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El Paso Personal Injury Law Blog

Zoo suit sheds light on dangers of exhibits

The residents of Texas may be interested to learn about a recent case brought against a Pittsburgh zoo after a child died after falling through a viewing window into an exhibit containing aggressive creatures. In their wrongful death claim, the family claims that the zoo did not provide sufficient netting or adequate railings around the exhibit. In addition, they allege that the zoo equipped its employees with blank tranquilizer guns and failed to acknowledge the warnings from another employee who witnessed the parents lifting up their children over the low railings on numerous occasions to view the animals.

Dangerous property conditions often lead to serious injuries or death. In cases of the zoo exhibits, the creatures in the exhibit were considered highly dangerous. The Pittsburgh accident allegedly happened because the railings were too low and inadequately maintained. One unprotected window with a central view of the display reportedly enticed the visitors to take a closer look at the animals but did not provide sufficient protection.

Mother discusses loss of family in car accident

For most people, the thought of a loved one dying in a car crash is one of the most frightening and horrible ideas possible. An El Paso mother recently spoke out about losing a loved one in such an event after her daughter, son-in-law and three-year-old grandson were all killed in a single deadly crash on Interstate 20 between Abilene and Fort Worth.

The mother of the 34-year-old victim expressed her belief in her daughter's and son-in-law's love for each other, their love for their child and their strong faith. She said that the crash happened on her daughter's 34th birthday. She says she is thankful for the time she had with her family members and is holding on to her own faith to ease her grief.

Texas man indicted for fatal motorcycle crash

A Magnolia man who had caused a motorcycle crash was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury for Intoxicated Manslaughter and Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury or Death on May 9. The accused man, 25, is being held on a $500,000 bond. The Montgomery County grand jury had indicted him because of the death of his passenger in February 2013.

Montgomery County investigators claim that the Magnolia man, along with his passenger, was traveling on Navajo Road going eastbound when the fatal motorcycle crash occurred. At around 5 p.m., he had lost control of his motorcycle; and it then traveled off the road and hit a culvert. Both the Magnolia man and his female passenger were ejected from the motorcycle.

Four dead in I-20 crash

A couple from Canutillo, along with their 3-year-old son, were killed in a car accident when a tractor-trailer lost control and hit their vehicle. The couple and child were traveling west on Interstate 20 at the time of the fatal accident, and all three were pronounced dead at the scene by Texas State Troopers. A fourth victim, a 65-year-old man from Midland, was also killed in the crash.

The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer was navigating a steep hill on the eastbound side of the interstate. The driver apparently lost control and crossed through the concrete median barrier, striking both the car and the pickup driven by the victims. The 22-year-old driver of the semi, along with a 25-year-old passenger, were taken to an area hospital. There is no word on their conditions. A 62-year-old passenger in the victim's pickup truck was also taken to a hospital and released after treatment.

Wal-Mart guilty of improper waste disposal

Texas law provides that those who cause injury to someone on their property may be liable for damages if the property owner was negligent. In a recent case, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has agreed to pay $81.6 million in fines after improperly disposing of pesticides, fertilizers and other hazardous chemicals. These items were pulled from the shelves in stores in California and Missouri after it was discovered they were improperly packaged. Wal-Mart's premises liability springs not from pulling the improperly packaged items but from its failure to dispose of the contents in a way that did not cause risk to others.

The company was charged in federal court and entered a guilty plea to allegations by the Environmental Protection Agency and other governmental authorities. The investigation into the situation took ten years and cost Wal-Mart over $110 million. The allegations stated that chemicals were dumped illegally in 16 California counties as well as locations in Missouri.

Doctor kills patients with "miracle" cure

Researchers in Texas and throughout the nation struggle to find a cure for cancer. The fact that a cure has been so difficult to find makes it likely that late-stage victims will seek almost any means possible to alleviate their suffering. A Los Angeles doctor took advantage of these victims by offering them a "miracle" cure. She has now been sentenced to 14 years in prison for taking more than $1 million from dying patients. She is also suspected of causing the wrongful deaths of several of her patients who might have lived with traditional cancer therapy.

The doctor was charged with wire fraud, witness tampering and tax evasion. The 58-year-old Los Angeles physician was labeled by prosecutors as "callous" for her treatment of her patients and their families. By giving them false hope and charging them thousands of dollars for her herbal cure, prosecutors say the doctor breached her professional ethics and may have contributed to the death of several patients.

Texas woman killed in I-20 crash

On May 10 a Texas woman was killed in an automobile accident that occurred shortly after 9:45 a.m. The collision occurred on Interstate 20 near Rankin Highway. Traffic in the area had been slower than normal due to two minor collisions that had occurred nearby.

A Ford Expedition was hit from behind by a semi-truck that failed to stop. The impact caused the Ford to roll over. The semi-truck then continued and hit the driver's door of a Pontiac Grand Prix in front of the Ford. The 33-year-old driver of the Pontiac was pronounced dead at the scene of the auto accident.

Police kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

In Texas, Austin police have taken measures against the rise in motorcycle accidents by kicking off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which is in May, with a ride through downtown Austin. The police were joined by about 20 members of the Patriot Guard. According to police officials, there had already been six fatal motorcycle accidents by May of 2013, and they are hoping to remind the city's drivers to be careful. The riders of the Patriot Guard usually have flags on the back of their bikes in honor of fallen soldiers and first responders, but during this ride, their flags bore the phrase, 'Look Twice" instead.

The phrase "Look Twice" means to look left, right and then left again, according to officials. Because most drivers are conditioned to look only for cars, looking twice may encourage drivers to become more aware of motorcyclists with whom they share the road. 89 percent of motorcycle accidents in Austin resulted in death or injury.

Penalty for hit and run auto accident may soon increase

The family of a pedestrian killed in a car accident has worked to change the law after the criminal case against the driver failed to satisfy their need for justice. Under Texas law, Intoxication Manslaughter is a serious charge, but Failure to Stop and Render Aid carries a lesser sentence. A drunk driver may receive a lesser penalty for fleeing the scene of a car accident instead of stopping to provide assistance.

A bill intended to raise the penalty of Failure to Stop and Render Aid in conjunction with fatal injuries to the same level as Intoxication Manslaughter has passed both the Texas House and Senate by unanimous vote. It is currently awaiting approval by the governor. A related bill, which imposes additional criminal penalties on individuals failing to stop after any accident that may have resulted in injuries, is also under consideration.

Fatal explosion may point to need for regulations

First responders were killed and injured and homes were destroyed in West, Texas when an explosion occurred in a fertilizer plant. A fatal incident such as this has naturally caused legislators to have an investigative hearing. At this hearing, it was once again mentioned that the state does not have its own Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the federal agency is unable to do inspections due to underfunding. The plant involved in this premises liability incident had only been inspected once in 30 years.

The State of Texas does not have a state OSHA such as those that exist in other states as it has been the practice to keep regulation to a minimum and encourage economic growth. This philosophy can leave workers in hazardous conditions if companies do not want to go to the expense to meet safety standards. If a state OSHA had existed, there would have been regulations set up in this factory in West to protect the workers and the community might have been protected from this devastating loss.

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Ruben Ortiz was born and raised in El Paso County Texas. Mr. Ortiz graduated from Coronado High School in 1987, then obtained a Bachelors in Business Administration from.. View Profile