Mayhem on Dallas Fort Worth highways continues
On Friday night a man was driving while intoxicated as he sped down Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie at speeds of over 100 MPH. The drunk driver lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a light pole. The impact killed his 29-year-old girlfriend and his two children, who were only four and three years old. Adding to the horror, the driver had recently been convicted of DWI and been arrested on other charges and his children were not restrained in their required child seats.
Then on Saturday night a driver lost control of the vehicle on the I-20 ramp to Loop 820 in Southeast Fort Worth. During the roll-over accident another 4 year-old girl died after being ejected. It is not clear how fast the driver was going or how the child was thrown out of the car. But you can guess that alcohol was probably involved here too.
My condolences go out to the families of these young victims.
Representing children in car crash cases
I have practiced personal injury law for going on 40 years and unfortunately see a lot of severe car wrecks. The opportunity to help people during one of the worst possible experiences in their lives inspires me to work hard every day. As horrible as adult injuries and deaths are, child victims of car crashes are the worst level of tragedy. To see such young lives forever changed or cut short can be heart-breaking.
Child injury cases can be more challenging than accidents involving adults. Injuries to children may affect their physical, intellectual and emotional development in unique ways. I consult with medical and education specialists who can explain the future consequences of a child’s particular injuries.
Filing suit and going to court when a child is injured
I am going to court tomorrow to finalize a lawsuit in a case in which a child was injured. If a settlement can be negotiated, a personal injury lawyer files what is known as a “friendly lawsuit” to get the required approval of a court. If a settlement is not reached, the parent or “next friend” files a lawsuit on behalf of his or her injured child and the jury hears the evidence and decides damages.
In either case, the judge appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the child. Depending on the case, he investigates the case, verifies medical bill payments, confirms that the case has been handled correctly, and advises the judge whether any proposed settlement is in the best interests of the child.
In addition, the lawyer helps the parents arrange for the appropriate method of holding funds from the settlement. The money can be used to pay for medical treatment and other needs related to the child’s care with the remainder dispersed when the child reaches the age of 18 or older. I always insist on at least a four year payout to make sure the 18-year-old doesn’t spend the money on a new car, rather than go to college or use the money for a better purpose.
Why are so many children hurt or killed in car crashes?
According to a recent report by a Dallas professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, 18,000 American children were killed in automobile crashes from 2010-2014. And if that isn’t shocking enough, almost one-half of them were not restrained or were improperly restrained in car seats or seat belts.
It is inexcusable that three children are killed and almost 500 are injured every day in auto accidents.
How can this be happening in this era of safer vehicles, required car seats, and more rampant education? The leading cause of these fatalities is (guess what?) drunk driving, like what happened here this weekend.
Read more about representation of injured children: