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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

School bus accident investigation shows grim number of fatalities

We are probably all aware of the law that requires a vehicle to stop behind or while passing a school bus to stop when the safety arm is down. Those who fail to observe this safety measure can be fined or even have his or her driver's license suspended. While those penalties may get the attention of a driver, more serious, even deadly, consequences can occur.

In Texas, over 1.4 million school-age children are transported in about 35,000 public school buses every day across the state.

OSHA blames construction worker injuries on "confined spaces"

The term “confined spaces” can mean different things in different situations. Someone who works in a “cubicle farm” in an office may consider that to be a “confined space”. Someone who is claustrophobic may certainly have a different definition of “confined space”. But OSHA has recently adopted a new rule designed to make confined spaces on construction sites safer for workers. According to OSHA statistics, close to 780 construction worker injuries and five deaths occur in confined spaces each year.

The new standard will go into effect in early August of 2105, and will affect workers throughout the country, including those in Texas. Workers who are concerned about the safety of confined spaces on worksites, or feel that they have already been affected by them, may want to contact an attorney who handles workers’ compensation cases to determine whether the existing or new standards justify a claim against an employer.

Placing liability in a medical malpractice suit

When you suffer an injury or worsened medical condition due to surgical error or other mistakes from doctors, a medical malpractice lawsuit could help you claim damages. Yet, once you try to point the finger at any one individual, it may feel like you’re pointing at empty air. Knowing who is liable in medical malpractice suits is the first step to claiming compensation.

In most cases, the hospital is held liable in some form or another. If the doctor who treated you did not receive proper training or licensing, the hospital as a business may be liable. In addition, not having enough nurses on staff could lead to malpractice. If a doctor on staff ignores the orders of a private physician, or fails to question a dangerous treatment prescribed by the private physician, they may be liable in a lawsuit.

How does joint and several liability work in Texas?

Let us assume that you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, and that the other driver was at fault. During the investigation of the accident you learn that the driver was working on company business at the time of the collision, and that the company that owned the truck had contracted the maintenance of the truck's brakes to another firm that had failed to perform those services competently. So, in addition to the driver's carelessness the brakes were also not working properly when he lost control of the vehicle.

As you can see, in a personal injury lawsuit based on such an event you can be looking at multiple defendants: the driver, the company he or she worked for, and the brake service contractor. Under Texas law, if you prevail in your lawsuit, how is the money damages award to be allocated among these parties?

Medical malpractice: what you don't know can hurt you

It has been said that the beginning of wisdom can be summarized in three words: "I don't know." The need to learn about the existence of and the nature of a thing or an event is what leads to knowledge, and that knowledge can form the basis for meaningful action. When it comes to medical malpractice, most people who are not already personal injury attorneys not only do not know what to look for, they do not know what they do not know. You can suffer an injury as the result of a medical mistake and not even be aware of it – at least at first.

Medical malpractice – and to some extent its cousin, hospital negligence – can take so many different forms that it becomes a possibility from the moment you set foot in the doctor’s office or arrive at the hospital, throughout your stay at a healthcare facility, and even after you pick up your prescription and go home. Your injury or illness may be misdiagnosed by a poorly trained or inexperienced doctor; that misdiagnosis or delay in proper diagnosis can lead to delayed treatment, which in turn can result in a worse and medical condition; your surgeon can leave a sponge inside of you, or even operate in the wrong place; your pharmacist may switch medications on you.

Worker compensation claim cost rising slower than rest of country

With the rising cost of health insurance, it’s no secret that workers’ compensation costs are on the rise, too. Yet, a recent study showed that the cost in Texas is rising slower than most other states. This is good news for both employers and workers.

From 2008 to 2013, the cost of workers' compensation claims in the state only rose by 2.5 percent. This put Texas in the bottom 17 states. The only anomaly was Medical payments, which rose by four percent in the same time frame. This was a little higher than the rest of the nation.

Last Chance to Sign Up For Masters In Trial

Don't miss out! Last chance to register to watch Dan Sciano and fellow Masters in Trial present a mock trial demonstration from opening statements through jury deliberation. Learn from some of the best trial lawyers in Texas, observe mock juror deliberations, and network with fellow attorneys and judges, while earning CLE credit! This course is approved for 7.25 CLE Credits, including 0.75 ethics hours, by the State Bar of Texas. Register now for tomorrow's live seminar in San Antonio at www.abota.org.

Top OSHA violations of 2014

Every year, OSHA releases their top violations for the previous fiscal year. This year was similar to most years in the results: Fall protection topped the list. This data comes from OSHA representatives who visit multiple job sites throughout the year, as well as from accident reports.

As mentioned above, the top violation was fall protection. This means not having the proper physical systems, like harnesses, in place, as well as a spotter, to prevent a fall. Second was hazard communication, generally pertaining to signs warning workers that harmful chemicals are in use. The third-highest violation was scaffolding safety, generally pertaining to unsafe procedures both on and around scaffolding.

Texas texting and driving ban law dies in Senate

The majority of U.S. states and territories ban texting while driving. Texas is not one of them. And when the legislative session ended recently, the bill that would have banned this kind of reckless behavior lay dead on the Senate floor after being passed by the House of Representatives.

Texting while driving laws are nothing new for Texas. In 2011, one made its way onto then-Governor Rick Perry’s desk, but he vetoed it. This year’s was one vote shy of returning to the governor’s desk, but was voted down. Opposition to the bill cited “personal liberty” as their defense.  

A vicious dog could make you a negligent property owner

Your dog may be your devoted four-legged companion and protector, but it might also be one of the many hazard conditions on your property that may cause injury to unsuspecting visitors. The cute, cuddly puppy you brought home from the shelter that now, three years later, barks, growls and lunges at anyone approaching your front door, could put you at risk of becoming a negligent property owner.

Texas courts impose liability for dog bite injuries when the owner of the animal has knowledge of its vicious propensities. This has come to be known as the one-bite rule, but it does not depend on a dog having actually bitten someone previously. A dog owner is on notice of the risk their dog poses to other people as long as the dog has attempted to bite or shown signs of wanting to cause injury.

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  • Richard Tinsman & Daniel J.T. Sciano. Board Certified | Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • American Association for Justice | formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) | Member 2013
  • AV | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards in Legal Ability
  • Daniel J.T. Sciano, 2003-2012 and Stephen Lazor, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Super Lawyers