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Articles Tagged with Wrongful Death

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architecture-blue-building-cool-261372-300x200Every year, hundreds of residents enjoy the outdoors by swimming at their local apartment, hotel/resort, or community swimming pools. A beautiful breeze and the refreshing waters of swimming pools make these gathering places a fun activity for families. No wonder that the pools are the center of summer fun where family members of all ages relax and enjoy the outdoors together.

Despite the benefits and pleasures swimming pools provide to its users, there are also risks involved.

In fact, swimming pool accidents are one of the most common types of accidents reported in an apartment complexes, hotel complexes, or community neighborhood pools.  If a serious injury happens due to negligence or worse yet, a drowning, at one of these public venues, you do have someone to turn to for help and advice at Carabin Shaw

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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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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/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-26-at-1.22.28-PM.pngMay 23, 2020:  San Antonio, TEXAS–The crash happened around 5:30 a.m. Friday on Interstate 10 near the Dominion on the north side of San Antonio.  Justin Antwan Jackson, 29, the driver of the 18-wheeler, involved in the incident is now charged with failure to Stop and Render Aid after his truck rear-ended a red Ford Fiesta that was stalled on US I-10.  

The driver of the car, Donna Falkenberg, 46, was killed in the crash. She was pronounced dead at the scene.  San Antonio Police said she was not wearing a seat belt.

According to an arrest affidavit, Jackson was traveling southbound in the right-most lane when it neared the stalled Ford Fiesta, which had on its hazard lights.  Jackson told police that he tried to avoid another vehicle that appeared to be crossing into the lane next to him and did not see the Ford until the crash was unavoidable.

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https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-23-at-1.26.53-PM.pngMay 21, 2020:  HOUSTON — Water safety advocates and local authorities want you to be careful around the water this Memorial Day weekend.  Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in kids ages 1-4.  The coronavirus pandemic is making it worse.

“Because of people sheltering in place at home, and kids having greater access to water with supervision changes, kids not being in school, parents and caregivers trying to work from home,” says Alissa Magrum of the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Magrum says child drownings started happening earlier this year because of stay-at-home orders, and now she worries about this holiday weekend.  “It’s so hot, and people are going to be going to the beaches, getting to the lakes, getting to any kind of water,” she says.

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photo-of-boy-swinging-over-body-of-water-2413238-scaledEvery year, Texans enjoy the outdoors by relaxing and enjoying time at the beach, lake or rivers here in our state.  A beautiful breeze and the refreshing water in makes for a relaxing day in the sun.  Despite the benefits and many pleasures these outdoor bodies of water provide to its users, there are also risks involved.
Sadly, too many of these excursions end in tragedy.  Beaches, lakes and rivers drownings (also known as open water drownings), boating accidents, and other mishaps happen all too often. 

Many different circumstances can contribute to an open water drowning accident.  Careless play in the water, such as jokingly holding somebody under the water without intending harm, can lead to a drowning.  Somebody could be driving a watercraft and hit a swimmer, causing them to drown.  Safety gear could fail.  

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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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