| Read Time: < 1 minute | Child Injury

Property Owners May Be Liable for Trespassing Children

A child trespasses on a neighbor’s property while the neighbor is out of town. The child is seriously injured. Afterward, the parents confront the property owner, saying they intend to sue over the injury. They have medical bills to pay. Is this possible? Is the owner protected by the fact that the child should never have been on the property in the first place, or is he or she still liable? The answer can be complex, and every case is different, but there are certainly situations where the owner could be liable, even though the child was trespassing. One of the most common is when there is an attractive nuisance on the property. An attractive nuisance is something that is clearly and inherently dangerous, but which also may attract young kids. One oft-cited example is a swimming pool. For instance, perhaps the neighbor child was just three years old. He or she doesn’t understand property lines and trespassing laws. The pool, meanwhile, doesn’t have a fence around it or a gate. It’s not covered. The child can easily just walk onto the property and fall into the pool. Property owners need to be aware of dangers and take rational steps to protect young kids who may be too young to protect themselves. If an older child climbs a fence, the owner may not be liable, having done all that was possible. If the owner does nothing and leaves an exposed risk, though, a lawsuit may result from any accident. It’s important for parents to know their legal options when children are injured, as medical bills can be very high and some injuries can change the course of a child’s life.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

How common are playground injuries?

School will be back in session is just a matter of weeks here in Waco. If you have young kids, then one of their favorite times of the day likely is when they can take a break from their classes and head outside for recess. Sadly, playgrounds are the one place where kids are most apt to get hurt while at school. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at least 213,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year here in Texas and across the rest of the United States. Most of the kids seen in hospitals range in age from five to 12. They’re often seen for injuries resulting from a fall. They often present with cuts or bruises, sprains and broken bones. Arms are the body part most commonly affected in these schoolyard incidents. Parents and teachers alike can help kids avoid getting hurt on playgrounds. They can do so by taking the time to inspect the equipment for damage or grounds for debris before allowing their kids to play on it. They can also encourage the children under the care to abstain from placing their hands or other body parts in gaps or places where they may get caught or pinched. They can remind them to hold on to handlebars and to remain behind guardrails as well. Caregivers should try to keep their children from taking any straps, ropes or any other strings into a play area. These can cut off circulation if a body part becomes caught up in them. They can even cause them to choke. A child who wears a helmet into a playground area can suffer the same fate. Parents and teachers should also discourage kids from playing along steep, rocky embankments, nearby tree roots or anywhere where the pavement may be in ill-repair. These can all pose tripping hazards. They should instead report these dangers to the appropriate authorities to be addressed. Teachers, parents and caregivers are seldom responsible for a single child. They instead often have several to watch over. This is why they must constantly scan the area around them for potential hazards that may injure a child. Educators or caregivers who fail to do this may be sued for negligence. A child injury attorney can also advise you of your right to sue a school for damages, especially if their inattentiveness resulted in your loved one getting hurt.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Premises Liability

Working too Long Can Increase the Risk of Injury

Do you often find yourself staying late at the office? Do you pride yourself on your ability to put in long hours when needed? While dedication is impressive, you should know that doing this does increase the odds that you will suffer an injury at work. This could be an ergonomics-related injury from failing to give your body a break from those daily tasks — even the simple ones, like working on your computer. To see the role that this played, researchers gave a survey to more than 12,500 workers who often put in extended hours. These are the results: Male workers with frequent or chronic back pain: 30 percent. Female workers with frequent or chronic back pain: 41 percent. Male workers with frequent or chronic wrist pain: 16 percent. Female workers with frequent or chronic wrist pain: 27 percent. Although that was just one part of the study, it already paints a pretty clear picture of the risks involved. The researchers also said that sleep deprivation may lead to tendon, ligament and muscle injuries. They found that most workers who had night shifts did not even get six hours of sleep per night. That lack of sleep, combined with repetitive motion, put these workers at serious risk. People often overlook repetition injuries, focusing instead on sudden events like slip-and-fall accidents or falls from ladders. While these things are dangerous and deserve consideration, workers also have to know that merely staying at work too long, too often, can lead to serious pain and the need for medical treatment. When this happens, they also need to know what legal options they have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

Tips to Avoid Distracted Drivers On Your Next Motorcycle Ride

Riding through Texas on a motorcycle is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Once you make it out of the city limits of Waco, you have endless miles of open road available. Unfortunately, like with most things, riding a motorcycle comes with risk. The weather can suddenly change, causing the roads to become dangerous. A deer can leap out in front of you and cause you to lose control. And, the most dangerous, are the cars and trucks cruising down the street, operated by drivers that think multitasking behind the wheel is a good idea. In general, cars and trucks are the greatest threat to you every time you climb on your bike. While it is not always possible to avoid a collision with a reckless driver, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being in an accident. For some tips to avoid distracted drivers, read below. Stay to the right By staying to the right on a two-lane road, even when you come to a stop, you can give yourself enough room to avoid a collision with distracted driver. When people are playing with the radio, checking their phones or engaging in other activities, they tend to drift. By avoiding the middle of the lane and staying to the right, you can create a nice cushion between yourself and oncoming traffic. Avoid multi-lane highways Yes, I-35 might be the quickest way out of town, but those multi-lane highways can be nothing but trouble. You will have cars coming at you from multiple directions and it is likely that fewer than half of those drivers will see you, even if they are not distracted. If possible, take the back roads out of town and take the chance of having one of those winding ranch roads all to yourself. Light it up The best thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of a distracted driver is to make yourself as visible as possible. This might mean wearing a brightly colored jacket with reflective panels instead of your standard black leathers, or it could mean giving in to that secret temptation to buy the crazy colored helmet you have been eyeing in the shop. Also, do not be afraid to use those high-beams. It might irritate drivers, but at least they will see you. In addition to the above tips, be extra careful when a vehicle is coming at you from the side or pulling out from a parking lot. Always assume that you are invisible to every single individual operating a car or truck. Doing so will make you more cautious and keep you safe.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

Lane Splitting: Is It Legal in Texas?

The concept of lane splitting is simple: It is a tactic that motorcyclists use to pass stopped or jammed traffic. Motorcyclists and other motorists tend to feel passionately about this practice (also known as white-lining and riding the stripe) one way or the other. No matter how you feel about riding the stripe, it is NOT legal in Texas. If you were injured in an accident because someone else was lane splitting or engaging in another type of dangerous behavior on the roadways, you deserve compensation for your damages. A Texas motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve. The Arguments in Favor of Lane Splitting Many motorcycle riders believe that lane splitting is not only safe but that it makes good sense as well. They argue that even when there may not be enough room for a car to move forward when a two-lane interstate comes to a stop, a motorcycle can easily fit between the cars in both lanes. Proponents argue that this is safe because the cars aren’t moving anyway, and because it helps to reduce road congestion. You don’t have a bunch of bikes sitting in traffic and taking up space. It’s also harder for motorcyclists to stop in traffic since they have to constantly put their feet down and hold the bike up. It’s easy for a driver to spend an hour inching forward, stopping, and starting, but it can be very hard for a biker. The Risks of Lane Splitting Lane splitting may sound like it makes sense when done with care. However, this practice also poses a variety of risks to motorcycle riders and other motorists on the road. One of the most noted risks is that other motorists might not expect it or notice a motorcycle coming up on them between lanes. This could lead to a vehicle turning in front of a motorcycle rider or side-swiping them. If traffic is at a full stop, this practice could even lead to a so-called “dooring” accident. Dooring occurs when a driver opens their door into the path of an oncoming rider. Depending on how fast the rider is going, splitting lanes can also make it more difficult for motorcyclists to avoid collisions. How Does Texas Law Treat Lane Splitting? The practice of lane splitting is not specifically allowed under Texas law. In fact, only one state has made it legal, and that’s California. However, Texas law does not specifically call out this practice as illegal, either. Nevertheless, according to Texas Transportation Code § 545.060, motorists must remain within a single lane unless they are making a legal lane change. This makes lane splittingIt’s technically considered illegal passing in Texas. The police could pull you over and give you a ticket for failing to maintain your lane. If you are riding very quickly or dangerously, reckless driving charges could also factor in. If you are ticketed under this section of the Transportation Code, you face a fine of $175. If you caused or contributed to an accident while lane splitting, you could be considered negligent. That could make you liable for any damages that result. Even worse, if someone else caused you to have a motorcycle accident while you were lane splitting, you could lose some or all of the compensation to which you would otherwise have been entitled. Will Texas Make Lane Splitting Legal? Texas did attempt to make it this practice legal in 2016. Senate Bill 288 was produced, and, had it passed, lane-splitting would have become legal in traffic going under 20 mph. This law would also have specified that bikers could go only 5 mph faster than the traffic around them. However, that bill never got out of committee and the Senate never voted on it. Legislators may revisit the issue in an upcoming session. However, at this time, lane-splitting remains illegal in Texas. Contact a Texas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer If You Need Help No matter what your perspective on lane splitting might be, it is important for riders to understand all of the motorcycle laws and to adhere to them so that if another driver causes an accident, there’s no way to say that you were at fault. You may then be able to seek compensation. If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm. We assist injury accident victims in Waco, Austin, Killeen, Round Rock, and throughout Texas. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and case review with one of our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Texas. Source: Motorcycle.com, “Lane Splitting in Texas,” accessed Nov. 30, 2017

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Truck Accidents

Higher demand for commercial drivers means lower driver standards

In recent years, there has been a relative boom in the domestic commercial trucking industry. With diesel costs down and consumer spending up, freight delivery service remains highly competitive and in demand for retailers, suppliers and manufacturers around the country. In fact, it has been difficult for trucking companies to secure the number of drivers they need in order to meet all of the shipment demands they currently have. Recent estimates from within the trucking industry indicate a shortage of roughly 60,000 drivers at the end of 2018, and many experts believe that demand will only increase. That lack of available staffing means that the commercial drivers on the road are working longer hours and tougher routes as their employers try to make the most with the staff they currently have, which could contribute to employee stress and exhaustion. It also means that trucking companies may decide to hire people who don’t have the experience or driving record to prove they will be safe on the road. The best drivers are in high demand and hard to hire Commercial driving is a grueling industry that often requires long hours away from home, few breaks and manual labor when loading and unloading deliveries. Truckers risk social isolation, as well as injuries to their arms, legs, hips and back through the course of their work. They are also subject to intense employer scrutiny and more legal requirements than other drivers. Professional drivers with excellent service and driving records can typically command top dollar and demand the routes that they prefer to drive. Companies actively compete to hire experienced drivers with solid, accident-free records. When there aren’t enough drivers with adequate experience and skill to go around, companies have to start bending their own hiring policies to fill vacant positions. Companies may compromise and hire unsafe drivers Most commercial trucking companies have strict standards when it comes to the driving record and criminal record of the people they hire. However, when companies can’t find enough new people, they may bend those rules to stay profitable. Drivers with previous serious issues, such as impaired driving, could wind up working as a commercial driver despite their history. Companies may even hire and train brand new workers to help them secure their commercial driver’s licenses and get them on the road as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that means that drivers may be out on the road moving loads with no real experience other than school under their belts. The problem with inexperienced drivers in commercial vehicles is that these large, heavy vehicles require more skill to operate than standard vehicles. They can pose substantial risks to the public, and crashes caused by commercial trucks often result in catastrophic damage to the other vehicles and severe injuries to their occupants.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Motorcycle Accidents

Is it Actually Wise to Lay Down a Motorcycle?

People often talk about laying a motorcycle down in an effort to avoid a crash. It is typically seen as a last-ditch effort. You see a truck pull out into the road in front of you. The driver never saw your motorcycle. You lay the bike down to avoid a direct collision at speed. But is this really wise? There are some situations where it can help. You may be able to take the impact with your legs and body, for instance, rather than your head. Since two broken legs may heal more effectively than a traumatic brain injury, laying the bike down can decrease the lasting issues you face — even when it will not prevent injuries entirely. However, experts do note that you are often better off to stay on the bike. For one thing, your tires are designed to slow your bike down and grip the road. The metal side of the bike and your leather jacket are not. You may actually cut more speed before the crash if you just hammer the brakes and stay on the bike. In addition, some accidents can be avoided. Are you better off to lay the bike down on the pavement and slide into the accident or to turn your bike and swerve around the other vehicle on the shoulder? Obviously, every situation is different, but you may be better off to avoid a crash. No matter what, if this is a decision you have to make, you’re likely going to suffer some injuries. Make sure you fully understand your legal options.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Using civil litigation to hold a reckless driver responsible

People who make dangerous decisions have a tendency to ignore how their actions could have consequences for other people. They become so focused on their own desires that they don’t stop to think about the ramifications. Reckless drivers, in particular, may be more focused on their own schedule or desire for fun than on the safety of the people who share the road with them. They don’t stop to wonder about the possible consequences until it’s too late. If you get hurt by someone driving in a reckless or irresponsible way in Waco, you may wish that there was some way to teach them a lesson about how their decisions have consequences for other people. Thankfully, the law in Texas does create civil options for those who get hurt by reckless or negligent drivers. Filing a lawsuit against someone who hurt you or damaged your property could be the perfect way to teach them not to do the same thing in the future. A lawsuit makes sure they don’t walk away without consequence Sometimes, even when a reckless driver causes a crash, the only legal consequence is a traffic citation. That could mean they only have to pay a small fine, while you’re stuck dealing with major property damage or lasting injuries. Although you and law enforcement may suspect reckless driving, there may simply not be adequate evidence to prove it. At least, the evidence available may not be sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that reckless driving occurred. However, the same evidence may very well meet the necessary standards for evidence in civil trials. Documentation that someone was texting or otherwise engaging in reckless or negligent behavior, like excessively exceeding the speed limit, could be enough to win a civil court case even if it wasn’t enough to bring criminal charges. The financial consequences of a lawsuit can last for years You may have to deal with tens of thousands of dollars worth of fallout from a crash. From medical expenses that persist for years to damage to a nice vehicle, the costs can quickly add up after a collision. These costs can often far exceed the liability coverage the responsible driver carried on their vehicle. A civil lawsuit allows you to pass those expenses that exceeded insurance coverage on to the person responsible for the collision. That could mean that the other driver winds up paying for the accident they caused for many years, which will hopefully be enough to keep them from endangering others in the future. If you find yourself wondering about whether you could qualify for compensation under Texas personal injury laws, sitting down with an attorney can help you make an informed decision about your options.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Truck Accidents

Why are tractor-trailers so dangerous in a crash scenario?

All motor vehicle crashes between trucks and smaller vehicles carry significant injury risks. This is so in truck accidents involving utility trucks, work vans and construction vehicles. However, of all the different types of trucks involved in these accidents, tractor-trailers typically pose the most injury hazards to Texas motorists. Obviously, a small passenger automobile is no match for the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, but this is only part of the equation. There are several additional factors that can increase the risk of being involved in a truck accident. The following information illustrates why it may be difficult to avoid a collision with a semitruck. Braking A tractor-trailer carrying a full load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. While a smaller vehicle can stop in about 140 feet while braking, a big rig might travel 200 feet before coming to a stop. In some cases, these trucks might even travel up to 450 feet before stopping, increasing the risk of a truck accident. Maneuvering The size of tractor-trailers makes it difficult for drivers to maneuver in traffic. They typically need much more room to make turns or switch lanes. In a potential accident scenario, this means that a truck driver may be unable to move in time to avoid colliding with a smaller car. Trucker visibility Large trucks by themselves pose visibility problems for drivers. When the truck is pulling a trailer, these visibility problems increase. Because a truck has so many blind spots, its driver may not see a smaller vehicle when switching lanes or turning. As you can see, driving a semi is challenging and fraught with many dangers. However, just because it may be difficult for truckers to see, brake and maneuver, it does not relieve them of liability when a preventable crash occurs. Those who have suffered injury in a truck accident may find a solution by discussing their case with an experienced legal professional.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Child Injury

What’s the connection between seat belt use and child fatalities?

If someone were to ask you what the leading cause of child fatalities is, auto accidents may not be the first thing to come to mind. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for children here in the United States though. An estimated 116,000 youths age 12 and younger were hurt in car accidents in 2017. Another 675 children lost their lives that same year. One of the leading causes of death in these instances is a failure to wear a seat belt. At least 35% of the children who died in auto accidents in 2017 weren’t buckled up at the time of their fatal crash. CDC data shows that race impacts seatbelt use. Their statistics show that 46% of the Hispanic kids who die in car crashes do so because they weren’t buckled up. African-Americans follow closely behind at 45%. At least 26% of the Caucasian children who died in auto accidents that year did because they weren’t wearing seat belts. Those same statistics also show that those children who are less apt to be buckled up are eight to 12-year-olds. Some 49% of those children who died because they weren’t wearing seat belts in 2017. At least 36% or more of the four to 7-year-olds who died weren’t wearing seat belts. Another 22% of kids under the age of four weren’t buckled up at the time of their crash either. The CDC contends that there’s a direct correlation between child and adult seat belt use. Their data shows that 40% of children who ride in cars with unbelted adults fail to use this important safety feature themselves. Another statistic shows that safety restraints on the booster and car seats are inappropriately used in at least 46% of all cases. This greatly impacts their ability to perform as they should. It’s a caregiver’s responsibility to take necessary steps to keep their kids safe from getting hurt. If they fail to do so, then they can be held liable for any injuries that ensue. Sometimes caregivers do everything necessary to keep their kids out of harm’s way, but products malfunction or can’t withstand the impact. A child injury attorney can advise you of your right to request compensation under Texas law if your son or daughter has been hurt due to someone else’s negligence here in Waco.

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