Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

I was hurt by the Watson Grinding & Manufacturing explosion. What are my legal options?

Houston Watson Grinding & Manufacturing Explosion AttorneysAt approximately 4:24 a.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020, a huge explosion ripped through Watson Grinding and Manufacturing’s premises, located at 4524 Gessner Road in Houston, TX.

Channel 13 News reports that a propylene tank exploded at the facility and the debris field expands for a half-mile. It appears that the Westbranch neighborhood is most affected. Pictures and videos posted to social media by residents near the site of the explosion show considerable property damage to homes and vehicles, including windows that have been cracked, and glass completely blown out.

Who is most likely impacted by the explosion?

Residential homes most likely to be severely impacted by the explosion are on the following streets:

WEST OF GESSNER ROAD: Talina Way, Hollow Hook Road, Rockcrest Road, Lybert Drive, and Goodrum Road.

EAST OF GESSNER ROAD: Old Brickhouse Drive, Heatherford Court, Lybert Road, Ivy Oaks Lane, Juniper Glen Drive, Lone Brook Drive, Stanford Court, Bridgeland Lane, Valleywood Drive, Sunwood Drive, Rockcrest Road, Cottage Field Road, and Field Stone Drive.

What to do if you were injured by the explosion

Here’s what you can do if you were injured by the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing explosion in Houston:

  1. If you have visible injuries, for example from flying glass or structural damage to your home, it’s critical that you take good-quality photographs to document your injuries.
  2. The Mayo Clinic’s web site explains that a condition called tinnitus, which is noise or ringing in the ears, can result from injury to the ear. Short-term exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage. If you were present near the explosion site, by virtue of being closer, you are more susceptible to this type of hearing damage. Tinnitus involves the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. The symptoms include phantom noises in your ears, such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing and humming noises. If you believe you have suffered damage to your hearing due to the Watson Grinding explosion, see a doctor and report your symptoms as soon as possible.
  3. Seek medical attention for your injuries. You should use your own judgment whether it is necessary for you to go to the emergency room. If you do not think your injuries require emergency medical attention, consider making an appointment with your primary care physician. Your medical records will help document your injuries closest to when the injury occurred.
  4. Do not sign any documents that affect your legal rights. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and preserve your claim.

To speak to a personal injury attorney about injuries you suffered due to the Watson Grinding blast, call Smith & Hassler at (713) 739 1250, or 1-800-WIN-WIN1, or visit us online at www.smithandhassler.com.

Smith & Hassler, a Houston law firm, has represented injured people throughout the state of Texas since 1989. Our attorneys possess a wealth of legal knowledge and real courtroom experience. We have earned a reputation in Houston and across the state of Texas for helping victims seek justice and delivering results.

4 killed when Volkswagen struck by speeding car on US 290

Four people occupying a Volkswagen car were killed in a terrible automobile accident this morning on US 290 in Waller County. Channel 13 interviewed a DPS spokesman who explained that the Volkswagen was rear-ended by a speeding Chevy Impala sedan. That impact forced the Volkswagen off the roadway at which time the car caught fire. Firefighters did not discover the bodies of the victims inside the Volkswagen until they had extinguished the flames. The driver of the Impala was taken to a hospital in College Station in unknown condition. DPS is working on identifying the four folks who were killed.

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Front end damage to the Impala

 

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The four victims were in this Volkswagen car

Hit-and-run driver sought after 21-year old critically injured

21-year old Joseph Pena was driving home from work after finishing his shift when he was involved in a hit-and-run collision with another vehicle that has left Joseph serious injured and his mother wondering how the other driver could callously leave the scene. Joseph was giving a friend a ride home at the time of the crash, which sent Joseph’s car into a light pole. Joseph’s mother says he is now in critical condition and his heart has stopped twice since the wreck. The hit-and-run vehicle is described as a gray Toyota Scion; Harris County Sheriffs are investigating the crash.

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HPD officer pulls over drunk, hit by another drunk

Last night a Houston Police Department patrol officer had pulled over a suspected drunk driver and was conducting an investigation when the officer’s patrol car was smashed by a second suspected drunk driver. This is not a rare occurrence in Houston, and for some reason rather than emergency lights serving as a warning to drunk drivers, the lights seem to draw them in like moths to a flame. The crash happened on Houston’s North Loop (coincidentally Smith & Hassler’s office is on the North Loop). The officer and suspected drunk driver #1 were reported to be uninjured thankfully, and ABC Channel 13 has video of both drivers being sobriety tested.

If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, in Houston or anywhere else, give us a call and we’d be glad to explain what your legal options are.

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Daragh Carter named Personal Injury Super Lawyer for 2017

Congratulations to Smith & Hassler attorney Daragh Carter who was selected as a Super Lawyer in the Personal Injury practice area for 2017.

Daragh joined Smith & Hassler in April 2006 and has been representing injured clients ever since. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Daragh Carter

Box truck crushes cars on Blue Bell Road in Houston, TX

Two drivers are lucky to have survived a four vehicle accident the afternoon of Thursday March 23, 2017.

According to Channel 13 News, a flatbed hauling some pipe was traveling the 600 block of Blue Bell Road when it struck the rear of a large white box truck, causing the box truck to make an out-of-control turn and topple over onto two passenger cars. The box truck partially crushed a gold colored Honda and a dark-colored Cadillac behind it. Accident witness Mr. Cruz Hernandez told Channel 13 that a female existed the Honda bleeding from her head, and the Cadillac driver was up and moving after the crash.

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Both were taken to the hospital to be checked out. The box truck driver wasn’t hurt in the crash, and the driver of the flatbed truck who cause the accident is going to be issued a citation for failure to control speed.

Fatal car accident on Almeda Road, vehicle pushed into Rodeo bus

One person is dead after a car accident on Almeda Road and Reed Road at 11:30 p.m. last night. A black-colored Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck crashed into the rear of a silver colored sports car, possibly a Nissan 370ZX. Law enforcement told the media that the pickup was traveling at a very high rate of speed; the impact propelled the sports car forward into the front bumper of a Houston Rodeo bus that was parked and unoccupied at the time. The driver of the pickup appeared disoriented after the crash to bystanders who rendered aid, and there will be an investigation to determine if alcohol played a role. The driver of the Nissan died at the scene.

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The crash victim’s vehicle

Car accident victims want restitution after police chase crash

Channel 13 News recently published a story about a couple in Houston, Dr. David Perucca and his fiancee Sherri Witt, who were injured in a collision with a vehicle that was fleeing law enforcement. Apparently the fleeing suspect made a U-turn to avoid a spike strip and crashed into the couple’s BMW Z4, totaling it, and sending them to the emergency room where they’ve accumulated about $15,000 in medical bills (in our experience, that is far from an unusually high amount…it is actually pretty typical).

The main theme of the story though was that Mr. Perucca says he got a less than enthusiastic response from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office when he contacted them about getting restitution from 50-year old Douglas Pittman, the driver of the other vehicle. Sometimes victim restitution is made part of a plea agreement in a criminal case: the criminal is required to pay money compensation to the victim. Dr. Perucca told Channel 13 that the DA’s Office’s response to his request was, essentially, deal with it yourself.

Smith & Hassler has been handling motor vehicle collision cases since 1989 and has handled tens of thousands of auto cases. The best way to protect yourself, your vehicle and your family from injuries or damage caused by an uninsured person is to make sure you have uninsured motorist insurance on your auto policy. Many auto insurance policies contain a coverage exclusion when the vehicle is being used in the commission of a crime, and if a vehicle is stolen and in an accident, there is never coverage because the thief was not a permissive user of the vehicle.

Unfortunately we have to sometimes tells clients: “The other driver did not have valid insurance.” The question that follows is frequently: “Well can’t I go after the other driver to pay my damages?” The answer technically yes, you can sue the other driver, but as a practical matter there is usually no point. That’s because you can’t collect money that a person doesn’t have, and if the other driver doesn’t have the money to pay for car insurance they probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to pay your damages.

Certainly nobody would fault Dr. Perucca and his fiancee for wanting the guy who caused their damages to pay them. But the best protection any Houston-area driver can have is to be sure there is uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy.

 

Motorcycle accident on W Bay Area Blvd in Friendswood

Friendswood Police Department investigated a motorcycle accident around noon yesterday on W. Bay Area Boulevard in Friendswood. Aerial photographs taken by Channel 11 News’ helicopter showing a collision between the motorcycle and a red-colored Ford Mustang. The motorcycle appears to have t-boned the Mustang on the driver’s side front fender. A wider camera angle of the vehicles suggests that the Mustang pulled out of a driveway and was attempting to cross the motorcycle’s lane of travel, and the motorcyclist swerved to his or her left to try and avoid the crash.

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Wrong way driver hits wrecker on Hardy Toll Road

A pickup truck driver somehow ended up driving into oncoming traffic on the Hardy Toll Road in Houston last night, eventually crashing head-on into a tow truck. The pickup was driving northbound in the southbound lanes, the crash happened right around midnight. Fortunately both drivers are injured but expected to survive.

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The alleged wrong-way driving pickup