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TX injury lawyerMost of the time, when one hears about people being injured on a bus, they assume there has been an accident. However, recently, one San Antonio man was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted of the stabbing of another man in October 2017, aboard a VIA bus. This is obviously a very unusual event, but it can sometimes confuse people who may not understand the difference between a criminal case like this one, and a civil case in personal injury, as is more likely to happen on board a bus.

Crime vs Civil Tort

In the stabbing case, the attacker appeared to attack the victim in an attempt to steal his cell phone, stabbing him repeatedly, though the victim ultimately survived. There was graphic video from the bus’s security cameras that captured the nature of the attack, and it seemed to begin out of nowhere. The attacker was later tried and convicted, reappearing in court on February 6 for his sentencing. He pleaded “nolo contendere,” which means ‘no contest’ and is technically not an admission of guilt. However, the judge sentenced him to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, plus a fine.

The attacker was charged with a crime, punishable by jail time among other potential consequences. However, most injuries that happen on buses or other public transportation are considered to happen as a result of civil torts. A civil tort is a negligent or reckless act that ends in loss or harm to another person or to property, while a crime is considered a wrongful act against society as a whole. If there is a VIA bus accident where people are injured, it is considered a civil tort because the keyword is accident - there would be no malice or intent to injure anyone. The attacker clearly, by the video, intended to injure the victim and was thus charged with a crime.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX accident lawyerRecently, a man in his sixties sustained “potentially serious injuries” when his car flipped over a guardrail on North I-35, landing 20 feet below on the service road. As of this writing, it does not appear that there were any other vehicles involved, but this does not mean that another driver did not play a role. Single-vehicle accidents are common and can be deadly, but this can be somewhat of a misnomer, given that it is possible in some cases to hold another person liable for your injuries.

Causes Differ Wildly

Most of the time, law enforcement will immediately assume that you are responsible for your own single-vehicle crash, with no other causes involved. However, this is not always the case - and even if you do wind up being held liable for part of your own injuries, you are still able to recover as long as your percentage of fault is below 50 percent. For example, if the court finds that you were 30 percent responsible for your own injuries, you would still, in theory, be able to recover up to 70 percent of your damages.

Besides driver negligence, there are several other potential causes of single-vehicle crashes. Defective parts may be one - some defect in your vehicle or one of its parts can lead to serious accidents. Other causes often have to do with road defects, which in Texas will often be the responsibility of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) or another state or city-based governmental organization. Poor lighting, potholes, badly maintained construction areas, and the like can all be major contributing factors.

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TX accident lawyerCommuters on westbound I-90 experienced a very unusual phenomenon on April 23; a road collapse resulting from a failed sewer pipe close to Hunt Lane. The main lanes were closed for three days. As of this writing, no injuries or deaths were reported in the collapse, but it is worth mentioning that had there been, those injured might have had a difficult time bringing suit to try and recover for their injuries. If you are injured in an accident resulting from poorly maintained or dangerous roads, there are very specific times when an injured person can sue a governmental entity.

Sovereign Immunity May Apply

Whenever the government is implicated in a personal injury lawsuit, a principle called sovereign immunity is implicated. Sovereign immunity is a principle dating back to English common law (on which U.S. law is based) that basically holds the government - or at that time, the sovereign - immune from being sued, because their attention should be on the enforcement of laws and running the government, rather than defending itself from every perceived grievance. As many other states do, Texas has its own sovereign immunity statute, called the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA).

Sovereign immunity was absolute back in England - this is not the case in the U.S. nowadays, and definitely not in Texas. The TTCA has specific exceptions to sovereign immunity, meaning that it illustrates situations where the doctrine does not apply and an individual can bring suit against governmental entities - thus, for example, if someone were injured due to the sewer pipe’s collapse underneath I-90, they might sue the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for their injuries, if the specifics of the situation fit the TTCA’s criteria.

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Posted on in Car Wrecks

Texas injury lawyerSH 71 and Pedernales Summit Parkway has been a problem for drivers for quite some time, with several accidents being reported at that specific intersection, and all of them being of the same character. Whenever the weather is inclement, hydroplaning is reported, with multiple crashes occasionally being observed on the same day. On the morning of February 22, work began on SH 71 at Pedernales Summit Parkway to remove the top layer of pavement to increase traction on the road. While the work should cut down on accidents, it can also help shield TXDOT and the municipality of Austin or Del Valle (depending on the agency working on the road) from potential negligence liability.

Personal Injury and Negligence

Car accident cases are most often brought under a legal theory of negligence, alleging that the poor conduct of another - most commonly, the other driver involved in an accident - was the direct cause of your injuries. In order to show that an accident was due to someone’s negligence, you must be able to show four criteria. They are: 1) the existence of a duty of care between plaintiff and defendant; 2) an evident breach of this duty; 3) a showing that your injuries were caused directly by the defendant’s actions, and 4) proof of tangible injury (in other words, injuries that would require medical attention to address).

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The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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