Blogs

Yearly Archives: 2021

Distracted Driving Updates in Texas 

By Jun 12, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

Smartphones seem to do everything, except make us better drivers. In Texas and many other states, handheld devices are illegal. Texting or surfing the web and driving is definitely illegal, as some studies have shown distracted driving is more dangerous than drowsy driving. Unfortunately, the rise of digital technology has resulted in an increase of car accidents, and not just among young people. Despite digital ad campaigns and hefty tickets, people continue to drive distracted. If you were injured in a car accident as a result of a negligent distracted driver, the attorneys at Wham & Rogers, PLLC can assist with your claim. Distracted Driving Updates  In Texas, it is illegal to craft a text message or respond to receive messages, answer an email, scroll Instagram or Facebook, or make a phone call without Bluetooth technology. Any use of a handheld device is a violation of the statute. If ticketed, the driver is subject to a $60 fine and three points added to their license. If a driver is distracted and strikes another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist, they are liable for damages and injury caused to the victim. During discovery, a plaintiff’s attorney can request phone records from the defendant to determine if distracted driving was a potential cause. Sometimes the driver may admit fault at the scene, but this is extremely rare. Unfortunately distracted driving is linked to more and more collisions and even fatalities. Unlike the weather or mechanical malfunctioning, distracted driving is both predictable and preventable.  Next […]

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Hit and Run Car Accidents 

By Jun 12, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

Were you in a car accident with a hit and run or phantom driver? You might think you are out of luck in placing liability on a person you cannot track down, but this is not always the case. Even if the driver cannot be identified or located, you can and should file a claim with your own insurance company due to your loss. If your insurance company denies you full coverage or does not reimburse you for your out-of-pockets, you can file a claim against your own insurer. Hit and Run Accidents in Texas  Leaving the scene of an accident in Texas is illegal. It is a crime with penalties ranging from six months in jail to ten years in prison, along with hefty fines. Knowingly leaving the scene after striking a pedestrian or cyclist or with knowledge that the collision caused bodily injury is heinous. Even leaving the scene of an accident only to return later is still illegal. If you were involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, you need to call the police immediately to file a damage report, seek medical treatment, and provide a description of the driver and/or the vehicle, and any damage sustained to their car due to the impact. The police can put out an all points bulletin and even notify regional authorities and the news media of the driver’s physical description and the description of the car. Often suspects are caught within a few days after their vehicle […]

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Sovereign Immunity and the Texas Tort Claims Act 

By Jun 12, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

You are rear-ended by a distracted driver manning the wheel of a state-owned vehicle. It turns out that the defendant driver is on the clock driving between locations. Is the driver responsible for your property damages and injuries, or is his employer? How do you sue the state of Texas for an incident caused by one of their employees? The Texas Tort Claims Act governs personal injury cases brought against the State of Texas. Sovereign immunity is the principle that the state’s “coffers” must be guarded from unlawful seizure. In other words, states cannot be subject to all lawsuits or the state would constantly be involved in frivolous litigation. The Texas Tort Claim Act allows the State of Texas to be sued in certain cases including tort claims involving employees in the scope of employment.  Defining Scope of Employment  Defining the scope of employment has been the subject of case law in many states. Generally speaking, a defendant government or private employee is in the scope of employment while driving if traveling to a work location from a work location, delivering goods, or has express permission from the employer to drive the work vehicle. Usually exceptions to scope of employment include if a government or private worker with “take-home” privileges, takes the car out for a joy ride after work hours and gets in an accident, or drives the vehicle drunk and subsequently collides with another vehicle or pedestrian while intoxicated. In addition, unless granted express permission by their employer, […]

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Texas Dog Bite Laws: The “One Bite” Rule 

By May 31, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

Consider this scenario: You and your family are taking a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood to enjoy the spring weather. You turn the corner and see a snarling, burly dog lunging at your small child. You instinctively pull your child into your arms and run the other direction, but the dog bites your leg and you fall to the ground. You try to fight the dog off and it continues to lunge at your neck; luckily you are saved by a good samaritan who pulls the dog off, and you wait for animal control and paramedics to arrive. Only when the dog’s microchip is scanned is the owner finally notified of their “missing” dog, who has now attacked two humans in broad daylight. Unfortunately many people are attacked and bitten by dogs everyday, pets whose owners claim could never hurt a fly. Even dogs with pleasant dispositions sometimes act out and bite small children, babies, and other dogs and small pets. Societal attitudes indicate that a dog owner should be responsible for their dog’s actions, but this is not reflected in Texas laws.  What is the One-Bite Rule?  The principle of strict liability dictates that dog owners are liable if their pet (usually dogs) bites or attacks another person or pet. Unfortunately for Texans, the State of Texas does not utilize the principle of strict liability as applied to dog bites. Instead, Texas uses the “one-bite” rule. The one bite rule states that the injured neighbor or passerby must establish […]

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What are Punitive Damages? 

By May 31, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

If you were recently involved in a car accident, you might be wondering what damages you are entitled to receive. As we have previously discussed, Texas does not have a cap on non-economic and economic damages. However, punitive damages are possible in personal injury cases but rarely assessed against an individual defendant absent wanton and willful or reckless conduct.  How Do Courts Measure Punitive or Exemplary Damages  Punitive damages are often discussed in high-profile cases, such as against BP during the major oil spill in 2010. Courts impose punitive damages on large companies that have committed grievous torts as a punishment to ensure that the defendant does not commit the same negligent act again. In most states, punitive damages cannot exceed non-economic or economic damages by an 8 to 1 ratio. In Texas, punitive damages are limited to no more than two times the award of compensatory damages to the plaintiff. In addition, these damages are usually not paid to the plaintiff, unlike restitution. Instead, punitive damages are applicable in cases where the defendant has committed such a heinous act, that the court finds it appropriate to assess punitive measures aside from volunteer service or other means of reconciliation.  In cases in which an award of punitive damages is allowed absent a showing of actual malice, the plaintiff must demonstrate, on the part of the defendant, such extraordinary or outrageous conduct as to amount to the possible legal equivalent of actual intent or actual malice, or wanton and reckless disregard. […]

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Next Steps After a Rideshare Collision 

By May 31, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

Were you or someone you know recently injured in a car accident with a ride-share driver? Are you having difficulty managing the claims process with your insurance adjuster? Ride-share accidents with Uber, Lyft and other third party rideshare services continue to increase in number as more people utilize their services. Some drivers have poor driving records and yet are able to obtain a rideshare gig because rideshare companies do not thoroughly vet their independent contractor drivers. Furthermore, rideshare companies have gone to great lengths in their effort to avoid liability for third-party contractor collisions, incidents, and even claims of harassment and abuse towards passengers. If you need assistance with your personal injury claim, contact our litigators at Wham & Rogers, PLLC Determining Liability  The first step in a personal injury claim is determining who is liable for the incident. If you were a passenger in a rideshare driver’s vehicle in a single car crash, barring an Act of God, the driver would be held liable for any injuries you sustained in the collision. If another vehicle hit the rideshare driver head on, or he or she was rear-ended by another vehicle, the other driver might be liable. Similarly, a multiple vehicle crash can be a nightmare for insurance adjusters to sort through, but even worse for the injured victim. After an accident, call the police immediately. Sometimes when the police file an accident report they also issue the at-fault driver a ticket. Take pictures of the damage to all involved […]

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Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Collision

By May 31, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

Motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious and sometimes fatal. In Texas, motorcyclists over the age of 21 are not required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle, but even with the proper safety equipment, many riders are injured in dangerous collisions with motor vehicles. Safety officials also encourage motorcycle riders to wear a helmet and proper safety equipment to mitigate the risk of severe injuries or death. Statistics indicate that most crashes take place within five miles of a cyclist’s home, and when the driver is going less than 30 mph, although sometimes high speed is a contributing factor.  Most often in accidents between a rider and a driver, the vehicle driver is making a left hand turn onto traffic and does not look left again to be sure the intersection is clear; or the driver simply does not see the motorcycle rider. Serious motorcycle collisions can result in permanent disability, a lifetime of medical bills and affect the victim’s employment prospects. Our attorneys at Wham & Rogers, PLLC specialize in plaintiff personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents. We will fight so that you are justly compensated for your losses.  Motorcycle Crash Causes  The National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), states that motorcyclists are 27 more times likely to die in a motorcycle crash than a vehicle driver. While driving a motorcycle is not an inherently dangerous activity, it is crucial that riders wear a helmet, wear reflective clothing if driving at night, and keep a safe distance […]

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Personal Injury Claims and the Statute of Limitations in Texas

By May 31, 2021 Posted in Personal Injury

You were injured in a serious car crash but wanted to wait for insurance to straighten it out before you filed suit. Months have gone by, and you are still suffering from debilitating physical injuries, are out of work, and have no means of income. You have called the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster more times than you count and still you have not been made whole for the accident. While it is always better to consult with a personal injury attorney soon after an accident, it is crucial to remember that you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the insurance company or the defendant. This window of time is called the statute of limitations.  What is the Statute of Limitations?  In Texas, the plaintiff must file a complaint within two calendar years of the date of injury. For example, if the plaintiff was injured in a serious car wreck on February 2, 2020, they have until February 2, 2022 to file a complaint with the court of jurisdiction along with a summons and certificate of service to be served upon the defendant. Of course, there is no waiting period or requirement to seek resolution with the insurance adjuster first. If the plaintiff does wait until the last possible day to file, and a procedural issue prevents her from moving forward, she is out of options and barred from recovery.  The purpose of the statute of limitations is to file suit when events are recent in […]

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Insurance Claims after Ice-Storm Damage

By Feb 20, 2021 Posted in Insurance

Following Winter Storm Uri, many Houston-area homes have been damaged by burst pipes, and even by issues like sewer backup resulting from long power outages at treatment facilities. If your property has been damaged—although legal issues may be low on your list of priorities right now—there are some important things to keep in mind for insurance claims:

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How (and Why) to Get Your Crash Report

By Feb 16, 2021 Posted in Automobile Issues

HOW DO I GET A COPY OF MY ACCIDENT (CRASH) REPORT? Texas crash reports are available online from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Because they contain confidential information, crash reports are not available for online viewing by the general public, but you can download your crash reports from the TxDOT website.   

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The Woodlands, TX 77380
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