Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Published on:

pexels-skitterphoto-17605-150x150Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in an accident lawsuit involving a Texas resident. The victim’s joined his church group on an out-of-state wilderness expedition trip. The church hired a company to arrange the group’s activities. The company required the participants to complete a “registration form” and “medical form.” On the first day of the trip, the victim participated in a rappelling course. However, during the course, he became inverted, fell, and died. The victim’s wife filed a lawsuit against the rappelling company.

In response to the lawsuit, the company moved for summary judgment arguing, amongst several issues, that Texas law did not apply to the case. Cases involving Texas residents suffering injuries in another state can pose many challenges to plaintiffs. The law provides that in diversity actions, the court should apply the conflict-of-laws rules of the forum state. This also applies in contract language dispute matters.

In this case, Texas laws require liability releases to be “adequately conspicuous,” which is a stricter standard than Colorado law. As such, the plaintiff contended that because her husband signed the release in Texas, Texas law should apply. However, the magistrate judge concluded that Colorado law controlled the matter. On appeal, the appellate court explained that Colorado law applies because diversity actions require courts to apply the conflict-of-laws rules of the forum state.

Published on:

pexels-kampus-production-6300862-300x200San Antonio, Texas:  It’s back to school and back on the roads in Texas, make sure your children are safely buckled up or strapped in for trips in the car.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children. While most people believe their children are properly buckled up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out that 59% of all car seats are misused. The best way to keep young children safe in your vehicle is to make sure they’re properly buckled up in a car seat. That means selecting a car seat that’s appropriate for a child’s age and size and installing it correctly.

“We encourage parents to take advantage of car seat safety checks available during Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25th).  With proper car seat, car seat installment, and seat belt placement, children are far safer during a motor vehicle collision,” said Carabin Shaw Attorney Carla Dixon. “Knowing the guidelines for height and weight for your children is also extremely important to ensure your child is in the proper car seat or booster seat.  Serious injuries can be greatly reduced as well if we place children rear-facing car seats until ages 2-4.”

Published on:

https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2021/08/Screen-Shot-2021-08-10-at-12.21.49-PM.png
Recently, two employees died, and 30 others suffered injuries after a chemical leak at a LyondellBasell Industries (LBI) plant in Texas. The company is one of the largest plastics, chemicals, and refining companies in the world. The Texas company boasts that its chemicals have provided modern ways to enhance food and water safety worldwide.

According to a recent news report, the chemical leak involved acetic acid, which is a common food preservative used to make vinegar. The blast occurred around 7:30 in the evening when a cap burst on a line of acetic acid. Acetic acid is a clear, flammable liquid whose vapor can be corrosive to the eyes and skin. The burst released approximately 100,000 pounds of an acetic acid chemical mixture into the air. In addition to acetic acid, the burst released hydrogen iodide and acetate. The combination of these chemicals can be toxic and cause severe burns. Emergency responders and investigators are still investigating the accident; however, they do not believe that an explosion or fire caused the leak.

Chemical leaks such as the one at the Texas plant can be toxic and deadly to anyone in the vicinity. Chemical spills and leaks often occur because of negligence surrounding safety regulations, equipment, or employee training. Companies should make sure to properly train their employees and workers to ensure that they understand how to prevent spills and mitigate harm if a spill does occur. However, many companies prioritize economic gain over employee and community welfare. When this occurs, the companies may pressure workers to complete tasks in an unreasonable amount of time. This can naturally result in workers cutting corners to meet production deadlines.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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:

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.
Published on:

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.

Published on:

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.”

Contact Information