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Motor Vehicle Accidents

Don’t Hesitate In Speaking To an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer for Legal Advice
Don’t Hesitate In Speaking To an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer for Legal Advice 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Victims in automobile accidents don’t always get the justice they deserve but that can be the result of their failure to take action when it is justified. If you’re involved in an accident, you need to speak to an attorney to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit, especially if you believe the other driver was at fault. When that other driver is operating an 18 wheeler or similar commercial vehicle, it’s important that you hold them accountable when they’re at fault because if you don’t, they’re more likely to repeat their offense. To get legal advice in this situation, you’ll want to consult with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer that has previously represented these cases and won so that you can trust the advice you’re receiving.

The companies that own these 18 wheeler trucks and employ the drivers will certainly want to avoid accepting any blame for the accident. This is why they have legal teams prepared for these situations and that’s why you need to have an equally prepared 18 wheeler accident lawyer working on your behalf. You want someone that won’t be intimidated and will put your best interests first. The CMZ Law Offices of Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley can provide you with this kind of representation.

When you contact our Law firm, we will give you a free case review with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer so that you can get your side of the story on record. This is an important step to take right away so that the details are still fresh in your mind. A Personal injury attorney will fully assess the circumstances of the incident so that we can recommend whether or not you should move forward with litigation. If you make that decision, we’ll be ready to go to work building your case by gathering additional witness testimony and evidence to support your stance.

An 18 wheeler accident lawyer from Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley will work hard fighting for your rights, even if that means taking your case all the way to court. We’re known as a “trial firm” because we’re not afraid to go to court and when we do, we utilize state-of-the-art techniques to present the best case to a judge or jury. This can include computer animations, computer reenactments, and any other methods that we feel will help you win your case and get the compensation you deserve.

The Sooner You Consult With A Semi Truck Accident Attorney From Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley The Better
The Sooner You Consult With A Semi Truck Accident Attorney From Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley The Better 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Making the mistake of not contacting a Semi truck accident attorney following the incident is a decision that often comes back to cost victims in these situations. The circumstances of these accidents are often such that the true damage isn’t fully realized until time has passed but by that point, it may be too difficult to build a strong case. If you’re the driver of a car that’s been in an accident with a semi-truck, certainly you know the immediate damage but as you try to recover financially, the long-term repercussions could be more than you’re able to handle.

If you decide later that you want to hire a semi-truck accident attorney, you’ll wish you had done so earlier so that your side of the story is on the record while the details of the incident were fresh in your mind. This is why it’s in your best interests to contact the Law Offices of Chandler, Mathis, Zivley, PC, right away and take advantage of our free case review. This is your opportunity to speak with a Semi truck accident lawyer that has experience in these cases so that you can get your questions answered without feeling pressure or obligation. You can’t make an informed decision about potential legal action until you’ve had an expert assess your situation and help you better understand your options.

Consulting with a semi-truck accident attorney from Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley is valuable because we’ve worked on these types of cases in the past and can tell you whether your situation warrants a lawsuit and what it will take to be successful. You need to hold the trucking company accountable if they’re at fault in these accidents because if you don’t, it only makes it more likely that their negligence in the future could lead to another accident that has even more severe consequences.

If you’re facing financial challenges because of the incident, such as medical bills or repair costs to your car, you could be entitled to financial compensation. You could need this help even if you’re insured because your insurance may not cover everything. By consulting with a semi-truck accident attorney from Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley, you’ll learn how to get that assistance and have someone that’s ready to go to work right away building a case and won’t be afraid to pursue it all the way to court if that’s what it takes to win.

What to Look For When Hiring a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
What to Look For When Hiring a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

If you (or a loved one) have been injured and need to hire a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer, there are important things you should consider before making the final selection. After all, when these large vehicles collide with your passenger vehicle, extensive damage can happen–the type of damage that can not only destroy your vehicle but can also alter your life. While you will undoubtedly be presented with many options for a Personal Injury Lawyer, not all attorneys or law firms are created equal.

Experience Matters

While specialized training is imperative for any Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer, this classic song lyric says it best: “Experience is a good teacher.” Insurance companies are well aware that the overwhelming majority of the public has no idea what rights they are entitled to in the event of personal injury. Not knowing–and failing to get the right kind of representation–can cost you money, in the form of low settlement offers. Experienced attorneys not only know what you’re entitled to, they are also seasoned in the art of building a solid case, negotiating with the insurance companies and in being prepared to go to trial if they have to. The experienced attorney is positioned to get you a favorable settlement which will far exceed the compensation you would receive in ‘going it alone.’

Costs Involved

Speaking of ‘going it alone,’ a number of injured parties choose this route to avoid attorney’s fees and associated costs for hiring a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer. Understand that most accept your case on what’s called a Contingency Basis. Simply put, they are paid only when you receive a financial award. In most states, attorney’s fees range from 33%-40% of the overall award. While that percentage may seem staggering to you, remember this experienced professional is, in most cases, capable of recovering substantially more than their less experienced counterparts. If there is a loss, you pay nothing to the attorney.

Advanced Trial Techniques

In most cases, the experienced Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer will work to get a settlement, eliminating the need to prepare for trial. However, in some cases, the actual trial will be unavoidable. Trials involve juries, and juries are made up of a small assembly of your peers. Let’s face it: Ours is a very visually stimulated society, and having audio-visual aids can help a jury “see” and comprehend the details of your case. Examples of these advanced techniques include: Audio or video depositions, animated reenactments, photographs and scaled models. If your attorney uses these techniques, it can be a huge advantage.

Ask Questions

When you meet with a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer for the first time, the initial consultation is usually free. He/she will ask questions regarding the details of your case, but before accepting the offer to represent you, ask questions. After all, you will need to know what to expect. Has he/she worked on cases similar to yours, and if so, what was the outcome? Will anyone else from the firm be working on your case alongside this attorney? How will you be kept informed of the progress of your case?

Injured by a big rig? Contact an East Texas Truck Accident Lawyer
Injured by a big rig? Contact an East Texas Truck Accident Lawyer 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

If you have ever traveled on a Texas highway with 80,000 pounds of 18-wheeler bearing down on your bumper, you know that it can be quite intimidating to share the road with the big rig behemoths. Because commercial trucks need extra time to both speed up and slow down, it is imperative that they allow enough room between them and any passenger cars. When factoring in the blind spots inherent in the design of all 18-wheelers, motorists can find themselves at considerable risk from negligent truck drivers. 

The life you save may be your own

There are certain driving behaviors motorists can adopt to help give them an edge on highway safety. Taking these tips and suggestions into consideration when behind the wheel may help you avoid a deadly accident and injuries. Keep the following precautions in mind when cruising down the interstate:

  • Avoid the trucks’ “No Zones.” If a truck driver can’t see you or your vehicle, you are at risk. These big rigs have four primary blind spots where other motorists appear suddenly invisible to truckers. While it may be necessary to briefly occupy these spots while in transit or changing lanes, avoid driving for long periods immediately in front of or behind a truck, as well as the areas to the left and right just behind the cab.
  • Use care when passing 18-wheelers. Don’t cut off a truck, as the truck driver is unable to stop on a dime. When passing a big rig, use your mirrors to verify that you can see the whole truck before shifting back to the lane. It is recommended that motorists leave a minimum of four car lengths’ space between them and large trucks.
  • Leave room for right turns. Have you ever noticed how widely a truck driver swings his rig to the right when turning? If you are in between the truck and the roadside, you could be in a danger zone.
  • Don’t tailgate. A car is at a definite disadvantage when it runs up against the bumper of a semi-truck or 18-wheeler. What can be a minor fender-bender for the truck can cause catastrophic injuries or death and total most passenger vehicles. The bumpers on most commercial trucks are not designed to absorb an impact. Due to size disparities, they are not likely to line up with those on a car. Running into the back of an 18-wheeler can open up your car like a can of sardines.
  • Give them plenty of room. The more distance between your passenger car and a big rig, the less likely they are to collide. As a collision between a truck and a car does not usually bode well for the occupants of the 4-wheel vehicle, this is an important safety precaution to observe. One way to make sure there is enough distance between you is to note a stationary object ahead, like a road sign. When the trucker passes this object, begin counting. If your car passes the stationary object before you can count to two seconds, you are too close for comfort.
  • Don’t drive behind a truck backing up. This is more of a hazard in parking areas and loading zones than on the interstates, but never place your person or vehicle behind an 18-wheeler as it attempts to back up.

Truckers bear increased financial responsibility

The Texas Department of Public Safety promotes safer driving by truckers through voluntary compliance with safety guidelines. But in reality, accidents happen every day on Texas highways and surface streets. Because collisions between cars and semis can be so devastating, big rig drivers or the companies that employ them are required to take out additional insurance coverage far above the minimum limits of passenger vehicle drivers.

This means that the drivers or companies must have sufficient coverage in place to meet the minimum liability requirements for any environmental or property damage, as well as bodily injuries, for which they are deemed to be responsible.

It’s not pleasant to contemplate, but lives are changed in the blink of an eye when vehicles collide on a roadway or interstate. Even those lucky enough to walk away without a scratch may face extensive vehicle repairs or even replacement. But the fact is that far too many don’t walk away.

Some motorists and passengers may suffer physical injuries that leave them incapacitated and unable to work or carry out activities of daily living. These injuries may be temporary or permanent; they can wind up with life-long disabilities or disfigurements after a crash with a large commercial vehicle. Few, if any, will have the necessary insurance coverage to meet all of their medical bills and rehabilitation costs. This is one reason behind the disparity in the amount of coverage that trucking companies and drivers must carry when compared with 4-wheel vehicle insurance policies.

Some damages don’t leave a scar

Survivors of horrific collisions often are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome months or even years after the accident. The mental and psychological traumas from which these accident victims suffer are very real and can severely inhibit their ability to resume normal activities like simply driving to and from work each day.  

Just for a moment, imagine how difficult your life would suddenly become if you were unable to drive or even ride in a vehicle due to lingering psychological scars from a previous wreck. You or a loved one might suddenly no longer be able to do some, or even all, of the following:

  • Commute to and from a job
  • Pick up or drop off your children at school or other activities
  • Shop independently for clothing, groceries or household necessities
  • Transport you and other family members to medical and dental appointments, leisure or worship activities

Instead, you could become completely dependent upon another person, and the vagaries of their own day-to-day schedule, for the most minor and intimate activities.

When bad things happen to good people, it is often not enough to trust that the system will provide for them and their present and future needs. Insurance companies have a duty to keep their profit margins high and their settlement offers low. They retain entire firms of high-priced attorneys whose sole responsibility is to prove that their client bore no liability for an accident victim’s injuries, pain, suffering and reduced quality of life.

Where to turn after an accident with serious injuries involving a big rig?

Some accident victims elect to pursue justice on their own because they believe that they will fare better financially without retaining an attorney to vigorously pursue their claims for damages. This can wind up being penny-wise but pound-foolish. Personal injury attorneys can closely estimate the worth of a case and deflect settlement offers that fall far short of the mark. They can put legal pressure on defendants to release documents that would demonstrate their liability for an injured motorist’s injuries and medical bills.

If you have been injured in a collision with a big rig, consult with the Truck Accident Lawyers with Chandler, Mathis & Zivley.




Crash Facts Involving Large Trucks — A Texas Truck Accident Lawyer is Your Ally
Crash Facts Involving Large Trucks — A Texas Truck Accident Lawyer is Your Ally 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Statistics show that the majority of fatalities in 18-wheeler collisions occur to those driving or riding in passenger cars. The size and weight disparity between the two is simply too great for the outcome to be favorable for the smaller vehicle. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 30 times as much as a 4-door sedan.

The trucking industry addresses this imbalance with design features like rear underride guards intended to prevent cars from sliding underneath large trucks in rear-end collisions. However, research done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing highway deaths through scientific research and education, indicates that even though these guards adhere to safety standards set by the federal government, they can be ineffective even in low-speed collisions. To combat this design failure, the IHHS lobbied federal regulators to demand stronger guards that will withstand the impact of a wreck.

Putting the brakes on safety

It is vital that the brakes on all trucks in a company’s fleet get regular inspections and routine maintenance. Companies that cut safety corners to save money put everyone on the road at risk of being maimed or killed due to a maintenance lapse. 

Another highway safety hazard is the time and distance required for 18-wheelers to come to a complete stop after braking. Most commercial truck drivers do everything they can to avoid colliding with passenger vehicles, but it’s a deadly fact that on too many occasions, trucks are unable to stop fast enough to avoid a calamity. Even an empty commercial truck is unable to stop as quickly as smaller autos; a fully-loaded semi on a rain-slick highway is at a real disadvantage. Moreover, the height of large trucks makes rollover accidents much more likely when truckers attempt to brake suddenly to avoid an accident. For drivers and passengers in vehicles in the lane beside the toppling truck, this can be a disastrous event.

Reducing the risk of rollover wrecks

Improving the design of large trucks to include an electronic stability control component could potentially reduce the frequency of rollover wrecks. The auto industry acknowledges that these safety features reduce the occurrence of skidding and help drivers maintain control of their vehicles. For passenger cars and light trucks, the presence of electronic stability controls slashes the risk of fatal rollover events by over 70 percent. Beginning in 2012, the technology was incorporated into all passenger cars and trucks. The next logical step is to include same in large truck designs. 

Truck drivers often lose control when they jerk the wheel to avoid another vehicle. Two steering problems can result.

  • Oversteering – Turning the steering wheel sharply in one direction can cause the rear tires to spin and the truck to slide.
  • Understeering – Commercial trucks may be understeered on slippery surfaces where the front set of wheels can’t gain traction. This causes unintended continued forward motion.

Electronic stability controls on trucks could reduce the prevalence of the above steering hazards by correcting the big rig’s direction with selective wheel braking that counters the force.

One of the reasons rollover accidents are so deadly is that they frequently result in total or partial ejections of the driver and passengers. Being ejected from a vehicle often results in horrific injuries or death. Large trucks have a very high center of gravity by design, and the weight of cargo can increase it even more. Thus, simply taking evasive action by braking to avoid a collision can result in another type of deadly accident scenario.

Trucker fatigue can be fatal

A major cause of many highway accidents is truck driver fatigue. Studies have shown that a significant number of truckers routinely violate the hours-of-service rules put in place by the government. Under current federal laws, truck drivers are permitted to drive up to 11 hours before they are required to pull their rig over and take a rest break. They also are allowed 60(70) hours of driving over 7(8) consecutive days. When the limit is reached, a trucker has to go off duty for at least 34 back-to-back hours. 

Findings from the National Institutes of Health compare a driver being awake for 24 hours to the impairment experienced by drivers with blood alcohol levels of .10 percent. For commercial truckers, that is nearly more than two times the legal limit. It is common for truckers to average only five hours sleep time between shifts behind the wheel. Experts recommend 2-4 additional sleeping hours in order to get adequate rest. Sleeping poorly between driving routes is another cause of significant impairment in truck drivers.

The logbooks truckers use to tally up their driving hours are notoriously easy to falsify, especially when freight companies push their drivers to complete their deliveries in record time to save money. The trucking industry could reduce the risk of fatigue-related large truck crashes by mandating that all commercial trucks use electronic onboard recorders to log the trucker’s hours behind the wheel. Such automated recorders would increase drivers’ compliance rates with federal hours-of-service laws, as the devices record data whenever a truck is in motion.

A preventable tragedy

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings of the primary cause of last year’s collision on the New Jersey turnpike between a Walmart truck and a limousine carrying comic Tracy Morgan and others. Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash, and four other passengers were seriously injured. Most tragically, a longtime friend of Morgan’s died in the carnage. The NTSB cited truck driver fatigue as the main factor behind the accident.

The NTSB report stated that the trucker had been awake for over a day at the time of the collision, having driven more than 800 miles on a route from Georgia to Delaware before embarking on the fatal ride. He had previously lost a safety bonus after racking up nine separate critical event reports for unsafe driving behaviors like braking too hard.

Coping with the aftermath

Most people injured in large truck crashes do not have the financial cushion of someone like Tracy Morgan to sustain them and their families in the recuperative months to come. Depending upon the severity of the injuries you suffer, you could find yourself unable to work, with no means of support and a mountain of hospital and rehabilitation bills. A serious accident can have negative repercussions on every aspect of your life. Worse still, the accident may cause permanent disabling injuries that preclude your ever working again in your field at the position you held at the time of the accident.

Although you may be overwhelmed, you can turn to the legal professionals at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, Attorneys at Law. Their truck accident lawyers can help you pursue justice by filing a civil claim against the truck driver and trucking company responsible for your injuries and decreased quality of life.

Google+: There are many different factors that can cause a collision between your car and a large commercial truck. A truck accident lawyer can vigorously pursue compensation on your behalf.





Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: Are Senior Drivers More Likely to Cause a Collision?
Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: Are Senior Drivers More Likely to Cause a Collision? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Being able to drive gives senior citizens autonomy and allows them to remain active longer in their communities. Retaining a valid Texas driver’s license lets elderly citizens get to and from medical appointments, the grocery store, worship services and other activities. Driving not only keeps them from burdening friends or family members in order to get where they need to go, but it is an integral part of their identity — a competent, licensed driver.

But are older drivers more of a safety risk behind the wheel? The answer might surprise you.

What the numbers say

According to statistics supplied by the United States Census Bureau, there were approximately 30 million senior citizens 70 or older living in America in 2013. This group comprises about a tenth of the nation’s total population. Federal Highway Administration reports from the same year indicate that there were more than 23 million senior citizens over 69 who were licensed drivers. Of that age range, seniors who still legally drive made up 78 percent of that group. One factor that is likely to increase the propensity for driving among senior citizens is the death of a spouse or a late-in-life divorce. Conversely, retiring has the opposite effect; seniors tend to drive fewer miles when they no longer work.

Overall, today’s senior citizens are electing to drive longer than they have in past decades. This could be because of several factors. As a group, they are living longer and enjoying better health farther into their golden years due to medical advances. Also, more men and women in the 70-and-older group have been in possession of drivers’ licenses for the majority of their lives, unlike many of the same age only a few decades ago.

In the years between 1997-2012, there was a 30 percent uptick in licensed drivers over 69. Yet the rate of drivers aged 70 and up who were involved in a fatal collision between those same years actually decreased more than the rates for drivers between 35 and 54. Some possible reasons for this include:

  • Data suggests that those 70 and older drive less than their younger counterparts. Senior drivers travel 45 percent fewer miles than those licensed drivers 35 to 54 years old. Shorter trips and less time spent behind the wheel results in fewer opportunities to be involved in an auto accident.
  • Some studies indicate that those older than 64 impose their own restrictions on driving due to declining health, vision, memory and mobility. Senior citizens may choose to only drive during daylight hours, drive solely on the surface streets and avoid driving at all in inclement weather.

Where the problem lies

One of the ironic characteristics of cognitive impairment is that often those with a significant degree of memory loss, or indications of the onset of dementia, fail to recognize these signs and symptoms in themselves. Some cognitively-impaired senior citizens continue to drive long after it is no longer safe for them or others on the road. Those who live alone and have no family members around to monitor their driving are at the highest risk for unsafe driving behaviors.

It is important to understand that age alone does not determine a senior citizen’s ability to drive. There are some healthy seniors in full possession of their mental faculties who continue to drive without incident well into their 80s. Alternatively, there are drivers in their early 60s whose mental and physical conditions make them true hazards on the road. 

Because there is no specific criterion to determine who should no longer be driving, it’s important to understand how the aging process impacts one’s driving abilities.

As people age, they become less flexible. Body parts don’t move as smoothly or as quickly as they do in younger folks. Aging diminishes both coordination and strength, which can have serious repercussions behind the wheel.

5 consequences of aging

  • Leg pain or stiff knees can make it harder to switch the foot quickly from the gas pedal to the brake when seconds count.
  • Reduced mobility in the neck can make it impossible to glance over the shoulder to check for clearance when changing lanes. Even looking right and left at intersections to check for oncoming cars, pedestrians and cyclists can be challenging.
  • When reaction times are slowed by even tenths of a second, failing to note that vehicular traffic ahead has slowed, another car is merging or a child has darted out into the street can have tragic consequences.
  • Weakness in the arms and wrists can make it difficult to quickly turn the steering wheel to avert disaster. 
  • Multitasking becomes harder with age. Monitoring the road, weather conditions and the movements of pedestrians and other vehicles may become overwhelming to some older drivers.

Texas license renewal policies

The state of Texas acknowledges that, over a relatively short period of time, there can be substantial changes in an older driver’s abilities to safely operate a motor vehicle. As such, there are some licensing restrictions in place for older drivers to prevent those who are no longer mentally or physically able to drive from renewing their licenses. Additionally, during the driver’s license renewal process, drivers of any age whose demeanor, behavior or appearance raises red flags to agency personnel may be required to provide additional evidence to substantiate their fitness to drive.

This may include retaking all or some of the licensing examinations. Drivers who have a sketchy history of accidents or past driving violations, and those whose dangerous driving behaviors may have been red-flagged to the agency, might face closer scrutiny before a renewal is granted. Even when a license is renewed, certain restrictions may be put in place. They may include:

  • Daylight driving only
  • Driving only to specific locations
  • Driving only within stated boundaries

The liability is clear

Nobody wants to deprive senior citizens of their independence, but when older drivers demonstrate that they are no longer competent to drive, they become both a deadly hazard and a legal liability on Texas roads. Accident victims who sustain injuries and property damages in collisions with at-fault senior drivers have a legal right to pursue a claim for damages through the Texas civil courts.

After an auto accident, medical bills mount quickly. Traumatic brain injuries and multiple fractures can require months of rehabilitation from physical and occupational therapists, and many accident victims will never fully recover from the injuries they suffered. To return to at least a semblance of your pre-collision life, you will likely need to retain a Texas car accident lawyer to best represent your interests.

The dedicated attorneys at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley stand ready to assist our clients in pursuing justice. For over 40 years, we have maintained a strong and unblemished legal record in East Texas and Houston. If you have being injured in an at-fault wreck with another driver, we can help. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.




Cell Phone Use Involved In Texas Crash Leading To Jury Award
Cell Phone Use Involved In Texas Crash Leading To Jury Award 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Can you be awarded damages if you were injured in an auto accident that involved call phone use?

Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of injury and death in the United States. The use of cell phones has made driving much more dangerous activity than it once was.  It is estimated that drivers distracted by cell phones cause as many as one quarter of the country’s car crashes every year. If you were injured in a car crash that occurred because another driver was distracted by cell phone use, you may be entitled to compensation just as in a recent case coming out of the State of Texas.

In 2013, an unnamed plaintiff was operating a pickup truck near an intersection in Dallas when another driver, which was distracted by the use of his or her cell phone, caused a collision. The plaintiff was seriously hurt and allegedly had to undergo months of medical treatment for injuries to his or her back and wrists. The plaintiff brought suit and a jury decided that a $138,504 verdict should be awarded.

What is interesting about this case is that it actually involves a modest award. Depending upon the circumstances of the case and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, these cases are known to involve verdicts ranging from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. Even if a case settles, it is likely that the plaintiff will receive significant compensation.  For example, in 2012, a distracted driving case from the same state fetched $22 million. It is also important to remember that distracted driving does not only include talking on a cell phone. A person can be held liable for distracted driving for various types of cell phone use, including texting, checking emails and using social media, among other things. If you or someone you love sustained injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, you should speak to a qualified personal injury attorney today.

Texas Trucker Files Lawsuit in Refinery Accident
Texas Trucker Files Lawsuit in Refinery Accident 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

What are the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit in a refinery accident?

In Texas and Louisiana, refineries play an integral role in the Gulf Coast economy, and these outfits are often drive by profits at the expense of worker safety. Avoidable accidents often occur when hazards and safety issues are overlooked. This appears to be the case in a refinery explosion at a Shreveport-based refinery in April 2015.

A truck driver from Denison Texas has filed a lawsuit after being covered in molten asphalt in a refinery explosion at Calumet Specialty Products Partners. The trucker suffered third degree burns on 90 percent of his body in what doctors at Louisiana State University Health Services Center said were the worst injuries they had ever seen in a burn injury survivor. The injured man spent three months in intensive care at the hospital.

A Grisly Refinery Accident

In April 2015, the trucker was picking up a load of asphalt from Calumet for delivery to a buyer in Texas. The truck was overfilled with 350 degree liquid asphalt that a Calumet worker began to offload, even though the trucker was not trained in this procedure. Apparently, water in the hose was vaporized by the liquid hot asphalt which caused the explosion, throwing the trucker to the ground and covering him with burning asphalt. During the 3 months in ICU, the trucker had to undergo debridement treatments to remove the burned layers of skin.

A History of Calumet Refinery Accidents

In 1999, a similar asphalt explosion injured another trucker and the company testified during a trial that truck drivers were not allowed to assist in offloading liquid asphalt. Moreover, the Calumet refinery has a history of OSHA citations dating back to 2007 when the outfit was fined more than $120,000. Again in 2010, the refinery was hit with more than $170,000 penalties for violations of health and safety regulations. More recently, a Calumet worker dies from injuries in an accident at the refinery in May, the details of which have not been disclosed.

In connection with this accident, Calumet is reportedly coordinating with its insurance company to pay the trucker’s medical expenses, however, his lawyers content he will need medical care for the rest of his life costing millions of dollars. Calumet also stated that it has implemented additional safety precautions at the refinery. While it remains to be seen if the trucker will prevail in his personal injury lawsuit, Calumet’s history of violations and OSHA citations may support the refinery injury claim.

The Deceptive Practices of Auto Lenders
The Deceptive Practices of Auto Lenders 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

What is being done to protect consumers from unscrupulous auto lenders?

For many individuals and families, having a car is essential to holding a job, making a living, and taking care of their responsibilities. In most cases, having a safe and reliable car requires obtaining financing from an auto lender, but many consumers become the targets of unfair and deceptive practices which are prohibited by state and federal laws.

Recently, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued separate reports regarding apparent deceptive the practices of auto lenders and complaints made to the bureau about leasing and lending practices .

The consumer watchdog found that advertisements by some lenders for GAP coverage, as well as disclosures regarding payment deferral terms, were deceptive. GAP coverage is designed to cover the remaining balance on an auto loan if a car is totaled, however this coverage typically has loan-to-value limit. While that limit it typically high, the lenders under review did not mention these limits in its advertising. With respect to the loan payment deferral options lenders uses as an inducement for consumers to buy an automobile, the disclosures did not accurately reflect that finance charges would ultimately be higher.

Complaints About Auto Lenders are Common

While the CFPB has yet to identify the lenders in question, they are probing the alleged violations and determining whether these lenders will be required to take corrective action. The bureau also reported that 60 percent of consumer loan complaints in the past five years concerned the auto lending industry, including loan, lease and title complaints.

Borrowers frequently reported having issues with managing and paying loans and leases, which was caused, in part, by failing to understand how fees and high interest rates effect the total cost of these financings. In addition, consumers often complained about payment processing issues, including payments not being applied in a timely manner. The bureau also found that lenders often neglected to address consumer complaints and align their business practices with federal consumer law.

While the CFPB has its eye on the deceptive practices of auto lenders, consumers in Texas are also protected by the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If you suffered a financial injury because of the false, misleading or deceptive practices of a consumer lender in the state, should you contact an experienced consumer law attorney to explore your options.

Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers: Is the bar to blame?
Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers: Is the bar to blame? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

With respect to a restaurant or bar’s duty to protect its patrons, premises liability law unequivocally requires that property owners regularly inspect the common areas and do away with any hazards and dangerous situations. However, what is a bar owner’s duty to protect unsuspecting third parties in the event a patron leaves under the influence and injuries someone on the way home? While states differ on their take on this issue, the Texas “Dram Shop Laws” work to apply to this very situation – and bar owners might not like the answer.

The Dram Shop Law is found in Chapter 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, and specifically holds a bar or restaurant liable for injuries caused as a result of beverage service if: (1) it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others; and (2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

According to the allegations in a recent Laredo-area lawsuit, the bar known as “Old No. 2” met the criteria described above – resulting in the tragic death of a man killed at the hands of a drunk driver. According to the lawsuit, the driver was overserved at the establishment, and proceeding to run a red light on the way home – at which the victim was stopped, awaiting the light to turn green. The driver was not only charged with vehicular manslaughter, but is also facing possible million-dollar liability. Also named in the lawsuit are the restaurant as a business entity, and two servers who were working on the night in question.

In order for the victim’s surviving widow to succeed in her lawsuit, she will have to prove that – at the time of service – the defendant was obviously intoxicated, which may require proof of drinking earlier in the evening, surveillance footage, or eyewitness testimony.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today!

If you were recently injured and would like to discuss your options under Texas law, please contact Chandler Mathis Zivley today: 1-877-739-7744.

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