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February 2017 Archives

What To Do If You Have Been Sued

Most people will go through their whole lives without being sued. Sometimes it happens, however, and the experience can be stressful and frightening. They probably didn't teach you in school what to do if you or your business are sued, and it can be easy to panic when you've been served with a lawsuit seeking a large amount of money in damages. However, remembering a few simple things can help save you a lot of heartache:

Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

A massive explosion along a natural gas pipeline shook houses as far as 60 miles away in Refugio County, Texas last week. The cause of the initial fire that led to the explosion is still under investigation, and no injuries have been reported. The explosion and resulting fireball were reportedly so intense that the light could be seen over 150 miles away.

Distracted Driving in Texas

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety rates state traffic laws across the United States in 15 separate categories, such as Occupant Protection, Teen Driving, and Enforcement. There are several areas where Texas falls short, and the most notable is in the Distracted Driving category. It is important to note Texas does not have a ban on texting unlike most others. The only states that do not have any protection laws aside from Texas are Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. While there is a statewide proposed ban planned to go before Texas lawmakers, similar proposals have failed several times before.

Family Sues for Wrongful Death of 96-Year-Old

George Springer and Janet Springer are suing Visiting Angels and Visiting Angels employee Aimi Ariel Salazar for the wrongful death of their mother, then 96-year-old Emily Springer. Ms. Springer, a retired teacher, died as a result of an auto accident in 2014. The suit claims Ms. Springer suffered multiple injuries after she was thrown from her wheelchair in a van that was driven by Ms. Salazar. Four months later, Ms. Springer died from her injuries.

Increased Oil and Gas Activity in the Permian Basin: But Beware, Worker-Related Injuries and Even Death Will Also Increase

The Permian Basin has proven itself to be a hot spot for oil and gas in the United States. It is reported that there has been a recent burst of oil and gas deals concentrated in West Texas' Permian Basin. This has occurred despite the downturn, and now slowly rising, prices in oil per barrel. The newly stricken deals have really emphasized how the Permian Basin is a top-shelf basin. Experts say that not only is the Permian Basin's drilling costs among the cheapest in the United States, the layers of shale drilling areas go significantly deeper underground than in other regions. With that being said, drillers have put into operation, several additional drilling rigs. As of today's date, there are more than 265 drilling rigs in the Permian Basin, accounting for more than 50% of the country's active drilling rigs.

Millennial Driver Habits

Today, in terms of age groups, the riskiest drivers on the road may not be brand-new drivers or elderly folks, but millennials. The term millennial is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. Millennials have grown up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world. This generation is thought to be more confident compared to the other generations, and while largely a positive trait, this confidence may account for a recent study's findings that millennials are the riskiest drivers on the roadway.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Finds Bars Overserved Patrons

In a report publicized today in local media, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (tabc) listed numerous local bars that were cited for "overserving" customers during 2016. Those bars included: Bombshell's Restaurant and Bar; F Bar; Midtown Drinkery; Just Two More; Leslie's Sports Bar; Fiesta Latina Nite Club; and Live Sports Bar.

Traffic Injuries and Fatalities on the Rise in Texas

In 2016, there were 3,400 fatal crashes on Texas highways and 175,000 injury accidents.

Ford Announces $1 Billion Investment to Develop Self-Driving Vehicle

On Friday, Ford Motor Company announced that it will invest $1 billion to develop a virtual driver system for a self-driving vehicle that will be commercialized in 2021. Ford is teaming up with Argo Al, a Pittsburgh startup company led by former Google and Uber executives who specialize in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. The virtual driver system will use machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that improves with experience, to act as the brain of Ford's self-driving vehicle. The technology will deliver SAE Level 4 driving automation, meaning the driver will simply turn on the automatic driving system and the vehicle will handle all driving functions and monitor most, but not all, driving scenarios.

Softball Players Killed in Bus Crash

The families of three of the victims are suing the company that made the bus after their daughters died in a bus crash. In September of 2014, the North Central Texas College women's softball team was returning to Texas after a scrimmage in Bethany against Southern Nazarene University. After the scrimmage, the team boarded a bus and headed back to Texas. Around 9 p.m., their bus was hit by a semi-truck. The 32-passenger bus rolled onto its side after the 18-wheeler crossed the median of Interstate 35 in Oklahoma.

Will Texas Finally Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving?

Undoubtedly, technology has changed the world over the last few decades. An area that has created one of the biggest concerns is cell phones, particularly smart phones, and their use by drivers while operating a vehicle. Along with cell phones, there are numerous applications that can be used by drivers when behind the wheel of a car that add to the dangers such as: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, fantasy sports, email, or using the phone's GPS capabilities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly ten percent (10%) of the nationwide crashes in 2013 were caused by distracted drivers, most of which were in conjunction with cell phone usage.

Basics of Admiralty Limitation on Liability Actions

Unlike typical personal injury lawsuits, claims involving ships and vessels may be subject to special rules that can limit the damages an injured party is entitled to receive following a lawsuit. While most lawsuits seek recovery for the entirety of medical and property damages incurred by an injured individual, these admiralty actions, known as Limitation Actions, can reduce or even eliminate the amount of money available to be awarded.

Family Sues Facility After Woman Dies of Hypothermia

Kathryn Brackett, age 85, died of hypothermia outside Crystal Springs on October 27, 2016. Crystal Springs is a part of Meridian Senior Living, LLC. The family filed suit.

Texas Legislature Again Considers Ban on Texting While Driving

Victims and the families of victims injured or killed in distracted driving wrecks met with state lawmakers in Austin on Thursday to support legislation banning texting and driving in Texas. The legislation-House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31-mark the fifth time bills have been filed to ban using a phone while driving in Texas.

Father and Son Killed in Collision on I-45

On or about September 6, 2014, Elizabeth Alvarez, along with her husband, Juan Alvarez, and two sons, Juan Alvarez, Jr. and Ian Alvarez, were in a vehicle at or near the 10300 block of I-45, in or near the City of Houston, Harris County, Texas, when their vehicle was struck by a vehicle being operated by Jose Rivera. Jose Rivera was drunk at the time and had been served alcohol at a nightclub named El Huracan, owned or operated by Huracan Disco, Inc. As a result of the collision, Elizabeth Alvarez and Ian Alvarez were injured. Juan Alvarez and Juan Alvarez, Jr. were killed.

DWI Fatality Results in Murder Charge

A crash in the early morning hours last Saturday claimed the life of a female passenger of an suv. The driver of a pickup truck was traveling on the feeder road of Highway 59, the Eastex freeway. At about 2:00 a.m., he ran a red light and smashed into the Chevrolet Trailblazer suv that was headed west on Aldine Mail Route. The driver of the Trailblazer was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital. His female passenger was killed. The driver of the pickup truck sustained less serious injuries. And tests showed that his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.32, four times the legal limit of 0.08.

Audi Recalls

Audi has issued recalls over issues in their vehicles that are affecting over half a million cars. One problem surrounding six different model Audis involves coolant pump failure, where the pump could be blocked and cause fires in the engine compartment. The models affected on this issue are from the recent 2015 and 2016 models, including the popular sedans, coupes, and allroad wagons. Audi was reported saying this issue can and will be fixed with a software update, with that update programmed to shut off the power supply to the coolant pump if it becomes blocked.

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