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 Personal Injury Blog

Reckless Driving is the Presumed Cause of Two Traffic Fatalities in Fort Worth, Texas

October 15th, 2014
Moskovskoye highway. Consequences of traffic a...

Moskovskoye highway. Consequences of traffic accident. Car of administration of Saint Petersburg was travelling on a wrong line without traffice police escort car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early this month eight vehicles were involved in a series of crashes on an I-35 service road in Fort Worth, Texas.  The multi-vehicle accident occurred at about 1 p.m. near Seminary Drive. According to police, the 32-year-old driver of a Toyota Avalon caused the pileup; both the driver and the 20-year-old passenger in the Toyota died in the collision.

Although the details of the crash are still under investigation, Fort Worth Police Department Cpl. Tracey Knight said that, according to witnesses, the driver of the Toyota was speeding excessively and driving in a reckless manner when his vehicle slammed into the rear of a Chevrolet pickup truck. The crash set off other accidents involving six more vehicles, and it all happened on a southbound service road of I-35W.

An unspecified number of people were injured in the chain of events, and the injuries ranged from minor to serious; the only two people who were killed were occupants of the Toyota.

The Texas Transportation Code, in essence, says that a person is guilty of the misdemeanor offense of reckless driving when they drive an automobile in a way which exhibits wanton or willful disregard for the safety of property or persons.

The definition of reckless driving is arguably vague. The following are types of behaviors which have proven to qualify as reckless:

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Tailgating
  • Failure to use turn signals

–Guest Contributor

 

 

Four College Athletes Die in an 18-Wheeler Collision

October 8th, 2014

 

A container truck. Cab-over design.

A container truck. Cab-over design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Late on Friday, September 26, four women were killed in a bus crash as their college softball team from Texas was traveling on an interstate. According to federal investigators, an 18-wheeler driver barreled straight through a median on the interstate and struck the bus. If a lack of skid marks is a good indication, the truck driver made no attempt to avoid the deadly collision.

The fatal crash occurred near Davis, Oklahoma, on Interstate 35. At a place in the road where there was a gentle curve, the 18-wheeler continued traveling straight, went through the median, and collided with the southbound bus that was transporting 15 softball team members from North Central Texas College. The truck continued across southbound lanes another 300 feet, uprooting trees along the way.

The accident is being investigated. The biggest question is what the cause of the accident was, whether there was a problem with the 18-wheeler or whether perhaps it was driver error. Investigators reported early on that the truck’s brakes were not the problem.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that the truck driver said he was distracted by something within the truck’s cabin when the accident happened. Search warrants were obtained so that evidence from the bus and the truck could be collected.

In addition to the four students who lost their lives in the crash, 12 people were injured. Ten of the people injured were released after receiving treatment. An 18-year-old was in critical condition initially but within two days was reported to be in stable condition. A 19-year-old who was hospitalized at Norman Regional hospital was reported to be in fair condition.

The trucking company has a better than average safety record. In the past two years, only 2 of 51 violations attributed to the company involved distracted driving.

–Guest Contributor

 

15 Children are Injured near Dallas, Texas, when the Bus Driver Falls Asleep and Crashes – Part 2

October 1st, 2014
English: Interstate 80 in western Utah, remind...

English: Interstate 80 in western Utah, reminding drivers that “Drowsy driving causes crashes.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragically, four Texas college students were killed over the weekend after an 18-wheeler crossed the median on an Oklahoma road and crashed into the bus they were riding in. Police say the truck driver did not brake or try to veer away to avoid a collision; the fatal crash is being investigated.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, another crash is being investigated; in both cases, it’s reasonable to assume that driving while fatigued could possibly be the primary factor in the crashes.

Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleepiness impairs judgment, decreases a driver’s level of awareness, slows reaction time, and significantly increases the risk of crashing. There are federal guidelines for how long truck drivers can be on the road without adequate rest, but the limitations are widely believed to be disregarded. Drivers are in a very competitive business, and they are under a lot of pressure caused by the people who hire them. Making deliveries on time and securing continued work take priority over safety on a regular basis, endangering everyone else on our roadways.

Proving that drowsy driving is the cause of a crash can be difficult. The following are two clues that suggest a driver likely crashed due to sleepiness:

  • Skid marks are usually absent from the crash scene.
  • In most cases, the driver is alone and involved in a one-vehicle accident which results in death or serious injuries.

Fatigued or drowsy driving involves the experience of being tired, exhausted, sleepy, or drowsy. Underlying causes of sleepiness include too little sleep, fragmented sleep, taking medications that cause drowsiness, and sleep disorders that are either undiagnosed or untreated.

Some states are exploring the possibility of legislation which would allow police officers to charge fatigued drivers with criminal negligence if they kill or injury someone because they drove without adequate sleep.

–Guest Contributor

15 Children are Injured near Dallas, Texas, when the Bus Driver Allegedly Falls Asleep and Crashes

September 24th, 2014
English: Houston,TX.,9/8/2005--Eighth grade st...

English: Houston,TX.,9/8/2005–Eighth grade student, Nikita Anison boards school bus for her first day of school in Texas. She is sheltered at the Reliant center and was and evacuee from Louisianna. FEMA photo/Andrea Booher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every parent’s nightmare occurred on September 2 when a school bus veered off the roadway and crashed onto its side in Waxahachie, Texas, which is near Dallas. According to officials with the Waxahachie Independent School District, 20 children were on the bus, most of them ages 10 or 11. En route to Clift Elementary School near Farm-to-Market Road 879 and Ike Road, the bus crashed at approximately 6:50 a.m. Initially it was reported that the bus driver was distracted by activity in the back of the bus which caused him to avert his eyes from the road. While maneuvering a turn, a rear wheel of the bus went off the road. The driver overcorrected, swerving into the opposite lane; and the bus tipped over as it stopped in a ditch. The ongoing investigation released a report that the crash occurred because the driver was either falling asleep or was sleeping while driving. He has been placed on administrative leave.

Fifteen students were transported to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas following the crash. None suffered life-threatening injuries. The worst injuries were broken bones, bruised kidneys, scrapes, and cuts. Ten-year-old Fernando Rocha spent the night at the hospital with two broken ribs, a bruised kidney, and possibly a bruised liver. His 8-year-old brother received stitches and was sent home; the cuts were caused by broken glass and debris.

Eight of the students were treated at the hospital for abdominal problems as well as head and neck pain, according to media relations spokesperson Randy Sachs with the hospital.

Seven children and the driver were transported to the hospital by ambulance.

In a news release, Dr. Jeremy Glenn, Waxahachie ISD Superintendent, applauded emergency crews for their speed and efficiency in helping the students and families following the bus crash.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper James Colunga pointed out that it was very fortunate no vehicles were in the opposite lane when the bus crossed over. If there had been a second vehicle involved, the outcome would no doubt been far more tragic.

Bus drivers, being responsible for more lives than typical drivers, have a greater weight of responsibility and are held to a higher standard. It is alarming to think of bus drivers falling asleep. Read more about the dangers of driving while sleepy in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

An 8-year-Old Girl Dies After Falling From an Amusement Park Ride at an Ag Fair

September 17th, 2014

 

An assortment of rides at the Royal Melbourne ...

An assortment of rides at the Royal Melbourne Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the time of year in Texas when many communities have fairs which include roller coasters and other rides. Statistics show that amusement parks are more popular than ever. But a tragedy last week at an agricultural fair in South Australia serves as a grim reminder that rides are not always safe. The odds are definitely in a rider’s favor, but personal injury accidents do happen.

A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio found that, in the 1990 to 2010 decade, 92,000 children had been injured in incidents on amusement rides, which is an average of more than 4,000 injuries annually. Much lower estimates for amusement park injuries were reported by the International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAPA), with 1,200 in 2011 – way down from 2,500 in 2001.

In last week’s accident, an 8-year-old girl seemed to slip from the security of the seat’s safety harness on the Air Maxx 360. A witness said the girl was first hanging off of the ride by her legs and then was catapulted through the air. She was taken to a nearby hospital and died a short time later.

Over the summer, a tree branch derailed a Six Flags roller coaster in Los Angeles. Four people were injured, and two were transported to a hospital for precautionary reasons.

Water slides are the common location for injuries at theme parks, and the most serious water park injury occurred at Waterworld USA in California in 1997. The water slide was suddenly crowded by 33 graduating high school seniors, and the slide collapsed under their weight. A 17-year-old died due to a crushed chest, and all of the others were hospitalized. Seventeen of the students accepted their diplomas in wheelchairs on graduation day.

Action Park in New Jersey has a reputation as the most dangerous and deadly amusement park of all time. There are six known deaths at the water park, which was open from 1978 through 1996. The fatalities were due to electrocution, drowning, heart attack, and one person died a violent death when his his face was smashed into rock.

Read more amusement park tragedies in the ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

 

An Airbag Concern Leads to the Recall of over 40,000 Cars

September 10th, 2014
English: Range Rover Evoque 3-door wagon, prot...

English: Range Rover Evoque 3-door wagon, prototype, photographed at the 2010 Australian International Motor Show, Darling Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month Jaguar Land Rover announced the automotive recall of over 40,500 Land Rover SUVs. The recall applies to vehicles in the United States, and it involves a defect in passenger side airbags. According to Jaguar, in the event of a crash, the passenger side airbags may not deploy.

The models recalled cover 2010 through 2015 models of the Jaguar Land Rover LR2 as well as the 2012 and 2013 models of the Range Rover Evoque.

The company further said that the front seat passenger air bag could become totally or partially disabled in a crash because of potential failure of the Occupant Classification System (OCS) Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The problem increases the potential that the front seat passenger will be injured in a collision.

About a month before Jaguar’s announcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), had launched an investigation of Chevrolet Impala vehicles and their possible air bag defects. That investigation was triggered by the report of an elderly man whose side airbags did not deploy, resulting in his death. In that incident, it is believed that the airbag did not deploy because the man had been bouncing around during the crash and the airbags did not register that there was an adult in the seat. The airbags are designed not to deploy when children are in the front seat. Basically, the man’s death was caused by incorrect readings from the side air bag’s weight sensor.

Owners of the Jaguar’s being recalled were notified beginning late last month.

Have you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence?   If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance related to a personal injury which occurred in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Irving, De Soto, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Arlington, The Colony, Allen, Lancaster, or anywhere in Texas, contact Texas personal injury lawyer Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989.

–Guest Contributor

Recent Studies Show that Nursing Home Residents are Increasingly Over-Medicated

September 3rd, 2014
English: Bretby Nursing Home - Bretby park Win...

English: Bretby Nursing Home – Bretby park Wing of Bretby Nursing Home, behind Bretby Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In news out of Austin, Texas, last month, an investigation revealed that nursing home residents in the Lone Star State have been harmed by medication errors on an increasing basis. Another recent study revealed that antipsychotic drugs are being over-prescribed in Texas state nursing homes. One woman whose father is in a state nursing home noticed that his behavior had changed. A few months later she discovered that her father was not being properly medicated, which was more than a mere pharmacy error.

After the woman filed complaints about the medication errors, it was revealed that in 2011, nursing homes in Texas were cited by state investigators 1,060 times for medication errors. The number of violations increased to over 1,260 just two years later. In one investigation, it was revealed that there has been more than a 78% increase in the number of unnecessary drugs being prescribed in nursing homes.

Such evidence abounds. A study on nursing home care across the U.S. was conducted by AARP this year. The study revealed that Texas is tied with Louisiana for improperly administering the most antipsychotic drugs for residents with no mental illness. Amanda Frederiksen of AARP in Austin expressed her belief that inadequate staffing leads to the practice of overmedicating residents because it makes them calmer and easier to handle.

Various actions are being taken to address these problems which can justifiably lead to lawsuits. As one example, the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is initiating a program to provide better training on administration of medication, particularly antipsychotic drugs, for nursing home staff.

Have you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence?   If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance related to a personal injury which occurred in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Irving, De Soto, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Arlington, The Colony, Allen, Lancaster, or anywhere in Texas, contact Texas personal injury lawyer Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989.

–Guest Contributor

 

Dallas-Fort Worth Attorney for Trip and Fall Injury – SORM Addresses Risks Involved with Slips, Trips, and Falls – Part 4

August 27th, 2014
English: This is a hallway on the first floor.

English: This is a hallway on the first floor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cluttered Walkways

Any type of obstruction in a walkway can cause slips, trips, and falls. An important step in preventing these types of injuries is to ensure that walkways, such as hallways, are free of equipment and/or debris. Never, for instance, stack materials or other types of clutter in a passageway. Proper housekeeping is the best control measure for preventing these types of injuries. Procedures and policies for keeping walkways clean should be in place, particularly when waste or scrap material are by-products of the work operation. To the maximum extent possible, keep corridors, walkways, and aisles clear, clean, and well-maintained. Clutter in walkways is not only a tripping hazard but it also provides a fuel source, if there is a fire.

Control measures that can help to prevent hazards caused by cluttered walkways follow:

  • Make it a priority to put good housekeeping procedures in place. All work spaces, storerooms, service areas, and passageways should be clean and uncluttered.
  • Keep walkways free of electrical cords, since they are tripping hazards.
  • If stringing cords across walkways is unavoidable, tape the wires down.
  • Allow appropriate clearance for equipment to be maneuvered, when mechanical handling devices are in use.
  • Communicate with personnel to encourage safe work practices, such as picking up loose items from the floor and closing file drawers after use.
  • Provide direction to personnel about where they should leave boxes, briefcases, and other items they may be carrying.
  • Be consistently vigilant about performing inspections related to the presence of slip, trip, and fall hazards in the workplace.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four-part series for more information about prevention of slips, trips, and falls.

Have you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence?   If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance related to a personal injury which occurred in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Irving, De Soto, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Arlington, The Colony, Allen, Lancaster, or anywhere in Texas, contact Texas personal injury lawyer Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989.

–Guest Contributor

SORM Addresses Risks Involved with Slips, Trips, and Falls – Part 3

August 20th, 2014
Indirect direct lighting 2

Indirect direct lighting 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inadequate Lighting

Employers have a responsibility to provide safe working environments. Lighting is an important consideration in any workplace, and part of the reason is to prevent slips, trips, and falls. The following are guidelines for providing and maintaining proper lighting:

  • All work areas should be well lit and uncluttered.
  • Walkways should be kept clear of obstructions, particularly when the lighting is poor.
  • Light switches should be accessible, and there should be a handy place where workers know they can find a flashlight.
  • If cords or fixtures malfunction, they should be repaired immediately, to prevent a slip, trip, and fall accident in a dark room.
  • Blown fuses, sparks, and flickering lights should never be ignored; a qualified electrician should check the wiring as soon as possible.
  • Staircases, hallways, basements, and walkways all need to be properly illuminated, to avoid accidents.

Studies show that workplace accidents increase as a result of poor lighting. When employees move from a bright to a dark area, the delay in eye adaption can easily result in a slip, trip, and fall injury. Consistent lighting needs to be maintained. More information about lighting and procedures to ensure safety follow:

  • When a room is dark, the light should be turned on before entering, even if staying for only a few moments.
  • A good way to improve safety and save energy costs at the same time is to install motion-sensitive lights.
  • When lighting is dim, people should deliberately move slowly and carefully.
  • Items should be stored a safe distance from operational light bulbs. If a bulb is left on, paper or towels that are too close can catch fire.
  • Office workers should not face sources of glare, such as unshielded lamps or uncovered windows.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series for more information about prevention of slips, trips, and falls.

Have you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence?   If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance related to a personal injury which occurred in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Irving, De Soto, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Arlington, The Colony, Allen, Lancaster, or anywhere in Texas, contact Texas slip, trip, and fall injury lawyer Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989.

–Guest Contributor

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Trip and Fall / Slip and Fall Injury Attorney

August 20th, 2014
Chevron Renaissance Shopping Mall & Apartment ...

Chevron Renaissance Shopping Mall & Apartment Complex in the Gold Coast Highway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trip and fall injuries can be significant.  Our Dallas law firm has represented people who have suffered various types of fractures, and had to undergo surgery, as a result of tripping and falling over various obstacles and/or due to certain conditions.  It is important for someone who is injured in Texas as a result of a trip and fall, or a slip and fall, to obtain legal advice from an attorney with knowledge of premises liability law.

This blog post gives a general synopsis of some issues related to premises liability law, but it should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a Texas personal injury lawyer.  A property owner and/or possessor owes various duties to people entering the property based on the legal status of such people.  There are three primary statuses referenced in Texas law for real property-related damages: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Generally, an invitee is a person who enters a store, apartment complex, and/or shopping center with the property possessor’s express or implied knowledge and for the parties’ mutual benefit.  Such persons are business patrons and can include people entering restaurants, hotels, banks, and theaters.  Club members, apartment tenants, apartment tenants’ guests, meter readers, mail carriers, newspaper-delivery people, refuse collectors, public safety inspectors, and public safety officers can be invitees.

A licensee is a person who enters property with the property possessor’s express or implied permission, but the entry is usually only for the licensee’s convenience.  Licensees can include social guests, door-to-door sales people, and people soliciting money for charity.

Finally, a trespasser is a person who enters property without lawful right or the consent of the possessor, but instead for the trespasser’s own purposes or curiosity.  Land owners and possessors owe the highest duties to invitees, and the lowest duties to trespassers.

A person who is an invitee, whether at a store, shopping center, apartment complex, or otherwise, must generally show that there was a condition on the premises that posed an unreasonable risk of harm, and that the owner or possessor of the property knew or reasonably should have known of the danger.  The invitee must also prove that the owner and/or possessor breached its duty of ordinary care by failing to adequately warn the injured person of the condition (if a warning would have been adequate) and that the owner and/or possessor of the premises failed to make the condition reasonably safe.  Finally, and perhaps obviously, an injured person must prove that the landowner’s or possessor’s breach of its duty proximately caused the injuries.  A licensee and trespasser must typically prove more than an invitee to succeed on an injury claim.  This blog post does not cover negligent activities occurring on real property, but claims for such activities also exist.

There are numerous property conditions which could lead to a trip and fall and slip and fall and for which the law provides that the property owner and/or possessor bears responsibility to the injured person.  Some such conditions are:

  • uneven sidewalks, walkways, or parking lots;
  • objects extending above concrete walkways (such as cleanouts, rebar, and stones);
  • holes and pits; and
  • slick surfaces for which no warning and/or an inadequate warning is provided.

If you have been injured anywhere in Texas as a result of the condition of property, feel free to contact our firm at (214) 670-9989 or (866) 670-9989 (or by completing the contact form at this website).

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