Category: Personal Injury

crash-stats-infographic-2015-featured-image (1)

2015 Texas motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Statistics [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Texas Department of Transportation released their annual motor vehicle traffic crash statistics for 2015. We put a few of the statistics into an infographic below!

2015 Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Statistics [INFOGRAPHIC]

Traffic Crash Statistics 2015 Mukerji Law Firm

You can see the full list of crash statistics by clicking the sources listed at the bottom of this post.

 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact us immediately by calling 713-222-1222 and one of our attorneys will speak to you immediately.

 

Sources:

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2015/01.pdf

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2015/a.pdf

Improperly Secured Bounce House
(Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

The Dangers of An Improperly Secured Bounce House

Last week a young girl from the United Kingdom died while playing in a bounce house. The death occurred when a strong gust of wind lifted the bounce house, with the girl inside, into the air sending it soaring a mile away from its original location. Atmospheric science professor John Knox states in a Washington Post article, there are a “documented 64 bounce house accidents due to wind worldwide since 2000” which include 271 injuries and 10 deaths.

Improperly Secured Bounce House Dangers

The importance of bounce house safety is something that cannot be overlooked. This is difficult in the state of Texas because bounce house safety regulation is very weak. Owning and operating regulations are very specific, but the safety portion does not specify how to safely anchor a bounce house to the ground.

Knox’s research shows these accidents occur when a sudden gust of wind lifts a improperly secured bounce house. Knox says “accidents typically occur away from big storms” and wind gust “seemingly come out of the blue.” The unpredictability of these strong wind gusts only further highlight the importance of securing a bounce house safely.  Small whirlwinds and waterspouts have also lifted up bounce house structures.

There are other risks involved when children play in bounce houses. The Academy of Pediatrics published a study in 2012 citing almost 65,000 injuries were reported from 1995 to 2010 in the U.S. That means roughly one injury every 46 minutes nationally. A majority of these injuries were fractures and sprains and 3.4% of injured children were hospitalized. The number of injuries increased 15-fold within the studied time period and the increase was similar to trampoline related injuries.

Bounce house-related child injuries are rising at an alarming rate. It is important to make sure you are using a reputable company with a good history to avoid any accidents that may occur. Be mindful of the weather conditions and never leave children unsupervised when playing in a bounce house.

NCAA Final Four Basketball - NRG Stadium
A banner hangs over NRG Stadium in preparation of the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament Thursday, March 31, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NCAA Final Four Weekend, Drunk Driving, and Being Safe

Drunk driving accidents have been on the rise in the city of Houston. KHOU stated in a recent news article, the number of drunk driving accidents in Harris County has increased dramatically in the past week. In the last seven days, there have been five motor vehicle fatalities where a drunk driver was involved. With the NCAA Final Four coming to Houston this weekend, it’s not crazy to expect the number of drunk driving related incidents to increase.

Alcohol Consumption Increase During Sporting Events

A study published in 2011 by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) found that 40% of attendees at sporting events had a blood alcohol content (BAC) ranging from 0.005 to 0.217. People who tailgated before the game have 14 times the odds of having a BAC greater than 0.08 and separately those who were under the age of 35 had eight times the odds of being over the legal limit. Adversely people who attended Monday night football games were more likely to have BACs below 0.08.

Drunk Driving and Super Bowl Sunday

In 2013, the LA Times stated “Alcohol-related car crashes are 75% greater” during Super Bowl Sunday. This not only includes attendees, but related events like viewing parties at home or at bars, pregame parties, tailgating, and after parties. Between 2002-2011, there were 642 alcohol-related fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday.

How to be Safe this NCAA Final Four Weekend

Large sporting events naturally lead to an increase of alcohol consumption. The NCAA Final Four is in town this weekend and the parties have already begun. While no alcohol will be sold at the actual event due to the  NCAA’s strict alcohol policy, this does not extend to private businesses like bars and restaurants that will be showing the games and having viewing parties. If you are attending these events, there are ways to have a good time and still be safe.

Designate a Sober Driver

Everyone at one point has been the Designated Driver. If you are the “DD” be responsible and politely turn down any drinks that may come your way. Your friends are counting on you to get them home safely.

Pay For a Ride

Living in Houston means you have a number of options to pay for a ride home. Uber, Lyft, and Cab services are always waiting to pick you up.  At Mukerji Law Firm we are a huge fan of Uber. We use them to get clients to and from the office all the time. If you’ve never used Uber before, use the code: mukerjilue to get $20 off your first ride this NCAA Final Four Weekend.

Use Public Transportation

If you live inside the loop, public transportation like the Houston Metro Rail is a great option. Besides being safe, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot or paying for parking. Your car stays safely at home and you don’t have to worry about someone accidently damaging your car because of the increase in traffic.

Stay Where You Are

If you’re at a friend or family member’s house for a viewing party you can ask beforehand if it’s alright for you to stay the night. If spending the night is not an option one of the many alternatives above are still on the table.

We want you to be safe this weekend and have a good time at the NCAA Final Four Tournament. We want to congratulate all four teams and their fans who have made it this far and we are excited to see who wins on to the NCAA Championship.

If you are in an accident this weekend caused by a drunk driver, please contact us immediately by calling 713-222-1222 and one of our attorneys will speak to you immediately.

amusement park injuries

Incredible Hulk Coaster: 32 Passengers Rescued

The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster broke down at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, leaving 32 people stranded on the ride for several hours. The ride stalled 50 feet from the platform due to a glitch, and the passengers were alerted of the situation 10 minutes later.

Some of the riders were able to escape onto a platform, and the rest were eventually rescued by firefighters using a ladder truck.

If you or a loved one was injured at an amusement park, then you should reach out to a personal injury attorney by calling 713-222-1222.

Hurt at House

Child Injured at Someone’s Home, Owner Can’t Afford Restitution: What’s Next?

Let me tell you a story about a young boy named Anthony. He just learned how to get up and down the stairs without holding his mother’s hand. Climbing the stairs on his own is about the best thing in his life right now, and he’s quite the boaster about it.

Today, Anthony is at his friend’s house for a play date. The friend’s father recently got laid off at work, though of course the children don’t know about this. The recent decrease to the family’s income has left certain household needs unattended. One of those needs is to fix some of the rotting steps that lead down to the basement.

Anthony sees these stairs while waiting in the kitchen for his friend’s mother to make some lunchtime sandwiches. Excited to do what he does best, Anthony starts his descent to the basement. But what good is taking the stairs without an audience? Anthony turns around and stomps excitedly to get his friend’s attention. In an instant, his foot sinks through the wood and Anthony tumbles backwards in shock.

Now Anthony has a broken leg and his play date has abruptly ended with a rush to the emergency room. Anthony’s mom doesn’t know how to approach getting restitution for her son’s injury. On the one hand, it was the friend’s family’s responsibility to protect her son from these rotting steps; on the other, she knows that the father recently got laid off and the family is struggling financially.

Child Injury Accidents Happen

Your most important responsibility to your children is to keep them safe. But can you always be around to do so? No. At some point you have to let the baby bird fly from the nest and go have a play date with another baby bird. But what happens if your child gets injured in someone else’s nest, and that nest owner can’t afford to pay restitution?

In the event that the homeowner is unable to pay restitution for your child’s injury, they will need their homeowner’s insurance agency to step in. Everyone should have homeowner’s insurance, so hopefully that much won’t be an issue. Here are just a few common causes of injury that come up for homeowner’s insurance cases:

  • Slips and falls
  • Poor security
  • Dog bites
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Roadway and sidewalk defects
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Iced entryways

Liability for injury on one’s own property can be a tricky issue. This is mainly because the laws of liability for homeowners are surrounded by guidelines that vary from state to state. While some states tend to favor the victim in their guidelines, others aim to protect the homeowner. Below are some of the factors that homeowners insurance will consider while pursuing a personal injury claim.

Whose Fault Is It?

In 9 out of 10 cases of liability for injury, homeowners are protected by something called “reasonable conduct.” This basically states that if the home or property owner took reasonable action to remove hazardous conditions from the property and warned you about those that still exist, they are most likely not liable for your injuries.

For example, if you slip and fall during a snowy day on your way into the movie theater, the theater might not be liable if they did their best to salt and shovel the sidewalks beforehand. Another instance is if you slip and fall on a floor that has been recently mopped. If the property owner placed a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign over the area, they partook in reasonable conduct.

Invitees Only Please

Other guidelines that might protect a homeowner from being liable for your kid’s injury have to do with whether or not your child was where they were supposed to be. Revisiting the story about Anthony, it could be said that he wasn’t supposed to be climbing those stairs to the basement. However, in the case of young children, appropriate supervision should keep them from going somewhere that might be dangerous. It is therefore a tough situation to decide whether or not the homeowner is liable for the child’s breach of invitee status.

Now, if your child happened to wander into someone else’s front yard and get bitten by that person’s dog – that would be a different story. If you or your child trespasses onto another person’s property, that homeowner owes you nothing in the event that injury occurred.

What Else Can You Do?

Most personal injury claims concerning homeowners don’t require an attorney. However, if you fear that the homeowner is not able to pay restitution, it might be best to hire personal injury attorney. Be sure to ask your attorney any and all questions to protect your livelihood in the case moving forward.

*Jeremy in the Attic by Thomas Mueller/CC BY-ND 2.0

child injury guide

Brain Injuries

Head Injuries: What Actually Happens to Your Brain?

Almost 2 million people are rushed to emergency rooms every year because of head injuries. Examinations done by medical professionals reveal that most of these injuries result in concussions that affect the way a person processes and recalls information, as well as causing severe headaches. What most people want to really know is what actually happens to the brain after an injury, and this is best explained as a timeline of events.

As Injury Occurs

As the injuring event is taking place there will be a point when the skull impacts with a surface, and this causes the brain to impact the interior of the skull. This causes the brain to be bruised and develop small tears, which affects the way in which the brain functions. As the injury occurs there will often be one of a few events that will follow:

  • Loss of Consciousness – Injuries that cause a concussion often leave a person unconscious for a period of time. The only beneficial aspect of losing consciousness is that it leaves little room for doubt as to whether a person needs to be taken to the emergency room.
  • Severe Headache – Those who sustain a head injury may simply walk away and think everything is fine. The most prominent indicator of a brain injury in this instance is the development of severe headaches that weren’t common before the injuring event occurred.

Shortly after Injuring Event

Those who don’t show immediate signs of brain injury will often see a series symptoms appear, and some may be so subtle that they may be overlooked. These symptoms include:

  • Recurring Headaches – As mentioned above, the onset of recurring and severe headaches is one of the most prevalent signs of brain injury. These headaches should not be ignored, and those who suffer from them should seek immediate medical attention.
  • Fatigue – Those who sustain a brain injury may also find that their energy levels have dropped significantly since the injury took place. Fatigue is often expected due to the body undertaking the recovery process, but if this fatigue is persistent it could indicate more severe brain trauma.
  • Concentration Problems – One part of the brain that is often affected during an injury is the portion that controls the ability to concentrate. Injured persons will often find themselves frustrated with trying to focus on a single task, and this can lead to difficulties with daily activities and poor work performance.

During Recovery

Most individuals who suffer from a brain injury will find that their symptoms disappear within six months of treatment. Approximately 20% of people who suffer brain injuries will face negative long-term effects, and these individuals should work with medical professionals to make sure further injury is avoided.

Getting Legal Help

Head injuries can be a very scary phenomenon. Besides the emotional trauma, the injured party may also need to worry about mounting medical bills and loss of income. One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to hire a personal injury attorney who can land you a settlement or win your case.

my brains – let me show you them by Liz Henry / CC BY-ND 2.0

child injury guide

What Injuries Do Daycares Need to Report

What Injuries Do Daycares Need to Report?

One of the worst calls a parent can ever receive is when their child is injured while under the supervision of a daycare. These events often leave parents feeling helpless because it forces them to make the decision as to whether their child is safe at their current daycare or needs to be transferred to a new one. While minor scrapes and bruises may happen on occasion, there are certain instances that daycare operators must report within two days, and these are the instances parents should be aware of.

Unsafe or Unsanitary Conditions

If the operator of a daycare notices anything that may make their structure unsafe or unsanitary for children they must report this immediately. This information must be reported to the governing body that licenses daycare facilities so an investigation can take place. Whether or not children will be allowed into the daycare is dependent upon the severity of the reported condition and is up to the licensing agency.

Injuries

If a child is injured while in the care of the daycare the staff must notify the licensing agency if the injury requires medical treatment. The licensing agency will also likely perform an investigation in this instance to ensure the child was not injured due to the negligence of the daycare staff.

Communicable Diseases

Children who are discovered to have a communicable disease must be removed from the daycare facility immediately and the licensing agency must be notified. If this event occurs the children exposed to the ill child will often have to undergo a medical examination and the daycare will be required to sanitize their facility before children will be allowed to return.

Criminal Actions by Staff

Any person who is required to undergo a background check during the hiring process is expected to maintain a clean criminal record. If one of these individuals is arrested or charged with a crime this must be reported to the licensing agency. This individual will likely be placed under investigation to ensure it is safe for them to be working with children.

Negligent Behavior

When daycare staff display any form of negligence while supervising children this must be reported to the licensing agency. Examples of negligence range from a child being left unsupervised to a child leaving the facility without adult supervision. If this occurs the licensing agency will likely conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Daycare Injures are taken very serious in the state of Texas. If your child has been injured at daycare, then you could be entitled to compensation. Get a free legal consultation session today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

child injury guide

Above Ground Swimming Pools Negligence Can Lead to Death

Above Ground Swimming Pools: Negligence Can Lead to Death

Above ground swimming pools are places of fun where people can escape the summer heat even if only for a while, and this is why it is often shocking when someone reports they were injured while enjoying swimming activities. Those who plan to visit an above ground swimming pool should ensure they know what the common causes of injury are and what legal actions they can take should an injury happen.

Causes of Swimming Pool Injuries

Collapse – Since above ground swimming pools are supported by a series of retaining walls there is always a chance that these structures could collapse. When a collapse occurs individuals inside the pool may find themselves quickly swept towards the site of the break without warning. Those swept away often don’t have time to react and this means they may impact with dislodged parts or skid across rough surfaces.

Drowning – An above ground pool poses a greater risk of drowning to swimmers because the elevated walls make it difficult for those within the pool to get out quickly in the case of an emergency. This danger is also increased because if a person attempts to get out without using a pool ladder there is the added risk of collapse from the added weight of the person on the retaining walls.

Responsibility

When a person is injured there are often questions as to who is responsible for any injuries that occur. The person most likely to be held responsible is the pool owner, and this is because they are the person tasked with making sure the structure is safe for those who are using it.

Additional Structures

Individuals may also suffer injuries on structures that surround above ground swimming pool such as a deck. If the deck doesn’t provide enough stable footing an injury can occur, and in this case the pool owner is often responsible for any injuries their guests sustain.

Another structure that is the site of injuries every year are the ladders used to enter and exit the pool. When these aren’t assembled properly injuries may occur, and those who are victims of this negligence should consider legal action as a means to recover damages.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured from an above ground swimming pool, you should consider taking legal action. There is no reason to tolerate negligence. Schedule your free case evaluation today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

child injury guide

What Is the Pay Structure If I Want to Sue for an Injury

What Is the Pay Structure If I Want to Sue for an Injury?

One of the greatest fears for those who are injured is the uncertainty that comes from the costs associated with hiring an attorney. Most injured persons are pleased when they learn that in many instances hiring a personal injury attorney will cost them nothing until their case has been finished. This method of payment is known as a “contingency fee” structure and there are a few facts victims should know when seeking an attorney that offers this type of payment structure.

Prevalence

Contingency fees have become increasingly common payment structures for injury attorney over the past few decades. This is because many individuals who are injured are already suffering from financial difficulties and contingency fees ensure anyone who is injured can still obtain professional legal representation.

This type of payment structure has also seen an increase in popularity because those who don’t receive compensation for their damages often don’t have any outstanding bills due to their attorney. This allows victims to still take care of their financial obligations in the event that they don’t win their case.

Percentages

The main aspect of any contingency fee is the amount that the attorney will take as payment once the case has been settled. Some of the more common percentages include:

  • 25% – This is generally the lowest amount that an attorney will accept before they agree to accept a case.
  • 33% – This is considered to be the most common percentage that victims can expect to pay out of their award. This amount ensures the attorney is fairly compensated without placing an unnecessary burden on the victim.
  • 40%+ – Percentages of 40% or higher are usually for the most serious of injury cases and are often charged by attorneys that have a proven track record of winning cases for their clients. Victims should still be wary of firms charging high percentages since awards are often needed for expensive medical bills and lost wages.

Additional Fees

Victims should also read all documentation to determine if there are any additional fees along with the contingency fee. Additional fees may be included for services such as the initial consultation or for tasks such as case management.

Victims should pose any questions regarding the contingency fee to their attorney before the agreement is signed. This will ensure that future financial complications are avoided and the victim and attorney can focus on ensuring the case is a success.

Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

Injured victims shouldn’t be concerned with their financial situation when deciding whether to go to court. If they lose their case with a contingency lawyer, they won’t have lost one penny. Even their case review is free. Schedule your case review today by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

child injury guide

Can I Sue If I Signed a Pre-Injury Waiver, Liability Waiver or a Liability Release

Can I Sue If I Signed a Pre-Injury Waiver, Liability Waiver or a Liability Release?

Individuals may face multiple instances in their lifetime where they’re compelled to sign a liability waiver before taking part in an activity or using a product. People who sign these releases often assume that this document legally releases the creator from any liabilities in the event that the signer is injured, but this is not always the case and enforcement is often dependent on a number of factors.

Age

Those under the age of 18 cannot be held to the terms of a liability waiver because minors cannot legally be a party to a contract. If a child is injured, he or she has until two years after his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit in the state of Texas.

A general rule for those who are over the age of 18 is that liability waivers don’t eliminate the possibility of the victim filing a lawsuit in an attempt to seek damages. This depends on the language of the document. Even if a person has signed one of these waivers they should consult an attorney as soon as possible since there is only a two year window when a lawsuit can be filed. If you are in doubt, contact us. We offer a free case evaluation, so it does not hurt to ask if you have a case.

Language

The language of the liability waiver is also something the courts take into consideration when determining its validity. Most states require that the language of waivers be plain and easily readable by the common person. If the language is difficult to understand or purposefully ambiguous, this may result in the document being void and unenforceable.

The text of the document must also be easily visible by any person who attempts to read it. This prevents document creators from adding small text that contains additional provisions to the waiver that are against the signer’s best interests.

Reason for Signing a Pre-Injury Waiver

The circumstances surrounding the signing are also of importance because the courts consider whether or not a person was unfairly compelled to sign the liability waiver. If a person chooses to sign the document in order to gain some nonessential benefit this may make the waiver more enforceable, but this doesn’t mean a lawsuit can’t still be filed.

Defendant Negligence

Individuals who sign liability waivers should also be aware that these documents do not exclude defendants from negligence. Just because a person signs a liability waiver doesn’t mean defendants can then place the signer at risk of bodily injury. Defendants must still take all the necessary steps to ensure signers are safe and that the activity or product requiring the waiver is safe within reason.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Legal documents are difficult for most people to understand. If you have signed a pre-injury waiver and have been hurt, then you should contact a personal injury attorney today. Schedule your free case review by calling 713-222-1222.

*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
child injury guide