Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/04/Screen-Shot-2021-04-27-at-2.37.08-PM.pngSelf-driving, or autonomous cars, are revolutionizing the way the public looks at travel and car ownership. These vehicles turn active drivers into passive passengers, allowing motorists to rely on the car’s advanced computerized system to navigate the roads and avoid collisions. However, these cars may result in a serious Texas car accident, as the new technology is still being refined.

Autonomous vehicles rely on complex computer systems, sensors, actuators, and various algorithms to operate on the roads without an active driver. In theory, these cars provide a glimpse into a more environmentally friendly and safer future for road users. However, as it is, these features often present more dangers than benefits.

For example, recently, a national news report described a fatal Tesla crash involving a driverless vehicle. According to reports, the vehicle did not have a driver and was operating on high or full automation mode. As such, one of the occupants was in the front passenger seat, and the other occupants were in the back seat. The car was speeding along a dangerous curve when it slammed into a tree. Emergency responders used over 30,000 gallons of water to put out the massive fire that the collision sparked. Tesla did not respond to this incident but previously stated that their vehicles are intended to be used with an attentive driver who has their hands on the steering wheel. However, safety officials argue that the company does not do enough to deter drivers from depending too much on the vehicle’s features.

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collection-of-construction-safety-helmet-38070-300x197The Supreme Court of Texas recently issued an opinion in a case involving a property owner’s liability for injuries an employee contractor sustained while working on the property. The case arose when the two construction workers suffered injuries while working on a condominium project owned by the defendant. The defendant hired an individual instead of a general contractor to manage the project. A high-voltage power line hung behind the property, and the defendants told the project manager about the line because it was “too close” to the building. The project manager advised the plaintiffs to begin the project even though the power line was still intact. While working on the project, electricity shot down the rebar, and the power line snapped, causing the workers to suffer burns and other serious injuries.

The workers filed a negligence lawsuit against the power company and the defendants. The trial court entered a judgment per a jury finding that the property owner was liable under ordinary-negligence and premises-liability theories.

The defendant appealed, arguing that the employee’s evidence was not legally sufficient under Chapter 95. In response, the plaintiffs argued that the Chapter does not apply, the defendant waived some arguments, and the evidence was legally sufficient. Amongst several issues, the defendant argued that they could not be held liable because the danger was open and obvious. Under Texas law, a danger is open and obvious when the invitee possesses “knowledge and full appreciation” of the hazard’s extent and nature. Typically, when the danger is open and obvious, the property owner does not maintain a duty to warn of the danger or make the premises safe. Inquiries regarding whether a danger is open and obvious are not subjective but rather what a reasonably prudent person would have known. Courts will look to the totality of the “particular circumstances.”

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car-crash-cartoon-pictures-19-300x210Texas car accidents range in severity, and individuals may exhibit significant differences in their responses to these potentially traumatic events. The magnitude of an accident may not become evident until some time after the incident; thus, Texas accident victims must take steps to address their injuries and preserve their recovery rights. Although it is unreasonable to expect motorists to fully prepare for another driver’s negligence, there are specific preparations motorists can take in the event of these unanticipated situations.

Motorists should ensure that their cars are in proper working order and keep their insurance and registration information easily accessible in their vehicles. Although many people do not find the need for pens and paper as they once did, it is advisable to keep these supplies handy to jot down and exchange information quickly.

After an accident, adrenaline and emotions are often running high, and the full extent of damages and injuries may not be readily apparent. Those involved in a Texas accident should err on the side of receiving medical treatment after an accident. While immediate transportation to a hospital may not be necessary, accident victims should consult with their primary physician or urgent care after an accident. Drivers should also check on their passengers and other people involved in the incident.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/03/Screen-Shot-2021-04-01-at-11.07.48-AM-300x284.pngDuring the course of the COVID-19 global pandemic, tens of millions of people across the country experienced moving their work lives, but also their active lives, into their homes and away from typical common spaces such as gyms or exercise studios. As people began both working and attempting to stay active during quarantine and to practice social distancing, demand for at-home exercise options and equipment has been on the rise. But even at home, could these equipment options pose risks to you and your family? Those injured due to a dangerous piece of exercise equipment may be able to pursue a Texas product liability claim against the manufacturer.

According to a recent news article, an accident involving a Peloton treadmill has left a child dead. Although Peloton’s exercise equipment is wildly popular, their products are no exception when it comes to accidents involving children. The CEO of the company recently acknowledged the issue and claimed that the accidents have been confined to only a “small handful of incidents.” To prevent further accidents from taking place, the company is urging Peloton users to adhere to safety warnings, such as keeping exercise equipment in a separate area away from children and storing safety keys away when the equipment is not being used.

Based on a 2020 study from The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, most at-home treadmill injuries take place involving children under 16. In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people purchasing exercise equipment for their homes, but also with children home from school with remote learning. As a result, the risk of an injury involving children and exercise equipment may be amplified because of current conditions involving the pandemic. Common injuries involving treadmills, the study found, usually involve damage to the fingers and hands, such as friction burns.

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activity-board-game-connection-desk-613508-300x200Texas has specific procedural requirements that parties must adhere to when they proceed with a lawsuit. If these procedures are not followed and prescribed deadlines are ignored, it could result in your case being dismissed or leave you unable to get the compensation you deserve. Thus, hiring an experienced attorney is crucial when you decide to proceed with a lawsuit—especially someone who understands the ins and outs of Texas laws and procedures.

In a recent Supreme Court of Texas case, a plaintiff challenged a court order allowing the defendant in the dispute to designate an unknown person as a responsible third party. The plaintiff initially sued the defendant for negligently causing a chain-reaction car accident that occurred when a truck driver employed by the defendant rear-ended the truck behind the plaintiff. The defendant initially filed an answer asserting a general denial of responsibility and that the plaintiff was comparatively responsible for causing the accident. Then, 135 days later, the defendant filed a motion to designate an unknown person, referred to as “John Doe” as a responsible third party, arguing that John Doe negligently caused the accident. Although the plaintiff objected to the defendant’s filing, the trial court allowed the defendant to designate John Doe as an unknown responsible party in an amended answer.

More than two years later, the defendant filed its amended original answer, which still did not include allegations of John Doe’s responsibility. The plaintiff objected, stating that the defendant failed to meet the procedural requirements necessary to designate responsibility to John Doe since it was not in the amended complaint the defendant filed. In response, the defendant filed a second amended answer, this time including allegations stating that John Doe caused the accident. The trial court then denied the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion, and the plaintiff filed for relief with the Supreme Court of Texas.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/03/Screen-Shot-2021-03-14-at-9.34.32-PM-300x232.pngSunday, March 14, 2021:  ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Police Department responded to a major vehicle crash at approximately 1:05 p.m. Saturday, March 13 at US Highway 36 and Blackburn Road.  When officers arrived at the scene, they found a pickup truck and a Dodge Challenger that had both driven off the road and the Challenger was on fire.
Witnesses said the Challenger, driven by James Wells, 59 was traveling north on US Highway 36 at a high rate of speed, passing vehicles on the two-lane road.
Wells tried to pass the pickup truck driven by Mark Rodgers, 39 of Abilene near the Blackburn Road intersection. A vehicle in the oncoming lane caused Wells to try to get back in his lane but clipped the Rodgers vehicle in the rear, causing it to veer off the road and hit a tree before stopping in a field.  Rodgers was pronounced dead at the scene while his wife and three children (ages 8, 10, 11) who were also in the truck where taken to the hospital for treatment.  Their condition is unknown.  Wells was also taken to the hospital for his undisclosed injuries.
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pexels-antonio-batinić-5364345-300x200Every time we get behind the wheel in Texas, we must accept a certain level of risk as drivers. Even if we are careful, proactive, and courteous on the road, there is no guarantee that external factors will not cause a car accident. Other drivers, poor weather conditions, or unexpected obstacles on the road can all play a role in the chances of being involved in an accident. Unfortunately, for many of these accidents, there is nothing you can do to prepare outside of staying vigilant and ensuring your vehicle is properly maintained.

According to a local news report, a mother was killed after a tragic and sudden accident. The mother and her 17-year-old son were on their way home from a baseball game and were traveling southbound behind a white pickup truck when the tire and wheel from a pickup truck flew off. The tire and wheel went over the highway’s concrete barrier and smashed into the mother’s windshield, killing her instantly. At the time of the accident, the woman’s son was asleep in the front passenger seat. He was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. After the tire and wheel crashed through the mother’s windshield, she lost control and rear-ended a GMC ahead of her, which had four passengers. All four were transported to a local hospital, reportedly in serious, but stable, condition. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities, and the cause of the tire and wheel falling off is not yet clear.

According to officials, although this accident may seem like a freak accident, these types of collisions are more common than you may expect. Based on 2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 people died in tire-related crashes similar to the accident that took the mother’s life. In addition, more than 19,000 people are hurt every year from these accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Many of these accidents, however, can be preventable or the impact lessened with some easy steps.

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pexels-maria-georgieva-3068579-300x201The COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in economic challenges and substantial job loss, is raising concern for a greater spike in child abuse. Nothing is worse than receiving a call that your child has been injured or abused. It is worse when this call comes from their trusted child’s daycare facility.

If your child reveals something that makes you suspect they’ve been abused either physically or sexually, don’t overreact.  Tell them you’re glad they told you about it. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) recommends consulting an expert such as a doctor, social worker, or law enforcement officer.

Don’t take your child back to the day care facility until you’re convinced it’s safe. If you believe your child has been harmed, seek medical attention. Take your children seriously if they tell you about something at daycare that makes them uncomfortable. With kids who are not talking yet, you’ll have to watch for other cues.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-28-at-8.44.28-PM-300x112.pngIn light of COVID-19, everyone seems to be shopping online more frequently. Whether you’re shopping online to adhere to social distancing concerns or simply out of boredom, Amazon has become an important part of regular online shopping trips in many households. When a product purchased from the online retailer, however, injures someone in your family, is Amazon liable in a Texas products liability lawsuit? Or is the entity or individual who sold you the product responsible?

In a recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, the court had to consider a Texas products liability case involving a parent’s worst nightmare. The plaintiff’s husband purchased a remote control from Amazon.com. A year later, the couple’s 19-month-old baby girl swallowed the battery from the remote control. Surgeons had to remove the battery.

The plaintiff claimed that the battery’s fluid from its electrical charge resulted in severe, permanent, and irreversible damage to the child’s esophagus. After the plaintiff notified Amazon of the incident, Amazon notified the seller, who did not respond. The seller’s account was subsequently suspended. The plaintiff sued Amazon and the seller, alleging strict liability and negligence under a variety of product liability theories.

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pexels-nelly-aran-1132688-300x200Pre-prepared and packaged baby food has served as a convenient option for busy parents of infants and toddlers for decades. As parents, we only want what is best for our children, and we should be able to trust that the products we purchase for them to put into their bodies is safe and nutritious. When these food products contain contaminants that could be toxic, this oversight could lead to serious personal injury or even death to those most vulnerable. In certain cases, dangerous food products may give rise to a Texas product liability lawsuit.

According to a recent news report, federal investigators have found that some brands of baby food products contained several contaminants. Even products labeled as organic were found to be contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium. According to experts, exposure to these contaminants could pose significant risks to infants and toddlers, and heavy metals have been associated with brain damage, behavioral impairments, and even death. Because the FDA does not set limits on heavy metals specifically for baby foods, advocates argue that the agency needs to do more to regulate the industry to ensure our children’s safety.

If you have purchased baby food from any of the reported brands and your children have been injured as a result of the defective product, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer. In Texas, product liability is a strict liability offense, which means that negligence does not get the manufacturer off the hook. Thus, if there was a defect in the product and it caused the injury, then the defendant is liable. Texas recognizes three types of product defects.

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