On Tuesday, two BNSF freight trains collided head-on while travelling on the same track near the town of Panhandle, Texas near Amarillo. The collision left a heap of charred wreckage that burned for hours, fed by the trains' diesel fuel. One crew member managed to jump from one of the trains prior to the collision and escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, but three other crew members remain missing.
A normal day at work ended tragically when an asphalt tanker exploded at a refinery, covering Darrell Allen, a Texas truck driver, with molten asphalt. One year later, the truck driver is suing the Shreveport-based oil company, Calumet Specialty Products Partners, and its affiliate companies for damages after enduring third-degree burns covering over 90 percent of his body. Mr. Allen spent over three months in intensive care, suffering through debridement treatments that can only be described as being "skinned-alive" daily.
Last Thursday morning, a three-vehicle collision claimed the life of an area motorist. One of the vehicles was an Aldine Independent School District bus that was headed towards Nimitz High School. The bus driver was not injured, and no students were on board. Another vehicle was an suv. The female driver was taken for treatment. The third vehicle was a pick-up truck. Its driver was transported by Life Flight to a hospital in the medical center, where he later died. The wreck occurred between about 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on FM 1960. Traffic in both directions was snarled afterwards. Evidently, the truck and suv collided, knocking the truck into the path of the bus.
On June 3, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Tic Energy and Chemical, Inc. v. Martin, overturning a Corpus Christi Court of Appeals' decision that recognized an apparent conflict within the Texas Labor Code that seemingly eliminated the exclusive-remedy defense for non-employer subcontractors with coverage under an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) under certain circumstances. In doing so, the Texas Supreme Court held that there is no exception to the exclusive remedy defense when a non-employer subcontractor covered by an OCIP policy operates as an independent contractor, even when the subcontractor has entered into a written agreement with the general contractor that assumes the responsibilities of an employer for the work performed.
Last week, I filed a lawsuit against Starbucks Corporation and one of its employees on behalf of Katherine Mize, who suffered extensive second degree burns when the Starbucks drive-through employee spilled hot coffee in her lap. This case has received some attention from local, national, and now even international media.
The construction industry is one that is vital to our society as it continues to expand. This necessity does not come without a cost though. Every day construction workers are risking their lives in order to accomplish their jobs. According to various studies the construction industry is currently ranking high with the number of accidents and injuries that arise, in fact they are often in the greatest danger because of their work, even when using the proper safety equipment and techniques.
Firm Partner, Benny Agosto, Jr., successfully settled an airbag defect case last month against General Motors, one of the world's largest car manufacturers. The lawsuit resulted in a combined, confidential settlement for Mr. Agosto's clients. As many are aware, General Motors has come under scrutiny in the previous years, which has led to the recalls of hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles.
Anthony Yelchin, an actor known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films, was killed when his own car struck him after rolling backwards down the steep driveway at his California home.
Last July, IKEA, in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a recall of 27 million chests and dressers with their MALM collection because they can tip over and crush children if they aren't property anchored to the wall. The recall came after a year year-old boy from Pennsylvania died after a MALM chest tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed. A few months later, a 23 month-old from Washington died after he became trapped beneath a 3-drawer MALM chest that tipped over. There were also 14 other reports of tip-over incidents leading to four injuries, and three additional deaths since 1989.
The Scientific Advances Journal published a study on distracted drivers on May 13, highlighting the dangers of texting specifically. The study surrounds what they coin as a "sixth sense", the trigger that brings us back from the catatonic state many enter in long drives, sometimes referred to as "zoning out." This zone allows us to change the radio station or daydream while staying within the lines on the road, and the sixth sense triggers when something abnormal happens. This sense however is distorted when eyes are taken off the road and focused on a tiny screen. It causes a glitch that keeps that sixth sense from being present, and results in delays in reaction time, even after our eyes return to the road until that sense 'resets'.