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Houston Car Crashes Kill Two Well-Known Figures

A singer and a lighting designer were both among the fatalities that resulted from two separate car wrecks in Houston this month. Laura Botkin, a singer, died after being struck by a vehicle heading the wrong way. The accident occurred when she was on her way back from the Grand Canyon. According to a report on Chron.com, the singer was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. She was ejected from the car and killed.

Jeremy Choate, a lighting designer, was killed in a motorcycle accident on a service road near I-10. The 33 year-old artist was on his way to a cast party at the time of the wreck.

Police are investigating to see if alcohol was a factor in the accident that killed Botkin. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle had a warrant out for a previous DWI, according to the report on Chron.

Wrong-Way Accidents

Wrong-way accidents have been frighteningly common over the last few months. Drivers who mistakenly enter a freeway heading the wrong way can cause devastating damage to the cars they strike, oftentimes killing the driver or passengers. These accidents oftentimes do involve alcohol and the driver of the offending vehicle sometimes may have never made the mistake if they were not intoxicated.

Motorcycle Accidents

The wreck that killed Choate was a hit and run. These crashes are among the most frustrating because the driver who caused the accident sometimes ends up getting away with it for a time. Quite often, however, police are able to piece together evidence that allows them to determine who the hit-and-run driver was and to go after them for criminal charges.

Common Accidents and Options

If you’re involved in one of these types of accidents, you do have options. You can contact an attorney to discuss whether or not filing a lawsuit would be to your benefit.

Lawsuits over car crashes are filed due to the negligence of the driver that caused the accident. When that other driver was negligent and, because of that, brought you to harm, you can sometimes seek a jury award or a settlement through a lawsuit. Not every driver involved in such a crash, however, will have this option.

Talk to an Attorney

If you want to know whether or not it would be worth it to go ahead and file a lawsuit, the first step is consulting with a Houston accident attorney. They’ll be able to review the circumstances of your crash and help to determine whether or not the other driver involved was likely negligent. If they believe that driver was negligent, they can start putting together a case to establish as much to a jury and this may win you compensation.

 

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It’s Fair Season; Be Careful

Late summer and early autumn mean that county fairs will be popping up all over Texas. With those fairs, of course, come plenty of thrilling rides where children test their ability to endure frightening roller coasters and other amusements and where adults see if the intervening years between the present and their childhood have given them stronger stomachs. Before you get on one of these rides, however, realize that they can be dangerous and that there have been cases of people being grievously injured and killed on amusement park rides.

Avoiding Negligence

If you or a family member has come to any harm on an amusement park ride, a Houston personal injury attorney may be able to help you. Any Houston personal injury attorney, however, would very much prefer that you exercise a bit of common sense and that you are aware of any risks that you’re taking when you get on these rides. Your children may be a little bit disappointed by you putting safety before a momentary thrill on an amusement park ride, but make sure you do take the following into account.

Be wary of ride operators who let children slide when the safety guidelines for the ride demand that they be taller or bigger than they currently are. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, a three-year-old ended up losing his life after a safety restraint failed to keep him in his seat. In this particular case, the family did receive a settlement, but the amusement park continues to operate.

When you’re taking a look at a ride, take note of how safe it appears. You may not possess the type of engineering skills that are required to design and maintain an amusement park ride, but you should follow your instincts in this matter. If it seems like the ride isn’t stable, like it hasn’t been well maintained or the people operating the ride have very little regard for the people getting on it, you may just want to skip it and find something else amusing for your family to do at the fair.

If you do take a ride, make sure you instruct your children to stay seated or positioned however else is recommended by the ride operator throughout the entire ride. People have fallen off of rides before and ended up losing their lives. There are cases where this is not the fault of the ride operator, but is, instead, the fault of somebody who did not follow the safety guidelines. Make certain that you do and make certain that your children do.

If an irresponsible ride operator ends up causing you or someone in your family injury, make certain that you talk to a personal injury attorney about the matter. The operator may well owe you compensation.

 

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Another Lawsuit Over Hot Beverages

A woman in Seattle is suing Starbucks over injuries allegedly caused by a hot beverage. The woman claims that, after buying tea in a drive through lane, she suffered burns that resulted from the lid not being affixed to the cup properly. These types of cases are oftentimes ridiculed in the media, but it’s important to understand what happened to the woman and why she might want to sue.

The Injuries

The injuries that were allegedly the results of the tea not being sealed correctly are distressing. The woman claims that, upon taking a sip of the tea, the lid came off the cup and the hot tea poured all over her body. She suffered immediate blistering and second-degree burns, according to a report in Seattle PI. The woman’s representation claims that the company was negligent and that the cup was designed improperly. They also claim that the popular coffee chain is aware of the problem and that they have done nothing to remedy the issue.

The woman’s injuries required skin grafts to repair, which are both expensive and painful procedures. She also claims other injuries in her lawsuit, according to the report.

When It’s Not Your Fault

There are plenty of ways that claims like these are characterized as being the fault of the injured party. In some cases, the injured individual likely is to blame. In other cases, however, the injured party is simply a victim of someone else’s negligence or of negligence on the part of a company.

When you buy a product, you have a justified reason to expect that you’re buying something that’s safe. There are plenty of cases, however, where someone is sold a defective product that ends up injuring them. Sometimes it’s a cup of coffee and sometimes it’s a medical device; these cases vary widely. The thing to keep in mind is that accepting a settlement without talking to an attorney is not in your best interests.

Negligence

It’s natural to feel like something such as the incident described above, or a remarkably similar incident in Albuquerque years ago, would somehow be your fault if it happened to you. An attorney should be consulted about these matters, however. There’s no sense paying for your own injuries if you didn’t cause them through your own actions and if a little more care in the delivery of a service or a product on behalf of a provider would have prevented those injuries.

Don’t accept a settlement without contacting an attorney if you’re injured by a product or a service. If you’re offered a settlement, consider it an indication that the company offering it is worried about being sued and there may be good reason for that! Contact a Houston personal injury attorney and get their opinion first.

 

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Semi Driver May Face Charges in Houston County Crash

A semi driver may face criminal negligent homicide charges from an accident that resulted in the death of the driver of a passenger vehicle. The accident occurred at a construction zone, where four vehicles were already stopped. The semi driver, according to a report on KTRE, failed to apply brakes in time, slamming into the last of the vehicles and causing a chain reaction accident. In total, one driver died and six other people nearby were injured.

Negligence

Legally, negligence involves failing to take an action that would’ve prevented somebody from coming to harm or taking an action that caused somebody to come to harm. In instances where negligence involves a vehicle, nobody is expecting an everyday driver to be possessed of the type of skills that you would expect of a police officer or a professional driver. Negligence involves the types of actions or inaction that would apply to the average person.

In instances where negligence causes a death or injury, filing a civil lawsuit is an option for the parties that were injured, or their families, if somebody happened to lose their life as the result of the accident.

Accidents that involve negligence on the part of a semi driver are particularly deadly. In instances where a semi collides with passenger vehicles, there is very little chance that any of the drivers of those passenger vehicles are going to escape unharmed. Simply because of the mass of a semi, the amount of inertia it generates when it is moving at speed is incredible. No matter how sturdy a passenger vehicle may be, most of them will not stand a chance against that kind of force and that is precisely why accidents involving semis are so deadly.

Trucker or Company?

If you have been injured by a semi, your lawyer may recommend that you sue the trucking company for which the driver worked, the driver themselves or both. There are instances where the truck driver happens to be the one who was negligent and where they are solely responsible for having caused the accident. There are also cases where the trucking company was negligent in maintaining their equipment or in providing adequate rest time for their drivers, thereby being a party to the accident that occurred. An attorney is the only one who can really figure out where negligence may apply and who is responsible for it.

Filing a Lawsuit

There are essentially two types of lawsuits that come out of accidents involving semis where somebody is hurt. If you are injured, you’ll be looking at a personal injury lawsuit and, unfortunately, if somebody happened to die, you may find yourself talking to an attorney about filing a wrongful death claim. A Houston personal injury attorney can help you with either type of claim. The first step is arranging for a consultation with a personal injury attorney so that you can tell them the situation. Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything that happened, which is common in these situations. Attorneys have the technology and the knowledge required to reconstruct accidents if necessary.

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When Medical Malpractice May Apply

Medical malpractice lawsuits are sometimes the only ways that the victims of malpractice or their survivors have to get compensation for the negligence of a doctor or a healthcare facility. Understanding when medical negligence may be an issue is imperative. The number one thing to remember is that, if you even suspect negligence, you should talk to an attorney about the matter as soon as possible. Here, however, are some things that you may want to consider.

Failure to Diagnose

Almost half of the medical malpractice claims filed every year involve failure to diagnose in one form or another. It’s important to understand how failure to diagnose can affect a patient.

Failure to diagnose can occur in scenarios that involve a regular visit to a doctor or an emergency room visit. The main thing these claims generally involve is that the doctor missed something that they should’ve caught and, because of that, their patient was brought to harm. An example would be an emergency room doctor failing to diagnose a serious trauma injury that later went on to cause the victim a great deal of financial and personal harm.

It’s important to remember that, if you deliberately concealed information from a doctor that may have led to them making the correct diagnosis, medical malpractice may not apply. For instance, if you were suffering all of the symptoms of diabetes and didn’t tell your physician and the physician didn’t run any tests to determine whether or not you had diabetes, it would be very difficult to argue that the physician is at all responsible for that. Failure to diagnose applies when the doctor should have known but did not.

Wrong Treatments

The incorrect treatment or surgery for a condition can end up causing a great deal of harm to patients. Being given the wrong treatment is one of the most common reasons that people file a medical malpractice claim. Not only may the treatment itself – particularly if it is a surgery – cause the patient to go through pain and suffering, loss of wages, physical harm, mental trauma and other hardships, it may cause the condition they actually had to worsen. If your physician has ordered an incorrect treatment for you and if you have suffered because of it, you should speak with an attorney.

What if You Don’t Know?

Again, speaking with an attorney is the best move if you’re not sure whether or not you were the victim of medical malpractice. A Houston medical malpractice attorney will be able to listen to your story and determine if it seems like medical malpractice was an issue in how you came to harm. This area of the law is particularly complex and, in Texas, it has been changed in recent years. You’ll want to make certain that you find an attorney who understands this law to a very exacting degree and who is willing to sit down and listen to you during a consultation. Consultations are usually free, so there’s no harm in calling an attorney and asking if you could meet with them.

 

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Distracted Driving an Epidemic, Says CDC

Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June of 2012. According to this survey, over 55 percent of high school seniors acknowledged that they had sent messages via text or e-mail while they were driving. The same survey said that approximately 40 percent of high school juniors had also e-mailed or texted while they were driving.

Distracted driving is rapidly becoming one of the worst threats on the road. In the second or two it takes to look down at the screen of a cellular phone, a car can travel a significant distance and, of course, that car may end up plowing into somebody in front of them or into a pedestrian crossing the road.

Tech Cures and Failures

According to an Associated Press report, the industry has responded to problems with people driving while distracted by releasing a range of cell phone apps that are designed to curb this behavior. Rather than relying upon the driver’s own sense of responsibility, these apps turn off or reduce the volume on cellular devices when they detect that they are moving at vehicle speeds. Results of these apps have been mixed, though they have proven somewhat popular.

At the same time that the technology sector is attempting to address this problem with new apps, the Transportation Department is looking to law enforcement. Hoping that a combination of public service messages and increased law enforcement will curb the problem, the Department is planning on spending millions in California and Delaware to address this issue, according to the same Associated Press reports.

Sensible Solutions

In Texas, there are restrictions on teenage drivers using cellular phones while they are in cars. There is no statewide ban on texting as of yet, however. Using cellular phones has long known to be dangerous when behind the wheel. Obviously, the easiest solution to this problem is to either turn your cellular phone off when you’re driving or to use a hands-free device. There are conflicting studies, however, where the safety of hands-free devices is concerned. Some of them maintain that there is an increase in safety when utilizing a hands-free device and others have found that there is no appreciable difference between the levels of distraction experienced by drivers utilizing hands-free devices as compared to those using a cellular phone with their hands.

Negligent Drivers

Driving while distracted, in some cases, may be determined to be a form of negligence by a jury. Drivers who have their vehicles wrecked or who suffer personal injuries because of a driver who was distracted by a cellular phone or any other electronic device may wish to contact an attorney about the matter. Rather than footing the entire bill for the repairs and the medical expenses yourself, an attorney may be able to present you with an option to file a lawsuit, which could win you significant compensation and, possibly, enough to more than pay for the damages and injuries that you suffered as a result of the other driver’s negligence.

 

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Texas Lawsuit Alleges Drug Test Ordered Before 911 Called

A lawsuit filed by the family of a Texas man who died at his workplace alleges that the employer ordered a drug test before they called 911 for assistance. As reported in the Courthouse News Service, the man ended up suffering a fatal injury at work due to a fall. The lawsuit also alleges that there was no fall protection equipment provided for the man and that he ended up falling to his death as a result of that.

Drug Test Before Paramedics

The lawsuit alleges that, while he was lying on the ground unconscious, the defendant ordered that a drug test be performed on the decedent. This is disputed by the defendant. The death occurred on July 1, 2011. According to the lawsuit, the man ended up falling several feet and was working as a loader at the time.

According to the lawsuit, it was the defendant’s failure to provide immediate medical assistance that ended up leading to the man’s death. It is also alleged by the lawsuit that OSHA violations – namely, the lack of fall protection – also contributed to his death. OSHA regulations hold that any employee working at a height be provided with personal fall protection equipment, a guardrail or another approved device that is designed to arrest their fall in the event that they lose their footing or otherwise come to lose her balance.

The lawsuit is seeking $15 million in wrongful death, gross negligence and punitive damages, according to the report.

Wrongful Death in the Workplace

OSHA and other organizations provide a regulatory framework that is designed to keep people safe at work. In addition to this regulatory framework, employers are also expected to be competent in delivering care to employees when they are injured. In any instance where an employee is injured on the job, performing a drug test on an employee at the hospital is generally standard procedure. In this particular case, the allegation that the employer ordered a drug test before 911 was even called is at the heart of the wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to provide for the family of the deceased individual. In some cases, they take into account the loss of income that the entire family suffers as a result of the loss of their loved one. They may also include – as in the case of this particular lawsuit – punitive damages against an employer or other agency that was proven to have been negligent.

If you have been injured in the workplace and you believe that your employer was negligent in either not following OSHA regulations or because they didn’t provide you with adequate care after the fact, you should speak with an attorney. The best thing to do, however, is to make certain that you don’t end up in one of these situations in the first place. Learn the OSHA regulations that apply to your work and make certain that your employer follows them. If they do not and you are injured, an attorney may be able to set the situation right for you.

 

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Malpractice and Practitioners

If you go to a hospital, you’ll be handled by many different people and many of those people will belong to different departments. It’s important to understand that malpractice lawsuits can be brought against individuals other than your attending physician. For example, an article in Diagnostic Imaging details a claim that was brought against a radiologist, which is likely not the first person that somebody who has been the victim of medical malpractice would think to sue.

Failure to Communicate

In the claim detailed in the article, a radiologist was sued for malpractice in 2011 in Pennsylvania due to failing to communicate important information to the patient. The patient had one chest x-ray done, which showed, according to the article, increased density in the lungs.

The problem came after a second x-ray was recommended and taken. The results of that x-ray was never given to the patient, who ended up suffering with inoperable lung cancer.

In order for patients receive quality, competent care, all of the different departments within a healthcare facility have to communicate with one another, and with that the patient, effectively. In some instances, situations where hospital staff does not communicate with one another can end up in disaster, as is detailed in the case above.

Suing

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, you may actually wonder whom it is you would sue. You may know that you got treated poorly by healthcare a facility, but speaking with the lawyer may reveal surprising information about who would ultimately be as possible for the negligence that caused you to suffer. In some cases, it may be the radiologist. It may also be the healthcare facility itself, an ER technician who did not take enough time to notice that you had a serious problem or someone else involved in your healthcare who failed you.

There are limitations on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim after the incident has occurred. If you believe that you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney, whether or not you’re even considering suing. Attorneys generally offer free consultations and, at those consultations, they’ll be able to get any of their questions answered and to see if there is information that they need to follow up on. They can determine from this whether or not it seems logical for you to sue and why.

If it’s unclear how a healthcare provider failed you, ask an attorney what they think. Even if it doesn’t persuade you to go ahead and sue or convince you not to sue at all, you’ll at least have an expert opinion to work with when you decide whether or not a healthcare facility or someone within it owes you compensation.

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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.

 

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Investigating Auto Crashes

If you’ve engaged the services of a Houston personal injury attorney to represent you in a lawsuit related to a car accident, there will be an investigation involved. The attorney will need to collect evidence to back up your claim, and, to accomplish this, they will use their own investigators. This is much different than a police investigation in a very important way.

What the Police Want

When the police or other law enforcement agencies investigate an accident, they’re looking for criminal infractions. They’re not interested in whether or not the other driver was negligent, unless that negligence was somehow actually criminal.

The police are very good investigators and they have the forensic abilities required to reconstruct accidents very accurately. This helps them to determine whether or not one of the drivers involved did something that was in direct violation of criminal law and that led to the accident. What they find out in the course of their investigation may contribute to your case, but it will not be done on your behalf.

What Your Attorney Wants

Your attorney will specifically be interested in negligence. Your attorney, among other things, is trying to determine where financial responsibility for the accident lies. They will have investigators look at the circumstances of the accident and the scene of the accident to collect any evidence that may be available that bolsters your case.

Your attorney may find out that, for instance, the other driver didn’t check an intersection before they started to cross it, that they failed to check for vehicles before they backed out of their driveway or that they were negligent in some other regard that was directly a cause of your accident.

In some cases, your attorney will actually create a computer simulation of the accident so that they can review what happened. This will sometimes reveal where negligence played a role in you coming to harm.

Starting the Investigation

The very first part of this investigation will usually take place at your consultation with a Houston personal injury attorney. They’ll need to sit down with you and get as much information as you can give them about what happened. Don’t worry if you don’t remember exactly how the accident occurred. This is common, particularly in cases where the victim may have suffered a head injury.

If the attorney determines that you likely do have good cause to file a lawsuit and that they want to represent you, they will gather a great deal of evidence, including that which comes from their investigations into the scene of the accident. All of this evidence will be used to argue your case before a jury as convincingly as possible and, if you win, to help you get the largest possible jury award or settlement you can.

 

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