Motorcycle Helmet Use in Texas and Comparative Negligence

Posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 at 12:12 pm    

Texas, like some other states, now has a more permissive law on motorcycle helmet use than it once had. Texas repealed compulsory helmet use back in 1977 which was only 2 years after a federal law imposed the restriction on states in order to incentivize the funding of highway construction.

The present law in Texas still makes helmet use by motorcyclists theoretically compulsory, but there are exemptions for anyone 21 and over who has health insurance or has completed mandatory motorcycle training. As this training is essential to get a motorcycle license in Texas it means that anyone over 21 who has a motorcycle license can choose to not wear a helmet.

The fact that wearing a helmet saves lives and in particular it helps to reduce the severity of traumatic brain injury doesn’t necessarily stop riders from not wearing a helmet. So, what happens if a motorcyclist is hit by another motor vehicle and is thrown from the machine and injured?

Wearing a helmet is unlikely to prevent accidents from happening. Not all accidents end up with the motorcycle rider hitting the ground on their head. Some motorcyclists are injured through their own negligence. However, it would be hard to argue that motorcycle riding is inherently safe. It is not. In fact, riding a motorcycle, however exhilarating it might be, is reportedly 27 times as dangerous as driving or being driven in a car or other 4 wheel vehicle. Not wearing a helmet does definitely put the rider at risk of serious brain injury if he or she is thrown to the ground head first.

Riding a motorcycle, with or without a helmet, is inherently dangerous

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records, there were 443 fatal accidents involving motorcycles in 2015 in Texas, and 231 of these fatalities were riders who were not wearing helmets. Motorcycle riders, when hit by another road user, tend to be thrown over the handlebars and land on their head, even if the blow is a glancing one. The impact can mean serious head injuries and TBI. This could lead to long term disability and the need for substantial financial support. Theoretically, the rider may have the right to sue the driver of the vehicle that hit him or her if the fault lay with the other vehicle. However, despite the fact that wearing a helmet is not compulsory for those who are 21 and over in Texas, the fact that the injured rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of a crash could significantly affect the chance of obtaining compensation.

Motorcycle helmet use and comparative negligence

Texas has a modified comparative negligence rule which could prevent or limit the right to obtain compensation through a personal injury claim after an accident between a motorcycle rider and another road user. The rule allows an injured accident victim claim compensation if the degree of fault is less than 50%. The amount of compensation after that is decided on a proportional basis. For example, if a motorcycle rider is 60% at fault, he or she will not receive any compensation at all under Texas comparative negligence rules. However, if the rider was judged to be only 20% at fault, then he or she may receive 80% of the amount claimed.

If you have any questions about your motorcycle accident, especially if you think you may be unfairly be dealt with by an insurer, talk to a motorcycle accident attorney at our San Antonio Lawyer’s office here in San Antonio. The contact number is 833-210-4878.

 

What to do if you’ve been bitten by your neighbor’s dog

Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 2:36 am    

We all love our pet dogs. They bring us joy and happiness. But sometimes they also cause us grief when they inadvertently attack a neighbor or a passerby. It can also be frightening when you’re at the receiving end of a dog bite. We have all dealt with the neighbor with the aggressive dog and it’s scary when you have been attacked by a neighbor’s dog. For pet owners or pet attack victims, either circumstance leaves a lengthy medical bill – the question is, who pays for it?

If you’ve been bitten by a dog

The first thing you should do when you’ve been bitten by a dog is to evaluate your bite and assess whether you need immediate medical attention.

The next step you should take is to note down the contact information of the dog’s owner. If you’ve been bitten by your neighbor’s dog, you will no doubt have their address and complete name for further contact. If you’ve been bitten in a public place and you’re unsure of who the dog’s owner is, it important to gather as much information as you can about the dog’s owner. At a minimum, this includes the owner’s first and last name.

Your best option is to ask the dog owner to exchange contact information and to ask the owner whether you can take a picture of the owner’s driver’s license. If the dog owner is being uncooperative, you may need to seek the assistance of the police.

Texas Law on Dog Bites

In Texas, the law on animal and dog bites is complex. Rather than a dog owner being 100% at fault for their dog’s behavior, there are a few things you will have to prove if you’ve been bitten by a dog:

  • You have to prove that the dog owner knew or should have know that their dog is aggressive (ie: the owner knows that their dog is aggressive and prone to biting others)
  • You have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in preventing their dog from attacking you

Proving negligence means that establish that the dog owner should have been watching their dog or that their dog should have been on a leash prior to the attack. It’s possible to be bitten by a dog on a leash, but establishing your case is more simplified when the dog wasn’t on a leash when you were bitten.

This rule is known as the “one-bite rule”. The one-bite rule requires you to prove that “but for” the dog owner’s actions or inactions, would you have been bitten by their dog?

The good news with the one-bite rule is that most aggressive dogs have a pattern of aggressive behavior, and its probably not the first time that that particular dog has attacked someone.

While this article addresses dog bites, these rules typically apply to other pet animal attacks.

If you’ve been attacked by someone’s pet, it’s important to contact a San Antonio Personal injury lawyer right away. Dog bites and animal attacks have a statute of limitations. This means that you will want to file your case before your time is up. If you file your case too late, you could be out of money you deserve. Call us at 833-210-4878 today to discuss your legal options.

Ford Recalls F-150s Over Seat Belt Pretensioner Problems

Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 1:36 am    

Owners of F-150 trucks manufactured between 2015 and 2018 were last month recalled as a result of a seat belt pretensioner fault. The fault could potentially cause a fire in combustible material inside the vehicle if not dealt with.

One might wonder just how a seat belt could set an F-150 alight. Ford trucks are a common sight on Texan roads, as they are elsewhere across the U.S. and Canada. It is the Regular and SuperCrew cab models that have been recalled, which number around 2 million in the U.S. with a third of a million more in Canada and around 34,000 in Mexico.

This is not the first time that a supposed safety feature has caused a problem. Vehicle owners have already witnessed several recalls of air bags over the last few years, so what’s wrong with these seat belts?

The defect in the pretensioner

Apparently, it’s a malfunction in some of the pretensioners fitted. A pretensioner, for anyone who isn’t aware of its existence, is a small component fitted under the seat belt clip which contains a small explosive device. If pressure is suddenly put on it as might happen during a crash, the explosive device lets off a charge which causes the belt to tighten on the wearer. Similar, but not identical small explosive devices are part of the airbag system, causing the airbag to expand when there is a crash situation. The explosives are thought to increase the response time when there is a crash. In the case of the airbag it ensures that the airbag inflates in the split second that is available before the passenger or driver flies forwards. The same applies to the seat belt, except that the tightening of the clip holds the wearer more firmly in one place.

The malfunctioning components have been observed letting off smoke when they shouldn’t be. Only around 20 have been definitely observed to be faulty, but this is enough for Ford to make the call to recall all trucks fitted with this type of pretensioner. The main fear that Ford has is not so much the smoke let off from the pretensioners, but the fact that there have been some sparks seen emitted as well. The recalled vehicles are being refitted with better insulation in the back cab panels and the B-pillar and carpet just in case some of the sparks set off a fire in the cab. This could cause serious burning injuries as well as a severe headache in terms of personal injury claims for Ford itself.

Ford and the NHTSA have asked F-150 owners not to meddle with the pretensioners or the insulation themselves, even if returning their vehicle seems a hassle. The modifications are done free.

Takata involved again

2015 to 2017 Ford trucks of the type recalled had pretensioners fitted manufactured by Takata, a company involved in the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history. By the time all vehicles with defective Takata made Alpha air bags have been recalled, over 70 million will have been involved. To jog the memory of those who weren’t involved in the Takata recall, but heard about it, the defective air bags exploded on inflation causing nasty burns to anyone sitting behind them.

Luckily, this time around, no-one has yet been injured by pretensioner faults as far as the NHTSA is aware. Ford truck pretensioners are now no longer made by Takata. The 2018 model truck parts are now made by a German company, ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

If you have any questions about a vehicle recall, especially if you think you have noticed a defective part, talk to a defective part attorney at our San Antonio Lawyer’s office here in San Antonio. The contact number is 833-210-4878.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence in San Antonio

Posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 5:24 am    

As of 2016, over 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes. Nearly 93,000 of them reside in one of Texas’ over 1,200 facilities[1]. It’s a sad fact that of those 1,235 facilities, fully 25% have been officially cited for neglect or abuse, some of them right here in the San Antonio area[2].

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect is, put simply, when a nursing home fails to perform their expected duty of care and causes harm by not meeting the patient’s needs. Examples include failure to keep the patient clean, failure to meet medical or nutritional needs, or even failure to provide adequate social contact. Nursing home neglect does not need to be intentional. Neglect can result from situations in which overworked staff are assigned more patients than they can care for, or when poorly trained staff are expected to perform duties outside of their capabilities.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect?

If you’re concerned that a loved one in a San Antonio area nursing home was the victim of neglect, keep an eye out for the following warning signs:

– Unexplained bruises or abrasions. These can be a sign of rough or too hasty handling.

– Pressure or bed sores, which may be an indication that your loved one was left to sit or lay in one position for too long.

– Weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration may be indications that your loved one has not had their dietary and hydration needs met.

– Loss of mobility or physical capability. This can be a sign that your loved one isn’t receiving the exercise that he or she needs to stay healthy.

– Poor hygiene. If it’s apparent that your loved one is not having their basic hygiene needs such as dental or personal cleanliness met, that is an excellent sign that they are not receiving adequate care.

– Change in personality, withdrawing from social contact, depression. If your loved one undergoes a marked change in their personality, that may be an indication of social neglect.

What To Do If You Suspect Neglect

If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect in the San Antonio area, you can take the following steps to improve the chances of a positive outcome:

1. Stay calm. The thought of someone harming a loved one is enough to make most anyone emotional, but it’s important to stay calm in order to better advocate for your loved one.

2. Take notes. Document everything.

3. Advocate. Stay calm, but don’t be afraid to discuss the issues you’re having with staff in order to extract the level of care that your loved one deserves.

4. Get help. Sometimes the situation requires more than you can give on your own, and you need a helping hand. For anyone living in or around the San Antonio area, Dr. Louis Patino is here to help get you the compensation that you and your loved one deserve. Visit https://injury-lawyer-sanantonio.com/practice-areas/ today, and see if Dr. Louis Patino can give you the help that you need.

How an Inspection of an ECM Can Influence a Texas Truck Accident Claim

Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 at 3:20 pm    

Everyone has heard of an airplane’s ‘black box,’ even if what it actually does remains somewhat mysterious to all who are not directly concerned with an airplane accident investigation. Black boxes are very strongly built and often survive horrendous accidents. They are even recovered from the seabed if a plane explodes in the air or for some reason sinks beneath the sea.

Airplane ‘black boxes’ are not actually black (they are orange!). They record vital information about plane speed, direction, fuel flow, altitude and cockpit conversations. They are normally stored in the tail of the plane where they are thought to be less likely to be damaged.

Truck Electronic Control Modules

A similar sort of device is now installed on most trucks, especially those that were manufactured after the mid 1990s. They are called Electronic Control Modules (ECMs). Access to data on them can prove crucial when you are fighting a truck driver’s or truck company’s insurance provider after a truck accident.

Truck ECMs store information for 30 days of truck operation. It is vital that you get hold of a truck ECM’s data as soon as possible after a truck accident in which you were injured. Truck companies are notorious for destroying any evidence that might implicate their drivers after an accident. This may include wiping data off the truck’s ECM if it is thought that it might reveal incriminating evidence about the driver’s negligent behavior that could have led to the truck crash.

This is the sort of data that is recorded on a truck ECM:

  • airbag usage
  • average RPMs within the engine
  • average speed
  • highest speed
  • time spent idling
  • total drive time
  • total drive time over 65 miles per hour
  • use of seat belts.

Truck accidents are typically the fault of the truck driver. Occasionally, a truck accident may be caused by a defective part or poor maintenance, but this is rare. Most accidents are caused by driver error, such as speeding, fatigue due to overlong hours behind the wheel, distracted driving, loss of control of the vehicle and intoxication or use of controlled drugs.

Not every accident cause can be determined by examination of a truck’s ECM data, but it can still be a useful source of evidence. The best advice is to contact a truck accident attorney in San Antonio as soon as your recovery allows you to do so. Recovery of the truck’s ECM must be done as soon as possible before data is wiped clean from it. It is the legal right for the truck owner to do this, but if a sub-poena is issued by your attorney for ECM data disclosure, the truck company must provide it. This also applies to any other information that might provide useful evidence of negligence in a truck crash.

Other evidence you may need for a personal injury claim

Truck accidents are usually serious. Anyone injured as a result of a truck crash will probably face expensive medical bills and may find they have to spend many days, weeks or months off work because of the injuries. A personal injury claim is possible if it can be proven that the truck driver was at fault or the truck driver’s employer was at fault through poor maintenance, defective parts or overloading.

The ECM, if it can be accessed before data is destroyed, can provide useful evidence but you may also need additional evidence. This might include photographs taken at the scene of the crash, witness statements from anyone who saw what happened, especially how the accident was caused and the police report. Your attorney can help obtain evidence by using a crash investigation expert to examine the crash data available including the data stored on the ECM.

If you have been the victim of a truck accident, you should contact a truck accident lawyer in San Antonio. You can make an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your legal options by phoning the office at 833-210-4878 today.

 

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Workplace Injury in San Antonio

Posted on Monday, August 20th, 2018 at 3:03 pm    

In San Antonio, worker’s compensation isn’t mandatory unless the employee is a public employee or meets other requirements of the law. Therefore, employers can decide whether they want to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees or occupational accident insurance for contractors. Workers’ compensation protects both employers who sustain injuries or illnesses on the job and the employer. It basically provides replacement of their wages and health benefits to employees. In contrast, occupational accident insurance, provides the same to independent contractors. Typically, employees who qualify for worker’s compensation or contractors who qualify for occupational accident insurance, have to meet certain requirements to receive payments if they’re not able to their full capacity. In return, the employer is spared a personal injury lawsuit and their financial liability is limited.

If you’re currently employed with a company that has workers’ compensation insurance or occupational accident insurance, it is paramount that you understand how each works. Millions of individuals sustain workplace injuries every day and it’s important that you are aware of your benefits, if they exist. If you are, in fact, injured at work, there are certain steps you should take so that you can become eligible for workers compensation or occupational accident insurance benefits. They are as follows:

Report Your Injury

The first thing you need to do when you are injured on-the-job is to immediately report it to your supervisor. In San Antonio and the rest of Texas, you have up to 30 days to report your injury so that you can make a claim for workers’ compensation. In the event that your employer refuses to accept your report and tries to deny you from making a claim, you can speak with a San Antonio attorney who is experienced in the area of workers’ compensation.

Find Out if Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation

Texas is a state that doesn’t require employers to get workers’ compensation insurance or occupational accident insurance for contractors. As a result, it’s important that you find out whether your employer has it. If your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation, you may want to consult with a San Antonio attorney about starting a personal injury claim. This is an option if your injury was sustained as a result of negligence or an intentional act on the part of the employer or a coworker.

Locate Witnesses

In many successful workers’ compensation claims, the injured worker finds a witness who can vouch for what happened. If you can find a witness, it can make things easier. If there weren’t any witnesses, you can still take down the names of anyone who helped you. In Texas, the employee has the burden of proof regarding on-the-job accidents and injuries or illnesses sustained at work, so this is especially important.

See a Doctor

The next step is to see a doctor. You can choose to see your own or one recommended by your employer. Keep in mind that, if you opt to see your own doctor, make sure he or she accepts workers’ compensation insurance. The doctor should make a full report of the findings of your exam, detailing everything about your injury.

Return to Work if Possible

If you are able to, you should return to work as soon as you can. If necessary, do what you can and only perform light work duties. This may be necessary while you wait for your workers’ compensation benefits to begin coming your way. Additionally, if your injury isn’t debilitating, you should return to work to avoid a conflict like getting fired.

If your employer doesn’t have workers compensation or occupational accident insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for your injury with a San Antonio attorney while doing light work duties.

It’s important to follow all these steps if you are injured at work in the San Antonio area. Knowing all your rights and having an open communication with your employer is key to a successful workers’ comp claim.

When a Negligent Landlord Can’t Be Sued for Negligence

Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018 at 4:16 pm    

A recent sexual assault case in a rented apartment has highlighted the failure of Texas liability law to clarify who is responsible for a defect in the security system used in a rented property.

The case revolves around two women who shared an apartment in Garland. One of the women apparently noticed that a latch securing one of the external windows was faulty and asked her landlord to fix it. Under the Texas property code it is a landlord’s responsibility to fix window latches, amongst other things that could compromise the security of the property they are renting out.

The landlord in this case claimed that he had organized a maintenance worker to fix the lock. The two women were satisfied with the response, but were attacked a couple of months later by an intruder. They were both sexually assaulted by the intruder, who was later located by police and arrested. The intruder said he had managed to get in through the same window that had its latch supposedly fixed, because the latch wasn’t fixed!

$1 million premises liability lawsuit against the landlord

The two women filed a $1 million lawsuit against the landlord, claiming that he was negligent in his duty to maintain the integrity of the apartment and that this negligence contributed directly to the attack on them by the intruder.

The case was heard in court by a trial jury and it was determined that there was shared fault. The share of fault was determined as: 40% by the landlord, 10% by the tenant who noticed the faulty latch and brought it to the attention of the landlord and 50% by the intruder. There is no indication in the court report why it was decided that one of the victims of the attack was considered partly negligent herself. Maybe it was determined that she had failed to test the latch herself after being told by the maintenance worker that he had fixed it.

Appeals Court rules out liability and overturns the original decision

The landlord then appealed and the Appeals Court threw out the lower court’s judgment, on the basis that under Texas liability law, it must be shown by the plaintiffs that the landlord could have ‘foreseen’ the danger inherent in the failure to fix the latch. The Appeals Court ruled in this case that the landlord could not have foreseen that an intruder could have entered the apartment because of a failure to fix the latch properly.

Most right minded people would probably be surprised that the Appeals Court could have come to such a decision. It is a good example of the law being technically correct, but it is still a law which should be changed. As it stands at present, it appears that it puts an unreasonable burden on tenants to take their own precautions against a landlord’s inability to deal with reasonable requests to fix broken equipment which could lead to the property being broken into.

It could be argued that if there had been another attack or attacks in the immediate neighborhood which involved an intruder managing to take advantage of a poorly secured entrance way that the landlord would then be unable to put up a defense that he could not have foreseen an illegal entry of the type described in the case in the Garland apartment.

Until the law is changed, it does mean that tenants do need to be more careful when they find their doors and windows improperly fixed. Even if their landlord has a statutory right to making sure the faults are remedied, it appears that tenants cannot rely on the courts to defend their right to insist that their landlord makes their rented accommodation secure from intruders.

If you have been the unexpected victim of a defective product, or have been the victim of an assault or burglary that has taken place in a rental property that a landlord has claimed to have fixed, you should contact a premises liability attorney at San Antonio Injury lawyer here in San Antonio. You can make an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your legal options by phoning the office at 833-210-4878 today.

 

 

Is a School Liable for My Child’s Injury?

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2018 at 4:17 pm    

There are many reasons why a child could be hurt or injured while at school. Both schools and those who work in them are expected to do what they can to prevent school children in their care from being hurt or injured. However, injuries do occur and in many cases, staff members or the school authorities may be considered liable and could be sued for damages.

Typical reasons for school children’s injuries

There are many reasons why a child could suffer harm while at school. In some cases, it may be that the injury was inevitable or not the result of negligence on the part of anyone working at the school or the school itself. In many cases, however, it might be proved that the accident or injury could have been prevented, especially if it happened in a classroom while a teacher was present or outside the classroom in a supervised area such as a playground or sports field. Here are some common examples of school injuries:

  • Fighting or bullying. Teachers may be held responsible if a child suffers from another child’s taunts or violence if it takes place in a classroom, a playground or anywhere else where supervision is supposed to be present.
  • Slip trip and fall injuries. These could be due to slippery floor surfaces, uneven or loose carpets, or other surfaces, food and / or drink spillages anywhere in the school or tripping over objects on the floor which should be neatly stored like school bags.
  • Sports injuries. Schools may be held responsible if an avoidable accident and injury took place on the school grounds.
  • School bus injuries. School bus drivers or other staff may be considered liable for damages if an accident took place on or near a school bus which was due to negligence.

Special problems with suing a public school

In the likely event that your child was injured at a public school, i.e. a school administered by a San Antonio school district you should be aware that suing the school is not as straightforward as suing a privately owned and administered entity. Theoretically, the school and its employees are protected from civil claims made against them by ‘sovereign immunity,’ a caveat which provides protection for all federal, state and city government agencies and those who work for them.

In practice, this immunity is waived when negligence can be proven, but suing a school district can be quite difficult. You are strongly advised to discuss your child’s injuries with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer. You will need to file an initial ‘notice of claim with the school district and wait for their decision to pay compensation. The claim must be accompanied by clear documentation that shows how the injury took place and why you think it was due to negligence. You cannot sue an individual employee of a government owned school. In many cases, your claim will be denied, but this allows you to pursue a personal injury claim instead. You will need legal help with such a claim. You will also need to be aware that Texas has stricter time limits when filing a claim against a government owned entity. The statute of limitations for claims against a government agency is 6 months from the date of the injury.

Your San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer, Dr. Louis Patino, can provide helpful legal advice if your child has been injured while at school and can negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the San Antonio office of the Patino Law Firm on 833-210-4878 today.

If you are in Ponte Vedra Beach Florida, consider contacting Ponte Vedra Family Law Attorney for your questions/guidance.

When Are Swimming Accidents Someone Else’s Fault?

Posted on Monday, June 18th, 2018 at 1:22 pm    

San Antonio summers can get really hot. Of course everyone looks forward to the beginning of a new summer, especially if winter seems to have dragged on for far too long, but summer has its own drawbacks. One of these is drowning and near drowning accidents in swimming pools. This is mostly a problem that affects children, especially young children. Children love pools, but they are inherently dangerous if they are unsupervised. What happens if you let your friends’ or relatives’ kids into your own pool and for one reason or another there is a pool accident and someone is drowned or near drowned? Equally, it could be one of your own children who was injured in a swimming pool accident in someone else’s swimming pool. It could be a school pool, a city or municipal pool, a private pool or a friend’s pool.

How dangerous is swimming?

The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps statistics on accidents such as swimming pool accidents. Their figures show that 10 people die every day on average through the year across the U.S. Their figures also show that most of these deaths (and near deaths) happen to children under14.

The organization, Safe Kids Worldwide, reports that fatal swimming pool accidents, other than in swimming pools in places like reservoirs, rivers, ponds and lakes, are actually increasing. They report that 43% of drowning or near drowning cases among younger and teen aged children occur in open water environments while slightly less, 38%, occur in swimming pools. 150 families are affected by these sorts of accidents every week.

If an open water accident happens such as a near drowning or drowning, it may be harder to blame anyone except yourself as a parent, or the child itself, if he or she opted to swim alone in an uncontrolled area. However, in Texas, there are strict rules about swimming pools that are designed to prevent untimely swimming pool injuries and drowning. If these rules are not adhered to and a pool drowning, or near drowning, takes place, then there may be legitimate reasons for taking legal action. Of course, if it is your pool where the accident took place and a child not of your own was involved you may be the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit brought against you.

Texas State rules for swimming pool owners

Every privately owned swimming pool in Texas must be surrounded by a 4 foot barrier. The barrier must have no openings or gaps that are more than 4 inches wide. The pool must have a gate or gates that close automatically after use. They must be capable of being sealed off by a padlock, combination lock, keypad or key card. Where self-closing latches are fitted, they must be on the pool side of the gate and located on the upper quarter of the gate. The whole point of these rules, of course, is to ensure that the swimming pool is not accessed without permission and supervision.

Another state rule concerns swimming pools that are built in such a way that one side of the pool area is actually part of the house. If this is the case, an alarm must be installed on any doors or windows that open out on to the pool that sound if someone enters the pool area.

A small number of pools are built above ground and are accessed by ladders or steps. In these pools, the steps or ladders must be made inaccessible by a secure lock or removed when the pool is not in use.

State rules may be complemented by city or county specific rules concerning swimming pool safety.

Penalties for violating swimming pool rules

States and other authorities may impose daily fines on owners of swimming pools that do not match safety rules. In some case, these fines may amount to $1,000 a day.

In addition to fines, if an accident does happen in someone else’s swimming pool that doesn’t meet the standards described above, then the owner may be subject to a personal injury lawsuit brought by the parents of the children harmed in a pool accident.

If your child has suffered a near drowning incident and you strongly believe that the injury happened because of someone’s negligence or the accident happened because of negligence on the part of a government authority or a private organization, contact a San Antonio personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. You can make an appointment today by ringing the Patino Law Firm office in San Antonio on 833-210-4878.

 

Proving Liability in a Texas Distracted Driving Case

Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2018 at 6:42 am    

If you have been hit by another driver and suspect that the driver wasn’t concentrating at the time, how can you prove it? It’s all very well being told that personal injury claims can only succeed if there is sufficient proof that you were not to blame and that it is your responsibility to show that the other driver was negligent, but how do you do it? The good news is that while it is not always possible to prove that the driver who hit you was a distracted driver, in many cases it may be possible, but you will need the help of an experienced and dedicated car accident attorney.

Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for car accidents in Texas

Statistics held by the Texas Department of Transport (TxDOT) for 2017 show that there were a total of 537,475 traffic crashes. Of this total number it has been estimated that 19%, nearly 110,000, involved some kind of distracted driving. Of these distracted driving accidents, there were 2,889 people with serious injuries and 444 fatalities.

Distracted driving in Texas is defined as driving when the driver fails to concentrate sufficiently on their driving because of something that is taking up their attention. Many distracted driving crashes happen because the driver is using a cell phone, making or taking a call or texting, but there are other distractions while driving, too. Here are some examples:

  • eating or drinking;
  • talking to a passenger;
  • dealing with an annoying flying insect;
  • adjusting or programming a GPS system;
  • grooming;
  • reading a magazine, book or newspaper;
  • staring out of the side window.

Because of persistent accounts of cell phone use by drivers, the Texas state government finally passed a law last year (2017) banning the use of cell phones for texting while driving. However, law enforcement has not resulted in many citations, despite research which has revealed that more than 80% of Texan drivers actually admit to have used their cell phone for calls or text messages while driving at some time.

Checking a driver’s cell phone records may be possible

If you have been hit by another driver and believe that the driver was texting or making a call just before you were hit and that this caused your injuries, you may be able to make a personal injury claim against the driver. Proving that the driver was using a cell phone may not seem easy. If police can’t catch drivers doing it, how could you? The answer is that your attorney may make a legitimate request for the other driver’s cell phone records to the insurance adjuster dealing with the claim during discovery. If the driver refuses to give permission, or the insurer is unwilling to co-operate, then the attorney has the option of filing a subpoena. Subpoenas are legal requests for information. Generally, if the case seems to rest on phone records then the sub-poena request will be granted. The records may then determine once and for all whether the driver was actually using the cell phone at the time of the crash or just before it.

Heads Up, Texas!

The Texas DOT is well aware of the human misery caused by distracted driving and has been campaigning to convince Texan drivers to change their ingrained habits. A recent campaign launched this year is called HeadsUp, Texas! The slogan is based on the fact that drivers who have their heads down while driving are probably texting (or asleep!). In fact, police are on the look-out for drivers with their heads down, but have had little success so far in dealing with the problem. The Texas DOT is also telling Texans to use their common sense when dealing with a call on their phone or an urgent need to send a message. The main advice is to turn off the phone while driving or pull over somewhere safe to deal with it.

If you have been hit by a distracted driver in or around San Antonio and are considering filing a personal injury claim, contact a San Antonio Personal Injury attorney at 833-210-4878.