Articles Posted in Truck Accident

Every year, nearly 72,000 vehicle accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. Further studies have shown that getting less than four hours of sleep increases an individual’s crash rate by 11.5 times. Despite these alarming statistics, many drivers continue to get on the road fatigued enough to impair their driving. However, making an effort to get better sleep and taking action while driving can help lower incidents of drowsy driving.  

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The average adult needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep to function at peak efficiency. Sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on the mind and body. With each lost hour of sleep, reasoning skills, decision-making abilities, and reactions times are compromised. Without adequate rest, the neurons in the brain responsible for sending and receiving messages begin to slow down.

 
As the brain slows down, drivers start to show signs of impaired driving like drifting in and out of the traffic lane, missing turns or exits, and short-term memory loss. With memory loss, the driver forgets the last few miles driven and suddenly finds himself further along in the journey than previously thought. The driving impairment due to drowsy driving is comparable to driving while under the influence of alcohol. In this state, drivers cannot safely respond to changing traffic and road conditions.

In our latest blog entry we discussed the liability of owners for family members who negligently drive their vehicles. Today, we discuss a theory of liability that is often not employed by law firms, but can still be extremely effective. The concept of negligent entrustment revolves around an owner’s responsibility to provide the car to someone who cannot foreseeably use the vehicle to harm others. If the owner knows or should know that the proposed driver cannot drive or does not have the skills to drive, then the owner can be held liable. This liability is especially true of the driver is reckless in how they drive. To make this theory of liability work, it must be proven that the owner had some constructive or actual knowledge of the driver’s inability to drive safely. Specifically, the owner knows or should have known of prior acts of reckless driving behavior. This concept of negligent entrustment is especially applicable in commercial trucking injuries, where the parent company is aware of a history of numerous accidents or positive drug tests that make them aware of the high likelihood of negligence on the part of the driver. Baseluos Law Firm will work to show that client injuries were caused by negligent entrustment to a driver who lacks skill or is incompetent or reckless.

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Negligent entrustment is especially applicable in the case of a rental agency which rents vehicles to an unlicensed or drunk driver. However, if the person renting the vehicle did not exhibit any tell tale signs of recklessness or incompetence or some disability that would impair them, it is more difficult to impute liability to a car rental agency. It should also be noted that if the owner is an employer or has already admitted liability for the driver, then a theory of negligent entrustment is not necessary.

At times, if there is adequate insurance coverage on the driver, then it may not be necessary to involve the driver. However, in many cases, there is no insurance coverage or level of injuries far exceed the level of coverage and therefore the attorney must try to bring in the owner on a negligent entrustment theory. As a matter of trial tactics, a sympathetic negligent driver can also hurt a case for damages, and it is necessary to bring the owner or employer into the case, especially if there is a case for liability.

trucks-on-the-road-1449684In our last blog entry, we touched on commercial vehicle accidents. It is obvious that the roads in greater San Antonio and Texas are becoming clogged with 18 wheelers and commercial vehicles. These vehicles are large rumbling instruments of injury especially if the driver does not follow federal regulations.

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The first step in successfully prosecuting commercial vehicle accidents is to establish an employment relationship as opposed to an independent contractor relationship. Even if the trucker is an independent contractor, liability can still be bestowed on the company that owns the truck. In strictly looking at an employer-employee relationship, we can bestow liability on the employer if it can be shown that employee was acting within the scope of their employment. More often than not, this is not that heavy a burden to overcome.

Filling up an employer’s vehicle with gas or water is considered within the course of employment. We often see employees mix their personal business with their employment duties and in that case, such behavior is still within the realm of employment and the employer can be held liable for the employee’s negligence. Occasionally, Baseluos Law Firm will run into situations where the employee takes a ‘detour’ from official business. If the employee was acting for his own personal affairs, then he may be outside the scope of employment. However, if the employee is still somewhat acting on behalf of his employer or starts back on his normal course, then an argument can be made against the employer. Some courts look at the degree of deviation from normal course of employment, and sometimes an argument can be made that such deviations are minor and foreseeable and should not absolve the employer from negligence.

Many plaintiffs now ask what can be recovered in a Texas wrongful death medical malpractice case . Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (TX CPRC ) Section 74.301, there is a cap of $250,000 on “non-economic” damages.

Non-economic damages compensate an injured plaintiff for physical pain and suffering, mental or emotional pain, loss of consortium (the services of a spouse), disfigurement, physical impairment, and other types of non-monetary losses.

Exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, are those damages which are often assessed against defendants for reckless or malicious behavior. Juries award these types of damages for the defendants’ behavior. Exemplary damages are not included in the cap for non-economic damages.

There are certain non-economic damage elements that a San Antonio Texas personal injury lawyer can obtain for you in varied cases including wrongful death, medical malpractice, and Texas trucking accidents.

For seriously injured Texas citizens, they may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering in San Antonio Texas auto accident lawsuits . In a wrongful death action, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased can recover mental anguish damages. Mental anguish damages are those damages that include a mental feeling of pain, such as those that emanate from grief, disappointment, shame, despair, and public humiliation.

In order to recover for mental anguish, a San Antonio personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the plaintiff suffered a high degree of mental pain and distress that goes above normal worry, anxiety or embarrassment. Texas personal injury law does not require a showing of physical injury to recover mental anguish damages. There is no way to objectively measure mental anguish damages, and the jury has a great deal of discretion in the process. The plaintiff needs to prove to the jury the nature of the mental anguish, its duration, and its severity. The plaintiff must demonstrate a significant disruption in his daily routine as a result.

In our last blog entry on Texas police chase personal injury accidents , we focused on some of the factors that would point to a finding of negligence on the part of police officers who did not abandon the chase of a suspect in consideration of public safety.

There have been several cases throughout the country that have given some clues as to how the courts interpret police behavior, especially when it is the suspect and not the police themselves who directly causes a collision. In a case in Sacramento CA, the court found that there was some evidence to suggest that the officers had created a dangerous situation in their pursuit of the suspect. For example, the police failed to turn their red lights on and the injured plaintiff indicated that he never heard any police sirens despite the fact that he had his windows rolled down and the radio was off.

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In an action against the city of Pasadena CA, the court ruled that under the circumstances, there was enough evidence to bring a cause of action for wrongful death against the city. In that case, the officers pursued a suspect solely for a traffic infraction on city streets in excess of 100 miles per hour.

Imagine you are driving on a nice sunny day in the heart of Texas, and your vehicle is suddenly impacted from the side by another vehicle moving at an extremely high rate of speed. After the initial shock wears off and you initially deal with the inevitable injuries of such a terrible accident, you come to find out that the police were chasing the person who collided with your vehicle.

The ultimate question in such a situation is as follows: Is the police officer or the Texas county municipality responsible for his conduct liable for a Texas wrongful death or personal injury caused by a vehicle being pursued by the police ?

The answer is … it depends. For example, in Draper vs. Los Angeles, the court ruled that while the police pursuit may have contributed to the reckless driving of a fleeing individual, the officers did not have a duty to allow him to escape. In addition, the court ruled that there was no requirement on the part of officers to warn other drivers to keep out of the way, and there was no evidence that the police were trying to force the fleeing individual to the curb.

As Texas roads become littered with more and more trucks traveling across state lines, Texas residents are at greater risk of catastrophic heavy truck accidents. If you have been a victim of a heavy trucking accident in Texas or the greater southwest region, then time is running against you and it is imperative that you contact a Texas personal injury attorney who can guide you through the maze of discovery and help your case obtain critical time sensitive evidence.

Today, all major tractor trailer and heavy truck drivers in Texas and the companies that employ them are governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards . The standards and regulations of this government agency are designed to reduce Texas crashes and injuries caused by trucks and buses.

The most significant aspect of these regulations is that in the course of an investigation a Texas personal injury attorney can discover specific violations of the Federal Safety standards. Any violation automatically creates the presumption of negligence per se, a legal term used to reflect negligence as a matter of law. In negligence per se situation, the issue of whether the truck driver committed negligence has already been answered and the question never goes to the jury. With negligence per se, a personal injury victim is eligible to receive punitive damages, which are intended to punish reckless conduct and are awarded in addition to actual damages.

Your child has committed some form of negligence in Texas resulting in a personal injury to another person. Are you as the parent responsible for your child’s negligence ? To what degree ? These are common questions being played out by San Antonio and greater Texas personal injury attorneys throughout the state and nation.

When faced with potential causes of action against parents of children who have committed negligent acts, several theories of liability may be utilized. The first theory is a failure of the parent(s) to supervise. The second theory is the parent allowing a child to operate a motor vehicle or dangerous objects. The final theory of liability surrounds personal injuries from drug or alcohol intoxication .

Several states subscribe to the rule that parents cannot be held liable for a failure to properly supervise their children. Yet there are certain situations in which a parent could very well be held civilly liable for the actions of their children. Those situations arise where parents negligently entrust their children with “dangerous instruments”.

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