Hot car safety young child in back seat of car

Hot car safety is a big concern in Texas. Although a hot car death can occur anywhere, Texas has the highest number of Pediatric Vehicular Heatstrokes in the US. Every year, fatalities occur when children are left in cars either intentionally or by accident. But with awareness and education, child hot car deaths are entirely avoidable. 

What to Know about Hot Car Safety

What Is Hot Car Death?

Hot car death is also known as Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH.) Hot car death is the unintentional death a child under 18 as they succumb to fatal temperatures in an enclosed vehicle. As Texas residents are well aware, dark automobile interiors absorb and hold heat. A car’s interior temperature can rise rapidly, jumping double-digits in a matter of minutes.

Hot car death warning signs include:

  • Core body temperature of 104 F+
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Racing heart rate
  • Flushed skin
  • Delirium or confusion
  • Agitation and irritability

If you detect any of these sings after your child was left in the car, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Causes

According to NoHeatStroke.org, 891 children have died from PVH since 1998. The one thing all incidents have in common is that they were avoidable. Hot car safety means always checking for your children before exiting the car. When at home, it’s important to keep your car locked at all times with your keys in a safe place, away from kids. If your child is old enough, consider talking to them about hot car safety.

There are three primary causes of PVH:

  • Forgotten in the car by caregiver
  • Gained car access on their own
  • Knowingly left in the car by caregiver

On a US map of PVH deaths by state, Texas is number one for fatalities. There were 132 PVH deaths in Texas between 1998 and 2020. Sadly, all 132 deaths were easily preventable. More than half of hot car deaths in Texas occurred because a caregiver forgot a child in the car.

How Hot Do Cars Get?

A car’s interior temperature can rise quickly and dramatically. If the temperature is relatively mild–say mid-70s–it only takes around 25 minutes in the sun for the car’s interior to exceed 100 degrees. At a temperature of 104 F, a child reaches the heatstroke threshold. If the body reaches 107 F, death occurs.

One common misconception is that a light-colored car is safer than a dark-colored car. But the difference in interior temperatures is minimal. Regardless of your car’s color, the internal temperature can rise as much as twenty degrees in just ten minutes. That means a reasonable 80 F can quickly become a deadly 100 F before you know it.

Hot Car Safety Statistics

Hot car deaths declined in 2021, likely because more people were staying at home. But fatalities reached record-highs in both 2018 and 2019. More than half of incidents involve very young children left in the back seats of cars. The majority of children who perish in hot cars were left behind intentionally by their caregiver.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 7 children have died so far in 2021
  • 53 children died in 2018 and in 2019
  • 53% of incidents involved forgetting a child in the car
  • 75% of forgotten children were under two years old
  • Thursdays and Fridays have the highest fatality rates

While “forgotten baby syndrome” might sound outrageous to some, Consumer Reports declares that anyone can forget their child in a car. Stress and anxiety can cause momentary lapses in memory, and when it comes to hot car safety, every minute counts.

Hot Car Safety Factors

Age

Hot car death can happen to children of any age. Most fatalities involve children up to 14, with over half being younger than two. Although a young child is usually confined to a car seat, an older child may simply fall asleep in a hot car and never wake up. If you leave a child in the car intentionally, it is not safe to assume your child will exit the vehicle if they become too hot.

Temperature

The higher the outside temperature, the quicker the temperature rises in your car. The average high temperatures in Texas are 86 F – 98 F, a dangerous range for any child stuck in an enclosed automobile. An Inside Car Temperature Calculator reveals that an outside temperature of 86 F can cause an internal car temperature of 120 F in just a half-hour.

Hot Car Safety Tips

Never Leave a Child Alone

While it might be tempting to leave a child alone “for a few minutes,” the temperatures inside a car can rise shockingly fast. It’s easy to let time get away from you and you can’t possibly anticipate every potential delay. Even if the weather seems mild, it’s critical to remember the drastic different between the outside world and the interior of a parked car.

Always Check Your Car

Forgotten Baby Syndrome can happen to anyone. Even if you think you’re immune to such a thing, hot car safety tells us it’s better to be safe than sorry. Some parents place their wallet, purse, or briefcase in the back seat next to their child. Because the item in the back seat is essential to their errand or task, there is no possibility of overlooking a sleeping child.

Hide Your Car Keys

Cars can represent freedom, maturity, and adventure. So it’s no surprise that some kids enjoy playing in cars. One of the main causes of hot car death is children gaining access to a car on their own without supervision. A young child can easily get locked in a parked car. Rapidly rising temperatures can lead to confusion and frustration, further discouraging their efforts to escape. While it’s easy to toss your keys as soon as you get in the door, hiding them will ensure optimal safety.

Hot Car Safety: What to Do

If you see a child alone in a car and believe they are in danger, there are a few things you can do to help. First, you can attempt to determine if the child is awake and responsive. Second, you can try and contact the parents through a security guard or overhead PA system. If you see a child in distress, call 911 right away.

One of the best ways to practice hot car safety is to educate yourself and spread awareness. Many people simply don’t know the facts and consequences of hot car death. Place reminders around the home so the adults in your household remember to check the car, hide the car keys, and make hot car safety a top priority for your family.

Thompson Law Will Guide You Through Your Personal Injury Case

Our attorneys at Thompson Law can help get you the compensation you deserve. If your child was injured by someone else’s negligence, give us a call today. You do not have to face this challenge alone, and our attorneys will assist you every step of the way. Call us at (844) 308-8180 today for a free consultation.

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DWI in Texas

In Texas, the acronyms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) refer to an individual operating a vehicle in public while under the influence of a mind-altering substance.  Statistically, about 14% of Texans admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, oblivious of the fatal car accident injuries and damages they might inflict on others.

If you have experienced any injuries after a drunk driver caused an accident in Texas, Thompson Law is here to help. We’re a family-run law firm that works to get you fairly compensated after being hit by a driver charged with DUI or DWI.

DUI vs. DWI in Texas

What Is DWI in Texas?

As per the Texas penal code 49.04, an intoxicated driver operates a vessel, motor vehicle, or even water skis in a public place while:

  • Having more than 0.08% alcohol concentration in blood, urine, or breath for any adult or at least 0.04 % for commercial driver’s license holders
  • Lacking normal physical or mental faculties as a result of alcohol consumption
  • Lacking normal physical or mental faculties after consuming controlled substances like illegal drugs, over the counter medicine, prescriptions, and more

An officer can prove intoxication through the performance of field sobriety tests, the outcome from a Breathalyzer, and results from a drug recognition expert. Thompson Law injury lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable in the area of DUI auto accidents. We can help ensure you get fair value for your claim and aggressively fight your case.

What Is DUI in Texas?

As per the Texas penal code 106.041, persons under the age of 21 years who operate a vehicle in public places under any alcohol influence are DUI. Besides, there is a zero-tolerance policy in Texas towards drugs and alcohol in underage persons.  For instance, if a person is 18 and sips alcohol before driving, an officer can charge them with DUI.

Drunk Driving Accident Legal Process

When a DUI or DWI accident occurs, a criminal investigation is launched into the incident. If the negligent party has prior DUI or DWI convictions or serious injury is caused, they might be charged with a felony.

First, the accident and intoxication are carefully documented by law enforcement to build a case. But obtaining financial compensation for your injuries and losses is a separate matter. DUI and DWI differ from most standard auto accidents because they potentially involve gross negligence and criminal behavior. But remember, a not-guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t eligible for compensation.

Additional Damages in Drunk Driving Accidents

Typical auto accident damages include losses and harms like injury, pain, and suffering, lost income, and medical bills. But in a DWI or DUI case, you might have a right to punitive damages as well.

In Texas, “gross negligence” is described as “willful, extremely reckless behavior.” If the other party is found to have committed gross negligence, you may be able to seek punitive damages—or damages intended to punish the negligent party. Determining whether you qualify for this type of compensation can be tricky. Still, an expert drunk driving accident lawyer can help you navigate these waters.

Thompson Law Drunk Driving Victim Lawyers Can Help

An auto accident caused by a DUI or DWI can result in damaged property, lost wages, and considerable pain and suffering. What’s more, drunk driving accidents can be very complex, making the aftermath just as grueling as the accident itself.

A qualified attorney can handle your case with a trained eye and years of expertise.

A drunk driving lawyer will help you:

  • Handle Medical Bills and Other Damages: While you wait for the resolution of your case, a Texas drunk driving attorney will help you figure out how to pay for mounting bills, medical or otherwise.
  • Deal with Criminal and Civil Proceedings: An expert DWI lawyer can keep you abreast of your case status and advise you every step of the way.
  • Coordinate with Law Enforcement and Other Parties: Many people are involved in a DUI or DWI accident case: insurance companies, law enforcement, witnesses, prosecutors, and the defendant. Keeping communication straight can feel overwhelming, but the best-drunk driving victim attorney will help keep you organized and updated.
  • Hold Your Own with Insurance Companies: The insurance companies will do everything they can to reduce or even deny your settlement altogether. But a savvy attorney will help you stand up to insurance carriers and collect the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today and speak to our bilingual team about the damages and losses caused by a drunk driver. Our case evaluations are absolutely free and confidential.

Get Assistance from Thompson Law Car Accident Lawyers

After a car accident involving a negligent driver, you need an experienced attorney from Thompson Law by your side. No matter how complicated the case may turn out, we will work to get you fair compensation.

Call (844) 308-8180 to speak to our bilingual legal team today, or contact us online! Tell us what happened to you and let us do the fighting for your settlement.

life insurance

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the call for car insurance companies to reduce premiums during COVID-19. Since that time, a handful of companies answered that call to action. Meanwhile, another sector of the insurance industry is operating with less confusion and delay during this unprecedented period. Term life insurance premiums, and the process to apply for such coverage, remain stable through this crisis. This may come as welcome news to those who are considering additional safeguard measures for their families at this time.

Term life insurance, or life insurance provided at fixed-rate payments for a limited period of time, is priced and available as it was before the crisis. The underwriting process for drafting and approving these contracts remains the same as before COVID-19 and its worldwide effects began. Term Life Insurance works slightly differently than Whole Life Insurance. Whole life insurance offers lifelong coverage, consistent premiums, and a guarantee of return on the policy’s total value. Term life instead is coverage for a set period of time, often offering value through affordability and flexibility as the policyholder transitions through different occupational, health, or familial life stages.

Who Needs Life Insurance?

There are a few primary reasons that people obtain term life insurance, but all are related to the fact that a policyholder wants to plan for the well-being and security of a beneficiary after their death. Parents of young children may want to provide resources for surrogate caregivers, while parents of older children may want to provide a nest egg or cushion for early career financial stability. Individuals owning expensive property or sharing a business together want to make sure that their partner in life or business would receive supporting funds in the event of their death. Less commonly in the case of term life insurance, elderly couples may obtain this coverage to help with caregiving and end-of-life arrangements that become more difficult to manage in advanced years. Anyone can be a victim of an accident and may suffer a wrongful death, so making plans for life insurance is not just a task for parents or individuals with considerable assets. Planning for the care of your loved ones in the event of a family member’s passing is a wise and responsible choice, and requires periodic reevaluation based on changing life circumstances.

While it’s a difficult conversation to have, and a tough choice to consider, obtaining life insurance during this time may be a very wise option for you and your family. If you are an at-risk individual for severe consequences following viral infection, taking the time to safeguard your loved ones by adding or increasing your insurance coverage could make an enormous difference.

How is Life Insurance Regulated?

Term life insurance is regulated by individual states. State Insurance commissioners are the highest authority in this regard, and this can be extremely complicated for insurance companies that operate nationally. These large insurance companies may be subject to more than 50 different iterations of laws and regulations for their products and services. There is no federal level governing body tasked with regulating insurance. The NAIC, or National Association of Insurance Commissioners, is a standard-setting and regulatory support agency for the state commissioners. Its mission claims to protect policyholders and provide a variety of peer review and oversight for state regulations. The III, or Insurance Information Institute, is an independent, 80-year-old institution intended to provide data-driven insights about insurance and educate consumers. These two agencies have power to set the tone of national discourse about insurance regulation, but do not have regulatory or oversight power.

Insurance Commissioner of the State of Texas, Kent Sullivan, has focused crisis response on health insurance, with very little information or public pressure on motor vehicle insurers or life insurance practices. The full list of coronavirus response measures taken by the commissioner’s office may be viewed here.

Is the Car Insurance Sector Behaving Similarly to Term Life Insurance?

Car insurance premium pricing is typically subject to more changes than life insurance. Car insurance rates are set based on local trends near the policy holder over the past couple of years. The current pandemic is having an impact on these calculations, however. Consumer and consumer advocacy group outcry, as well as state regulator intervention, has spurred insurance providers to acknowledge the changes to safety and risk on our nation’s roadways during this time of shelter-in-place. While so many people are off the road, we are already seeing motor vehicle accident rates dropping. Accordingly, many providers have already issued statements to customers about specific refunds and credits they will be receiving over the coming couple of months. While it may have been an inelegant and slow response, hopefully the reductions and credits that have finally started will bring welcome financial relief to those in need.

The Critical Takeaway

It’s unclear how long the lockdown is going to last, and there will likely be a range of approaches to reopening parts of the country based on the severity of the crisis in these locales. One thing that does seem to be getting clearer is the response of insurers to the crisis. The insurance industry, famous for opacity, becoming more communicative and clear feels like an indication of the confusing times in which we are living.

Questions and considerations when planning for end of life are never easy conversations. Nevertheless, this planning is critically important for your loved ones. Challenging times like the present bring these important issues into focus. What our real essentials are, how we take care of each other, and how we prepare for the worst, are top of mind for many of us these days. In this space of time, it may be well worth your efforts to investigate life planning options for yourself and your family. Resources are available to help with these decisions, and the financial impact of taking on this insurance coverage is not exacerbated by the current climate, according to industry experts. Financial stability is welcome news these days.

 

Resources for Term Life Insurance:

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Insurance Information Institute

The Simple Dollar: Money Management Advice Publication

Thompson Law is here for you during this time. If you have been involved in an accident, hurt on the job, or suffered due to the error or negligence of another, please don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you need.

 

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Will Car Insurance Rates Decrease During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic?

Trucking Safety Measures Suspended During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Helpful Information & Safety Tips

 

COVID-19 Notice:

The personal injury attorneys at Thompson Law are available to help answer your questions throughout this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If you are an existing client and have questions about the status of your case, please contact us as usual at 214-755-7777, or via email at feedback@1800lionlaw.com (email is also on our website).

If you are a potential new client and need personal injury legal assistance, our office remains fully functional and available at 214-444-4444. Although we are not currently accepting in-person appointments and our employees are working remotely, we can address any of your questions over the phone, via chat, or through a webform submission on our website. Further, we can sign you up electronically and help facilitate you getting the medical care you require.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years, so if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The sooner you know your options, the sooner you are on the path to recovery and your deserved compensation. Call the 4’s right away for assistance with your injury and claim: 

214-444-4444,  817-444-4444,  972-444-4444,  469-444-4444, or toll-free at 1-800-LION-LAW.

amb

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most recent finalized report, in 2016 there were 37,806 traffic fatalities. Texas’ roadways were some of the most significant contributors to this tragic tally, accounting for about 1/10th of all deaths – a per capita rate that is over 7000% higher than the state with the fewest fatal accidents. In the last ten years, the state of Texas has reported 17,410 fatal crashes with 18,742 fatalities. Not one over the past ten years has had less than 1,500 deaths, with two years approaching 2,000 deaths. While some reports indicate slight year-over-year improvement, the overarching trend shows an increase in the number of fatal car accidents.

There are important factors to understand related to the common causes of fatalities in accidents. First, there are the circumstantial causes, including driver error and negligence, mechanical failure, or environmental conditions. Second, there are the deadly injuries: impact injuries, those that are severe enough to cause death due to near-immediate organ or system shutdown in the body; and longerterm injuries, also stemming from the impact but taking days, weeks, or months for the victim to pass away from those injuries. It can be very painful to read and learn about the dire circumstances and trauma connected to fatal car accidents. However, it is valuable to be armed with this information when you or a loved one have experienced a deadly accident. Always know that help is available to you when facing these challenges, and you are not alone.  

Driver Error and Negligence 

The leading cause of traffic fatalities in the US each year is driver negligencehowever, the type of negligence that is most destructive changes over the years. For example, in 2016, distraction-related deaths decreased by 2.2%, while speeding-related fatalities increased by 4% nationally. Many factors impact these changes in any given area, from driver awareness campaigns to infrastructure and policing adjustments, to population changes. Regardless of the macro-level shifts that may occur in a community or region, fatal accidents are very personal and specific to those involved. There are ways that we can all be safer drivers, but we are still guaranteed devastating accidents will occur, with casualties in the thousands in the years to come. 

Most Common Examples of Driver Error and Negligence: 

Speeding – of 2016’s 3,797 fatal accidents in Texas, 1,076 of them were caused by speeding. The state’s fatality figure represents over 10% of the nation’s car collision deaths, although the population of Texas represents only 8.64% of the total national population. 

Drunk Driving – highest cause of death nationally in 2016 

Drowsy Driving  particularly dangerous with long-haul 18 wheeler trucking 

Distracted Driving – texting or checking phone, eating while driving, attending to kids, pets or other passengers in the car, adjusting radio or GPS, etc.  

Failure to Keep in Proper Lane – the leading cause of Texas fatal car accidents in 2015. 

Failure to Wear a Seatbelt – related fatalities increased by 4.6% in 2016. 

Running Red Lights  more information on this pervasive danger here 

Speeding and drunk driving are consistently the top causes of accidents. Both are avoidable! Practice safe motor vehicle operation in your own life, encourage your friends and family to do the same, and if you are harmed by the choices of another driver who took these deadly actions, remember you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.  

Vehicle Malfunction 

Apart from driver negligence and error on the road, the vehicles they are operating can be independently dangerousVehicle malfunction is a serious contributor to road hazards. There are a few ways to allocate liability for vehicle malfunction after a crash. The source of the malfunction could be related to the construction of the vehicle, so the manufacturer may be liable for a defective product, or the malfunction may have been caused by improper or neglectful care and maintenance, adding to the liability of the vehicle’s owner. Common mechanical failures that may be the fault of the vehicle owner include: 

Windshield Wipers – failure to replace or maintain wipers can severely impair visibility and cause extremely unsafe driving.  

Headlights and Taillight – failure to replace burned out bulbs diminishes a driver’s ability to communicate with other drivers using his or her vehicle.  

Steering and Suspension – failure to complete routine maintenance checking the health of your car’s systems can result in loss of control 

Compromised Tires – failure to maintain well-kept tires can lead to wear and patching that results in dangerous blowouts.  

Brakes – failure to check brakes for worn pads, disks and lines, and functioning antilock brake system (ABS) can result in terrible rear-end collisions, the most notorious for whiplash and other neck and spine injuries.  

Dangerous Road Conditions 

Texas contains some of the highest speed limits in the world, and some of the most dangerous highwaysDangerous road conditions are major contributors to deadly road accidents, and these factors compound the risks posed by negligent drivers or less-than-roadworthy vehicles.  

Road construction can result in confusing signage and lane re-routing, causing drivers to swerve or force them to react with too little time. Additionally, bumpy, uneven pavement, visual clutter and confusion, and unfinished surfaces can divide drivers attention between too many stimuli to proceed with full caution. Even beyond these infrastructure complications, construction sites often have workers walking or moving around the site, putting them right in harm’s way. This deadly accident on I-35 is an example of multiple risk factors causing tragic results.  

Bad weather is another dangerous road condition to add to the mix. Precipitation in the form of rain, snow, hail, and sleet can contribute to slippery roadways, limit visibility, cause dangerous flooding and other complications for any driver on the road. Even navigating the roads in the dark of night or squinting through bright sunlight can add risk to a journey in the car. The hours of the day with the highest crash rates are consistently dark hours 

garland 2

 Serious Injuries with Deadly Results 

NHTSA manages the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a documentation of data related to deaths in motor vehicle crashes. According to FARS statistical methodology, vehicular accident fatalities are divided into measurables that include: those occurring within 30 mins of impact, between 0.5 and 1.5 hours of impact, and within 24 hours of impact. 

0.5 hours (immediate) – 46% of fatalities – mostly the result of injury to the brainspinal cord, heart or major blood vessels  

0.5-1.5 hours (early) – 24% of fatalities  often due to severe blood loss, major internal hemorrhage 

Within 24 Hours – 90% of fatalities  frequently caused by infection, multiple organ failure 

(There is another spike in fatalities 3-4 weeks post-accident, typically related to the same injuries as above as well as complications after surgery) 

There is debate within the scientific community about the best way in which to approach the categorization and assessment of these statistical distributions. Much of the debate and related research is tied to life-saving efforts utilizing modern technology to relay crash scene information to the receiving emergency room. Improving understanding, communication, and process to save lives in these extremely tenuous situations is difficult work, but the studies being done to pinpoint peak danger-of-death times post-collision will provide valuable understanding and insight to emergency medical service work. 

What to do After an Accident Involving Fatalities 

Immediately after witnessing or surviving a serious accident, the first thing to do is always call 911 for an appropriate emergency response to the scene. Acting quickly to help injured or unconscious individuals at the accident location can truly make the difference between life and death – especially with injuries related to blood loss, head, neck and spine trauma. Cooperate with emergency responders to effectively care for people and property. Document the scene as much as you can while remaining safe. Take photos, take down ID information of others involved, note insurance details and record license plates of all vehicles. Once you are clear to do so, safely depart the scene. Take care of yourself and seek medical examination and guidance to treat your injuries and begin a recovery treatment plan. As soon as possible, call Thompson Law for legal guidance and assistance on the best steps to take after an accident for your most successful claim and case outcome.  

1-800-LION-LAW

As leaders in the Dallas – Fort Worth personal injury space, Ryan Thompson and his team at Thompson Law have unfortunately seen many cases of tragic and fatal accidents. Lion Law’s exceptional litigators and legal experts are extremely dedicated to fighting for justice and rightful compensation for the victims after these devastating incidents occur. Working with Thompson Law is designed to be the most streamlined process possible. We truly care about winning you and your loved ones the best outcome and taking excellent care of you along the way. Fatal car accidents are some of the most heartbreaking life events, and your pain and suffering after experiencing a loss matters. You deserve care and you deserve justice.  

If you or someone you love needs help after a serious or fatal car accident, reach out to us anytime 24/7 at 844-308-8180 our caring and experienced team is standing by to answer your questions and get to work on your claim  

red light

Running a Red Light May Cost A Life 

The National Safety Council reported that were more than 40,000 traffic-related fatalities and 4.5 million traffic-related injuries on U.S. roads and highways in 2017. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimated that 132,000 of those traffic-related injuries were a result of red-light crashes. Red-light running is the leading cause for crashes in the United States. 1 in 3 Americans know someone who has been injured or killed in a red-light collision. Whether it be accidental or intentionalrunning red lights results in dangerous collisions, catastrophic injuries, and many deaths.   

Red Light Crash Statistics  

According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA), the number of people killed by drivers running red lights has hit a 10-year high, which is a 28% increase in the past 5 years (since 2012). 2 people are killed every day in the United States by impatient and reckless drivers who don’t stop for signals.  

The most recent crash data available shows that 939 people were killed by crashes involving red-light runners in 2017. Red-light running is responsible for 28% of crash deaths that occurred at intersections with traffic signals. Statistics show that nearly half (46%) of fatalities involved passengers or people in other vehicles, with more than 5% being cyclists or pedestrians. Just over 35% of those killed in red light crashes were the actual drivers who ran the red light.  

From 2011-2015 an average of… 

  • 719 people diedeach year in red-light running crashes. 
  • 60 people diedeach month in red-light running crashes. 
  • $390 million was lost in costs due to red-light running fatalities each month. 

The Rise in Red Light Runners 

Last year, some 3.7 million U.S. drivers received a violation for driving through a red light. With technology advancing, many red-light runners have reported “accidentally” blowing through these traffic lights due to a distractionRed-light running is often the result of distracted or aggressive driving and is 100% preventable. According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR), more red-light running tends to occur during peak summer driving periods such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.  

red light running violations

Red-Light Running Trends (data from 120 red-light camera programs in 2018) 

  • More drivers ran red lights in May than any other month  
  • More than 1.2 million red-light running violations occurred during the hours of 1-5pm. 
  • 661,005 drivers were cited for running red lights on Friday in 2018, making it the deadliest day for red-light running. 
  • Independence Day weekend moved up to the highest-ranked holiday travel period for red-light running.

Red Light Running Continues to be a Traffic Safety Challenge 

Drivers who decide to run a red light instead of choosing to stop safely, are making a reckless and irresponsible choice that puts other road users in danger. Between 2004-2016, an estimated 10,125 people were killed in red-light related crashes.  The AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index found that 93% of drivers view red-light running as extremely dangerous, yet 1 in 3 drivers (43%) say they had blown through a red light within the past 30 days. 2 in 5 drivers said that they felt it is unlikely they’ll be stopped by police for running a red light. However, running a red light is against the law, and if a driver is involved in a fatal crash, they may be sent to jail. 

Texas Red Light Cameras 

While police enforcement is the best way to get drivers to comply with any law, it is impossible to police every intersection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that when implemented properly, red-light cameras reduced the fatal red-light running crash rate in large cities by 21% and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at intersections with traffic signals by 14%. While cameras are heavily opposed by commuters for their fines, when cameras are in place, the odds that the red-light violator would be caught are increased, which discourages violators from taking the odds.  

Dallas Red Light Cameras 

Dallas, which housed 54 red-light cameras on 44 intersections, however, terminated its red-light camera program on June 1, 2019, when Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1631 into legislation prohibiting the use of red-light cameras in the State of Texas. The program was meant to improve public safety through increased enforcement of red-light laws and increase public awareness of the dangers of running red lights. Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Plano, and all surrounding cities have since turned off their cameras and no longer plan to issue tickets. The decision to remove red lights has been a source of controversy in the research community. Some suggested that red-light cameras were also responsible for fender benders due to drivers slamming on their brakes at a red light. Methodologies used to assess the effectiveness have varied and divided officials who argued that the lights circumvent due process did not demonstrably save lives, and exist as a revenue generator.  

Leon Valley (San Antonio Suburb) Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio, stated that moderate to major injuries went down 50% in Texas with the red-light program in place, however, in the first year of their programthe county still had 82,000 drivers run red lights. Data has showthat more than 80% of violators never get a second ticket. After Houston banned its red-light program back in 2010, fatal crashes in intersections rose by 30%, and overall crashes rose 116% according to data provided by the Houston Police Department. In 2015, Houston was named the most dangerous city for red-light running in the nation by the National Coalition for Safer Roads.   

Texas has been known for some of the nation’s deadliest roads. In 2017, it occurred in Texas. In Plano, a city of about 300,000, there was an average of 16 traffic crashes a day before the red-light program was established in 2006. Plano Police Department stated that accidents were reduced by 1/3 with the red-light program. The debate in Texas was dominated by drivers who felt victimized by getting tickets. However, the actual victims are those who are injured due to red-light crashes, and the effects are pretty devastating. Typically, the accidents are high-speed and often deadly. Most red-light accidents result in “T-bone” collisions which is the front-into-side of the carPut simply, in street safety, there is no fun answer.  

Red Light Running Top 10 TL

The Real Victims of Red-Light Crashes 

Adrienne Patterson, a victim pedestrian struck by a red-light, was running while trying to cross an intersection in Austin, TX in 2013 and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Patterson testified before the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation against the bill on red light camera ban stating, “Traumatic brain injury affects anxiety, coordination, socialization, exhaustion, personality, relationships, ability to function, depression, seizures, confusion, headaches, decision-making, contemplation, emotions, and vision. These are a few of the things I deal with on a daily basis”  

When a driver runs a red light, it is more likely to cause a significant injury than many other types of accidents due to the high-speeds involved and the un-prepared drivers crossing traffic that have a green light. “T-bone” or “angular” collisions often result in severe injuries and fatalities for the occupants on the side of the car that is hit. The front and rear-sides of the vehicle have significantly more protections that absorb the force of accidents, leaving passengers hit on the side more vulnerable with no 
crumple zones”. Small gaps separate the driver and passenger from a side impact, increasing the chances of catastrophic injuries.  

Call Dallas Personal Injury Attorneys at Thompson Law “Lion Law” 844-308-8180 

At least 2 innocent lives are lost every day due to the impatience and recklessness of other drivers. Our car accident lawyers do everything in their power to protect our children, families, and community from the dangerous behavior of red-light runners.  

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a negligent driver who ran a red light, you need the Lion on your side to fight for you! Don’t wait to get help. Thompson Law will get you set up with medical attention, even if you do not have health insurance and guide you through your road to recovery. Contact Thompson Law today at 844-308-8180 or on our online consultation form  to schedule a free consultation and discuss the circumstances of your accident and how we can help you!  

Water Park Accident

Amusement parks and water parks alike are a great way for families to spend time together and escape the summer heat. As water parks compete for business, more and more elaborate water slides and dangerous rides are created to provide a thrill for their customers. However, shortcuts are often taken in regard to a water park’s duty of care towards their patrons and a result, what is set to be a fun-filled day in the sun can suddenly become tragic.

Texas is home to some of the biggest water parks in the nation! There are around 1,300 water parks operated in the United States, and 85 million people visit them every year according to the World Waterpark Association. In 2015, 4,200 people visited the hospital for water park-related injuries with the most common injuries involving:

  • Fractures to Arms, Legs, or Extremities (18%)
  • Lacerations (18%)
  • Concussions or Head Injuries (15%)
  • Sprains to Arms, Legs, or Extremities (15%)
  • Contusions (6%)

While many people believe they are safe at waterparks, in July 2015, tragically one drowning for a least 3 near-drowning were reported at U.S. water parks. A review of safety data from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs stated that water slides are the biggest source of injuries among people at amusement parks. Out of the states 522 amusement ride incidents in the past 5 years, 122 of them happened on a water slide. Water rides in general, including lazy rivers, wave pools, surf rides, and water play areas accounted for 40% of all incidents. This may be due to the lack of restraints used in water rides unlike rollercoasters, where people are strapped in tightly.

2019 Texas Water Park Deaths

In recent news, two teens tragically died within days of each other at Splash Kingdom water parks in Texas and Louisiana. According to reports, a 19-year-old male died August 28, 2019 after being pulled from a pool at Splash Kingdom water park in Canton. His death came two days after a 13-year-old boy was discovered face-down in a swimming pool at their other location. The 19-year old was said to be riding the “Volcano” ride where the ride is shaped like a volcano and drops riders in a 10-foot pool.

Texas Amusement Park and Water Park Accidents

Did you know that the federal government does not monitor or regulate amusement parks? The amusement park industry and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions have prevented lawmakers from placing federal oversight of potentially hazardous rides. In Texas, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is responsible for overseeing inspections on of all amusement rides in all of its amusement parks, including water parks. The TDI mandates that amusement park owners and operators submit a quarterly injury report if any injuries occur that result in medical treatment or loss of life.

What Laws Protect Texas Water Park Visitors?

Although the TDI does conduct annual inspections, there is no state agency responsible for investigating accidents, even when they result in the death of a person. However, law enforcement officials can enter and inspect without notice at any time to ensure public safety and may immediately prohibit the operation of amusement park rides it is found to be an unsafe operation or non-compliance.

What makes water park accidents even more tragic is that many could have been prevented. The most common water park accidents and injuries include:

  • Drowning
  • Slip & Fall
  • Diving Injuries
  • Defective rides and attractions (falling off rides, back injuries, spinal injuries, entrapment, heart failure from physical/mental stress, etc.)
  • Collisions in rides
  • Exposure to over-chlorinated or contaminated water

The Red Cross offers tips specifically for water park safety.

A person or entity, who contributed to any injuries resulting from such accidents may be held liable for the injuries incurred. Examples of potential negligence in water parks include:

  • Polluted Water
  • Slippery and Uneven Surfaces
  • Improper Supervision of Rides/Attractions
  • Inexperienced Lifeguards
  • Understaffing
  • Poor Maintenance
  • Defective Design
  • Operation Errors
  • Inadequate Safety Equipment
  • Concessions Not Held to Health Code
  • Lack of Signage
  • Improper height and weight restrictions
  • Exposed Electrical Wires

Can I File A Claim Against A Water Park in Texas?

If you’ve been hurt at a water park, you can bring a claim against the park if the injury was caused by the direct action of a defective product, employee, unsafe zone or a defective ride under Texas premises liability law. You may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Physical Pain
  • Physical Limitations
  • Mental Anguish
  • Disfigurement

Compensation for Injured Water Park Patrons

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed at a Texas water park, then it is important to consult with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth water park injury lawyer. The board-certified personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Thompson Law Firm offer all water park and amusement park victims and their families a free, no-obligation consultation at  817-803-4610.

Car seat failure

Child safety seat laws have changed over the years, and children under the age of eight years ride in a child safety seat as opposed to using a seatbelt alone. Additional clarity is provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which states that children should be in rear-facing seats until they reach 2 years of age. After that point, they can transition to forward-facing safety seats until they are 4 years old (or exceed the upper height and weight limit of the seat). After age 4 and 40+ pounds and possess the behavioral maturity to properly use a shoulder belt, children can transition to a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt, which they should use until the adult lap and shoulder belt fit them properly without a booster (typically age 10-12).

Parents often spend time and resources scouring the internet for consumer reviews to find the ideal seat to protect their children in the event of a crash. However, infant car seats are not always perfect, as is evidenced by the various car seat recalls.

Child-related motor vehicle accidents statistics

  • Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 663 deaths of children under the age of 12 years in 2015
  • One in every five kids who die in motor vehicle accidents are not restrained properly
  • The child death rate in Texas in 2015 was at 51 deaths per 100,000 kids
  • The leading cause of child-related deaths in Texas is motor vehicle crashes
  • Most motor vehicle child fatalities which occurred in Texas in 2014 and 2015 were preventable

While a properly manufactured car seat can keep your child safe in the unfortunate event that an accident happens, a defective one can lead to severe injuries or even death. You should not bear the consequences of a defective car seat. This is why you should consult a personal injury lawyer who will evaluate your case and address your concerns regarding defective car seats.

Common car seat defects

Whether your child is secured in a child car seat or a booster seat, there is a range of issues that can pose serious risks to your child in the event of a collision. Some of the most common defects include:

  • Defective buckles and latches – a child could unfasten poorly designed buckles and latches, or they could come loose on impact. Buckles and latches that are too tight may make it difficult to rescue a child
  • Inadequate padding – the padding in a car seat is meant to minimize or alleviate head injuries in case of an accident. Inadequate padding could lead to severe head injuries or even traumatic brain injury
  • Defective adjusters – when you cannot adjust the straps due to defective strap adjusters, your child is at risk of sustaining strap-related injuries such as strangulation
  • Improperly placed chest clip – if the chest clip is placed too low, the child may be ejected from the vehicle on impact
  • Defective carry handles – many car seats double up as an infant carrier. When carry handles give way unexpectedly, the car seat may pitch forward or even fall
  • Poor installation instructions – although this is not exactly a defect, poorly worded and unclear instructions put your child at the risk of sustaining injuries if you install the car seat incorrectly

Common defective car seat injuries

Unfortunately, you may not know if you have a defective car seat until or unless you are in a wreck. Some of the most common injuries sustained by children due to defective car seats include:

  • skull fractures
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • spinal cord injuries (SCI)
  • strangulation
  • death

What do I do if I suspect I have a defective car seat?

If you believe your car seat is defective, visit www.recalls.gov to find out whether the brand’s model has been recalled. If so, the manufacturer is supposed to fix or replace it. If it has not been recalled, report the problem to the manufacturer as well as the NHTSA to find out what other steps you need to take. People who register their new car seats will be informed in case there’s ever a recall. Under no circumstances should you use a car seat you suspect is defective.

Who is responsible for injuries sustained due to car seat failure?

Injuries sustained due to car seat failure in Texas are often governed by product liability laws. Therefore, you can file for a claim from the manufacturer, distributor, or even the retailer. To prove manufacturer liability, the car seat must have been installed and used as per manufacturer instructions. You must also not have altered the car seat from the condition it left the factory. You may also file a lawsuit against the manufacturer for failure to provide sufficient instructions or consumer warnings. The distributor and retailers may be held liable if your personal injury lawyer proves that they knowingly sold a defective car seat.

Contact Thompson Law Attorneys

If you think your child has sustained injuries due to a defective car seat, contact the experienced Thompson Law Attorneys at 844-308-8180. Our robust team of investigators and attorneys are available round the clock and will come to you for a free case review. Our successful track record in handling car seat failure lawsuits speaks for itself. We will work towards compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, long-term care, among other losses.

Worker Fatality Lawyer

Texas workers are more likely to die than workers in any other state

While the state of Texas may be a strong economic engine, growth does not tell the whole story. More workers die here than in any other state. Federal data concluded that a Texas worker is 12% more likely to be killed on the job than someone doing the same job elsewhere. Over a 10-year period, 4,593 Texas workers died, and in 2016 alone, there were 545 deaths reported to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Data from 2017 found that every 16 hours, a worker in Texas died on the job. The causes of death ranged from asphyxiation, electrocution, exposure to toxins, falls, heat stroke, automobile collisions and equipment malfunctions.

According to a report by Houston-based Fe y Justicia Worker Center, from February 2017 through March 2019 workers reported an alarming $1.36 million in stolen wages, along with health and safety violations ranging from lack of bathroom breaks to amputations from flesh-eating bacteria. This report stated that Texas’ largest city (Houston) saw more worker deaths than either the Los Angeles or Chicago metro areas.

Some accidents are nearly impossible to anticipate or prevent. The issue with Texas workforce deaths, however, is that half of the deaths reported are 100% preventable. The death toll concluded from workers dying on the job exceeds the number of murders in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin combined. Falling from roofs, asphyxiations, and dying in trenches are completely preventable tragedies. The report by the Justicia Worker Center pointed to policy failures in Texas. Here, only Dallas and Austin have passed local ordinances mandating breaks for construction workers. In other cities, bosses are not required to provide rest breaks, even with the extreme heat.

Dallas Work-Related Deaths

In recent years, fatal accidents in North Texas have been rising with accidents ranging from a worker falling through a 50 ft skylight in Celina to a worker tragically dying from heat exhaustion while roofing in blistering hot 100-degree weather. An analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Department (OSHA) data reported that from January 1, 2017, to September 24, 2018; 52 people died in the construction industry, 77 workers in the landscaping industry, and 64 in the roofing industry.

 

Dangerous Jobs in Texas

Workplace fatalities can occur in any industry, but some are more prevalent than others. Statistics regarding on-the-job-deaths provide insight on the hazardous conditions that certain workers face every day.

According to the TDI, in 2017 the industry subsectors in Texas that experienced the highest number of fatal occupational industries were trade, transportation, and utilities with a combined 148 incidents, which accounted for 28% of all incidents. This is an increase from 2016 in both the total number of incidents (140) and percent of total incidents (26%). The industry with the second-highest number of fatal work injuries was construction with 133 incidents, which accounted for 25% of all incidents.

With economic growth comes more construction projects. In fact, construction plays a huge role in Texas’ booming economy. However, Texas construction sites are 22% more deadly than the national average. 40% of Texas’ excess death total was in specialty construction trades, such as roofers and electricians. Most of these specialty tradesmen are treated as independent contractors, leaving them responsible for their own training and safety equipment.

Higher death rates among workers who are considered “independent contractors” are no coincidence. Companies hiring independent contractors are not held to the same standard of accountability for the safety of their workplace and OSHA does not investigate workplace deaths involving independent contractors.

The Texas System

Texas is considered the “Wild West” and that applies in all aspects, including the culture here. Political agendas are against overregulation, favoring free-enterprise. Simply put, many Texans do not want to be told how to work or how to manage the workplace. Texas is one of the hardest places to organize unions and ranks the 4th lowest union representation in the country, which typically promote work safety. Along with this, the state has no occupational safety inspection agency.

The Texas Tribune reported that at a half-million Texas workers have no occupational insurance coverage, either from state-approved workers’ compensation plans or from the private equivalent. Although people who suffer from workplace accidents can sue employers who have no workers’ compensation insurance, many times, there is no one to sue and no money to recover.

Texas Employee Fatality Demographics (2017)

  • Men accounted for 93% of work fatalities
  • 45% of occupational fatal injuries happened to employees between the ages of 45-64
  • 45% White (Non-Hispanic), 41% Hispanic or Latino, 11% Black or African-American, 2% Asian
  • 83% of fatal work-injuries involved wage and salary employees and 17% Self-Employed

Top Causes of Death

1ST TRANSPORTATION ACCIDENTS are the leading cause of fatal work injuries, accounting for a whopping 45% of deaths.

2ND FALLS, SLIPS & TRIPS

3RD CONTACT WITH OBJECT AND EQUIPMENT

worker fatalities graph

Workers Compensation in Texas

Texas is the only state that doesn’t require workers’ compensation insurance for private employers. This results in employers not being held liable for the well-being of their employees. If you are injured at work, it is important to retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to check your employer’s status as a subscriber or non-subscriber and help determine the compensatory process.

Can I Hold My Employer Liable?

After a work-related death or injury, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation. While this is the general rule, there are several instances where you may be able to recoup other damages including:

  • Defective Products
  • Employer Negligence
  • No Worker’ Compensation Insurance
  • 3rd Party Caused Injury
  • Toxic Substances

Employer Negligence Includes:

  • Bad Hiring
  • Inadequate Training
  • Retention
  • Poor Supervision

Worker Fatality Lawyers. We will fight for You! Call (844) 308-8180

At Thompson Law, we fight for families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of an employer. We know there is nothing more painful than losing a loved one, especially while on the job. At work, you are supposed to be protected and you fully expect your spouse, child or parent to come home safe every day. While some compensation is recoverable through a workers’ compensation claim, this will never be enough to truly cover the extent of your loss.

If your loved one has lost their life while on the job, our team of wrongful death attorneys will help you fight to protect the interests of your family. We will investigate all circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one and provide aggressive legal representation to make sure that the employer is held accountable. You need a law lion to protect you! Contact Thompson Law for a free consultation at (844) 308-8180.

We serve injured workers nationwide. We are available to speak 24/7 365 to discuss your legal options. No appointment is necessary during normal business hours. We have bilingual staff members available to assist our Spanish-speaking clients

Swimming pool accidents safety guide

Drowning is the #1 Leading Cause of Unintentional Death Worldwide

In the summer, children and adults alike head to the pool to cool off and relax. As fun as the pool can be, pools also pose a serious risk. Pool accidents can occur anywhere from private pools, to public pools, hotels, motels, parks, water parks, and more. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death worldwide, with an average of 372,000 deaths reported annually. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that every day, around 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, 2 are children aged 14 or younger.

Drowning Myths

Most people are under the false assumption that pools are safe unless someone is engaging in horseplay, swimming while intoxicated, or misusing the pool. While these activities certainly pose hazardous risks, most accidental drowning cases occur when the pool is not actively being used. Drowning can happen in the blink of an eye and often happens very quietly. Many people envision scenarios of people flailing around in the water and screaming for help as shown in the movies; however, this is rarely what is seen in real life. Most drowning victims slip beneath the water quickly and quietly and don’t have the ability to motion or yell for help.

Swimming Pool Accident Statistics

Did you know a child can drown in the time that it takes to answer a phone? In fact, a child can be submerged within 10 seconds. After 2 minutes a person can lose consciousness and while the time varies, a person can drown in 4-6 minutes. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that for every child who drowns, 4 are hospitalized for near-drowning. Children who require CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) at the time they arrive at the emergency room have a poor prognosis, with at least half of these drowning survivors suffering significant lifelong neurological impairment. The National Safety Council reported that each year 5,000 children under the age of 14 are hospitalized for near-drowning events, and of these 20% suffer severe permanent disabilities. Healthcare costs for each near-drowning situation range from $75,000 for emergency room visits to $180,000 annually for long-term care.

Types of Swimming Pool Injuries

Drowning, however, is not the only cause of personal injuries at the pool. Swimming pools have been known for causing other significant injuries such as:

  • Slip & Falls – the most common swimming pool-related accident, often caused by dangerous behavior and slippery surfaces
  • Submersion Injuries- Near-drowning accidents can lead to long-term disabilities, including learning and disabilities and memory problems.
  • Pool slide injuries- slide malfunctions can result in catastrophic bodily injuries
  • Pool toy entrapment – tangled or flipped inflatable pool toys have been known to trap young children underwater or make it impossible for swimmers to escape
  • Defective pool toys- toys which fail to function properly can endanger swimmers and can pose serious safety issues
  • Diving board injuries – misuse of or malfunctioning diving boards can lead to catastrophic injuries
  • Drain injuries – suction force from pool drains can lead to drowning or traumatic bodily injuries if a body part or hair covers a drain portal
  • Hair entrapment – suction force can lead to hair entrapment, leading to serious head injuries or drowning
  • Electric defects – water and electricity can lead to fatal or devastating injuries

Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

Swimming pool accidents and drownings often result from things such as disregarding warning signs or swimmer inexperience. However, swimming pool accidents can also result from negligence on the part of the swimming pool operator or owner. Some common causes of negligence in swimming pool accidents include:

  • Lack of Proper Supervision – in public pools, a lifeguard must be on duty at all times that people are inside the pool. If there is no lifeguard, the pool owner and operator must place a sign warning people. If lifeguards are on duty, they are responsible for watching for any dangers and keeping swimmers safe. Lifeguard who are distracted can lead to tragic consequences.
  • Lack of Anti-entrapment Devices – all swimming pools should have devices in place that protect swimmers from the pool drains. If the proper devices are not installed, then the swimmer is at risk of their hair, clothing, or limbs being caught by the drainage system.
  • Lack of Proper Barriers – proper barriers are essential in preventing children and those who cannot swim from the dangers that a pool presents. Barriers can prevent drownings and should be at least 4ft high and not have any openings big enough for a child to slip and fall in. Pool barriers should also include locks.
  • Uneven or Excessively Slippery Surfaces – the area around the swimming pool is also dangerous, often wet and slippery. Some surfaces such as tile can be excessively slippery and lead to slip and fall accidents. Cracked or uneven pavement and surfaces in and out of the pool can also lead to catastrophic injuries. Proper precautions should be taken to minimize slip and fall accidents around the pool.

Liability in Swimming Pool Accidents

The National Safety Council stated that 80% of drowning occur in residential pools or spas. Those that own and operate swimming pools are responsible for ensuring that the pool is a safe place for all who swim in it. Preventing accidental drownings and personal injuries from happening in a private pool is a full-time job and is the responsibility of the owner. While public pools have lifeguard around the pool to warn swimmers of potential dangers, the most dangerous situations typically arise when no one is in the pool and there is nobody to supervise.

No matter what, the owner of the pool is the person responsible and held liable for providing a safe environment for both adults and children inside and outside of the pool. The homeowner is also responsible for being proactive in accident prevention and ensuring proper pool maintenance. If a homeowner does not want to take adequate measures to prevent unsupervised or unwanted individuals from accessing the pool, they will end up assuming liability if an accident occurs.

Call Thompson Law

Seeking compensation after a catastrophic pool accident requires the skill of an attorney who has specialized knowledge in this area of personal injury law. Attorney Ryan L. Thompson has spent his career protecting the rights of the injured and their families, helping them recover and receive compensation after drowning and other injury accidents.

At Thompson Law, we’ve helped countless families that have been affected by swimming pool accidents. Our team of experienced Texas personal injury attorneys are familiar with the damage that these accidents can cause. If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, contact us today at 844-308-8180

Swimming pool premises liability guide

What You Need to Know About Premises Liability and Swimming Pools

Summer is the perfect time for families and friends to enjoy the great outdoors and take advantage of the pool. Texas has many miles of Gulf coastline, rivers, lakes, waterparks, and swimming pools. Swimming is one of the most popular athletic activities in the US, especially in the blistering hot Texas summers. However, this does not come without a cost; Texas is currently #1 in the nation for the most pool drowning deaths. Texas property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises in a safe and hazard-free condition and to remedy any known dangers in a timely manner to prevent accidents from happening. If you are planning on hosting a cookout or pool party, it is your duty to inspect your property and be alert for potential hazards as well as to provide responsible pool ownership and maintenance.

Swimming pools are notoriously dangerous, especially for young children. Before anyone gets near a pool, it is important to make sure that everyone can swim. Texas property owners must take special care to address potential swimming pool accident liability. If a property owner does not take proper steps to ensure that their pool is legally compliant and secured or provide appropriate supervision of swimmers in the pool, they could be held liable for any injuries that occur.

Drowning Statistics in Texas

Drowning is the number two cause of accidental death in children ages 15 and under (behind vehicle accidents). For adults, it’s the 5th leading cause of accidental death.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 3 children lose their lives daily due to drowning, and if they manage to survive, the oxygen starvation results in life-altering injuries. According to a report by Soundings, approximately 750 children will drown next year, and about 375 of them will be within 25 meters of a parent or other adult. In 10% of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, but have no idea it is happening.

For those that survive, recovery from drowning could last a lifetime. When drowning, oxygen stops flowing to the brain and brain cells begin to die, causing the brain to swell against the skull which then leads to the loss of consciousness. According to research done by Phoenix Children’s Hospital between 5 and 20% of drowning survivors often experience brain trauma that results in the inability to walk, speak or even feed themselves.

What Causes Swimming Pool Accidents?

Swimming pool accidents are always preventable. Some of the most common causes of swimming pool accidents include:

  • No lifeguard on duty or absence of lifeguard
  • Overcrowding
  • Lack of marking and restraints to section off the deep-water section of the pool
  • Lack of restricted access (ie. No fencing or gates)
  • Malfunction of pool
  • Missing safety equipment
  • Negligent pool maintenance

Premises Liability and Swimming Pool Accidents in Texas

The state of Texas premise liability law makes it easy for a person injured in an accident on another person’s property to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the property owner. These laws apply for both commercial establishments such as public swimming pools as well as personal residences. Although premises liability law is complex and contains legal nuances, it generally requires a property owner to warn guests of dangerous conditions on their property that they know of or to repair them.

What is the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine and How Does it Affect Me?

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is a legal principle that makes it possible for a trespasser to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a property owner under certain circumstances. While the claim is typically difficult, it is easier when the child is the trespasser who was injured or killed by the hazard. As long as the child lacks the ability to recognize the potential dangers of hazards such as an unguarded swimming pool, the child may be entitled to compensation for trespassing on to your premises to your unguarded swimming pool if an accident occurs.

How Can I Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents?

The best way to deal with swimming pool accidents is to prevent them from happening in the first place. We have put together prevention tips to ensure that you are safe from accidental drownings.

  • Learn life-saving skills – Learn how to swim and teach your children how to swim. It is important for everyone to know the basics of swimming (moving through the water, floating, swimming) and CPR.
  • Restrict Access – if you have a pool, install a four-sided fence around your backyard swimming pool with childproof locks to prevent slip and fall accidents or accidental drownings. This will help to keep children away from the area when there is no one there to watch them.
  • Always have a life jacket – kids should always wear life jackets around natural bodies of water, even if they know how to swim. Life jackets can also be used for in and around swimming pools for weak swimmers.
  • Be aware – when kids are near or in water (including bathtubs) make sure they are supervised at all times. Drowning happens quietly and quickly. Kids can also drown in “kiddie pools”. 57.2% of pool diving accidents occur in water 4ft deep or less.

What Happens if the Victim in a Swimming Pool Accident was Negligent?

Often, the person killed or injured in a swimming pool accident has been negligent themselves. Examples of negligence include; swimming while intoxicated, swimming alone after a pool has been closed, or engaging in horseplay around or in the pool. Under Texas law, the person who was partially responsible for their own injuries may still recover damages, as long as the victim was less than 51 percent responsible. However, the damages recovered will be reduced based on the percentage of fault credited to the victim.

Swimming Pool Accident Injuries

Drowning is not the only risk involved in pool accidents. Other common causes of swimming pool-related injuries include:

  • Slip and fall accidents on wet surfaces surrounding the pool
  • Diving board and slide accidents
  • Injuries from contact with drains, pumps, motors, Polaris, and other equipment

Pool accidents can lead to concussions, broken bones, spinal cord injuries and even drowning deaths. Often, victims of swimming pool accidents require long-term medical care. Along with emergency hospitalization, victims of near-drowning injuries or spinal cord injuries frequently are transferred to other medical facilities and rehabs for continued treatment. In many cases, pool accidents result in severe brain damage and permanent disabilities, requiring ongoing rehabilitation and in-home care.

Does Insurance Cover Swimming Pool Liability?

While a homeowner’s insurance policy may offer coverage for a pool, any sort of coverage, even the most inclusive policy a homeowner can purchase, is not going to be enough to protect them should you or a child be seriously injured in the pool. Typically, pool owners are required to obtain a separate insurance policy for swimming pool liability, or an umbrella policy for the home, which would provide enough coverage for most accidents. Legal action may be required depending on the nature of the swimming pool accident and the willingness or the insurance company to pay for the damages sustained.

At Thompson Law, we understand what you are going through and have represented hundreds of clients going through this. You are not alone, and we are here to help you fight for the settlement you deserve. We have a record of success holding negligent parties and their insurers accountable. You can rely on us to aggressively pursue your case while you focus on what matters most, healing. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a swimming pool accident, call us today at 844-308-8180

Police Report

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 people die daily from road accidents. However, not every accident is fatal. Although some of the most common vehicle accidents are minor and do not result in any injuries, it is important to be prepared after any wreck. In fact, what you do within the first ten minutes after an accident can severely impact your life. After an accident, the parties involved might decide to not call the police. They only exchange pertinent information regarding the accident so that everyone can consult with their insurance companies. But what happens if there are costly repairs involved and no police report to prove who was at fault?

What does the law say?

Although most states require that you report the car accident immediately, filing a police report largely depends on the state you are in. For instance, in Texas, you are required to file the crash report if the accident results in fatal injuries, death, or property damage worth $1,000 or more. Failing to file the crash report could result in serious repercussions including penalties of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment. Some insurance policies even require that the motorists file a police report within 24 hours of the accident. While filing a police report is not required all the time, leaving the scene of an accident without filing one (even if both drivers agree to) might result in a lower insurance payout to you. However, some drivers may decide not to file a police or crash report for the following reasons:

  • Police absence – you will not get a police report if they were not called. As a rule, you should call the police even if no one involved is hurt. This is the only way to get a law enforcement officer to inspect the wreck and fill out the necessary reports.
  • There are no significant damages – even in the presence of a police officer, you might opt not to report any damages that are less than $1,000. The officer may only facilitate the exchange of pertinent personal and insurance information between the parties involved and help you complete the crash report.
  • If no one is hurt
  • If the accident happened in a private property

What happens if I fail to file a police report?

After an accident, it is common for all parties involved to be shaken up. It is also likely that the details and facts surrounding the accident are somewhat cloudy even a day or two after the accident. Besides, some injuries may manifest in the hours or days after the accident.  Injuries such as concussions and/or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) do not manifest immediately after a motor vehicle accident, these type of injuries can be subtle and may take days for a person to realize they incurred them if they do not seek medical attention right away.

An ideal situation in which you do not need to file a police report for, would be if the damage was minor, no injuries occurred, and all parties involved were licensed and fully insured. However, the problem often arises after when people have had time to think about the accident and have different versions of the incident they relay to insurance companies.

Many drivers do not think they need a police report immediately after the accident occurs, but it is important to consider that as soon as everyone leaves the scene, it may be too late for a police report. Without a police report, the chances are high that the other driver may sue you for damages to their vehicles or medical problems sustained after the accident. Unless you thoroughly document any evidence, it will be your word against the other party’s. However, an experienced attorney will be able to prove your case even without a police report.

Failing to file a police report can significantly impact your ability to obtain reimbursement for monetary damages for your injury and damage to your vehicle. Many times, auto insurance companies will not even provide a rental car until liability has been determined. Insurance companies will make any excuse they can to deny or delay rightful and just claims. However, if you do not obtain a police report, it is important to consider other methods to prove your case.

Alternate ways of proving your case in the absence of a police report

While a police report provides clarity on what happened, it is only treated as a third party account in a court of law. They are not an instrument of justice as they are only a combination of facts and opinions. While the location, date, and time of the accidents are facts, the rest, including the assignment of fault is the police officer’s opinion. Although police reports are useful during the negotiation of settlements, they are not always admissible in a court of law.

If you did not obtain a police report after your accident, an attorney can help you prove your case through the following ways:

Third-party witnesses

Often, the parties involved in the accident disagree about the chain of events that led to the accident and who was at fault. However, in most cases, there are third-party witnesses who saw what happened. After an accident, make sure you note down the details of the eyewitnesses.

Video recording from surveillance or traffic cameras

As the world becomes more and more digitized, it is most likely that the accident was captured by surveillance, traffic, or even a cell phone camera. Many drivers now have dash cameras installed in their vehicle which can record up to a 360-degree view of what happens to not only them but to other vehicles on the road. A video recording provides accurate details of what happened without having to rely on a third party’s perception of what happened. We will go to any lengths to obtain any available video recordings to help you prove your case.

The car itself

In the absence of a police report, the car itself may be considered sufficient evidence. Therefore, take photos of any physical damages and debris caused by the collision. We have a team of experts who can establish the extent of damage to your car and examine any evidence at the accident scene. These experts also assess your physical injuries to prove what exactly happened during the accident.

Accident scene recreation

Using witnesses’ statements and photos of the accident scene, our firm has the resources to recreate the accident scene exactly as it happened. Juries usually find evidence from such quite compelling.

What happens if the other driver is not willing to wait for the police or the police are not able to come?

In some instances, the police may take too long to arrive or they may not come at all. Sometimes, the other driver may pressure you to leave the scene without contacting the police. If they refuse to wait and there is nothing you can do to make them stay at the scene, consider asking the other drive to provide a recorded video statement or written statement in exchange. If given a written statement, be sure that the statement is signed and dated. Any statement provided should include a description of how the accident happened and acceptance of responsibility for having cause the auto accident.

As with any accident, document the scene. Take pictures and videos, especially if the other driver refuses to wait for the police. Take a photograph of the other driver, his insurance, and his vehicle (including the license plate). The more documentation you can provide, the easier it is to settle a case.

Can I file an insurance claim without the police report?

While you do not need a police report when making a claim with your insurance company, it can speed up the process. Without a police report, it is hard for your insurer to prove your word. Thus, they might be unwilling to pay the full claim amount.

A police report backs up your claim, especially if you claim the other party was at fault. The report provides details on how the accident occurred, who was responsible according to the police, visible damage to the vehicles, and injuries on the parties involved.

If you were injured, a police report protects your right to receive medical care. Your insurance company may delay or deny compensating you for the medical expenses for injuries sustained from an accident they cannot verify.

Why involve an attorney after an accident?

If you are filing a personal injury claim and you have no police report of the accident, you need solid legal guidance from experienced attorneys. We have handled quite a number of cases without police reports. Our highly trained and knowledgeable law experts will ensure that you are rightfully compensated.

Have you been involved in a car accident lately and didn’t file a police report? Get a legal lion on your case. Led by Ryan “The Lion” Thompson and our able team of attorneys we can help you prove your case. Contact us today at 844-308-8180 and explore the legal options available to you.

wrongful death

When someone dies as a result of an accident of some kind, the family may have a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are heard in civil court. The claim is filed by the surviving family member in order to receive compensation because of the death. In Texas, wrongful death lawsuits must usually be filed within two years of the death. Wrongful Death Suit can be hard to prove. It’s important that you rely on an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

One of the most common questions Thompson Law is asked is who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Texas law, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by the spouse, parent, or child of the victim. The siblings of the deceased are not eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

In Texas, a spouse is defined by state and common law. Even if you were separated at the time the wrongful death occurred, you may still be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Any biological child of the deceased may be eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, any child who was formally adopted by the deceased is also eligible under Texas law to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their adoptive parent (but not their biological parent).

Biological parents may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased child. An adoptive parent may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their adopted child. However, the biological parent of the adopted child does not have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim. Even if parents are divorced, they may still bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased child.

Grandparents in the State of Texas do not have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

In Texas, there are two elements you must prove to have a successful wrongful death claim. First, you must prove that you are the statutory beneficiary of the deceased. This means that you have the legal right under Texas law to bring a wrongful death claim. You are the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. Second, you must prove that the defendant or defendants acted in a negligent way that caused the death of your loved one.

Serious Accidents That Cause Wrongful Death in Texas

Serious accidents in Texas that most often cause wrongful death include, but are not limited to:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Industrial accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Chemical leaks or explosions
  • ATV accidents
  • Medical malpractice

Free Case Evaluation

If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, call Thompson Law us toll-free at 866-293-4768, in Dallas at 214-444-4444, or in Fort Worth at 817-444-4444. You’re eligible to receive a free case evaluationCALL THE FOURS! We can help you determine whether you have a civil wrongful death claim. If so, we can help you protect your legal rights.

wrongful death

Wrongful death is defined as the death of a person as a result of the wrongful act of another person. When a wrongful death occurs, the family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for their loss.

Texas Wrongful Death Statute

In Texas, there is a statute that defines wrongful death as the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” that causes the death of a person. Wrongful death is a civil action. Common wrongful death claims involve drunk driving, car accidents, manslaughter, negligence, assault and battery, and murder.

Wrongful death lawsuits have a statute of limitations in Texas. Under the Texas wrongful death statute, a person has only 2 years to file a wrongful death claim from the date of the death unless it meets one of the exceptions:

  1. The plaintiff of the wrongful death lawsuit is a minor child.
  2. Negligence of the named defendants wasn’t known during that 2-year period.
  3. A mental or physical impairment of the plaintiff prevented filing during the 2-year period.
  4. Fraud.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

In Texas, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. If you want to file a wrongful death claim, you must meet at least one of these criteria:

  1. You are the surviving spouse.
  2. You are a surviving child (adult or minor).
  3. You are the surviving parent(s).
  4. You are a legally adopted child of the deceased.
  5. You are the surviving adoptive parent(s).
  6. You are the personal representative of the estate of the deceased.

It’s important to mention again that a wrongful death claim is a civil matter. You may file a wrongful death claim regardless of whether criminal charges are ever filed against the defendant.

Damages in a Texas Wrongful Death Claim

There are two broad categories of damages that the surviving spouse, child, or parents of the deceased may be entitled to receive. The first category helps you recover damages that the deceased may be owed from the moment of their death that resulted from a negligent act. This may be medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering for the deceased, lost wages, and funeral and burial expenses.

The second broad category deals with the losses that the survivors incurred as a result of the wrongful death. This may include lost earning capacity, lost support and care, mental and emotional pain and suffering, loss of comfort and companionship, and lost inheritance.

Additionally, Texas wrongful death claims may also award exemplary damages. Exemplary damages have the goal of making an example out of the defendant. Exemplary damages may be recovered if the death was caused by a willful act or omission, or as a result of gross negligence.

Proving Negligence

Negligence is the main legal element that must be proven in a wrongful death claim. When someone is negligent, it means that they did something that they shouldn’t have done or that they did not do something that they should have done. There are four elements that the plaintiff’s wrongful death attorney must prove:

  1. A legal duty was owed. For instance, all drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles without being intoxicated.
  2. The legal duty was breached. Continuing with the example, someone is drunk and gets behind the wheel.
  3. The breach of duty caused an actual injury. Injuries can be physical, including death. It can also include property damage to the vehicle.
  4. There must be monetary damages that occur. This could be hospital bills, surgeries, loss of work, and even loss of inheritance.

Do You Have Questions about Wrongful Death Claims in Texas?

When someone you love dies because of the negligence of another person, it can be a hurtful and scary time. It can be hard to make decisions or know what you should do. If you have questions about wrongful death claims in Texas, call us. We’ve got answers. Our compassionate and experienced wrongful death attorneys can help you understand the laws and provide free case evaluations.

If you or a loved one are involved in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Thompson Law in Dallas at 214-444-4444 or Fort Worth at 817-444-4444. We offer clients a free case evaluation and will help you get the proper medical treatment and compensation for your suffering. Call us 24/7 at 866-275-6370 or 214-919-5860.

Thompson Law’s Guarantee

Thompson Law offers free case reviews to every potential client so we can help you determine the best legal approach to pursue. We receive no attorney fees and you pay no legal expenses unless you get compensated for your accident.

Thompson Law’s personal injury lawyers and their legal teams treat every client with respect, empathy, and compassion. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as every case is unique and different. Our firm won 10 of the top 50 settlements in Texas in 2020, including the 2nd and 3rd largest personal injury settlements in the State. We can help you, too.

State law limits the time to file a claim following a personal injury accident. If you have been injured, call now for the help you need.