Category: Car Accidents

Can I Sue Rental Car Agencies for Lack of Maintenance

Can I Sue Rental Car Agencies for Lack of Maintenance?

People who rent cars are most likely to do so because they require a safe and reliable mode of transportation. They give their money to rental car companies fully believing that they will be provided with such a vehicle. When consumers are injured in an accident because their rental car was not properly maintained, rental companies could find themselves liable for the ensuing damages.

Common Areas of Neglect for Car Rental

Rental agencies sometimes fail to inspect certain components of a car or to perform routine maintenance in order to ensure it operates properly. As a result, some of the most commonly neglected areas include:

  • Tires
  • Brake systems
  • Power steering systems
  • Airbags and seatbelts

Consumers have a right to assume that any vehicle they are renting is safe for them to operate. This doesn’t mean that every rental car is, which is why drivers should make a thorough inspection of the vehicle before signing a rental agreement. Doing so could not only protect them from being charged for existing damages, but also prevent them from renting an unsafe vehicle that would increase their odds of having an accident.

Exclusions in Fine Print

Before signing a rental agreement, it’s also important to read the fine print very carefully. This is because rental companies sometimes place exclusions in the “fine print” of a contract in an effort to shift responsibility should there be an accident. It’s important never to sign any agreement that completely abolishes the rental agency from responsibility due to a poorly maintained vehicle.

Proving Damages for Rent-A-Car

Those who are injured due to a poorly maintained rental vehicle must generally prove three things in order to show a company was negligent:

  • The defendant was engaged in the car rental business
  • That the plaintiff actually rented a vehicle from said business
  • The lack of maintenance resulted in the customer having an accident

It can also be helpful for an individual to show that the rental company had (or should have had) prior knowledge about a defect. Whenever defects could have been found by performing a reasonable inspection, this is normally enough to satisfy that burden of proof.

Hiring a Lawyer

Car rental agencies often try to evade questions whenever a patron is involved in an accident, especially if they know a lack of maintenance could be to blame for it. In these cases, injured parties should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help them show the company they are serious about pursuing their claim.

The best way to start preparing for your case is to schedule a free case evaluation. This way, a personal injury attorney can go over your case and determine the best defenses to use. Schedule your free case evaluation today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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Child on bike killed by suspected drunken driver

Child on Bike Killed by Suspected Drunken Driver

A driver police believe was driving drunk hit and killed an 8-year-old boy in southeast Houston. Euaristo Hinojosa-Pena was speeding on Lenore and Arizona at around 10pm on Sunday, when he clipped a boy riding a bike. The boy’s identity has not been released, but he was visiting his grandmother, which he does often. The boy was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Euaristo waited until the cops arrived, and admitted to having two beers before driving. However, he failed a field sobriety test. Officials are waiting to for the result of the blood alcohol analysis. If the results show he was over the legal blood alcohol level, he could face intoxication manslaughter charges.

Image courtesy of chron.com

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Child killed, several injured in 4-vehicle accident on Highway 290

Child Killed, Several Injured in Four Vehicle Accident on Highway 290

A boy around eight to ten years old was killed when a truck tractor semi-trailer crashed into a Kia Optima on 290 and Mason Rd. He was in the back seat of the car. His mom and younger sister were in the front seat. They were both rushed to the hospital. The boy’s younger sister went to surgery with a cracked skull. All lanes of 290 were closed for hours in front of Houston’s Premium Outlets while officials cleared the roadways.

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The driver of the 18-wheeler looked down to see his phone and collided with the Kia, which was stuck in traffic. The impact caused a domino effect where the Kia crashed into a Ford truck in front of it, which then crashed into the car in front of it. The impact was so severe that the rear bumper of the Kia was pushed up into the back of the front seat. Passengers in the rear seat never stood a chance. Two other passengers in the other cars were taken to the hospital for less severe injuries.

For the latest information on this story, visit click2houston.com

Image courtesy of myfoxhouston.com.

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My Child Was Injured in a School Bus Do I Have a Case

My Child Was Injured in a School Bus: Do I Have a Case?

Riding a school bus is a part of childhood that is unavoidable for a number of kids. When parents allow their children to get on a school bus, the last thing they think about is that they might be involved in an accident. School bus accidents do occur regularly, and can be just as devastating as any other type of automobile accident when they do happen.

Negligent Hiring Practices

School systems have a duty to the families they serve to provide them with drivers who are capable of transporting children safely. This means that they must carefully screen candidates to ensure they have a safe driving record and can pass a physical exam. The truth is that school systems across the country often face significant shortages when it comes to bus drivers, and may overlook some of the criteria when hiring them in an effort to fill their shortages. When one of these drivers later has an accident, the school system could then be liable due to negligent hiring practices.

Faulty Equipment

The manufacturers of school buses can also find themselves in hot water whenever an accident is due to a faulty vehicle design. Some of the design issues that could create problems with the way a school bus operates include:

  • steering
  • body design
  • tires
  • braking system

When there are manufacturer defects, a school bus may be difficult to control or stop, or might even roll over when turning sharp corners or heading up an embankment. A poor interior design could also lead to uneven weight distribution within the bus, which would also make it difficult for the driver to control it.

Reacting to an Accident

School bus accidents tend to receive a great deal of publicity from the news media. There may also be several children who are injured in a particular accident, which means a school system may be inundated with claims and/or requests for information from the public. Their response to this is normally to “shut down” and refuse to make any statements in the hopes that the negative publicity they are receiving will somehow go away.

By attempting to avoid negative publicity, those responsible sometimes make it very difficult for parents of injured children to recover from their damages due to a lack of information. In these instances, there may be no other option than to file a lawsuit in order to obtain the relief they have coming to them.

School Bus Accident Attorney

The medical bills and emotional damage caused by school bus accidents can be too much for some parents. One way to make your life less stressful is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case and recoup your medical expenses. Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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Armored Van Kills Boy

Armored Van Kills 6-Year-Old Boy and Injures Mother

A Dunbar armored van hit and killed a 6-year-old boy near downtown Houston. The little boy was crossing the street with his mother and another woman. According to investigators, the trio did not yield to oncoming traffic and were struck by the van.

The boy and his mother were taken to LBJ Hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. The mother’s condition is unknown, and the woman with them was treated for injuries at the scene.

The driver of the armored truck, a Dunbar employee, was very upset. However, she showed no signs of intoxication, and it is unclear if she will face any charges.

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Bad Foster Homes Do I Have a Case for My Child's Injuries

Bad Foster Homes: Do I Have a Case for My Child’s Injuries?

Children are placed in foster care every day in an effort to protect them from harmful situations. Removing them from their home doesn’t always accomplish this purpose, as a number of them will be abused or neglected while in foster care. These children’s injuries are magnified by the emotional trauma surrounding their circumstances, and it can often take years for them to recover from it.

Types of Abuse

Children can suffer foster care abuse in a number of manners including:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • sexual
  • neglect
  • lack of supervision

The abuse is sometimes given at the hands of foster parents, but other times, other children in the same environment can also perform unwanted acts. When children in the foster care system become victims, they are often hesitant to tell anyone because they may feel that even worse things will happen if they do. As a result, they may suffer depression or emotional anxiety and may also perform poorly in school. Older children may even become delinquent, attempt suicide or run away from the home they have been placed in.

State’s Duty to Manage

The state of Texas has a duty to ensure that foster parents are properly screened, to include a thorough inspection of the home where children will be staying. Caseworkers also have a duty to check on children entrusted to their care, which can involve performing health and welfare checks on a regular basis. Failure to do these things could result in a negligent verdict in a court of law.

Parents’ Rights

It’s appalling to think that the very system that is designed to protect children sometimes leads to them being abused. This is even more true whenever the removal was unjustified in the first place. Good parents have been known to have their children removed from the home simply because investigators with Child Protective Services overstepped their bounds. When this is the case, the parents are victimized a second time.

When situations like this occur, a common question that ensues is whether or not a parent is entitled to compensation as a result of a child’s abuse. The answer to this question is almost always “yes.” Once a child is placed in foster care, the government assumes responsibility for his or her well-being, and bears the burden for any negligence or abuse that takes places afterwards. Parents are normally entitled to damages to cover physical injuries, and can even be awarded money for pain and suffering as well. Recovering these damages is never easy, and usually comes only after parents pursue legal action.

Get Legal Help Now

If you are tired of watching innocent children get injured due to negligent or abusive foster homes, then it’s time to do something about it. By hiring an injury attorney and suing bad foster homes, you will be setting an example that good parents won’t stand for such inexcusable behavior. Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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GM Recall Causes 303 Deaths

GM Recall Causes 303 Deaths

A recent report linked 303 deaths to faulty airbags in recalled GM vehicles. GM recalled 1.6 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches that could turn off the engine, which disables the airbags. The study by the Center for Auto Safety reviewed federal crash data and linked the deaths to this recall.

GM officials say that the report does not go into enough detail to draw meaningful conclusions, and call the claim “pure speculation.” However, GM is investigating the issue, and has linked the ignition switch to 12 deaths. Furthermore, they admitted that GM employees have known about this issue since as early as 2004.

A recent report by The New York Times claims that federal safety regulators received over 260 complaints about General Motors vehicles that suddenly turned off while being driven.
The recall covers the 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, the 2006 to 2007 Chevrolet HHR, the 2007 Pontiac G5, the 2006 to 2007 Pontiac Solstice, the 2003 to 2007 Saturn Ion, and the 2007 Saturn Sky. If you or anyone you know have been injured in any of these vehicles, please contact us for a free case evaluation.

For more information, visit bbc.com and nytimes.com.

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Watch out! The Hidden Dangers of Playgrounds

Watch out! The Hidden Dangers of Playgrounds

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 200,000 children are injured each year on playgrounds, and about a dozen of them die. They also report that the majority of accidents occur for the same reasons, and that a good number of them could easily be preventable.

Faulty Equipment or Playground Design

Accidents are sometimes caused by faulty playground equipment or a poorly designed facility. For example, children could get their heads or torsos in between objects or have equipment such as swings or merry-go-rounds actually fall apart while they are being used. Pinched fingers in the chains of swings and climbing bridges along with cuts and scrapes from exposed metal are also common.

When equipment is not designed properly, the risk of entanglement also increases. As such, the space in between a slide and its platform could easily cause a child’s clothing or shoestrings to get caught, which could lead to sprains, broken bones or even strangulation.

Poor Maintenance

Playground injuries also happen whenever the facility is not maintained properly. Some of the maintenance issues that could lead to child injuries are:

  • Failure to replace rusty hardware on swings and slides
  • Not having the right type or amount of mulch underneath equipment to break falls
  • Replacing wooden structures that have rotted
  • Failing to provide guardrails on climbing equipment

Playgrounds can be especially dangerous when wet because equipment can become very slippery and difficult to hold onto. Injuries could easily be prevented if equipment were dried off after a heavy rain or snowfall. Equipment that’s located directly in the sun can also burn children, which is why it is a good idea to provide a shade or canopy over top of it.

Having a soft surface to break falls is also very important. A playground should ideally have between three and four inches of wood chips, shredded rubber or peanut hulls that completely cover the bottom of it if they are to provide adequate protection.

Visual Inspection

Parents should never take for granted that a playground is safe until a thorough inspection of it has been performed. This should include checking the thickness of mulch, looking for rusted hardware, and determining whether or not there are rusty or sharp edges present. Should unsafe conditions be discovered, the proper authorities should be contacted as soon as possible. Photographic evidence should also be obtained, as it could serve as proof of negligence in a court of law in the event a child is injured.

However, taking pictures isn’t enough. If your son or daughter has been injured on a playground, then you need professional legal assistance…and fast. Schedule a free case evaluation and call 713-222-1222 today.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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Been in an Accident? Take Pictures NOW to Preserve Evidence!

Determining fault in an accident is sometimes very difficult to do unless the right evidence is available. Photographic evidence can be especially helpful, which is why accident victims should take pictures and videos of the scene as soon as possible.

Taking Photos at the Scene

At the scene of an accident, pictures should be taken of all vehicles involved. There should be pictures taken from various angles, as this can help investigators determine what actually happened just before an accident. It is also a good idea to take several detailed pictures of any damage to the vehicles, as this can help prevent people from making fraudulent claims later.

Pictures of the accident scene can be helpful, but videos are even better. Videos can capture things that may not be easy to see in a still photograph, as it can show traffic or current weather conditions in much greater detail.

After the Accident: Revisiting the Scene

It is also a good idea to return to the scene of an accident a few days afterwards in order to take pictures or videos. By doing so, victims may be able to capture details that were previously overlooked. For example, a traffic light that doesn’t work properly or broken pavement might have contributed to an accident, but this fact might not have been known at the time. Making a return visit could just provide some missing pieces of the puzzle that could make proving damages much easier to do.

Photographs of Physical Injuries

Accident victims should also take photographs of their injuries whenever it is practical to do so. Many people are squeamish about doing this, but it can nonetheless be important. If possible, photographs of injured parties should be taken before people are moved, as this can also go a long way toward proving the exact cause of an injury. Even so, taking pictures should never take precedence over providing medical care or other assistance.

Validating Photographs

In a court of law, photographs may need to be validated by the person who took them before they can be used as evidence. The requirements for validating photographs varies, but can sometimes be a simple as a written affidavit from the photographer attesting to the time, date and place where they were taken. A personal injury attorney can be an excellent source of information when it comes to determining the requirements for validating photographs during any legal proceedings.

If you have been in an auto accident, the best thing you can do is speak with a qualified legal expert to learn what steps you need to take. Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling 713-222-1222.

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New Caney ISD School Bus Accident Injures 5 Students

At around 4:30 pm on Wednesday, February 26, a school bus carrying 26 students ended up in a ditch in Montgomery County. Five students were transferred to a nearby medical center with minor injuries.

The bus swerved off the road on East Martin Drive at Meadow Lane as the bus driver attempted to get unruly children to sit down shortly after leaving the New Caney ISD 6th Grade Campus.

All injured children are expected to be OK.

For more information on this school bus accident, visit click2houston.com

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