airbags, seat belts, anti-lock brakes that can reduce the risk of getting hurt in the event of a collision. There are myriads of injuries that motorcyclists can sustain in an accident, and the most common ones are given below: 

Head injuries 

Head injuries can occur even while wearing protective gear. While protective equipment can decrease the chances of being injured, it certainly cannot reduce the probability to zero.  

Riding a motorcycle without a helmet dramatically raises the likelihood of incurring a head injury. Even a minor blow to the head can lead to a brain injury. A head injury can result in concussions ranging from minor to severe, brain damage, or even a cracked skull. An injury to the side of the brain can also impact the ability to hear. This could result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.  

A severe impact to the head can cause a traumatic brain injury, resulting in intracerebral hemorrhage. If a motorcyclist suffers a severe brain injury in an accident, he or she may also have permanent impairment to cognitive functions such as learning, memory, speech, and recognition. This can also result in vision and speech problems. 

Foot and leg injuries 

Other common motorcycle accident injuries include lower body including legs, knees, and feet injuries. While riding a bike, a rider’s legs and feet are closest to the ground. Accordingly, these appendages are usually the first to contact the ground in case of an accidental fall. Motorcycles also have an unfortunate propensity to fall on top of the rider.  

Injuries to the leg and feet include cuts, sprains, bruises, muscle injuries, breaks, twisted ankles, and torn knee ligaments. In severe cases, the biker can receive injuries such as leg amputation in the crash or lacerations to the leg or foot that may require amputation.  

Knee injury 

Although not nearly as distressing as a head injury, knee injuries can be excruciatingly painful.  They can also seriously impair mobility and take a great deal of recovery time. A knee injury can leave a motorcyclist unable to ride the motorcycle, walk, run, and enjoy life as he or she could prior to the accident.  

Although many knee injuries can be fixed through surgery and rehabilitation, it can still take months or years before a biker has fully recovered. This means that the rider may have a great deal of time before he or she can return to a normal routine. Some common knee injuries a motorcyclist can suffer in an accident are – 

  • Knee fracture 
  • Dislocated knee 
  • Meniscus tear 
  • Ruptured tendon 
  • A posterior collateral ligament tear 
  • A medial collateral ligament tear 
  • An anterior cruciate ligament tear 

Chest, arm, and hand injuries 

A chest injury can cause fractured ribs, excess fluid in the heart, and a ruptured aorta. Arms and hands can also be bruised, cut, or fractured during a motorcycle accident. If the motorcycle falls on the rider’s arm during a crash, the nerves of the upper arm may be damaged. This condition is also called Rider’s Arm.  

Rider’s Arm can lead to paralysis of the affected arm. Paralysis occurs when there is substantial injury to any of the three primary nerves in the arm: the median nerve, the ulnar nerve, or the radial nerve. The median nerve controls the sensations in the index finger, middle finger, thumb, and one side of the ring finger. Ulnar nerve connects the little finger to one side of the ring finger and is responsible for sensation on the palm. The radial nerve controls the wrist and position of the hand. 

Spinal injuries 

Being thrown off a motorcycle or ramming into another heavy vehicle can wreak havoc on a rider’s spine. A spinal cord injury occurs when there is a serious impact to the spine. This impact breaks the vertebrae causing pieces of bones to tear into the spinal cord tissue.  

A spinal injury can occur in the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) regions. Injury to the cervical region can result in soft tissue injury and quadriplegia (complete paralysis from the neck down). Thoracic injury can result in dysfunction in the bowels and bladder, loss of sensation, and paraplegia (paralysis of the legs). Minor damage to the spine will nearly always require long term treatment and care.  

Facial injuries 

Facial injuries are very common in rear-end collisions. The force of the impact can throw the rider forward, landing on the ground or another vehicle face first. Many riders do not wear helmets with face guards (also called “full face helmets”).  This lack of protection can result in some serious facial injuries such as: 

Dislocation of jaw 

Dislocating or breaking the jaw can make it hard to eat and even breathe. The injury is excruciating and requires immediate treatment and surgery. 

Facial fractures 

Facial fractures include the breaking of the delicate bones in the nose and cheekbones, causing immense pain and disfigurement. 

Eye injuries 

If there is direct trauma to the eye tissues, the eyes can be permanently damaged. Injuries such as these can result in temporary or permanent vision impairment or even complete blindness. 

Dental injuries 

Ramming your face on the hard pavement or another vehicle can cause your teeth to be chipped or can even knock the teeth out. This, again, is a frequent result of failing to wear a full face helmet while riding.  

Internal bleeding 

An injury that affects the outside of the body can be easily seen.  However, internal bleeding is neither easy to see nor to immediately diagnose.  This condition is also frequently more severe than broken bones.  

In some cases, internal bleeding can be a sign of a severe condition. If left untreated internal bleeding can lead to organ failure, coma, and in some cases, death. Bleeding in the brain can cause long term brain damage or stroke.  

Two types of traumas can result in internal bleeding – blunt trauma and penetrating trauma. When a motorcyclist moving at high speed is hit by an object or collides with another vehicle, it can damage the blood vessels inside his body, causing internal bleeding. In penetrating trauma, the blood vessels are pierced by a sharp thing resulting in internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can occur in the head, the lungs, heart, or the abdomen area. 

Conclusion 

Taking on a Texas roadways on two wheels can be precarious. Motorcycle riders are extremely vulnerable, even when taking every possible precaution. While it is possible to curtail the severity of the injuries with quality protective motorcycle gear, there is no 100% safe way to ride.  While a rider may be an experienced professional and take every possible precaution, the unpredictable variable of other road users is always present.  As was the case when some of our employees were on the road – it was not the rider’s actions, but those of other careless drivers, that caused the accident.  

Ride safe, y’all!