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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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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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