Photo courtesy of US Coast Guard

One crew member is dead and another is missing after a barge carrying crude oil caught fire offshore between Port Aransas and Rockport, Texas, early Friday morning

The barge, headed to a refinery, caught fire about two miles offshore of San Jose Island, according to Harbormaster Chuck West.

More than 140,000 barrels of crude were on the barge at the time of the incident, along with eight crew members.

Coast Guard officials received a mayday from the captain of the tug vessel Buster Brouchard around 4:35 a.m. saying that the vessel they were tugging, barge B255, was on fire and two crew members had gone missing.

The barge fire led to a temporary closure at the Port of Corpus Christi.

The Coast Guard continues its search for the missing crew member

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

At The Carlson Law Firm we have over 40 years of experience representing injured offshore workers. Our team of skilled Martime Injury Attorneys understand the complex nature of offshore work and will help you and your loved ones fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Traffic fatalities in the U.S. jumped for the second straight year in 2016 according to data released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The auto safety agency said traffic fatalities rose 2.6 percent to 1.18 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

While many are quick to point to distracted driving as the culprit, the numbers tell another story. Distraction-related traffic deaths declined 2.2 percent in 2016, according to NHTSA, and drowsy-driving deaths were down 3.5 percent.

However, deaths linked to other risky behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving and not wearing seat belts contributed to an overall gain in fatalities, the agency said. Drunk driving was blamed for the most deaths.

Senior citizen drivers are accounting for a rising number of traffic deaths, the report showed. Drivers in fatal crashes aged 65 and above rose 8.2 percent last year.

The upward trend marks a reversal after fatalities fell in six of the seven years from 2007 to 2014. Deaths are up to 37,461 from an all-time low of 32,744 in 2014.

There are a few other troubling data points:

Motorcyclist deaths increased 5.1 percent to 5,286 fatalities – the largest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 2008.

Pedestrian deaths increased 9 percent to 5,987 fatalities – the highest number since 1990.

Bicyclist deaths increased 1.3 percent to 840 fatalities – the highest number since 1991.

The agency “continues to promote vehicle technologies that hold the potential to reduce the number of crashes and save thousands of lives every year,” it said in a statement. They “may eventually help reduce or eliminate human error and the mistakes that drivers make behind the wheel.”

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

If you are the victim of an auto, pedestrian, bicycle or motorcycle accident and suffered serious injuries, our firm of skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help. Our firm has been protecting the rights of injured victims for over 40 years. We understand that the time following an accident is stressful, which is why we pride ourselves in our ability to help our clients heal, not just financially, but also physically and emotionally. We will be by your side, every step of the way.

For a free consultation, contact The Carlson Law Firm today.

Photo courtesy of WFAA

Two oilfield workers were injured after an oil tank explosion at an oilfield near Dilley, Texas, according to La Salle County Sheriff’s Office.

Emergency responders arrived at Ledwig Ranch between Dilley and Millet in La Salle County around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday where local authorities said the site is operated by Carrizo Oil and Gas.

When emergency crews arrived they found a number of upright oil storage tanks fully engulfed in flames. Officials said an oil tank battery had ignited and the cause unknown at the moment.

Two oilfield workers were airlifted from the scene to San Antonio for treatment to injuries sustained. There was no word on the severity of their injuries.

Local residents described a loud explosion heard in the Dilley area. Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from miles away.

What The Carlson Law Firm Can Do To Help You

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of their work on an oil field, you may be entitled to the compensation you so rightly deserve.

Contact the Carlson Law Firm today for a free, no obligation, consultation. If you are looking for prompt, personal and proven representation for your oil field injury, The Carlson Law Firm is here to help.

Our team of attorneys, specialists, and research associates have the experience and resources to guide you through your legal journey and help you secure the best results possible.

The school bus is the safest vehicle on the road—your child is much safer taking a bus to and from school than traveling by car. In fact, students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus than traveling by car. But while riding the bus may be safe, parents need not forget the dangers their children face while waiting for the school bus to arrive.

On average, 20 school-age children die each year, nation-wide, in school bus-related crashes or incidents. Of these 20, five of the children are injured inside the bus, five are struck by other vehicles, and 10 are struck by the school bus itself, according to the Transportation Research Board.

Statistics show that not every motorist obeys the law where stopped school buses are concerned. According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction – must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed, or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

In 2013, Texas Highway Patrol troopers issued 566 tickets for passing a stopped school bus. According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 40,000 school buses transport 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

Critical School Bus Stop Issues To Keep In Mind

It is vitally important that parents are made aware of all the safety issues concerning their children and bus stops

Visibility: You don’t want your child to stand close to the road itself because this will put your child in a danger zone. Regardless where your child stands, however, it is always a good idea for any child standing or walking near a road to wear clothing that makes it easy for passing motorists to see them. Bright yellow, orange, and white clothes are helpful. If your child stands at a bus stop early in the morning or late in the day, they should wear clothing made with at least some reflective material, be it a jacket with reflective stripes or shoes, book bags, and hats with reflective tape. The headlights of a vehicle will pick up reflective clothing and gear from as far away as 500 feet.

After looking carefully at your child’s particular bus stop, you should decide where it is safest for them to stand and wait for the bus. Usually, this will be about twelve feet away from the road and the bus stop. In most school districts, the same bus driver will pick up your child every day. Talk to the driver and tell them where you would like your child to stand and wait. This way the driver will know where to look for your child when approaching the bus stop. The driver can also share with you their experience and give you advice about the safest places children can wait for school buses.

Danger Zones: Your child is entering a danger zone when they approach within twelve feet of a school bus, from any direction. Your child should stand back and allow the bus to come to a full stop, the door to open, and the driver to give the “OK” before moving to step onto the bus. Like trucks and cars, a school bus has blind spots or no zones where it is difficult for the driver to see vehicles or pedestrians approaching. A student should never walk behind a school bus for any reason and certainly should not cross the street there. The bus driver may back up suddenly. Crossing the street is always dangerous, and a child should cross the street in front of the school bus. Immediately after descending from the bus, they should turn left, walk straight for at least ten to fifteen feet, and then make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street in front of the school bus. Your child needs to understand that if they cannot see the bus driver, from their vantage point, the driver probably can’t see them. Most bus drivers will give your child a signal to begin crossing the street. Make sure your child knows to wait for this signal.

When you talk about these safety issues with your child, start the discussion at home but continue the conversation at the bus stop. You need to assess the relative dangers your child will confront at the bus stop.

Technology That Can Help Keep Kids Safe

SafeStop
Allowing parents the ability to see the real-time location of their child’s bus, the SafeStop app from SafeStop provides users with estimated arrival times. Parents or guardians can also receive notifications about that bus, such as accidents or heavy traffic. In addition, transportation professionals can use SafeStop Analytics to track performance by comparing planned routes versus actual data collected by the GPS units.

MyBusVue
MyBusVue from Zonar is a mobile and web application that communicates up-to-the-minute school bus locations to parents, caregivers, and school administrators via interactive maps. Additionally, when schools use MyBusVue with Zonar’s Z Pass (a radio frequency identification, or RFID, card that is scanned when getting on and off the bus), parents can check that their child arrived at their bus stop and at school on time.

Here Comes the Bus
Synovia Solutions’ Here Comes the Bus app gives parents alerts when the bus is near, has been substituted, and when their child boards and exits the bus. Customizable messaging allows districts to notify parents of delays or bus-related events. Synovia’s GPS tracking and software solutions can track vehicle location, improve safety measures, and increase fuel efficiency, according to the company. Here Comes the Bus has multiple tracking options, such as real-time bus locations or using barcodes that track a student’s location when entering and exiting the bus.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If your child has been injured by a school bus, claims can often be complicated to prove and pursue. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist.

 

Photo courtesy of The Advocate

One person is missing and seven have been hospitalized after an oil and gas platform explosion in Lake Pontchartrain just north of Kenner, LA on Sunday night, Jefferson Parish officials said.

Kenner Police received calls about the explosion around 7:18 p.m. Kenner city officials said authorities on scene believe the explosion was caused by cleaning chemicals that ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform.

The Coast Guard reported that a fire aboard the structure, owned by Clovelly Oil Co., was out by midday and there were no signs of pollution visible from the air. A Coast Guard helicopter, along with Coast Guard vessels and boats from local agencies, continued looking for the missing worker.

Five workers in critical condition were rushed to University Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, and two others were taken to East Jefferson General Hospital. Michael Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services, said the victims suffered “blast-type injuries and burns.”

Two workers, according to McGregor, who were more stable at the time were transported to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to receive treatment for fire-related injuries.

A statement from Clovelly Oil said three oil wells near the platform were shut in at the time of the explosion and its one gas well was flowing but was successfully shut-in shortly after the explosion. Clovelly does not know if any oil was released into the lake.

The platform is a storage and accumulation point for oil and gas from a number of wells, company spokesman Tim O’Leary said.

“It’s basically an underwater storage tank. It takes oil and gas” from wells, he said. Once the tank is filled, the oil or gas is pumped into a barge and moved.

What The Carlson Law Firm Can Do To Help You

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of their work on an oil rig, you may be entitled to the compensation you so rightly deserve.

Contact the Carlson Law Firm today for a free, no obligation, consultation. If you are looking for prompt, personal and proven representation for your offshore injury, Jones Act claim or any other Maritime Law claim, The Carlson Law Firm is here to help. Our team of attorneys, specialists, and research associates have the experience and resources to guide you through your legal journey and help you secure the best results possible.

In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week, which begins on October 16th, the Texas Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to comply with the law prohibiting them from passing stopped school buses.

It is illegal to for drivers to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign.

Troopers will be patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students. Drivers who violate the law could be fined up to $1,250.

The Highway Patrol says Troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus in 2016 and so far this year.

According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

National School Bus Safety Week

This year’s theme, “Stop on Red” reminds motorists and students about the dangers that exist outside of school buses. Motorists approaching a stopped school bus from either direction are required to stop at least 10 feet from the bus while the bus is loading or unloading students.  Bus drivers will activate yellow warning lights prior to the stop to warn

Bus drivers will activate yellow warning lights prior to the stop to warn traffic and will display red flashing lights and a stop sign while the bus is stopped. Motorists should be especially vigilant around any stopped school bus – with or without flashing lights. Where a road divided into four or more lanes, only traffic driving in the same direction as the bus must stop.

Students need to cross where the school bus driver can see them, wait for the drivers signal to cross and watch for traffic. The greatest risk to children is when they are outside the school bus. Student injuries and fatalities can occur when motorists attempt to pass a stopped school bus.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If your child has been injured by a school bus, claims can often be complicated to prove and pursue. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist.

A new study shows that Texas drivers are more likely to have a deer-related collision this year than in previous years.

According to a State Farm study, the likelihood of a deer crash is 7% higher than it was in 2016.

The study also states that nearly half of all deer-related accidents happen between October and December each year.

Even so, Texas ranks 38th among states for the most potential deer collisions, says State Farm Insurance, It considers Texas a “medium risk state” for such crashes.

Safety Tips to Avoid Deer And Other Animals On Roads

While some animal-related crashes are inevitable, many can be avoided.

AAA provides these tips to prevent car-deer crashes or to reduce their severity:

Don’t swerve, this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, brake firmly.

If you see deer near the road, but off the road, slow down as you approach. They could run in front of you. Also, deer travel in groups, so sighting one deer may mean others are near.

Heed animal crossing signs which warn you where deer are likely to cross the road.

Be most alert to animals around dusk and dawn — in early evening and early morning — when they tend to be most active.

At night when there are no oncoming vehicles, use high-beam headlights to spot animals sooner.

Always wear seat belts, and don’t drive while distracted, drowsy or under the influence of alcohol.

Insurance Coverage For Deer-Related Car Accidents

Did you know the average car crash with a deer costs at least $2,500, according to AAA?

Your insurance company will only pay on a claim if you have the appropriate coverage in place as part of your insurance policy.

Liability coverage and collision coverage will not usually pay for damage resulting from a collision with an animal. If you hit a deer, you will need comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is optional insurance coverage that will pay for repairing or replacing your car when the vehicle is damaged or destroyed by things like:

Hitting an animal with your car

Fire

Acts of God (wind or flood damage)

Falling objects

Vandalism

If you have opted for the optional comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy, you will be covered if you hit a deer. Comprehensive coverage will pay for a repair or replacement in the event that your vehicle has suffered from damage when it hit a deer. It’s important to note that in order for comprehensive coverage to apply, your vehicle must come into physical contact with the deer. If you swerve to attempt to miss a deer and crash, your claim turns into a collision claim.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation We will thoroughly investigate your insurance policy and specific situation so that we can inform you of your options for compensation. Since we operate on a contingency fee basis, it will not cost a penny for you to hire us for your insurance dispute unless we obtain a settlement or verdict.

New-model cars are loaded with more driver distractions than ever before, including navigation systems that take an average of 40 seconds to operate for any given task, according to a study of more than two dozen 2017 vehicles.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tested the distraction factor in 30 different new car models, concluding that 23 of them had technology onboard that demanded the driver pay a high or very high level of attention to it while the car was moving.

For example, 12 of the 30 vehicles allowed drivers to program directions while operating the car. That takes an average of 40 seconds, which means that drivers travel the length of four football fields when going 25 miles per hour.

The most distracting infotainment systems, ranked as “very high,” were in the following vehicles:

Audi Q7 QPP

Chrysler 300 C

Dodge Durango GT

Ford Mustang GT

GMC Yukon SLT

Honda Civic Touring

Honda Ridgeline RTL-E

Mazda3 Touring

Nissan Armada SV

Subaru Crosstrek Premium

Tesla Model S

Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription

The second most distracting systems, ranked in the “high” category, were in the following vehicles:

Cadillac XT5 Luxury

Chevrolet Traverse LT

Dodge Ram 1500

Ford Fusion Titanium

Hyundai Sonata Base

Infiniti Q50 Premium

Jeep Compass Sport

Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

Kia Sorento LX

Nissan Maxima SV

Toyota Rav 4 XLE

Distracted driving is considered a significant reason why fatal crashes have increased. The number of deadly accidents involving distracted driving jumped 8.8% to 3,477 in 2015, the latest year in which statistics were available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA issued voluntary guidelines to automakers in 2012, saying they should block tasks that distract motorists from driving unless the vehicle is parked.

Distracted driving in Texas is currently characterized by limited bans on a cell phone and mobile device use by drivers, including:

Hands-free and handheld cell phone bans for bus drivers

Texting bans for bus drivers

Hands-free and handheld cell phone bans for novice drivers

Texting bans for novice drivers

All texting and hand-held cell phone use while traveling through school zones

Despite the progress accompanying bans and laws in places to safeguard against distracted driving accidents in Texas, there are still actions necessary to prevent accidents tied to distracted driving, texting and mobile device use that sparks countless accidents every year.

Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable

If you, or someone you love, have been seriously injured or killed in an accident caused by distracted driving, call our auto accident attorneys as soon as possible. A consultation is always free at The Carlson Law Firm.

A North Texas truck driver killed last week in an Interstate 35 crash involving his vehicle and another tractor-trailer has been identified.

Truck driver Fuad Sawalha, 52, of Arlington, had parked a 2012 Peterbilt tractor-trailer on the east shoulder of the highway. He exited his vehicle and was standing nearby when a 2007 Freightliner traveling north drifted onto the shoulder, striking Sawalha and the Peterbilt tractor-trailer.

The crash happened at approximately 3:20 a.m.

Sawalha was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Freightliner, Isaiah Lee, 28, of Charleston, Mississippi, was not injured.

There were no other occupants in either vehicle.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

At The Carlson Law Firm, we have over 40 years of experience protecting the rights of injured victims and their loved ones. We have a long track record of success in trucking accident cases, train crashes, and other negligent accident cases. We get to the bottom of the situation and build a strong and convincing case for presentation to a jury. There is no excuse for negligent hiring of truck drivers and train engineers. Contact The Carlson Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. We care, we can help.

How Negligent Hiring Processes Result In Trucking And Train Accidents

Negligent hiring means the company hired someone to drive a commercial truck when the company knew or should have known the driver was not qualified. In many cases, trucking companies lower their standards due to a need of drivers to haul freight and meet deadlines. This can lead to dangerous drivers operating the largest vehicles on our roads today.

All trucking and railroad companies must exercise reasonable care in hiring drivers due to the devastating consequences of not following guidelines set forth by the state and government. Negligent hiring and retention are based on the standard that the employer directing activity through an employee is subject to liability for the injury resulting from reckless conduct. Negligent retention occurs when the driver has been working for a while, and the trucking company has reason to know or should have known, that the driver is incompetent or unsafe and still allows the employee to drive. Punitive damages may be available where the driver’s incompetence is deliberate, and the employer’s knowledge of such hazardous driving has been known long enough to constitute for mindful disregard.

Carlson Law Firm Partner, Julie Peschel, secured one million dollars for a client who sustained serious injuries in a collision involving a reckless commercial truck driver.

According to court documents, the driver of a flatbed trailer was hauling lumber down FM 580 in Lampasas County early one morning, when he realized he missed his turn. Instead of continuing down the road to a spot where it would be safe to turn back, he decided instead to attempt a U-turn. When he was unable to complete the turn without leaving the shoulder, he backed his flatbed trailer across the road, blocking the flow of traffic completely.

At that very moment, Peschel’s client came around a curve and was headed straight towards the stopped trailer. By the time the victim could see the flatbed; it was too late. He crashed directly into it.

According to court documents, the damage was so severe to the vehicle that first responders had to use heavy rescue equipment to extract the victim. Air Evac Lifeteam transported him to a nearby hospital, where he presented with injuries to the head, face, wrist, knee, and thorax. He had multiple lacerations both externally and internally, as well as numerous fractures.

The client’s injuries required that he undergo multiple surgeries. He was in the hospital for an entire month, during which he had to endure physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy and speech therapy.

“Unfortunately, we cannot erase what happened to our client in the collision or even put our client back to the way they used to be before-hand, but what we can do is help provide for him and his family into the future,” said Peschel.

Because of the severe nature of this incident, the client will require lifelong medical treatment for his injuries.

“It is obtaining a resolution for the client such as this that makes what we do here at The Carlson Law Firm so satisfying,” Peschel added.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help You

The Carlson Law Firm has over 40 years of experience protecting the rights of injured victims across the nation, including those injured by commercial vehicles. If you find yourself in a similar situation, where the negligence of another has injured you or someone you love, contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation. We care, we can help.