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Explaining the doctrine of negligent entrustment

Any number of expenses can accompany a car accident in San Antonio. On top of medical expenses and vehicle repair or replacement costs, you could be left needing to replace the support provided by a loved one lost in a collision. Many of those expenses may go beyond what is available through auto insurance, which could place you in the position of needing to seek compensation from the driver at fault. Yet what if that driver was teen or young adult with little resources to his or her name? Many of those who come to us here at The Law Office of Roland R. Esparza in such a predicament are often happy to here that some legal recourse may still be available. 

If the driver that caused your accident was indeed a teen (or a driver without insurance or other resources), then the likelihood that the vehicle involved belonged to someone else may be high. The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment allows you to assign liability to those who may have loaned their vehicle to another, only to see that person cause an accident with it. 

CRASH: What to do after a car accident in Texas

Do you know what to do after you get into an auto accident? If you wait until it happens, the stress of the situation can cause you to miss important steps that will affect the financial compensation you can receive. The time is now to become familiar with what you should do when you get into a collision.

You can remember the following steps through the acronym CRASH to make it easier under the emotional circumstances.

Connecting vicarious liability to truck accidents

If you are involved in any accident in San Antonio, then you may think that you do not have to look beyond the person who caused it to assign liability. In most cases, you would likely be correct. However, many of the clients that we here at The Law Office of Roland R. Esparza, P.C. have worked with in the past have come to us with stories detailing how the actions of third parties contributed to their accidents. Oftentimes, that third part is an employer who is either ignoring the negligent action of an employee, or pushing said employee to the point of committing egregious errors. It is in these scenarios when the concept of vicarious liability comes into play. 

Vicarious liability simply means assigning fault to another who, while not directly involved in your accident, may share the blame in causing it. Take a truck accident, for example. Truckers drive long hours at the request of their employers, which can often lead to fatigue. Federal regulations are in place to help mitigate such fatigue, but in many cases, the pressure to follow the demands of an employer may cause one to ignore them. If and when this happens, an argument may be made that the danger presented by the trucker was influenced by his or her employer. 

Do you qualify for an uncontested divorce?

You often hear stories of divorce cases in San Antonio devolving into bitter disputes that take years to resolve. Yet not all cases proceed this way. If you and your spouse are able to work through the issues surrounding the end of your marriage amicably, yours may qualify as an uncontested divorce. Such cases (which are also known as simplified divorces) are often able to be resolved much faster than a traditional divorce case, and with less paperwork and potentially fewer fees. However, your case must meet certain criteria in order to qualify. 

In order for your case to be considered uncontested, the following qualifications must be met: 

  • Both you and your spouse want to end your marriage: If either one of you is hoping for a reconciliation, then the court may order intervention and marital counseling. 
  • You cannot have children together who are under 18 years of age: If you do, the matters of child custody and support must be ruled upon (even if you both agree on them).
  • Neither one of you is asking for alimony: An alimony award must be approved by the court to be considered binding.
  • You cannot own property together or have retirement benefits to divide: Marital property division is another element that must be reviewed and approved by the court.
  • You and your spouse cannot have an ongoing bankruptcy case: Your bankruptcy case must first be resolved before divorce proceedings can continue.

Retaining FSGLI coverage following divorce

Oftentimes, the spouses of the service members working at any of the many military installations found near San Antonio put their own careers and professional pursuits on hold to support the work of their significant others. This is often only possible thanks to the many benefits that they enjoy on top of their service member spouses' salaries. Given their dependency on their spouses' support, it may come as little surprise to learn that one of the most valued military benefits is life insurance. On top of the coverage that service members receive as part of their regular pay and benefits, their families may also secure additional coverage at discounted rates through Family Service members Group Life Insurance. According to the website MilitaryBenefits.info, such coverage pays qualifying spouses up to $100,000 in the event of a service member's death. 

Many military spouses often question what happens to that coverage if they get a divorce. Even though they may no longer be married to service members, they may still rely on them for a bulk of their financial support. If they have children with their former service member spouses, then coverage for the kids may still be available. The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs shows that dependent children can qualify for up to $10,000 in FSGLI coverage. 

Teen driver in Frisco crashes into crowd at daycare center

While it is likely understood that new drivers in San Antonio need to be given the chance to develop their skills, such comprehension may not make dealing with the added risk that they present to others any easier. It also may come as little solace to those that they may injure in accidents. While accident victims may understand that there was no ill intent involved on the part of a new driver (or the people that were trying to teach him or her to drive), they may be left with little choice but to pursue compensation in order to cover their accident expenses. 

Sadly, oftentimes those expenses are more than financial. Such appears to be case in an accident that recently occurred in Frisco. A teen driver (who had his learners' permit) was behind the wheel when he mistook the brake for the accelerator and crashed into a crowd in front of a daycare center. Both the teen and his father (who was in the car with him) escaped injury, yet were still terribly shaken up in the accident. That may be due to the fact that five children and one adult were injured in the crash. All five of the children were taken to a medical center in Dallas, were one was listed as being in critical condition. 

Covering a child support obligation through life insurance

Those in San Antonio that are obliged to pay child support likely have little problem in needing to meet that obligation given the love that they have for their children. Yet at the same time, they may not be taking the steps necessary to ensure their children's continued support were something to happen to them. No one knows when they may meet an unexpected end, and thus few may plan for it. Indeed, information shared by the website ThinkAdvisor.com shows that while 85 percent of consumers recognize the need for life insurance, only 62 percent actually have it. 

Child support obligors are often the main source of income supporting their ex-spouses and their children. Without the protection of something like a life insurance policy in place, the well-being of their children could be compromised were they to die unexpectedly. That is why the potential for the death of an obligor is addressed in the Texas Family Code. In Section 154.016 it states that the court may order an obligor to carry a life insurance policy that would establish either an insurance-funded trust or annuity for the continued support of his or her kids in the event of his or her death. When determining how much coverage should be required, the court will consider factors such as: 

  • The present value of the total amount of monthly payments due from the date an obligation became active up until the children covered under it turn 18
  • The total amount due in health insurance premiums for the kid's coverage for the same time period
  • Any special considerations needed to account for children needing support beyond the age of 18

Is your prenuptial agreement valid?

Prenuptial agreements can offer peace of mind that you will be protected if your marriage dissolves, but mistakes made during the creation of the document can sometimes make the contract invalid. There are many different types of errors that can be made and might cause the document to be discounted by a judge.

According to Forbes.com, a judge may dismiss your agreement if the terms are considered obviously unfair. Conditions set on weight gain or visits by in-laws can invalidate the entire document. Similarly, if claims are made that no child support will be paid or other lospided terms, your prenup may be considered unethical. 

Who can be adopted?

As many in San Antonio already know, people do not always have to be connected by blood ties in order to be considered family. In regards to children, especially, a parent can be anyone who is willing to provide them the type of love and nurturing that they need. Countless children find themselves in need of such nurturing from someone other than their biological parents all the time, and there is typically no shortage of people in Texas willing to provide it. If you count yourself among those providing such support and desire to make the relationship that you have built with the child you are caring for permanent, the question becomes if he or she can be legally adopted

The details regarding which children may be adopted can be found in Section 162.001 of the Texas Family Code. First and foremost, the child you are fostering or caring for must currently reside in Texas. Next, one of the following must descibe the child's current parental situation: 

  • The relationship with each of his or her living parents must have already been terminated or be in the process of doing so in conjunction with your suit for adoption
  • You are married to the child's biological parent
  • You have been named as the child's managing conservator or have had custody of him or her for at least six months, he or she has no relationship with one of his or her parents, and you have the consent of the other parent
  • You are the child's stepparent, managing conservator or have had custody of him or her for at least one year, and he or she has no relationship with one of his or her parents

Defining Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

As a member of the military in San Antonio, the potential of you losing your life in the execution of your duties is ever present. Countless clients in your situation have come to us here at The Law Office of Roland R. Esparza, P.C. concerned about how their dependents will be taken care of should something like that happen. Survivor benefits are indeed available to help cover the cost of your funeral, as well as life insurance offering payouts of up to $400,000. While such assistance will indeed help your family, how are they to support themselves in your absence in you were the primary breadwinner? 

Eligible survivors may be available for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation if you die in any of following scenarios: 

  • While on active duty 
  • Due to a service-related injury or disease
  • Due to a non service related issue if you have been recieving disability benefits from the VA for circumstances deemed totally disabling for at least 10 years, for five years immediately following your release from active duty, or for one year if you were a former prisoner of war