What Happens Right Before Trial in a Personal Injury Case?

What Happens Right Before Trial in a Personal Injury Case?

This is the conclusion to an ongoing series where Attorney Zach Herbert outlines the phases of an average personal injury case.  Not every case will follow this exact outline, as each case is different. If you missed the last installment of the series you can visit it here

After going through the discovery process in your personal injury case, the next phase you should expect to begin is the Deposition phase. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney at Herbert & Eberstein, to protect your rights in the final phases of your case. 

Phase 9: Depositions

Depositions are sworn testimony that is recorded out of court.  This saves lots of time and helps the case settle. If depositions were not allowed, most cases would proceed to trial before settling.  Many different depositions can be conducted, for instance: witnesses to the personal injury incident, doctors that treated the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff herself, the Defendant, Experts that have been hired by either side, and so on.  Depositions, or “depos” for short, take place in an office, usually a conference room. The person being deposed sits next to a court reporter, who types everything that is said. The attorneys for both sides can ask questions, but the attorney that “noticed” the depo asks questions first.  “Noticing” a depo means sending an official document to all involved that notices all parties of the date and time and place of the depo.

In a car wreck, depos may include a Plaintiff and Defendant depo.  These are usually on the same day and often take place in the Plaintiff’s attorney’s office.  Most of the time you will meet with your attorney before the deposition so that he or she can prepare you for what to expect.  Depos can last as little as 30 minutes and as long as a few hours. The maximum amount of time a depo can take in Texas is 6 hours, although you will rarely see this happen.  Your attorney will give you an estimate of how long it will last.

The whole point of depos is to figure out how the trial will go.  This allows the parties to proceed to the next phase, which is Mediation.  

Phase 10: Mediation

Mediation is where most cases settle.  Even if your case doesn’t settle at mediation, it is still worth the time to go to mediation.  Mediation takes place at the mediator’s office, and the parties are kept in separate rooms. Mediations can take two hours, half a day, or a full day, depending on the complexity and size of a case.  Most car wreck cases take two hours.

At this point, depos have likely been taken, and the parties have a good idea of how the trial will go.  Your attorney will give you his or her estimate of the chances at trial and the risk associated with going to trial.  The mediator will come into your room and talk with you and your attorney about your case. The mediator is a neutral party, meaning he or she is not on either side.  The mediator wants to settle the case and will work hard to do so. This may mean he or she will try to get you to take less while trying to get the other side to offer more.  Wait for your attorney to give his or her advice before making a decision on your case.

If your case does not settle at mediation, then the next phase is the Trial phase.  However, remember that there are still many opportunities to settle your case before trial.

Phase 11: Trial

Trials in Texas happen almost every week in the more populated counties.  Each court has its own set of “local rules,” which means your experience may differ from someone else’s.  Some courts are very quick to call cases to trial, and some are slow. Some courts require all parties to show up on Monday only to call one to trial and reset the rest.  This process can become frustrating, and many Plaintiffs can become disheartened with the whole thing. Don’t worry! Your case will eventually be tried!

A typical car wreck trial will start with pretrial motions, when the attorneys and judge discuss what evidence is going to be allowed.  Then voir dire, where the attorneys speak with a panel of potential jurors. The attorneys are allowed to “de-select” jurors, and then the final Jury is selected.  Next comes opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments. Every case is different, so going into detail at this point won’t be helpful. At a minimum, the Plaintiff will testify.  This is a lot like your deposition, only more evidentiary rules will apply. Your attorney will prepare you for this part before trial.

The Jury will then go into a room and deliberate.  They will have a document with them called the Jury Charge.  This has questions they must answer, which include monetary damages in most personal injury cases.  When the Jury is finished deliberating, the verdict is announced in court. A judgment is prepared for all parties to sign and the judge will enter a judgment 30 days after the verdict.  At this point, the case is finished! If the judgment included monetary damages, the final amount will be calculated, and a check will be issued to the Plaintiff’s attorney. (See Phase 5 for what to expect after settlement.)  

Every case is different, and none of the above was intended to be legal advice.  If you have questions about your personal injury suit, call Attorney Zach Herbert at 214-414-3808 or schedule a consultation.


Media Contact:

Attorney Zachary Herbert

(T): 214-414-3808


If Your Personal Injury Case Goes Wrong After Negotiation

If Your Personal Injury Case Goes Wrong After Negotiation | Zach Herbert

This is an ongoing series where Attorney Zach Herbert outlines the phases of an average personal injury case.  Not every case will follow this exact outline, as each case is different. If you missed the last installment in this series, visit it here “What to Expect in the Middle of Your Personal Injury Case” on the Herbert & Eberstein blog.

After you have gone through the steps of gathering evidence and negotiating your personal injury case, you will then have to decide if you want to settle your case. If you decide against a settlement pre-suit, the next phase to expect will be filing a lawsuit with the assistance of your Dallas personal injury attorney.

Phase 6: Filing Suit

At this point, your case has not settled, either because there were no offers, or you decided not to accept the offer to settle.  Regardless of the reason, a lawsuit must be filed. At this point, you might be thinking “I don’t want to go to trial!” Don’t worry just yet.  A very small percentage of civil cases that are filed end up at trial. In fact, more than 95 percent of all cases settle, depending on which county you are filed in.

The county your case is filed in depends on two things: where the personal injury happened and where the person you are suing lives.  A suit can be filed in either place. So, if you wreck happened in Dallas County but the person who caused it lives in Collin County, you can file your suit in either county.  Your lawyer will give you his or her advice on which county is best for your case.

The person you sue is called the Defendant.  In a car wreck, even though the person who caused the wreck has an insurance company that is paying for the damages, you must still sue the individual instead of the insurance company.  This is very old Texas law. In fact, the jury must never be told that an insurance company is paying or involved. The jury only sees that you sued the person responsible, not the insurance company.  Any evidence of an insurance company being involved is redacted from all documents as well.

Negotiations are all about what both sides think will happen at trial.  After all, the only reason you settle your case is because you don’t think you can recover more at trial than what they are offering now.  Sometimes settlements occur because the risk at trial is greater than what we are willing to take. Your attorney will guide you through this process and offer advice on your chances at trial.  The reason we are talking about negotiations now is because negotiations happen throughout litigation. Sometimes cases settle right after suit is filed, the day of trial, and everywhere in between.

It could take over a year and a half from filing suit to trial, and even longer than that.  This all depends on the county, the court, the judge, and the number of cases filed the previous year.  Your attorney has no control over how fast you get to trial. But remember, even though you have a trial date that is years away, most cases settle before that.  In fact, a typical car wreck case settled approximately 8-10 months after suit is filed.

Phase 7: Service

Once the lawsuit is filed, the Defendant must be served.  The court will issue a citation, which is a document that tells the Defendant that they have been sued and what to do.  The citation will be given to a process server, who will then personally serve the Defendant with the lawsuit. At this point, discovery is also served with the citation.  More on discovery later. Once served, the Defendant has until the Monday after 20 days to answer the lawsuit. Most of the time this process takes a couple of months. The process server must find the Defendant, and then the Defendant must notify his or her insurance company of the service.  Insurance companies in Texas do not have to defend an insured until they are asked to by their insured. This means that sometimes the Defendant might sit on the lawsuit, delaying the whole process. Or the Defendant skips town and is never heard from again. While this rarely happens, it is something to be prepared for.  But don’t worry, there are ways to work around an uncooperative Defendant.

Phase 8: Discovery

Discovery is where both sides exchange documents and media related to the case.  A set amount of questions are allowed to be asked in written form, as well as requests for documents.  These are called interrogatories and requests for production. Without going into the complex discovery rules in Texas, generally speaking, this is where we find out more about the other side’s position.  We ask written questions and they respond in writing. We ask for pictures, videos, and other documents and they respond with those documents. If the Defendant does not or objects, we might move the court to compel them to produce those documents.  

The Defendant is also going to ask us questions.  Most of the time we will need you to help us answer them, as you are the best person with the most knowledge about your case.  When we are served with discovery, we have until 30 days after service to answer. This is a short deadline, so we need to meet quickly to answer all of the questions and serve our answers.  The Defendant’s answers are due 50 days after service of the lawsuit, or 30 days after service of the requests, whichever is longer.

Once discovery is conducted, both sides have a better understanding of what the lawsuit will entail.  At this point, motions may be filed, and getting hearings and rulings may take some time. But most of the time, the case proceeds to the next phase, which is the deposition phase.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else, call Lawyer Zach Herbert at Herbert & Eberstein today. You may be entitled to receive compensation and should speak with an attorney to know all of your legal options.

Next up: Phase 9: Deposition Phase


Media Contact:

Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808


What to Expect in the Middle of Your Personal Injury Case

What to Expect in the Middle of Your Personal Injury Case | Zach Herbert

This is an ongoing series where Attorney Zach Herbert outlines the phases of an average personal injury case.  Not every case will follow this exact outline, as each case is different. If you missed the first installment in this series, visit it here “Different Phases of a Personal Injury Caseon the Herbert & Eberstein blog.

Once you have taken the first steps in beginning a personal injury claim, you will likely want to know what to expect next. After reporting your claim and going through liability determination, you should expect to go through these phases in your personal injury case next. 

Phase 3: Gathering Evidence/Demand

How long will this take?  This is a common question, and the most honest, but also most frustrating answer is “It depends.”  It depends on the following: the nature of injuries, the amount of treatment needed, the estimated coverage available, and the level of complexity of the case.  First, injuries in personal injury cases can range from minor to severe, and even death.  Minor injuries do not take long to heal, and the medical treatment associated with those injuries will also not take much time.  The severity of the injuries sustained in a personal injury event, like a car wreck, dictates how long the evidence gathering phase takes.

The whole point of this phase is to get a good picture of what damages the negligence of the defendant caused.  Put another way, how much were you hurt? To get a good snapshot of how much you were hurt, we must first look at the damages that are allowed to be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit.  Not all damages will be listed here, but the most common ones are medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairment. Damages can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.  

Economic damages are those that you can get a receipt for.  Examples of economic damages are medical expenses, property damage, loss of use, and lost wages.  These are relatively easy damages to calculate. Because these damages are so easy to calculate, insurance companies and lawyers tend to value cases based on these damages alone.  However, non-economic damages can be much more than economic damages.

Non-economic damages are intangible – they include things like pain.  If someone causes another person pain, compensation for that pain is possible.  However, quantifying another’s pain is very difficult. Thousands of trial books have been written on this subject.  However, the best way of looking at this is considering how much we spend to take pain away – from over the counter to anesthesia, taking pain away is very important to us, and expensive.  Causing another person pain should be measured in the same way.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the incident.  This means a lawsuit must be filed against all responsible parties before two years is up. A trial does not have to happen by then, and in fact, many trials take place after the statute has run.  More on that later. For now, remember that no matter how severely injured you are, the clock is ticking on the lawsuit. Most lawyers will want to get the snapshot of your injuries over to the insurance company within a year.  This gives them enough time to negotiate, gather any additional evidence, and prepare a lawsuit.

A demand contains that snapshot.  In Texas, a demand to an insurance company needs to have all the evidence available to allow the insurance company to make a reasonable settlement offer.  At this point, attorneys vary on what their demands look like. Some think they need to be 10 pages long and summarize all medical records. Some think demands need to be only a page.  The reality is that demands need to have all the medical records and bills and any other evidence attached so the insurance company can have an opportunity to evaluate the case.

Phase 4: Negotiation
A reasonable time must be given to the insurance company after the demand is sent.  This may range from a few weeks to a month. Depending on how large the demand is, insurance companies may request an extension on their response.  When an insurance company responds to a demand, they usually do this in writing. Any offers to settle a case are for all damages. Rarely are offers itemized.  This means that whatever an insurance company offers, you get what is left after Attorney’s fees, expenses, and unpaid medical bills. Your attorney will communicate the offer to you, and estimate how much will be left for you, and then give his or her advice.  This advice usually is either take the offer or don’t take it. You are the only one that can settle your case. Your attorney merely gives you advice.

Negotiations may last a while.  The insurance company might want more information, or might lowball the first offer and necessitate some back and forth.  Your attorney might wait until he or she thinks they have the highest possible offer before they give you a final number and settlement advice.

Phase 5: Settlement pre-suit
If you decide to settle your case at this point, you are finished!  No lawsuit will be filed and no trial will take place. Roughly 50-60 percent of personal injury cases settle at this point.  However, many things must happen after the settlement. Any liens must be negotiated, the payment must be received, and the attorney must create an accounting for your approval.  Sometimes this can last 45-60 days after a settlement is reached. The settlement check will be deposited into a trust account until the final accounting is ready for your approval.  Once you receive your check, you don’t have to worry about federal income taxes – personal injury settlements are tax free!

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence,  you may be entitled to receive compensation and should speak with Lawyer Zach Herbert at Herbert & Eberstein today.


Next up Phase 6: Filing Suit


Media Contact:

Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808



Different Phases of a Personal Injury Case

Different Phases of a Personal Injury Case | Zach Herbert

This is an ongoing series where Attorney Zach Herbert outlines the phases of an average personal injury case.  Not every case will follow this exact outline, as each case is different.

No one ever imagines that they will be injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.  But when it happens, most people are unsure of what to expect during a personal injury case. When a person is injured and in need of a Richardson personal injury attorney, the following is an outline of what to expect.

Phase 1: Reporting claim/treatment

When you are involved in a personal injury event, such as a car wreck, 18 wheeler wreck, or slip and fall, reporting the event to the insurance company begins the entire process.  It is crucial to not delay this first step. There could be multiple insurance companies involved, complex coverage issues, or specific reporting requirements related to the claim.  Finding coverage is important at this step in the process. If there is no insurance available, then it will become very difficult to obtain compensation.

Once coverage is identified, the insurance company(ies) involved will need basic information to be able to “set up a claim” and assign a claim number to the case.  This number should be on all correspondence to make sure that everything is being saved by the insurance company to the correct file. In a car wreck, insurance companies need the basic facts of the wreck, a police report if available, a general nature of the injuries, and names all parties involved and any witnesses.

While all of this is going on, so is treatment.  All personal injury events involve medical treatment.  This may be from a hospital, orthopedic doctor, chiropractor, or primary care physician.  At this point, documentation is key. While you can say to an insurance company that you are hurt, there is no proof unless you are checked out by a medical professional and he or she writes your symptoms and diagnosis down in a medical record.  At this point, every case is different. Some cases last a very long time while treatment is completed. Some cases are very short, as minor injuries do not take as long to treat. At the end of the day, the point of all of this is to get a clear picture of what was caused by someone else’s negligence.  To put it a different way, the insurance company needs to know what happened and what was hurt.

Phase 2: Liability Determination

Every case will have a liability determination early on.  This is done by the insurance company after gathering the basic facts of the case and speaking to any witnesses.  A liability determination is important because it is a key part of any personal injury case. Liability is another way of saying “who is at fault” or “who is responsible.”  If the other person is not found to be at fault or responsible by an insurance company, then they will refuse to pay, no matter how badly a person is injured. We call this “denying liability.”  This is not necessarily the end of the world, as there are ways of getting over a bad liability determination. However, more evidence is needed. For example, if a person runs a red light and hits you, but tells his or her insurance company that their light was green, then the insurance company will most likely deny liability.  But if a police report is made that places responsibility on the other person, or if a witness can be found, then the liability determination may be reversed.

Most times liability is “accepted” by the insurance company.  This now allows the insurance company to begin to pay for damages caused by their insured.  A good example of this is property damage. Once liability is accepted, the insurance company will assess the property damage and make an offer to pay.  In the case of car wrecks, this is usually the fair market value of the vehicle right before the wreck occurred. Many times, this is less than what a new car will cost, or less than what is owed on the car.  It is important to purchase gap insurance to defray the costs incurred in these situations.

Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments coverage, purchased through your insurance company, do not require a liability determination before paying for damages.  If you have purchased collision insurance and decide to go through your insurance company, no liability determination is required before your insurance will begin paying for damages.

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence,  you may be entitled to receive compensation and should speak with Lawyer Zach Herbert at Herbert & Eberstein today.

Next up: Phase 3. Gathering Evidence/Demand


Media Contact:

Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808


5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring an attorney is a challenge that many of us have never had to face before.  Here are some questions to ask when hiring a personal injury lawyer in Dallas.

1.  How Many Clients Are You Personally Responsible For?
First, this question assumes that you are talking to an attorney.  If the attorney’s office that you called does not have an attorney handling your call, do you think you will have access to an attorney throughout your case?  It is not unreasonable to speak with an attorney, especially when you are hiring that attorney to handle your case! Ask to speak with an attorney, then ask them how many clients they are responsible for.  Ask how many clients total they are responsible for, including pre-litigation cases. There is no magic number here, but if it is more than 100, or the attorney refuses to answer, then consider how that will affect communication in your case.  If communication is important to you, consider going with another attorney with fewer cases.

2.  How Often Can I Expect Updates on My Case?
Look for attorneys that have a ready answer to this question.  If they do not have a specific plan for updating clients, beware.  Also, ask for the methods by which clients are updated. Do they have the ability to text clients?  Email? Is there a client portal? Attorneys that focus on communication will likely have all three.  Get a commitment to update you at least once a month, or look for attorneys that promise this level of communication.

3.  Do You Have Jury Trial Experience?  If So How Many Jury Trials Have You Tried as First Chair to Verdict in the Last 3 Years?
While not all cases go to trial, and while you probably aren’t excited about that proposition either, attorneys that go to trial are the ones that have a reputation for fighting.  Insurance companies track everything. This includes attorneys. They know that they can settle cases for cheaper to the attorney that never goes to trial versus the attorney that isn’t afraid to fight.  Notice that we aren’t asking about whether or not they win. You are looking for an attorney that is known for fighting, that will get your case resolved. That attorney goes to trial. If the answer is zero, then consider going with an attorney that has fought at least once in the last three years.  There is a flip-side to that coin, however. If the attorney you are speaking with goes to more than 10 trials per year, you might have an attorney that doesn’t have enough time to focus on your case.

4.  Is My Type of Personal Injury Case One That You Typically Handle?  
Make sure that the attorney that you are hiring has handled your type of case before.  For example, some personal injury attorneys only handle medical malpractice or cases against doctors and hospitals.  Others only handle car wrecks or truck wrecks. Get specifics and ask for numbers. You might have a unique case that few attorneys have handled before.  Just because your case is one that this particular attorney hasn’t handled doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire them. If you get an honest answer, that may be just the thing you need from the attorney.  A simple, “no I haven’t, but I have handled many cases that deal with the same issues as your case” is way better than an evasive or vague answer that doesn’t begin with yes or no.

5.  How Are Your Expenses Handled?
Every personal injury case has expenses that are the responsibility of the attorney that you are hiring.  Remember that he or she is taking a chance on you to be able to hopefully get paid later. Make sure there are no surprises in the expenses.  For instance, does the attorney charge a flat handling fee for office supplies and such? Does the attorney finance their expenses through a finance company?  If so, do they pass the interest charge on to their clients? What this means is if the attorney spends $1,000.00 on your case and settles it, they will take $1,000.00 out of your settlement.  This is normal. But if they finance $1,000.00 through a bank, will they take the interest out of your settlement as well? Neither option is a negative one. However, it is good to know up front so there are no surprises.  Also, ask if the expenses are taken out of the settlement before or after the contingent fees. Most of the time contingent fees are taken out of the settlement first, then expenses, then any liens or doctor’s bills. Make sure you understand this before hiring your attorney.  You don’t want any confusion when it comes time to close out your case.

If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in Dallas, contact attorney Zachary Herbert at Herbert & Eberstein today at 214-414-3808. 

Media Contact:

Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer Zachary Herbert

(T): 214-414-3808


5 Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

5 Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

Driving a motorcycle can be relaxing and even exhilarating. However, you’re also more likely to be seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident compared to a crash involving a car or truck.

While you can’t control how other people on the road handle their vehicles, you can take steps to ensure you stay as safe as possible. If you ride a motorcycle, it helps to know which kinds of accidents occur most often. When you know what to watch out for, you can stay safer when you ride. Here are five of the most common types of motorcycle accidents.  

Motorcycle Accidents with Cars Turning Left

A significant number of motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle turns left into the path of a motorcycle. This can happen when the car is passing through an intersection. When the motorcyclist doesn’t have enough time to swerve out of the way or otherwise avoid the other vehicle, the motorcycle can slam into the side of the car, sending the motorcyclist hurtling over the vehicle.

Motorcyclists can help protect themselves by slowing down as they approach intersections. It’s also best to make eye contact with the other driver if possible. If you can see the other driver, there’s a good chance they can also see you.

It’s also important for motorcyclists to avoid driving while distracted. No one should ever text and drive, and it’s also a good idea to avoid eating while driving or listening to loud music that makes it difficult to hear traffic noises.   

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by a Car Switching Lanes

Because motorcycles are smaller than a standard car, drivers may not always notice a motorcycle in the lane next to them. When a driver tries to merge into a lane or switch lanes in an effort to pass slower vehicles, they can inadvertently drive into the path of a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists can help stay safe by always keeping an eye on the cars around them. It’s important for motorcyclists to always use their turn signals and to maintain a safe distance between their motorcycle and the cars ahead of them.

By keeping a safe distance between the motorcycle and surrounding cars, motorcyclists can ensure they have enough time to stop if a car in front of them slams on its brakes or slows suddenly. It’s also important for motorcyclists to avoid swerving in and out of traffic or making sudden movements around cars or trucks. Don’t assume that other motorists see you, and always follow traffic laws the same way you would if you were driving a regular vehicle.

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Head On Collisions

Any kind of head-on car accident is likely to be serious. When a motorcycle is involved, however, the consequences can be devastating. When someone is traveling inside a regular car, his or her body is protected by the vehicle itself.

On a motorcycle, however, there is no structure surrounding the person’s body. In a head-on collision, a motorcyclist can be violently hurled through the air and end up landing far away from the point of impact. This kind of impact can leave an individual with serious or fatal injuries.

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37 percent of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents in 2016 involved a motorcyclist who was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Alcohol is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. It’s important for all motorists to avoid drinking and driving. For motorcyclists, it’s critical to stay off the road if you plan on drinking. Motorcycles are less forgiving than a regular car in that a relatively small movement on a motorcycle can make a big difference on the road. When you drink and drive, your reaction times are slower, and your judgment is impaired.  

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Excessive Speed

Many people ride motorcycles because they enjoy the freedom motorcycles offer. It’s common for people to enjoy long rides on the weekends where they can relax and take in the scenery. When you’re on an open stretch of road, it can be tempting to drive a little faster than the speed limit.

However, speed limits exist for a reason. When people exceed the speed limit, they put themselves and others in danger. Additionally, some motorcycles are designed for racing at high speeds. In some cases, motorcycle owners even modify their motorcycles to make them go faster.

A large number of motor vehicle collisions are caused by excessive speed. Going faster than the speed limit can put you in danger, which is why it’s important to observe speed limits and traffic laws whenever you drive. Motorcyclists have very little protection in an accident, which is why it’s also important for them to wear a helmet and protective clothing, such as long pants and sleeves.      

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. Schedule a consultation with Dallas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Zachary Herbert today by calling 214-414-3808.

Media Contact:

Dallas Motorcycle Accident Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808



  1. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-motorcycle-crashes
  2. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety

Car Accident Rates Higher in States with Legalized Marijuana

In recent years, a number of states have decriminalized marijuana, with some states legalizing medical marijuana and others making it permissible for people to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

However, statistics show that marijuana legalization may come with serious consequences. Specifically, reports indicate that states that have decriminalized marijuana have higher rates of car accidents. Overall, the number of car accidents involving an individual under the influence of drugs has increased in states where new laws have made marijuana legal for medical or recreational use.

Report Says Drug Related Car Accidents Have Increased

According to a report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, states that have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in the number of car accidents. By contrast, car accident rates have not increased in states where marijuana remains illegal. While the states that have legalized marijuana haven’t seen a spike in fatal car accidents, the overall number of motor vehicle crashes has gone up.

Several studies have taken a look at how car accident rates have changed since states passed new marijuana legislation.  

One study found that car accident rates have increased by six percent in Washington, Oregon and Colorado. By contrast, car accident rates in neighboring states — where marijuana remains illegal — have not seen similar increases.

In a separate study, which considered the number of accidents reported to police both prior to marijuana legalization and afterward, researchers found that car accident rates jumped by 5.2 percent in states where legislators have made marijuana legal.

Studies Show Marijuana Impairs Cognitive Abilities

Although there aren’t many studies on the impact of marijuana’s effects on drivers, some research has shown that people who drive after consuming marijuana have slower cognitive skills. Additionally, simulators have revealed that people who drive under the influence of marijuana are more likely to weave in and out of traffic compared to those who driver sober.

It’s worth noting that driving while under the influence of marijuana remains a crime in all 50 states. Even in states that have decriminalized marijuana, it’s illegal for a motorist to operate a vehicle while under the influence of a drug that leads to impairment.  

However, one of the challenges of marijuana is that, unlike breathalyzers that measure an individual’s blood alcohol concentration, there are no tests that determine how much marijuana is in a person’s system. Police don’t have a straightforward way to determine how much marijuana an individual has consumed prior to driving.

Whereas the legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, there are no national standards for measuring how much is too much when it comes to marijuana. This makes it very difficult for law enforcement to determine when a motorist is too impaired to drive.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.”

Additionally, studies in Europe, where marijuana laws tend to be much more relaxed than those in the U.S., have found that motorists who drive under the influence of marijuana are about two times more likely to be responsible for a fatal car accident than drivers who aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

According to data gathered by Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal. Among those surveyed, 62 percent said they support legalizing marijuana use. This increase is double the amount who supported legalizing marijuana in 2000, when just 31 percent of people said they believed marijuana should be legal.

Currently, marijuana is legal for recreational use in nine states and the District of Columbia. Marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Additionally, several more states are considering legislation that would make medical marijuana legal.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2016, however, marijuana for recreational use remains illegal. In September 2018, lawmakers in Pennsylvania introduced legislation that would make recreational marijuana legal. Even if the bill becomes law, however, the law will continue to prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana.

Proponents of legalizing marijuana in the state say it will generate valuable tax dollars. Additionally, supporters of a recreational use law say that decriminalizing marijuana will reduce the number of arrests and costs associated with marijuana-related offenses.

Proponents also point out that African-Americans in Pennsylvania are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related offenses, even though marijuana use rates are similar across all races in the state. According to one local report, the recreational marijuana bill has gained support among state lawmakers.  

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car wreck caused by a driver under the influence of marijuana, it’s important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney. Call Dallas Car Wreck Lawyer Zachary Herbert today at 214-414-3808 to discuss your legal options.


Dallas Car Wreck Lawyer Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808

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  1. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/18/health/marijuana-driving-accidents-bn/index.html
  2. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/08/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving
  4. https://www.phillyvoice.com/marijuana-legalization-pennsylvania-bill-recreational-wheatley-petition/

Why Are Truck Accidents on the Rise?

Why Are Truck Accidents on the Rise?

Despite many advances in safety equipment, research shows that truck accidents continue to go up. This is an important subject for everyone on the road, as truck accidents tend to result in more serious injuries than a regular car accident.

Technological advances can only do so much, which is why experts have started looking for reasons behind the high rate of truck accidents, as well as possible ways to reduce the number of tractor-trailer crashes on highways.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you have important legal rights. Because truck accidents involve many complex legal issues, it’s important for you to discuss all of your options with an experienced truck wreck lawyer.

Studies Show Truck Accidents Have Increased

While car accident rates have gone down over the years, the number of truck accidents has climbed steadily upward. According to a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were more than 3,800 truck-related fatalities in 2015, which is a 22 percent increase since 2009.

Why Truck Accidents Happen

Although truck accidents can happen for a number of different reasons, the experts who research truck safety are always looking for reasons why the rate of accidents has gone up. Research has shown that truck accidents occur due to a number of driver behaviors and, in some cases, certain types of technology.

Driver Distractions

Just like any other motorist, truck drivers can be distracted by phones, the radio, or even navigation systems. Any time a driver’s eyes or attention is off the road, there’s a potential for a serious accident to occur.

According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash doubles after taking their eyes off the road for two seconds.

Under federal law, truck drivers are only permitted to use hands-free devices behind the wheel. However, studies show that even hands-free technology can be distracting for a driver, as it takes a driver’s focus off the task of driving.

The reality is that most people can’t multitask. Instead of performing two tasks at once, the brain rapidly switches between the two tasks, and never fully concentrates on one or the other.  

Truck Driver Fatigue

Truckers often work long hours, with little opportunity to get the rest they need. Although federal law limits how long a trucker can drive without mandatory rest periods, the reality is that many trucking companies push their drivers to bend or break the rules.

In trucking, time is money, and delays can result in serious financial consequences. Unfortunately, some trucking companies put the burden on their drivers, which can lead to catastrophic truck accidents

Unfamiliar Routes

Many truckers follow the same route week after week. However, construction, traffic, and detours can sometimes force a truck driver to travel an unfamiliar route. As anyone who has ever driven in an unfamiliar city knows, finding your way around a new area can make you distracted behind the wheel and also lead to accidents.

Equipment Malfunctions

Semi-trucks have a lot of systems and moving parts. Additionally, it’s extremely important for truck drivers to ensure that the loads they’re carrying inside the truck’s trailer are properly balanced. An unbalanced load or a sudden mechanical problem can cause a trucker to lose control. In some cases, a shifting load can even cause a truck to jackknife, putting other motorists in danger.

Impatient Drivers

Many motorists don’t like to drive near semi-trucks, and they might make dangerous maneuvers to get around one. These dangerous maneuvers can put the trucker and the motorist in danger, as trucks have blind spots on all four sides of the truck. When a motorist weaves in and out of traffic or cuts off a truck by merging in front of one, they can cause a serious accident.

Motorists can reduce their risk of being involved in a truck accident by maintaining plenty of space between their vehicle and the semi-truck. It’s also best to avoid driving right next to a truck for an extended period of time, as truckers usually can’t see a car that is driving right next to the truck’s trailer.

Unqualified Truck Drivers

To obtain a commercial driver’s license, an individual must past specific tests. However, it’s up to trucking carriers and trucking schools to ensure the coursework and testing procedures satisfy federal and state requirements. Without a great deal of oversight, there are cases in which an unqualified driver is permitted to get behind the wheel of a semi-truck. There have been many cases in which a trucker’s license was only revoked after the trucker caused a serious accident.  

Working with a Dallas Truck Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s important to speak with a Dallas truck accident lawyer. These types of cases are usually more complicated than a regular car accident case. An experienced truck accident lawyer will explain your options and help you make informed decisions about your case.     


Media Contact:

Dallas Truck Accident Attorney Zachary Herbert

T: (214) 414-3808


  1. https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
  2. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license
  3. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/driver-safety/distracted-driving/mobile-phone-restrictions-fact-sheet