Archive for August, 2013

San Antonio Senior Injured in Pedestrian Accident

According to My San, a 77-year-old man was struck by a car when he was crossing West Cypress Street. The man was in his wheelchair at the time when he cross the Maverick Street Intersection and was hit by a compact car going east down West Cypress. The driver of the vehicle reportedly failed to see the man who was crossing. Fortunately, the elderly gentlemen survived the incident but was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Our San Antonio car accident lawyers know that there are thousands of fatal pedestrian accidents each year and even more wrecks that cause injury. Unfortunately, the man who was struck in the San Antonio intersection fell into one of two groups in the greatest danger of being hit by a car and injured: senior citizens.

Pedestrian Accident Risks For Senior Citizens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides important information regarding the pedestrian accident risk to seniors. Pedestrians aged 65 and up accounted for as many as 19 percent of the 4,280 fatal pedestrian accidents in 2010. Seniors within this age group also accounted for a total of 11 percent of the 70,000 pedestrians who sustained serious injury.

Seniors and children, especially those between the ages of five and nine, are the two demographic groups most likely to be hurt or killed in a pedestrian-motorist wreck. Unfortunately, an article in US News & Health earlier this year indicated that the number of traffic-related death rates for senior pedestrians aged 75 and older was more than double the rate of those aged 34 and under.

Senior citizens are not only more likely than those in other age groups to be killed, but are also more likely to sustain serious life-changing injuries. Seniors, for example, may be more prone to suffer hip fractures and other bone fractures when involved in a car wreck. When a senior suffers a hip fracture, the recovery period is long and a large percentage of elderly people are never again able to live outside of an assisted or independent living facility after sustaining a hip fracture.

The recent San Antonio accident involving the elderly 77-year-old man who was injured in the intersection is a perfect example of why older adults may be more likely to be involved in pedestrian wrecks. The motorist who hit the older pedestrian reported that he simply did not see the man in his wheelchair.   A motorist in a wheelchair is lower to the ground, making him more difficult for drivers to spot and thus increasing the chances of a pedestrian accident occurring.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Retired Soldier on Trial For Death in Texas Motorcycle Accident

According to the Killeen Daily News, a 50-year-old retired soldier is on trial in Texas for killing a motorcycle rider when driving home drunk. The driver was reportedly traveling westbound on Westcliff road at the time when he struck and killed the 47-year-old motorcyclist.  He reportedly hit the motorcycle from the rear, near where the road intersected with Beta Circle. The motorist was reportedly intoxicated at the time and fled the scene of the accident.

Our San Antonio motorcycle accident lawyers know that motorcycle riders are at serious risk on the roads, accounting for 13 percent of highway deaths despite representing only three percent of drivers on the nation’s roadways. In fact, as the National Transportation Safety Board reported, an average of 12 motorcycle riders are killed every day. Tragically, this recent accident fits the pattern of so many motorcycle crashes, which are often caused by motorists in passenger cars.

Motorcycle Riders at Risk

The Killeen Daily News reports that the rider was thrown from his motorcycle after being struck by the car.  The motorcyclist was thrown onto the windshield of the Toyota Camry.

Instead of stopping to help the injured motorcycle rider, who suffered a serious brain injury, the driver drove off in his Toyota Camry and went home to his back yard where his wife reportedly found him drinking heavily. The man claims his post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) activated his fight-or-flight response and caused him to leave the scene of the accident. However, this is not a valid excuse for fleeing the scene of a crash, and the evidence that the motorist left the scene will be used against him in trial.

Other evidence linking the motorcyclist to the crash includes DNA lab tests and blood samples on the windshield of the Camry. The fact that the motorcyclist was thrown onto the windshield thus was a major contributing factor in his death and will also potentially be useful in helping to bring his alleged killer to justice.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents like this are far too common. While drunken driving significantly increases the chance of any type of accident occurring, motorcyclists are far more likely to die when hit by a drunk driver than those in other passenger vehicles.

The accident was also a rear-end crash, and rear-end accidents are another very common cause of both fatal and serious injury crashes that harm motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders may be especially likely to become involved in tailgating accidents because drivers often don’t give riders sufficient space, misjudge the speed that motorcyclists are going, or fail to understand the impact that a change in road conditions can have on a motorcycle rider.  When drivers tailgate or follow too closely behind a motorcyclist, they can be held responsible if their actions cause an accident. This is true even when the motorist is completely sober, too, if he or she has behaved in a careless or unsafe way that puts the motorcyclists life in jeopardy.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Brain Injuries Can Affect You For the Rest of Your Life

Our San Antonio brain injury lawyers know that there are at least 1.7 million new traumatic brain injuries that occur each year and that many of these injuries are fatal. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that brain injuries account for 30.5 percent of all injury-related deaths.

A traumatic brain injury is often a life-changing event for the victim, leading to an extended rehabilitation period where the injured patient needs to re-learn basic skills such as walking and talking.  While the severity of the injury may be obvious, caregivers often don’t understand exactly what the victim is going through. Unfortunately, insurance companies may also try to downplay the lasting effects of the brain injury in order to reduce compensation for medical costs and pain and suffering when the brain injury results from a slip and fall or car accident.

Recently, however, more new evidence suggests that a brain injury can cause physical damage that not only has lifelong consequences in terms of affecting cognitive function, but also puts patients at risk for other serious conditions in the future. Further, a new HBO documentary, The Crash Real, may shed some light on what brain injury victims really go through, which could help to make the public more aware of the plight of brain injury sufferers.

Developing a Deeper Understanding of Brain Injury Consequences

Forbes reports that the new HBO documentary is the “definitive film on brain injury” and that there has never been another like it. The movie is a compelling account of the serious injury sustained by professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a severe blow to the head while attempting a technical trick called a cab double cork.

Pearce had been on his way to the Olympics before his accident, but instead ended up spending months in a rehabilitation facility learning to walk and talk again. His doctors also spoke in the film, reporting that he will forever be at risk of potentially fatal consequences if he suffers another blow to the head. Doctors also indicated that the damage done to Pearce’s brain will affect his vision and memory for the rest of his life.

The movie focuses not just on Pearce’s struggles to relearn basic life skills but also on the pervasive nature of the brain injury and how it affects every area of his life including the social, the mental, the physical and the practical. While Pearce reportedly hopes to snowboard again, the film gives the audience a first-hand glimpse into what an uphill battle brain injury sufferers face.

Unfortunately, recent new studies indicate that even when brain injury patients win their battle and recover their faculties, they still face lingering consequences. The study, published in MedScape, suggests there is a clear link between brain injury and ischemic stroke. Although researchers are not yet ready to confirm such a link exists, the data of more than 1,173,353 brain injury patients shows that there may be just as strong of an association between TBI and an ischemic stroke as there is between hypertension and ischemic stroke (hypertension is currently the top stroke risk factor).

As new evidence comes forward on exactly how far-reaching the consequences of TBI are, documentaries like the Crash Real could become even more important at helping to underscore to the public just how dangerous a blow to the head really is.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Death at Six Flags Over Texas Leads to Nationwide Concerns About Amusement Park Safety

Recently, a tragic accident occurred at Six Flags Over Texas. The Washington Post reports that a woman visiting the amusement park fell 75 feet while riding on the Texas Giant roller coaster, losing her life as a result of injuries sustained in the fall.

The accident has resulted in the Texas Giant being temporarily closed pending an inspection. Six Flags has reportedly ordered an internal review and is bringing outside investigators in to help determine the cause of the fatal accident. However, our San Antonio injury lawyers know that many safety groups are expressing concerns about whether the investigation will be enough and whether the report will be publicly available. Further, the tragic accident has also reignited debate about whether amusement parks should be regulated on the federal level rather than just by individual states.

Are Amusement Park Regulations Sufficient to Protect the Public Safety?

Currently, each individual state has the authority to establish its own rules for amusement parks operating within its borders. Different states have approached this responsibility in different ways, with some jurisdictions such as California requiring regular inspections by state inspectors. In Texas, inspections are also required annually but the inspections are conducted by the insurance company providing the park’s policy.

States also differ regarding who is in charge of regulating the industry and enforcing rules on amusement parks. In some jurisdictions, it is the Department of Agriculture, for example. In Texas, however, the Department of Insurance is the agency in charge of setting guidelines. The guidelines set by the Department of Insurance not only mandate an annual inspection on each ride but also require that amusement parks have $1 million in liability coverage on each ride.

Six Flags Over Texas was in compliance with the state requirements and the Texas Giant roller coaster on which the death took place had been subject to an annual inspection. Unfortunately, it seems clear that something went wrong despite this inspection, with the end result being a fatal accident.

While Six Flags has reported it will be conducting an in depth investigation into what happened, many have expressed concern that there is no requirement the inspection report be submitted to the state.  There are also concerns by some safety advocates that allowing individual states to regulate parks may not be sufficient to prevent further tragedies like this one.

Senator Edward J. Markey is a vocal proponent of federal laws regulating amusement parks and has expressed concern that a baby stroller is subject to tougher federal rules than a roller coaster that could reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Federal regulations could perhaps help to make the safety rules uniform across all jurisdictions and, if regulations were to pass, they might be tougher on amusement parks. Still, regulations can only go so far and inspections by state officials can only be so frequent. Ultimately, the responsibility needs to lie with every amusement park company to full its obligation to its patrons and ensure that the rides are safe so no injuries or fatalities happen.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.