Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-9.59.08-AM-150x150.pngThe Supreme Court of Texas recently delivered an opinion addressing whether the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) has jurisdiction over a negligence case involving a good Samaritan. Here, the deceased was electrocuted while trying to help victims of a crash that caused a power line to fall. The good Samaritan’s estate and family filed a negligence lawsuit against the power line company, arguing that they were negligent in their duty to design, construct, operate, and maintain its electricity system. They asserted that the company failed to ensure that they would de-energize portions of the distribution lines when they experience faults.

The accident occurred when one vehicle ran a red light and hit a wooden utility pole maintained by the company. The man was driving past the scene when he stopped to help the accident victims. As he was walking, the man came into contact with electricity radiating through the ground. The shock knocked him to the ground and his clothes caught on fire; tragically, he passed away three weeks later from his injuries.

In response, the power company filed a plea arguing that Texas’ PUC maintains jurisdiction over the case. In support of their claim, the power company argued that PUC has exclusive jurisdiction over an electric company’s utility rates, operations, and services, extends to adjudicating whether a company complied with the law. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs’ complaints bring up fundamental questions about how a power company maintains its distribution systems. The plaintiffs argued that the case falls under the Texas Estates Code, and the probate court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/07/Screen-Shot-2021-07-12-at-11.36.51-AM.pngHot air balloon rides and other similar in-air recreation activities are a unique and thrilling experience for many participants. While these excursions provide the public with a special vantage point, there are inherent risks in participating in these activities. Texas hot air balloon accidents can pose many challenges to victims and their loved ones. The public is urging lawmakers to push for more protections for balloon riders. This push stems from the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to implement regulatory changes following a devastating 2016 hot air balloon accident.

A recent investigative news report highlighted the frustration the Texas hot air balloon accident victims’ families are experiencing nearly five years after the accident. A woman lost her daughter and granddaughter in a hot air balloon accident in 2016. According to reports, the women were two of the 16 people who died when the hot air balloon flew into a power line. The hot air balloon pilot had reportedly taken a combination of various prescription medications before the flight. The woman is working with lawmakers on legislation that would require commercial balloon operators to take medical and physical exams before licensure. However, as the fifth anniversary of the accident passed, the Federal Aviation Administration is yet to implement any of the rules or regulations. However, even with oversight, hot air balloons continue to pose serious risks to operators and passengers. Recently, five people died in a New Mexico hot air balloon accident. The hot air balloon hit a power line and separated the balloon from the gondola where the passengers stand.

Despite regulations, hot air balloons continue to pose significant risks to passengers. There have been about 20 hot air balloon accidents every year and about 26 fatalities in the last twenty years. Although hot air balloon fatalities seem low, the statistics should be looked at relative to the number of people who ride these vessels. There are many reasons these accidents occur, and the majority involve some degree of negligence. The leading causes of hot air balloon accidents are:

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/06/Screen-Shot-2021-06-23-at-4.18.35-PM-251x300.pngVarious state and federal agencies regulate the safety of infant and baby products. While these agencies possess the power to administer and enforce federal safety laws, many dangerous products continue to make their way into the consumer stream. Every year infants and children in Texas experience exposure to dangerous and potentially life-threatening products. When this occurs, family members should consider filing a Texas product liability claim against the defective product’s manufacturer or retailer.

For instance, Fisher-Price is once again recalling one of its most popular infant products. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports citing the Rock n’ Glide Sleeper as the cause of four infants’ deaths. In each of the cases, the infants were placed unrestrained on their backs in the sleeper but were later found unresponsive on their stomachs. The deaths included infants ranging from 11 weeks to 4 months old. The current recall comes after a similar situation in 2019, in which the company agreed to recall its Rock’ n Play sleeper after several babies suffocated after rolling to their stomachs in the device.

Texas product liability lawsuits generally fall under one or more of the three types of defective product claims. The claims generally stem from design defects, failure to warn claims or manufacturing defects. Design defect claims apply when a product’s defective design poses a danger to the user. Claimants in these cases must establish that the company could have used a less dangerous design, the alternative design would not pose an unreasonable financial burden, and the alternative design would have maintained the product’s purpose and use. Failure to warn claims applies when a product poses an unreasonable danger even when used according to its directions. Finally, manufacturing defects claim that the product is defective because of an error that occurred during production.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/05/Screen-Shot-2021-05-24-at-12.31.46-PM-300x140.pngA family initiated a Texas wrongful death lawsuit against SpaceX following a car accident outside its launch site. According to a recent news report, the tragic accident occurred when the family left a campsite early after officials called for an evacuation because of rising tides. While driving home, the family was involved in a harrowing accident with a large semi-truck that was stopped in front of SpaceX. The accident took the life of the 35-year-old husband and father and resulted in serious injuries to the man’s wife and three young children. An autopsy report states that the man died from “blunt force” trauma due to the motor vehicle collision.

The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that SpaceX was grossly negligent because they failed to provide adequate lighting and warnings around their facility. Further, their claim contends that the spacecraft and rocket manufacturer did not maintain procedures to direct stopped or obstructive delivery vehicles to avoid these types of accidents. Moreover, the family maintains that the company, and not the local government, maintains responsibility for addressing the increased traffic that their company begets. The family argues that the company prioritized quick completion of their facility rather than the safety of those traveling on the dark and narrow roadway. In response, the company purports that the family, not the company, maintains responsibility for the collision. The company’s attorney stated that the man failed to use necessary “care and caution,” as is expected of a reasonably ordinary person when navigating the highway.

This case presents many issues regarding who maintains responsibility for maintaining Texas roads. There are many reasons that Texas roadways fall into disrepair and become dangerous hazards to motorists. While city planning and infrastructure development may address the party responsible for designing a dangerous roadway, it still leaves the question of who is responsible for road maintenance. In these situations, many parties may hold responsibility for repairing and modifying roadways to meet current demands. A federal, state or local government may all hold some responsibility for a road’s upkeep. However, the question only gets more complex when a large business drastically impacts a roadway. In these cases, fault and liability may become more convoluted. It is crucial that those who suffer injuries on a Texas roadway contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/05/Screen-Shot-2021-05-09-at-9.51.14-PM.pngMay 9, 2021:  KILGORE, Texas (KETK) – An East Texas toddler who was fighting for his life after a swimming accident at a Kilgore Texas hotel has died.
Luke Wayne Killough, age 2, died Friday, April 30 due to brain trauma.  Luke was about to go swimming with his 4-year-old sister on Sunday, April 25 at the Kilgore Holiday Inn and Suites when he fell into the hot tub. His sister tried to save him but was unable to do so.  She ran to her father, Scott Killough, who was nearby caring for his baby to tell him. Luke’s mother Dominique Killough said that the child told her father that her “boogie”, a nickname for her brother, was floating face-down in the hot tub.
According to the mother, Scott raced over, pulled Luke from the water and helped Luke throw up food that had become stuck in his throat.
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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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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/04/Screen-Shot-2021-04-19-at-3.42.14-PM.pngApril 2021:  Playa del Carmen, Q.R. Mexico— A criminal investigation into the death of a 13-year-old boy at an Xcaret water park has been opened.  In a press release, the Attorney General of the Mexican state made the announcement after it was notified of the death of the child via a private hospital.

According to the Attorney General, staff from the hospital reported the drowning death of Leonardo Luna-Calvo, 13.  In their official news release, Attorney General of Quintana Roo said, “the rule of law in Quintana Roo is firm and there will be no privileges for any group or person who intends to omit the responsibility that corresponds by law.”

National Water Safety expert Jesse Guerra, Attorney Of Counsel to Carabin Shaw Law Firm said,” Waterpark management needs to inspect what they expect from employees responsible for Public Safety at their facility on a daily basis.  Tragic situations like this are preventable if safety measures are strictly followed.”

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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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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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pexels-lukas-rychvalsky-1600909-300x200Although this past holiday season has looked a little different from previous ones because of the pandemic, Texas roads remain busy as families continue to take road trips, commute around town for necessities and daily errands, and travel. Even though COVID-19 may have kept many at home this holiday season, Texas drunk driving accidents still continue to claim too many lives.

According to a recent news report, a local mom lost her husband and two children after a tragic car accident. The two children and husband were driving along when the driver of a Ford F250 crashed into them. Although the driver of the Ford F250 survived, the local mom lost her entire family in the crash. So far, no charges have been filed against the truck driver. However, the mom retained attorneys who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit because the Ford F250 driver was allegedly intoxicated when the accident took place. The investigation remains active, and officials are still assessing potential charges. While charges are pending, the local mom and her attorneys are hopeful that criminal charges against the at-fault driver will be filed.

The legal system can often be challenging and confusing to navigate when it comes to certain claims. Unfortunately, when criminal charges are officially filed against an individual, it does not mean that they will automatically be responsible for paying damages to the party who suffered harm. Because criminal law and the criminal justice system were not designed to protect victims or survivors individually, but rather to protect society as a whole, damages are not typically awarded to specific people who have been harmed through the criminal system.

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