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Texas Dashboard Camera Laws

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Dashboard cameras have grown in popularity among drivers now that this technology has become more affordable. Dash cams can record what goes on inside or outside the cab of a car, including auto accidents. They can be useful as a source of evidence during a car accident insurance claim or civil lawsuit. Many drivers do not understand, however, the legalities of dashboard cameras. Learn the laws in Texas before you install your device.

dashboard camera in car

Are Dash Cams Legal in Texas?

Texas law does not specifically mention dashboard cameras. It does not make them legal or illegal but remains neutral. You can lawfully use a dashboard camera in the State of Texas. It is legal in Texas to use dash cams to record the road as well as the inside of the cab of a vehicle. You must make sure the placement of your cameras and the equipment used, however, meet Texas’ related laws.

  • Windshield obstruction law. Texas Transportation Code 547.613 bars drivers from operating motor vehicles with any objects or materials attached to the windshield, side window or rear window that reduces or obstructs the driver’s clear view. Doing so is a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Airbag obstruction law. Texas traffic laws also prohibit attaching objects to the dashboard in a way that will obstruct airbags. Your dash cam should not be in a place where the airbag deploys. This could lead to a traffic ticket. It could also cause serious injuries in an auto accident.
  • Audio recording restrictions. Many dash cams can record audio from inside the cab. Texas Penal Code 16.02 makes it illegal to record private conversations unless you are part of them. In general, your passengers must know you are recording them. To be safe, mute your dashboard camera to make sure you are not picking up any audio illegally.
  • Distracted driving laws. Your dashboard camera should not distract you enough to lead to traffic infractions, such as failing to yield the right-of-way or following too closely. You should not review dash cam footage while driving. If you have a screen in your vehicle showing footage from the dash cam, it cannot be in your line of sight as a driver.
  • Your right to record the police. You can lawfully use a dash cam to record police activity as long as you are not obstructing justice. A police officer cannot force you to show him or her your dash cam footage. Someone could use your footage as evidence in a case, however, if you receive a subpoena to submit it to the courts.

Position your dashboard camera in a way that does not reduce or obstruct your view of the road. Most people recommend attaching it in the bottom left or bottom right corner of the dashboard, or directly behind the rearview mirror. It is generally best not to attach it to the windshield itself. Try to find the smallest dash cam you can to make sure you are not obstructing your vision. Do not watch dash cam footage behind the wheel, and make sure you obtain permission before audio recording anyone.

What States Prohibit Dash Cameras?

If you drive out of Texas and into other states with a dashboard camera attached to your vehicle, make sure you understand the laws in each state. Most states have similar laws to Texas. Some prohibit windshield-mounted cameras but allow dashboard-mounted ones. In general, you will obey the law by positioning your dash cam in a way that does not obstruct your vision. Only Missouri and North Carolina do not have any restrictions on windshield obstructions. Most states also have similar laws against audio recording without permission. If you follow these two essential laws and do not let your dashboard camera distract you, you should generally be within the law in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:49 pm

Are Landlords Responsible for a Tenant’s Safety?

Sunday, February 9, 2020

When you sign a lease to rent a space, you become responsible for certain things, such as replacing the batteries in a fire alarm. Your landlord, however, will retain legal responsibility for other things. Your leasing agreement can describe which aspects of the home or apartment are your responsibility and which are your landlord’s. If an accident on your property injures you, the landlord may be liable for your damages.

Landlords’ Responsibilities Under Texas Law

Renting to a tenant does not remove 100% of a property owner’s responsibilities over the property. The owner will still have legal ties to the premises, as well as specific duties of care over the safety of tenants. These duties generally include overseeing the reasonable safety, livability, maintenance, and repair of the premises. If a landlord breaches any of his or her duties and a tenant suffers an injury as a result, the landlord could be legally responsible for damages. A landlord in Texas has a few specific responsibilities by law.

  • Habitable housing. In Texas, the law requires a landlord to keep rental properties livable. The implied warranty of habitability entitles tenants to safe and livable homes. A landlord is responsible for the essentials, such as a sturdy structure, safe floors, a roof that keeps out the elements and hot water.
  • Safety from toxic substances. A landlord must ensure the safety of a premises in terms of exposing tenants to toxic substances such as lead, asbestos and mold. Property owners must take reasonable steps to inspect a premises for toxic or hazardous substances and remedy any discovered risks.
  • Adequate security. It is also a landlord’s legal responsibility to keep a property reasonably safe from criminals. This may include tasks such as hiring a security guard, installing a gate, screening tenants and replacing locks.
  • Safe common areas. A landlord remains responsible over any shared or common areas on the property, such as hallways, common rooms, living areas, laundry rooms and grounds. Any property defects in common areas could lead to the landlord’s liability for accidents.
  • Safe hired help. If your landlord arranges a third party to conduct maintenance, inspections or repairs at a rented property, your landlord could be vicariously liable for any injuries or damages the paid worker or volunteer causes. These cases involve negligent undertaking laws.

A landlord must meet at least the minimum standards of care in maintaining a rental property. If a landlord breaches any of his or her duties of care and a tenant sustains an injury because of it, the landlord could be liable. As an injured tenant, you may be able to hold your landlord financially responsible for your damages in certain circumstances.

Do You Have a Case Against a Landlord?

In general, you will be able to hold your landlord financially responsible for your losses if he or she owed you a duty of care, negligently or intentionally breached this duty, caused your accident, and if you have damages as a result. These are the four main elements of a negligence claim against a landlord or property owner in Texas. You could be eligible for compensation if you have proof of all four elements. An attorney can help you understand your landlord’s specific responsibilities over your safety and that of your home or apartment, as well as whether your landlord violated these duties.

If your personal injury lawyer in Dallas can present a strong claim to damages to an insurance company, judge or jury on your behalf, you may receive financial compensation for your losses. Your landlord may have to pay you a compensatory award for your related medical bills, property damage, lost wages, legal fees and other damages. Find out whether you can hold your landlord accountable as the responsible party after a premises-related accident on a rented property in Texas by contacting an attorney. A lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation.

Posted by admin at 4:45 pm

What If a Rideshare Vehicle Hit My Car?

Monday, January 20, 2020

Negotiating a car accident claim can be difficult enough without a complicating factor such as a rideshare vehicle’s involvement. Rideshare has not been around long enough for most drivers to understand what to do after an accident with one. If an on-duty rideshare driver strikes your car, your case will look different than a typical insurance claim. Learn what to do to successfully recover from a rideshare accident in Dallas.

Determine Fault

Like other collisions in Texas, you will need to determine fault before you can file a lawsuit after a rideshare accident. The at-fault party will be the one that must pay for your damages, according to Texas’ fault-based insurance system. You may need to review police or investigative reports before assigning fault for your car accident. If you caused the crash, you will file a first-party claim with your own insurance company and that will be the end of your case. If the rideshare driver or company was at fault, proceed with a third-party claim.

what if an uber or lyft crashed into my car?

File an Insurance Claim

File an insurance claim with the correct party. If the rideshare driver was guilty of some act of negligence or recklessness that caused the crash, such as speeding or distracted driving, and was logged into the app at the time of the crash, you will file your claim with the rideshare company. Rideshare companies do not accept vicarious liability for their drivers (they use independent contractors to avoid liability), but they do offer insurance coverage for third parties in some situations.

  • Logged in, no passengers. Uber and Lyft offer insurance coverage for victims’ damages if the rideshare driver was on the clock (logged into the app), even if the driver did not have passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Coverage will go up to $50,000 per injury and $25,000 for property damage.
  • Logged in, with passengers. Both rideshare companies offer up to $1 million in third-party insurance coverage if the driver had a passenger at the time of the accident. However, Uber and Lyft’s insurance coverages will only apply once the rideshare driver has exhausted his or her personal insurance.
  • Off the clock. If the rideshare driver was driving for personal reasons, not to pick up passengers, and was not signed into the app, you would proceed with your claim the way you would with any other driver. Call the driver’s personal auto insurance provider and demand compensation for your losses.

It may also be possible to file an insurance claim directly against Uber or Lyft if the rideshare company somehow contributed to your accident or injuries. If, for example, an investigation finds the driver caused the crash while looking at the rideshare app, you may be able to bring a case against the company for making its drivers use an app while driving. A lawyer can help you understand how to bring an insurance claim after a collision with a rideshare driver.

Hire a Rideshare Accident Attorney

Navigating a rideshare accident claim in Texas can be difficult. The rideshare company may try to refute liability for its actions or those of its negligent driver. The at-fault driver may not have insurance, or not enough to cover your damages. The insurance company responsible for settling your claim may offer far less than you believe your damages are worth. The best way to protect your interests in the aftermath of a rideshare vehicle accident is to hire an attorney.

A Dallas rideshare accident attorney will know how to go up against powerful companies such as Uber or Lyft in pursuit of fair compensation for the full extent of your damages. Your lawyer can take over conversations with insurance companies on your behalf while you undergo medical treatments. Trusting your case to a lawyer can give you peace of mind during the complex claims process.

Posted by admin at 6:48 pm

Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Witnessing a car accident can leave you with a lot of complicated questions. You could be wondering if you could have done more to help the victims or ensure you followed the proper procedures. Consult this quick guide provided by our Dallas personal injury attorneys witness for some dos and don’ts for the scene.

• DON’T feel like you must stop. The law does not require you to stop at the scene of an accident. However, most people feel it is the right thing to do.

• DO make sure you are in a safe place after you witness an accident. If you are a pedestrian, you must stay in pedestrian areas like sidewalks. Even medians and shoulders can be dangerous if traffic continues to pass by. If you are a driver, pull your vehicle to the side of the road, ensure rescue vehicles have room to navigate, and turn on your flashers or distribute hazard markers. Stay a safe distance from the scene unless you are rendering aid to victims.

• DO dial 911. Even if you are unsure of the extent of the injuries of the parties involved, if vehicle damage has taken place, the police will make a report. Give as much detail as you can regarding your location and the nature of the accident.

• DON’T rush into the scene. Sometimes, your assistance will be helpful, but make sure you are not in danger of injury yourself due to broken glass and sharp metal. If you choose to enter the scene and render aid to victims, do so cautiously.

• DON’T offer medical assistance unless necessary. It is best to wait for emergency personnel to arrive on-scene. It often takes only a matter of minutes for EMTs to arrive, and most first aid situations can wait.

• DO offer other forms of assistance. Perhaps victims could use a kind word, a cell phone to call relatives or insurance companies, or a paper and pen to exchange information. Offer what you feel you would need if in the shoes of the victims.

• DON’T fear liability. In the event that the help has not arrived and someone is in urgent need of first aid you know you can handle, Texas has Good Samaritan laws in place. As long as you are rendering emergency aid in good faith, you are not likely to be liable for civil damages.

• DO exercise caution. Accident scenes are often tense situations. Property has occurred, and tempers and emotions can run high. While the presence of a witness may help keep emotions in check, be careful when inserting yourself into the situation. Keep your own safety in mind, primarily.

• DON’T allow a driver to leave the scene without exchanging information. You do not need to physically restrain a driver – see the above note about keeping yourself safe – but it is good practice to jot down identifying characteristics and license plate numbers. If an at-fault driver attempts to leave the scene, you can remind them of the consequences of doing so and record their vehicle and license plate description.

• DO cooperate with the police. If you have chosen to stop and witnessed the accident itself, provide every detail you can to the police. Stay on the scene until your statement is complete and police have released you to continue traveling.

Overall, many people choose to stop and help when they witness a car accident. Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure you are doing what you can for the victims and police while keeping yourself safe from harm. You are not necessarily a medical professional, a mechanic, or a police officer, but Good Samaritans can provide some help and may even save a life. Just remember your own limitations and leave the tough work to the emergency personnel. To learn more speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer.

Posted by admin at 7:59 am

3 Home Fire Safety Prevention Tips for Winter

Friday, December 27, 2019

Wintertime home structure fires are shockingly common in the U.S. They cause thousands of serious injuries and deaths every year. Fire departments respond to an average of 354,400 house fires per year – the cause of about 11,220 injuries and 2,620 deaths annually. The winter months of December through February account for 30% of all home fires. As the temperatures start to drop and you prepare for the holidays, make sure you are not doing anything that could increase your risk of a home structure fire.

What to Do If You’re Injured?

If you suffer an injury in a home fire despite your best efforts to prevent one, act quickly to get yourself to a hospital for professional treatment. Use first aid when necessary to cool and cover burns until you can get help. Run room temperature water (not cold water) on the burned area and cover it loosely in soft fabric to help prevent infections. Let your friends and family members know you survived the house fire. Help get other injured people and household pets to hospitals. Then, get medical care.

Professional health care could help you avoid infection and properly heal your burn injuries. Keep evidence relating to your home fire and burn injuries for an insurance claim later, including medical records and hospital bills. Once you are back on your feet, file a homeowners insurance claim with a full description of your damages and the sum you are demanding to settle the matter. Then, hire a Dallas injury attorney to help you negotiate for a fair property damage and/or burn injury insurance settlement.

Be Careful What You Cook

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home structural fires, causing 49% each year from 2013 to 2017. Cooking incidents cause an average of 173,000 house fires, 5,020 injuries and 550 deaths annually. Always supervise the food you are cooking. Leaving food unattended is a leading cause of kitchen fires. Put a responsible, sober individual in charge of cooking or supervising cooking. Drinking alcohol while cooking can drastically increase the risk of a disaster such as a major kitchen fire.

Replace Old or Damaged Electrical Appliances

Old, outdated and defective electrical appliances could spark a home fire in a matter of seconds. Hire a professional to inspect your furnace, water heater, HVAC system and other major household appliances at least once per year for signs of trouble. A professional can clean and maintain your systems to help prevent fire hazards, such as a buildup of dust or grease. If an appliance has wear and tear or damage that increases its fire risk, replace it with a safer model. Before you use an appliance that you have not used in a while, look for outward signs of damage, such as cracked or frayed electrical cords. Electrical failures and malfunctions are the third-leading cause of home fires in the U.S.

Posted by admin at 4:59 pm

5 Warning Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Alcohol poisoning, also called alcohol overdose, happens when a person consumes too much alcohol in a short time. The liver is unable to process the alcohol fast enough, leading to toxins entering the bloodstream. Alcohol poisoning is a serious health problem that could prove fatal for a victim. Recognizing the earliest warning signs of alcohol poisoning could help you take someone experiencing this problem to the hospital for care before it is too late. If you or a loved one have been the victim of alcohol poisoning speak to a Dallas Dram shop liability lawyer.

High BAC

First, learn how to quickly calculate a person’s estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level based on the number of drinks he or she has in a period of time. You can measure a person’s BAC within 30 to 70 minutes of his or her consumption of alcohol. You can quickly use an online calculator by entering the person’s sex, body weight, number of drinks and time since the first drink. A 200-pound male that consumed eight beers in two hours, for example, would have an estimated BAC of 0.18%.

The average person can suffer alcohol poisoning at a BAC of 0.25%. If someone’s BAC has met or exceeded this percentage, the risk of alcohol poisoning is high. In general, alcohol poisoning can happen after drinking more than one serving of alcohol per hour. This is the rate at which the liver can process alcohol. Ingesting more than this could lead to intoxication or alcohol overdose depending on how much the person drinks.

Unconsciousness

A person who has lost consciousness after drinking too much alcohol may be experiencing an overdose. Passing out is a sign of too much alcohol in the system for the body to process. If someone is having trouble staying conscious or is unable to wake up, act quickly. Do not leave the person alone. Call 911 for help, as someone who has passed out from drinking too much could die.

What Happens When You Drink Too Much Alcohol?

Loss of consciousness is a life-threatening level of alcohol poisoning. Keep the person in an upright sitting position to help prevent him or her from choking on vomit. Alcohol poisoning can dull the gag reflex. If the person is awake but exhibiting signs of mental confusion or is in a stupor, this is also a sign of alcohol overdose. Get the police to the scene right away for emergency assistance.

Trouble Breathing

Too much alcohol in the bloodstream can affect the parts of the brain that control vital functions. This includes breath and heart rate. Changes to a person’s breathing could indicate alcohol poisoning. Depressed, slowed, uneven or stopped breathing may indicate a serious problem. If someone has lost consciousness, put your ear to his or her mouth to listen for breathing. Check the person’s pulse or listen to his or her heartbeat. Slowed heart rate is another warning sign of alcohol poisoning.

Hypothermia

Body temperature is also something the brain cannot control under the influence of alcohol poisoning. If someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, his or her skin may feel cold, damp or clammy due to alcohol-related hypothermia. Low body temperatures and a bluish or pale appearance to the skin are signs of hypothermia. If left untreated, hypothermia can cause cardiac arrest and death.

Seizures

Seizures are another serious symptom of alcohol poisoning. Seizures can occur due to drastically reduced blood sugar levels. If someone is having a seizure, move other people out of the way and clear the area of sharp objects. Do not try to hold a person having a seizure down. Place the victim on his or her side to help with breathing. Use a timer to see how long the seizure lasts. Call 911 immediately to report a seizure and a potential alcohol overdose. Notifying the police about an alcohol poisoning situation can get the person to the hospital in time to survive.

Posted by admin at 4:51 pm

Holidays With the Most Drinking

Monday, December 23, 2019

While it is normal to want to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve with alcohol, make sure you are imbibing safely. These are two of the booziest holidays, according to Alcohol.org. Whether you drink alcohol or not, it can pose a health and safety hazard to you this holiday season. Drunk drivers, alcohol poisoning and physical assault all increase this time of year due to holiday parties and establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. As each holiday rolls around, the car accident attorneys at the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert want to remind the people of Dallas to keep alcohol safety in mind to prevent regrettable accidents.

Holiday Drinking Statistics

According to a survey of over 1,000 Americans, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the holiday with the most drinking of alcoholic beverages. Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, marks a day to indulge before the beginning of the Christian Lent season. Based on the survey, the average person drank 4.5 alcoholic beverages on Mardi Gras. This placed Mardi Gras at the top of the list of Top 10 Booziest Holidays. New Year’s Eve came second – also a day before the start of new resolutions. It would appear Americans imbibe the most to make up for giving something up the following day.

  • Mardi Gras: 4.5
  • New Year’s Eve: 4.4
  • Patrick’s Day: 4.2
  • Fourth of July: 3.8
  • Halloween: 3.5
  • Cinco de Mayo: 3.5
  • Memorial Day: 3.3
  • Labor Day: 3.2
  • Winter holidays: 3.1
  • Thanksgiving: 2.7

Men most associated St. Patrick’s Day with drinking alcohol, while New Year’s Eve was the holiday women most associated with booze. New Year’s Eve came in at the top in terms of holidays for binge drinking for both men (47%) and women (40%). Binge drinking refers to consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks for women. The top alcoholic beverages consumed over the winter holidays are champagne, wine and beer. Binge drinking increases the risks of issues such as alcohol poisoning and drunk driving.

Drunk Driving Increases Over the Holidays

With increased alcohol consumption comes a corresponding spike in drunk driving accidents over the holidays. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a dangerous crime that takes thousands of lives each year. Your odds of getting into a DWI accident increase over the holidays, even if you are 100% sober as a driver. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people lose their lives in DWI accidents the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day alone. A shocking 781 people died in DWI crashes in December of 2016. Drunk driving deaths account for more than 25% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year, with a significant surge over the holidays.

Help prevent drunk driving accidents by never driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle after consuming alcohol. The amount of alcohol in just one drink could be enough to negatively affect your ability to drive. Instead, find a safe ride program in your state or request a sober ride home through an app such as Uber or Lyft. Plan ahead if you think you will be drinking over the holidays. Ride with a sober friend, spend the night at the house party where you will be drinking or arrange a paid ride home such as a taxi. You can also use public transportation to prevent driving drunk. Making a commitment against driving drunk could save lives this holiday season.

Unfortunately, you could still get into a DUI accident even as a responsible driver. On holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s, thousands of intoxicated drivers make the poor choice to get behind the wheel. Avoid driving late at night and on weekends over the holidays to reduce your risk of encountering drunk drivers. Keep your eyes scanning the roadway for signs of a possible drunk driver. If you see someone swerving, cutting people off, speeding, tailgating or otherwise driving dangerously, keep your distance and call 911 to report a potential driver under the influence. Involving the police could prevent a tragic accident before it occurs.

Posted by admin at 4:35 pm

Can a Bar Be Responsible for a DUI Accident?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Drunk driving is a rampant problem in Texas and throughout the U.S. In 2018, driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas caused fatal accidents that killed 940 people. Drunk driving accounted for 26% of the total number of motor vehicle crash deaths in Texas in 2018. Most people know they can hold the drunk driver responsible for a drunk driving accident, but may not know the bar or establishment that furnished the DUI driver with alcohol could also share liability depending on the situation. If you were injured by an intoxicated individual get help from a Dallas dram shop liability attorney.

Dram Shop Liability Laws

Like most states, Texas has a dram shop law in place that holds alcohol providers, such as bars and restaurants, responsible for drunk driving accidents in certain situations. The law states that selling, serving or providing alcoholic beverages could be grounds for a cause of action after an accident if certain circumstances exist. First, it must have been clear at the time of the dram shop offering the alcohol that the person was obviously intoxicated to an extent that he or she posed a danger to him/herself or others. Second, the person’s intoxication from the alcohol furnished must have been the proximate cause of the accident in question.

An adult 21 or older could also be liable for the actions of an intoxicated person if the drunk person was a minor under the age of 18, and if the furnishing adult was not the minor’s spouse, parent or guardian. The adult must have knowingly served, or allowed someone else to serve, the underage individual alcohol that contributed to the individual’s intoxication. Texas’ dram shop law can apply to any provider that served an obviously intoxicated person alcohol before he or she drove a vehicle and got into a DUI accident.

Can a Distributor of Alcohol Be Accountable for Accidents Involving Intoxication?

Yes, a distributor of alcohol can be legally accountable for car accidents and other incidents involving someone’s intoxication. A Dallas DUI accident could come down to the shared liability of both the drunk driver and the dram shop that provided the driver with alcohol if the shop knew or reasonably should have known the individual was already intoxicated, yet served the person alcohol anyway, and if this was the proximate cause of the drunk driving accident. If another bar or restaurant would not have served the person alcohol in the same circumstances, the dram shop could be liable for a resultant drunk driving accident.

Under Texas’ dram shop laws, DUI accidents are not the only incidents for which an alcohol provider may be liable if it sells alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. The bar or distributor could also be liable for alcohol-related incidents such as brawls, assaults, violence and fall accidents. For example, if a distributor gives alcohol to Person A despite Person A’s obvious drunkenness, and Person A starts a fight with Person B, the bar could be liable for Person B’s injuries and hospital bills.

Obvious intoxication refers to a level of drunkenness that a prudent and reasonable alcohol furnisher would notice. This could include common signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling while walking or smelling of alcohol. If an individual did not exhibit signs of intoxication or had an unusually low tolerance, however, the bar or restaurant may not be liable for furnishing the individual with more alcohol, even if that person went on to cause a drunk driving accident.

What Other Establishments Can Be Held Responsible?

Any establishment that furnishes alcohol to an intoxicated person who causes a drunk driving accident could be legally responsible for damages. This can include a bar, restaurant, gas station, grocery store, social host or individual. Any provider that sells or serves alcoholic beverages using an alcohol license or permit could be responsible if the intoxicated person drives and causes a car accident. An establishment can be vicariously responsible for the actions of its employees, as well, including bartenders and waiters. Find out if you have a case against a dram shop in Texas by talking to an attorney.

Posted by admin at 4:48 pm

10 Most Common Burn Injuries at Home

Monday, November 25, 2019

Many people think their homes are places where serious and fatal burn injuries cannot occur. Most homeowners are familiar with their cooking equipment, furnaces, space heaters and other appliances. You might underestimate the dangers of cooking, decorating, purchasing new appliances or engaging in other regular activities at your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), however, 73% of structure fires in 2018 were home fires. Home fires and burn injuries are more common than you think. Practice a few general safety tips to avoid suffering a serious burn at home.

Who Is Held Liable?

If you suffer a bad burn injury at home, someone else may owe you compensation for your related medical bills, property damages, lost wages and other losses. Although you may not have a case if you negligently caused the burn injury yourself, you could have grounds for a claim if another person or entity reasonably could have prevented your burns yet failed to do so. If a defective water heater exploded, for example, the product’s manufacturer could be liable for your burn injuries.

Potentially liable parties for a burn injury that occurs at home include product manufacturers, property owners (if you are renting) and individuals. Any party that reasonably should have prevented your burn injury but failed to do so could be liable for damages. If your burn injury would not have happened but for the action or omission of another party, that party could owe you compensation for causing the incident. Speak to a Dallas burn injury lawyer for help with your case.

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

Your risk of suffering a burn injury at home increases if you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is the number one day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the NFPA, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. It is also a popular day for serious burn injuries and related trips to the emergency room. If you plan on cooking this Thanksgiving holiday, do so with safety in mind.

  • Stay in the kitchen the entire time you are using the stovetop.
  • Check on your turkey frequently.
  • Keep hot items at least three feet away from children.
  • Do not let electric cords dangle within reach of children.
  • Keep knives safely out of reach.
  • Keep your kitchen floor clear of toys, clutter and debris.
  • Keep flammable items away from your oven, stovetop and other heating appliances.
  • Avoid using an oil-based turkey fryer.

Turkey fryers that use oil are one of the top causes of Thanksgiving burn injuries and home cooking fires. The NFPA recommends against using an oil-based turkey fryer, but if you do so, position it in your yard at least 10 feet away from any structures. Do not overfill your fryer with oil. Defrost your turkey entirely before dropping it into the oil. Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

Common Burns You Can Get at Home

The four types of burns you could suffer are thermal, electrical, chemical and radiation. Within these categories are more specific types of burns, such as scalds from hot water or third-degree burns from spilled hot oil, that could injure you at home. Whether it is Thanksgiving or just another day at home, you could end up in the hospital with one of these 10 most common burn injuries.

  1. Fire-related burns
  2. Scalds
  3. Contact burns
  4. Hot liquid burns
  5. Steam burns
  6. Oil burns
  7. Cooking burns
  8. Electrical burns
  9. Chemical burns
  10. Explosion-related burns

Any type of burn could be significantly painful and require emergency medical treatment. If you suffered a first-degree burn (no blistering), you may be able to treat it at home if it is not on your face or another vulnerable area or more than four inches long. For second- and third-degree burns, however, you should see a doctor for professional burn treatment. Without hospitalization, you could be at serious risk of infections and other complications.

 

Posted by admin at 4:19 pm

2 Safest Ways to Travel for the Holidays

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thousands of people travel for the holidays by air, car, bus, boat and train. Sadly, not all these travelers will make it to their holiday destinations alive. The holidays are some of the most common days for fatal accidents. Drunk drivers, heavy traffic, bad weather and human errors are a few of the reasons holiday-related travel accidents occur. Before the holidays arrive this year, learn a few key tips for safer trips.

Safe Driving

You can improve your safety on the road if you pay attention to the driving task, obey traffic laws and follow speed limits. Drive defensively to help protect yourself from other drivers. Assume other drivers will break the rules and put your life at risk. Always keep your eyes on the road and watch what drivers around you are doing. Prepare to stop at a moment’s notice. Put your phone away while driving to your holiday destinations to help prevent distracted driving accidents. Speak to a Dallas distracted driving lawyer if you were involved in an accident.

Drunk driving is a significant source of catastrophic and fatal auto accidents throughout the U.S. The rate of drunk driving spikes around the holidays. In 2016, 781 people died in drunk driving accidents in December alone. Reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads this holiday season by finding a sober way home if you plan on drinking alcohol. Even if you have just one drink, it could impair you enough to affect your driving. Keep an eye out for erratic and potentially intoxicated drivers while you drive. If you think you see a drunk driver, stay a safe distance away and call 911.

As someone traveling to a new place for the holidays, research your destination and route ahead of time to better prepare for the drive. Check the weather and try to avoid driving if the forecast calls for rain, fog, sleet or snow. Leave early in the morning or late at night to avoid the bulk of holiday traffic. Only drive after a full night’s rest. If you are not used to driving overnight or long distances, do not do so. Take plenty of breaks and drive with a friend to help keep you awake. Bring your vehicle to a mechanic for professional maintenance before you embark.

Safe Flying

Statistically, you are less likely to be in a plane crash than an auto accident. If you know you will be traveling out of town for the holidays ahead of time, consider booking a flight instead of driving. You can skip traffic, get to your destination faster and reduce your risk of serious injuries. It is still important, however, to abide by certain safety tips while flying for the most positive experience.

• Pack smart. Obey the Transportation Security Administration’s rules for what to bring on your flight. Do not bring any liquids over three ounces in volume or portable chargers with lithium-ion batteries. Do not bring any weapons, gels or aerosols.

• Avoid the busiest travel days. Flying on a day that is not as busy for air travel can mean lighter traffic on the way to the airport and shorter security lines. The greatest rush around Thanksgiving is the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after.

• Stay sanitary. Planes can be dirty places due to the high volume of travelers. Bring hand sanitizer with you and apply it regularly to avoid germs and illnesses while flying for the holidays.

Leave early to get to the airport to give yourself plenty of time to go through security and get to your terminal. Leaving early can allow you to take your time while driving to the airport and walking through the airport. This could help you avoid car crashes as well as slip and fall accidents. It can also help you avoid missing your flight. No matter how you travel this holiday season, plan ahead and put your safety first. Stay calm and in control and you can tackle any travel challenge this holiday season. If the worst does happen, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance.

Posted by admin at 4:08 pm