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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-1.52.15-PM.pngThursday, April 29, 2020:  KARNACK, Texas – A Shreveport nurse and mother of two was killed following a multiple vehicle crash in East Texas.

The crash happened shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday near the Long Point Corner store at the intersection of FM 1999 and Highway 9.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 48-year-old Melanie H. Coffman and her boyfriend, 54-year-old Richard Phillips, also of Shreveport, died in the crash. Family members said Coffman was a nurse at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center and a sexual assault nurse examiner at the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-9.59.08-AM.pngRecently, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a per curiam opinion in an appeal involving the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The lawsuit originates from an automobile accident that an injury victim filed against a Texas governmental entity. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Jefferson County, Texas, alleging that he suffered serious injuries when a police officer, driving a government-issued vehicle, crashed into him. The court instructed the plaintiff’s representative to direct his claims to a third-party risk management entity. Following this instruction, the representative notified the county of the negligence claim, provided identifying information and descriptions of the accident, and all required copies of statements and accident reports, ultimately expressing a desire to resolve the claim amicably.

In response, the risk management company denied the claim stating that it did not believe that the county was negligent. The county’s answer included all of the TTCA’s limitations but sought dismissal on non-TTCA grounds. The representative countered that he complied with the TTCA’s notice requirement, through his communications with the county’s risk assessment company.

Under the TTCA, claimants must provide “notice of the claim” to the governmental agency that they are pursuing a claim against. Section 101.101 of the TTCA requires that notice includes specific information unless the governmental agency has actual notice of the incident. The notice requirement mandates that the claimant provide information regarding the damage or injury, the time and location of the incident, and details of the incident itself. In contrast, actual notice means that the governmental entity was aware that they may hold some responsibility for damages, injury, or death.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-30-at-7.46.49-PM.png Week of April 27, 2020:  Houston Area – Three little boys under the age of five drowned or near drowned over the course of three days in the Houston area this week. On Monday, a 4-year-old boy drowned in a northeast Harris County apartment pool.  Authorities stated that he got away from his family and fell in a pool at an apartment complex in northeast Harris County.

According to authorities, the incident happened just before 6 p.m. Monday at the Timber Ridge Apartments on Aldine Bender near Surles Drive.

According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, the 4-year-old was supposed to be in the care of his family when he wandered away from the apartment and managed to get into the pool area. 

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-29-at-3.22.13-PM.pngFORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A 5-year-old Sugarland boy died after being found unresponsive in a pool at an apartment complex off of Old Richmond Road near West Bellfort.

The incident happened Tuesday April 28th when the child got out of the parents apartment undetected and climbed over the fence surrounding the pool area and into the water.  According to authorities, the boy was in the water for about 15 minutes before the parents found him.  His father retrieved him from the bottom of the pool and proceeded to give CPR which was unsuccessful.

There were cameras placed around the pool by the apartment complex and the footage show the boy climbing the fence and going into the water.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-24-at-2.12.40-PM.pngWednesday, April 22, 2020, Houston:  Police report a driver was killed when he tried to pass an 18-wheeler that was reversing along a commercial street Wednesday in southeast Houston. The big rig was facing southbound in the northbound lane of Nunn Street near Lindbergh Street around 3 p.m. when its driver started driving in reverse, according to Houston police. At some point, the big rig driver started to drift into the southbound lane while still in reverse, according to police.

At the same time, a 34-year-old man driving a Cadillac DTS was southbound on Nunn and attempted to pass the truck on the right but clipped the back-right corner of the trailer, police said. Witnesses said the Cadillac driver appeared to be driving at a high speed when he struck the trailer.

The force of the crash ripped the roof off the Cadillac, which landed about 30 feet away from the car. Firefighters had to use special tools to pry the rest of the car open to pull the driver out.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-22-at-7.17.42-PM.png
Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas issued its opinion in a workers’ compensation appeal, addressing whether a sheriff who died in his patrol car was entitled to benefits. The deputy’s widow filed the lawsuit after her husband died when a wheel from another car came loose and smashed through the man’s patrol car windshield.

The deputy’s wife presented evidence that at the time of his death, the man was a sergeant with the El Paso Sheriff’s Department. On the night of the accident, the man was working an extra-duty assignment for the University of Texas. The sheriff’s employment policy defines this type of work as “secondary employment, which the employee may use actual law enforcement powers”. Generally, the department does not allow employees to use their patrol cars for off-duty work; however, they may be used for extra-duty work with approval. After the man’s death, his wife filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which the county denied. The county argued that the man was not within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the collision.

Under Texas law, courts have held that questions regarding whether an officer is off duty does not necessarily determine whether their behavior was within the scope of their employment. It is especially nebulous because peace officers are always officers, even while they are off-duty. Plaintiffs in these cases must meet two main criteria to establish that their activity was within the “course and scope of employment”, the activity must:

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100-us-dollar-banknotes-3531895-scaledThe good news was tweeted by the IRS on Saturday, April 11, 2020. About 80 million people will receive a direct deposit by Wednesday, today April 15th.

“#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can,” the IRS tweeted.

Americans are starting to receive their cash payments, part of the $2 trillion bill passed by Congress in an effort to stimulate the economy after the decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-15-at-12.08.45-PM.pngSaturday, April 11, 2020:  ABILENE, Texas – A Breckenridge man died in a one-vehicle crash early Saturday morning. The accident happened in northwest Taylor County near Trent. “The vehicle went off the west part of the road, struck a bridge, and fell off landing on a concrete barrier below the bridge in the median of IH-20.

A passenger, Raymond Santos Baladez, male, 30 was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Mr. Santos was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

The driver of the vehicle, a Ford F150, a 30 year old male also from Breckenridge sustained serious injuries and a 33 year old female passenger from Anson, Texas received what are described as stable injuries. Both of these persons along with the deceased Mr. Baladez were not wearing seat belts.   A minor 14 year old female passenger also of Anson was the only person wearing a seatbelt sustained injuries also. All were taken to Hendrick Medical Center for treatment. Preliminary crash report shows the vehicle was traveling North on BI-20 where it went around a curve where the road intersects with a bridge over IH-20. “The vehicle went off the West part of the road, struck a bridge, and fell off landing on a concrete barrier below the bridge in the median of IH-20.”

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/04/Screen-Shot-2020-04-12-at-12.56.57-PM.pngApril 12, 2020, Houston:  Two people were killed after an Amazon tractor-trailer smashed into several vehicles that were stopped on a Houston North freeway early Friday April 10th due to previous collisions, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

An SUV towing a trailer driven by Anthony Alvarado, 22, with his wife, their children, ages 1 and 3, got a flat tire. While trying to exit the highway, a Mazda 3 sedan hit the trailer and ended up sideways in traffic.  A third vehicle, a Silverado pickup truck driven by Tyler Vail, 29, came up to the crash and while trying to avoid the accident ended up colliding with a barrier on the freeway coming to a stop in the middle lane. 

During this time the driver of the Mazda and the SUV’s passenger got out of their vehicles.  It was also at this time that Abdullah Baidas, 23, who was driving a Chevrolet SUV, stopped to help and was out of his SUV and on the freeway.  Then an Amazon tractor-trailer driven Cody Munson, 56, coming up on the scene swerved to avoid but ended up striking all of the vehicles involved and pinning both the driver of the Mazda and the passenger of the SUV and killing them instantly.  Abdullah Baidas avoided being struck by the Amazon truck by jumping off of the overpass 10 to 15 feet where he suffered minor injuries authorities said.  The 2 young children only suffered minor injuries due to being safely strapped into their car seats.  The status of the Amazon driver, Mr. Munson; pickup driver, Mr. Vail; and SUV driver, Mr. Alvarado are unknown at this time.

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red-and-white-medication-pills-3683041-scaledApril 11, 2020 Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that manufacturers should withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs containing ranitidine. According to a recent news report, the announcement comes after a lengthy investigation of a contaminate commonly found in ranitidine medications, such as Zantac. Individuals who have suffered serious injuries, illnesses, or death after using this product may have a claim under Texas product liability laws.

The impurity is considered a likely human carcinogen, and although small amounts are commonly ingested through diet, higher levels of exposure could increase an individual’s cancer risk. At the outset of the FDA’s investigations, the agency did not have enough information to determine whether the product was safe or if consumers should continue to use the products. However, new FDA testing revealed that the impurity in these products increases over time or at higher temperatures, and may result in unacceptable consumer exposure. The FDA stated that many of their samples did not contain unacceptable levels; however, the product requires further testing to ensure consumer safety. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requires that consumers and patients dispose of their medication by following the specific disposal instructions found on the medication’s packaging, instead of returning their medicines at a drop-off location.

Despite extensive federal regulations, many unsafe drugs make it onto the market, and the consequences can be devastating. There are three main types of Texas pharmaceutical and prescription drug product liability lawsuits. The lawsuits typically stem from design errors, manufacturing defects, or improper marketing. Design error lawsuits generally arise when a product is unreasonably dangerous, despite proper use. These lawsuits do not frequently occur because many of these drugs do not make it onto the market. Manufacturing defect claims arise when the drug’s design is appropriate, but some manufacturing or handling error happens that renders the product unsafe. Finally, improperly marketed drug lawsuits arise when a company has inadequate or improper warning labels, that fail to warn consumers of potential side effects. However, in some cases, Texas’s learned intermediary doctrine works to shift the burden of liability from the company to the patient’s prescribing doctor.

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