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Personal Injury

Slow driving can be dangerous

Slow driving can pose a danger on Texas highways and roads. While people may think first of how excessive speed contributes to severe car crashes, drivers operating their vehicles too slowly can also cause accidents, road rage incidents and other threats. There are a number of reasons why slow driving is dangerous. In the first place, it is safer and often required by law for cars to pass on the left. On a multi-lane road, a slow driver blocking the left lane may send many cars to pass on the right, significantly elevating the risk of a catastrophic accident.

In other cases, drivers may turn the corner and expect to drive at a reasonable rate of speed, only to catch up quickly to a slow driver. They may be unable to stop in time in case of an emergency ahead, which could potentially cause a domino effect of rear-end collisions. Just like speeding, driving too slowly is often illegal. People who drive under the minimum speed limit specified for a stretch of road may face a ticket if stopped by the police.

There are several factors that can contribute to excessively slow driving. The danger posed by distracted driving is well-known, but slow driving may be another issue. People who are surfing the internet or texting behind the wheel may fall out of sync with traffic, lingering on the road and creating traffic jams. Senior drivers with visual problems may be likely to drive at a dangerously slow speed, as may new teen drivers who are still uncertain.

Driving too slowly is a form of negligence that can cause serious injuries if it leads to a motor vehicle accident. A personal injury lawyer may help people hurt in a crash to seek compensation for their losses.

Protecting oil and gas workers from death or serious injury

oilfield workersTexas oil and gas workers face workplace dangers that may result in death or serious injury. To mitigate the risk of physical harm in the field, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposes strict drilling and servicing safety regulations on employers in the oil and gas industry.

We have experience in helping clients manage the consequences of oil field accidents.

What are some common injuries in the oil and gas industry?

Over half of all deaths in the oil and gas industry result from “struck-by/caught-in/caught-between” incidents that subject workers to risks from moving vehicles, falling equipment, and high-pressure lines. Workers may also be at risk of death or serious injury from several other hazards:

  • Explosions and fires caused by the ignition of flammable vapors or gases
  • Falls from elevated equipment like drilling platforms and masts
  • Vehicle collisions involving travel to distant well sites
  • The release of uncontrolled hydraulic, mechanical or electrical energy from faulty or improperly maintained equipment
  • The lack of adequate safeguards on machinery

What kinds of safety guidelines has OSHA established for the oil and gas industry?

OSHA has adopted several standards and practices designed to promote safe oil and gas field operations. All employers in the industry must identify and evaluate their site-specific hazards and then develop and adopt suitable safety procedures. These procedures may involve providing personal protective gear for workers, adopting drilling standards and implementing training programs that cover topics like proper equipment use. Employers should also have emergency response procedures.

Employers in the oil and gas industry have the responsibility to adopt and follow protocols designed to protect workers from death or serious injury. Our website has additional information about this topic.

Schools starting later may reduce teen driver crashes

Texas residents with teenage children know that teens tend to sleep long and usually late into the day. If school starts early in the morning, then teens may not obtain the full 8 to 10 hours of sleep that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends, and this can lead to drowsiness behind the wheel and car crashes.

The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a study where a group of researchers analyzed the effect of a change that Fairfax County, Virginia, made to its school start times back in 2015. Specifically, the times were pushed back from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Determining the crash rate for licensed 16- to 18-year-old drivers in the year before and after the change, researchers noted a decline: It went from 31.63 to 29.59 crashes per 1,000 drivers.

Interestingly, the crash rate remained steady throughout the rest of Virginia, which did not change the time school started during that two-year period. Researchers noted that teens who got more sleep were less likely to drive distracted and take risks.

The AASM mentions other benefits of later school start times. Among them are fewer absences, less tardiness, fewer sports-related injuries, better academic performance and even better mental health for teens. The organization recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Still, schools can only do so much for teens, and ultimately, it is up to drivers themselves whether they want to act negligently behind the wheel. When negligent behavior leads to a crash involving a personal injury, the other side can seek compensation. Victims must be less to blame than the defendant, and if they did partially contribute to the crash, then whatever damages they recover will be proportionally lowered. They may want a lawyer to help them achieve a fair settlement.

Dog bite liability claims are on the rise

There’s no doubt that Texans love their dogs with at least half of Texas households owning a dog. Although dogs are known for providing companionship, these canine companions aren’t without risk. There are over 4.5 million dog bites reported each year in the country, and dog bites account for about one-third of all homeowner liability claims annually.

Preventing dog bites

It’s important for dog owners to be responsible and take proactive steps to prevent their dog from biting anyone. Dogs should always be actively supervised around children, no matter how well-behaved the dog may be. Many children end up in the emergency room with dog bites because a friendly dog felt threatened by a rambunctious child. Children and dogs are both unpredictable and need to be watched.

Dogs should be socialized so that they are accustomed to being around different types of people and less likely to behave erratically. A dog who is unused to people is more likely to feel threatened by them. If a dog is behaving oddly, it should be checked out by a veterinarian as it may have a health problem that needs to be assessed. Finally, all dogs should be trained. It’s important for a dog to learn to listen and obey to avoid the risk of harming someone.

Filing a claim after a dog bite

Unfortunately, not all dog owners are responsible people. If you were bitten by a dog that wasn’t properly supervised or secured, you may be able to file a claim against the owner. A lawyer who understands personal injury law may be able to help you with such a claim, which might cover your expenses, including medical bills and missed wages from work, as well as reimbursement for pain and suffering.

How can you protect yourself against dog attacks?

Dog bites are surprisingly common considering that dogs are called man’s best friend. The truth is that dogs, like all other animals, have their own personalities and quirks that you have to be prepared for. Some are hyper, some are aggressive and others just want to snuggle. When they’re sick, tired or hurt, all dogs have the potential to bite.

The good news is that there are some ways to prevent dog bites and attacks. Here are three ideas that could help you avoid a trip to the hospital.

1. Bring along a spray bottle when you’re walking, hiking or out in the open

Whether it’s a dog repellant or a plastic water bottle you can splash in the direction of a nearby animal, having a type of spray handy can help calm a situation. Many dogs are trained and scolded with squirts of water, so it just may calm the situation enough to allow you time to get away safely.

2. Don’t look at or touch the dog except to get it to release

If you are being approached by an aggressive dog, the rules are: Don’t touch it, don’t look it in the eyes and don’t talk. You don’t want to appear aggressive, so it’s a smart idea to turn sideways or to back away slowly to give the animal space. If it does happen to attack, remember that you should tuck your head under your crossed arms and lay still in a ball. If you do try to fight back, the dog could become even more aggressive. On the other hand, when their prey quits moving, they no longer have a challenge and may release you.

3. Carry a weapon

While no one really wants to shoot or strike a dog, in a violent attack, you may not have a choice. Carrying a weapon is a good way to stop a lunging dog from biting you. Walking sticks, in particular, are helpful in keeping the dog at a distance.

These are three ideas to help you avoid a dog attack. If you are attacked, remember to call 911 and to try to keep the dog present. You may both need to be monitored for serious diseases and illnesses moving forward.