Understanding Auto Accidents and Legal Rights in El Paso

Auto Accidents

El Paso Auto Accident Lawyer

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S., and it’s easy to see why. Roads are crowded. Drivers drive too fast. And everyone is talking or texting on their smartphones while they drive.

Crashes can cause severe or even fatal injuries. Traffic accidents can cause torn muscles and ligaments, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. As a result, you might face a mountain of medical bills and suffer temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent you from working.

Since 1987, the accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, have provided high-quality and compassionate legal representation to crash victims in El Paso, Texas.

Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined legal experience standing up to at-fault drivers who cause accidents and the auto insurers that defend them after various types of collisions.

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Car accidents can happen anywhere, including city streets, freeways, and parking lots. Most of these collisions result from dangerous driving behaviors, such as:

  • Distracted driving
  • Disobeying signs and signals
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Intoxicated driving

Car crashes can produce fatal injuries, particularly at high speeds. When motorists wear seat belts and their vehicles have airbags, their risk of death drops significantly. Instead, car crashes cause:

  • Whiplash and other neck or back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions
  • Bone fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Chest bruises and other seat belt injuries

All vehicle owners in Texas must carry bodily injury liability coverage. Most crashes start with an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s liability policy. You and your injury lawyer must prove the other driver’s negligence for the insurer to pay the claim.

If the vehicle is uninsured or the insurer denies the claim, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.


Motorcycles require balance and training to operate safely. When a vehicle strikes a motorcycle, the operator can lose their balance and lay down their ride. Even a near miss can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their bike and swerve off the road, into another vehicle, or into oncoming traffic.

Motorcycles do not protect riders in a crash. Texas has a motorcycle helmet law, but its exceptions render it largely unenforceable for riders over 21. As a result, operators and passengers can suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in a crash. Some common injuries in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Head injuries
  • Arm and leg injuries
  • Neck and spine injuries

Motorcycle accidents often happen in two ways. The first is called “left-turn-across-path” (LTAP). In this scenario, a vehicle turns left across the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Impatient drivers try to beat motorcycles through the intersection. Drivers can also misjudge the speed or distance of an approaching motorcycle when distracted or intoxicated.

The second cause of motorcycle accidents is a phenomenon called “looked but failed to see.” This form of cognitive bias interferes with a driver’s ability to recognize anything on the road except cars and trucks. As a result, careless drivers maneuver as if motorcycles are not even there, even in plain view.

Motorcycles are covered by the same insurance laws as cars. When motorcyclists get hit by a negligent driver, they can file an insurance claim against the driver’s liability policy. If the insurer denies the claim, the rider can pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.


Both federal and state laws regulate commercial trucks like semi-trucks, delivery trucks, and construction vehicles. Trucking companies must meet these regulations or risk losing the right to transport freight across state lines.

These laws require trucking companies to carry at least $750,000 in insurance and surety bonds to compensate road users after a truck accident. The laws also require trucking companies to inspect and repair their vehicles. They can only hire drivers with commercial driver’s licenses, and they must conduct drug and alcohol tests.

Despite these regulations, trucks still crash. Unfortunately, trucking company negligence can lead to collisions with motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Trucking companies are vicariously liable for negligence by employed drivers as well.

After a crash, you will file claims with the trucking company’s insurers and sureties. Your lawyer must prove the trucking company was negligent in loading, operating, maintaining, or repairing its vehicles, and its negligence caused your crash.


Buses also fall under federal law if they:

  • Carry eight or more people, including the driver, for compensation
  • Carry over 15 people, including the driver, without compensation

School buses and public transit buses are exempt from federal laws. As a result, after a bus accident, your rights will depend on the bus operator.

After a crash with a privately operated bus, your lawyer will pursue a claim against the operator’s insurance policies and surety bonds. If the bus is operated by the government, you will follow the rules set out in the Texas Tort Claims Act. This act caps the compensation you can pursue and sets very short time limits.

You should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you preserve your rights.

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Related Practice Areas We Handle

Accidents can happen in a number of different ways. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer in El Paso, Texas as soon as possible. Contact our law office today to set up a free consultation.

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  • Trucking Accident

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  • Bicycle Accident

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  • Motorcycle Accident

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  • Slip and Fall

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  • Bus Accident

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Start by Consulting an Injury Lawyer

A car accident can threaten your physical, mental, and financial health. But you can pursue a claim if you can prove negligence by the driver who hit you. Through this claim, you can seek compensation for your losses.

Since we offer a free consultation, you can discuss your accident with an experienced injury attorney without any cost or obligation. Contact us by phone or online to learn how we can help you with your claim.

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