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What’s the Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence?

Knowing The Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence is Critical

There is a difference between the words negligence and incompetence. The word negligence is generally heard in legal proceedings when an attorney is trying to establish that their client somehow came to harm because of the negligent actions of a defendant. A defendant who is negligent may or may not be incompetent. A negligent action, however, does not need to be incompetent, nor does it need to be a sign of general incompetence.

Incompetence

The word incompetent simply means that a person does not posess the requisite skills to perform a given task. It doesn’t mean that the person is lacking in intelligence, is habitually careless or anything other than their lack of specific skills.

For example, a person may be a fully competent driver, but put them on a professional racetrack and they will instantly be exposed as being completely incompetent when it comes to driving a racecar. Incompetence is situational and related to the job being performed. A negligent doctor can actually be an incredibly accomplished physician and not incompetent in any regard. It’s important to understand this where lawsuits are concerned.

Negligence

Negligence implies that somebody either failed to do something in a competent manner or a careful manner. A physician who was incompetent in delivering care, for instance, may be found to have been negligent by a jury. A physician who very competently delivered the wrong care, however, would also be likely to be found to have been negligent, if their patient were to have come to harm.

Negligence always takes into account the person being accused of it. For instance, using the above example with drivers, being able to perform the types of maneuvers that police officers, racecar drivers, EMTs and other professional drivers can perform is not expected of your average everyday driver. In such cases, you’ll commonly hear terms such as “a reasonable person” or “a normal person”. These might seem like rather subjective descriptions, but they refer to what can reasonably be expected of the average person in a given situation.

A perfectly competent driver may be outrageously negligent in a given situation. For example, a driver who gets behind the wheel drunk is being negligent. He may be an excellent driver, but driving intoxicated constitutes a negligent act. When you’re looking at lawsuits, remember that words are everything. Keep in mind that, simply because somebody was fully competent at their job, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t negligent in regards to how they made you come to harm.

It is always prudent to consult an attorney in serious legal matters. Most attorneys practicing injury law offer free consultation and in many cases, have contigency based fees.

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Drunk Driver Convicted on Intoxicated Manslaughter Charges

A drunken driver in El Paso has been convicted of multiple intoxicated manslaughter charges over the deaths of two people last year. According to SF Gate, the driver was also convicted of two counts of assault for the injuries that two other people suffered during the same accident.

The 23-year-old man has been in jail since the wreck occurred last December. At the time of his arrest, the driver was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .25, which is in excess of three times the legal amount, according to the reports.

The crash was disastrous. According to testimony from the driver himself, he was racing another vehicle at the time of the crash. He lost control of his own vehicle, went through a wall and crashed into an office building, where the car he was driving caught fire.

These types of accidents occur all too frequently and, as this case demonstrates, they sometimes end up with people losing their lives. While this driver will be facing up to 20 years in prison on each manslaughter count and up to 10 years in prison on each assault count, this really doesn’t do much for the families of the people who lost someone in the accident or for the people who were injured.

Other Legal Options

When police and prosecutors take on a criminal case, their job is to make certain that the person that they are prosecuting faces the legal consequences of their crimes. The prosecutors do not deal with helping the victims to recover from the effects of those crimes. That task falls to a lawyer.

A Houston personal injury attorney can help you if you have been injured by a drunken driver and need financial compensation, in addition to wanting the person to pay for the criminal aspects of their crime. There are some instances when filing a lawsuit may not be worth it but, because of how personal injury attorneys work, they will let you know.

If you sit down to talk to a personal injury attorney, they’ll let you know whether or not they think it’s worth it for you to pursue your case. These attorneys don’t make money on a case unless it wins, so they have no motivation to try to get you to pursue a lawsuit that they know is going to lose. If a lawsuit loses, the attorney loses all of the time and effort they put into the claim, as they don’t get paid.

In instances such as the above, a Houston personal injury attorney may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for the death of your loved one. This is an option that is designed to help the survivors financially.

 

Call us for a FREE consultation at 713-771-5454

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Alcohol Implicated in Deadly Crash

A deadly crash in Temple has police getting ready to charge the surviving driver with intoxicated manslaughter. The crash occurred on Saturday night, during the last weekend of September and took the life of a 35-year-old woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene after having been involved in a head-on collision with an SUV driven by a 21-year-old man from Nixon, Texas.

The driver of the other SUV suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was brought to the hospital, according to a report in ABC News. Following treatment, police are planning on charging him with intoxicated manslaughter and taking him to the Bell County Jail. In the article, it’s stated that police believe that he was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Drunk Drivers

There are many hazards on the roadways, but hardly any of them are as characteristically deadly as are drunk drivers. They drive unpredictably, they drive too fast or too slow for the road that they’re on, they sometimes swerve into oncoming traffic and they all too often take people’s lives. Drunken driving, of course, is a criminal offense. When somebody ends up losing their life because of a drunk driver, charges such as the intoxicated manslaughter charge mentioned above may be pressed against the driver. The victims in these cases have other options, as well.

Suing

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of lawsuit filed by the survivors of the victim against the party whose negligence cost that victim their life. Drunken driving is, in many cases, something that a skillful personal injury attorney can use to argue negligence. If you ended up losing a loved one due to a car crash with a driver who had too much to drink, you may want to consider contacting one of these attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

There is nothing callous or opportunistic about filing such a lawsuit. When families lose someone, they may be faced with horrible financial hardships, there is the obvious emotional devastation of having someone taken from you in such an avoidable and pointless way, and the driver who caused all this hardship is liable, in many cases, for criminal charges as well as for the damages they caused in the financial sense.

Settlements

There are some families who find themselves losing a family member or suffering horrific physical or financial damages due to a drunk driver who are offered a settlement, sometimes because the drunk driver or their family happens to be wealthy. Never take such a settlement without consulting a lawyer first. Unless your attorney has helped you to negotiate a suitable, useful and respectful settlement, you should always consider such money to be go-away money. Talk to a Houston personal injury attorney so you know your rights as well as what you should do about the situation.

 

Call us for a FREE consultation 713-771-5453

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Avoiding Drunk Driver Wrecks

College is back in session, the nights are longer and you’ll find that the roads on weekend nights are oftentimes full of people who have had a few too many to be behind the wheel. It’s easy to rage against the dangers of drunk driving and the people who drive drunk themselves, but it’s more important that you have the types of driving survival skills that will help you to avoid being injured or worse by these drivers. For personal injury attorneys, far too many of their drunken driving claims involve a wrongful death. Here are some survival tips.

Don’t Get In

If you have a friend or someone else you’re with who is too drunk to be driving, do not get into the car with them. There are all kinds of videos that show people dissuading their friends from drunk driving-even some showing them punching the driver out, which is assault, no matter how noble the intentions-but, sometimes, the only thing you can do is not get into the car. There’s always an uncomfortable choice that someone has to make when their friend gets behind the wheel drunk. It does feel awful to call a friend in but, remember, your friend may well kill someone if they’re out there driving while intoxicated.

Watch for the Signs

Drunk drivers tend to make some very characteristic mistakes when they’re on the road. Their driving also tends to be sloppy in a very distinctive way. Be wary if you see a car doing any of the following:

· Swerving across lanes
· Making jerky, high-speed turns
· Braking or slowing in the road for no apparent reason
· Running stoplights or lingering at green lights
· Making sudden stops and suddenly taking off
· Driving out of a drinking establishment parking lot sloppily

These are the types of things that make patrol officers turn on their lights and pull a car over. Watch out for them and stay well clear of drivers who are showing these signs of intoxication. You cannot predict what they’re going to do, so it’s best to treat them as threats right from the start. You’ll also want to be careful around taverns and other drinking establishments that have parking lots that exit onto busy streets. Drunk drivers do not estimate speed, distance or judge whether they have enough time to get out into traffic very well.

If you’re injured by a drunk driver or if you lose a loved one due to their negligence, contact an attorney. They may be able to help you by filing a lawsuit against that driver and winning you compensation. That compensation may be enough to cover your medical and property loss expenses and consulting with an attorney is usually free.

 

Call us for a FREE consultation at 713-771-5453

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Implicates Houston Men’s Club

A men’s club located in Houston has been sued over the 2011 death of a high school senior. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that the club encouraged employees to over serve clients, creating a situation that led to the death.

The victim died as a result of a car accident in which the driver, who had allegedly left the club extremely intoxicated, ended up driving at very high speeds, causing the accident and the death. According to YourHoustonNews.com, the lawsuit alleges that the driver was already obviously intoxicated but received more drinks at the club when he should’ve been cut off.

Understanding Negligence

According to the report, this particular wrongful death lawsuit also implicates the driver of the vehicle, who has already been convicted of criminal charges related to the accident. When a car accident occurs because of the negligence of an individual or an establishment, it is sometimes possible to go after all of the parties involved, rather than lying all of the blame at the feet of one of the parties. In this case, the lawsuit alleges that both the establishment and the driver were negligent and, because of that, brought about the death of the victim.

Suing for Over Serving

If you were injured by a drunk driver who was served too much alcohol at an establishment, your attorney may recommend going after that establishment. There are some clubs and bars that do have policies that do encourage their employees to over serve clients. When somebody is already intoxicated, their judgment is impaired. This is why responsible establishments take very seriously the requirement that they cut somebody off when they’ve had too much to drink. Their patron, even if they don’t believe that cutting them off is appropriate, may be so intoxicated that they have no idea how drunk they already are.

Talking to an Attorney

It’s not always easy to determine who was negligent in a way that led to the death or injury of another individual. Attorneys can help you with this, however. Attorneys can conduct investigations, reconstruct accidents and determine where and when negligent actions were taken or when reasonable actions were not taken and how all of that played into an injury or death that should’ve never happened at all.

If you’re not certain who exactly the negligent party was but you did suffer an injury or death as the result of an accident, be sure to contact a Houston attorney about the matter. They are the only people that will be completely on your side in these matters and will take the time to determine when and how someone may have acted or failed to act and how that played into you being the victim of an injury.

 

Call us for a FREE consultation at 713-771-5453

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Harsh Drunk Driving Laws Don’t Always Help Victims

According to Time.com, a Texas man was recently sentenced to 45 years in prison for repeat drunk driving offenses. By the time this individual was slapped with a harsh sentence, he had already been convicted of drunken driving four times, the 45 year prison sentence marking the punishment for his fifth conviction. When he was pulled over, the driver had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, according to the same report.

While Texas does have harsh penalties for drunk driving, particularly for repeat offenders, these sensational punishments and eye-catching headlines do little for the families who are victimized by drunk drivers. What they do mean, however, is that society is not patient with drunken drivers and has little sympathy for them. This can play into your odds of winning a civil case against an intoxicated driver that injured you or caused you property damage.

Lawsuits and DWI

If you happen to be injured by a drunk driver, you generally do have the option of filing a lawsuit for negligence. You have to have been injured or suffered some sort of property damage to file one of these lawsuits. The entire point of people being able to file these lawsuits if so that they can get compensated for the damage, pain and suffering and other hardships that they were caused by the negligence of another individual. If you were so injured, contacting an attorney is advisable.

What Can a Drunk Driving Injury Attorney Do?

The parts of the law that provide for the punishment of drunken drivers are criminal. Civil law is what personal injury attorneys deal in. Prosecutors will go after the drunken driver that injured you for whatever legal punishments they can assess. What your personal injury attorney will do is take a look at the case and see if it would be worth your while to file a lawsuit against the driver.

The lawsuit that the attorney helps you to prepare will take into account things such as any injuries you suffered, any property damage caused by the drunken driver, your pain and suffering, your lost wages and the other expenses that were the direct results of the drunken driver’s negligence. Drunken driving can often times be construed as negligence, as the driver did not take the reasonable measure of refraining from driving when they were intoxicated and, therefore, they brought harm to others unnecessarily.

When you speak with an attorney, remember that the first meeting is simply to determine whether or not the attorney thinks that they can help you. A good Houston personal injury attorney will not take the claim if they don’t think they can win. If they feel that they’re the right attorney to represent you against the driver that injured you, they may want to take your claim and start doing the work of reconstructing what happened and determining where negligence played a part. If they don’t want to take your claim, personal injury attorneys will generally tell you right away, saving you time and preventing you from accruing any legal fees.

The Law offices of Blaine Tucker provides FREE initial consultation for injury victims in the Houston and surrounding areas. Contact his office at 713-771-5453 today.

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Drunk Driving Accidents

Is a Drunk Driver Negligent?

One of the things that sometimes confuses drivers who are debating filing a lawsuit is whether or not they can sue someone who has been convicted of a crime. You can, in fact. It’s possible to be a convicted drunk driver and to still be sued for negligence. A personal injury attorney can help you to determine whether or not this is an option for you.

Suing for Damages In a Drunk Driving Accident

When you sue someone in a personal injury claim, your first concern should be getting the money back that the injury caused you. This will involve your attorney determining how much you can realistically ask for. Your lost wages, property damage, medical expenses and other expenses are all calculated into this equation. The thing to remember is that, even though the drunk driver may be facing jail for what they did, that doesn’t really do anything to help you recover from the financial damages that they did to you.

Pain and suffering will usually be added to these claims. This is calculated to compensate the victim for what they’ve been put through as a result of the wreck on a personal level. Presumably, whatever suffering the victim endured may have not even happened if the driver that struck them hadn’t been negligent. Your injury attorney will help you to determine how much to seek for pain and suffering that resulted from the drunk driving accident.

What About Negligence?

Negligence has to do with taking reasonable care to preserve the safety of others. When you’re on the road, being drunk behind the wheel is most certainly negligent. Other drivers on the road should be able to expect that everyone else adheres to the law and that they do not willingly and unnecessarily endanger other drivers by doing things such as driving drunk. When drivers do end up taking to the road under the influence and hurt someone, they may be held liable for negligence, in some cases.

Getting Started

Even if the driver that injured you is already in jail, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your options. There may be more options for you than you’d imagined. In the case of some claims, the other driver will actually offer to settle because they want to avoid court costs and because they’re convinced that they’re going to lose the claim, anyway.

Your personal injury attorney may be able to get started on your case right away or they may need some time to review it to determine whether or not you have a good justification for filing a lawsuit. If they believe that you do have reason to file a lawsuit, you’ll want to make the decision without delay. There are limitations on how long after the fact that you can actually seek compensation.

For a FREE case review, call Houston Personal Injury Lawyer, Blaine A. (Bat) Tucker at 713-771-5453

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