Archive for October, 2011

Two drivers dead after big rig crashes into toll booth on Beltway 8

Two drivers were tragically killed last night when an out of control 18-wheeler struck a toll booth at North Beltway 8 near Veterans Memorial. A Channel 2 News story reports that, according to the Harris County Toll Road Authority, a car was waiting at a toll booth paying a toll when the big rig hit the toll booth, lost control then landed on top of another car before bursting into flames. A story by the Houston Chronicle states that the deceased motorists are the driver of the 18-wheeler and the driver of the car that was waiting at the toll booth when it was struck by the big-rig. Investigators are working to determine what caused the 18-wheeler driver to loose control of his truck. Channel 11 reported on the deadly crash here.

There is a reason 18-wheelers, otherwise referred to as big-rigs, are heavily regulated by the federal government.  Because large trucks massively outsize and outweigh passenger cars there is great potential for 18-wheeler accidents to cause serious injury or death to other motorists.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) require that inter-state 18-wheeler operators carry at least $750,000 of liability insurance. Depending on the loads they are hauling they may be required to carry up to $5 million in insurance. Many truck drivers are diligent and professional and take safety very seriously.  Unfortunately some truckers or their companies do not however, and over more than 20-years of practice Smith & Hassler has seen many examples or distracted, tired or overworked truck drivers hurting or killing others.  Getting professional legal representation as soon as possible after a truck accident is critical.  The trucking company and their insurance company will move quickly to do their own investigation in an attempt to avoid or shift blame.  Call or email Smith & Hassler as soon as possible after your trucking accident, and don’t speak to the insurance company representatives before you do.

One killed and two injured in pickup truck crash on the Gulf Freeway

13
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

A crash early this morning has left one man dead and two others injured. The crash happened on Houston’s Gulf Freeway at around 12:30am. The driver of a red-colored Chevrolet or GMC pickup truck was traveling on the Gulf Freeway at Woodridge when he lost control of his struck and struck the center median. Another motorist pulled over to assist the driver of the crashed pickup truck, and the pickup driver was using the other motorist’s cell phone when another vehicle crashed into both the wrecked pickup truck and the Good Samaritan’s vehicle. Sadly the pickup truck driver died at the scene, the Good Samaritan who stopped to help was transported to hospital with reportedly minor injuries and the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the stopped vehicles was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Channel 11’s report is available here and include video. Channel 2’s story is here, and this story identifies the vehicle that crashed into the already stopped vehicles as a Toyota Avalon. Channel 13’s story is here, and lists the Avalon as bring black in color. The Houston Chronicle’s story is here, and states there is no indication of alcohol involvement.

Smith & Hassler files suit against driver insured with Empower Insurance

12
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

In September 2011 Smith & Hassler filed a personal injury lawsuit in Harris County Civil District Court against a Houston man insured with Empower Insurance. The lawsuit relates to a four vehicle collision earlier this year. The driver insured by Empower Insurance, driving a Chevrolet Suburban, made a right turn on a red light at an intersection without stopping first to make sure the intersection was clear. The Empower insured caused a collision with another vehicle (“vehicle 2″) lawfully traveling through the intersection on a green light. Vehicle 2 then collided with two more vehicles waiting at a signal to make a left turn (“vehicle 3″ and “vehicle 4″). The major crash was investigated by the police who issued a citation to the Empower insured and found him at fault for failure to yield the right-of-way. Smith & Hassler’s clients were in vehicle 4, at a complete stop and waiting to make a left turn when they were struck by vehicle 2. The injured clients are two adult females, an adult male and a child.

One of the adult females represented by Smith & Hassler went through physical therapy for a shoulder injury and when her condition didn’t improve, she was sent for an MRI of her shoulder that revealed a full thickness rotator cuff tear, a condition that typically requires surgery to repair it. She was seen by a board certified orthopedic surgeon who recommended a surgery on her shoulder to repair the torn tendon. The anticipated cost of the surgery was approximately $30,000.

Smith & Hassler attempted to settle these clients claims with Empower Insurance without having to resort to a lawsuit. Empower was sent the clients’ medical records, medical bills and in the case of the client with the rotator cuff tear they were also provided with her MRI film on CD-ROM. In addition to the approximately $13,000 in medical bills she had already, she was also facing the $30,000 cost of the shoulder surgery. Empower Insurance responded with a settlement offer of $11,000…not even enough to cover the past medical bills.

The lawsuit against the Empower Insured was filed within 14-days of the unfair settlement offer. Empower Insurance is based out of Fort Worth, Texas: you can read reviews of them online here: the reviews speak for themselves.

Fiery car crash shuts down Gulf Freeway this morning

The main lanes of the Gulf Freeway were shut down this morning during rush hour due to a vehicle crash and fire. Two vehicles wrecked on the inbound lanes of the Gulf Freeway at around 6:15am near Telephone Road. One of the vehicles, possibly a motorcycle, burst into flames. Injuries were reported, but specifically what isn’t known at this time. The scene was cleared within about an hour but traffic backed up for miles.

If you, a friend or a family member have been injured in a car accident, Smith & Hassler’s experienced personal injury attorneys are available to give you a free consultation either in-person or by phone.  Sometimes people injured in car accident wait before consulting an attorney. They have good intentions: not wanting to seem “sue happy,” waiting to see if their injuries will get better or because an insurance adjuster is discouraging them from seeking legal advice (that happens).  It is better to know your rights early in the process and have an experienced Houston personal injury attorney explain the steps involved in car accident injury claim and what you can do NOW to increase the chances of a good outcome.

11 vehicle wreck shuts down Beltway 8 this morning

5
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

Houston’s rush hour abruptly ground to a halt for many motorists this morning when all westbound lanes of Beltway 8 were shut down for about an hour due to an eleven vehicle wreck at Aldine Westfield. A motorcyclist may have been involved in the collision. Channel 13’s very brief report of the accident is here and Channel 11’s report is here.

Car accidents commonly result in medical bills, lost income from work and a period of time after the accident when the injured person is in pain and is impaired from performing their normal activities. Texas law allows a person injured in a motor vehicle accident by another’s negligence to seek recovery of money damages.  Speaking to an experienced Houston personal injury attorney early in the process can make the difference between a relatively straightforward claim under the other driver’s insurance policy and a real nightmare.  Insurance companies will deny or undervalue claims if they have a reason to.  Smith & Hassler’s trial-tested Houston personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free consultation regarding your motor vehicle accident injury claim: call now or submit your case online.

Dump truck versus MetroRail collision injures 15 at Main and Capitol in downtown Houston

4
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

At around 9:00am this morning there was a collision between a dump truck and a MetroRail train at the intersection of Main and Capitol in downtown Houston. According to a Channel 11 story on the crash, the train became derailed when the dump truck, heading west on Capitol, ran a red light and caused the collision. A total of 15 people were taken to Ben Taub and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, including the drivers of the MetroRail train and the dump truck. The dump truck reportedly came close to crashing into Ziggy’s Bar & Grill: according to police the dump truck driver said he couldn’t see the red light because he was blinded by a reflection. According to METRO the dump truck driver was not affiliated with METRO, but he was delivering a load of sand to a METRO subcontractor that was working on the light rail line. FOX News’ coverage of the story is available here. Channel 13’s coverage, including video, is available here.

Unsure of how to handle an insurance claim for personal injuries you have suffered in a car accident?  Don’t rely on the insurance adjuster handling your claim for advice…they have a conflict of interest! The less adjusters pay on injury claims, the more profitable their company remains. Insurance adjusters want to settle automobile accident injury claims as quickly as possible so they can cut-off the insurance company’s liability for additional medical bills and close their file.  Since Smith & Hassler was founded in 1989 by Michael Smith and Al Hassler, this law firm has practiced exclusively in the area of personal injury and has handled thousands of car accident injury cases.  Call Smith & Hassler for a free consultation AS SOON AS YOU CAN AFTER YOUR CAR ACCIDENT—get advice from someone with your best interests at heart.  There is no charge for an initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Dump Truck Derails METRORail in Downtown Houston: MyFoxHOUSTON.com

Pickup driver dies in head-on collision with Wal-Mart big rig on FM1314

4
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

Channel 2 News is reporting a fatal collision that occurred early Tuesday October 4, 2011. According to investigators the driver of a pickup truck lost control of his vehicle and crashed head-on into a Wal-Mart 18-wheeler on FM 1314 near Houston Road in Montgomery County. The wreck happened at around 1:00am. Sadly the pickup truck driver died at the scene. Fuel leaked from ruptured tanks onto the roadway closing FM1314 for a time.

Five vehicles involved in a collision on Interstate 45 HOV lane

3
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

Channel 2 News is reporting a serious accident during this morning’s commute. Four vehicles were involved in a crash at around 8:30am on the Interstate 45 northbound HOV lane near the West Mount Houston road exit. Images from FOX News’ helicopter show several large vehicles including a light blue colored commercial van.

Update: KHOU has released a report on this collision indicating the accident happened when the blue van rear-ended a white van, which caused the white van to flip over and land on a red vehicle. The jaws of life were apparently used to extract a teenage victim from one of the vehicles. The injured were transported to Northwest Memorial Hermann Hospital. The KHOU story does not refer to any of the vehicles involved driving the wrong way.

A story on Channel 2’s website about the crash states that officials had originally thought it was a wrong way crash because two of the vehicles involved came to rest facing one another. Channel 2 said that one man who was extracted from the wreck suffered a broken arm and broken ribs. A story on the Houston Chronicle’s blog provides a clear pictures of the blue van, which appears to belong to Crestmark Construction Services: Crestmark Realty is located on Shepherd Drive in Houston.

This light blue commercial van was one of the four vehicle involved in the head-on crash on the I-45 HOV lane this morning.

A Channel 2 News story identifies this blue colored Crestmark Construction Services van as being at fault for this morning's collision on the I-45 HOV lane

If you, a friend or a family member have been injured in a car accident, Smith & Hassler’s experienced personal injury attorneys are available to give you a free consultation either in-person or by phone.  Sometimes people injured in car accident wait before consulting an attorney. They have good intentions: not wanting to seem “sue happy,” waiting to see if their injuries will get better or because an insurance adjuster is discouraging them from seeking legal advice (that happens).  It is better to know your rights early in the process and have an experienced Houston personal injury attorney explain the steps involved in car accident injury claim and what you can do NOW to increase the chances of a good outcome.

Pickup crashes into Dodge Charger on Club Creek and 7 hospitalized

3
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

A head-on collision on Club Creek near the Southwest Freeway sent seven people to the hospital on Saturday. A man was driving a pickup truck eastbound on Club Creek at around 9:30pm when he crashed head-on into a Dodge Charger occupied by three adults and three small children.   Five of the people in the Dodge Charger (two adults and the three children) were transported to the hospital, one in serious condition. The driver of the pickup truck was also taken to hospital in serious condition. Police are investigating to determine if alcohol was a factor in the collision. KHOU has footage of the collision available here.

Unsure of how to handle an insurance claim for personal injuries you have suffered in a car accident?  Don’t rely on the insurance adjuster handling your claim for advice…they have a conflict of interest! The less adjusters pay on injury claims, the more profitable their company remains. Insurance adjusters want to settle automobile accident injury claims as quickly as possible so they can cut-off the insurance company’s liability for additional medical bills and close their file.  Since Smith & Hassler was founded in 1989 by Michael Smith and Al Hassler, this law firm has practiced exclusively in the area of personal injury and has handled thousands of car accident injury cases.  Call Smith & Hassler for a free consultation AS SOON AS YOU CAN AFTER YOUR CAR ACCIDENT—get advice from someone with your best interests at heart.  There is no charge for an initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Motorcyclist dies after multi vehicle wreck near Bellaire

3
Oct 2011
By: Smith & Hassler - Houston, TX Injury Lawyers

A motorcyclist who was reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed was killed in a collision with a Nissan Altima at around 3:30am on Sunday October 2, 2011. The motorcyclist was traveling southbound on the West 610 Loop near Westpark when the collided with the rear of the Nissan Altima. The Altima then spun out of control and struck a concrete retaining wall; a third vehicle (a small BMW car) was struck by debris from the crash. The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet but died at the scene. Reportedly the occupants of the cars were not injured. Channel 11’s report is here.