Navigating auto accident claims in Houston can be a complex process, but they can be even more complicated if the accident involved street racing. Illegal street races claim the lives of many people every year. They can also cause devastating injuries and damages. If you were injured by a driver while they were street racing and driving recklessly, an attorney can help advocate on your behalf to protect your rights and help you seek compensation.
Auto Accident Claims in Houston: What if the Other Driver was Racing?
Street racing accidents are serious. They often involve high speeds and severe impact, which can cause major damages and injuries or even loss of life. After a crash, if you believe the other driver was racing, it’s important to contact the police. Having a police report can be incredibly valuable for your claim.
Street racing is illegal according to the Texas Transportation Code section 545.420. Racing can include a drag race between two or more drivers, having a speed or acceleration contest, or testing the endurance of a driver. Because they often involve high speeds and dangerous maneuvers, street racing crashes are often considered Houston reckless driver accidents.
Of course, proving that the other driver was racing can be difficult in some situations. Participants, whether drivers or spectators, may not be willing to provide witness testimony because their actions are illegal. An attorney can help you gather evidence for your claim. Some examples of evidence include testimony from bystanders and footage from nearby security cameras. Also, in some cases, you may even need auto accident reconstruction from qualified specialists to prove your claim.
Street Racing is on the Rise
Illegal street races have been around for a long time, but they may be on the rise. In fact, Texas and other states across the nation saw a sharp uptick in street racing earlier this year. Some believe the reason for this increase is due to popular media like The Fast and the Furious movie franchise mixed with feelings of pandemic fatigue. Others contribute it simply to the emptier streets during COVID-19. Whatever the reason, street racing is putting lives in danger right here in H-Town.
For illegal street racers, the danger may be part of the thrill, but it can have devastating effects. Many people have lost their lives in Houston reckless driver accidents due to street racing. One 20-year-old-man lost his life during a race with a friend racing on Clay Road near Grand Parkway on June 23rd, 2021. However, it’s not only the race participants that may face dangers. Take, for instance, the street race crash where racers crashed into a Houston PD SUV. Luckily, that particular accident ended in only minor injuries. However, many innocent parties aren’t so fortunate when drivers lose control during illegal street races.
Now, car racing can certainly be a hobby or even a career. However, it’s important to race legally and safely. Professional races (or even legal hobby races) are conducted on special race tracks in controlled environments. Drivers wear special protective gear like fireproof suits and emergency services are on-site ready to help should a crash occur. If you’re interested in car racing, there are several tracks around Greater Houston that allow legal car races with safety measures in place. There’s no need to endanger your life or the lives of others in illegal street races.
Street takeovers are another type of dangerous activity often lumped in with street racing. These illegal events often take place in busy intersections and residential roads. Participants block off a part of the road while drivers perform dangerous stunts like donuts, burnouts, and more, often getting quite close to spectators. Unfortunately, many innocent parties can also become trapped during these takeovers.
Performing reckless stunts can increase the risk for damage and injury, just like illegal street racing. Drivers can lose control of their vehicles and cause significant damages to pedestrians, property, and other drivers.
Help with Auto Accident Claims in Houston for Street Racing Accidents
When it comes to auto accident claims in Houston for street race crashes, an attorney can help offer guidance and support as you seek compensation. In a street race accident case, you can collect money for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include things like costs to repair your vehicle, medical costs, and lost wages. Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Also, in some cases you may also be awarded punitive damages. These are damages awarded to help punish the at-fault driver and deter them from similar actions in the future.
After an accident, you can generally seek compensation from the at-fault driver either through their auto insurance or through a civil case.
Settling Auto Accident Claims in Houston with the Insurance Company
One of the most common ways to seek compensation for auto accident claims in Houston is to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. This involves filing a claim, providing evidence of the other driver’s fault and your damages, and negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Your Houston car crash attorney can help with this process to help make it as smooth as possible for you.
Of course, an insurance settlement isn’t always the best choice for your case. For example, in many cases policy limits may not actually cover all your damages. Many insurance adjusters also won’t offer any punitive damages. Also, in many cases the insurance won’t provide coverage if their driver was street racing. In these cases, you may need to file a lawsuit to seek compensation after a car accident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Driver
Another course of action you can take to help recover damages after a car accident is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. It’s important to remember that even if the driver faces criminal charges for street racing, a civil case is different. You still need to gather evidence and help prove fault. Your attorney can help with this process and advocate on your behalf in court if you don’t reach a settlement beforehand.
Tips for Staying Safe if You See Illegal Street Racing
So, what happens if you’re on the road and come across an illegal street race or a street takeover? If possible, there are some things you can do to help protect yourself and your passengers. Here are some safety tips if you see street racing while you’re on the road:
- Give the racers plenty of space
- Try to move out your car out of the way or pull over
- Call 311 or (713) 884-3131 to report hazardous drivers through the non-emergency line
If you find yourself stuck due to a street takeover, Houston PD Chief Acevedo offered some advice earlier this year in January. According to KHOU 11, Acevedo recommended that you lock your doors, try to get out of the area as soon as possible, and try to record the incident if you can to provide police with evidence that may help them catch the criminals.
However, in many cases, crashes may be unavoidable when reckless drivers decide to pull dangerous stunts like races and takeovers. If you were injured during one of these illegal activities, know you have rights to seek compensation for your damages and injuries.
Experienced Houston Car Crash Attorney at DeSimone Law Office
After an accident, our attorneys at DeSimone Law Office can help you as you seek compensation. We can help with the claims process in many ways, from helping you gather evidence, negotiating with insurance adjusters on your behalf, and helping you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. We’ve helped settle thousands of accident cases and will even take care of your out of pocket expenses until we sin your case. Reach out today to talk to one of our attorneys and get a free case evaluation.