Fort Worth Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyer
At Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, Fort Worth recreational vehicle accident lawyer Jason Stephens represents victims in seeking fair compensation for their injuries.
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How Stephens Law Firm, PLLC Helps RV Accident Victims
The size and weight of a motorhome mean RV accidents tend to be very serious. In many accidents, multiple parties are left with serious injuries. After an accident, you should be focused on healing and moving on with your life, not fighting an insurance company that is trying to put the blame on you.
Founding attorney Jason Stephens is an award-winning trial lawyer who has represented victims as a Fort Worth personal injury attorney for more than two decades.
Stephens has recovered some of the largest verdicts in national and Texas history for his clients. He fights for you to recover the full compensation you deserve when someone else’s negligence leaves you with injuries and an uncertain financial future.
Let Stephens Law Firm, PLLC level the playing field against the insurance company and serve as your legal advocate. Jason Stephens has recovered tens of millions in verdicts and settlements for his clients. He is here to help you too.
What Is a Recreational Vehicle?
A recreational vehicle or RV is a motor vehicle or that includes living quarters. There are many types of RVs including camper trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, and motorhomes. Not all RVs are motor vehicles: some are towable.
Depending on the type of RV, it may have features such as a bedroom, televisions, dining area, kitchen, and the ability to sleep up to 10 people.
Sometimes “recreational vehicle” is used to instead refer to any vehicle designed primarily for recreational use such as ATVs or four-wheelers, jet skis, boats, and motorcycles.
Unlike some states, Texas law requires drivers to have a Class A or Class B license to operate an oversized RV. Luxury motor coaches or motorhomes require a Class A license and medium-sized campers or pop-up vans require a Class B license.
What Causes Recreational Vehicle Accidents in Fort Worth?
As with car accidents, RV accidents can be caused by many factors ranging from road conditions and weather to faulty vehicle parts. Sadly, most recreational vehicle accidents are caused by negligent or careless driving.
The following are some of the most common causes of RV vehicle accidents a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer sees.
RVs weigh more than passenger vehicles and take a long time to stop. They are also tricky to maneuver and control without experience. The largest RVs, Class As, can be almost impossible to maneuver in tight areas.
An RV can be as large and heavy as a large truck with several large blind spots too. Without experience with the RV’s blind spots, stopping distance, and maneuverability, an inexperienced RV driver may cause an accident.
It’s not uncommon for RV drivers to be on the road for long hours. This can pose the very real risk of fatigued driving. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving killed 795 people in the U.S. in 2017 alone and contributed to 91,000 police-reported accidents.
Drowsy driving is so dangerous because sleep deprivation has similar effects as alcohol. It dulls reaction time and may increase the risk of an accident by 400%. Some research indicates getting less than 5 hours of sleep is equal to driving drunk.
Distractions can be dangerous for any driver, but they may be more common and serious when it comes to recreational vehicles. An RV driver is often driving with several people in the vehicle who may be cooking, walking around, talking, and watching TV. There may even be pets wandering around the RV and near the driver’s area.
Because an RV can be very large and hard to maneuver, distractions can be deadly if the driver strays out of their lane or miscalculates a turn.
While any vehicle can roll over, RVs are more at risk of rollover accidents because they have a high center of gravity with a narrow, tall design. Many drivers fail to account for the weight characteristics of a recreational vehicle and may not predict how the RV will behave in crosswinds or high speeds.
One of the hardest parts about driving an RV is making turns. The typical RV is up to 50 feet long and unwieldy. The tail swing of an RV is something that takes practice and time to understand.
The tail swing is the distance that the RV’s body behind the pivot point moves in the opposite direction of the front when turning. Average tail swings are 18-30″ with an RV but it can be more or less depending on the RV’s size and how tight the driver turns.
It’s not uncommon for inexperienced RV drivers to underestimate the tail swing and cause an accident while turning or even lose control of the vehicle.
Speeding & Long Stopping Distance
Like large trucks, motorhomes have a longer stopping distance. This makes speeding even more dangerous when a class A motorhome is involved. An RV requires more stopping distance and reaction time than a passenger vehicle.
RV drivers should maintain a greater distance between vehicles and avoid speeding. At 55 mph, the average driver needs 3 quarters of a second or 60 feet to notice a hazard, and then another 60 feet of reaction time to apply the brakes. It takes another 4.5 seconds to brake.
This gives the average 40 to 50-foot RV a 500-foot stopping distance at 55 mph. At 65 mph, the stopping distance increases to more than 600 feet. This does not even take into account poor visibility or wet road conditions.
Construction Site Accidents
The average width of a class A motorhome or large luxury RV is 102 inches or 8-1/2 feet. That actually makes RVs too large to legally drive on some state-controlled roads. On a highway, the standard lane width is 12 feet which, in theory, gives RVs just 3/4-foot clearance on either side.
That’s already not a lot of space while traveling at high speeds and leaves little room for error. When a highway is under construction and lanes are narrowed, a large RV becomes even more dangerous.
During construction, lanes may be narrowed to the legal minimum: 8-foot, 6-inches. That’s exactly the width of the typical motorhome.
Common Injuries in RV Accidents in Fort Worth
A recreational vehicle accident in Fort Worth has a high risk of causing serious injuries for several reasons. Occupants in passenger cars face an increased risk because they are being struck by a vehicle with a size and weight similar to a large truck. RV occupants aren’t safer, however.
Despite their luxury features, a recreational vehicle is essentially a flimsy mobile home. It’s filled with appliances and loose items that can become deadly in an accident. Their design makes them inherently more difficult to make safe in an accident than a car.
With some types of recreational vehicles, the living compartment is not crash-tested and prone to disintegrating in a serious accident. Even class A motorhomes, the safest of all RVs for the occupants, are not very stable in an accident.
Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, often represents victims in recreational vehicle accidents with serious injuries such as:
- Amputation and other catastrophic injuries
- Back injuries
- Fractures and other orthopedic injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Crush injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
If you have been left with serious injuries from an RV accident in Texas, you should not be left fighting the insurance company for the compensation you need. A Fort Worth car accident lawyer at Stephens Law Firm, PLLC is here to help.
Who Is Liable for a Recreational Vehicle Accident in Fort Worth, TX?
One of the most crucial elements of a personal injury claim is proving liability or who is legally responsible for the damages from the accident.
Texas uses a modified comparative negligence doctrine to determine liability in an RV accident. Under this system, the at-fault driver’s ability to recover damages may be limited. If you are found 51% or more to blame for the accident, you cannot recover damages.
Even if you contributed to your accident, you can still recover compensation as long as you are not mostly to blame. This makes it absolutely crucial to work with an experienced recreational vehicle accident lawyer in Texas who will investigate your claim and prove liability.
Insurance companies often try to blame the injured party for an accident. Attorney Jason Stephens has decades of experience representing victims against insurance company claims. He uses many strategies to fight for your rights and investigate your accident.
He will gather evidence to prove liability including:
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- The vehicle’s onboard technology
- Surveillance footage of the accident
- Photos of the accident scene and damage to both vehicles
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction specialist
He leaves no stone unturned in gathering evidence to support your claim.
Compensation for a Recreational Vehicle Accident
If you have suffered serious injuries in an RV accident in Fort Worth, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault party. The compensation you can recover in a personal injury claim may include:
- Medical expenses related to your accident. This includes future medical costs.
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity if you are left with long-term or permanent disabilities.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
A Fort Worth recreational vehicle accident lawyer at Stephens Law Firm, PLLC will help you fight for the full compensation you deserve. He will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Contact a Recreational Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas
Have you been seriously hurt in an RV accident in the Fort Worth area? Whether you were in the recreational vehicle or a passenger vehicle, you may have the right to recover compensation to protect your financial future.
Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, understands the devastating toll of a serious traffic accident. You should be focused on recovering, not fighting with an insurance company for fair compensation. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation with a Texas recreational vehicle lawyer.