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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

Guide to Sharing the Road With Semi Trucks

Monday, September 23, 2019

Semi trucks are critical to the country’s economy. Commercial big rigs transport millions of tons of goods across the country each year. Traveling alongside large trucks, however, can come with certain safety threats to the average driver. The great size and weight disparities between a semi truck and a passenger vehicle mean the latter almost always suffers the greater damages. In 2017, semi trucks were involved in 4,657 fatal accidents in the U.S. As a driver in Dallas, learning how to safely share the road with semi trucks could save your life.

What Are Semi Truck No Zones?

A semi truck’s No Zones describe areas on all four sides of a commercial truck that passenger vehicle drivers should avoid. No Zones are a truck driver’s blind spots. A semi truck’s blind spots are enormous. A general rule to follow is if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you. Do your best not to hover in the No Zones.

  • 20 feet to the front of the truck
  • 30 feet to the rear of the truck
  • One lane to the left of the truck
  • Two lanes to the right of the truck

While it may be impossible to completely stay out of a truck’s No Zones, do not hover in them for longer than is necessary. Instead, maneuver out of the No Zone as quickly as you safely can. Hovering in a blind spot puts your life at risk. Every second you spend in the No Zone could put you at risk of the semi truck merging on top of you.

What Is the Safest Distance? How to Safely Pass a Semi Truck

The safest distance to stay away from a semi truck is at least outside the parameters of its No Zones. Try to keep at least one lane away from a semi truck to the left and two to the right. When passing a big rig, maintain a safe speed. Do not drive overly fast to accelerate past a semi truck. Keep both hands on the wheel and drive in a straight line. The weight and size of the truck can create wind tunnels on its sides that may pull at your smaller car. Try to keep your vehicle’s path straight.

Pass the semi truck as quickly and efficiently as you can without speeding. Always pass on the left-hand side of the truck, not to the right. The left lane on a highway in Texas is the passing lane. Passing from the slow lane can confuse a truck driver and increase your risk of a No Zone accident. Only reenter a lane in front of a semi truck when you have put at least 20 feet between your vehicles. Merging any closer to the truck could lead to a rear-end collision. Semi trucks cannot stop as quickly as smaller vehicles.

What to Do If Involved in a Semi Truck Accident

Every year, thousands of people suffer serious injuries in semi truck accidents. You are not alone as the victim of a collision with a big rig in Dallas. Stay calm if you are involved in a semi truck accident. Get to a safe place to wait for the police to arrive. Call 911 and report any injuries if no one else has already done so. If you can, take photos and collect other information from the scene of the accident. This includes the names of other involved drivers, the name of the trucking company, the truck’s Department of Transportation number and license plate information.

Get medical care for your injuries immediately. Keep copies of your medical records to use on your claim later. Once you are able, contact an attorney to help you file a truck accident claim. Your insurance claim will require details such as the types of losses you suffered and their values. A lawyer can help you fill out claims paperwork and file it with the correct party. If the insurance company denies a fair settlement for your semi truck accident, use a lawyer to take the company to court. A truck accident lawsuit could end in fair compensation for your losses.

Posted by admin at 4:04 pm

Why Pedestrian Accidents Are More Common During Summer

Sunday, July 28, 2019

An accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian is always worse for the pedestrian. A pedestrian could suffer broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage or injury to the spinal cord. Despite increases in safety efforts and awareness campaigns, the rate of pedestrian accidents is growing. Preliminary data from 2018 shows the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990 (6,227 pedestrians killed) nationwide. Pedestrian accidents, injuries and deaths are most common in the summer months.

Warm Weather Means More People

The simplest solution as to why more pedestrians end up in summertime accidents is because more people are out and about. Dallas is a great city for tourists, sightseers and pedestrians. In the balmy summer months, more people enjoy the weather by taking a stroll around town or walking to work. The number of vehicles on the roads also increases, as more people enjoy their days off with kids around the city.

In 2017, 614 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the state of Texas. July was the deadliest month for all traffic accidents in Texas, with 352 deaths. It is no coincidence that more people died in fatal car accidents in July than any other month of the year in Texas. The streets are bustling in July, with thousands of people pouring into the city for their summer vacations. The days are longer as well, with the sun inviting people to stay out longer. An increase in both pedestrians and vehicles translates into an increase in pedestrian accidents.

Drunk and Distracted Drivers

Summer is a time for barbecues, get-togethers, parties and festivals. Unfortunately, this can mean an increase in drunk and reckless drivers in Dallas. The Texas Department of Transportation reported 1,024 traffic deaths involving drunk drivers in 2017. More deaths occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning on Sunday than any other time or day. Drunk drivers may cause late-night fatal accidents when returning home intoxicated from summertime gatherings. These fatal accidents could involve pedestrians.

Distracted driving can also increase during the summer. Summertime drivers may be new to the city and staring at their maps or GPS systems while trying to get around. They may be looking at their phones as they communicate with people they are going to meet, or scrolling through social media while stopped in slow traffic on I-35. Distracted drivers can easily miss pedestrians crossing the street and fail to yield the right-of-way. This could lead to serious pedestrian accidents.

Distracted Walking

Drivers are not the only parties to blame for pedestrian accidents in Dallas. Distracted walking is a real risk for pedestrians. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends putting the phone down when walking or jogging. The NSC says teenagers are at the greatest risk of getting into distracted walking accidents. It notes a shift in risk for pedestrian accidents from 1995 to today. In 1995, children ages five to nine were most at risk. Today, teenagers are more at risk, largely because of cellphone use while walking.

Smartphone use while walking means a pedestrian is looking down instead of up at his or her surroundings. This could lead to a pedestrian stepping off the curb in front of an oncoming vehicle or using a crosswalk when he or she does not have the right-of-way. Failure to pay attention to one’s surroundings could lead to fault for a pedestrian accident, even if the pedestrian suffered the most serious injuries. A distracted pedestrian may be unable to recover financial compensation for his or her injuries after a harmful collision.

Summer means more kids and teens walking around Dallas than at any other time of the year. Combined with the likelihood of using smartphones while walking, this can lead to an increase in pedestrian accidents from June to September. Pedestrians can improve their safety over summer by putting their phones down, paying attention to what is around them and obeying all roadway rules. Drivers can help prevent accidents by avoiding distracted, drunk and negligent driving.

Posted by admin at 7:59 pm

Most Common Preventable Summer Injuries

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer is an exciting time for individuals of all ages. Children and teens receive a well-deserved break from their schooling, while adults get to frequent refreshing outdoor venues on weekends rather than hiding from the cold. Though summer comes with a positive connotation in most contexts, some members of the public take the concept of “summer fun” too far. Commonly due to individual recklessness or ignorance, several types of accidents seem to characterize the summer season.

Car and Bike Accidents

With more people out in public during summer, roadways often become congested. This is especially relevant during parades, carnivals, and other festivities that cause local traffic. These activities that make summer fun and exciting can actually cause major accidents when drivers and bike riders become distracted or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of activity taking place.

Car accidents increase during the summer months, though the most impacted group are teenagers. This is logical because new/young drivers that don’t have school want to travel to cool destinations with friends. Though these individuals have their licenses/permits, they are most susceptible to overwhelming and/or congested traffic conditions. 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is an extremely common occurrence during the summer caused by overheating. Heat stroke comes with symptoms like nausea, confusion, or blacking out (in extreme cases) caused by dehydration and excessive sun exposure. Though it might be fun to venture outdoors during summer break, you must remember that it’s possible to neglect your own body by refusing to prepare.

Always keep a water bottle in close range and take breaks from the sun, especially if you feel unwell. Though many summer enthusiasts think they can handle the heat, testing your body’s limits in this way can cause major health issues.

Drowning

Summer time, for most people, equates to swimming time. This season is when swim parks and public pool facilities open their doors to the masses. Though cooling off during the hot summer season is great, and even a good thing, you must still remember to exercise safety precautions. This is especially true for young children that have not yet acquired adequate experience and brain development to discriminate between a cool pool game and a dangerous situation.

Drowning often occurs when pools become overcrowded. Swimmers and pool toys alike create dangerous overcrowded environments that easily trap young children, teens and adults under the water. Moreover, the noise level in these environments are typically so high that guardians and lifeguards often cannot hear cries for help or discriminate them from shouts of joy. Remember to monitor your children when taking them to the pool this summer to prevent dangerous accidents.

Playground Accidents

After school lets out, swarms of school-aged children frequent playgrounds and parks. Though utilizing summer break to let children exercise and socialize is beneficial to them, they still require adult supervision.

Much like car accidents and instances of drowning, playground accidents increase during the summer because of overcrowding. Children as a group can be cutthroat, as well, depending on their age. In crowded playgrounds scenarios, children can sustain fractured/broken bones, sprains, cuts/scratches, and even concussion if they fall from the structure. When taking your child to the park, make sure to monitor their whereabouts at all times.

Though summer provides the opportunity for all individuals to take part in activities unavailable during other seasons, safety should still be the number one priority. Remain alert and prevent unnecessary accidents during your summer fun this year. Learn more about safety and preventable injury by speaking to an experienced Dallas injury lawyer today!

Posted by admin at 7:19 pm

6 Safety Guidelines Truckers Must Follow

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Trucking accidents cause thousands of fatal injuries every year. In 2017, crashes involving large trucks and buses took 5,005 lives. The size and weight of large commercial trucks makes it common for smaller passenger vehicles to bear the brunt of the damage in collisions. The high level of danger large trucks pose to others led to federal regulations to try to reduce accident risk. Truck drivers must follow certain safety guidelines while at work to do their part to prevent serious accidents.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

It takes more time to bring a commercial truck to a stop than an average passenger vehicle. To take increased stopping time into account, truck drivers should maintain a proper following distance from the vehicle in front of the truck at all times. Truckers should leave at least 20 feet of space between the front of their trucks and the backs of other vehicles. This will leave enough room to come to a complete stop without needing to slam on the brakes. Braking too hard could lock the brakes and cause a crash, or lead to a dangerous cargo shift.

Use Proper Braking Techniques

Truck drivers should reduce their speeds when traveling downhill or around curves. Traveling too fast could make it impossible to brake – and could lead to runaway trucks and serious accidents. Proper braking in a big rig takes carefully controlling speeds and using the right braking technique, depending on the situation. Truckers should follow their training to either pump the air brakes or apply steady pressure based on the circumstances and road conditions. Unsafe braking techniques can lead to accidents such as a jackknifed truck.

Obey Hours of Service Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict hours of service regulations that all truck drivers must obey. Hours of service regulations aim to reduce the number of drowsy truck drivers on the road by limiting how many hours truckers can drive in between rest breaks. No property-carrying trucker may exceed an 11-hour limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Truckers cannot drive beyond a 14-hour limit after coming on duty. Drivers also cannot exceed 60 or 70 hours on duty in seven or eight consecutive days.

Conduct Vehicle Inspections

Fleet safety is ultimately the responsibility of the trucking company, but truck drivers also play a role. FMCSA Section 396.3 states that every driver must inspect the truck and trailer and verify that both are in safe operating condition before driving. If items require repairs, the truck driver must submit repair requests in an inspection report. The motor carrier must then schedule repairs before the trucker can operate the vehicle. Ignoring truck inspections could lead to dangerous part malfunctions and breakdowns in transit.

Avoid Driver Distractions

It is against the law for a truck driver to engage in dangerous habits that cause driver distraction. Truck drivers have a duty to maintain a proper lookout and to pay attention to the road at all times. Long hours on the road alone in a cab can increase the risk of distraction. Commercial drivers legally cannot use handheld mobile devices to make calls or send/read texts. They may only use hands-free devices that are within the driver’s comfortable reach. Violating the federal mobile device law could lead to a serious trucking accident and thousands of dollars in penalties against the truck driver.

Stay Below the Posted Speed Limit

Some highways have specific maximum speed limits just for truck drivers. This is because large trucks need more time to come to complete stops. Speeding can increase the risk of an accident by making it more difficult to remain in control of the truck. Truck drivers must always obey posted speed limits or travel at slower speeds, if necessary, depending on road or weather conditions. Speeding is a common cause of deadly trucking accidents in Texas.

Posted by admin at 4:40 pm

Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Monday, February 25, 2019

Witnessing a car accident can leave you with many 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 to being a car accident 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 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 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.

Posted by admin at 7:59 am

What Is a “Failure to Protect” Claim?

Monday, December 4, 2017

If the police detain someone and place him or her in the car for transport but fail to secure the person’s seatbelt, thus subjecting him or her to injury when a car accident happens on the way to the police station, can that person sue the officers? This point is hotly debated. Here are some of the basics on what constitutes a failure to protect.

Failure to Protect

The most common example is when an adult fails to do something generally considered reasonable to safeguard or rescue a child from abuse or neglect. The adult in question might be a non-abusive parent or guardian who knows the abuser’s identity but does not report them to the police. This state of protection exists for anyone in a legally recognizable position of authority over others. Teachers, first-responders, doctors, police officers, and daycare workers all carry the same obligation to protect.

Civil Liability

Can a person file suit against an officer, claiming failure to protect for injury sustained because of the officer’s inaction? According to the U.S. court system, due process clauses guaranteed in the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments allow a civil lawsuit under two doctrines: special relationship and state-created danger.

Special Relationship

This exists when the state takes control of a person in such a manner that a requirement to protect exists. Examples of this include a prisoner or state-committed mental patient. Any entity taking control of another person must protect that person against reasonable or foreseeable dangers.

Corrections officials face this kind of claim most often, but any police officer working in a jail or holding a person in custody could face charges of negligence or abuse. If an officer is holding a person in cuffs when they are both attacked, the officer must protect the individual because he or she cannot defend themselves. If the officer does not properly buckle the seatbelt of a detained person and that person is injured in an accident, the officer failed to protect the person from harm.

State-Created Danger

This situation occurs when a person receives injuries because an employee of the state, a police officer, for example, acted incorrectly or because the officer failed to act in an obviously dangerous situation. Failure to protect a person does not always violate the due process guaranteed in the Constitution; however, it does violate it when the state creates a dangerous situation or unnecessarily exposes a person to risk he or she would not have faced otherwise.

Put differently, if an officer intervenes, and that intervention exposes another person to danger they would not have otherwise faced, they may face liability. The same liability exists when a person is put in danger by a failure to act.

Examples

In Wood v. Ostrander, Washington state troopers impounded the car of a drunk driver they arrested, forcing the wife to walk home alone in an area noted for high levels of crime. A driver later offered help, only to rape her in a secluded area. The Court of Appeals declared that the police created the situation through their act of detaining the car and through their inaction in not providing the wife safe passage home.

In Kennedy v. Ridgefield, the Kennedy family reported their nine-year-old daughter’s molestation by their neighbor’s 13-year-old son. They also said they feared the boy because of his instability. The police promised protection, but they failed to properly inform the Kennedy’s that they had interviewed the boy. The accused boy broke into the Kennedy’s house that night and shot both parents, killing the father. The Court of Appeals stated that the failure of the police to alert the Kennedys, and provide the promised protection, placed the victims in a dangerous situation that would not have existed otherwise.

Posted by admin at 6:07 pm

I Was Injured in a Golf Cart

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cruising around the golf course on a sunny day can make any adult feel like a kid again. The tiny wheels, door-free sides and quiet motor can make you forget you are still operating or riding in a vehicle that requires responsible handling to avoid risk. Whether you are the driver or passenger of a golf cart, it is important to know the risks associated with golf cart use and who could be liable in the case of a golf cart accident.

How Common Are Golf Cart Injuries?

Since 1990, medical professionals have treated over 150,000 golf cart-related injuries in the United States. Patients ages ranged from two months to 96 years, and soft tissue damage was the most common type of damage at just under 50%. An official study found golf cart-related injuries have been increasing every year, and some accidents have even resulted in death.

The Risks of Golf Carts

Although golf carts seem safe, the perceived safety could be the very thing that leads to reckless operation and ultimately injury. Understanding why golf carts pose a risk can help cart operators take greater care and prevent accidents.

  • Golf carts lack the safety features of cars. There are no seatbelts, airbags, bumpers or doors. The materials manufacturers use to make golf carts are less durable, making a collision with a tree, rock or other cart even more dangerous.
  • There are less rules for safe operation. When driving on the road, there are lanes, stop lights, speed limits and traffic police to enforce all the rules. On golf courses and other large stretches of land, these rules do not apply. The freedom gives many golf cart drivers the incentive to speed, take sharp turns and generally pay less attention to the task at hand.
  • Alcohol is often a factor. Many areas where people use golf carts have alcohol available and do not strictly enforce rules to limit alcohol consumption. This leads drivers to operate golf carts while under the influence, which can inhibit judgment and decision-making abilities.
  • Owners often ignore regular maintenance. Maintenance for golf carts is just as important as other vehicles. They have less advanced construction of engines and starter components. Many golf cart owners do not think to work on the cart unless a problem arises, but waiting for a problem to show up means a problem could unexpectedly affect the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.
  • Rough terrain causes issues. Golf courses have many hills that make golf carts susceptible to rollovers. People typically drive golf carts on unpaved areas, and it is common for operators to move at high speeds.

Injuries From Golf Cart Operation

Though the most common injury from golf cart accidents is soft tissue damage, some more severe damages can include bone breakage and even brain damage. In a few cases, these accidents led to death.

Who Is Liable in a Golf Cart Accident?

Depending on the driver’s behavior at the time of the accident, the liability could fall on several parties. First, the company that manufactured the cart could be at fault if the accident was the result of a design issue. Elements of the property where someone was driving the cart could contribute to an accident, leaving the property owner with liability. If the cart belongs to the club and the club failed to maintain it, the club might be to blame.

Golf carts may seem harmless, but the numbers show otherwise. Always take care when using a golf cart and advise others to do the same. Personal injury lawyers can assist with golf cart-related injuries to determine fault and recover damages.

Posted by admin at 8:49 pm