After hurricanes, hail damage, or extreme flooding, will homeowners insurance be enough to help my family fully recover?
If the insurance company unfairly denies or delays payment on your claim, count on Alford & Clark PLLC to help after disaster strikes.
After witnessing extreme flooding in Louisiana, record-breaking hail in San Antonio, and the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, countless homeowners are asking: how do I protect my most important asset when disaster strikes?
While most homeowners do purchase insurance to protect their property, even if you do have a homeowners insurance policy, you are not necessarily protected against every conceivable risk.
There are two very different types of homeowners insurance policies sold in Texas:
Most homeowners insurance policies in Texas, regardless of whether they are named perils or all-risk, protect against the following dangers:
On the other hand, the following events are typically not covered:
Most Texas homeowners policies do protect against wind, hurricane, and hail damage, unless you live in one of the 14 coastal counties (such as Jefferson and Galveston counties) or in Harris County near the Galveston Bay. If you live in one of these high-risk areas, you may be required to purchase additional Wind and Hail insurance from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). If you are interested in this coverage, don’t wait, because once a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico, you may be barred from obtaining windstorm coverage in time.
Finally, the insurance company may unfairly deny or delay payment on your covered claim. In that event, you may need to hire the attorneys at Alford & Clark PLLC to help you fully recover after disaster strikes. Texas law prohibits insurance companies from engaging in unfair claim settlement practices, including failing to attempt in good faith to effect a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement. If the insurer violates Texas law, you may be able to recover, in addition to the amount of the claim, interest on the amount of the claim at the rate of 18 percent a year as damages, together with reasonable attorney's fees.
If your home or commercial property has been damaged and the insurance company is not treating you fairly, call Alford & Clark now for a free, confidential consultation. Our property damage attorneys are on call – 24/7 – and are happy to answer any questions absolutely free of charge. You can find Alford & Clark online at www.injuredtexan.com or you can speak with an attorney now by calling 210-951-9467.
The trial attorneys at Alford & Clark evaluate Samsung’s exposure under Texas products liability laws.
Over this past weekend, Samsung advised all owners of its Note 7 smartphone to power down their devices and immediately exchange them. This warning comes after a flood of complaints regarding battery overheating issues that may lead to fires.
With reports of Jeep being set ablaze by a Note 7 and a six-year-old Brooklyn boy being injured when a Samsung Galaxy smartphone allegedly exploded in his hands, readers may be wondering what, if any, legal liability the electronics manufacturer may face from these apparently dangerous devices.
Products liability cases in Texas generally fall into three categories: (1) manufacturing defects, (2) design defects, or (3) marketing defects. Depending on the evidence, a particular case could feature any combination of these defects or even all three at the same time.
Under Texas law, a plaintiff (the injured party) has a manufacturing defect claim when the finished product that hurt them deviates, in terms of its construction or quality, from the specifications or planned output in a manner that renders it unreasonably dangerous.
With a design defect case, the plaintiff instead has to prove that (1) there was a safer alternative design and (2) the defect was a producing cause of the personal injury, property damage, or death for which the claimant seeks recovery. "Safer alternative design" means a product design other than the one actually used that likely (1) would have prevented or significantly reduced the risk of the claimant's personal injury, property damage, or death without substantially impairing the product's utility and (2) was economically and technologically feasible at the time the product left the control of the manufacturer or seller by the application of existing or reasonably achievable scientific knowledge.
Finally, for a marketing defect case, the plaintiff has to prove that the lack of adequate warnings or instructions rendered a product unreasonably dangerous.
Although Samsung has been guarded when describing the source of the current Note 7 crisis, referring to the problem only as a “battery cell issue,” the likely culprit is the large lithium ion battery that powers the devices. It will likely require a full investigation, including examination of corporate communications and manufacturing specifications, to determine whether this is a case where there was some fatal defect on the manufacturing floor or instead where Samsung designed a product that pushed the capabilities of these batteries too far, resulting in a design defect. In any event, expect to see lawsuits filed for each serious injury caused by these potentially defective smartphones.
If you have been injured by a defective smartphone or other dangerous product, call Alford & Clark now for a free, confidential consultation. Our attorneys are on call – 24/7 – and are happy to answer any questions absolutely free of charge. You can find Alford & Clark online at www.injuredtexan.com or you can speak with an injury attorney now by calling 210-951-9467.
Driving is one of the most dangerous things you do on a daily basis. Good driving habits can help make the difference between a safe trip and a catastrophe. But do you know what bad habits you need to avoid?
The Texas Department of Transportation maintains a database of all reported motor-vehicle collisions that taking place across the state. The trial attorneys at Alford & Clark PLLC dug into the latest data to determine the Top 10 Most Dangerous Driving Habits in Texas.
If you’ve been in a serious accident, please visit www.injuredtexan.com to learn more about how Alford & Clark can help you recover or you can call 210-951-9467 now for a free, confidential consultation with an injury attorney.
10. Disregard Stop and Go Signal – 20,983 Crashes
Failing to obey a traffic light can easily cause a crash. Remember that a yellow light is a warning. Many drivers made a habit of running yellow lights or speeding up to try to “catch” the light. This bad driving habit causes over a hundred fatal crashes every year. Shaving a few seconds off your drive by running a yellow or blowing through a red light is not worth that risk.
9. Faulty Evasive Action – 23,945 Crashes
What is faulty evasive action? When a driver takes no evasive action at all when they should have, or when a driver takes improper evasive action by doing something like overcompensating. By staying alert, and not panicking, you can reduce your chances of a crash. Stay alert, stay calm, and stay alive.
8. Failed to Yield Right of Way – Stop Sign – 25,329 Crashes
Bad driving habit #8 is the failure to wait your turn at an intersection. It occurs when a vehicle does stop for a stop sign, but then fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle in the intersection. When stopping at a stop sign, it is critical to actually take a moment to look both ways before proceeding through the intersection.
7. Followed Too Closely – 25,436 Crashes
Tailgating – unless you’re at a football game – is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Indeed, Texas law requires that drivers, maintain a sufficient stopping-distance when traveling behind another vehicle. When a vehicle is following too close to take proper evasive action, the results can be deadly: tailgating contributed to 12 fatal crashes in 2015.
6. Unsafe Speed – 26,608 Crashes
Many drivers think it’s always okay to travel the speed limit. Wrong! Sometimes safe driving requires you to drop your speed BELOW the speed limit. Not doing so can be dangerous. Unsafe speed occurs when a driver fails to reduce speed while traveling (1) through an intersection or railroad crossing, (2) around a curve, (3) over a hill, (4) on a narrow or winding road, or (5) when approaching a special hazard. A total of 407 fatal crashes could have been avoided last year alone, if drivers made a habit of reducing their speed when caution demanded it.
5. Failed to Yield Right of Way – Turning Left – 30,741 Crashes
It’s simple: yield to oncoming traffic. Typically, an oncoming vehicle has the right of way over a vehicle turning left. But even if you have the right of way, make a habit of yielding when trying to make a left turn. The few seconds it takes could save your life.
4. Changed Lane When Unsafe – 34,157 Crashes
We have all been stuck behind a slow driver on the highway and felt the urge to pass them. However, reckless passing is one of the most common and most dangerous bad driving habits in Texas. When passing another vehicle – ESPECIALLY on a two-lane highway – make a habit of taking extra care to avoid causing a potentially deadly collision.
3. Failed to Drive in Single Lane – 36,238 Crashes
This is the deadliest driving habit. When a driver fails to keep his/her vehicle within their lane of travel, the results can be catastrophic. The dangerous habit of drifting into other lanes or off the road produced 502 fatal crashes last year.
2. Driver Inattention – 94,876 Crashes
Pay attention! Driver inattention can result from driving while texting, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, or even playing Pokémon Go while driving (you know who you are). The Texas Department of Transportation defines “Driver Inattention” simply, it’s when a driver’s lack of attention to the road or traffic contributes to a crash. At least 326 fatal crashes occurred last year due to inattentive driving.
1. Failed to Control Speed – 136,383 Crashes
Speeding. It’s the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel of a car. Each year, approximately 1 in 100 Texas drivers are involved in an accident that was caused by speeding. It caused nearly 140,000 crashes last year, of which 417 were fatal. Speeding doesn’t just mean going over the posted speed limit, it means not adjusting your speed for traffic, weather, and road conditions. Don’t be a statistic, slow down and stay safe.
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, call Alford & Clark now for a free, confidential consultation. Our attorneys are on call – 24/7 – and are happy to answer any questions absolutely free of charge. You can find Alford & Clark online at www.injuredtexan.com or you can speak with an injury attorney now by calling 210-951-9467.
New Texas law requires ONE MILLION dollars in insurance for Uber and Lyft wrecks – here's what you need to know!
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are the fastest growing method of transportation in Texas. While these services are obviously convenient for their users, the companies behind these services must properly hire, train, and supervise drivers. Their failure to do so has produced a startling number of accidents in Texas.
As a result, the Texas legislature passed new legislation that took effect on January 1, 2016. Among many other provisions, including a section requiring drivers to disclose their cellphone use, the Texas Legislature saw fit to include a requirement that ridesharing companies carry up to one million dollars in insurance.
As with any new service and any new law, ridesharing and ridesharing laws have created a great deal of confusion in the legal community. Most Texas attorneys don’t even know what ridesharing is, let alone how to properly handle a case against Uber or Lyft. Alford & Clark PLLC, on the other hand, is at the forefront in tracking the case law as it develops.
If you have been in an accident involving an Uber of Lyft driver, even if you were a passenger, here is what you need to know:
You may have been injured by an Uber or Lyft driver and not even know it!
If you are injured as a passenger of a ridesharing service, you will obviously know which ridesharing company and driver are to blame. On the other hand, what if another driver causes an accident while you are operating your own car or motorcycle? How will you know whether or not that other driver was logged into a ridesharing app or was giving a passenger a ride?
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in the recent past, the other driver may have been a ridesharing driver and you didn’t even know it. The attorneys at Alford & Clark will investigate your accident to determine whether or not ridesharing is a factor, as the negligence of these companies may provide you with a substantial source of funds for your recovery.
The amount of insurance coverage drastically differs based on whether the ridesharing driver was logged in or "on the clock."
The key question to answer in any ridesharing case concerns the status of the driver at the time of the accident. Was the driver logged in to the ridesharing app and looking for a ride, giving a customer a ride, or logged out of the app and "off the clock"?
Texas law provides that when the driver is logged on to the ridesharing app and is available to receive ride requests, the driver and the ridesharing company are responsible to provide insurance coverage of at least $50,000 for bodily injury to or death for each person in an incident, $100,000 total for bodily injury or death per incident; and $25,000 for damage to or destruction of property. This rule, which applies when the ridesharing driver does not have a paying passenger at the time of the accident, only provides for a slight increase over the mandatory minimum $30,000/$60,000/$25,000 policy in Texas.
If the driver is engaged in giving a customer a ride, however, Texas law requires the driver and ridesharing company to provide at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage for each accident. This large increase may incentivize the ridesharing company and their insurance carrier to try to hide evidence that their driver was on the clock at the time of the accident, since then they will only be on the hook for $50,000 rather than $1 million. Alford & Clark has the know-how to find and dig through the records to make this critical determination in your ridesharing case.
Visit Alford & Clark PLLC at InjuredTexan.com for more information on how you can protect yourself and your rights after a serious Uber or Lyft wreck.
Visit http://www.injuredtexan.com/uberlyft-accidents.html to learn more about how Alford & Clark can help you recover after a serious ridesharing accident. Or call 210-951-9467 now for a free, confidential consultation with an injury attorney.
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