Houston drivers need to be on full alert when navigating the city’s major roadways. With nearly 4 million people living in Harris County alone and another 1.6 million in the surrounding counties, the traffic in and out of Houston on any day of the week makes the city one of the biggest traffic centers in the country – and one of the dangerous to drivers.
Houston has received the dubious honor as having the highest accident rate in Texas. Of the major Texan cities, Houston led across the board with 45,172 total accidents resulting in 200 fatalities and 5096 serious injury crashes in 2008.
San Antonio had the next highest number of total accidents at 42,589, but with nearly 100 fewer fatalities and nearly half as many serious injury accidents. Dallas earned the next highest number of fatal car crashes with 142, but the total number of serious injury accidents for Dallas and Fort Worth combined still fell short of Houston’s numbers.
According to statistics compiled by the Fatality Analysis and Reporting System (FARS), between 2006 and 2008 nearly 1800 people died in car crashes in Harris County and the eight surrounding counties. Of those fatalities, 137 of them occurred in accidents on Interstate 45 alone. Other common places for crashes in the Houston-area include US 59, the 610 Loop and Allen Parkway. Interchanges among the city’s busiest highways were the most common place for accidents to occur.
The Most Common Causes of Crashes
So why all of the traffic accidents in Houston? The high volume of drivers is partly to blame. As the biggest city in Texas and fourth biggest city in the US, the sheer number of motorists that descend upon the city each day increases the chances any individual driver has of being in accident.
The three most commonly reported reasons for traffic accidents in Houston include:
- Driver distraction
Nearly one-third of the fatal accidents reported from 2006 to 2008 in Harris County were the result of a drunk driver. As of 2009, Texas continued to lead the nation in the total number of fatal drunk driving accidents, accounting for more than 1200 of the national total of 11,000 deaths caused by intoxicated drivers.
Accidents related to road construction, lane closures, changing speed limits and design defects in older roadway systems also have been cited as contributing causes to the high number of accidents in the city.
How an Attorney Can Help
With the high number of accidents on Houston’s roadways, motorists have a better than average chance of being a victim of one of these crashes. Those who have been injured by another driver’s reckless acts have the right to take legal action against the responsible driver for their injuries.
Whether the accident was a high-speed collision or a seemingly minor fender-bender, the person responsible for the accident should not get to walk away from the accident without paying for the damage they have caused. Some of the types of compensation that may be available following a motor vehicle accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property
- Pain and suffering
If the accident resulted in serious injuries, then the injured person also may be entitled to additional damages for permanent disability, disfigurement and loss of earning potential.
An attorney experienced in handling automobile crashes can help determine what compensation may be recoverable and from which sources. In some cases, more than one driver may be responsible for the accident. In other cases, legal action may need to be taken against an insurance company that refuses to pay out benefits to the injured driver. If a driver or passenger died as a result of a drunken driving accident or other crash, then the family has the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible driver – even if that driver also died as a result of the accident.
For more information on your legal options, contact a lawyer experienced in handling motor vehicle accident cases.