Attorney Brian White filed a personal injury lawsuit against a former Texas City Commissioner regarding a car accident on March 17, 2022, around 1:30 p.m. The accident occurred in the 6400 block of Interstate 45 in Houston, TX. The lawsuit was filed against Dee Ann Haney in the Tenth District Court for Galveston County. 

Haney had previously been charged with manslaughter related to a 2017 traffic accident that resulted in two traffic fatalities. She was initially charged with intoxication manslaughter, but those charges were amended to manslaughter. Her criminal trial is set to begin on May 2, 2022.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Haney had not been charged with traffic infractions related to the recent traffic accident. However, law enforcement officials may still be investigating the cause of the traffic accident. 

Why Did the Victims File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The plaintiffs include three adults and two minors. The lawsuit alleges that Haney is responsible for causing the traffic accident because she failed to keep a proper lookout. The lawsuit also alleges that Haney failed to maintain a single lane.

Attorney White asserts that Haney caused the traffic accident when she entered the highway from an on-ramp. According to the allegations, Haney swerved to avoid colliding with a car in front of her. She then struck a semi-truck, a median, and the victims’ vehicle twice. 

The lawsuit alleges the plaintiffs suffered significant personal injuries because of the traffic crash. They continue to receive medical treatment for their injuries. 

After filing the lawsuit, Attorney White filed a motion to obtain a restraining order. The motion seeks to prevent Haney from “altering, salvaging, selling, repairing, or destroying” evidence that she might have on her cell phone. Attorney White is seeking evidence to determine whether Haney used her cell phone while driving. 

District Court Judge Kerry Neves granted Attorney White’s motion for a temporary restraining order. The court scheduled a hearing for April 6, 2022.

Distracted Driving is a Common Cause of Traffic Accidents

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car crashes. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, nearly one-fifth of the traffic accidents in Texas during 2020 were caused by distracted drivers. The use of a cell phone is a common driving distraction.

Writing, reading, or sending a text while driving has been illegal in Texas since September 1, 2017. In addition to facing penalties for violating the law, distracted drivers can be held financially liable for damages caused by distracted driving accidents.

Distractions also include other activities that take a driver’s focus away from driving. Three main distractions while driving are:

  • Manual – Drivers take their hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual – Drivers take their eyes off the road
  • Cognitive – Drivers focus on something other than driving

It is estimated that an average of nine people die each day in the United States in distracted driving accidents. Sadly, choosing to drive while distracted increases the risk of a traffic accident. 

What Damages Can Accident Victims Receive for a Distracted Driving Accident?

Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents. The accident victim has the burden of proving that the other driver caused the accident before they can recover damages.

Damages may include economic damages or financial losses associated with the crash, your injuries, and your recovery. 

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Property damage to your vehicle or personal property
  • Cost of medical treatment, therapies, personal care, and in-home nursing care
  • Loss of income, including future lost wages and benefits
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Diminished earning capacity because of permanent impairments

In addition to recovering economic damages, the accident victims may recover compensation for non-economic damages

These damages compensate the injured party for damages such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Disabilities and impairments
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life

In some cases, a jury might award punitive damages. These damages are intended to “punish” a defendant for gross negligence or malice. 

The burden to prove punitive damages is higher than the burden to prove liability for other damages. Therefore, punitive damages are only awarded in personal injury cases that demonstrate gross negligence. 

Contact the Houston Car Accident Attorneys At Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers if You Need Help After a Crash

Were you in a car accident in Houston, Texas, and wondering about your case’s value? A Houston car accident lawyer can discuss how much your car accident claim is worth during a free consultation.

For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.  

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