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chair-color-entertainment-fun-261348-scaledSummertime is here and that means travel season.  Staying in a hotel or resort is usually a big part of the vacation experience.  Before the family gathers up the towels and heads down to the pool for some fun remember to always be cautious and aware around the water.

Every year, hundreds of vacationers enjoy swimming at their hotel pools. A beautiful breeze and the refreshing water in these swimming pools makes for a relaxing day in the sun. Despite the benefits and many pleasures swimming pools provide to its users, there are also risks involved.

Hotel pool accidents are similar to apartment pool accidents when it comes to legal matters. Just like an apartment pool complex, a hotel pool complex must be properly maintained by staff and must be in proper working condition so that injury or harm is less likely to occur for a hotel resident or visitor. Furthermore, the maintenance staff must maintain pool safety standards by restricting dangerous areas for kids and putting restrictions around the pool so that children do not have access to the dangerous areas of the hotel pool. In addition, warning signs must be posted as well in the pool area.

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With the millions of visitors that throng to water parks each year, it is a statistical inevitability that accidents are destined to occur. Fractured bones, neck and back injuries, water-borne diseases, and even death are the type of injuries and tragedies that can unfold in the twinkling of an eye at these popular amusement places.

When water park mishaps or drownings take place, the injured victim or parent or guardian of an injured loved one can pursue compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties. Yet the process of determining just who is to blame for such water park accidents can be challenging because of the many legal complexities surrounding these water park accidents. 

 Water Park Accident Liability – Who is Responsible?

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-26-at-1.22.28-PM.pngMay 23, 2020:  San Antonio, TEXAS–The crash happened around 5:30 a.m. Friday on Interstate 10 near the Dominion on the north side of San Antonio.  Justin Antwan Jackson, 29, the driver of the 18-wheeler, involved in the incident is now charged with failure to Stop and Render Aid after his truck rear-ended a red Ford Fiesta that was stalled on US I-10.  

The driver of the car, Donna Falkenberg, 46, was killed in the crash. She was pronounced dead at the scene.  San Antonio Police said she was not wearing a seat belt.

According to an arrest affidavit, Jackson was traveling southbound in the right-most lane when it neared the stalled Ford Fiesta, which had on its hazard lights.  Jackson told police that he tried to avoid another vehicle that appeared to be crossing into the lane next to him and did not see the Ford until the crash was unavoidable.

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abstract-animal-arachnid-art-276377-225x300Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas, issued an opinion addressing whether the ferae naturae doctrine limits a landowner’s liability when a wild animal on their property causes damages. According to the court’s opinion, the defendant owned a bed and breakfast (B&B) and a neighboring cabin on the property. In 2012, the defendant began renting out his B&B, primarily on the weekends. Before each rental, the owner hired a cleaning service to prepare the home for the incoming guests. This preparation included identifying any potential pest problems and utilizing a “bug bomb,” in cases where the housekeeper noticed a pest issue.

In 2014, the defendant leased the neighboring cabin to the plaintiff. The defendant often employed the plaintiff to do various maintenance work on the B&B. On previous occasions, the plaintiff notified the defendant that he observed spiders in the cabin and B&B. The defendant would tell the housekeepers of these sightings so that they could appropriately prepare the B&B for guests.

In preparation for incoming guests, the plaintiff asked the defendant to check on the B&B’s dishwasher and determine whether the sink was leaking. When the plaintiff was checking the sink, a brown recluse spider bit him. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant had any knowledge that there were brown recluse spiders on the property. Although, the defendant read reports that brown recluse spiders are often found in Texas, and he assumed they might exist on his property.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-23-at-1.26.53-PM.pngMay 21, 2020:  HOUSTON — Water safety advocates and local authorities want you to be careful around the water this Memorial Day weekend.  Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in kids ages 1-4.  The coronavirus pandemic is making it worse.

“Because of people sheltering in place at home, and kids having greater access to water with supervision changes, kids not being in school, parents and caregivers trying to work from home,” says Alissa Magrum of the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Magrum says child drownings started happening earlier this year because of stay-at-home orders, and now she worries about this holiday weekend.  “It’s so hot, and people are going to be going to the beaches, getting to the lakes, getting to any kind of water,” she says.

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bay-beach-blue-boats-296236-scaledSummer is here and many Texans celebrate the season by taking a trip down to the lake. They certainly have plenty to choose from—Lake Conroe, White Rock Lake, Lake Amistad and Canyon Lake, Lake Travis, Lake Buchanan, and Lake Texoma are all popular choices for fun in the sun and on the water.  Sadly, too many lake excursions end in tragedy.  Boating accidents on the open water happen all too often. Accidents of this type may have many parties that hold responsibility for the wrongful death.

What About Boating Accidents in Texas?  What are the Specific Legal Ramifications Involved?

Boating accidents can also result in lake drowning incidents.  Carelessly handling a boat or watercraft can cause harm not just to people outside the boat, but people inside the boat as well.  If a careless operator who has leased a boat causes a lake drowning accident due to being ignorant to the finer points of watercraft operations, both that person and the person who actually owns said watercraft, may be responsible for an accident caused by negligent handling of that boat.  The operator of the craft and the owner will be responsible for the negligence inherent in allowing someone who lacks the appropriate skills required to operate it.

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photo-of-boy-swinging-over-body-of-water-2413238-scaledEvery year, Texans enjoy the outdoors by relaxing and enjoying time at the beach, lake or rivers here in our state.  A beautiful breeze and the refreshing water in makes for a relaxing day in the sun.  Despite the benefits and many pleasures these outdoor bodies of water provide to its users, there are also risks involved.
Sadly, too many of these excursions end in tragedy.  Beaches, lakes and rivers drownings (also known as open water drownings), boating accidents, and other mishaps happen all too often. 

Many different circumstances can contribute to an open water drowning accident.  Careless play in the water, such as jokingly holding somebody under the water without intending harm, can lead to a drowning.  Somebody could be driving a watercraft and hit a swimmer, causing them to drown.  Safety gear could fail.  

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hands-people-friends-communication-45842-300x240The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically changed many aspects of society and has had a major impact on Texas residents’ lives. One group has been hit particularly hard: Texas nursing home residents. Nursing homes’ communal living spaces, as well as their clustered groups of elderly, ill, and otherwise vulnerable patients, have made them especially susceptible to the virus. According to a recent news report, nearly half of the reported COVID-19 deaths in Texas have occurred at nursing homes or assisted living centers. Almost 200 nursing homes in the state have reported cases of COVID-19, but public health advocates believe that there may be more unreported cases

Responding to this crisis, Governor Greg Abbott announced earlier this month that the state will begin testing all nursing home residents and staff for COVID-19. Up until now, the state has mainly tested residents and staff at facilities where cases have been confirmed, or those who show symptoms. However, the virus is known to be asymptomatic in some people and can easily spread even before symptoms begin. As a result, this new mandate for testing all residents and staff members was welcomed by public health advocates across the state.

The testing will be done in partnership with nursing homes and state health agencies. Although the current pandemic is unprecedented, nursing homes are still expected to act with due diligence to take care of their patients. This includes implementing social distancing measures, having staff and caretakers practice proper hygiene, and working with state and local agencies to implement testing quickly and without delay.

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close-up-photo-of-green-leafed-plants-1213859-scaledIndividuals who suffer a food borne illness in Texas may be able to recover for their damages against the company, restaurant, or grocery store who sold or distributed the contaminated food. Food poisoning is any illness that is the result of eating food that is contaminated with bacteria, toxins, or other pathogens. In some cases, these stomach illnesses are mild and can resolve relatively quickly; however, in other cases, they can have long-lasting consequences on a person’s health.

Studies from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that about 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer from food poisoning every year. Although many different food products can lead to food poisoning, spinach, beef, chicken, and peanut butter, are more frequently associated with outbreaks. Moreover, many restaurants engage in unsafe and unsanitary food processing and handling behaviors that may increase the likelihood of food poisoning. Individuals who suffer exposure may contract salmonella poisoning, Hepatitis A, E. coli, Listeria, and the Norovirus. These diseases and illnesses often cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. It can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable individuals such as young children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems. In many instances, contaminated food can lead to widespread outbreaks.

For example, the Justice Department recently charged Chipolte, a popular Mexican chain fast-food restaurant, with “adulterating food while held for sale.” The company agreed to pay a $25 million fine to resolve criminal charges that they were facing for selling contaminated food. Chipolte admitted that they served tainted food between 2015 and 2018, which resulted in over 1,000 people falling sick with the Norovirus. The company stated that the foodborne illness was likely the result of unsafe food handling by their employees. In response to the illnesses, the company revamped its food safety policies and procedures to limit the likelihood of food poisoning.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-08-at-12.08.11-PM.pngTuesday, May 5, 2020:  OLDHAM COUNTY, TexasTwo people are dead and another suffered serious injuries after a wreck on Tuesday between a car and semi-trailer on Interstate 40, about 15 miles west of Adrian in Oldham County.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, at about 11:55 a.m., a 2005 truck-tractor with a semi-trailer, driven by 30-year-old Ali Mohamed, of Columbus, Ohio, was traveling west on I-40 followed by  Cadillac passenger car, driven by 26-year-old DCarlos Benton, of Rochester, Illinois.

The Cadillac failed to control its speed and struck the semi-trailer. Benton and passengers, 22-year-old Hayden Stout, of Springfield, Illinois, and 21-year-old Tavin Benton, of Fullerton, California, were all ejected from the Cadillac.  After the crash, the Cadillac caught fire and burned. Oldham County Justice of the Peace Kristy Homfeld pronounced both Stout and Tavin Benton dead at the scene. 

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