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Wrongful Death

Friday, September 15, 2017

2 Boy Scouts killed, 1 hurt in East Texas boating accident

Who May Be Found Liable For These Tragic Losses?

On a Saturday afternoon some young men were on a trip with their Boy Scout troop learning to sail when the unthinkable happened.  As their boat sailed beneath some low-hanging power lines, the boat made contact and two of the young men were electrocuted; a third was seriously injured.  Incidents like this one that result in the unexpected loss of such young lives are followed by shock and grief, as well as endless questions as family and loved ones try to sort out what happened.
Read more . . .

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Far-Reaching Impact of Wrongful Death on Families

Q: Who can sue for wrongful death?

When a loved one is killed, the emotional burden on those left behind is unbearable. In addition, close surviving relatives are often left with significant financial burdens due to the unexpected loss.

When a victim dies as a result of the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions or inactions of another person or entity, certain close surviving relatives may be entitled to commence a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.
Read more . . .

Friday, March 31, 2017

College Softball Team’s Parents Sue after Deadly Bus and Truck Accident

Q: Are tractor-tractor drivers and trucking companies subject to additional safety regulations?

They lived life and played together. And they died together.

On the way home to Texas from a scrimmage one night, a horrific truck accident occurred between a tractor-trailer and a bus carrying the North Central Texas College Girls Softball team.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Texas Judge Dismisses Defective Tire Suit Before Trial

What must plaintiffs do to ensure that an accident case can move forward?

Accident cases involving defective automobile tires are not uncommon, and sometimes they result in verdicts in the millions of dollars. But not always. When a horrific vehicular accident occurs, it may not be enough to name a tire company as a defendant. A recent summary judgment in Texas suggests that the plaintiff didn't do quite enough to establish that a tire defect might have been the cause of the car wreck.

The plaintiff in the case claimed that a Michelin LTX tire failed catastrophically, causing a 2000 Ford Expedition to crash.

Read more . . .

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Surviving Family Members of Horrific Houston Hotel Fire File Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Texas, wrongful death laws allow surviving family members the opportunity to seek justice against the individual(s) responsible for the death of their loved one. While no amount of money can bring back a beloved family member, wrongful death laws help ensure the at-fault party does not escape the duty to redress the victim’s injuries simply because he or she succumbed to the severity of the trauma.

In May 2013, a five-alarm fire at a Houston-area Southwest Hotel led to unspeakable tragedy – and now, families are seeking answers. On that day, first responders from several local fire companies responded to calls of a rapidly growing blaze at the hotel. Problem was, firefighters in the Houston Fire Department were also battling defective and malfunctioning radio communications systems – despite the fact the city just spent $140 million on the new digital devices.

Tragically, four firefighters were killed on that day, allegedly due to the fact their colleagues could not pinpoint their location. As a result, the victims became trapped beneath falling ceiling materials, creating an even more treacherous hazard as high winds caused the flames to grow quickly.

According to the details of the lawsuit, the families have named Motorola – maker of the devices – as well as five other companies involved in the installation and maintenance of the digital system. As a result of the failures, other firefighters involved in the blaze were required to use hand signals to try and communicate with their comrades – a fatal combination.

The lawsuit specifically claims that the defects caused radio communications to “drop out” whenever another firefighter attempted to use the devices – resulting in an alleged 339 dropped communications during the first half hour of the Houston hotel blaze.

If you are a surviving loved one of someone tragically killed due to the negligence or reckless misconduct of another person, you should consult with a personal injury attorney with expertise in wrongful death claims.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Texarcana Bar Sued Following DUI Fatality

Can a bar or bartender face liability for serving an intoxicated patron who then causes an auto accident or alcohol-related injury?

Under Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, the provision, service or sale of alcoholic beverages may be a statutory cause of action for an individual injured or killed as a result of such over-service. However, the statute contains several requirements in order for a bartender or establishment to face liability, including:

  • At the time the sale of alcohol occurred, the patron was obviously intoxicated “to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others”
  • The intoxication of the individual was a proximate cause of the resulting accident or injury.

To explain these principles more clearly, a bartender or bar can face liability only if the patron is obviously drunk at the time of the service – a fact-based determination that will require the input and deliberation of a jury based on eye witness testimony and/or surveillance footage. From there, the plaintiff must also prove that the bartender’s over-service of the patron was the proximate cause of the resulting injury, meaning there were no other intervening forces at work that could have caused the accident.

On September 14, 2015, the surviving family members of an individual killed as a result of a DUI-related auto accident launched a wrongful death lawsuit against Texarcana’s Hopkins Ice House, the bar’s owners, and the individual having caused the accident – who is already serving a 20-year prison sentence for assault and manslaughter.

According to the complaint, the intoxicated driver was served 20 beers and 5 mixed drinks on September 28, 2013 into September 29, 2013. He then got behind the wheel of his Jeep and ran a red light, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. Two of the passengers in that vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third suffered permanent, irreversible brain damage. Immediately following the crash, the driver’s blood alcohol content was .301 – nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08.

If you were recently injured in an automobile accident and would like to discuss your options under Texas law with an attorney experienced in this area of law, please contact the Sawicki Law Firm today: 888-468-8844.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Family Initiates Lawsuit Over 2009 Airplane Crash

Aside from pilot error, what other factors can give rise to an airplane crash?

Airplane crashes are among the most deadly and tragic accidents that can occur, often leaving very few survivors and more questions than answers. While pilot error may be to blame in some scenarios, defects and malfunction with the airplane itself are all-too-common reasons for a mid-air tragedy, reasons that can expose airline manufacturers to significant liability.

In a recent case filed in Galveston, Texas, an adult guardian filed a lawsuit of personal injury against the manufacturer of a private aircraft that severely injured a child in her care. According to the complaint, the minor child was traveling as a passenger in a 1946 Piper Cub J3 when it suddenly lost engine capabilities while in flight. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing, but became entangled in adjacent power lines, causing the aircraft to plummet to the ground.

As a result of the accident, the minor has had to endure significant medical interventions and will likely need lifetime care. The lawsuit further alleges that the manufacturer failed to assemble and maintain an airworthy engine, resulting in severe injury to the plaintiff.

In airplane accident lawsuits – which include both personal injury and wrongful death actions – it is not uncommon for victims to raise strict product liability claims against the manufacturer of the entire airplane and the manufacturers of its various component parts as well. Strict product liability lawsuits generally allege that the manufacturer place an unreasonably dangerous product in the stream of commerce, resulting in physical and/or financial harm to the victim. These cases often require testimony from engineering experts to help the jury better understand the ways in which airplane parts are designed to work, and how the defendant’s parts did not comply with industry standards.

If you were recently injured in an automobile, airplane, motorcycle or boating accident in Texas, and believe malfunction may be to blame, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney  Sawicki Law Firm today: 1-888-468-8844.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Texas Legislature Enacts Two New Bills Regarding Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

What is the latest news regarding personal injury litigation in Texas? 

The year 2015 has seen several resounding legislative developments in the state of Texas – including two recent bills presented to the governor for signature in May. 

The first involves a growing procedural complexity within the civil court system, presumably spawned by the ever-increasing global format of commerce and industry. HB 1692, which was sent for signature on May 26, 2015, involves the civil procedure concept known as forum non conveniens, or – in English – and inconvenient forum. The concept generally allows a defendant to motion to change the location of a civil lawsuit from one court to another in order to mitigate hardships relating to extensive travel and/or over-publicity of a certain issue within a geographical area. 

HB 1692 works to remove a certain provision within the current statute that prevents a defendant from successfully motioning to change location when at least one plaintiff in the action is a legal resident of Texas. In other words, the legal status of a plaintiff as a Texas resident – which rarely reflects its actual, practical state of residence/headquarters – will no longer be enough to defeat a motion under forum non conveniens, unless the incident in question happened within the state of Texas. In essence, the bill is designed to protect the jam-packed Texas dockets from having to preside over personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits that have little – if anything – to do with the state. 

HB 735, which was sent to the governor on May 30, 2015, works to add a definition of “net worth” to the civil code while simultaneously limiting the circumstances in which one party can unearth the total net worth of another. The bill follows a string of Texas cases that permit courts to asses a defendant’s net worth when determining an appropriate punitive damages amount, however courts were not afforded a framework or guideline in order to make such a determination. 

Using HB 735, courts are authorized to allow discovery of a defendant’s net worth only where a plaintiff has demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of a punitive damages claim. Further, trial courts must mandate plaintiffs use the “least burdensome” method available to quantify net worth, which has been officially defined as “the total assets of a person minus the total liabilities of the person on a date determined appropriate by the trial court.”

If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit and are not sure how to calculate damages – or even where to file – contact the Dallas, Texas personal injury Sawicki Law Firm today at (888)468-8844. 

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