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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/07/Screen-Shot-2020-07-14-at-7.04.30-PM.pngTuesday, July 14, 2020, AUSTIN — On average, one motorcyclist dies every day on Texas roads, and transportation officials are urging Texans to exercise caution and limit distractions while on the road, as traffic increases during the summer months.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s annual Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign, which is each July, aims to alert drivers to the risks that motorcyclists face and suggests safety precautions motorists can take to protect motorcyclists and themselves. The campaign reminds drivers that motorcycles are small and can be hard to see. In 2019, 412 motorcyclists were killed in Texas and more than 1,800 were seriously injured.

“The six-month period from May through October is the deadliest for motorcycle riders and accounted for 61 percent of motorcycle fatalities in Texas last year,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “That’s why we are urging drivers to Look Twice for Motorcycles-there’s a life riding on it.”

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medical-tools-placed-on-tray-in-modern-clinic-3884085-300x200A recent case provides insight for Texas plaintiffs suing manufacturers for injuries caused by their products. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured after her dentist inappropriately used a product to clean her dentures. The plaintiff later suffered significant injuries when the dentures were placed in her mouth. After suing the dentist and the product’s manufacturer, the plaintiff’s claim against the manufacturer was dismissed by the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiff’s claim against the manufacturer was based on a failure to warn. The theory underlying failure to warn claims is that a product’s manufacturer has a responsibility to warn users of harmful effects. As one court explained, “in a failure-to-warn case, the plaintiff must show that the warning was defective and that this…was the producing cause of the plaintiff’s injury.” These cases typically come down to a question of whether the warning was adequate. In other words, a plaintiff will generally be able to recover if the judge or jury believes that the manufacturer’s warning was not sufficient to warn the plaintiff against the type of injury that occurred.

In this case, the plaintiff’s claim was unsuccessful because the product’s label contained language warning against using the product in the manner that caused the plaintiff’s injury. The warning label on the product stated that it was not to be used to disinfect dentures or the surface of any other instrument that would come into contact with mucous membranes. By instructing his assistant to soak the dentures in the product for fifteen minutes before placing the dentures back in the plaintiff’s mouth, the dentist caused the plaintiff’s injury by using the product in the exact manner that the warning label prohibited. When a product’s warning warns against the very activity that causes injury, the warning is deemed adequate as a matter of law, and the plaintiff’s claim automatically fails. For this reason, the plaintiff’s claim was unsuccessful.

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agriculture-animal-beef-bull-301600-300x201The Supreme Court of Texas, recently issued an opinion addressing the reach of the Texas Farm Animal Activity Act (Farm Act). According to the court’s opinion, the defendants owned and operated a 760-acre cattle farm. In 2005, they hired a part-time ranch hand to work the cattle and perform other duties at the ranch. After training the ranch hand, they allowed him to work alone while the owners tended to their other businesses. On the day of the accident, the owners instructed the ranch hand to move 20 head of cattle from one end of the ranch to another. When the owners returned, they found the ranch hand dead behind the barn. It was indicated in the medical report that the ranch hand died from blunt force and crush injuries, most likely from being trampled by the animals.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the ranch hand’s family against the owners, alleging that they were negligent in failing to provide a safe workplace, failing to train the ranch hand and warn him of the dangers of working cattle, and failing to supervise him. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants finding that the Farm Animal Activity Act (Farm Act or Act) barred the plaintiffs’ claims; however, the court of appeals reversed, and the defendants petitioned the court for review.

The Farm Act (the Act), which is an expansion of the Equine Activity Act, limits liability for injuries to a participant in a farm animal activity that results from an “inherent risk” of the activity. One example is when someone is injured while competing in a horse race. The Act applies whether a person is an amateur, professional, pays, or participates in the activity for free. The are about 40 specific examples of these activities included in the Act. However, notably, ranchers’ and ranch hands’ involvement with the animals is not mentioned in the the Act.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/07/Screen-Shot-2020-07-03-at-10.05.14-PM.pngFriday, July 3, 2020, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS–Fireworks are a time-honored and much beloved tradition on the July 4th Weekend.  But this year, fireworks celebrations across the country may be cancelled or reduced due to Covid-19. Many people will now celebrate the holiday at home or at a neighbor’s house. Here are suggestions for staying safe and avoiding a visit to the hospital from do-it-yourself-home fireworks.

Backyard fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns, eye injuries and even death. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, fireworks should only be handled by a well-trained adult — and that includes sparklers.

Children under 15 account for more than a third of the injuries, which included burns and wounds to the hands, fingers and arms, the head and face, and eyes. Some of the most severe and fatal injuries happened when lit fireworks seemed not to work correctly and were being held by the victim when they exploded.

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adult-alone-anxious-black-and-white-568027-300x200Recently, the Texas Supreme Court barred a plaintiff’s injury claims against her late husband’s former employer based on its interpretation of the exclusive-remedy provision in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. This ruling has major implications for Texas workers injured on the job.

Texas’ Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) provides benefits for covered employees injured on the job. The Act does not allow covered employees to seek remedies outside of the Act, except where the employee can prove that their injury was the result of an employer’s intentional act. In order to fall under the exception, the injured employee must show that the employer (1) desired the consequences of its actions and that (2) acted with a belief that certain consequences were substantially certain to result.

This situation involved a widow who sued her late husband’s employer after he fell asleep at the wheel of his tanker truck and died when it ran off the highway. The plaintiff argued that the accident resulted from her husband being overworked and attempted to sue her husband’s employer for her husband’s pain and suffering before he died. Because the damages the plaintiff was trying to recover for were outside of the scope of the Act, she was required to show that the employer acted intentionally in causing her husband’s death. In other words, she had to show that the employer believed the accident was substantially certain to result from her husband being overworked.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/06/Screen-Shot-2020-06-22-at-7.18.35-PM.pngKNOW THE SIGNS OF DROWNING

If you spend time on or near the water then you should make sure you and your family know what to look for when people enter the water. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event.

Despite what you see in the movies, there is very little splashing, no waving and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents). What’s more, of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it was happening. Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. 

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/06/Screen-Shot-2020-06-19-at-2.41.23-PM.pngTuesday, June 17, 2020: NACOGDOCHES, Texas – A woman suffered serious injuries in a multi-vehicle crash in Nacogdoches on Tuesday. Police and fire units responded to a three-vehicle crash at the intersection of N. University Dr. and E. Austin Street. According to a press release from the Nacogdoches Police Department, the accident happened at 6:07 p.m. Tuesday.

The investigation revealed that a GMC Canyon pickup driven by Zachary Cleveland of Nacogdoches was northbound on N. University and collided with a westbound Volkswagen car driven by Margaret Naranjo, also of Nacogdoches. The collision sent both vehicles northbound, colliding with a Ford Ranger pickup, driven by Lucresha Phillips, a resident of Nacogdoches.

The release said Cleveland and Phillips were uninjured in the accident, however Naranjo suffered serious injuries and was transported to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, and then later flown to a Tyler hospital.  Her condition is unknown at this time.

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road-people-street-smartphone-2224-300x200The risk of a motor vehicle crash is highest among teens aged 16-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Teens aged 16-19 are almost three times more likely than other drivers to be in a fatal crash. In 2017 alone, 2,364 teens aged 16-19 in the United States were killed. This means that six teens aged 16-19 died every day due to motor vehicle crashes.

According to one study, Texas teens are some of the most dangerous drivers in the country, putting them at high risk for a Texas motor vehicle crash. About 40 percent of teens in Texas reported texting and driving, seven percent reported drinking and driving, and an additional seven percent reported that they rarely wear a seatbelt. The primary factors that increased the likelihood of a crash among the teenage population are male drivers, the presence of other teen passengers, and newly-licensed drivers.

Texas drivers must exercise reasonable care while they are operating a motor vehicle. In the event of a Texas motor vehicle crash, an injured party must show that a defendant owed a legal duty to the injured party, that the defendant breached that duty, that the injured party’s suffered damages, and that the defendant’s wrongful conduct proximately caused the damages suffered. In some Texas car accident cases, violation of a statute may be evidence of a defendant’s failure to meet the standard of care. For example, driving while intoxicated may be evidence of failing to meet the requisite standard of care while operating a motor vehicle.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/06/Screen-Shot-2020-06-15-at-7.28.53-PM.pngMonday, June 15, 2020:  SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that drownings could be on the rise this summer. Unfortunately, a 4-year-old girl, Lina Arredondo, has died after drowning in a pool. 

The tragic incident happened just before 10 p.m. Sunday at a home on Divide Mount near Southton Road on the city’s Southeast Side. 

Police said Lina Arredondo was playing in the small, shallow wading pool alongside the main pool during a family gathering. The parents said they were watching her but looked away for a moment when another child alerted them to Lina, who had gotten into the main pool. 

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/06/Screen-Shot-2020-06-15-at-5.35.34-PM.pngJune 15, 2020, San Antonio, TEXAS–The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department plans to re-open 11 outdoor public pools and five splash pads on July 3, according to its website. The popular San Pedro Springs Park pool is among those that are reopening. It was the first pool in the city, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Connie Swan, the marketing manager for the city’s parks and recreation department, said the pools will reopen at limited occupancy from July 3 to Aug. 9. The percentage of the occupancy has not been finalized. Hours of operation will be announced at a later date, Swan said.

On May 28, the city released a four-phase reopening plan. Pools and splash pads are part of phase three of the plan. The department manages 26 public pools, according to its website.

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