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San Antonio Personal Injury Law Blog

The distracted driving accident could be a thing of the past

If Google has its way, a Texas distracted driving accident caused by a person texting and driving could be a thing of the past. The introduction of self-driving vehicles into the state could drastically reduce accidents caused by a negligent driver or by a drunk driver.

The reason for optimism is that the vehicles that Google has been testing in other parts of the country are ready for use by the general public. The cars would be made available to the public operate independent of any human control. Because the vehicles operate without any control exerted by occupants, texting and driving or other now-prohibited activities would no longer be factors that could lead to a car collision with serious injury or deaths.

Effect of third-party claims on workers' compensation benefits

If you have been injured on the job in Bexar County, chances are that you will be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Your medical expenses and lost wages will be paid without the necessity of having to file a lawsuit against your employer. For the most part, Texas workers’ compensation laws prohibit you from suing your employer as a quid pro quo for providing the medical treatment necessary to allow you to recover from your workplace injury and return to full-time employment.

You might still be entitled to file a lawsuit arising from your work accident. If someone other than your employer caused or contributed to the accident, you could file a third-party claim against them for damages. 

Simple hit and run accident can involve complex legal issues

When the passenger on a motorcycle falls victim to a hit and run accident, several complex legal issues may come into play. Although leaving the scene of a truck crash or car accident, particularly when someone may have suffered a serious injury, is usually a violation of the law. It may not, however, mean that the fleeing driver will be held liable for paying compensation to the accident victim.

A recent accident in San Antonio left the passenger on a motorcycle with a head injury that could very well have resulted in a serious brain injury. Police are searching for the driver of the car that crashed into the motorcycle before speeding off without stopping.

Houston scaffolding accident injures six workers

The inherently dangerous nature of construction work was made vividly apparent in the news recently, when a large-scale scaffolding collapse took place at a building construction site in Houston where about 200 workers were engaged, injuring six of them. Fortunately none were killed and none of the injured appear to have life-threatening injuries.

The exact cause of the accident is not yet known, although witnesses describe it is happening suddenly. Accounts of the incident describe hearing a sudden noise like a thud or a crash, followed immediately by the swift collapse of most of the scaffolding apparatus. Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration are investigating to determine why the collapse took place, but it is not known when they will release their findings.

State where treatment occurs affects medical malpractice damages

Doctors Without Borders is an organization that provides medical services around the world when an area is without adequate healthcare and no other viable alternative. They may soon be needed across the Texas border based on physicians’ lack of liability protection in another state. A case on appeal before that state’s Supreme Court will determine whether its residents will get medical care in Texas that is not conveniently available to them closer to home.

It isn’t unusual for patients to travel to another state for specialized treatment. The Mayo Clinic is known for its expertise in areas that may not be available to patients locally. St. Jude’s is a children’s hospital that attracts patients from around the world. But when even basic medical care isn’t available locally, it becomes necessary for patients to seek treatment elsewhere, even across state lines. This case could eventually impact any Texas patient that has to seek treatment under another state’s malpractice rules.

New OSHA reporting mandates lead to more inspections

Late last year, OSHA presented new statutes that changed the frequency in which businesses in Texas and the rest of the United States reported accidents. Before these new rules, reports only had to be made if at least three employees needed overnight hospitalization. Now, employers must make these reports even if just one employee falls into the same situation. Moreover, these reports must be made within 24 hours of the original workplace injury.

These new regulations also set up other new rules, while reinforcing others. Just like before, any fatality due to a workplace accident must be reported within eight hours of the original incident. In addition, employers have 24 hours to report any accident that resulted in the loss of an eye or limb. While these new regulations were introduced at the beginning of the year, they are coming into effect in phases in different states.

Accident compensation may be available to brain injury victims

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is a contributing factor in 30 percent of deaths resulting from an injury. Surviving a brain injury can still leave a person with memory impairment, impaired movement and sensory function, and can be the cause of personality disorders such as depression.

Head injury can happen from a fall, from being hit in the head by an object or from bumping your head on a hard surface such as the steering wheel of a car. A person suffering a head trauma in an accident might have a claim for compensation against the person or entity whose negligence caused it.

Contractors and premises liability in Texas: an overview

Often when we consider premises liability in the abstract, we think of the allegorical "slip-and-fall" scenario, in which a store owner can be held liable to a customer who steps on a grape on the floor and slips, suffering injury as a result. But owners of land are not the only ones who can be held liable for premises liability-related damages. In some circumstances contractors can also be found to be liable based on their negligent activity on the premises.

We should note concerning contractors that premises liability and negligent activity are distinct causes of action with regard to persons who are injured on the property of others. To recover against the general contractor for a premises defect, the injured plaintiff needs to prove that the general contractor had the right to control the activity that produced the defect and breached that duty using the elements of a premises liability cause of action.

Can I lose my right to compensation after a car accident?

It might seem harsh to deny a person who suffered a serious injury in a car collision caused by a drunk driver or by a negligent driver, but that is the law in Texas and most other states. Waiting too long to file a lawsuit after a car accident may violate the statute of limitations.

A car accident victim has a right to sue a negligent driver for damages following an auto accident, but the government realizes that the more time that elapses from the date of a car accident until a lawsuit is file can harm a defendant’s ability to defend against it. Witnesses may forget details of what they saw, and evidence can be lost or destroyed. An accident investigation conducted long after the incident might not be as complete as one undertaken immediately after the collision.

Are there exceptions to workers' compensation exclusivity?

Before the development of workers’ compensation laws in Texas, it used to be that if an employee was injured while on the job then he or she would have to consider filing a lawsuit against the employer to recover compensation in connection with that injury. In addition to providing a means of compensation for injured workers that avoids the cost and uncertainty of litigation, workers’ compensation also generally protects employers from the risk of being sued in connection with worker injury claims. This protection takes the form of the “exclusivity” rule, and it is codified in the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.

Still, it may be possible under limited circumstances for an employee to have a legal cause of action in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. The two most common of these potential additional remedies are an exception built into the workers’ compensation statute and third party liability claims.

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