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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

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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

Responsibility & LIability

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

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

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

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

Contact

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

Posted by admin at 9:56 pm

Who is Liable When a Child is Injured in Daycare or with a Babysitter?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In the event that your child suffers an injury under the care of a babysitter or daycare center, the first thing you’ll want to do is confirm that your child is okay. But that concern will quickly turn to anger if you think the childcare provider has been negligent.

We all want the best for our children and should feel confident that they will be taken care of when we leave them in the hands of caretakers whose job it is to watch out for them. Unfortunately, negligent conduct is not unheard of and the consequences can be dire.

Are Daycare Waivers Valid in the Event of an Injury?

Nearly all daycare providers require parents to sign waivers of liability before enrolling a child into care. These releases grant provisions for emergencies when the care provider must get medical attention for an injured child when the daycare center can’t contact the parents fast enough.

Other sections of the release typically include indemnity clauses stating that the parents forfeit their right to sue in the event that a child is hurt while in their care. However, this does not mean parents have signed away their right to compensation if their child is injured.

The courts have said that it’s against public policy to grant immunity to daycare centers before a child is hurt, as this could allow daycare centers to act negligently without consequence. Especially since the victims in question are innocent and defenseless children, the courts cannot condone a waiver that lifts responsibility from the daycare center.

Therefore, although parents sign a clause not to press charges in the event of injury, in a court of law, this clause is completely useless. Daycare centers continue to include it in their waivers to discourage parents from filing claims, but informed parents know that this is just a bluff, and if their child is injured, they have a right to file a lawsuit for compensation.

Understanding the Rules of Child Abuse and Neglect

If your child is hurt while under the supervision of a daycare center, babysitter, or another person who was responsible for their care, you may have a case of negligent supervision. In these cases, any person who has accepted responsibility for your child but acts carelessly or inattentively can be sued for negligence.

To prove a case of negligent supervision, you must have evidence that the person or organization accepted responsibility for looking after your child. Then, you must prove that the caregiver did not properly monitor your child. You will have to prove that your child’s injury was foreseeable and preventable, and that the supervisor’s failure to monitor your child properly was the cause of the injury.

There are extreme cases of child abuse while in the care of a responsible party, including hitting and kicking children. These cases are terrifying and devastating to children and parents, and justice should be pursued actively in a court of law to hold them fully liable for damages.

Seek Help in Your Time of Need

At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert in Dallas, we honestly hope we never have to see you in our offices for a case of child abuse or neglect from a daycare center or babysitter. No parent should ever have to go through the reality of a child being hurt due to negligence. In the awful event that this happens, you need to act swiftly against the responsible party.

Contact a Child Injury Attorney

Contact us today for experienced, aggressive, and dedicated representation that will fight for your rights, your child’s rights, and for full compensation from the defendant. Please reach out to our skilled daycare abuse and neglect attorneys if you see any signs that it may be happening to your child.

Posted by admin at 10:57 pm

What Can I Do if Someone Crashes a Drone into My House Or into Me?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Technology and law have always made a strange pair. This is certainly true for unmanned drones, which have legislators and lawyers perplexed about everything from insurance claims to personal injury disputes. These devices are incredibly innovative and valuable, poised to improve disaster response, construction, real estate, and dozens of other industries. Regulations are slowly catching up, but the technology is not slowing down; the market for unmanned aircraft is expected to explode over the next decade.

Current Laws Governing Drone Use

Drones have sparked plenty of debate about personal injury law, property damage, privacy concerns, and many other legal areas. In fact, these gadgets have been a major concern for the FAA since their inception. The organization is predicting over 30,000 of these devices will be in use within five years, and specialists are setting aside billions of dollars to ensure their safe operation in tightly regulated commercial air space. Pending laws will govern:

  • Increased drone use
  • National and global operations
  • Airspace control
  • Safety and environmental concerns

The FAA and federal government must also take steps to regulate:

  • How individuals can protect their land from drones
  • Stalking and harassment issues
  • Piracy infringements

These problems may seem straightforward, but putting laws into place on this scale requires extensive state, federal (including multiple departments), and international cooperation. Some laws have already been drafted, including the Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act. This bill set up restrictions on private drone use, specifically outlining privacy standards and data collection regulations, how individuals can protect their rights, and the actions law enforcers can take to control drones.

Personal Injury and Property Damage Caused by Drones

Personal injury and property damage are two of the most pressing concerns lawmakers currently face. Insurers and legislators must consider where these aircraft operate (such as whether or not they fly over populated areas), their altitude, and their purpose. If a drone crashes into an individual, it would be covered under liability insurance, which also addresses privacy issues and property damage. Again, coverage varies based on several factors. For those working with or around drones, for example, workers’ compensation will need to be extended to cover drones’ use.

Pursing compensation would thus be similar to other liability claims; the company’s insurance would contact a plaintiff with a settlement price (if any). An individual can choose to accept that amount, which may cover the extent of his or her damages. If this is suitable, the matter can be settled out of court. However, for issues involving extensive damage, ongoing medical bills, or matters like wrongful death, working with an attorney may be the only way to receive the full amount a person is owed following damage caused by a wayward drone.

These laws will continue to evolve and so will the insurance policies written for drones. For example, if wrongful death claims increase as the industry grows, insurers will have to change the rates they charge for liability and other coverage options.

Reach Out to an Experienced Texas Attorney for More Information

The only way to protect your rights in such a dynamic time is to contact an attorney who has followed these laws and will continue to do so as they develop. Though this is a new area, many of the requirements for personal injury suits and property damage settlements are familiar to experienced legal teams.

The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. has extensive experience recovering the damages our clients are owed following a personal injury. We stay up-to-date on all relevant laws to safeguard their best interests; this includes personal injury and property damage caused by a crashing drone. Reach out for more information about these developing regulations, and schedule a consultation if your privacy or property has been threatened by one of these devices.

Posted by admin at 10:57 pm

I Was Injured by an Exploding e-Cigarette, What Do I Do Now?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

When a product or service is used as advertised, the last thing a person expects is a devastating injury. Unfortunately, this does happen, and it’s why product liability laws exist. Product and parts manufacturers and the people who sell a good or service must meet high standards, keeping them accountable to suitably warn customers of potential dangers, advise them on how to safely use a product, and provide the safest services possible. When these standards are breached, any of these parties may be sued through a personal injury claim.

Three e-Cigarettes Explode in California

In California, three recent e-cigarette explosions severely injured vapers. One of the more recent cases, affecting plaintiff Vincente Garza, caused extensive bodily damage, including significant burns. Surgeons amputated Garza’s left index finger and performed multiple surgeries. Another victim, Daniel Califf, had a hole blown through his cheek while using an electronic cigarette. His room also caught fire when the device exploded.

Following these events, personal injury suits were filed against the e-cigarette designer and the product manufacturer. The stores where Garza bought the battery, device, and charger are also being prosecuted. There is plenty of precedence regarding lawsuits like these. For example, in September of 2015, a jury awarded $1.9 million for damages when an e-cigarette exploded in a woman’s car. Incidents like these have necessitated skin grafts, extensive property damage, and other life-long consequences.

Failing to Create a Safe Product and Warn of Defects

Consumers expect devices to work properly, and they must be adequately manufactured, designed, and tested. The industry is closely regulated to ensure a product is safe before it enters the marketplace. In the case of exploding e-cigarettes, plaintiffs are claiming that the electronic devices and their components (including batteries and chargers) are unsafe. These products also purportedly lack an inadequate warning explaining the dangers of lithium batteries and the importance of proper voltage when charging.

Lithium batteries use flammable liquid electrolytes, which can explode if overheated. This particular product liability largely hinges on the absence of a warning explaining the issue. Furthermore, retailers are responsible for recommending and selling chargers designed for the product a customer uses.

Pursuing a Product Liability Lawsuit in Texas

There are clear problems with safety regulations in this budding industry. There are fewer safeguards to protect consumers, and as this technology develops, its dangers must be continually investigated. As claims are filed against negligent parties, manufacturers must diligently work to provide the safest products possible.

Though e-cigs are a newer innovation, there are hundreds of laws in place to protect consumers from these types of accidents. When products like these cause unpredicted damage, you may pursue a claim to cover costs associated with property damage, medical bills, or a wrongful death. Like any customers, vapers are responsible for using their devices safely. There are, however, some serious risks related to these products and their batteries and chargers. When these items don’t perform as advised, anyone along the production line, as well as the retailers selling them, may be held liable.

If you have been injured by an electronic cigarette, seek medical help as soon as possible. You will need to carefully document the incident, including how you used the product when it malfunctioned, the extent of damage caused, and the medical treatment you will need to fully recover. Obviously, this a lot to account for, which is why working with an experienced personal injury attorney is so important.

Contact

Product liability cases are complex, as there are potentially dozens of parties to investigate, but that’s no reason to suffer without due compensation. Reach out to the legal team at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for more information. We will explore every possible avenue for compensation and hold all parties who may have contributed to the accident accountable.

Posted by admin at 10:40 pm

Are Homeowners Ever Liable for Natural Disaster Injuries?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Natural disasters don’t wait until everyone is safe in a home or public building to strike. You could be watching the game over at friend’s house or need to take shelter during a service call. If you suffer an injury at someone else’s home, you may wonder how you will pay for medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation, and time off work.

Homeowner’s Insurance and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters, including tornadoes, lightning strikes, severe storms, floods and earthquakes, are considered “Acts of God.” No one can foresee or prevent the damage caused by these events. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance are the first two places many individuals look after a natural disaster, but these two forms of insurance may only offer limited coverage after a natural disaster.

All insurance policies are negotiated using a “standard risk measurement.” Natural disasters often fall outside of those categories, and some homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover any injuries or damage associated with the disaster. Every insurance policy varies slightly. Homeowner’s should look closely to see what types of damage and injuries are covered after a natural disaster.

Many insurers do not cover flood damage, and others may limit the amount of compensation a policyholder or injured individual can collect. Both residents and guests who suffer during an incident may find some financial relief from these types of insurances, but it may not fully cover the associated costs.

When a Homeowner or Third Party Is Liable for a Visitor’s Injuries

Proving homeowner or third party liability after a natural disaster is difficult but not impossible. Property owners are required to reasonably address foreseeable hazards in and around the home. When they fail to do so or to warn visitors of the hazard, they are liable for any resulting injuries. For instance, if a friend comes over for dinner and a heavy wind gust in a storm knocks a tree over, hurting the individual, the homeowner may be liable. If the tree was dead or a hazard prior to the weather event, injury liability lies squarely with the property owner.

An injured individual may also hold a product manufacturer or a construction/installation company liable for an injury in some cases. For example, if a wooden beam falls in a barn during a tornado and a subsequent investigation shows the beam was not reinforced according to building code, the construction crew may shoulder the responsibility for any resulting injuries.

How Your Attorney Can Help

If you suffer an injury after a tornado, flood, mudslide, or other natural disaster on someone else’s property, you may have access to compensation through a homeowner’s insurance policy. In addition to helping you investigate the proximal cause of your injury, your attorney will:

  • Negotiate with medical insurance providers – After a serious injury, your health insurer may try to deny or reduce your coverage. Your attorney can represent you in front of your health insurer.
  • Represent you in front of homeowner’s insurance providers – A homeowner does not have much control over how their insurance provider handles their claim after a natural disaster. Your attorney can help you negotiate your claim with the insurer if the policy included coverage for injuries resulting from an Act of God.
  • Represent you during a lawsuit – In conjunction with negotiation with insurance providers, your attorney will likely pursue an alternative case to prove negligence on the part of a homeowner or a third party.

After a natural disaster, an injury attorney will help you secure compensation through every possible route. You shouldn’t have to suffer with the consequences of an injury that was out of your control. The team at the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC can help you determine the right course of action to secure the treatment and compensation you deserve. Contact our office in Dallas today for a free case evaluation.

Posted by admin at 7:58 pm

What Happens When Someone Negligently Injures or Kills Your Pet

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

For many Americans, pets are more than animals. They are loved companions who become part of the family, and losing one is often just as difficult as losing a human loved one. If your pet has been injured or killed due to someone’s negligence, here’s what you need to know.

Laws Vary by State and County

Pet legislation is complex because there are no widely accepted rules or regulations regarding pet injury or death. States each have their own laws and precedents, and some counties have their own ordinances. Most laws specifically discuss dog bites and animal cruelty, but few outline clear remedies available to pet owners who suffer a loss.

Generally, a pet owner can obtain financial compensation in a few different ways:

  • Animal cruelty – If someone was cruel to your pet, you can file a criminal charge against the individual. As part of the sentencing, the court may require the defendant to financially compensate the pet owner.
  • Civil actions – You can file a civil claim for personal injury if someone’s negligence caused your pet’s injury or death. Individuals may sue for medical expenses and pain and suffering.
  • Small claims actions – Small claims courts allow anyone to file an inexpensive lawsuit in negligence cases. If an attorney does not believe that a civil action would produce adequate financial compensation, he or she may recommend filing a small claims lawsuit.

A pet owner can file criminal charges and a civil action against an individual concurrently.

Potential for Recovery After a Pet Injury or Death

Even though you see your pet as a family member, the courts may not see the relationship in the same way. Pet owners almost never secure as much compensation as the courts award in human injury cases. However, some cases may go above and beyond normal circumstances. Only a personal injury attorney who is familiar with pet laws in your jurisdiction can help you determine what legal action to take.

The court may award a pet owner punitive damages in cases where defendant behavior was excessively negligent. Historically, some courts have also taken pet uniqueness and irreplaceability into account during damages proceedings. In addition to economic damages, these courts may award non-economic damages up to several thousand dollars.

Animal Cruelty Laws in Texas

In Texas, state criminal and civil laws exist to protect domesticated animals and previously captured wild animals. Domesticated pets fall into this category, but the law may not protect a stray animal, even if you took regular care of the animal. Under criminal statutes, you must prove that someone intentionally harmed the animal. Animal cruelty includes acts of torture, unreasonable confinement, purposefully killing or poisoning, neglect, and knowingly injuring an animal that belongs to someone else.

Under state civil laws, pet owners may find a better opportunity for legal recourse. The laws protect all living creatures, wild and domestic. Cruelty under civil law includes acts of torture, overworking, food/water/shelter/care deprivation, confinement, and forced animal fighting.

Proving a Claim

Each court must interpret these laws in light of the facts of the case to make a just ruling. To prove a criminal charge or civil claim, the prosecution/plaintiff must provide evidence of intention and/or negligence. In civil claims, a pet owner must also demonstrate the level of harm a pet injury or death causes.

To develop a fair case for damages, a pet owner and his or her attorney may need to determine the market value of the animal as well as the value of the pet as a companion. A pet’s personality, training, breed, health, and veterinary costs may all play a role in the total amount of compensation a pet owner requests.

For more information about pet injury laws in Dallas, contact the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by admin at 11:51 pm

Boating Under the Influence and the Law

Friday, January 22, 2016

When people head out on the water on a hot summer day, many enjoy packing a cooler of their favorite alcoholic beverages or stopping at a restaurant on the water for a few cocktails. However, controlling a boat while under the influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Texas. Here is what you need to know before the warm weather hits.

Boating vs. Driving Under the Influence

Many of the same rules that apply to DUIs apply to boating incidents. In recent years, sheriff’s departments and other law enforcement officers have really been cracking down on boaters who operate their watercraft while drinking. If they stop you and you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08, you will go to jail. Unlike a vehicle stop, law enforcement does not need probable cause to stop a boat on the water. A law enforcement officer may also apprehend you or follow you back to shore if he or she believes your faculties have been impaired.

Who Makes Arrests on the Water?

Any law enforcement agency present on the water is authorized to make arrests for boating under the influence. Many boaters wrongly believe that only a sheriff’s department can make the arrest, but if a game warden from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department suspects a driver is boating under the influence, he or she can make that call. Every holiday weekend during the summer, the department makes several BUI arrests.

Can I Drink and Operate Any Watercraft?

Under the law, you should watch your alcohol consumption on any motorized watercraft. If you do choose to drink on the water, an activity that is inherently dangerous, make sure that you have a designated driver who meets all the requirements of operating a boat. A law enforcement officer can take action if he or she believes someone under the influence has or will be in control of the watercraft.

Crafts without motors and under a certain size are excluded from BUI laws, but you could face a public intoxication charge in certain circumstances. You will not face BUI charges for operating a rowboat, floating in an inner tube, or paddling a kayak or canoe.

Who Can Operate a Watercraft on Lakes and Rivers in Texas?

Children who are at least 13 and have passed an approved boater education course can operate a vessel alone. However, if law enforcement has reason to believe that the child is not certified or was not in control of the boat, they may still question and/or arrest an adult for BUI.

Should I Avoid Drinking Altogether?

Most boating experts recommend avoiding drinking on the water in general. Drinking in the sun increases the risk of dehydration and the chances of water related accidents. However, you should definitely avoid drinking if you plan to operate the boat. Do not give law enforcement any reason to believe you were, or might, operate the boat after drinking.

On the water, most stops are for routine safety checks involving life vests and other required boating items. As long as you are polite and do not show signs of potential intoxication, they will likely thank you and move on.

What if I See Someone Boating Under the Influence?

If you see someone behaving erratically on the water, give the craft a wide berth, and note the boat’s registration numbers. Contact law enforcement, and let them handle it. Boating accidents are often tragic, and those caused by careless behaviors such as drinking are entirely preventable.

Reach out to The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for questions involving BUI accidents.

Posted by admin at 11:52 pm

College Campus Accident Claims: Are They Different?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lawsuits for accidents that occur at colleges can be very different from those at other establishments, depending on the circumstances. There are many considerations that determine how a lawsuit stemming from a campus accident will proceed; however, you do still have legal options if and when you pursue a claim.

Holding Public Schools Liable

State run schools, including colleges, universities, and technical institutions, sometimes fall under the category of sovereign immunity as other government agencies do. In Texas, you can only sue a state school if the state decides you’re allowed to do so. This extends to all forms of lawsuits, including personal injury claims. Depending on the situation, you may win the legislature’s approval and proceed with a lawsuit against the school. The state has the right to disallow petty lawsuits but may grant them in serious personal injury cases.

Holding Private Schools Liable

Private schools may or may not be under the protection of the state when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. A private school that falls under the category of “charitable institution” may be protected under the same sovereign immunity rule as public schools.

If the injury occurred during the normal course of work and in a reasonable manner, you may not be able to present a lawsuit against the private institution. Some for profit establishments, however, may not fall under this category and can be sued as any other business entity would be. In business injury cases, you may hold each organization responsible for unreasonable situations that lead to harm under the concept of premise liability.

Other Parties You May Sue

Depending on the case, you can hold other individuals liable after an accident on campus. Going to a college or other post-graduate institution doesn’t protect other students or visitors from legal action. In addition to people not associated with the institution, you may have the opportunity to look into 3rd parties, such as contracted foodservice companies, vehicle manufacturers, and others that may not fall under the umbrella of sovereign immunity.

You may also hold more than one party accountable in a lawsuit. For instance, if you were injured by a drunk driver on campus, you may be able to hold both the school and the driver responsible for resulting injuries. The facility has a responsibility to provide reasonable protection for individuals on it.

You Need an Experienced Attorney to Bring a Lawsuit Against a College in Texas

If you decide to take legal action against a college in Texas or any other state or private institution, you’ll need the assistance of an attorney who understands Texas sovereign immunity laws. These cases are often more difficult than general personal injury claims and require an added level of expertise to determine who you can file against and the best strategy to do so.

Schools may tell individuals injured on campuses they have no liability over the injury. Depending on the case, this may or may not be true, and we can help you make that determination. Even if the school doesn’t have liability, you may still have the option to file a lawsuit against another party involved in the accident.

The medical bills and pain and suffering caused by an on-campus accident can add up quickly, and it may affect your ability to continue studying. Those who don’t have medical insurance may find the situation particularly difficult to handle. However, you’ll always have a legal outlet. Our team can help you obtain fair compensation so you can move on after a campus accident.

Contact

For more information, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today.

Posted by admin at 11:57 pm