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vicarious-liability-picture As businesses expand, they look for new ways to transport their product or deliver a service to others. Thus, they hire drivers to drive their vehicles to do so. Sometimes when a driver is in route, they get into a car accident that may or may not be their fault, but when it is the employee’s fault there is a certain law that may apply to a defendant’s case. This law is called vicarious liability or respondeat superior.

What is vicarious liability and how do I know if it applies to my case?

This concept may apply when an employee causes an accident to an injured party during the course of employment. In order to prove the employer is liable for the employee’s negligent act, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show that at the time of the employee’s act, the driver was: an employee of the employer and the employee acted in the scope of his employment.

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bicycle-blog-march-photo As the spring season approaches so do the outside activities. The warm weather allows us to resume activities the cold weather is not welcoming to. Many individuals like to take a bicycle rides with a friend, significant other, or they like to take the opportunity to teach their kids how to ride a bike. It’s a great hobby to enjoy with others, but when one decides to take routes that involve motor vehicles the bike ride can become more susceptible to collision. Therefore, a bike rider must know certain laws and rules when one decides to encounter routes with cars.

What are the bike laws in Texas?

Bicycles are viewed as the same as vehicles, which means they have to abide by the same laws car drivers do. Generally, some of the laws state:

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car-headlights-picture One of the most important tools we have to utilize on our cars are the lights, which is a tool some people do not use correctly. Almost everyone does well at using their lights at night, but when sunset begins or when the weather is gloomy some drivers forget to use their lights properly. This neglectful act can lead to serious vehicle accidents. According the Texas Transportation Code, there is a statute that states,

§547.302 – DUTY TO DISPLAY LIGHTS

(a) A vehicle shall display each lighted lamp and illuminating device required by this chapter to be on the vehicle:

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Shoulder-lane-picture Am I allowed to drive on the shoulder of a highway?

If this question has not been directly asked, it has come up on one’s mind as they are waiting in traffic or if they see other drivers do it. This is the case if the driver is new to Texas and they are unsure what the law is. To answer this question, the answer is yes. However, there are only certain situations in which you can do this. The Texas Transportation Code describes these situations in section 545.048.

§545.048 – DRIVING ON IMPROVED SHOULDER

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emergency-car Throughout out time driving, emergency vehicles will pass us so they can tend to an accident or a vehicle with car problems. Unfortunately, many people forget what the proper thing to do is when an emergency car passes us as we are driving. In Texas, the law says that when this situation arises the driver is supposed to pull-over to the right-hand side of the road and stop. This law is easy to follow if the emergency vehicle is traveling the same direction as the driver. However, drivers become confused on what the proper course of action is when the emergency vehicle travels in the opposite direction. To clear up the confusion, regardless of which way the emergency vehicle is traveling, the driver should still pull-over to the right-hand side of the road and stop. The Transportation Code specifically addresses this in a statute described below.

§545.156 – VEHICLE APPROACHED BY AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE

(a) On the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle using audible and visual signals…, or of a police vehicle lawfully using only an audible signal, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

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consultation-pic When an individual is in an accident, the person may feel conflicted about how to proceed with a personal injury case if they believe they were not at fault. Depending on the severity of the accident, it is recommended to seek legal counsel. The thought of filing a lawsuit can be stressful or intimidating for a person, but it is essential to consult with an attorney to learn the value of your case. One may wonder what is discussed in a consultation and how the attorney determines the case’s value.

As I will discuss what is covered during a consultation, please note that not all law firms follow the same procedure when prospective clients come to their office for a consultation.

Generally, when a person calls a law office the individual may speak with a paralegal or a legal assistant first so that they can screen the call. The paralegal will ask the client some basic personal background information. They may ask questions such as, where do you work? What do you do? Where do you live? How long have you lived here? Where did the accident happen? These may seem like pointless questions to one, but to the attorney the answers to these questions helps them evaluate your case. Regarding the occupation questions, the attorney is analyzing, if necessary, whether the person was driving a company car or if the person was driving while they were working. It will help the attorney determine who the parties may be in this lawsuit. As for the residency questions, those answers will help the attorney decide where the case can be filed. There will be more personal background information questions to answer, but the questions above are most common.

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fog-picture As the winter season is approaching, more accidents occur because the weather creates conditions that are unsafe for drivers to travel from one destination to another. During the months of October through February we experience more fog than usual because of the amount of water vapor in the air. Depending on the thickness of the fog, it causes severe accidents because drivers are not able to see vehicles ahead of them. For example, in late December a multi-vehicle pileup occurred in Lubbock, Texas.

According to CNN, on the day of the accident Lubbock was under a dense fog advisory warning causing a mile or less of visibility. The accident started as a two-car crash on Highway 84. As police were investigating the car crash, an 18-wheeler jackknifed and slid into the car crash scene to avoid colliding with a red SUV that changed lanes in front of the 18-wheeler. As the 18-wheeler lost control of the truck, the truck swerved off of the road, rolled on its side, and struck several vehicles as the truck was coming to a stop. Multiple officers and individuals were on the side of the highway when the 18-wheeler was coming to a stop, but luckily, the truck only hit two individuals. The individuals were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Furthermore, CNN reported that in total, there were a total of five crashes that involved four semi-trucks and four smaller vehicles.

As stated above, fog can cause more accidents because of the lack of visibility. The Texas Department of Transportation reported a statistic in 2016 that revealed 2,430 reported accidents due to fog. Among those accidents, there were 45 fatalities. Although fog is a hazard that is out of our control, there are some skills one can keep in mind as they maneuver their vehicle through these special weather conditions.

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negligent-entrustment-pic What is negligent entrustment of a vehicle?

Negligent entrustment of a vehicle occurs when an owner of the car allows another individual to use it and the individual causes harm to a 3rd party. This type of arrangement happens quite often especially among family members, friends and companies. For example, a company may let some of their employees use a company car to drive for a period of time. This example is considered negligent entrustment because the employer is the party that is entrusting their employee with the car. For the harmed party to pursue this type of action, the plaintiff will have to prove several elements, such as:

1. The owner of a vehicle entrusted it to another person

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dog-bite-picture Most families enjoy the companionship of a dog. People enjoy the happiness and joy they bring to the family or to the individual. However, not all dogs are nice and playful to everyone who comes their way. Some dogs lash out and act aggressive towards children or other individuals in their area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded around 885,000 Americans are bitten by a pet each year with injuries that require medical attention.

https://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/.

Dog owners are not all mindful of their duty to maintain their dog(s) in a contained area or on a proper durable leash that won’t let the dog astray. When dog owners neglect their duty, it may lead to a dog bite, which in turn could cause injuries for the plaintiff.

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sideswipe-picture What is a sideswipe car accident?

A sideswipe car accident is when two vehicles going in the same direction collide into each other. The severity of these accidents can depend on the surroundings of the area, how fast the cars were traveling, and the impact of the collision. These accidents can start out as a minor collision, but sometimes they can be fatal. In 2016, the Insurance Information Institute concluded sideswipe accidents consisted of 2.7% of fatal crashes that year. For example, a car that quickly swerved into the next lane sideswiping another vehicle. The force of the impact is so strong that the vehicle collides with other cars or a barrier that causes significant injuries for the driver.

Some of the injuries can include: