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How Do You Prove that Another Driver’s Negligence Caused You to Do Something that Resulted in an Accident?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Countless cases – whether they’re settled out of court or go before a jury – hinge on proving negligence. In some situations, even a driver who hit another vehicle may have done so only because of a third party’s neglect. For instance, a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may indirectly cause an accident. That individual, however, may be found fully accountable for all subsequent damages.

As an example, you may be driving on a highway when a person using a cell phone cuts you off. You slam on the brakes, a car rear-ends you, and a pileup ensues. Who is responsible – you, the driver who hit you, or the person who cut you off? Obviously, things can get complicated in such incidents. Working with a qualified legal team to uncover any negligence that may have caused the collision is the first step in protecting your rights against this type of accident.

Proving Negligence in Texas

Negligence can affect any personal injury in Texas, not only those on our freeways. For instance, if you meet with a legal team to discuss a slip and fall, they will pore over any details you provide. Were the grounds well maintained? Was the business you were visiting open and well staffed? Were there any spills, and did the manager take a reasonable degree of action to fix the problem? Proving these details, potentially before a jury, takes countless hours of hard work and dedication. If you’re injured, do your best to keep track of the following details. This will help you prove neglect in Texas:

  • A detailed, consistent account of the accident. Documentation is critically important, but so is consistency. As soon as you get the chance, write down what happened so you can remember it in the future. Inconsistency may affect your credibility, especially if the defendant has his or her own evidence.
  • Pictures of the scene. Photographs will absolutely help your case. In the case of a slip and fall, a spill or crack in the sidewalk can be incriminating. This can streamline the entire process, so if you’re able, take pictures of the scene or have someone do it for you.
  • Witness information. Eyewitness accounts are also critical. As your attorney and insurance company (as well as the defendant’s) work to understand what happened, external perspectives may prove invaluable.
  • The physician’s diagnosis. Whether or not you’re injured, consider checking in with a doctor if you suspect neglect. This is even more important if you have any kind of pain or discomfort. These issues may develop over time, and you might need to rely on a professional’s diagnosis to link your pain and suffering to the incident.
  • All related expenses and damages. Keep your receipts, all medical bills, and any other documents (e.g., bank statements) connecting costs to the accident.

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Working with an Experienced Dallas Attorney

Your Texas attorney will explore the defendant’s legal obligations to provide a safe environment for the plaintiff, whether that duty was breached or not, and what caused the incident – which can be a direct or indirect action or no action at all. Finally, he or she will assess the damage, accounting for all long-term issues that may play into your settlement. This could include physical therapy costs, job rehabilitation programs, loss of consortium, and more.

There are hundreds of details that can be the difference between a fair amount that pays for all damages over the course of your life and an insulting settlement lets the responsible party off the hook. Don’t fall for the latter. Speak with an attorney at Aaron Herbert for more information, and trust your claim to us. We’ll explore every possible factor that may have contributed to your injury, and we won’t rest until a fair settlement is awarded.

Posted by admin at 10:55 pm

Does a “Swim at Your Own Risk” Sign Actually Do Anything?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

When it’s summertime in Texas, we tend to gravitate toward pools. On particularly hot days, kids swarm to public options, and they may even be tempted to swim in the neighbors’ pools – whether or not they’re at home. If a child is injured in a public or private pool, you may be wondering about potential liability or legal actions that you may take against the city or owner.

Responsibility & Liability

Before you get that far, you may be wondering: Is a “Swim at Your Own Risk” sign enough to eliminate all responsibility for accidents that occur on the property? The answer is no. Texas laws in this area are multifaceted, and there is plenty to consider before taking your case to an attorney. Here are a few factors that may affect your claim:

  • Our premises liability laws. In general, a public pool or one owned by a hotel or similar business (e.g., a gym) can be held accountable for any injuries that occur; a posted warning sign may not matter. There are, of course, some exceptions. For example, the injured party can’t be a trespasser, and he or she must have used the pool as intended – for example, drinking and swimming after hours will likely result in partial blame being placed on the injured party. Regardless, the owner must make conditions as safe as possible and reasonably enforce any rules posted for the pool.
  • Assumed risk. A qualified Texas attorney will thoroughly explain this factor to you before agreeing to take your case. The presence of a “Swim at Your Own Risk” sign does amplify this issue, as does the presence of a lifeguard. For instance, when a pool is clearly marked as “No Lifeguard on Duty,” swimmers assume a certain degree of risk when they jump into the pool. Though “Swim at Your Own Risk” is less specific, the same principle applies.
    However, the age and cognitive abilities of the injured party may affect this. For example, a child with a mental disability wouldn’t be expected to understand the risk these signs indicate. When this is the case, the claim will likely be settled by continuing to examine factors that may have contributed to the accident – such as neglect.
  • Negligence. This is another element that will likely affect the outcome of your claim. The pool’s owner is expected to keep the area safe and well maintained. This includes keeping all equipment in working order and ensuring the area is reasonably clear of obstacles. If a faulty or uncovered drain contributes to an accident, for example, it isn’t a known risk that the plaintiff assumed, regardless of any signage.
    The workers employed at the pool may also fall under scrutiny; if a lifeguard is on duty and he or she causes or fails to prevent damages, the enterprise may be liable for subsequent expenses. These individuals are to be fully licensed and qualified and it’s an area your attorney should explore.

Work Out the Specifics of Your Case with an Experienced Texas Attorney

Even though we’ve outlined some details here, real-life cases are far more nuanced and can only be explained through a consultation with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney. Product liability may be involved, which opens the claim up to an entirely new area of legal practice. You also need a lawyer committed to uncovering the minutiae of your case – from whether warning signs were posted clearly to confirming the owner’s security measures and demonstrating his or her ability to keep the pool safe.

Contact

For a personal, devoted look at your claim, get in touch with the Texas specialists at the Law Firm of Aaron Herbert.

Posted by admin at 9:56 pm

Understanding Fault in High Risk Activity Accidents

Friday, February 19, 2016

What happens if you get injured while rafting, paragliding, BASE jumping, or another extreme sport? Many of these activities require liability waivers, but a waiver does not necessarily preclude an injured individual from taking legal action against the organizer.

In 2012, a man in Fort Worth drowned during a mud run. In 2013, a Pennsylvania hospital’s emergency services took in 38 patients during a Tough Mudder (extreme obstacle course) event. Of course, there are many of these kinds of incidents, and they can quickly become tragic.

Extreme sports and obstacle courses are exhilarating, in part, because of the risk-factor. Liability waivers are designed to protect organizations from lawsuits arising from certain injuries or death. However, many waivers are not enforceable, even when a participant signs the document.

What Affects the Protectiveness of a Waiver?

Every state has different laws regarding contracts including waivers. Some states may not accept the terms or the structure of a waiver under state law. Assuming state laws do support the enforceability of a waiver, the waiver may still not protect the organization from a lawsuit.

A waiver only protects an organization within the limited scope outlined in the document. In other words, an organization may be liable for an injury that goes above and beyond the terms of the waiver. For instance, if you were injured because an organization knowingly changed the hazardous nature of an activity or failed to take reasonable safety precautions (extreme negligence), you may still be able to hold the organization accountable.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the nature of the activity and see if the factor that caused harm could have been reasonably eliminated without changing the nature of the activity. If it could have been removed or altered, then the waiver may not protect the organization from a lawsuit.

The Complexity of Waiver Enforceability in Texas

Enforceability of waivers is a complicated matter in Texas. There are no written laws that explicitly define what a liability waiver must contain to remain enforceable. Instead, courts rely on a patchwork arrangement of court opinions and interpretations to determine enforceability on a case-by-case basis.

If you have an attorney who understands the framework for enforceability in Texas, he or she can review the waiver and develop a case that either contests enforceability or goes beyond the scope of the waiver. For instance, if a parent signs a waiver for a child to go whitewater rafting, the parent may give up the ability to file a claim, but a child may recover some damages.

Always Talk to an Attorney After an Extreme Activity Injury

After a high risk activity accident, secure a copy of your signed liability waiver. Keep any recordings that capture the time of the incident, and tell your medical provider about your injury. If you were using equipment that malfunctioned, take pictures of the equipment.

Some individuals assume a waiver will keep them from recovering damages after an injury. As a result, they never pursue a legal consultation to determine if they have grounds for a lawsuit. At the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC, our initial consultations are always free, and we can help you determine if a lawsuit is the right course of action.

Knowing your rights can help you take action after an accident. You probably don’t need to have your attorney review every waiver before you, but don’t be afraid to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions. You may have options to secure financial compensation that will cover the cost of your injury and rehabilitation. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 11:42 pm