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Are Old Gas Lines Dangerous?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The infrastructure in your city or even your home could pose many hidden dangers. For example, we know that some old building materials, like lead and asbestos, can lead to detrimental effects like brain damage and cancer. However, what about materials like old gas lines? Can these pose a risk to you and your family?

America’s Aging Natural Gas System

Unfortunately, tales regarding the dangerous nature of America’s natural gas system abound. In 2014, news of a gas explosion in Harlem rocked the nation, after an aging infrastructure was responsible for the death of 8 and injuring dozens more. A crack in an old gas pipeline was reportedly responsible for the leak – piping that was more than 100 years old. Just how much of America’s gas infrastructure is like this? What danger does it pose to the average city dweller?

The nation’s natural gas pipeline is a large network of pipes that carry from underground wells to your appliances every day. This labyrinth of pipes comprises more than 2.4 million miles and distributes natural gas all over the country. Most of this network is smaller pipes that go directly to your stove, or water heater, or whatever other appliances in your home run on gas. The rest – about 20% — are larger pipes that gather gas from refineries and transport it long distances throughout the country.

Domestic gas production has increased exponentially in recent years thanks to practices like fracking. This means that higher volume may overburden the already aging natural gas system. To address this, municipal and energy authorities are announcing new gas projects, complete with plenty of new pipelines. Though new pipelines are in the works, municipalities have done little to address the current aging pipelines that run under community homes.

What Causes Gas Leaks?

Over time, gas lines can corrode and eventually rupture, leading to leaks underground. In other cases, gas leaks may arise from extreme weather like hurricanes and the high winds they bring.

Cast iron pipes are more likely to corrode and lead to catastrophic leaks. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that the majority of cast iron piping is isolated to five states:  New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Unfortunately, one of the main problems with America’s aging natural gas infrastructure is that gas companies lack the proper incentive to replace them with new ones. Under current law, gas companies can pass the cost of replacing pipelines on to consumers. While newer plastic models are much safer and more durable, it could be decades until gas companies replace them to protect the health of the consumers they serve.

What Can You Do About Gas Leaks?

Natural gas is naturally odorless, but most gas companies add scent to it so it resembles the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell leaking gas on your property, alert the gas company right away. It’s possible that you have a gas leak that needs immediate attention.

Similarly, be vigilant about any construction going on in your neighborhood. You may notice the utility company come out to mark the location of gas lines with flags – it’s important to leave these flags where they are and discourage children from playing with them.

Aging gas lines can present a serious problem to American families. Left unchecked, these pipes that run underground can cause serious harm from leaks and explosions. Gas companies have a responsibility to replace piping with more effective and durable plastic, and the government has a duty to protect the consumer from absorbing the cost associated with replacement. By addressing these points, we can protect everyone from the dangers associated with aging gas lines.

Posted by admin at 6:21 pm

Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Lithium ion batteries have been the subject of controversy in recent news. It started with the Galaxy Note phone, with reports of spontaneously combusting units on planes, and some even causing house fires. Now, reports of exploding e-cigarettes and vaping pens make big headlines.

An exploding lithium ion battery can lead to burns and other devastating injuries and property damage. It can occur in any item that contains one, from vaping pens to hover boards. Why do lithium ion batteries explode, and what can you do to reduce your risk of injury?

What Is A Lithium Ion Battery?

We consider Lithium ion batteries an important technological advancement in the 21st century, and for the most part this is true. These units boast a long battery life, they’re portable and lightweight, and can accommodate the shape and size of many different types of electronics. Chances are, if you have a newer cell phone, laptop, or electronic device, you have a lithium ion batter in your house right now.

Lithium ion batteries serve a great purpose. However, they’re not without their downsides. These units store a lot of power, and when they malfunction, the devastation can be great – for example, an explosion or other form of spontaneous combustion may occur. Overheated lithium ion batteries have been responsible for house fires, burns on the hands and face, and other devastating injuries.

Lithium ion batteries are particularly sensitive to high temperatures. When exposed, they can quickly overheat and the consequences can be dire. However, the nature of the battery’s construction can be just as dangerous as the battery itself.

Negligent Construction of Lithium Ion Batteries

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall of lithium ion batteries is perhaps the best-known debacle regarding the subject to date. Samsung traced the problem to a manufacturer of the battery in China, which has less stringent regulatory processes than other countries like the United States. By switching manufacturers, they assured the public the phones would be safe once again.

In the holiday season of 2016, hover boards were extremely popular. Unfortunately, similar stories of hazards began to come out. Stories of units exploding while they were charging had parents worried for their children’s safety. Retailers, faced with massive returns, encouraged parents to buy units with high quality lithium ion batteries to avoid the possibility of overheating and subsequent injuries and property damage.

Duty of Care to the Consumer

All manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products have a duty of care to their consumers. When a dangerous or defective product leads to injury, anyone in this chain might be responsible for damages. Any person injured by an exploding lithium ion battery may be able to collect damages from a liable party if the following apply:

  • The product was defective or inherently dangerous; in other words, it did not work in its intended way with normal use.
  • The defective product was the proximal cause of the victim’s injuries.
  • The consumer was using the product as intended.

Most product liability claims fall under the category of strict liability, which means victims will not have to prove that a manufacturer was negligent to collect damages. It does not matter if the party committed negligence or not; since a duty of care to a consumer is higher, the injured party only needs to prove that a defective product directly led to injury.

Lithium ion batteries pose a danger to the average consumer. Anyone who owns a product containing a lithium ion battery should keep it in a temperature-controlled environment and avoid charging it for long periods. Doing so could reduce the risk of serious injury.

Posted by admin at 6:18 pm

What Are Some Factors That Will Affect My Personal Injury Settlement?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

An accident or injury can lead to serious financial, physical, and emotional consequences for you and your family. A personal injury settlement can help you address these challenges by providing compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. Several types of damages exist in a lawsuit, and several factors might influence the ultimate amount of your settlement from an insurance company. Consider these factors and how they may affect your right to compensation.

How Severe Are Your Injuries?

The extent of your injuries is one of the most important things that will affect your ultimate personal injury settlement. For example, an injury involving a traumatic brain injury or multiple surgeries will have a higher payout than for a broken bone or a soft tissue injury. Severe injuries generally carry higher economic damages, and the cost of future care will be more extensive as well. Victims of these types of accidents will likely receive higher compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

Who’s Liable?

Liability also plays an important role in determining how much money you may receive in a personal injury settlement. For example, shared liability may play a role in a claim if a jury finds you partially at fault for an accident. In this case, your settlement or court judgment will face a reduction based on your percentage of fault. If you were 20% at fault for an accident and sought $100,000 in damages, for example, your ultimate award could be $80,000.

Insurance Policy Limits

Unfortunately, some personal injury payouts depend on the limits of an at-fault driver’s policy. If you sustain injuries in a car accident, for example, you may only be able to collect damages to the extent of the at-fault driver’s policy. Since policy minimums in Texas often do not adequately cover the costs of serious injuries, pain, and suffering, it’s a good idea to carry underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to pick up the slack.

Did the At-Fault Party Commit Gross Negligence?

In some cases, such as those involving reckless or wanton conduct, you may be able to collect punitive damages. This is a kind of non-economic damages that punish the defendant for wrongdoing and discourage similar negligence in the future. Settlements involving gross negligence often involve high payout amounts for the plaintiff.

Are Your Medical Costs Both Reasonable and Necessary?

Insurance companies look at the extent of your medical damages, and a claims adjuster will try to determine if your medical care is both “reasonable and necessary.” Unfortunately, not all claims adjusters will see some medical care or procedures as medically necessary and may try to reduce your claim amount. This highlights the need for a personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf and hold the responsible party accountable for the full degree of your injuries, pain, and suffering.

Are There Multiple Parties Involved?

In the case of multi-vehicle accidents, your claim amount may depend on the insurance policies of the drivers involved. Multi-vehicle accidents can lead to a lot of back and forth between insurance companies that argue over the degree of their insured driver’s fault. This may ultimately affect your claim amount and the timeline in which you receive a settlement.

Your personal injury settlement may depend on several factors – for example, the degree of your injuries, the policy limits of all the parties responsible, and whether a responsible party acted with reckless intent. A personal injury attorney will work closely with the insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, which ultimately leads to a higher payout amount.

Posted by admin at 9:39 pm

Burn Classification and Treatment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Burns are painful injuries that leave long-lasting effects such as scars, nerve damage, and disfigurement. Most people associate burns with fire, but there are actually several types of burns, and medical professionals use a degree scale to classify the burns they treat. It’s important to understand the different types of burns and how they happen to prevent injuries to yourself and others.

Thermal Burns

The most common type of burn is a heat burn or thermal burn. This type of burn occurs when a person comes into contact with a hot surface, boiling liquid, open flame, or explosion. Some common examples of thermal burns include touching a hot stove burner, spilling hot tea on exposed skin, or suffering a burn from a flare-up on a gas grill.

Electrical Burns

High-voltage electrical discharges can cause severe burns as well as a host of other medical issues. The human body conducts electricity, so people are vulnerable to electrocution and electrical burns. Exposure to electrical currents can also cause severe nerve damage, interfere with the rhythm of the victim’s heartbeat, and cause other neurological problems.

Chemical Burns

A chemical burn occurs when a person comes into contact with corrosive or toxic substances. An example would include touching wet concrete, which can cause severe burns if it remains on the skin for too long. Breathing in corrosive gasses can also cause burns in the respiratory tract and esophagus, and some inhaled chemicals can cause brain damage.

Radiation Burns

Exposure to dangerous radiation can burn the skin and increase the risk of developing certain cancers. Sunburn occurs from overexposure to the sun’s rays and is the most common type of radiation burn. Most people experience this type of burn at least once in their lifetimes. The sun emits ultraviolet rays that can burn the skin, cause eye damage, and increase the risk of skin cancer over time.

Treating Burns

Doctors and medical professionals use a degree scale to classify burns. A first-degree burn is the least severe and a victim can generally treat such a burn at home with over-the-counter first aid supplies, such as burn ointment and bandages. Most people can also treat mild sunburn at home using aloe-based ointments and over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. However, a first-degree burn in a sensitive area of the body or one that covers more than 10% of the surface area of the skin should receive medical attention.

Second-degree burns are more severe, penetrate more deeply through the skin, and have a high potential for scarring. Third-degree burns penetrate completely through the skin and are medical emergencies. Chemical burns and electrical burns almost always require medical attention due to the high chances of secondary issues such as respiratory problems, neurological interference, and altered heart rate.

Long-Term Medical Issues from Burns

Most severe burns carry a high potential for scarring and long-term damage. Scar tissue in certain areas of the body, such as the joints, can limit range of motion or cause discomfort when moving. Scar tissue doesn’t have the same elasticity as healthy skin, and a burn victim will notice as he or she moves the affected part of the body, the scarred skin tugs on the healthy skin surrounding it, causing itching, discomfort, and pain.

People who suffer severe burns must often undergo multiple skin-grafting surgeries and other restorative procedures to correct function in the affected parts of the body. Scars can also be emotionally devastating, and many burn victims experience psychological trauma as well as physical issues. It’s vital to understand how to tell the difference between a burn that is treatable at home and one that demands medical attention.

Posted by admin at 10:42 pm

Safety Tips for Hunting in Texas

Monday, April 9, 2018

There are an average of 20 hunting accidents in Texas each year, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). While the majority of these are not fatal, hunting accidents can lead to serious or debilitating injury. These accidents are also not exclusive to novice or amateur hunters. Per the TPWD:

  • Many shooters involved in hunting accidents have not been drinking.
  • Most hunters have plenty of hunting experience.
  • Most hunting accidents involve people over the age of 40.

Even experienced hunters can reduce their risk of injury while enjoying their pastime. Observe some simple safety tips before packing up for your next hunt.

Take a Hunter Safety Training Class

The majority of hunting accidents occur with experienced hunters, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also notes that most people who sustain injuries on a hunting trip did not have specific safety training. You can take an online safety course through the TWPD website, where you’ll learn basics such as what to wear, when to hunt, and how to communicate with others in your party.

Practice Smart Firearm Safety

Controlling your weapon is one of the simplest ways to avoid injury to others. For example:

  • Point the muzzle in a safe direction. Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot, and never use your foot as a resting spot. Leave your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire and keep the safety on when not actively shooting. Treat your firearm or bow as if it’s loaded or nocked and ready to fire, even when it’s not.
  • Properly identify your target and surrounding area. Before raising your firearm to take a shot, use binoculars to identify what else is around before using your scope. Never shoot at an animal positioned at the top of a hill or ridge, as there’s no way to identify what’s on the other side.
  • Unload your weapons when not in use and store them properly in cases when traveling. Always store ammunition and firearms separately, under lock and key.

Practice Proper Etiquette

Whether you’re shooting on a range or in a field, know your safety zone and stick to it. Be aware of your companion’s position and never swing your gun or bow outside of your safety zone. Encourage your hunting party to wear fluorescent orange, so you and your companions are visible to one another, even under heavy cover or at a great distance.

Never drink while on a hunting trip. Alcohol inhibits your physical and mental functions, slows your reaction time, and puts your entire hunting party in danger. It can also affect your ability to control your emotions, which could lead to dangerous consequences. Save your celebrations for after your hunt.

Wear Proper Protective Gear

If you’re shooting at the range, make sure you’re wearing both ear and eye protection, as exploding shells can cause hearing loss or eye damage from burnt powder or flying debris. When shooting in a field or out on a trip, always wear your safety glasses, but don’t use hearing protection, as you must be aware of your surroundings.

The majority of hunting accidents are preventable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice shooter or a seasoned pro, there are still steps you can take to assure your safety. Always wear appropriate safety gear and outline basic rules with your party before leaving on a trip. Treat your firearm as if it’s loaded and ready to shoot at all times, and never drink alcohol or use drugs on a trip. By observing these basic safety tips, you can reduce your risk of injury while hunting and make the experience safer for everyone in your party.

Posted by admin at 4:57 pm

Should Your Injury Lawyer Have Trial Experience?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

When you think of retaining a lawyer, you might imagine a big courtroom with your legal representative in the midst of a heated argument before a judge and jury. While this scenario is certainly possible, it’s unlikely. In fact, only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases in the U.S. go to trial. The vast majority reach successful settlements during pretrial negotiations with the insurance company or another defendant. Keep this in mind when wondering whether your lawyer should have trial experience, and then consider these facts:

There is a Chance Your Case Could Go to Trial

Yes, the odds of going to trial are slim; however, it is possible that pretrial negotiations won’t work for your claim, and the courts will need to impanel a jury to decide the case. The prospect of a potential trial will have a significant impact on your case and its value, regardless of whether it ever reaches the courtroom. In the event that pretrial hearings cannot resolve your case, your lawyer needs to be able to accept the responsibility of representing you during a personal injury trial. Imagine discovering your case needs to go to trial, only to find your lawyer has zero courtroom experience. This is why most plaintiffs want trial attorneys, not just personal injury lawyers.

Insurance Companies Are Savvy to Local Law Firms

You want the upper hand when it comes to negotiating your personal injury claim with an insurance company. Otherwise, the insurance agent or claims analyst can take advantage of you and offer much less than your claim is worth. One of the best ways to protect your best interests is to retain a trial-tested attorney for insurance negotiations. Why? If the insurance company knows your lawyer doesn’t typically go to trial, it can offer less because it assumes settlement is the only option. For maximum compensation, you want your negotiations to reflect the fact that if you cannot settle your case, it will go to trial.

You Need an Expert Negotiator

Settlement negotiations can get intense. There is a lot on the line – the amount your lawyer secures you can greatly impact your financial future. A lawyer with trial experience will be thinking of your case in terms of a potential trial. The lawyer will be considering what evidence you need to prove your case, the best methods for presenting this evidence, how to respond to possible defenses, and many other aspects. Even if your claim never goes to trial, you will benefit from the mindset that it could. Trial-tested attorneys excel at juggling many difficult and complex elements of a claim, from beginning to end.

All Trial Experience is Not Created Equal

Keep in mind that just any trial experience might not help your particular case. You need to find an attorney with experience successfully handling claims that are similar to yours. For example, if you need to join a class action against a drug manufacturing company, you don’t want to retain a lawyer who has only gone to court representing car accident lawsuits. Look for a track record of winning cases and securing jury verdicts for clients in similar situations to your own. You always want an attorney with experience in your area of injury law.

No Trial Experience Isn’t a Deal Breaker

Despite the benefits that go along with retaining an experienced trial attorney, it certainly isn’t a requirement. Sometimes, a lawyer with no trial experience is one who is exceptional at negotiating during pretrial meetings. This can work in your favor since settling pretrial is cheaper and faster than going to court. In the end, knowledge of how to successfully negotiate a settlement for maximum compensation might be more important than trial experience. The right lawyer for you depends on your specific claim.

Posted by admin at 6:43 pm

Why Won’t a Personal Injury Lawyer Take My Case?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

You attended a free case evaluation and spoke directly with a local Dallas personal injury lawyer. You explained what happened and discussed your injuries. At the end of the meeting, you were shocked to discover the lawyer wasn’t interested in taking your case. What happened? Knowing why a personal injury attorney won’t take your case is important for your future and personal peace of mind. Here are a few reasons why an attorney may have rejected your case:

You’re Contacting the Wrong Attorney

It’s possible that a lawyer won’t take your case because you contacted one without experience in your type of claim. During your search for the right attorney, make sure you find one who lists the practice area that’s appropriate for your type of accident. If you’re trying to start a medical malpractice claim, for example, don’t contact a lawyer who only has experience handling car accident cases. Odds are, this lawyer wouldn’t take your case. Search for prior experience handling cases that are similar to yours.

You Don’t Have Enough Damages or Losses

In most cases, attorneys don’t offer their services for free. Instead, they work on contingency-fee bases, in which they subtract their attorney’s fees from their clients’ compensation awards upon successfully completing the case. You may be hearing “no’s” from lawyers if you were in an accident but only suffered minor injuries or damages. Your case probably isn’t worth enough to make hiring a lawyer worthwhile. If you think this is the reason you can’t get an attorney, consider trying to negotiate an insurance settlement without a lawyer.

There Is No One Liable for Your Accident

Many people mistakenly assume there is always someone liable for their accidents and personal injuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Depending on state laws, there may not be any person or entity legally responsible for your damages. You must have four main elements to prove most personal injury cases:

  1. Someone else owed you a duty of care.
  2. That someone breached his or her duty to you.
  3. The breach of duty caused your accident.
  4. You suffered damages as a result.

Sometimes, accidents are no one’s fault. You may have gotten hurt due to an act of God, such as bad weather. Perhaps a tree limb from your neighbor’s property fell and hit you, but your neighbor was responsible in his efforts to trim the tree. Perhaps your own actions led to the accident more than anyone else’s. The bottom line: Not all claims are grounds for personal injury lawsuits.

Your Case is Too Small (or Too Big) for the Lawyer

After a lawyer turns you down, consider that maybe your case is too big or too small for that particular law firm. Some boutique firms don’t have the resources or experience to handle high-value claims or those that need to go to trial. A major firm might not accept claims beneath a minimum value. Shop around for a law firm that takes on cases that are the same caliber as your own to optimize your odds of an affirmative answer. An appropriate-sized firm can benefit you by offering the right kind of help, personal attention, and price for your unique claim.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do That You Can’t?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It is not a requirement to retain a personal injury attorney to represent you in Texas. You’re welcome to represent yourself during insurance settlement negotiations and even in a trial, but there’s a reason the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs opt for professional help. There are many things lawyers can do that the typical person can’t – including, in most cases, getting the most compensation for your claim. If you’re on the fence about retaining a lawyer for your case, find out what you’d be missing should you self-represent.

Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement

One of the most daunting aspects of any personal injury claim is your first discussion with an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the person in charge of analyzing your insurance claim and deciding how much to offer in a settlement. The adjuster is not on your team and will typically offer much less than your case could be worth. The best way to have an advantage over the adjuster, and to secure a fair and just settlement, is through an attorney.

An attorney protects your best interests. He or she will take over settlement negotiations and often spare you the time and money it would take to go to trial. In the majority of claims, a lawyer can achieve an out-of-court settlement that gives you the money your injuries demand. A lawyer can deal with the other party, its insurance company, and its lawyers, so you can focus on yourself instead of complex legal processes. The settlement process is much simpler and more rewarding with professional representation.

Bring Elements of Proof

There is much more to a lawsuit than just proving you were hurt. Most personal injury cases require the plaintiff to show four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. It can be difficult to show these four elements depending on the circumstances of the case. You will need to provide evidence such as medical records, official documents, police reports, expert testimony, eyewitness statements, and more for a successful claim. There are rules you must obey during the evidence gathering and discovery phases – all of which a lawyer can help you navigate.

Preserve Important Evidence

Speaking of evidence, another reason to hire a lawyer is the preservation of vital information relating to your case. Certain pieces of critical evidence, such as the data from a large truck’s black box after a crash or another driver’s cell phone records, can get destroyed, erased, or tampered with after an accident. Fast action to preserve this evidence can be imperative to the claim. A lawyer can submit an evidence preservation letter or file a temporary restraining order to prevent the destruction of evidence – safeguarding information that could make your case.

File Within the Deadlines

The world of civil law abides by many important deadlines. Missing a deadline, or a statute of limitations can mean losing the right to ever pursue compensation for your accident. Deadlines change according to the type of claim you’re filing, as well as on a state-by-state basis. In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file your lawsuit. The timeline for claims against the government is much shorter, often only giving you 60 to 90 days to file an initial notice. A lawyer knows all of the deadlines specific to your case and can make sure the right documents are in front of the right people at the right time.

Posted by admin at 6:24 pm

How Do Damage Caps Work?

Monday, December 11, 2017

When injured persons file a lawsuit to recover damages, they hope to receive fair financial compensation. Sometimes they will hear the amount awarded by the jury and think they will receive that amount. However, many states have passed laws limiting the payout amount, the so-called damage cap. Read on to learn more about damage caps, what types of damages face caps, and other rules that affect the amount awarded in a lawsuit.

What Are Damage Caps?

If an individual is injured because of negligence during medical care, he or she may file a medical malpractice claim. This lawsuit claims a provider did not practice standard operating procedures, failing to diagnose or treat a patient’s injuries.

A damage cap exists to limit how much a service provider will have to pay, with each state enacting its own limits. States set these caps to prevent juries from awarding excessive payout amounts. Damage awards of millions of dollars would drive up insurance costs and eventually raise doctors’ fees to deal with the upwardly spiraling costs.

Some states block lawyers from mentioning a damage cap, thus freeing the jury to award whatever they deem fair and enacting the cap after the fact. In some cases, judges have capped the payout themselves to reduce a payout to something they considered reasonable.

Caps for Different Damages

Even in situations where the law requires payout caps, the type of damage awarded determines which cap applies. Several categories of damages exist, including economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages Caps

Any concrete, measurable expenses for medical care, rehabilitation, or loss of wages falls into the economic category, with defined limits already in place. Non-economic damages cover any damages not already included in the economic category. This includes pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and mental anguish.

These damages do not follow definable expenses or future expenses based on already known data or charts. A jury must employ a subjective approach to determine non-economic damage payouts.

Most states have passed caps on these types of damages. However, states exempt cases that deal with wrongful death or grievous injuries (e.g., loss of limb, organ, etc.) from the damage caps entirely or have a higher cap in place.

Punitive Damages Caps

These damages, sometimes called exemplary damages, serve to punish willful acts of wrongdoing. These damages should deter the wrongdoer and others in a similar position from these acts in the future.

Federal guidelines set in place in 2005 place limits to prevent extremely high punitive damages payouts; however, these limits still allow large awards in certain situations. States took this a step further, placing strict limitations on punitive payouts in personal injury claims, some eliminating them altogether. A variety of caps now exist, some with multiplying factors to set caps in place.

Other Rules

States established further tort reforms. For example, a plaintiff once could receive all damages from a single defendant when multiple defendants shared the blame. Now, the obligation to pay applies to all defendants.

Another rule added by the states, collateral source, prevents defendants from mentioning any compensation a plaintiff may have already received, like payouts from the plaintiff’s own insurance. This prevented juries from potentially reducing a payout by taking into account payments already received. This rule applies to all medical malpractice lawsuits and in many personal injury claims. Some state courts later declared this rule unconstitutional.

Several resources exist to help you find out what damage caps exist in your state, as well as what exemptions or special rules apply for specific situations.

Posted by admin at 6:11 pm

Texas Bus Accident Lawyers | Bus Accident Attorney

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Texas Bus Accident Lawyers

Every year in Texas, thousands of people are killed or seriously injured in Texas bus accidents. Tragically, many of these accidents are the result of negligent, reckless Charter bus and Tour bus drivers and their employers. Whether you are a passenger on a Charter bus, Tour bus or in a motor vehicle or pedestrian, you entrust the bus driver and bus company with your loved ones’ safety and well being. An accident caused by a bus company is among the last thing you would expect. Yet, when a bus accident happens, the consequences can be significant, both emotionally and financially. Our legal system has in place a mechanism to ensure that the costs of bus crashes are borne by those at fault. Experienced Texas bus accident lawyers can help you determine if you have a valid claim for your injuries, and, if so, how to maximize the recovery from all negligent parties.

Bus Accident Statistics

Buses are often thought of as a safe alternative to flying for large groups traveling across the country, in the state of Texas, or even just across town.  But the number of deadly Texas bus accidents in the news are proof that travel by bus is not always guaranteed to be safe. In each of the years from 1990 to 2001, there were between 50,000 and 63,000 bus crashes in the United States. Between 1991 and 2004  somewhere between 15,000 and 21,000. In 2015, 4,311 buses were involved in fatal crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 2000 and 2007, 1,093 fatal bus accidents have occurred, resulting in 1,315 fatalities and 3,471 injuries. This translates to about 137 bus-crash related fatalities a year. The number of people injured because of careless bus drivers and bus companies is much higher.

Cases of Tour Bus and Charter Bus Accidents

 There are many reasons why a bus may get into an accident. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Negligence on the part of the bus driver
  • Negligence on the part of the driver of another vehicle
  • Speeding
  • Alcohol or drug Use
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Mechanical problems
  • Improper maintenance
  • Distracted driving such as cell phone use
  • Inadequate training
  • Inadequate supervision

 Common Tour Bus and Charter Bus Accident Injuries

 Some of the most common injuries individuals sustain when involved in a bus accident include:

  • Whiplash and spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures
  • Sprains to the muscles
  • Brain injuries
  • Trauma to the head
  • Paralysis
  • Crushing injuries
  • Damage to nerves
  • Internal injuries
  • Cuts, bruises and burns

 What Damages Can I Recover After a Charter or Tour Bus Accident?

One of the most common questions asked of a Chart bus or Tour Bus accident attorney after a bus accident is in regard to what damages can be recovered. If you or a family member has been injured in a Charter Bus or Tour bus accident, you may have a claim against the driver of the bus, bus company and other third parties for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Impairment of earning capacity
  • Life care expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (the services of an injured spouse)
  • Punitive Damages
  • Wrongful death Damages

Who May Be Responsible for Your Injuries?

Because of the many ways a bus crash can happen, the question of who is responsible for injuries and other damages depends upon the circumstances of the accident. Early in the case it is important for your lawyer to identify certain parties, such as the owner of the bus, the company that operates it, and the company responsible for making repairs and maintaining the bus in a safe mechanical condition. Finding an attorney who will locate all potential responsible parties is crucial. Some of those your lawyer may identify as parties responsible for your injuries include:

The Bus Company – A bus accident may occur because the bus company sends a defective bus out on the road with faulty brakes, a shaky steering column or overused tires. The company’s actions in hiring unqualified drivers, maintenance people and other personnel, or in negligently training or supervising them may also contribute to the cause of an accident. In addition, the company may be found at fault for a bus crash and passenger injuries caused by its failure to make or enforce adequate safety procedures.

Bus Maintenance Companies – If the bus company contracts an independent company to maintain the vehicles in a safe mechanical condition, that company may be sued independently for negligent maintenance that causes a crash or accident.

Affiliated Cruise Lines and Tour Operators – Owners and drivers of these buses can be held liable for driver negligence in an accident. When a bus trip is part of a package offered by a tour service, the service itself may be liable for damages to passengers when a crash occurs in an affiliated tour bus.

Bus Driver – Accidents are often caused by the driver’s negligent operation of the bus. Drivers may violate traffic controls, fall asleep at the wheel or have their attention diverted by non-driving-related distractions. Bus drivers involved in a crash can be held personally responsible for the injuries sustained by the passengers. As a practical matter, however, the companies employing the bus driver, and their insurance companies, will typically be held financially responsible for bus crashes and resulting injuries.

Drivers of Other Vehicles and their employers – Owners and drivers of other cars, trucks and other vehicles may be held responsible for injuries caused by negligent or reckless driving. A driver’s employer may also be held liable for an accident if the driver was operating the bus while performing work duties.

Manufacturers of the Bus and/or its Parts – A bus manufacturer that sends a defective vehicle from the factory to the marketplace subjects passengers to unreasonable danger and potential harm. As a result, the bus manufacturer can be held responsible for damages when a crash occurs. Likewise, the manufacturers and retailers of defective bus parts that may have caused the bus accident could be liable for the injuries to the passengers.

What Qualifies as a Bus for Purposes of a Bus Accident?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards define a bus as any motorized vehicle capable of carrying more than 10 passengers. The category includes school buses, large vans used for public transport, church buses, municipal transit buses, many airport shuttles, tour buses, trolleys, and interstate carriers, such as Greyhound buses. Most of these are considered “common carriers” under the law, and are therefore subject to state and federal licensing requirements and other regulations, but it is state law that will determine if bus companies and others are liable for compensating a passenger for injuries sustained in a crash. There are many Charter and Tour bus companies operating in Texas and just some of the few that have been involved in collisions include:

  • Greyhound Bus Company
  • Dallas Charter Bus Company
  • Gogo Charter Bus
  • Charter Bus Company
  • Echo Transportation
  • Cowtown Charters
  • Tornado Bus Company
  • First Class Tours
  • Dallas City Tour
  • Star Shuttle & Charter
  • OK Tours
  • San Antonio Charter Bus Company
  • Roadrunner Charters
  • Coach USA
  • Concord Coach Lines
  • First Transit
  • Megabus
  • Thruway Motorcoash
  • Trailways Transportation System
  • Capital Metro
  • Loan Star Coaches
  • Prompt Bus Charters & Tours
  • Central Texas Party Bus
  • El Expreso Bus Company
  • Clark Travel
  • Kerrville Bus Company
  • Continental Bus Lines & Charters
  • Houston Charter Bus Company

Selecting Texas Bus Accident Lawyers

It is important that the lawyer you hire is experienced and capable of navigating the state and federal laws and regulations governing all types of bus service providers, and that your attorney can determine if violation of those laws caused your accident or made your injuries or other damages worse. It is very important for a lawyer handling these cases to ensure that all potential sources of compensation are pursued, whether fault lies with the bus’s manufacturer, the bus company that hired an unqualified mechanic, or the driver of the tractor-trailer that rear-ended the bus.

It is also important for Texas bus accident lawyers to retain investigators and well-respected experts to investigate the causes of your crash. If it appears that your accident may have been caused by a dangerous road condition, your attorney will need to hire expert civil and traffic engineers to pinpoint those road deficiencies. Competent and reliable lawyers will invest the necessary resources and efforts to ensure that your case is resolved for its maximum value. Such attorneys will hire the necessary investigators and experts, visit the location of the bus crash, take images of the scene, conduct tests where necessary, find and interview witnesses and investigate prior complaints or claims that have been made against the responsible parties.

Aaron A. Herbert has extensive experience handling personal injury claims involving buses and recovering substantial settlements and verdicts for his clients injured in bus accidents. You will incur no attorney fees, court cost, or legal expenses unless you recover. Time to file is limited by Texas law, so call today to protect your right to the compensation you deserve. Call 24/7 (214) 200-4878 or toll free to (855) 655-HURT.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 8:43 pm