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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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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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-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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city-road-landscape-landmark-158854-200x300The Supreme Court of Texas recently issued an opinion stemming from the death of a student who was shot by a University peace officer. The student’s parents filed a lawsuit against the University and the peace officer. In response, the University argued that governmental immunity protects it from being sued for injuries related to law-enforcement activities.

Sovereign immunity, otherwise known as governmental immunity, protects government officials and entities from certain civil lawsuits. However, Texas waives this immunity in specific situations. That said, plaintiffs still frequently face difficulties recovering in these cases. Texas courts have not extended this immunity to private entities, even if they perform some governmental duties. In some cases, institutions will purport to possess these protections, even though they are private institutions.

In evaluating whether the law provides governmental immunity to an institution, courts will examine whether the party acted as an arm of the state government, and if its conduct fits within the purpose of the doctrine. Generally, private universities do not act as an arm of the state. Even if a university performs law enforcement activities that may protect the public, the doctrine does not extend to these institutions. Although Texas Education Code allows private institutions to hire peace officers, the individual officer’s immunity does not extend to the private institution.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/06/Screen-Shot-2020-06-04-at-3.53.53-PM.pngSaturday, May 31, 2020, New Braunfels, TEXAS— A 22-year-old woman died after tubing along the Comal River on Saturday, the New Braunfels Police Department has confirmed. 

According to the post, the woman, identified as Devon Walton from Houston, was near the tube chute when she had gone under the water. She resurfaced but had trouble breathing and the woman’s friends alerted the police.

Officers at the scene said the woman showed signs of labored breathing but was alert and speaking. Authorities contacted the New Braunfels Fire Department and EMS, but the woman lost consciousness before the paramedics arrived. Police said officers tended to the woman until paramedics arrived on scene and began life-saving measures.

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close-up-photo-of-a-black-and-silver-cruiser-motorcycle-s-1796053-scaledRecently, a national news source reported that Allen West, a former Florida state representative who is currently running for chair of the Texas Republican Party, suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Mr. West was traveling behind another motorcyclist who suddenly braked after a car changed lanes in front of him. The sudden braking resulted in a chain-reaction, causing Mr. West to slam into the bike in front of him. Emergency responders airlifted him to a hospital where he received treatment for a concussion, bone fractures, and several lacerations. This incident exemplifies the serious threat Texas motorcyclists face every day they get on a bike. Individuals who suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident because of another’s negligence or recklessness may be entitled to recover damages from the at-fault party through a personal injury lawsuit.

When it comes to Texas motorcycle accidents, there are three leading causes: failure to abide by traffic laws, driver error, and dangerous road conditions. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur when a motorist is disobeying traffic laws, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a cell phone or other device while driving, failing to yield, and tailgating. Additionally, accidents often occur when a driver commits an error, such as quickly changing lanes, aggressive driving, following too closely, and distracted driving. Lastly, road conditions also affect the likelihood of an accident. Driving during inclement weather such as dense fog or heavy rain, road obstructions, sharp curves, and poorly maintained roads also lead to a higher chance of an accident.

Of course, all Texas motorists should abide by traffic laws. That said, motorcyclists should take extra care when operating the bikes because they are more likely to suffer serious injuries or death in the event of an accident. While motorcyclists who are over 21-years-old do not need to wear a helmet if they complete a safety course or purchased health insurance that covers motorcycle accidents, wearing a helmet is still a good idea because it has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of serious injuries. Notably, Texas law forbids motorcyclists from lane splitting, which is when a biker drives in between lanes to pass traffic.

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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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