Reckless Driving Car Accidents in the Permian Basin

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

It’s one thing for a motorist to cause a car accident through carelessness, but quite another when someone deliberately creates a considerable risk though reckless driving. Unfortunately, this type of misconduct is common along roadways in West Texas.

Some blame the spike of car accidents in the Permian Basin on the recent oil rush that’s attracted many to the area. The significant increase in regional activity and traffic has taxed rural roads to their limit. An example is the “Death Highway,” a stretch of US 285 that’s a primary route for trucks hauling supplies to support the oil industry.

Serious injuries and fatalities are frequent in reckless driving car accidents, and there are multiple factors that make them extremely complicated for victims. Our team at Kemmy Law Firm is prepared to take on the challenges, with more than 50 years of combined experience fighting for clients in all types of motor vehicle crashes.

Please call our family of experienced trial lawyers to set up a complimentary case evaluation with either our Odessa car accident lawyers or our team in San Antonio right away. We can get started on how to recover compensation for your losses, but you might find it helpful to review some basics.

Shocking Statistics on the “Death Highway”

Reckless driving crashes occur throughout Texas, but car accidents in the Permian Basin are especially concerning because of the exponential increases in both fatal and injury-causing collisions.

A recent press study by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) shows:

  • The five biggest energy producing areas in Texas accounted for almost 50% of the total fatal crashes statewide in 2018.
  • Among the five regions, the Permian Basin ranks second in deadly collisions, falling behind the Barnett Shale in North Central Texas.
  • Two counties within the Permian Basin saw extreme spikes in the number of fatal and injury-causing truck accidents. In Ector County deadly truck crashes rose 38% from 2017-2018, and they doubled in Midland County. During the same period, collisions involving injuries skyrocketed 51% in Ector and 21% in Midland.

Causes of Car Accidents in the Permian Basin

Not all of the crashes in the region involved reckless conduct, as many resulted from driver negligence. Examples include speeding, failure to yield, and not slowing down for adverse weather and road conditions. However, because of the unique, bustling environment in the Permian Basin, certain reckless acts seem to be more prevalent. They’re likely linked to changes in driving conditions, such as:

  • Increased Volume: Many state and county roads in the area are two-laned. When they were constructed, the region was largely rural and only supporting the agriculture industry. With the increase in truck traffic, congestion has become considerable.
  • Complexity: Many long-time residents are used to sharing the road with other passenger vehicles, with few semis and 18-wheelers. With the oil boom and inundation of large trucks, driving is more complicated and requires undivided attention.
  • Construction: TXDOT is vamping up numerous projects to widen two-lane roads and build new thoroughfares for truck traffic. Construction slows drivers down, at times leading traffic to come to a stand-still.

These factors often lead to impatience and frustration for motorists, especially when they’re in a hurry. Drivers are more likely to engage in risky acts behind the wheel, which may also amount to reckless driving. Examples include:

  • Running red lights and stop signs;
  • Failure to yield to other vehicles and pedestrians;
  • Crossing the center line to check for a passing lane;
  • Illegal lane changes; and,
  • Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, and interacting with a GPS.

Damages in Reckless Driving Car Accidents

In car accidents caused by negligence, damages are compensatory. This means they are intended to reimburse you for expenses and losses, in an attempt to put you in the same position as though the collision never happened. This includes compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and many other losses.

You may be able to obtain the same amounts in a reckless driving accident, but the extreme nature of the misconduct may also allow you to recover exemplary damages. These are sometimes referred to as punitive damages because they’re meant to punish the other driver for their recklessness.

Exemplary damages also act as an example to other motorists: to discourage them from engaging in reckless driving.

You should note that, by law, you can only recover exemplary/punitive damages if the other motorist’s actions amount to gross negligence. In other words:

  • The conduct must demonstrate an outrageous, extreme degree of risk; and,
  • The driver must have known about the risk, but still disregarded it.

If you can prove these elements, you may be able to receive punitive damages in an amount that’s double your compensatory damages. In Texas, this is up to a $750,000 cap.

Contact the Kemmy Law Firm About Your Rights

To learn more about how you can recover what you deserve after a car crash in Odessa-Midland, TX and throughout the Permian Basin, call Kemmy Law Firm at (210) 735-2233 or via our website. Our experienced family of personal injury lawyers are happy to schedule a free consultation. After we learn more about your circumstances, we can advise you on your legal remedies.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.