How My Weight Gain Almost Require Me To Pay My Marriage

If you wonder how can I shed after pregnancy, don’t give up looking. It’s not easy, but feasible to to lose baby weight quite fast with the particular approach. Actually, it could be simple when you understand and follow simple weight loss principles. Discover diet strategies to follow your past first couple of months after labor to your precious baby.

You’ll require a black jacket, a set of black slacks, and a dark-colored skirt that snugly fits shape. Also, invest in a very few tunics with a black dress up. You can mix, match, and combine these pieces with a few blouses create an an entire wardrobe of outfits.

Instead obtaining a nasal spray, have a flu recorded. Even pregnant women consider a flu shot. It assists in protecting the body against the damaging effects of influenza as well as in preventing its spread. In respect how to get pregnant fast by ayurveda research, babies who are born to mothers possess taken a flu shot are unlikely to experience influenza.

Right after your baby making escapade, it is best not to run to bathroom. It is recommended that you remain lying down for minimal of a jiffy after sexual activity. According to some experts, prone for 5 minutes after a sexual intercourse will increase chances that the sperm will able to have their date a problem egg cell that awaits.

Also, flu during pregnancy increases the pregnant women’s risk for premature birth and preterm delivery. This premature delivery usually occurs before the 37th week of carrying a child. As commonly known, premature birth boosts the health perils of babies.

Make it a point that you run, despite the fact that it should be only a touch each and everyday do point a person need to get out and carry an everyday. This will like a result help anybody lose the weight that these kinds of trying drop.

For women with C-section delivery, you’re encouraged to walk as soon as possible to increase healing, circulation and minimise muscle wasting. While ready, the growing system also message boards in your the same exercise program as well over.

Mommy And Baby Exercises – Enjoyable Without Leaving Your Infant!

One particular the biggest concerns that perhaps face as a new mother, other than making sure kids are healthy is getting back your body into shape after pregnancy. Looking after children requires much of your time and attention which leaves little room yourself and any exercise lessons. Well one way to get back to a workout regime is in order to up jogging with your baby in the stroller.

I exercised during my pregnancy, how to get pregnant fast book i only made a decision to do exercises that I enjoyed doing – like walking and swimming. I particularly liked swimming because the plan was non-weight bearing it cooled me off (which was a huge help for my pregnancy-related getting too hot!).

As mentioned earlier, influenza is a well contagious cancer. When someone who has been diagnosed with influenza speaks, sneezes or coughs, herpes which causes flu is dispersed into the air. Breathing the same air increases your risk for sort.

Another connected with product that should be purchased over the counter is sperm friendly lube. These lubricants help aid the sperm to its final vacation location. Be sure not to use any other type of lubricants that aren’t specifically sperm friendly, whilst they tend to hinder the sperms’ progress, or even worse stop the sperm from reaching the egg wonderfully.

Tummy tuck should be avoided, if you happen to planning for pregnancy in near incoming. Also people who have sicknesses and slow healing power should possess a thorough visit and advice from their doctor, prior to going for this surgery.

Stand with each of your feet hipwidth apart and holding the hands together. Straighten arms above you strategies you feel a gentle pull in the inner side of your arms. Hold for just a few seconds. Repeat for 5 times.

Losing pregnancy weight can seem like a constant struggle, particularly with the pressures of brand name new or growing family – but is going to benefits to becoming the actual healthier you, and annually just a few habits you can feel and peruse better prior to now.

How To Obtain Pregnant Fast Even Over 40

If are usually struggling to get pregnant, might possibly be a stressful and upsetting time for you and the partner. But there are a lot of things a person are do might you end up pregnant more rather quickly. The most important thing is to ensure that the particular body is healthy and prepared to start developing a baby. Here are some of the best things you can do today to improve your odds of of having a child.

If are generally dealing with infertility, be comforted utilizing the fact presently there are countless other women around turmoil who have the same depression and frustration like your story do. But what keeps some many women really going? It’s hope. The hope that one day, people they know . still have the to bear children. You can. Like these women, additional fruits and vegetables also never give back up. Even when you think you have tried every means thinkable.

So far we’ve covered easy for how to get pregnant fast. Now, we’ll discuss the fun tips about how to get pregnant fast and easy. Topic of love making, add the tiniest bit of excitement by switching rooms or adding toys. This will help your body feel more stimulating and therefore add chances to an effective conception. Also, during you may have heard when female is fertile, try to have as much sex too. The more times have to have it, additional chances you have to get having a baby.

For about 20% of couples having a child is not fast. You should optimise your odds of by learning the fertility steps. There are ovulation predictor kits which they can use comfortably and privately so you get your husband’s sperm where it needs to be at a wonderful time for fertilisation: inside the fallopian tubes one day prior to ovulation and throughout ovulation. This one action will enhance your chances at pregnancy hugely.

Before must any holistic or natural methods to get pregnant fast, you really need to consult in relation to first. Subject how effective you hear these holistic methods are, there to get no replace science based medicine when you’ve got want to obtain pregnant fast, which your doctor can look after you.

So, the boy sperm needs alkaline (higher pH) conditions to thrive in hostile vaginal surroundings. You can higher your pH value by adjusting diet plan. Eat plenty of alkaline foods while lowering the amount of acidic dishes.

Many people do manage to get pregnant just trying the various methods readily available across in gossip columns and on video guides. It is sheer frustration that drives the keep trying and it is only then that they hit achieving success.

There’s two to get you going but if you need more full information, you’ll find so many books located on the subject and online marketers can be downloaded instantly to avoid any keep. Here’s a site that reviews much better credible ones online Become pregnant Fast. All the best and get crackin’!

Pre-Pregnancy Tips – The Way To Have A Healthier Pregnancy

It is definitely a bit of shock to step around the scales an after expecting – payday loans no fax so whether or not it’s been a few months. The number on the scales can have you seesawing between desperation and depression as you recall your pre-pregnancy figure and mentally tot increase the time you’ll to come back to that.

Eat should actually not eating right. Anxiety abounds if you are taking proper a new baby, attempt not to let it make you snack once you are not necessarily hungry. In case you are uneasy or restless without genuinely feeling hunger, work to distract yourself by taking your baby for a walk, calling a friend or looking through well liked magazine or book.

Your is (mostly) very own again, it might doesn’t sense that way. Weight are not healthy to become your old self again. You wonder, Will i ever lose all the baby weight I gained inside my pregnancy?

Finding enough motivation to obtain your body back after pregnancy can be challenging as much as necessary. After 9 months of accelerating and stretching it definitely won’t be simple. I hope this brief article can a person how to get pregnant fast with diabetes achieve your goal and find personal happiness again.

A very harmful habit among brand new moms is letting themselves go. Such moms never try to curb their cravings. Additionally, they stop all exercising help make their pregnancy a lame excuse for eating even more. The habits unfortunately do not help a proper or fast pregnancy. Big belly, nauseous feelings, and aches and pains could be no excuse for resting all day along and eating whatever comes to you. Not only you tend to be gaining weight but also your pregnancy may take real dangers.

Pregnancy is not the to be able to try and improve your fitness level – rather it’s the time to take care of your existing level as best you can (remember, you’re now working for two!).

In accessory for weight loss, the increased activities lessen your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and all forms of. Regular exercise also gives you more energy, helps of which you sleep better and lowers mental and emotional fear. Baby stroller jogging eliminates the desire to pay gym membership. Plus jogging is an ideal way for mothers and children to enjoy outdoors while bonding and enjoying each others’ company.

When I used the Belly Bandit Believed it should be a bit uncomfortable as has been created firm. Nevertheless, if I actually wore it, it was surprisingly solid. It was a bit weird and uncomfortable initially but at some point I forgot about it entirely. It did not bundle on the clothes and was barely visible externally. It will be seen only if you are wearing very thin or see throw clothes.

Three Steps, A Stroller And A Baby, Reduce Postpartum Weight

Pregnancy is a physical challenge in itself; although training whilst pregnant can keep you in great shape it’s important to just how to much exercise to do and when not to do it.

As mentioned earlier, influenza is a well contagious disease. When someone who has been diagnosed with influenza speaks, sneezes or coughs, herpes which causes flu is dispersed in the air. Breathing the same air increases your risk for sort.

Certain infections can cause women to obtain rid of hair also. Fungal infections on kids scalp can create them reduce hair how to get pregnant fast.com. Apply anti-fungal medicines will make. Sometimes, hair loss could participate some underlying diseases the mulch can become happen. Examples are diabetes or lupus.

Here a few quick facts that might do keep fit during pregnancy, aren’t really break a sweat. Im sure you have now heard, yoga is a particularly good practice, especially if you are but not always in extremely best shape. Don’t worry, listed the steps you always be jump immediately to the pretzel partner. Try an associated with small weights, which can be used during the house to buy, for instance dumbbells or wrist weights, you can when people. Instead, with only slight on the couch when you are still able to weightlifting.

Remember, through a walk is always a drink with for you. You do not want to empty. Always make sure you wear comfortable shoes, before he left for homes. If you do not always ask historical past if are able to. Sometimes suggest a doctor May you walk neighborhood at starting of and grow from there if are unable to ever before, to become pregnant.

Some people often confuse Abdominoplasty with Panniculectomy. Panniculectomy will be the surgical method usually in hot water obese people, who have excess fat and hanging skin, generated by recent weight lose.

Have you wondered just how many cups of water a day to drink in order to lose weight quickly? Or are you still under the sense that for those who are retaining water you can stop drinking so much in order to lose water surplus weight?

mesothelioma law suit

 

mesothelioma law suit

HOW ARE LUNG CANCER AND MESOTHELIOMA DIFFERENT?

April 21st, 2016 by Terry Bryant

Although lung cancer and mesothelioma share a lot of the same characteristics, and are both deadly diseases that require extensive medical treatment, they are caused by different factors and progress in different ways. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the cause of a tumor, especially when it takes decades to detect them […]

VICTIMS WITH MESOTHELIOMA CAN GET HELP FROM AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY

November 12th, 2015 by Terry Bryant

In the wake of a mesothelioma diagnosis, help of all kinds is needed. Medical assistance, emotional assistance, and even legal assistance in most cases are all essential to guiding a patient through such painful news. In nearly all cases, this form of cancer will be fatal, and fatal within months or just a few years. […]

A MESOTHELIOMA LAWYER CAN PROVIDE RELIEF TO VICTIMS

September 26th, 2014 by Terry Bryant

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer, retaining the services of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer may help ease your financial burden. Legal action against responsible parties may provide relief for medical expenses, compensate for pain and suffering, and possibly secure a financial future for your family. This cancer is usually the […]

ASBESTOS LAWSUITS HELP COMPENSATE FOR COSTS & DEBILITATION

September 25th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

Asbestos lawsuits are often filed when exposure to the material has resulted in major health complications. This is an active field of law, because the substance was extremely popular in many applications throughout the 20th century. Many construction workers, firefighters, miners, electricians, shipyard workers and manufacturing laborers have been diagnosed with conditions related to the […]

IF ASBESTOS EXPOSURE HAS GIVEN YOU MESOTHELIOMA ITS ADVISABLE TO GET AN ATTORNEY

April 11th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

Though it may seem a bit specific, an asbestos attorney who specializes in this particular type of personal injury claim will prove to be invaluable when attempting to achieve some sort of compensation to aid in the physical or emotional trauma that’s commonly associated with this toxic material. Asbestosis and Mesothelioma are two of the […]

MESOTHELIOMA LAWSUITS CAUSED BY ASBESTOS ARE STILL BEING FILED FREQUENTLY

March 25th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

A diagnosis of mesothelioma is extremely difficult to process, and those that suffer from it should consider contacting an attorney that is experienced in mesothelioma lawsuits. This cancer affects the lining of the lungs and heart, and it is nearly impossible to treat, with survivability lasting no longer that a number of months. Because of […]

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MESOTHELIOMA

February 28th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

It is tough to nail down mesothelioma symptoms, because they are general and can point to a number of more common disorders. Asbestosis is extremely deadly, as it is hard to spot, slow to show up, can be masked by other illnesses and is an aggressive cancer that kills quickly once it ramps up. Because […]

LAWSUITS INVOLVING MESOTHELIOMA FAQS

February 24th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

Lawsuits involving asbestos are becoming more and more common due to public knowledge and awareness, just as mesothelioma FAQs are, with many individuals seeking the facts based around this disorder and the legal ramifications that are involved. The disease is most commonly caused by the over-exposure to asbestos, a material that used to be widely […]

WHEN THINKING OF FILING A MESOTHELIOMA LAWSUIT TALK TO AN ATTORNEY

February 13th, 2013 by Terry Bryant

A mesothelioma lawsuit is a complex case when compared to other common personal injury cases, with many characteristics such as the time elapsed being taken into consideration. The steady climb of awareness is due to the recent public outcry of the dangers of asbestos exposure.  The disease itself is an aggressive type of cancer, with […]

IF YOU HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH MESOTHELIOMA YOU NEED TO GET LAWYERS INVOLVED

January 1st, 2013 by Terry Bryant

While there are efforts in place to reduce workplace hazards, at one time it was more common for people to work in dangerous conditions, and exposure to asbestos has brought about an increase in people seeking help from mesothelioma lawyers. Asbestosis and mesothelioma are conditions that afflict the health and overall function of the lungs. […]

Recent Articles from Our Blog

Taking Meds? Beware of How They Impact Your Driving

February 16, 2018

Even for those who have driven for decades, operating a motor vehicle is a complex skill. The only difference between experienced and non-experienced drivers is the former have good habits which have become second nature. But what happens when they take medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter? Can their mental acuity and driving habits be altered by […]

Urgent – Defective Synvisc-One Knee Injection Recalls

February 14, 2018

In mid-December 2017, pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi Genzyme voluntarily recalled 18,000 to 20,000 of its Synvisc-One knee injection syringes due to microbial contamination. The contaminated syringes (lot number 7RSL021) were distributed to doctors and healthcare providers in the United States from October 25, 2017, through November 7, 2017. The Synvisc-One knee injections that were recalled have […]

Remedies for On the Job Injuries

February 7, 2018

When a worker is injured on the job, there are many questions that quickly arise and can be answered by an experienced injury attorney. Most injured workers first ask what remedies are available to compensate them for their injuries, including how to pay medical expenses and cover lost wages. The answer is “it depends.” The […]

The New List of Safest Cars is Out: It will grow During 2018

January 23, 2018

If you own one of the following 15 vehicles on this list, we have some good news. They’re on the initial list of the 2018 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) survey for earning its Top Safety Pick+ new car rating. Small Cars Kia Forte sedan Kia Soul Subaru Impreza – 4-door sedan Subaru Impreza […]

The Latest Chapter in the GM Ignition Switch Lawsuit Saga

January 22, 2018

Detroit automaker General Motors Co. (GM) on December 28, 2017, won a court ruling that could significantly impact, and even reduce the value of, certain civil claims currently against it over flawed vehicle ignition switches. The switches have been linked to more than 120 deaths and many injuries and triggered a huge recall. U.S. District […]

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Even for those who have driven for decades, operating a motor vehicle is a complex skill. The only difference between experienced and non-experienced drivers is the former have good habits which have become second nature. But what happens when they take medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter? Can their mental acuity and driving habits be altered by these drugs? The answer is “yes.” How much, though, depends on variables such as the person’s body chemistry relative to the drugs they’re taking. Our ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and mental condition. We’ve come up with a few hints that you – with your doctor – can use to determine when it’s safe to drive on your meds, and when it’s not.
People use medicines for a variety of very good reasons, including:

  • allergies
  • anxiety
  • cold
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • heart problems
  • cholesterol management
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle spasms
  • pain
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • other maladies

We take a variety of medicines which are prescribed by a doctor, sold over the counter without a prescription, and even herbal supplements. So, a variety of reactions may result. And this can make safely driving any motor vehicle more difficult, because reaction times – both intellectual and physical – may be affected.
This is especially true for something as complicated as driving a commercial truck. Other side effects due to drug absorption include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed movements
  • Fainting
  • Inability to focus on tasks at hand
  • For safety’s sake (your own and that of others) it’s critical that you have an annual visitwith your doctor(s) about all medicines you are taking – prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal. Even if none are causing any noticeable problems, don’t let it stop you from having this important yearly discussion.

Talk to your doctor(s) honestly. Leave nothing out, because any small piece of missing information can affect his or her advice.

Ask your doctor(s) if you should drive, especially with new medications or combinations of them. The smallest body chemical modifications can affect your ability to drive safely.

Have a similar conversation with your pharmacist. If you are told something different, check back with your doctor.

Monitor yourself carefully, especially if your medication regimen or lifestyle has changed. Also note whether alcohol has any impact on your ability to think clearly, relative to your medications.

What if you have to cut back or give up driving? You’ll have to plan ahead, but there are options to get where you want to go. Consider alternatives such as:

  • taxis and rideshares (e.g Uber, Lyft)
  • Metro (but allow for more time)
  • friends and family
  • walking (which is good for your health anyway).

How to find out more about medications

After talking with your doctor(s), the following are good resources or ongoing education about the drugs you take and how they affect your ability to drive (and work) safely:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (1-888-463-6332) or gov/drugs.
  • Seniors can get a copy of “Age Page On Older Drivers” from the National Institute on Aging at 1-800-222-2225; or on the web at org.

If you have any questions about personal injury or need help after an accident, you are encouraged to contact the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm at  (800) 444-5000 or send us a message online.

In mid-December 2017, pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi Genzyme voluntarily recalled 18,000 to 20,000 of its Synvisc-One knee injection syringes due to microbial contamination.

The contaminated syringes (lot number 7RSL021) were distributed to doctors and healthcare providers in the United States from October 25, 2017, through November 7, 2017. The Synvisc-One knee injections that were recalled have been linked to an increase in negative side-effects and adverse events reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The medication has been a huge financial success for the manufacturer; Sanofi Genzyme reported sales of the syringes amounted to almost $410 million in 2016.

The Synvisc-One was approved by the FDA in 2009 to alleviate pain from knee osteoarthritis.  Doctors began using these injections to specifically relieve arthritis pain in the knee, but over time, they used it to ease symptoms of arthritis in other joints as well.

Synvisc-One injections use gels which are composed from a mixture of hyaluronan and a saline solution. Hyaluronan is a natural chemical found in healthy joints. It acts as a shock absorber and lubricant. An ongoing regimen of Synvisic-One injections is necessary to relieve pain since it dissipates over time.

When investigators found microbes in the above-mentioned lot of Synvisc-One, Sanofi Genzyme was forced to issue a voluntary recall. The microbe – a common airborne organism, which causes serious infections – can also lead to certain negative side effects. Microbial contamination generally refers to infectious material like bacteria, yeast, mold, fungi, or some sort of bacterial virus. But Sanofi Genzyme has not disclosed which specific microbe(s) caused the Synvisc-One recall.

Patients suffering from contaminated syringes reported suffering from one of or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Knee pain and discomfort
  • Knee swelling
  • Difficulty walking
  • Heat and/or redness in or around the knee
  • Fluid build-up in or around the knee.

Many who have reported suffering these painful side effects required hospitalization or had to visit an Emergency Room or Urgent Care facility. This medical care has produced mounting hospital bills and other expenses associated with Synvisc-One contaminated injection including lost income due to their hospital stay and, often, acute pain and suffering. A legal claim to recover expenses arising from this defective medication could help those affected to defray these costs.

If you or a family member has been treated with a defective Synvisc-One injection from the contaminated lot number 7RSL021 that was distributed to healthcare providers from October or December 2017 and experienced any of the above painful side effects, you should speak with a seasoned defective drug injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn the full measure of your compensation rights.

Filing a defective Synvisc-One lawsuit empowers you to potentially receive full and fair compensation for your hospital bills, associated medical costs, and other damages which may be owed to you.

Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law for a free Synvisc-One consultation by filling out our simple online contact form or by calling (800) 444-5000. You pay nothing unless we win satisfactory compensation for your injuries.

A bipartisan bill that would mandate underride sideguard rails on truck trailers to prevent vehicles from sliding under them is being vetted by Congress as it makes its way through the legislative process. The “Stop Underrides Act of 2017” would require underride guards to be placed on trailers and on the front of trucks; it would also require that all underride guards be periodically inspected. Both devices are currently optional safety measures which have grown in popularity. The bill also seeks to strengthen rearguard standards, which have not been updated since 1998.

An underride accident happens when a passenger vehicle (or motorcycle or bicycle) crashes into the side of a commercial truck and becomes wedged or “pancaked” underneath. These accidents severely injure or kill the vehicle’s occupants. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and even pedestrians are knocked down and could be crushed by the wheels or suffer other traumatic injuries.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), approximately 4,000 people were killed in underride collisions between 1994 and 2014. Of that number, about 1,530 deaths (38%) were from side underride crashes. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that in 2016, 295 passengers were killed in underride accidents with a semi.

The deaths of four New Yorkers in such an accident in July 2017 drew the fury of New York Senator Charles Schumer. “Requiring trucks to be equipped with underride guards is proven technology that will save lives and make our roads safer,” he said.

The bill – if passed in its current form – would mandate rear and side underride guards that would prevent a vehicle traveling 35 mph from sliding under the trailer. Some lawmakers have even called for not only 18-wheelers to have these guards, but single-unit trucks such as dump trucks and large single-axle box trucks. And they are pleased that the safety standard would apply to many vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.

One panel manufacturer, AirFlow Detector, says its side panel — called the AngelWing — works in “harmony with existing trailer designs with no effect on the trailer structure or durability.”

Several studies involving AngelWings began in 2010, giving solid glimpses of their ability to save lives. The IIHS study conducted in early 2017 involved a 35-mph crash test between a traditional passenger vehicle and a trailer equipped with a sideguard. When the test vehicle struck the side of the 53-foot trailer, the panel bent; but it kept the car from sliding underneath.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awaits a similar research report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. So it’s delaying a final assessment, which would likely influence the passage of the Stop Underrides Act.

A few years ago, as the first tests were proving the worth of the devices, a few manufacturers became early AngelWings converts. Companies such as Great Dane, Manac, Stoughton Trailers, Vanguard National Trailer, and Wabash continue installing these devices on many of their cabs and trailers.

If you have any questions about commercial trucking accidents, we welcome them here at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Call us at (800) 444-5000 or send us a note using this contact form.

When a worker is injured on the job, there are many questions that quickly arise and can be answered by an experienced injury attorney. Most injured workers first ask what remedies are available to compensate them for their injuries, including how to pay medical expenses and cover lost wages.

The answer is “it depends.” The remedies available to an injured worker depend on decisions made by the worker’s employer, which are normally made far before that worker was injured. Although the answers vary by state, there are generally three categories of claims for on the job injuries: workers’ compensation claims, non-subscriber claims, and third party claims.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Some employers decide to subscribe to workers’ compensation. If your employer made this decision, your remedies against your employer will be limited through the workers’ compensation system. You cannot bring a lawsuit against your employer, but you can claim benefits for your medical expenses and lost wages through the worker’s compensation system, regardless of fault.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through this process. While many worker’s compensation employers will send you to a doctor and pay you a percentage of your income while you’re restricted from work, this does not necessarily mean that you are receiving the maximum amount of benefits. If a dispute arises, you will be subjected to an administrative hearing, where the advice and representation of a lawyer can make the difference in the outcome of the administrative hearing, which ultimately effects how much in benefits you receive.

Non-Subscriber Claims

Other employers decide to opt out of workers’ compensation. If your employer made this decision, you can most likely file a claim for negligence against your employer for the actions of your employer and any coworkers that were the cause of your injury.

Many employers that do not subscribe to workers’ compensation have no-fault employee benefit plans that offer limited, capped coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of whether an employer or coworker’s fault caused the injury. This coverage may help pay the bills in the short term, but it is often not enough to compensate an employee for a serious injury that is the fault of their own employer or worker.

If the injured employee pursues a claim for negligence, the recovery can include a greater amount of compensation for medical expenses and lost wages—plus general damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish.

Third Party Claims

Regardless of your employer’s decision on subscribing to workers’ compensation, you may still have a third party claim if the negligence of a company or individual other than your own employer or coworker caused your injury. This other company or individual is called a third party. Similar to a non-subscriber claim, you can file a negligence claim against the third party for its actions that were the cause of your injury. An example of this might be a negligent driver—the third party—who caused a car wreck while you were on the job driving a company vehicle.

Conclusion

Some injured workers hesitate to contact an injury attorney because they either don’t want to damage their relationship with their employer or don’t think they can afford legal fees when they are facing medical expenses with little to no income.

If you’ve been injured on the job, you need to consult with an experienced injury attorney to determine your rights and the legal remedies available to you to ensure the maximum recovery for you and your family.

The law requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all over-the-road trucks is now in effect. Federal regulators say it will ensure that truckers comply with a federal hours-of-service rule. The mandate limits driving to no more than 11 hours a day within a 14-hour workday. Drivers must then be off duty for 10 consecutive hours.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandate requiring that most commercial trucks use ELDs to record driver work time went into effect just before Christmas 2017. And a new survey of truck drivers/owner-operators and fleet owners shortly before the mandate went into effect showed a bumpy transition, with many fleets unprepared. Both individual truckers and transport companies still scramble to comply with the federal rule requiring them to install these digital devices in their semi-tractors to track their driving time.

An online poll conducted between November 30 and December 5 by HELP Inc., which provides PrePass weigh station bypass and other technology services, revealed that nearly half of the 1,620 respondents said they had not yet selected an ELD ahead of the December 18 deadline. Exactly one-third of all respondents said they have selected and installed an ELD, and 18% said they had selected, but had yet to install, their device(s).

The research also divulged that some trucking professionals are more prepared to assimilate ELD than others. More than half of the respondents who are fleet managers report having ELD devices installed and in operation, while 28% of driver/owner-operators said the same thing. 68% of those who have not installed an ELD say they did not plan to do so by the December 18 deadline, but they probably will in 2018. And 31% don’t plan to install an ELD at all.

Other surveys on how truckers are complying with the new rule reveal similar turmoil over the issue, and the depth of truck drivers’ (and motor carrier companies’) misgivings of the entire ELD program.

“It is surprising to see that such a large share of both owner-operators and drivers as well as fleet professionals see no need or rush to comply with the upcoming ELD mandate,” says HELP Inc’s CEO Karen Rasmussen. “Whether they are in favor of ELDs or not, there is every indication that the FMCSA intends to follow through with its plans to require the devices without delay.”

A perception by many in the industry that ELDs are expensive is one reason many driver/owner-operators and fleet managers hesitate to install them. According to the poll, one in five said they had not selected an ELD due to high costs.

“We firmly believe that America’s truck drivers – if they were operating legally within the hours-of-service rules before today – will see tremendous benefits in using an ELD. Whether in reduced crashes, less time spent on paperwork, or in fewer errors in their logbooks,” says Chris Spear, chief executive of the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

But although the ATA supports the new rule, others in the industry, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, aggressively oppose the regulation. Many of them complain that being digitally tracked is an invasion of their privacy. They said the rule doesn’t take into account the delays drivers experience at loading docks and being stuck in traffic. Some are even threatening to leave the industry rather than comply with the regulations.

One independent trucker spent most of his (off-time) Sunday evening attempting to hook his tablet to his new ELD device via Bluetooth. He said he experienced technical problems shortly after heading out Monday to make a cross-country delivery several states away. As of late Monday, he said he had yet to talk to an ELD customer service representative, and his device still wasn’t working.

Public safety officials will cite motor carriers who are not using ELDs properly. But there is a grace period that lasts until April 1, 2018, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the agency charged with enforcing the ELD mandate.

If the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm can be of any service, fill out our online contact form or give us a call, toll free, at (800) 444-5000.

It’s difficult to prepare ourselves for the day we get in a car wreck. But the truth is, what you do the first few minutes after your accident has a disproportionate affect on how things will turn out for you. Here are a few standard hints to help you deal with damage to your car, issues of liability, and possible blowback when it comes to traffic citations and even if people (including you) are injured.

Never leave the scene. No one appears to be injured. So you think it’s OK to drive away, right? Actually, it’s a terrible idea, even if it’s a minor fender-bender. If it happened on a street, the law requires you to stop, check on the people in the other vehicle(s), exchange insurance information, and report it to law enforcement. If you don’t, you may be committing a crime. Even if the accident is on private property and no one is hurt, for your own legal protection, you still need to at least exchange insurance information.

Don’t fail to call the police. Again, if the accident happened on the street, you need to do this. The two most important reasons are: (1) Even if no one seems to be hurt, someone other than those involved needs to make that determination, and police are trained to look for subtle evidence of injuries; and (2) When called to the scene, the police will fill out an accident report, and for the purposes of liability, you need a copy of the report when making your insurance claim.

Don’t lose your cool. After a car crash, your emotions are usually running high. You might even be injured. Nevertheless, you must keep your temper in check, especially when dealing with the other driver, and if the wreck was their fault. The first thing to ask yourself is, “Are you alright?” Take some deep breaths and keep calm. You must be on an even keel to assess the situation and as you document the accident.

Don’t fail to fully document the accident. Generally, you’ll need the other driver’s name, address, insurance company name, and policy number. If any passengers are involved, get all their information too. Note the make, model, and color of the other driver’s vehicle and its license plate number. Were there any witnesses? Get their names and phone numbers. Use your smartphone to take some pictures of the vehicles involved and the crash site. They’ll come in handy during the claims process.

See a doctor quickly, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. A lot of accident injuries don’t exhibit symptoms until days or even weeks after the wreck, especially soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. So see your family doctor or head to some other healthcare center as soon as possible. One thing that mucks-up injury claims after a car wreck is not documenting an injury as soon as possible. This bad habit can end up with an injury claim filed down the road being denied by an insurance company because it believes you weren’t actually injured in the accident. Then you face an uphill battle trying to have your injury claim honored.

It’s difficult knowing what to do immediately after an accident. So maybe it’s a good idea to save this small bit of data in your smartphone “just in case.” Having it and not needing it beats the alternative. And if we can help you in any way after an accident, you are encouraged to contact the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our online contact form.

If you own one of the following 15 vehicles on this list, we have some good news. They’re on the initial list of the 2018 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) survey for earning its Top Safety Pick+ new car rating.

Small Cars

  • Kia Forte sedan
  • Kia Soul
  • Subaru Impreza – 4-door sedan
  • Subaru Impreza – 4-door wagon
  • Subaru WRX

Midsize Cars

  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

Large Luxury Cars

  • BMW 5 series
  • (Hyundai) Genesis G80
  • (Hyundai) Genesis G90
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Midsize SUVs

  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Midsize luxury SUV

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC

But compared to the 2017 list of 71 vehicles which earned IIHS’s highest “Top SafetyPick +” honors, why did so few vehicles earn a top rating? IIHS says that only 31 vehicles were reviewed before releasing the 2018 list in early January. So with almost half of those garnering the highest safety rating, that’s not bad. The organization says it has a long way to go to review all models and may not test every variant. But periodic updates to its 2018 list will be added throughout the year.

The 2018 list is the first year the IIHS established stricter guidelines on the safety of those in the front passenger seat in the event of the vehicle’s hitting a tree or pole. It is called the “small-overlap” test,” and in previous years small-overlap protection was reviewed only for the driver’s side.

“Drivers expect their passengers, who are often family, to be protected just as well as they are,” IIHS president Adrian Lund said in a statement. “Manufacturers have been taking this issue seriously since we first shed light on it, and we’re confident that good small-overlap protection will become the norm on the passenger side, just as it has on the driver side.”

The IIHS is also spending more energy on headlights. “If you’re having trouble seeing behind the wheel at night, it could very well be your headlights and not your eyes that are to blame,” says David Zuby, IIHS Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer.

Drivers’ ability to see the road ahead, most importantly pedestrians, bicyclists, or obstacles, is essential. And yet, government headlight standards in laboratory tests allow a wide headlight illumination variance in actual on-road driving. When accounting for the fact that roughly half of all traffic deaths occur in the dark or in dawn/dusk conditions, improved headlights – and narrowing those standards of measure – could lead to a profound drop in road fatalities. Hence the IIHS’ greater emphasis on this safety device, and its efforts to make them as “effectively neutral” as possible since testing for headlights began with 2016 models.

After several test modifications, headlights are now evaluated on a closed track after dark at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center. Once a vehicle is tested on the track, the institute’s engineers compare its visibility and glare measurements to those of a hypothetical ideal headlight system. They then use a list of demerits to come up with a rating. Results for low beams receive more emphasis than high beams because drivers use them the most. A vehicle with excessive glare on any of the “driving approach” samples that are measured on the IIHS closed track cannot earn a rating above “marginal” (the third of five evaluation levels).

If you have a question on any personal injury issue including automobile accidents, please contact the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm by filling out our online contact form or give us a call: toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.

Detroit automaker General Motors Co. (GM) on December 28, 2017, won a court ruling that could significantly impact, and even reduce the value of, certain civil claims currently against it over flawed vehicle ignition switches. The switches have been linked to more than 120 deaths and many injuries and triggered a huge recall.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan ruled that the plaintiffs in two bellwether cases of the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) which surrounds accidents involving airbags in GM vehicles could not introduce expert testimony to show how the company’s defective ignition switches might have played a role in those crashes. Plaintiffs claimed their GM ignition switches might have rotated from “run” at the moment of impact to “accessory” or “off” – which either caused the accidents or made them worse – and then slipped back into the “run” position before the airbags deployed.

But Furman, who oversees the MDL that deals with the automaker’s ignition switches called the expert testimony “unreliable” because there was no evidence that “double switch rotation” occurred anywhere.

“The court recognizes that these conclusions may have a significant impact on a swath of cases now pending in the MDL and, thus, does not view them lightly,” the judge wrote. Furman also said in his ruling that his role is “to ensure the reliability and relevancy of expert testimony,” and that the opinions of the plaintiffs’ experts “do not pass muster.”

A spokesman for Detroit-based GM, said the decision “reinforces our approach to contest cases that lack merit, while being open to fair resolution of cases that have [greater] merit according to the facts and the law.”

GM has paid more than $2.6 billion in ignition-based penalties and settlements. This includes a $900 million settlement in October 2017 over a U.S. Department of Justice criminal case, surrounding ignition switches that purportedly caused engines to stall and prevented airbags from deploying as passenger protection in case of an accident.

The largest U.S. automaker has recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles over the defect since February 2014. In addition to the 124 deaths, 275 were injured in small cars such as the Chevrolet’s Cobalt and Saturn’s Ion. The defective ignition switches could cause vehicles to stall, and GM recalled more than 2.7 million vehicles beginning in 2014.

As of November 30, 2017, 1,723 personal injury and wrongful death claims in the multi-district litigation remain unresolved, including 213 claims that airbags experienced deployment problems, according to court filings. GM has also settled more than 1,700 claims.

Thursday’s decision also dismissed claims by:

  • A 19-year-old Texas woman whose Chevrolet Cobalt crashed on an icy highway in Alice, Texas, in February 2011.
  • The son of another Texas claimant over a January 2013 crash of her 2007 Cobalt in the Houston area. The victim – age 90 – died the following year.

If you or your family has been injured by a defective product in any way, the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm is at your service. You can reach us either by filling out our online contact form or calling our toll-free number: (800) 444-5000.

Yet another U.S. death has been blamed on defective Takata airbags. Honda Motor Company’s North American unit and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently confirmed that a ruptured airbag inflator of Takata Corp. that was in a Honda Civic caused the death of another driver during last summer (2017).

The 2004 model vehicle involved in a crash in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was under recall but had not yet received the repair, the company said. Honda added that the ruptured inflator in the vehicle was not the original one installed at the factory but, rather, was from a 2002 Civic which had been placed in the 2004 Civic in Baton Rouge. Honda did not disclose whether the installation occurred at a dealership or third-party garage. The inflator appears to have been one of the most dangerous types made by Takata and part of the original safety equipment in 2001-2003 Hondas. Subsequent tests have shown they have a 50% chance of blowing apart in a crash.

Ordered in 2014 by the NHTSA, the Takata airbag recall is the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history. The NHTSA estimates that nearly 70 million inflators in about 42 million vehicles from as many as 19 automakers are, or will be, under recall in the U.S. by 2020.

Upon deployment, the defective inflators can blast shrapnel into the passenger compartment, threatening the lives of driver and passengers. Tragically, the inflators have been linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide, 11 of which (so far) have happened in the U.S. More than 200 Americans have reported serious injuries, as well. The worst part is that, in many of these instances, the airbags were deployed as a result of minor collisions. Normally, drivers would have been able to walk away from those types of fender-benders unharmed.

Owners of BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Subaru vehicles may have cars, trucks, and SUVs that have defective Takata airbags.  Additionally, the largest percentage of dangerous Takata airbags is in certain older Honda and Acura vehicle models, including:

  • 2001 and 2002 Honda Civic
  • 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2002 Honda Odyssey
  • 2002 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 Honda Pilot
  • 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL
  • 2003 Acura 3.2 CL.

These models are equipped with the front airbag inflators that were the first to be recalled. Honda urges owners of any of these vehicles to ONLY drive them to a dealer for immediate repair.

When facing the largest recall in U.S. history, consumers must take immediate action to replace these inflators as soon as possible. If you are unable to drive or are afraid to, Honda will tow your vehicle to the nearest dealer free of charge and provide you with a free loaner vehicle while your car is being fixed.

Owners of all cars subject to the Takata Airbag Recall can check to see if their cars have been recalled by going to https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and entering in their 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN).

If you or a family member has been injured by a defective Takata inflator, please contact the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm by filling out our online contact form or call our toll-free number: (800) 444-5000.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. In an effort to help raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and how they impact entire families, the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm encourages women and families to take the following steps to help assure their “baby on the way” will begin a happy and healthy life.

BEFORE YOU BECOME PREGNANT

Folic Acid – A Key Prenatal Vitamin
Folic acid is a B-complex vitamin. Women who have enough folic acid in their bodies at least a month before – then during – pregnancy, can help prevent major birth defects of their baby’s developing brain and spine. Folic acid is found in fortified foods (e.g. leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, cereals) or supplements, or a combination of the two. (More about folic acid)

See your doctor regularly.

A woman who plans on becoming pregnant should see her doctor and start prenatal care as soon as she thinks that she is pregnant, if not before. It is important to see an OB/GYN doctor regularly during pregnancy, so keep all prenatal healthcare appointments. Even if you are just thinking about having a baby, it’s not too early to get ready for your pregnancy. Use these checklists to help write down and prioritize your goals.

DURING PREGNANCY

Avoid harmful substances such as:

  • Alcohol in a woman’s bloodstream passes to the developing baby through the umbilical cord. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a wide range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.
  • Cigarette smokingoffers many dangers during pregnancy, such as certain birth defects, including cleft lip or cleft palate, low birth weight, and infant death. Being around tobacco smoke puts a woman and her fetus at risk. Quit smoking before getting pregnant or if you are pregnant quit now!
  • Marijuana and other drugs:Pregnant women who use marijuana or other drugs often have pre-term (early birth) babies with low birth weight or other health problems and birth defects. Women using marijuana for medical reasons should speak with their doctor about alternative therapies. (More about alcohol, smoking, and drugs during pregnancy)
  • Infections can be very harmful to a baby in utero. Some, such as measles, chicken pox, and even the flu, cause a variety of harmful birth defects. Here are some tips for preventing infectionsbefore and during pregnancy.

COMMIT TO A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

  • Control diabetes – Failing to control diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and serious complications for the mother. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight– Women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher before pregnancy run a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and increase the risk of serious birth defects. Even if a woman is not actively planning a pregnancy, she should talk with her doctor about ways to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant.

MEDICATIONS & VACCINATIONS

  • Certain medicationscan cause serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Some are needed to treat serious conditions. If a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, she should not stop taking prescribed medications, or start taking new ones, without first talking with her healthcare provider. This includes prescription, over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies.
  • Most vaccinationsare safe during pregnancy. Some vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and the DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, adult tetanus, and acellular pertussis), are recommended during pregnancy. More about vaccinations during pregnancy

If the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm can be of any service, fill out our online contact form or give us a call, toll free, at (800) 444-5000.

It is estimated that 40,000 to 80,000 deaths occur in the U.S. due to diagnostic error and that between 10% and 17% of all medical diagnoses are inaccurate, according to a report on diagnostic mistakes. This indicates that an alarmingly high number of patients experience a misdiagnosis or a delayed explanation of their illness. The problem is referred to as a “blind spot,” which the report – Improving Diagnosis in Health Care – says is found in virtually all healthcare settings. And a simple explanation of merely “bad doctors” doesn’t aptly describe this growing epidemic within the medical profession, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which authored the report.

It raises a worrisome question of whether diagnostic error is on the rise because of the increasing complexity in medicine. Doctors face ever-burdensome caseloads and administrative responsibilities. And the chances that they will likely miss something critical in correctly diagnosing patient conditions is all but a given. Medical professionals need to come up with measures that will help them make the right diagnoses, the report says, although without actually suggesting much.

Computers and artificial intelligence continue to offer doctors and diagnosticians better opportunities to capture and sift through information and hopefully make the right diagnosis. For that to happen, though, many doctors – especially some of the younger generation of MDs – are beginning to acknowledge that they must start talking more about their errors with their fellow physicians; they must share the lessons learned when they experience one, and be less fearful of admitting their shortcomings.  In short, according to one young doctor, they need to collaborate more!

But he laments that this solution is having a difficult time taking root. Doctors – like most professionals of any sort – don’t generally want to discuss their mistakes. This is a new dynamic for doctors who share a certain intellectual elitism due to their very station.  And the medical profession itself it seems like it would just as soon ignore diagnostic errors, viewing them as being a chronic problem. But whether they like it or not, doctors need to do something to address medical errors, because the elephant in the room is clearly visible. And its name is medical malpractice.

When Misdiagnosis becomes Malpractice in Texas

During the past 10 years or so, in the interests of “tort reform” that discourages frivolous lawsuits, the Texas Legislature has made medical malpractice even more difficult to prove, primarily because of pressure by the insurance lobby. Injured patients can still win misdiagnosis claims if they have strong cases supported by expensive expert testimony that proves the “thread of liability.”

  1. Claimants had a relationship with the doctor they sued. (Sometimes many doctors may be involved, either directly or on a consulting basis. It’s the plaintiff’s job to prove which is the culpable doctor. This can be difficult when doctors are less than forthcoming about their part in any diagnostic or treatment errors.)
  2. Once identified, plaintiffs must then prove the doctor acted negligently and not in a reasonably skillful or competent manner.
  3. Finally the plaintiff must prove that it was the doctor’s negligence that caused their injury.

When it comes to medical errors, failure to diagnose can be as devastating as misdiagnosis. Even though medical science (which many rightfully call the medical “arts”) will not be perfect in our lifetime, most diagnostic errors are preventable. We must find ways to reduce medical mistakes which lead to needless pain, suffering, and sometimes wrongful death.

Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help if you have been misdiagnosed or are the victim of a doctor’s failure to diagnose. Contact us online or call us at (800) 444-5000 if we can be of assistance.

Drivers know not to text and drive, but they still do. Now that Texas has legally outlawed it, it’s natural to wonder how effective a ban is. There is reliable evidence that states with texting bans are saving lives.

Delaware was the first state to pass a no-texting law, which went into effect in 2005. Since then, almost every state has passed some form of texting-while-driving ban. There are four types (so far).

  • Primary enforcement on ALLdrivers
  • Secondary enforcement on ALLdrivers
  • Primary enforcement on young drivers and secondary enforcement on all other drivers; and
  • Primary enforcement ONLYon young drivers.

Under primary enforcement, police officers can stop a vehicle if they observe the driver texting and driving. Secondary enforcement means that officers can’t charge the driver with texting and driving unless they stop a vehicle for some other reason after having probable cause to do so.

A 2013-2014 study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the impact of these various texting bans on motor vehicle fatalities in 48 states, using accumulated data covering the period of 2000-2010. Published by the American Journal of Public Health, UAB Public Health researchers discovered that states with primary enforcement laws for texting – which empower an officer to pull over a driver for texting and driving as the sole cause – saw a 3% drop in traffic fatalities across all age groups and an average of 19 fewer deaths each year. Texting bans against only young drivers aged 15-21 experienced the greatest reduction in fatalities – 11%.

States with only secondary restrictions (in which the officer can’t stop the driver unless they commit another offense such as speeding or reckless driving) saw insignificant fatality decreases.

The data revealed that any ban on the use of handheld devices while driving was most effective at reducing traffic deaths among adults and that, overall, bans on texting while driving save lives. And yet, many people – especially teenage drivers – continue to text and drive every day.

Texas Taking Proactive Steps to Curb Texting While Driving

Aside from the brand new ban on the practice that went into effect in September 2017, driver’s license applicants age 18 and older must take a mandatory one-hour distracted driving awareness course in addition to the standard driving skills test. It’s an expansion of the 2015 required distracted driving course for teen drivers (age 16 and 17). There is a waiting period for the test, so teenage drivers should sign up for the distracted driving awareness course when they get their learner’s permit. They cannot take their behind-the-wheel test without having completed the distracted driving course.

The course is free.  And beginning in 2018, a final distracted driving course that focuses on drivers 25 and over will be rolled out by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), though it is not yet known what the requirements will be for taking it. Nor is it known whether successful completion will allow the driver to get a discount on their liability insurance similar to the one for completing a defensive driving course.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a distracted driver, the experienced attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. Schedule a free consultation by filling out an appointment form, or calling us at (800) 444-5000.

Even if it doesn’t “seem” like you’re hurt, waiting to see a doctor is never a good idea. Most professionals (medical, legal, and insurance) advise that you get checked out medically within three days of your accident. Why 72 hours?  There are several reasons, all of them very sound.

Some accident victims who don’t “feel” like they’re hurt will postpone medical care. Usually, it’s because they’re more concerned about the potential costs, especially if they think they’re not injured enough to warrant medical treatment. “It’ll clear up by itself,” they think, as they go on about their business.

But this may be a very costly mistake. Serious injuries – especially muscle, soft tissue, and closed brain injuries – can often present no immediate symptoms. Then a few days, or a week, month, or longer down the road when that silent injury manifests, your insurance provider – or that of the other driver – will likely deny any personal injury claims just because there is no medical documentation directly linking them to your accident.

Insurers Follow the 72-Hour Rule

Insurance companies now rely on software to assist their adjusters when evaluating claims. After feeding data into the program, it – not the adjuster – generates a financial “value” for your claim. One of the first pieces of data the insurance company feeds into their software is whether or not you saw a doctor within 72 hours of your accident.” This is a “value driver.” And though there may be others, how quickly you saw a doctor is essential to the insurance company’s assessment of your claim. If you didn’t see one, it could be a deal-breaker for your claim.

If you have a family doctor, osteopath, or chiropractor, call their office at your first opportunity. If you have an ongoing relationship, they’ll find a way to work you in quickly because the staff knows the 72-hour rule. Get evaluated as soon as you can, to protect yourself and your compensation rights.

The Injury Might get Worse, then Treatment can get REALLY Expensive

If you have a back, head, neck, or another injury, it might worsen so considerably that treatment costs can explode out of proportion to what it would have cost had you seen a doctor immediately after the accident.  If, for example, you have an internal injury, immediate treatment increases your chances of survival. And the doctor visit is on the record, which strengthens your potential injury claim.

Your Insurance Company Wants the Same Documentation if you file a Claim

If you don’t see a doctor, your own insurer will resist your claim just as ferociously when you try to file using your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you file on your PIP, it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the accident. Your insurance company should honor its duty per the terms and to the limits of your policy.

Many Personal Injury Lawyers Won’t Take Your Case if you haven’t Seen a Doctor

Let’s say you wait a month after the accident, didn’t see a doctor, and now are suffering from injuries in an accident caused by another negligent person or entity.  With no medical documentation to back up your claim after so long a wait, some lawyers might not take your case.  Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. They bear all of the costs (and risk) of managing your claim while you pay nothing. But they get paid only when (or if) your claim pays off. If someone approached you with an “iffy” claim, would you take the case?

Be smart.  If you’re in an accident caused by someone else (or even yourself), see a doctor. Your health is too important to put off because things “seem” okay enough or adjusting your busy schedule is too much of a chore.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by anyone’s negligence and you need help, please do not wait. Contact us online or call us at (800) 444-5000 – as soon as time permits.

Eighty-two construction workers died from electrocution in 2015, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), a figure that the Center calls “unacceptably high,” even though it represents a 39% reduction in construction industry electrocution deaths since 2003. In its report released November 1, the CPWR revealed that construction workers comprised 61% of all work-related electrocution fatalities in 2015.

Electrocutions are the fourth leading cause of death among construction workers in the U.S. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics contributed data to the CPWR for its report so the Center could compile information from 2011 to 2015. The report concludes that:

  • Electrical contractors were involved in about 32% of electrocution fatalities (115 of 364), the most of any construction subsector.
  • Electric parts were the leading primary source of electrocution (189 fatalities, or about 52%). Power lines, transformers, and convertors were the second leading sources (39%). But other causes of electrocutions to non-electrical workers included contact with machinery, appliances, power tools, portable lights, and defective power/extension cords.
  • 105 electricians suffered fatal electrocutions, the most of any occupation. Power-line installers experienced the highest pro-rated electrocution deaths – 29.7 per 100,000 full-time workers.
  • Almost 29% of electrocution deaths occurred among workers between the ages of 35 and 44 (the highest age-group percentage). Workers age 25 and under suffered the highest pro-rata number of fatal electrocutions – 1.2 per 100,000 full-time workers. As workers aged, the risk of electrocution significantly decreased, according to the CPWR report.

What can be done to Reduce Construction-Related Electrocutions?

“Many solutions can be implemented to prevent electrocutions among construction workers,” the report states. “Some include personal protective equipment like rubber gloves, nonconductive clothing, engineering controls like surge protection devices, safety measures like regular tool inspection and maintenance, and other precautionary measures such as using nonconductive ladders and cover-up equipment.” The final section of the report outlines additional measures for specific groups. The highlights of these suggestions include:

Contractors should:

  • Comply with OSHA regulations on electrical safety
  • Train (and monitor) employees on electrical safety
  • Contact utility companies in advance to de-energize or insulate overhead power lines
  • Allow work on live electrical circuits/parts only in accordance with a permit system which contains specific procedures.

Electrical workers should:

  • De-energize and lock-out or tag-out electrical circuits/parts they are working on or near
  • Work on live electrical circuits/parts only if they are certified
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment and use proper tools when de-energizing or testing live electrical circuits and parts.

All other construction workers should:

  • Make certain they are trained in electrical safety for the work they will do
  • Ensure machinery and power tools are properly grounded or double-insulated
  • Check all extension and power cords for wear and tear before use
  • Disconnect the plug on any power tool or machinery before inspecting or repairing
  • Keep at least 10 feet from live overhead power lines
  • Keep metal objects away from live electrical circuits/parts.

If you or a member of your family suffered electrocution or an injury on a construction site due to someone’s negligence, contact the experienced attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or give us a call toll-free at (800) 444-5000.

The U.S. toy industry generates approximately $26 billion each year in sales, according to the NPD Group – a market research company. The Toy Association, an industry group which monitors toy safety, releases a list of the most dangerous toys in the late fall, in time for Christmas shopping.  All toys sold in the U.S. must meet more than 100 safety and standards tests before they can be sold, according to Joan Lawrence, Senior Vice President of the Toy Association.

A Boston-based nonprofit called World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) also releases a list of the most dangerous toys every fall.  “WATCH’s 10 Most Dangerous Toys of 2017” include the following.

  1. Itty Bittys baby plush stacking toy by Hallmark

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall for this product in August due to the detachable small fabric hats and bows that pose a choking hazard.

  1. Pull Along Pony by Tolo Toys Limited

WATCH says the product violates a federal law mandating that strings on playpen and crib toys be less than 12 inches long. The Tolo toy’s cord is 19 inches long. But the Toy Association says pull-along toys are an exception to this rule because the purpose is to teach motor skills.

  1. Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword by Mattel

WATCH warns consumers that the stiff plastic sword can cause facial damage or other injuries to children.

  1. Hand Fidgetz Spinners by Kipp Brothers

Fidget spinners are meant for antsy kids, but WATCH says many come with small parts that can easily become loose or pulled off. These inexpensive toys have been the target of several CPSC reviews since their release in late 2016.

  1. Spider-Man Spider-Drone Official Movie Edition by Marvel and Skyrocket Toys

The drone comes with rapidly moving blades that propel it into the air. The toy comes with a warning to keep moving parts away from fingers, hair, eyes, and other body parts. WATCH says this is dangerous for children—to which the drone marketing is targeted. Many of you might recall how a similar, serious drone accident to Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer’s fingers seriously limited his ability to appear in the 2016 Baseball Playoffs.

  1. Nerf Zombie Strike Dreadbolt Crossbow by Hasbro and Nerf.com

The crossbow toy can cause eye and facial injuries. WATCH says the crossbow is inappropriate for small children.

  1. Slackers Slackline Classic Kit by Brand 44

This outdoor tightrope is marketed as an activity for all ages, but it comes with a CPSC warning of “severe injury,” including a chance for “strangulation hazard, especially with children.”

  1. The Oval Xylophone by Plan Toys Inc. and Plan Creations

This wooden instrument – marketed to children as young as 12 months old – can be purchased online. WATCH says that the toy does not come with a warning regarding the 9-and-a-half-inch-long stick, which could be placed in the child’s mouth and obstruct (or tear) the child’s airway.

  1. Jetts Heel Wheels by Razor USA

The mini roller-skate-like devices attach to the back of a child’s shoes to create a “rear-wheel roller skate.” They have sparklers on the back which “spark” while moving. The manufacturer warns users to “keep sparks away from eyes, hair, exposed skin, and clothing.” These sparks can burn.

  1. Brianna Babydoll by Melissa & Doug

These dolls are marketed to children as young as 18 months, but they feature removable clothes and ponytail holders, which WATCH says could pose a choking hazard.

If your child has been injured by a defective toy, or anyone in your family was hurt by a defective product of any kind, contact the experienced attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form, or give us a call toll-free at (800) 444-5000.

The last day there wasn’t a fatal car crash in Texas was more than 6,200 days ago – the day that voters went to the polls to choose between presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore. Some children who were born that day may graduate from high school in a few months. Since Nov. 7, 2000, 59,388 people have died on Texas roads. That’s nearly the equivalent of the population of San Marcos.

“It’s heartbreaking to know somebody has lost a spouse, child, friend or neighbor every day for the past 17 years on Texas roadways,” Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director James Bass recently lamented. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] 94 percent of all deadly crashes are due to driver error — things like distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving. We can stop this deadly streak if every driver makes it a priority to be safe, focused and responsible,” Bass concluded.

In an effort to bring an end to this streak, the TxDOT recently launched a social media campaign with the hash tag #EndTheStreakTX. It’s a constant reminder to drivers to take more responsibility behind the wheel. They are also asking drivers to change their social media profile pictures to an #EndTheStreakTX image, which is available for download.

At the end of 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) researched the cumulative cost of fatal vehicle accidents in each and every state. The numbers for Texas were staggering — some of the highest in the U.S. More than 3,500 people were killed in Texas motor vehicle crashes that year. The immediate – primarily medical and funeral – cost of all those fatal vehicle accidents was $37 million. But the cumulative current (at the time) and future lost income for all those 3,500 vanished lives was $4.85 billion. This produced an overall negative economic impact of $4.89 billion in Texas.

To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT reminds drivers to:

  • Buckle their seatbelts– It is now state law that all passengers – in front AND back seats must be buckled in and children secured in their approved safety seats and boosters.
  • Never drink and drive– A parallel TxDOT campaign is saturating television with anti-drunk driving Public Service Announcements and a secondary “sober ride home/designated driver” series of PSAs.
  • Pay attention– Put smartphones away and avoid other distractions. The recent passing of the “No texting while driving” law might help break the streak — or so TxDOT officials hope, considering that distracted driving is fast becoming the leading cause of vehicle wrecks in Texas.
  • Drive the speed limit– We should always follow speed limits and drive slower when weather or conditions warrant.

So, to answer the question posed at the beginning of this article — “Can Texas End its Unbroken Streak of Daily Road Fatalities? — if everyone followed the above urgings of TxDOT, it could happen tomorrow. But, in truth, we’ll probably just have to get lucky. It’s happened before, the last time on November 7, 2000. You can be sure when it happens again, TxDOT will certainly lead the celebration.

If you or members of your family have been injured by a negligent, speeding or drunk driver, contact the experienced attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or give us a call: toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.

Around here, we don’t have much of a real winter. But you never know when nature’s “slippery frozen surprise” might come to call – even for a day.  Heck, back in ’59 we got almost six inches of snow just after Christmas. Still, unless you’re from a northern state, Houstonians are far from experts when it comes to driving on wintery roads. And some of you might be planning a ski trip or a trip to see family up north this upcoming holiday season. So we can all use reminders on the best ways to survive a bout of “winter road-itis” wherever we might encounter it.

General Winter Driving Tips:

  • Don’t drive when fatigued. Get plenty of rest before risky winter weather driving.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other types (e.g., snow tires).
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid fuel line freeze-ups.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy, or snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery, wintry surface (snow, ice, sand).

Tips for Driving in Snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Fresh snow affords a bit more control than packed snow.
  • Take your time and drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads.
  • Double your braking distance from the normal three or four seconds to seven or eight seconds. This increased margin of safety provides much longer and safer stopping distances.
  • Know your brakes. Whether or not you have anti-lock brakes, the best way to stop is to keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, but gentle, steady pressure on the brake pedal. DON’T MASH!!!
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered hilly roads just spins your wheels. Try to build up gentle speed as you approach the hill. Let that momentum carry you to the top. As you crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible, without braking, but maybe shifting to a lower gear – carefully.
  • Don’t stop when you’re going up a hill. Nothing good comes from it.

Advice for Driving on Icy Roads

Reduce your speed. High speeds make it easy to lose control and difficult to stop. Never drive faster than 40 mph in any vehicle when roads are icy – even highways! Much slower speeds get you there safely. You can slide off of the road on certain types of more treacherous icing – like black ice – even at 10 mph or less!  If you’re fishtailing or sliding at all, it means you’re going too fast!

Go easy on your brakes. Brake application is a common trigger of slides and loss of vehicle control. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) don’t work well in ice and snow. They tend to lock up your wheels, which means loss of control.

If you’re caught off guard and begin sliding, slowly and carefully turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. It helps to look with your eyes where you want the car to go, and turn the steering wheel in that direction. It is easy to oversteer, causing the car to reverse-slide. If this happens, gradually steer in the opposite direction.

If you are the victim of a vehicular accident this winter, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or give us a call: toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Around 300,000 injuries occur annually from accidents caused by texting while driving; 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

  • The Council also notes that texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. If you are traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  • Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
  • Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity.
  • 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 74% of drivers support a ban on anyhand-held cell phone use when driving (yet ironically, many drivers obviously still use their smartphones).

A variety of reasons explain why our mobile devices are far deadlier than many of us, including safety researchers, believe. In more than half of the fatal crashes in 2015, motorists were driving straight down the road, with no obstacles or apparent diversions before them. There was no crossing traffic; the weather and visibility were good; and there weren’t any other “distractions.” In spite of all those favorable conditions, however, drivers still kept plowing into other things: vehicles, telephone poles, the sides of buildings, pedestrians and cyclists on the side of the road or the sidewalk. So it’s small wonder that traffic fatalities involving motorcyclists (up 6.2%) and pedestrians (up 9%) rose significantly as smartphones found their way into the hands of just about every driver in the U.S.

As we’ve already shared, the jump in fatalities has been largely among bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, all of which are easier to miss from the driver’s seat than a 4,000-pound SUV – especially if a driver is glancing up from that small screen instead of paying attention to the task at hand…DRIVING!

Other portions of the NSC study tell us that only about half of fatal crashes tied to known mobile phone use were coded that way in National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) databases. So in truth, according to the NSC, NHTSA’s figures for mobile device distraction-related injuries and deaths are already too low before the counting even starts.

Perhaps more significant may be the findings of Zendrive Inc., a San Francisco firm which evaluates smartphone data to help insurers of commercial vehicle fleets assess safety risks. In its study of 3 million drivers, Zendrive found they used a mobile phone during 88% of their trips. The company admits the true percentage maybe higher, because instances when phones were mounted in a fixed position were not captured in the study. This so-called hands-free technology is also considered to be risky, at best.

The government, though slow, is awakening to the problem. As of November 2017, of the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, 41 legally forbid all drivers from texting on their phones. But we still have a way to go before other behind-the-wheel distractions, like digital navigation and unbridled use of infotainment screens, are addressed legislatively.

If you are a victim of a traffic accident caused by a distracted driver, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or give us a call: toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.

In an attempt to prevent shingles, some patients may have unintentionally contracted the virus from their shingles vaccination. Zostavax, until recently the only approved shingles vaccine in the U.S., may cause serious injuries, including shingles, blindness, and even death. Injured patients have been filing lawsuits against Zostavax’s manufacturer, Merck, and its new owner, Bayer, for failing to warn about its potential side effects.

The drug contains live varicella zoster virus – the chickenpox virus that also causes shingles. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in their body. Later in life, if the immune system becomes weakened, the virus can reactivate to cause shingles.

Both chickenpox and shingles may result in serious damage to the nervous system, including conditions like meningitis, encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), and stroke. Some people who develop shingles have serious side effects, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, congestive heart failure, or varicella pneumonia.

New Shingles Vaccine Just Approved by FDA

A new adult vaccine has recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix is now recommended by the agency for use as a shingles preventative for all Americans 50 and older.

One in three Americans will develop shingles – also known as herpes zoster – in their lifetime, with the risk increasing to half of adults over 85, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which consults with the CDC on vaccine usage, also recommended that adults who received Zostavax, a shingles vaccine made by Merck, be revaccinated with Shingrix.

Lawsuits Against Zostavax Drugmaker

Zostavax uses a weakened form of the herpes zoster virus in order to activate the immune system. After fighting the weakened version of the virus, the body builds immunity. But over the years, Zostavax has achieved a track record for only working in half of all patients who receive the vaccine, at best, and even then the protection lasts for only about six years.

For patients who are immunocompromised, their bodies may not be able to fight off the small dose of the virus. This can cause a host of injuries, including chickenpox and shingles itself.

Lawsuits claim that, despite knowing that Zostavax could cause shingles, Merck didn’t list this as a side effect until December 2014—long after the vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006.

The FDA reports that Zostavax side effects can include the following:

  • Shingles
  • Chickenpox
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Eye disorders, including necrotizing retinitis.

Some plaintiffs allege that Zostavax caused even more serious complications, such as blindness, paralysis, brain damage, and fatal liver failure.

If you received a shingles vaccination and subsequently developed shingles, chickenpox, or some other serious medical complication, you may feel it appropriate to consider taking legal action. If you have suffered from any side effects or shingles itself after receiving Zostavax, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our contact form.

In late July 2017, Daiichi Sankyo agreed to pay up to $300 million in more than 2,000 U.S. cases surrounding the Japanese drugmaker’s failure to warn that its blood pressure medication, Benicar, can cause gastrointestinal (GI) illness.

The first of these lawsuits was filed in early 2014, shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the manufacturer to make changes to its improperly labeled products that should have warned of the drug’s risks of severe GI side-effects. The cases filed separately in many U.S. states were eventually consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a New Jersey federal court.

Fifteen test cases in the MDL called “bellwethers” – cases which attorneys on both sides use to weigh the effectiveness of their respective arguments – were entered into the court’s docket for the fall of 2017. But before any of them went to trial, Benicar’s manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo, began settling with the plaintiffs from which the 15 bellwethers were selected.

Injured victims alleged that until a decade after the drugs hit the market, Benicar, along with its affiliate drugs Benicar HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor, carried no labels or literature that warned of the GI side-effects, which included:

  • Sprue-like enteropathy(symptoms of which include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss, as well as abdominal pain, fatigue, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and anemia)
  • Lymphocytic colitis (a condition characterized by chronic, watery, non-bloody diarrhea)
  • Microscopic colitis (inflammation of colon/large intestine resulting in persistent watery diarrhea and cramping)
  • Collagenous colitis (inflammatory bowel disease affecting the colon, also presenting as chronic, watery diarrhea with the absence of bleeding).

Failure to Warn Explained

A failure-to-warn lawsuit centers on an injured plaintiff’s allegation that the company – in this case, drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo – knew a prescription medication displayed a number of specific health risks but failed to disclose them to consumers. And even though it can be “assumed” that many useful drugs do come with “inherent yet non-specific risks” that cannot be completely removed but still allow the drug to function as intended, all of these risks must be disclosed in writing somewhere in the product literature that accompanies the drug. Without this warning, the dangers that doctors and patients are not aware of can cause great harm to those who take the medicine.

From a procedural perspective, failure-to-warn claims are much like other personal injury civil cases. The injured plaintiff’s attorney must show that the manufacturer knew of the dangers associated with their products, did not disclose them, and because of this, the plaintiff was hurt by that product.

In order to win a failure-to-warn claim or lawsuit, the plaintiff’s drug injury lawyer must prove the following chain of events:

  • The defendant drug manufacturer knew the product was dangerous.
  • The defendant had a legal duty to warn consumers of the danger.
  • By failing to warn, the defendant neglected its legal duty.
  • And because of that negligence, the plaintiff was injured by the product.

If you suspect you were injured by a defective drug in any way, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form, or calling us toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000.

As of September 1, 2017, Texas motorists are now subject to a new set of rules on texting and driving.

The Offense

House Bill 62 created consequences for drivers who read, write, or send an electronic message from a portable wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

The Defense

There are many defenses that are exceptions to the new law:

Stopped at a red light?… It’s okay to text.

Changing your music selection from an app?… That’s okay too.

Navigating with your GPS?… You’re in the clear.

Other exceptions include reporting an accident, certain jobs that require dispatch duties, and law enforcement.

The Punishment

First-time offenders are subject to fines ranging from $25 to $99.

Second-time offenders are subject to fines ranging from $100 to $200.

If the driver caused death or serious bodily injury, the offense is a Class A Misdemeanor, which carries penalties as extreme as one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000.

The History

The focus of past decades had been drunk driving. State by state, laws were put on the books to create penalties for drunk drivers.

With the ever-changing personal technological advancements of the 2000s, the focus has become distracted driving, which is largely attributable to texting and driving with the use and misuse of cell phones.

In the 1990s, the “bag phone” debuted. Followed by smaller and smaller wireless communication devices that evolved into today’s smartphones and onboard communication systems in newer model vehicles.

Drivers are affixed to their phones in bumper-to-bumper slow moving traffic, high-speed traffic on our interstates, and everywhere in between—sending text messages, checking emails, and even surfing the internet. This created a major problem of distracted driving, with an increasing number of collisions attributable to phone use.

Now, one after another, state legislatures are putting distracted driving laws on the books. Texas is the 47th state to follow suit. The Texas Legislature has been working on this since 2011. Several Texas cities already had local ordinances in place. As of the end of the 2017 legislative session, cities are still allowed to enforce their own laws if they have harsher restrictions. For example, some cities have stricter hands-free laws.

The Practical Effect

The new Texas texting and driving law has mixed reviews. While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, critics note that there are several loopholes and it’s difficult to enforce.

For starters, the offense “must be committed in the presence of or within the view of a peace officer or established by other evidence.” This creates practical enforcement problems, which lead to questions of proof and unlawful search and seizure if a peace officer asks to see a driver’s cell phone.

For now, drivers on Texas roads are—at the very least—banned from reading, writing, or sending an electronic message from a portable wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

Talking the talk that the Trump Administration is against regulation, in the late summer of 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) withdrew a well-intended proposal that would have required truck drivers to be tested for sleep apnea. But irony lies in the fact that in getting rid of this particular “stifling regulation” on the trucking industry that would allegedly allow the firms to operate more efficiently, deregulation has already created the conditions in which sleep apnea thrives among truckers.

Sleep apnea causes some people – who are usually overweight – to periodically stop breathing as they sleep. Those who are afflicted aren’t getting very good rest, which tends to make them drowsy and less alert when they are awake. This is why sleep apnea is particularly challenging for truck drivers — not to mention those in other vehicles who must share the road with these drowsy drivers.

A report released in late December 2016 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA Foundation) concludes that drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash than those who get at least seven hours of sleep. And the less sleep the person behind the wheel gets, the higher the crash rate, according to the findings. AAA Foundation discovered that drivers in the study who only got four or five hours of sleep were four times more likely to be involved in a crash. That’s roughly the same increase as drunk drivers.

The pervasiveness of sleep apnea in truck drivers has been subject to a certain amount of debate, mostly prompted by the trucking industry because their interests lie in drivers’ keeping to unreasonably tight schedules, thereby encouraging them to spend more time on the road than safety allows. But some studies suggest higher rates of sleep apnea occur in over-the-road truckers than in the general population. One reason is that sleep apnea can be exacerbated by obesity. And considering the overall sedentary nature of truck driving, it follows that obesity rates are alarmingly high among truckers, and many of them suffer from this disorder. Sleep apnea is a problem for truckers, and getting rid of trucking industry regulations that would curb it won’t help.

The irony surrounding the deregulation of the trucking industry over the years has not been lost on critics of the Trump-backed relaxation of the sleep apnea testing rule. Deregulation has allowed trucking firms to have a freer hand in not only controlling how their drivers work, but over their very lives. Deregulation has eroded the strong unions that protected drivers from some of the unreasonable practices of an industry which coincidentally has fewer (and larger) companies than it used to. Gradually, the smaller firms have been forced out of the trucking marketplace since the Reagan Administration began the deregulation process.

The proposed mandatory test for sleep apnea is just one example of this deregulatory trend – a desperate stopgap, if you will. Protecting not only truck drivers, but all of us, from the dangerous actions of a drowsy truck driver who nods off behind the wheel of a 75,000-pound guided missile gives way to the simple, hollow argument of “deregulation.”

When did the government decide to deregulate safety?

If you or a member of your family has been harmed or wrongfully killed by an out-of-control 18-wheeler, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form, or call us toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000.

With this year’s holiday season right around the corner, we checked with local police and fire officials for their advice on safety. Here’s some of what they told us.

Driving and Parking

  • Keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.
  • If you shop at night, park in well-lit areas.
  • Avoid parking next to high-profile vehicles (vans, trucks, etc) which block the view to yours.
  • Never leave your car with the motor running or children inside, even if you lock the doors.
  • Hide all packages or valuables in your car trunk.
  • Have keys in hand when you reach your car.
  • When approaching or leaving your vehicle, check your surroundings; if there are suspicious people nearby, walk away and dial 911.

ATM’s

  • Choose an ATM inside a police station, mall, or well-lit location.
  • Try to limit withdrawals to $50 or less.
  • Protect your PIN by shielding the keypad with your hand.

Shopping

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • If possible, ask mall or store security for an escort when leaving your shopping location.
  • Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Even though you are rushed and your mind is cluttered, keep aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash: pay with credit or debit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. Make frequent trips to carry them to your car.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. “Con-artists” try various ways of distracting you to take your money or belongings.

Children

  • Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help from a security officer if you become separated.
  • Teach them to stay close to you in public.
  • Never allow children to visit the restroom or go to the car alone.
  • Teach children to tell you immediately if a stranger bothers them.

At Home

  • When leaving home for an extended period, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor lights on automatic timers.
  • Put radios or televisions on timers too so the house looks and sounds occupied.
  • Keep large displays of holiday gifts away from sight through your home’s windows and doors.
  • Keep Christmas trees away from high-trafficked areas.
  • Be sure your tree is on a sturdy base so children, the elderly, or pets cannot knock it over.
  • Check the wiring on Christmas tree lights to make certain it isn’t frayed, which is a dangerous fire hazard.
  • Strangers at Your Front Door
    • Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
    • Others try to steal packages delivered to your door. Have your packages sent to remote drop-offs (Amazon boxes) or a mail store if possible.
    • Criminals often pose as charity workers and solicit “donations” door-to-door. Ask for identification, and find out how the donated funds are used. Or ask for the charity’s name and address so you can send a check if you are suspicious. Donate only to recognized charitable organizations.

And NEVER drink and drive.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone at our firm, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our online contact form.

And Happy Holidays!

People died on U.S. highways at an alarming rate in 2016. Traffic fatalities rose 6% that year, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths, compared to 37,000 in 2015. It was the highest single jump in traffic deaths in over 50 years (since 1973-74). But surprisingly, deaths due to distracted driving fell ever so slightly in 2016, to 3,450; a 2% decrease.

The 2016 Texas traffic death toll of 3,773 was an increase of 5% from the 3,578 deaths recorded in 2015. There were 14,200 serious injury crashes in Texas in 2016, with 17,582 people sustaining a serious injury. Other noteworthy Texas figures include:

  • 496 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) were killed in 2016. 53% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets when the crash occurred.
  • Pedalcyclist fatalities totaled 65 in 2016, a 25% jump over 2015.
  • Pedestrian fatalities totaled 678 in 2016, which was a 21% percent increase over 2015.
  • In 2016, 987 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes where a driver was under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 26% of the Texas crash fatalities.
  • One person died in an accident every 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  • One person was injured every two minutes.
  • One reportable crash occurred every 57 seconds.

The rise in overall U.S. fatalities was attributed to the usual reasons: speeding, drunk driving, and more miles being driven each year. Another reason for the sharp uptick is that some motorists and passengers still resist wearing safety belts.

Since 2009, Texas Transportation Code [TTC § 545.413] has required both drivers and passengers to wear safety belts. All passengers (including adults) in the back seat must be buckled up. And children younger than eight (8) years old must ride in a child safety seat or booster seat if they are under 45 inches (4 feet 9 inches) tall.

Cyclists and Pedestrians Didn’t do That Well in 2016 Either

There were nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed last year, the highest total since 1990. Bicycle deaths hit a 25-year high as well – 840.

Over the past decade, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) the percentage of all highway fatalities involving people in cars and light trucks slipped to 64% from 70%. The NHTSA also estimates that seat belts, air bags, and other restraints saved 17,752 in 2016. It also estimates that fatal traffic crashes cost the U.S. economy $242 billion that year.

Nationally, almost eight in ten who survived what would have been otherwise-fatal wrecks have their safety belts to thank, according to the NHTSA. So, despite recent advances in vehicle safety technology, simply wearing your seat belt is still the No. 1 factor in surviving a serious wreck.

In another closely watched vehicle safety category, 4,317 people died in large truck wrecks in 2016; a 5% increase over 2015. Of those fatalities, the number who were truck occupants grew by almost 9%.

If you are a traffic accident victim of a negligent driver, the experienced accident attorneys with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help protect your compensation rights when you are injured. Contact us by filling out our online contact form or give us a call: toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally at (713) 973-8888.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that in Houston and Harris County, seven bicycle fatalities occurred each year from 2008 to 2010, followed by 10 cyclist deaths in 2011, and eight in 2012. The statistics for 2013 show a dozen Houston area cyclists were killed, all but one having been hit by another vehicle. And from 2013-2016, according to the Houston Press, nearly 1,700 cyclists were hit by cars on Houston streets: 25% of those drivers fled the scene of the accident, making them hit-and-runs.

In Houston, like other parts of the U.S., many residents are turning (or returning) to bicycles for transportation, health, and enjoyment. Bicycles are now viewed as vehicles, with as much right to use our streets as cars and trucks. And as such, bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. But the harsh reality is that bicyclists are much more vulnerable to injury or even death as they are harder for other motorists to see and have virtually no protection from injury in a collision, save for a helmet.  In many vehicle-bicycle accidents, one or the other is simply not paying enough attention. Sadly, many Texas drivers look on bicyclists as nuisances, when they see them at all.  This is why bicycling in our state, especially in Houston, can be a nightmare for those who would rather pedal than drive.

recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), with funding from a grant through State Farm insurance, found an increase in bike deaths of 12% in 2015, which outpaced the cumulative rise in all U.S. traffic fatalities for that year. The report also found that alcohol played a role in 37% of fatal bike crashes.  Drivers did the drinking in 12% of the wrecks, while bike riders had been drinking in 22% – which was significantly down from 38% in 2007.  Other highlights of the GHSA research include:

  • An estimated 45,000 cyclists were injured in crashes in 2015.
  • The majority of fatal bike crashes – 72% – took place on open roadways rather than at intersections.
  • Distracted driving caused 76 cyclist deaths out of 818 in 2015.
  • More than half of cyclists killed were not wearing a helmet.
  • Bike fatalities were evenly split at 47% between those riding in daylight and those riding after dark, even though only 20% of bike rides take place after dark.
  • One-third of those surveyed said they had biked in the past year, but the number of children biking to school has dropped from almost half the number of those who pedaled to school in 1969.

Bicycle lanes and helmets reduce the risk of death. According to Helmets.org, an organization that advocates cycling helmet use, the cause of death in almost three-quarters of all fatal bicycle collisions the past few years (74%) was some sort of head injury. Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).

And even though a helmet is little protection from the careless drivers who fail to share the road with cyclists, we can help protect your compensation rights when you are injured by a negligent driver while riding your bike.

If you or a loved one has been injured while cycling, please consider scheduling a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

The majority of the time, a successful injury claim or lawsuit is paid for by some insurance company. Most often, it’s the company which insures the negligent defendant. Sometimes the funds are paid by your insurer. A very small percentage of compensation comes directly out of the pocket of the negligent defendant. And sometimes the total amount can come from a combination of these three sources.

The Negligent Defendant’s Insurer

Below are a few examples where accident victims are compensated by the defendant’s insurer.

  • If you are involved in a car wreck in which the negligent defendant is fully at fault, and he or she carries sufficient auto liability insurance to pay all of your medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other tertiary expenses, no other source is needed.
  • If you slipped and fell at a shopping mall or on someone else’s property (e.g. their yard or home), the primary source of compensation is through a claim or legal case against the owner’s commercial or personal property insurance.
  • If a hospital or your doctor misdiagnosed an illness or injury, the hospital or your doctor’s medical malpractice insurance pay your damages.
  • If you are injured at work, your employer’s Workers’ Compensationpolicy (or the company’s liability insurance, if it does not subscribe to workers’ comp) is your primary – but not always exclusive – source of compensation.
  • If you are injured by a defective product, the manufacturer’s, designer’s, distributor’s, or retailer’s liability insurance is the source of your compensation.

When Your Insurer Pays

Using some of the above examples, your insurance company might be compelled to pay some of your damages if you carry coverage for such an eventuality.

If you carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM), and the negligent driver who hurt you doesn’t have enough coverage in their policy, your insurer will pay the difference (and then probably turn around and sue the driver).

Three of the examples mentioned above (slip-and-fall, medical malpractice, defective product) are often addressed, if the defendant is not insured or is under-insured, by various applicable insurance that you might have, such as property or auto PIP (which can apply to injuries other than vehicle-related). Your healthcare coverage will also pay for medical bills, but little else, if your injuries arise from medical malpractice or a defective product.  This is a very complex issue and is best explained by your injury attorney.

Civil Lawsuits as a Source of Compensation

The above sources from your insurance company can often be little more than a patch that cannot come close to full compensation. So your lawyer must investigate all possible defendants – beyond the value of their insurance – to know whether they are fiscally solvent.  A defendant must be solvent (have enough money) to pay your legal damages – out of their own pocket if necessary.

If a defendant is insolvent you will most likely not be able to collect anything beyond available insurance. This is a sad circumstance, but one that unfortunately does occur.

Defendants often try to appear insolvent to injured plaintiffs and their attorneys, going to great lengths to hide their assets and make themselves appear insolvent, even though they’re not.  But experienced personal injury lawyers perform stringent asset checks to get a true picture of a potential defendant’s available resources. If they’re hiding money, chances are very good your lawyer will find out about it and help you seize those assets through a civil lawsuit.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

This year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday. It’s a notable fact because children usually stay out later that evening, and more drunk drivers are on the roads. Even without that tidbit of scary information, “All Hallows Eve” is already perilous enough. Children wear loose-fitting costumes that are easy to trip over; candles aglow inside pumpkins are dangerous fires just waiting to happen; and sharp props abound – like sticks or plastic swords –to cause eye injuries. And let’s not forget pumpkin carving, which always seems to injure its share of fingers, both child- and adult-sized.

But of all these dangers, car accidents are the most common, perilous, and one which doctors say families don’t think enough about. Children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a carwhile walking on Halloween night than any other time of the year, according to Safe Kids USA. So what follows are a few of our trick or treat safety tips for those who are driving this Halloween night.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and move in unpredictable ways.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and near curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys extra slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractionsinside your car so you can concentrate on your driving.
  • Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, and turn on your headlights well before dusk to spot children who are further away.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Here Are Our Trick or Treat Safety Tips:

Walk Safely:

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep alert as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices away; keep your head up and walk – don’t run – across streets.
  • Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them (and to not cross if that contact is not made).
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are none, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Plan a route in advance. Trick-or-treating could take you several streets away from your house, which can tire the youngest legs. Stick to streets that you and your child are familiar and comfortable with.

Wear comfy shoes. Avoid high heels, and double-tie shoelaces to avoid tripping in the dark.

Stay well-lit. Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight – with fresh batteries – to keep your child’s path lit at all times.

Make sure all costumes are short. Long costumes that drag on the ground are dangerous at night. Make sure it’s an appropriate length, and hem anything that’s too long to avoid tripping.

Avoid masks. They make it difficult for your child to see or breathe. If possible, use non-toxic make-up to complete the costume instead.  Kids love face paint anyway.

And rest easy. Recent research tells us that Houston will survive Halloween weekend’s zombie apocalypse!

Please save our number 713-973-8888 and call or text us in case you need legal help at any time this Halloween season. We offer a free initial consultation and are here to serve you and anyone who has been seriously injured and wants to explore their potential claims.

According to CBS News, in 2012 more workers died in Texas (433) than any other state. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that one in ten construction workers are injured every year; making it one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S, no matter whose survey you read. But when considering how much rebuilding is taking place on the upper Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; many local construction projects could be even more dangerous.

A large portion, as high as 40 percent in Houston – and upwards of a quarter million construction workers in Texas – are undocumented, unlikely to have health or life insurance, sick leave, or paid time off; so says a report published in 2017 by the Austin-based Workers Defense Project (WDP). The organization based its conclusions on interviews of over 1,400 construction workers throughout Texas.

Texas is the only state in the country that doesn’t require any type of workers’ compensation coverage, though it is available, and about two-thirds of the state’s employers carry some sort of workers’ comp insurance. But since workers’ comp is optional, employers appear less-inclined to spend a lot of time or money on creating safer workplaces. And with so many toxins in the floodwaters, who knows where they are now, who will encounter them, and whether employers will protect their workers from them?

“After disasters like Katrina, there is a lot of construction – rebuilding, repairs, and remodels, and a lot of (worker) exploitation,” says Bo Delp, Director of the Better Builder Program with the Workers Defense Project. “Texas is a uniquely bad state for construction workers in terms of conditions, A disaster like Harvey compounds these conditions,” he concludes.

A pair of surveys illustrate how the construction industry itself, coupled with racial bias, often deals in wage theft, unhealthy working conditions and other exploitations of low-end workers here on the upper Gulf Coast as we rebuild after Harvey.

A 2006 study from the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice revealed that six in 10 surveyed construction workers had experienced workplace abuses such as wage theft, along with health and safety violations. And another 2009 study – also of workforces in post-Katrina New Orleans – by the University of California at Berkeley found that there were pronounced differences between working conditions for undocumented workers, compared with documented, workers. Thirty-seven percent of undocumented workers said they were told beforehand that they might be exposed to mold and asbestos. But two-thirds of documented workers were informed. Furthermore, only one in five undocumented workers was paid time-and-a-half when they worked overtime.

The WDP’s Delp believes the primary offenders are the “the fly-by-night” contractors who “follow disasters” to make a quick buck and who sacrifice safety in favor of cheaper costs. Meanwhile, many worker advocates question whether OSHA and the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) are up to effectively addressing worker health and safety needs in the wake of Harvey. They cite both agencies’ past inability to work in tandem on behalf of workers after large disasters, coupled with the Trump Administration’s general disinterest in the plight of lower-level workers and those who are undocumented aliens. Workers and environmentalists are expressing safety fears.

Likely because of this, the Workers Defense Project is opening its third Texas office, this one in Houston. If you are a worker who is concerned for your jobsite safety, contact them.

If you have been injured on the job and want to explore your legal options, we encourage you to reach out to Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

More information:

KUHF/The Texas Tribune: Harvey Means More Jobs. But Does It Mean More Exploitation Too?

As vehicles further embrace technology, software and operating system flaws are already having a profound impact on driver safety, as well as auto industry responses to these dangers. Two recent recalls illustrate this transformation.

In June 2017 – only a few weeks after issuing a recall, and only a couple of months after learning of the problem – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began making fixes to 1.25 million Dodge Ram pickups to correct a software error that may have caused one crash death and two injuries in another. The “glitch” could temporarily disable the vehicles’ side air bag and seat belt pretensioners, which snugly secure passengers in a crash. The company is reprogramming the software error.

In September 2016, General Motors recalled more than 400,000 vehicles (primarily Buick and Chevrolet) which experienced similar system problems. Reports of GM vehicles’ sensing and diagnostic modules’ failure to inflate airbags in a crash and the possibility of their seat belts not working during accidents began reaching the automaker in May 2014. But GM was much slower in warning the public about these problems that killed at least one person and reportedly injured scores more.

When it comes to defective product lawsuits, two issues that profoundly impact them are: (1)  what did the manufacturer know and when did they know it, and (2) why they did little or nothing to address the issue after knowing it caused serious injury or death. In many cases, they believe it’s cheaper to pay  insurance claims than to fix the problem. But automakers are beginning to behave differently. Record fines against them by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the accumulation of more lawsuits by injured consumers, are helping to lead a change in their behavior.

A New Landscape: High-Tech Vehicles Create Greater Opportunities for Hackers

Cars and trucks are morphing into “driving systems” that insulate drivers from their long-held responsibilities by making elemental decisions for them with greater frequency, such as braking, staying in lanes, and parallel parking, to name a few. But the downside to these features is that, as vehicle networking proliferates, they become “targets of opportunity” for sophisticated hackers. In March 2016, the FBI issued a warning to automakers and consumers to “maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles.”  And in conjunction, the NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released uniform guidelines to govern automakers’ design of cars that can be safely controlled even after a successful cyberattack.

According to experts, one of the more popular ways for hackers and ransomware thieves to compromise a vehicle’s automated operation and safety systems is via apps in their infotainment system that connect to the internet.  Another – and often easier – route is through unsecure smartphone apps that connect to your car through your phone. These experts also note that many of these hacks are exploited through Android’s operating systems, though Apple’s iOS also presents a smaller number of risky vulnerabilities.

Either way, consumers are tricked into downloading apps or updates that look real but are really malware, just like clicking on a phishing link in an email. When they begin to use the phony app, or the install the update, the malware initializes, infecting targeted systems which can then be controlled by an invading hacker.

Many automakers which were historically slow to respond to recalls in the past are modifying those practices today. If they continue to do so, a generation of safer cars, with much fewer injuries and wrongful deaths, are likely to result.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), six teens ages 16 to 19 die each and every day from motor vehicle accidents. But like car wrecks involving adults, teen motor vehicle crashes are also preventable; and proven strategies can improve the safety of young drivers on the road and their survivability. Driving means freedom for teens, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always safe. Many teens find themselves in danger on the road simply because they lack experience behind the wheel. National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW – October 15-21) offers an opportunity to help our young drivers to develop and refine a few key safety habits, which includes avoiding the No. 1 killer of teens in car wrecks – distracted driving.

Research continues to show that teens accept that they are vulnerable while on the road and are acutely aware of the many driving risks that affect their safety – even if only in the abstract. One of the major factors which increases the possibility of a crash is impaired driving. This includes not only alcohol or drug use, but also distraction, fatigue and strong emotions. Below are topics for discussion, addressing many of the safety issues teen drivers face.

1) When driving, try to keep your smartphone off – Multiple studies indicate using a cell phone — even a hands-free phone — while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk. Yes, it’s hard. But when you’re first learning to drive, do you really need this dangerous distraction?

2) Minimize Distractions – When driving with friends, it’s tempting to eat, drink, dial-up music and play it loudly while you’re cruising. But if it causes your mind to wander or distracts your eyes from the road, that’s unsafe. Research shows that inexperienced drivers are more likely to lose control of their car. Distractions can decrease your awareness of impending danger and your ability to control the vehicle when you are surprised.

4) Don’t Text – Research shows texting causes a loss of focus on the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 60 mph, that’s the length of a football field. A lot can go wrong in that small space when your eyes are off the road. Besides, effective September 1, texting while driving is now illegal in Texas.

5) Obey the Speed Limit – Speeding is another prime cause of fatal teen accidents. This rings especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or that you might not know.  Sometimes we all feel pressured to keep up with traffic flow when it feels like everyone is flying by. Driving at a safe speed helps ensure the wellbeing of you and your passengers and  helps you avoid costly traffic tickets and  expensive increases in your auto insurance.

7) Practice Defensive Driving – Being aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and having possible escape routes in mind is the foundation for defensive driving.  This takes developing a feel for driving relative to other cars, and it takes time.  But developing defensive driving habits keeps all drivers safe; and if you take a defensive driving course, you get a discount on your insurance!

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

The world of defective products is experiencing profound change. The last week in August, the FDA issued a recall which specifically warned about some elements of 13 different model types of Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) Pacemaker systems. It applies to some implantable cardiac pacemakers, including cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker (CRT-P) devices, and the insulated wire “leads” that connect to the heart. It does NOT apply to implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) or cardiac resynchronization ICDs (CRT-Ds).

Because these devices are part of a heart rhythmic control and management “system,” they can be monitored and adjusted by a doctor who is connected remotely to the patient via computer. But hackers have exposed a vulnerability in the operating system (OS). This means someone can compromise these Abbot Pacemakers by sending them commands which could affect their operation, and even a patient’s life. The “fix” requires patients to make a trip to their medical provider so a software update can be installed.

According to the FDA, around 465,000 pacemakers in the U.S. are affected by the recall, though the number outside the U.S. is not known. No units have been compromised so far. But the potential consequences of such a breach could be life-threatening.

It seems odd to think about at first.  But like “smart” cars, and “intelligent” appliances, pacemakers and other medical devices are becoming smarter, with the ability to connect to mobile devices and larger “mother ship” diagnostic and command systems.  This connectivity exposes a vulnerability. Without the necessary credentials, or a hack which bypasses or breaks this, someone can connect to online smart systems.

But there’s another wrinkle to this story that involves a merger between two of the largest healthcare device makers in the world: Abbott Healthcare and the Canadian St. Jude Medical (not to be confused with the renowned children’s research hospital in Memphis, Tennessee).

Troubling Times for St. Jude Prior to the Abbott Merger?

In negotiations for well over a year and completed on January 4, 2017, Abbott’s purchase of St. Jude served as a backdrop for the waves of problems St. Jude Pacemakers experienced with a large percentage of its devices, which came to a head in 2016.  Most surrounded compromised battery life, leading to an FDA recall in 2015. A year later, in August 2016, a lawsuit was filed against St. Jude alleging security vulnerabilities.

Abbott Pacemaker Recall

Now Abbott’s current pacemaker security vulnerabilities require a “firmware update” to address OS security. This was first reported to the public in August 2016, after it was detected internally several months earlier. The report outlined scenarios which could drain pacemaker battery life, allow attackers to change programmed settings, or even change the beats and rhythm of the device.

As negotiations of the Abbott merger continued building toward their January climax, in October 2016 the FDA issued its first, and narrower, St. Jude device security recall for removal from the medical marketplace – two months after the lawsuit was filed. This entire story has yet to play out.

But it is interesting when added to other problems with pacemakers – such as Medtronic’s $114 million settlement of a 2014 product liability lawsuit for injuries caused by some of its malfunctioning units.  Collectively, the issue of safe pacemakers and other medical devices should give us cause for pause. And as technology and connectivity roll on, we must consider the ultimate cost when things go wrong.

To schedule a free consultation regarding a pacemaker failure with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

 

Even though the food supply in the U.S. is recognized as one of the safest in the world, it should not blind Americans to the truth that our food is not completely free from pathogenic bacteria.

One in six Americans will become sick – even mildly – from food poisoning this year. It not only sends more than 125,000 Americans to the hospital each year, but it kills as many as 3,000, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Half of the roughly 48 million American food poisoning victims are children 15 and under. Most often when we experience moderate to severe food-related gastrointestinal (GI) problems, we mistake it for a minor case of the flu, the symptoms of which are similar but not identical. Those pass in a few days.

But sometimes, “something you ate” leads to serious – even fatal – health problems. Botulism, E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, staphylococcal infections and even Hepatitis can trigger a case of food poisoning, and seriously attack the most vulnerable: young children, the aged, and those with autoimmune deficiencies. This can produce chronic health problems for many years. Every September is National Food Safety Education Month. But obviously, understanding how we – and others – keep our food supply safe is a year-long quest that we cannot take lightly.

Many of these bacteria are present in raw meat, poultry, and eggs. Others are found on produce or even people’s hands and can cause illness when proper hygiene is not followed. Food poisoning can also be caused by molds or parasites, though bacterial infection is the most common.

Protect Your Family from Foodborne Illness at Home and Away

Though you have no control over how your food is handled before you buy it, you can follow the four basic steps of food safety that restaurants and suppliers up and down the food supply chain follow to prevent food poisoning: clean, separate, cook, and chill. It starts when you bring it home. Thoroughly rinse all perishable foods and place them in airtight storage bags and then your refrigerator or freezer.

Clean your hands (with antibacterial soap) before preparing your meals. And if you leave the prep area or handle anything – such as your cellphone – for any reason, wash your hands again when you return. Clean all cooking countertops and prep-area surfaces before you begin meal prep.

Separate raw meat, fish, and poultry from other items and prepare them separately.

Cook meat, poultry, egg products, and fish to the right temperature. Use a food thermometer to maintain a minimum internal temperature of at least 140o F (60o C) to kill any bacteria.

Store all leftovers in your refrigerator (40o F) within two hours of cooking to keep harmful bacteria away. If possible, use sealable containers or storage bags and remove the air from them before closing.

When Dining at a Restaurant, Be Vigilant

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that salsa and guacamole increasingly cause food poisoning because they’re often made in large batches with several ingredients, and often aren’t refrigerated properly. One bad ingredient can sicken lots of people.

Here are some other tips to avoid food poisoning when eating out:

Examine the Cooks and Wait Staff – Do they have clean aprons and uniforms? If they’re clean, it suggests that they are not wiping their hands on their clothes. If they have long hair, are they wearing a net? What do their hands look like: are there unbandaged cuts, bitten nails, or raw cuticles? Beware.

Avoid Buffets and Salad Bars – Many believe salad bars are safe, but these can be one of the main reasons that people get sick at restaurants. Food in common service areas is seldom kept to the correct temperature. And lots of people touch both the food and the utensils. Common food areas are bacteria breeding grounds.

Beware of Specials – Sometimes “specials” are a way for restaurants to move leftovers that have been laying around for a day or two.

Smell Your Food – You know how good food smells. If it doesn’t pass this simple test, send it back.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

“Mobile uploads,” “hashtags,” and “checking in” have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Because of social media, our lives are more public than ever. This is—indeed—a double-edged sword. While you think you are updating your friends and family on the latest in your life, others may exploit the shared information and use it against you.

This is particularly true in the legal world, specifically personal injury claims. Think about it. You’re injured in a motor vehicle collision. Before you leave the scene, you snap some photos of the wreckage on your smartphone to document the property damage. Without giving it a second thought, you upload the photos to Instagram and Facebook with #carwreck #worstdayever. Then you go to the emergency room for medical treatment, “check in,” and share your location with your social media followers. After you’re seen by the doctor, you go home and post your diagnosis as the caption of a picture of you resting on the couch with an ice pack and #carwreck #sore so your followers can stay up to date on your condition. Some of your friends comment to let you know they are “so glad you’re okay!” and you reply “Thanks!! Should still be able to go hiking this weekend. :)” When you try to go hiking a few days later, you end up back in the emergency room, but only after you’ve posted several pictures hiking with your friends #summer #hiking. Those photos may be used against you in your case to try to make it look like you had no effects from the wreck just a few days later, when in fact you really weren’t able to hike, and trying to do it was very painful.

This series of events may seem normal in your daily routine, but it can wreck your personal injury case on social media. Part of your legal team’s job is to control the exchange of information with insurance adjusters and opposing counsel, just like they control the flow of information about their insured and client. By posting all of this information online, you make it very difficult for your attorney to effectively frame the narrative of your case and decide what information to share. Once information is posted online, it is available for public consumption, so your attorney is forced to address the information you’ve shared.

Many of you reading this article may be thinking, “No big deal. I have privacy settings.” But you may be very wrong. Social media privacy settings change frequently. Although similar, most platforms have slightly different terms of use and privacy options.

Be honest with yourself. Have you ever actually read the terms of use? Even though you think your social media accounts are protected from people outside of your network, your friends of friends may be able to see the information you post and even share that information with their friends of friends . . . and so on and so forth.

There is also a very real concern with requests to connect with social media users who appear legitimate but you do not personally know. These users could be insurance company representatives or part of the other side’s legal team.

Now, if you take anything away from this article, read these pointers as the cheat sheet version to avoid wrecking your case on social media.

  1. Don’t Post – Don’t post anything on social media until your personal injury case is resolved. It’s that easy. Even if you have privacy settings, your privately posted information may become part of your claim.
  2. Post Purposefully – It’s difficult for most to follow the “Don’t Post” rule. So, at the very least, post purposefully. Think before you post. What effect may this post have on my case? Is this post about my collision and injuries?
  3. Check Privacy– Check privacy settings for each of your social media accounts. Can my connections post publicly on my account? Can my connections share my posts?
  4. Don’t Connect– If you receive a new connection request, determine whether you know the user before accepting. Also review your current connections and remove unknown users. This includes individual users and groups.
  5. Block Search– Remove your account from search results within the social media platform and other search engines.

I’m sure you’re saying “I get it. Check my privacy settings.” if you’ve made it this far into this article. But here are more specific things to think about for some of the most popular social media platforms.

  1. Facebook– What are your sharing settings and search controls? Who can see where you “check in?” Visit https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/ for basic information on Facebook privacy settings and tools.
  2. Instagram– Are you posting with hashtags that make your posts searchable? Are you commenting on other posts with public visibility? Visit https://help.instagram.com/196883487377501 for basic information on Instagram privacy settings and tools.
  3. Snapchat– Are your stories available to the public? Are there any users on your friend list who you don’t recognize by name? Visit https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/privacy-settingsfor basic information on Snapchat privacy settings and tools.
  4. Google– What are the results if you run a Google search of your name? Do you need to remove any social media hits? Visit https://privacy.google.com/take-control.html for basic information on Google privacy settings and tools.
  5. Venmo– Can other users see your transactions? Visit https://help.venmo.com/hc/en-us/articles/235493307-Account-Settings-Security-FAQ for basic information on Venmo privacy settings and tools.

Some occupations bring more injury risks than others. In 2015, according to an article in Time Magazine, 4,836 fatal injuries occurred on the job, which was slightly higher than the previous year. And at four deaths per 100,000 workers, Latinos have the highest workplace death rate of any racial group.

In 2012 – according to Time – 433 workers died from workplace injuriesAccording to CBS News, more workers died in Texas than in any other state. Why is our state so dangerous? The booming oil and gas industries and lots of construction jobs mean many blue-collar workers put their lives on the line the moment they walk onto their job sites. Less emphasis on workplace safety is also a common culprit.

These are some of the other high fatality industries in Texas:

Construction: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), one in ten construction workers are injured every year – mostly due to falls. This makes construction one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. An OSHA official recently said that “construction workers are not being given adequate protection” on Texas job sites.

Agriculture:  More than half of the world’s workplace fatalities happen in agriculture, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). And the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks Texas as the 3rd largest producer of agricultural commodities (behind California and Iowa). The sheer volume of activity means that too many fatal accidents occur. Farming accidents usually involve overturning tractors or limbs being caught in machinery.

Fishing Industry: Nationwide, fishing fatality rates are 117 per 100,000 workers. Heavy equipment, rough seas, and poorly maintained boats all contribute to serious accidents. Many fishermen drown when their vessels sink or from falling overboard. Deck winches on shrimp boats kill several people each year in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Aviation: Pilots and flight engineers have Texas’ third highest per capita on-the-job death rate. But most pilots stand a greater chance of dying in private planes rather than commercial airliners. In December 2016, three people were killed when two small planes collided in mid-air near McKinney, TexasAnd a few months earlier, a hot-air balloon rigger and several tourist passengers died near Austin when their balloon caught fire.

Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers: All types of driving careers bring an elevated risk of serious injury or death on the job. But the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) warns that driving 18-wheelers is an especially deadly occupation. As an average load weighs at least 13 tons (26,000 pounds), handling a big rig can mean disaster for truckers who lose control of their rigs, as well as for the innocent drivers in their path.

Electricians: This includes installers, repair, and maintenance personnel. Across the nation, electric workers have the seventh deadliest occupation, averaging 23 deaths per 100,000 workers. Not only must electric workers climb poles and work with live wires – often during the worst inclement weather conditions – but many electricians are hurt or killed on new construction sites and during normal maintenance work. In Texas, 44 electric workers died on the job in 2014.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

When a surprise commercial vehicle brake inspection was launched by a group of safety advocates earlier this year, the results were not reassuring for motorists. On May 3, 2017, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducted 9,524 roadside inspections across the United States and Canada and, as a result, nearly 2,000 vehicles were placed out of service for violations.

Around 12% of commercial vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations. Many of the violations were related to “improperly installed” or “poorly maintained” brake systems, both of which “can reduce the braking capability and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which pose a serious risk to driver and public safety,” according to the CVSA.

Why This Inspection is a Concern for Drivers

A truck’s capacity to brake is central to the safety of everyone on our roads. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the stopping distance of a tractor-trailer is up to three times longer than that of a passenger vehicle. Regulators have sought to increase the braking capacity of commercial vehicles over the course of several years to reduce the number of crashes between large trucks and smaller vehicles.

Regulations and advances in braking technology have likely increased the safety of large trucks, but the recent inspection by the CVSA reveals that far too many commercial vehicles are operating with insufficient brakes. That puts truck drivers and other motorists at risk for serious injury.

It is the responsibility of all carriers, trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers to ensure commercial vehicles are working properly and comply with regulations. The CVSA is conducting more inspections on Brake Safety Day, which takes place on September 7, and safety advocates are hoping to see improved compliance with legal standards.

Tractor-Trailer Safety is of the Utmost Importance

In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available nationally, there were 4,311 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In 2016, tractor-trailers and buses were involved in 421 fatal crashes in Texas. That same year, in Harris County alone, there were 5,628 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, which led to 82 incapacitating injuries and 30 deaths.

We are all invested in the safety of commercial vehicles. Houston motorists share the roads with large trucks every day, and it is vital that these vehicles are properly equipped with adequate braking technology.

If you’ve been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. These cases are often complex due to the many federal and state rules and regulations governing commercial vehicle operations. If you’ve been hurt in a commercial vehicle crash, you need a truck accident attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to handle these cases.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Around 80% of teens in the United States will work, in some capacity, by the time they graduate high school. Like previous generations, today’s teenagers aren’t afraid to join the workforce at an early age. Even while attending school, many find it necessary to put in several hours, at work each month, to save up for college or to help supplement their family’s income.

But teen workers are also at greater risk for injury and death on the job. Research suggests that teens are twice as likely to be injured on the job than other age groups. Every year, around 60,000 workers ages 15 to 17 seek treatment in emergency departments for an on-the-job injury.

To address this problem, Texas lawmakers have passed legislation encouraging workplace safety training in classrooms. It urges schools to incorporate workplace safety in the curriculum for relevant courses in grades 7 through 12.

Teaching Important Lessons to Young Workers

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) worked with Texas State House Representative Dr. Greg Bonnen to draft the bill, which was signed into law by the governor in June. The AIHA has made the issue of training young workers a priority for several years, notably in their partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop the Safety Matters program.

By looking at the content of the Safety Matters program, we get a clearer picture of the lessons Texas students can expect to see in classrooms. The program stresses to students that “work-related injuries and illnesses are predictable and can be prevented.” The program also says that students should be able to “recognize that employers are responsible for, and
workers have the right to, safe and healthy work. Workers also have the responsibility for keeping themselves and co-workers safe.”

Safety Matters encourages students to look at different types of workplace incidents and think critically about the causes and risks of specific examples. This enables young workers to understand that an injury is often the result of several risk factors.

Employers are Still Responsible for Training

Teaching young workers about dangers in the workplace is always a positive thing. The more access these students have to safety training, the better. However, it’s important to think of the curriculum as a supplement to and not a replacement for safety training by employers. Businesses are still responsible for training workers in workplace safety protocol.

Workplace injuries cost workers and businesses billions of dollars every year, and providing adequate training, inspections, and safety protocol can reduce the likelihood of on-the-job injuries. It’s an investment that every business should make.

Most employees are covered by workers’ compensation to provide benefits in the event of a workplace injury. However, not all workers in Texas are covered by workers’ compensation, and those that are covered might still find that the payments they are offered do not truly meet their needs.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury in Texas and are considering speaking to an attorney about your case, we encourage you to reach out to our workplace injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. We offer free consultations during which we’ll discuss your case to give you a clearer idea of your legal options.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Construction is dangerous work, filled with potential hazards like moving equipment, demolition, and fall risks. Workers are required to undergo training and are supposed to be provided with adequate equipment that aids in safety. However, the protective equipment for head injuries – one of the most notorious injuries construction workers suffer – has changed little over the years, and it’s possible that thousands of construction workers have suffered serious injury as a result.

The iconic construction worker hardhat has been associated with the job of a construction worker for decades in the United States. They are as ubiquitous as fireman’s helmets and traditional police badges. When you see a yellow hardhat, you immediately know what it stands for. Yet, this easily-identifiable piece of equipment is unsettlingly inadequate at protecting construction workers. Nearly 1,000 construction workers suffered fatal brain injuries from 2011 to 2015 in the United States.

The fact that so many construction workers have lost their lives due to traumatic brain injury begs the question: Why haven’t we improved upon the traditional construction worker hardhat?

A New Type of Protective Gear for Construction Workers

Many safety officials in the industry are now rethinking their approach to safety gear for construction workers, and it’s possible that the classic construction worker hardhat might soon be replaced by a helmet. As Bloomberg News reports, some companies are looking to the types of helmets used in mountain climbing and other sports to better protect their workers on the job.

These helmets are more secure and offer better protection to construction workers than hardhats. If a worker falls, a hardhat may easily fall or be knocked off the worker’s head. Additionally, the hardhat may not be designed to absorb an impact as effectively as a construction helmet.

A Change That All Companies Should Consider

Think about the ways in which football helmets have evolved over the years. The earliest helmets were flimsy, leather-based hats that did little to absorb a blow to the head. Today, they cover the entire head and are designed to protect against much greater impact. There’s no reason that these technological advances can’t be adapted to meet the needs of construction workers.

If helmets allow for visibility and comfort, they offer a leap forward in worker protection. Construction helmets might be part of a solution to the threats facing these workers. Construction work has one of the highest rates of worker injury and death in the United States. Texas has a notoriously inadequate safety culture when it comes to protecting construction workers.

Hopefully, construction companies in Texas will look to possible solutions like the safety helmet as a tool to enhance construction site safety. The investment will be minimal compared to the costs associated with worker injury.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have been helping injured construction workers for nearly 30 years. Terry Bryant is a Board Certified personal injury attorney and former judge in Texas. Our team is well-versed in the challenges facing construction workers injured on the job, and we are proud to stand up for their rights to make sure they get the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Millions of Texas school children ride the bus to school every day, and many others ride with parents or walk. As everyone readjusts to the schedule of a new school year, it’s important that we remember why safety is such a major concern this time of year.

Every year, hundreds of accidents occur in Texas school zones. Some of these accidents are the result of vehicle collisions, while others stem from pedestrian accidents. School zones are established to create greater safety awareness and enforce stricter traffic laws. Drivers have a greater responsibility to protect our youngest pedestrians, and establishing better driving habits during the beginning of a school year will ensure that we reduce the number of school zone accidents.

It’s not just good for school children when motorists follow school zone laws, it’s also good for drivers. Violating school zone laws result in double fines for drivers, which can lead to a penalty of up to $1,000. In other words, it’s in everyone’s best interests to follow the rules of the road once school is back in session. Look’s look at how students and drivers can make sure everyone is as safe as possible.

Safety Tips for Drivers

Remember that whenever you see a school bus’s lights flashing yellow, the bus is about to come to a complete stop. Never pass a school bus with flashing red lights and a deployed stop sign. Regardless of what side of the road you are on, come to a complete stop and make sure students are in the clear before moving forward. School zones have lower speed limits in the mornings and afternoons. Always be mindful of those times and adjust your speed in accordance with the school zone speed limits.

It’s also important for drivers to be cautious when driving in parking lots, especially school parking lots. Children could be walking or darting between lanes and vehicles. Reduce your speed significantly when driving in areas where children might be walking.

Safety Tips for Students

Children are perhaps most vulnerable to injury when getting off their school bus. Students should take five big steps when getting off a bus and always leave plenty of space between themselves and the vehicle. School buses have blind spots that include several feet around the perimeter of the vehicle. This is called the “danger zone,” and it’s vital that children stay clear of this zone at all times.

Children should also stick to sidewalks when possible. If a sidewalk isn’t available, they should walk against traffic, leaving plenty of space between themselves and the road. When crossing the street or walking in parking lots, students should always look both ways to be sure there is no oncoming traffic.

By keeping an eye out for others and always being cautious, we can greatly reduce the number of crashes that occur in Texas school zones. If you or a loved one has questions about a vehicle accident in Texas, we encourage you to reach out to us at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Self-driving or driverless cars are definitely on the horizon as some of the world’s largest manufacturers experiment with cars that reduce or eliminate the time that a car’s driver must actually drive. But will autonomous cars really reduce driver error and save lives?

A self-driving system uses many technologies and sensors such as radar, laser scanners, GPS, gyroscopes, accelerometers, and cameras to build a 3-D picture of the car’s environment. Special software analyzes the data and controls the vehicle, with the ultimate goal of the car being able to react to dynamic and unpredictable situations.

Partial-automation technology that is already available in newer cars includes adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and lane-keep assist, but the driver must still be ready at any moment to take control of the vehicle.

Driverless Cars Expected to Reduce Driver Error

Driver error causes most car accidents. Dangerous behaviors — including distracted driving, speeding, running red lights, tailgating, and reckless and aggressive driving  — are all attributable to driver error rather than to other causes out of the driver’s control such as road and weather conditions.

Researchers feel that much of today’s driver error that causes accidents will be eliminated because of technology that assists the driver with routine tasks such as timely braking, driving at a safe speed, and keeping in the proper lane.

Government and industry experts, along with proponents of the new autonomous technology, predict that future self-driving cars will dramatically reduce accidents. With much testing and development still ahead, experts are confident that reducing these driver errors will result in many saved lives.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless or distracted driver, contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. We have been helping clients in Texas for more than three decades get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Texting while driving is a dangerous distraction – and as of September 1, 2017, it will be illegal in Texas.

In May, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that bans driver texting and emailing while the vehicle is moving. This law expands the current law that prohibits texting in school zones.

Texting while driving worries officials more than any other driving distraction because this activity involves 3 types of distraction:

  • Manualdistraction – because your hands are off the wheel,
  • Visualdistraction – as you look at your smartphone screen, and
  • Cognitivedistraction – when you think about the text you read/write.

In fact, when you consider that the average text takes 5 seconds to send, texting while driving at 55 miles per hour is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed!

“It Can Wait”

The name of the new law – “It Can Wait” – precisely conveys the message that lawmakers want Texas drivers to understand. There is no text message so important that it cannot wait until the driver has stopped the vehicle in a safe place.

The number of people killed or injured in distracted driving accidents is growing every day. In 2015, 3,477 people died in the U.S. in accidents involving a distracted driver. That’s an average of almost 10 every day. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA)

The potential for distracted driving accidents is huge with 660,000 drivers using cellphones every daylight hour! Not surprisingly, teens are the largest age group involved in these fatal crashes.

Texas Establishes Stiff Penalties for Violating Texting While Driving Law

Under the new law, first time texting while driving offenders risk a fine of between $25-$99, while repeat offenders will be fined between $100-$200.

If an accident caused by texting and driving results in a fatality or serious bodily injury of another person, the driver can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge comes with a fine not to exceed $4,000 and a jail term not to exceed one year.

For more information especially on how to discuss this subject with your teen driver, visit the NHTSA Distracted Driving website.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless or distracted driver, contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. We have been helping clients in Texas for more than three decades get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

If it feels like you’ve been hearing about the Takata airbag recalls for an almost endless amount of time, there’s a good reason for that. The Japanese airbag manufacturer has been in the news since 2014, when news reports began to surface about the faulty airbags installed in tens of millions of vehicles.

Since that time, over 42 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled in the United States alone and, just recently, another 2.7 million vehicles were added to the list. The new recall was ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and announced by Takata in July.

What is Covered by the Newest Round of Recalls?

The July 2017 recalls covered vehicles made by Ford, Mazda, and Nissan. Details of the Ford recall, which makes up most of the recalled vehicles, are not yet known. However, it has been made public that 627,000 Nissan Versas, model years 2007 to 2012, and 6,000 Mazda B-series trucks will be covered by the recall.

These new recalls are part of what seems to be an ongoing saga for the now-bankrupt airbag manufacturer. So far, at least 18 people have lost their lives and another 180 people have been injured worldwide due to the faulty airbags sold by Takata. The problem stems from the inflator device in these airbags, which, upon deploying, can explode and cause occupants injury or death.

Problems with the Takata Airbag Recall

The fact that as many as 70 million faulty airbags have been identified and recalled is concerning enough, but even more alarming is that only one-third of those airbags have actually been repaired. There are a couple of reasons for that figure.

First, there is a such a demand for repairs that there is a shortage of replacement parts. Second, many owners of vehicles equipped with faulty airbags have not been notified that their vehicle is subject to recall. Some of these vehicles have been sold multiple times on the used car market, and current owners are not always easy to trace.

Safety advocates fear that the recall might not be finished. There is a chance that more vehicles will be added and that the number of motorists endangered by defective airbags will continue to rise.

To Learn More, Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective vehicle part, you can file a product liability claim to receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. Our Houston personal injury attorneys have years of experience getting clients the payment they deserve, and we offer free consultations to those who are considering filing a claim.

Terry Bryant is a Board Certified personal injury attorney and former judge in Texas. He and his hand-picked team have the experience, resources, and skill to get clients the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or ocally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

People ride bicycles for several reasons. It’s cheaper than gasoline-powered vehicles. It helps reduce air pollution. Cycling is good exercise. For many, it offers a fun way to enjoy a city or the great outdoors. Unfortunately for many cyclists in Houston, it’s also extremely dangerous.

Houston has many things to be proud of but our safety protocols for bicyclists are notoriously inadequate. Houston Public Media reported early in February 2017 that three cyclists had lost their lives since the beginning of the year. After considering plans to create hundreds of miles of bike paths across Houston, the City Council on March 8th delayed a vote to move forward with the Houston Bike Plan.

The Houston Bike Plan was ambitious and it offered cyclists a safer experience in Houston. Currently, cyclists regularly voice concerns about the dangers of sharing roads with motorists. Our infrastructure has proven to be lacking in the number of designated paths and bike lanes, something that the Houston Bike Plan would have changed dramatically.

The good news for cyclists is that the Houston Police Department (HPD) is looking for ways to better enforce a safe-passing ordinance in Houston that has been in place since 2013. Undercover officers on bicycles will now have devices that can detect whether a driver gives the required three feet of passing distance between their vehicle and the cyclist. Under the current law, commercial vehicles and large trucks are required to give six feet of passing distance.

The new effort by the HPD comes after the Houston Press reported in September 2016 that hundreds of cyclists had been clipped or struck by vehicles since the ordinance passed in 2013, though only 32 drivers were ticketed for their actions.

Houston hasn’t taken steps to significantly update its biking infrastructure in over two decades, a fact that makes life difficult for those that choose the bicycle as a way to commute to work or enjoy the sights of the city. Cities around the country have been improving infrastructure that is catered towards cyclists, an investment that saves lives and reduces the number of vehicle collisions with bicycles.

While the future of the Houston Bike Plan hangs in the balance, we can all do our best to improve the safety of Houston cyclists by taking the following steps:

  • Always leave several feet between your vehicle and a bicycle when passing a cyclist.
  • Don’t assume that a cyclist can hear your vehicle approaching from behind. Give them plenty of space.
  • Be mindful of cyclists when you are making turns. Apply the same logic that you would for pedestrians, while keeping in mind that cyclists will be traveling much faster than walkers.
  • When parked on the side of the road, be mindful when opening your door into traffic. While cyclists try to give themselves room to avoid colliding with an opening door, your mindfulness is equally important.

If you or a loved one has been struck while riding a bicycle in Houston, contact Terry Bryant Injury & Accident Law to learn more about your legal options. We stand up for injured cyclists and make sure they receive the treatment they deserve. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team.

Commercial vehicle drivers adhere to “Hours of Service” laws that dictate how many hours they can legally drive in a day. These laws were enacted to make sure that drivers aren’t fatigued when behind the wheel. They are important because driving while fatigued can make a driver more prone to error; some studies suggest that drowsy driving is comparable to drunk driving when it comes to impairing driver performance.

With the emergence of the ridesharing services Uber and Lyft, both of which operate in Houston, the accepted norms and standards that govern conventional transportation workers do not apply to a growing subset of “professional” drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t vetted or trained like their CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) driver counterparts that have a special type of driver’s license. They are also not subject to the same laws. As ridesharing apps increase in popularity and more people look to driving to supplement their income, a lack of standards could prove to be dangerous for everyone on our roads.

The Wild West of Ridesharing Oversight

Uber doesn’t place a limit on how many hours a driver can work. Making matters worse, there are periods when fares spike, giving drivers incentives to keep driving well past a point that they would otherwise take a break. USA Today reported a story about a driver who drove 20 hours straight because his hourly rate inexplicably jumped from $8 to $20 and he felt compelled to take advantage of it.

The USA Today’s story might be more common than people would like to believe. For drivers who rely exclusively on income from ridesharing services, a 16-hour shift during peak fares might be the only way to pay the bills. These grueling shifts force drivers to rely heavily on caffeine and push their bodies well beyond their limits.

Uber’s rival, Lyft, conversely, does put a limit on how many consecutive hours a worker can drive. After 14 hours, the app shuts down and a driver can’t begin working again until six hours of time off. However, even with that limit, Lyft drivers are allowed four more hours on the road per day than passenger-carrying commercial vehicle drivers. Federal law says that no passenger-carrying commercial vehicle driver can drive for more than 10 hours a day, but rideshare companies don’t have to abide by those same laws.

A Lure to Rideshare, Despite the Risks

People who use rideshare apps are drawn to the convenience and speed of the service. Drivers are drawn to the opportunity to make money on the side and set their own hours. But the inherent problems that accompany these types of services present serious risks for both passengers and drivers. No one wants to drive for 16 hours straight just to pay their bills, and no one wants to hail a ride in a vehicle being driven by someone who is completely exhausted from a 14-hour stint of driving.

Drowsy driving is a serious problem on our roads. There is a good reason that federal law limits the number of hours a professional driver can work in each day. After driving several hours straight, drivers can become distracted, lose focus, and be much more prone to error.

If you’ve been injured in a crash involving a fatigued driver, you shouldn’t have to pay the costs associated with your injury. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience getting our clients the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

For years, regulators and some members of the medical community have known that a certain procedure performed on women with uterine fibroids carries the risk of spreading cancerous tissue. Despite the warning signs presented to manufacturers and regulators, the procedure was common practice and is still used in some facilities. It’s possible that thousands of women have died as a result. The crux of the issue centers around the use of a device called the power morcellator.

What is a Power Morcellator?

Power morcellators are medical devices used in minimally invasive surgeries to remove uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths that develop from the muscular tissue of the uterus. These growths can be removed via a hysterectomy or a myomectomy. A power morcellator divides tissue into smaller pieces, which are then removed through small incision sites.

Why It’s Dangerous

The problem is that if this tissue being divided is cancerous, power morcellation can spread the cancer to other parts of the woman’s body. It’s nearly impossible for doctors to know whether a woman with fibroids has cancerous tissue before performing this procedure. That’s why many safety advocates in the medical community believe that these power morcellation devices should be used rarely, if at all.

One of the biggest advocates against the use of power morcellators is Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, whose wife underwent one of these procedures in 2013. Noorchashm’s wife, Dr. Amy Reed, had the rare cancer leiomyosarcoma, which was spread by the power morcellator. Neither Reed nor Noorchashm was told before the procedure that a power morcellator would be used. Reed has been fighting the cancer ever since, emerging from a coma in April 2017.

Many other women – potentially thousands of them, according to Noorchashm – have likely lost their lives because of power morcellation. The FDA received complaints about adverse events of power morcellation, some of which date back to the 1980s, but underestimated the risk, putting women’s lives in danger.

A Failure to Protect Women Undergoing These Procedures

The FDA clearly should have done more to raise awareness about the dangers of power morcellation. The manufacturers of these devices were also aware of the risks. Johnson & Johnson pulled their power morcellators in 2014, and many major hospitals stopped performing the procedures. But power morcellation was not banned, and these devices are still used today, despite the dangers they present to women.

The FDA said that these devices must now contain a warning and that patients should be made aware of the risks involved. But for many safety advocates like Noorchashm, this doesn’t solve the problem. Because there is no pre-operation test to detect the aggressive cancer which this device can spread, it will still be a roll of the dice for the women who undergo procedures using power morcellation.

Women who have leiomyosarcoma and have undergone a hysterectomy or a myomectomy should consult with an attorney to consider their legal options. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we help people who have suffered harm because of faulty medical devices. We know how difficult and overwhelming a serious illness can be for our clients, and we make sure that they receive exceptional service and get the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

When family members lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, it is a tragedy. Injury-related deaths are almost always preventable. When they happen, surviving family members are forced to live with devastating fallout, often coping with the fact that if it weren’t for someone else’s carelessness, their loved one might still be alive.

Wrongful death claims are a legal tool that survivors can use to seek compensation for their loss. Nothing can truly make up for the loss they’ve suffered, but these claims can help alleviate some of the burdens placed on grieving family members.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims. They are filed against the negligent person when their actions led to the injuries that caused someone’s death. A wrongful death claim can seek many damages, including mental anguish, medical bills, end-of-life costs, lost inheritance, or loss of income suffered by the surviving family members. A claim can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Spouses, children, and parents are permitted by Texas law to file wrongful death claims. If none of these parties files a claim within three months of the death, the executor or administrator can file a claim unless requested not to by all those individuals.

How Wrongful Death Happens

If someone willfully or maliciously takes the life of another person, it is typically considered a criminal matter. However, if carelessness, neglect, unskillfulness, or another form of negligence leads to the death of a person, a claim can be brought forward in civil courts. There are many examples of negligence as a cause of another’s death.

For example, if a distracted driver strikes a pedestrian and the injuries result in death, the driver can be held responsible for the damages suffered by the pedestrian and their surviving family members. The driver might not have intended to cause harm, but they were negligent behind the wheel and can be considered liable for their actions.

Another example would be a doctor that fails to provide a reasonable level of care to their patient, and the doctor’s actions or inactions that led to the death of the patient. Likewise, if a medical device causes a patient fatal injury, the manufacturer could be the subject of a wrongful death case if that device was defective.

Statute of Limitations

A Texas wrongful death claim must typically be filed within two years of the death of the loved one. (Please speak to an attorney about your specific situation in order to understand the exact statute of limitations that applies to your case.) If you believe that your family member lost their life because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to act quickly to maximize the chances of a successful claim.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have helped many clients across the Houston area and elsewhere in Texas file wrongful death claims. We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family and we know that your claim is of the utmost importance. Terry Bryant is a Board Certified personal injury attorney in Texas and a former judge. Our team makes sure that we stand up for the rights of our clients and earn them the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Buying a smaller vehicle is an entirely logical move for today’s consumer. Smaller vehicles save money at the pump because they typically get better gas mileage. Driving and parking in a city as big and populous as Houston are also easier when you have a smaller car as opposed to a larger SUV or truck.

However, when it comes to safety, it turns out that smaller vehicles don’t stack up well against their larger counterparts. A recent study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) found that some of the most dangerous cars for drivers involved in a crash are the smallest cars, according to CNBC. The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio came in at the bottom of the list of safest vehicles studied by the Institute.

Conversely, several larger model vehicles proved to be much more effective in protecting passengers, like the Jeep Cherokee and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. During the period studied, no drivers were killed in these vehicles.

Why Size is an Important Factor

The reason that large vehicles are safer in vehicle accidents has to do with physics, according to Chuck Farmer, Vice President of Research at the IIHS. “If you hit something bigger than you, you are more likely to die,” he said.

Consider the fact that when an 18-wheeler collides with a smaller passenger car, it is almost always the occupant of the smaller vehicle that gets injured. While SUVs and trucks aren’t as big as tractor-trailers, they’re still big enough to shield occupants from harm when colliding with a smaller vehicle.

Before we all go out and buy larger vehicles to ensure our safety on the road, it’s worth noting that larger vehicles also carry their own set of risks. For example, SUVs, vans, and trucks are more likely to roll over because their center of gravity is much higher than that of a smaller vehicle. Rollover crashes account for only 3% of serious vehicle crashes, but make up nearly a third of all fatalities in such crashes, according to Consumer Reports.

Most Cars Are Safer Than They Used to Be

As Edmunds points out, vehicle safety has advanced significantly over the past decade. Both smaller and larger cars are safer than they used to be, thanks to improved safety features and vehicle design. This is important for people considering buying older, used vehicles that might not include modern safety features. Still, even with the improved safety of all vehicles, a disparity remains between large and small vehicles.

Your vehicle of choice does play a big role in how safe you are on our roads. Ultimately, however, our lives are in the hands of those we share the road with. Over 90% of vehicle accidents are caused by human error, so no matter how far we go to protect ourselves and our loved ones in our vehicles, all it takes is one negligent driver to cause us harm.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a careless driver, contact the experienced Houston vehicle accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. We have been helping clients in Texas for more than three decades to get the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

“I hurt my wife so much,” said Miles Harrison, “and by the grace of whatever wonderful quality is within her, she has forgiven me. And that makes me feel even worse. Because I can’t forgive me.”

In 2010, Miles Harrison was featured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story about a tragedy that is all too common in the United States. Parents, usually through a lapse in memory, leave their children in a car unattended, and the child dies from hyperthermia due to excessive temperatures inside the vehicle. Harrison’s 21-month-old son died in 2008 after he was left unattended in a vehicle.

Stories like Harrison’s are not as rare as they should be. They happen, on average, 37 times every year in the United States. Texas leads the nation in heat-related car deaths. So far in 2017, 7 out of the 16 heat-related car deaths have occurred in our state. The fact that so little has changed since the Washington Post piece seven years ago is that we have the technology to ensure most of these deaths don’t occur.

Solutions for the Problem

As Consumer Reports reported earlier this year, the technology is available, but it’s not mandatory. Lawmakers are hoping to change that through the Helping Overcome Trauma for Children Alone in Rear Seats (“HOT CARS”) Act of 2017. The legislation would require manufacturers to include safety features that prevent heat-related car deaths.

Automakers like GM are introducing technologies that will alert drivers leaving the vehicle to the presence of people in the car. GM debuted a safety feature last year on its 2017 GMC Acadia that provides drivers a warning tone and a message on the speedometer to “Look in the Rear Seat.”

Understanding How These Tragedies Happen

One of the leading experts on the issue of heat-related car deaths is Dr. David Diamond. He suggests that while some people might be tempted to think of these deaths as resulting from negligent parenting, it is simply a failing of a person’s memory. Diamond has found that many cases of heat-related car deaths happen when a parent deviates from a normal, everyday routine.

As he wrote in an article last year, many cases involve parents who experience a change in routine, a stressful or distracting event or, sometimes, sleep deprivation. One common phenomenon is that these deviations create a false memory in the mind of a parent that their child is in daycare when they are, in fact, still in the vehicle.

The inside of a vehicle can become deadly very quickly. A vehicle’s internal temperature can reach 125 degrees within minutes. Heatstroke deaths have even been reported in vehicles when external temperatures were as low as 60 degrees.

There’s no reason that these deaths should occur when automakers have access to technology that would prevent them. Recently, Miles Harrison spoke out about the importance of alert systems.

“Every time we hear of another child dying, we relive that horrible day with him over and over again and we ask why—why is this happening when there’s technology available?” he said.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

The agency charged with protecting American workers was poised to score a major victory earlier this year. After decades of stagnation and legal battles, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was finally ready to strengthen regulations that prevented exposure to silica and beryllium, moves that, by the agency’s own estimates, would collectively save nearly 800 lives every year.

It now appears as though that won’t be happening after all.

The agency, now under a new administration, has proposed changes to these rules, furthering the delay and endangering thousands of workers who are exposed to these substances. The reasons behind this delay are not clear, though safety advocates fear that they signal a change in course and a climate of dangerous safety practices in certain industries.

The Dangers of Silica and Beryllium

Crystalline silica is a mineral that, once airborne, can be inhaled and carry severe health risks for workers. According to OSHA, workers can be exposed to silica “when cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, rock, and stone products.” Over 2.3 million workers in the United States – 90% of which are in construction – are potentially exposed to airborne silica. The agency estimated that their updated rule would save 700 workers’ lives every year.

Beryllium is a widely-used lightweight metal found in several products, including computers, golf clubs, and aircraft parts. Like silica, beryllium can be extremely dangerous when inhaled. Up to 62,000 workers (a conservative estimate) are potentially exposed to beryllium, and the updated proposal from OSHA was estimated to save 94 workers’ lives annually.

The Same Old Story for Workers

The dangers of silica and beryllium have been known for decades. For example, in 1938, the Department of Labor made a short movie about the dangers of silica in the workplace. While safety measures were passed regarding exposure to these substances, they have not been updated to reflect the dangers experts now know they pose.

A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in 2012 found that it takes OSHA an average of eight years to issue a new standard. That’s double the time it takes the Department of Transportation to issue rules, according to the Center for Public Integrity. OSHA first considered new rules on silica in the 1990’s, but a proposed final rule wasn’t issued until 2013. It wasn’t finalized until 2016, at which point industry groups filed a lawsuit to block it.

In other words, OSHA is notoriously slow at issuing safety standards, and the companies that use these materials have both powerful lobbies and significant legal resources to combat regulations. Where does that leave workers? The recent delay of these rules is not a good omen for workplace safety.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we are proud to stand up for workers who suffer workplace illness and injury. If you believe you have suffered from exposure to beryllium or silica, we offer free consultations to discuss your case with our team. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

We all know that distraction is one of the biggest hazards on our roads. There are constant debates by lawmakers and safety advocates over texting-while-driving laws. But we should remember that texting represents only one form of distracted driving.

For example, AAA estimates that around 60% of moderate-to-severe teen crashes involve distracted driving, but cell phone use isn’t the leading cause of teen driver distraction. “Too many passengers” is listed as the leading cause of distraction-related teen crashes. Taking on too many passengers in a vehicle can take a driver’s focus off the road and make a crash much more likely.

This statistic might come as a surprise, but it highlights the fact that distraction encompasses many different things and that communicating on cell phones is just one part of the challenge facing drivers.

Other Ways Drivers are Distracted

There are three ways in which drivers can be distracted – visually (eyes are not on the road), cognitively (mind is not on the task of driving), and physically (hands are not on the wheel). One of the main reasons that cell phones can be so hazardous is because they often involve all three types of distraction. But we can be distracted by many other things, too.

Any of these tasks might cause distraction if done behind the wheel:

  • Using navigation devices or maps (a common practice by Lyft and Uber drivers)
  • Talking or eating
  • Looking in the mirror
  • Grooming
  • Reaching for an object in the vehicle
  • Looking at something other than the road and vehicles ahead
  • Using the car stereo
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Loud music or noises in the vehicle.

Even devices that are “hands-free” can cause distraction. For example, studies suggest that brain activity processing moving images is reduced by up to one-third when a person is listening or talking on a phone.

Most of the laws aimed at preventing distracted driving focus on the use of a cell phone or mobile device, specifically the act of texting. While these laws might help curb some of the most notorious distracted driving practices, they fail to address several others.

With the rise of Uber and, now, the re-emergence of Lyft in Houston, it’s also important to consider the implications of distraction among rideshare services. Cell phone-related distraction is typically thought of in the context of a driver sending texts or essentially “socializing” while behind the wheel, but to the drivers of rideshare services, it’s a necessary part of the job. Drivers must interact with the app and use navigation systems on their phones to give customers a ride. The fact that rideshare drivers must use phones while driving seems to represent a flaw in the rideshare system, one that almost ensures that the driver won’t be able to fully focus on the road ahead.

When Negligence Causes Your Crash

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle crash, it might not be obvious what type of error or negligent behavior contributed to the other driver’s recklessness. This is one of the key roles a personal injury attorney plays when a crash victim chooses to file a claim. If the police report doesn’t list the contributing factors and there are no witnesses, an attorney might be able to piece together the causes and the level of fault by the reckless driver.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have been representing clients in motor vehicle accident cases for over three decades. We have the experience, skill, and resources available to make sure our clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, you should not have to pay the costs associated with your injury. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Women are constantly being offered new forms of birth control that are supposedly improvements on older, more traditional types of contraception. Unfortunately, many of these methods also come with risks for serious health complications. One of the most notorious examples of these birth control methods is the Essure device.

Essure is a contraceptive device that is inserted into each fallopian tube via a nonsurgical procedure. After approximately three months, scar tissue forms around the device, blocking the fertilization of eggs. The device has been in use since 2002, when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since its release, thousands of women have lodged complaints about complications suffered because of their Essure. Many of them have even joined an online support group to share their stories. The group’s Facebook page currently has over 30,000 members.

Possible Complications from the Essure

The Essure device is a spring made from titanium-nickel alloy. Women who have an allergy to nickel or other metals might suffer adverse reactions. In addition to allergic reactions, some women have also experienced:

  • Perforation of the fallopian tube or uterus
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Migration of the coil through the fallopian tubes
  • Increased risk of ectopic pregnancies
  • Changes in menstrual cycles
  • Joint fatigue and pain
  • Unintended pregnancies.

In addition to these long-term risks, women may also experience cramping, bleeding, nausea, fainting, and pelvic and back pain immediately following the initial procedure. Women who experience complications often need to undergo surgery to have the device removed. The Essure device is intended to be an alternative to surgical procedures like laparoscopy, so the fact that women are 10 times more likely to require reoperation with Essure than with laparoscopy is alarming.

In some cases, women were not adequately informed about the risks associated with the Essure, such as the potential allergic reaction to nickel. A follow-up examination is required three months after the device is implanted to ensure that it is working as intended, so patients should also be informed about the importance of consulting their OB/GYN.

If patients are not told about the possible complications and the need for a follow-up visit, they face an increased risk of adverse effects or the possibility that the device is not working properly.

If You Believe Your Essure Device is Causing Health Complications…

Seek immediate medical treatment, and be sure to keep track of all the complications and expenses you encounter. You might consider taking legal action against Bayer, the maker of the device, if you experience serious complications.

The defective medical device attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are meeting with women who have suffered harm because of Essure. We assist clients to make sure they get compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered from faulty or dangerous medical devices.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Maternal death rates are higher in the United States than in any other developed country. A recent report from NPR and ProPrublica found some troubling realities facing expectant families in our nation, including the fact that American women are three times as likely to die during pregnancy than Canadian mothers and six times more likely than mothers in Scandinavian countries.

Every year in the United States, 700 to 900 women die from causes related to childbirth or pregnancy. These numbers have increased in the years from 2000 to 2014, the period studied by NPRand ProPublica.

This is a problem unique to the United States; maternal death rates in all other countries have been declining. To put it in perspective, one expert from the U.K. said that in Britain, a father is more likely to die than the mother during a pregnancy.

Understanding why our nation fares so much worse in caring for pregnant women is no easy task.

How Our System Fails Mothers

According to the research, hospitals are often unprepared for medical emergencies during pregnancy and lack uniform protocols. Doctors and other staff can sometimes be confused about identifying warning signs of complications and how to treat obstetric emergencies. C-sections, which are overused in the United States, also increase the risk for complications.

Our healthcare systems also fail mothers in more general ways. For example, only 6% of federal and state block grants for maternal and child health go to mothers. Many mothers lack adequate insurance and access to health care, which increases the risks for maternal deaths.

Over Half of These Deaths are Preventable

Around 60% of maternal deaths were preventable. Doctors are responsible for identifying warning signs of complications during pregnancy or obstetric emergencies. But many doctors, especially ob/gyns, are responsible for identifying risks beforehand, informing the family of necessary precautions and assisting mothers in reducing the possibility of complications.

There are other issues that contribute to the higher number of maternal deaths, such as the increasing age of expectant mothers and the number of unplanned pregnancies, which makes it more likely that a mother would not address chronic health issues before she becomes pregnant.

Over the past several decades, the public health community has placed an emphasis on reducing infant mortality rates, and their efforts have paid off. Infant mortality rates in the United States are now at their lowest in history. Babies suffer a much higher rate of death than pregnant mothers, but the statistics show that progress can be made if action is taken.

Yet, the increase of maternal deaths in the United States points to several institutional failings. It’s clear that our healthcare system – at both the macro and micro levels – is falling short in providing the care that mothers deserve.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we assist people who have suffered from medical negligence. We care deeply about the health of expecting mothers and advocating for women and families that have suffered unnecessarily. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Most doctors do their best to give patients care that meets the standards of the medical community. It’s a difficult job filled with long, demanding hours. It’s not surprising, given the stressful nature of the job, that doctors make mistakes. In fact, one study found that medical errors result in 250,000 patient deaths every year.

In some cases, these mistakes can lead to medical malpractice claims — legal action taken by patients to recover financial compensation for harm caused by medical negligence. You might think that because there are so many instances of medical error every year, there would also be a high number of medical malpractice claims, but that’s not the case. Most cases of medical error do not result in legal action.

When medical malpractice claims are filed, it is usually because significant harm has been suffered by a patient. These claims aren’t easy or inexpensive undertakings, so patients and attorneys are reluctant to file claims unless negligence is clear. In other words, if a claim is filed, it’s an indication that something big has happened.

1% of Doctors, 1/3 of Claims

Another recent study suggests that only 1% of doctors are involved in around one-third of paid medical malpractice claims. Once a doctor has been involved in one of these claims, they are more likely to be involved in future claims. Researchers behind the study hope that by identifying doctors more prone to malpractice claims, the medical community might be able to intervene before patients suffer harm.

The study also tells us some other information about physicians who are more likely to have a malpractice claim filed against them. They are more likely to be male and over the age of 35. They are also more likely to practice certain types of medicine. For example, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, and obstetrician-gynecologists have nearly double the risk of being involved in a medical malpractice claim.

What Patients Should Take Away from the Study

In a CBS News story about the study, the Senior Vice President for quality, safety, and risk prevention at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville offered words of advice based on his experience examining these types of claims. He said that patients should seek facilities and professionals that promote a culture of safety in which patients have a mechanism that allows them the opportunity to speak up and complain about inadequate care.

Unfortunately, studies like the one mentioned above aren’t conducted frequently. Our medical institutions should be more proactive about weeding out physicians or practices that cause patients serious harm. Patients should be mindful of these shortcomings in our healthcare system so they can be more vigilant when choosing where they get their healthcare. Sadly, many patients live in areas or encounter circumstances that limit their options of care, and they are forced to take what they can, when they can.

If you or a loved one has suffered from medical error in Texas and you’d like to explore your legal options, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Our team has years of experience helping clients get the compensation they deserve in medical malpractice claims. These cases can be complex, but a skilled medical malpractice attorney knows what to investigate, how to build a case, and how to try to obtain the desired outcome for their clients.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Pacemakers are devices installed in patients to regulate heartbeat. These devices, which are a type of defibrillator, often use electrical shocks or pacing to speed up or slow down a heartbeat. Pacemakers have been used in patients for decades to help extend and improve the quality of life for those with serious heart problems.

Unfortunately, they are also regularly called into question for the harm they cause patients. One of the most recent examples stems from pacemakers made by St. Jude Medical. Hundreds of these devices have failed unexpectedly, and up to 400,000 worldwide are currently covered in a massive St. Jude Pacemaker recall.

How St. Jude Medical Pacemakers Fail

Like so many highly-publicized recalls and consumer safety scares in recent years, the issue with the pacemakers is a battery failure. These pacemakers use lithium-based batteries, which can form clusters of lithium and lead to battery failure. Obviously, these devices are central to the well-being of patients, so when they fail, the results can be severe.

Two deaths have already been reported due to the failure of St. Jude Medical pacemakers, in addition to dozens of patients who have suffered adverse effects. The recall covers roughly 200,000 pacemakers in the United States alone. One of the biggest concerns is that, while the failure of a pacemaker is hazardous, the procedure required to remove the device is also risky.

St. Jude Medical Was Slow to Act

Long before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the recall and St. Jude admitted to the true scope of the problem, physicians and teams at two reputable institutions – Duke University and the University of Illinois – found that St. Jude Medical pacemakers presented a battery failure risk. St. Jude, around this same period, fixed the flaw in new pacemakers, though they failed to act to alert the public or the medical community about the hazards of their old devices, according to the New York Times.

Reports suggest that St. Jude also failed to notify their own management and medical advisory board and likely downplayed the seriousness of the problem. This means that thousands of these devices were implanted in patients because St. Jude didn’t take proper action.

There are several lines of pacemakers covered by this recall, including the Fortify and Unify lines. A comprehensive list can be found on the FDA’s website.

The recall highlights a problem that we have seen repeatedly in the United States: A company sells a dangerous product to consumers, often knowing that it is hazardous, acting only after several complaints, injuries, and deaths are reported.

If you or a loved one believe that you have suffered harm due to the defective pacemaker made by St. Jude Medical, we encourage you to reach out to Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. Our product liability attorneys have years of experience handling cases involving defective products, and we offer free consultations to concerned consumers.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

How safe do you feel as a consumer? Do you believe that there are adequate protections set in place to protect you from harmful products? Apparently, most consumers in the U.S. say no, according to a new survey from Consumer Reports.

65% of those surveyed said they don’t have faith in oversight of consumer goods. Nearly half of Americans don’t believe that the auto industry is being held to high standards, a 7% increase since the beginning of the year. There was also a jump in the number of respondents who believed they don’t have access to quality healthcare.

Making Sense of the Numbers

It would be tempting to see the results of this survey through the prism of our political climate, which is highly polarized. While there are some differences in consumer confidence among partisan lines, the increase in consumer skepticism is prominent among all Americans. Consumer protection is proving to be a bipartisan issue, and there’s a far better explanation for growing fears of consumers.

Consider the fact that 2014 and 2015 were record-breaking years for vehicle recalls, or that a Johns Hopkins study released in 2016 said that medical error was the third-leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016, a watchdog report from the FDA’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, called into question the agency’s effectiveness at issuing timely food recalls. The report said that the “FDA did not have an efficient and effective food recall initiation process that helps ensure the safety of the Nation’s food supply.”

Americans’ faith in their institutions has been decreasing because of real threats to consumer safety. We’ve seen from our own experience with clients that our institutions also fall short when it comes to issuing recalls over medical devices. One of many examples is the recall of St. Jude Medical pacemakers, which one medical device safety advocate cited as an instance in which the FDA should have been involved much sooner.

Institutional Failings Don’t Absolve Negligent Companies

The Consumer Reports survey deals specifically with issues of oversight, but we shouldn’t ignore the role of manufacturers and sellers of dangerous products. Companies have an obligation to consumers to ensure their products don’t pose a significant threat. We believe they should be held accountable when they fall short of that obligation.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we are dedicated to helping clients in product liability claims. We have seen a countless number of people who have suffered dearly from the negligence of manufacturers, and we are proud to stand up for our clients to make sure they get the compensation they deserve.

Product liability claims offer consumers a path toward compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. When a company sells a defective product, it should be responsible for the damage that product causes consumers.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries, illness, or even death due to a defective product, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team to learn more about your options. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Legal terms often sound more complicated than they should. The jargon used by attorneys and officials can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s consider one of the most common types of injury cases – premises liability.

The idea behind premises liability is that a property owner is responsible for keeping their property safe. If a property owner knows that their property is hazardous, fails to fix the problem, and someone is injured because of the problem, then they can be held responsible – or liable – for the injuries that person suffers.

Examples of Premises Liability

Our firm is representing a 13-year-old client who suffered serious injuries while visiting the Gator Motorplex in Willis. Our client was celebrating his birthday and walking with his mother up to a fence outside the racetrack when he was struck by a race car. There were no crowd-control measures and the area was poorly lit, among other problems.

This unfortunate event highlights the burden of responsibility owners and occupiers of a property have toward people that come onto their premises, but there are several other examples. One of the most common forms of premises liability is unsafe walkways, leading to slip-and-fall injuries. If a business fails to fix a slippery floor, broken steps, or cluttered walkways, a person could fall and suffer serious injuries.

Yet another example of premises liability is negligent security. It a business’s responsibility to provide for the safety of patrons. Let’s say that a person is visiting a shopping mall and is assaulted in the parking lot. The cameras that surveil the area are not functioning properly and the security staff has no one on active duty. These security failures contributed to the assault, and the victim might be able to take legal action to seek compensation for their damages.

Why Premises Liability Cases are Important

The consequences of a serious injury can be devastating for the victim and their loved ones. They likely experience a great deal of pain and suffering, which could last for several months, years, or even a lifetime. These traumatic events might also cause emotional distress. The financial impact of an injury can be nearly as devastating. An injury is expensive, requiring medical treatment, ongoing care, and physical rehabilitation. For some victims, an injury means lost time at work, lost income, and the loss of work ability altogether.

When the owner of a property is responsible for those consequences, they should be held liable for the damage they have caused. A premises liability claim ensures that an injury victim doesn’t have to bear the burden of the costs associated with their injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a business or property owner, you should explore your legal options. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we investigate our clients’ cases to determine who was at fault and how much they should pay for causing injuries.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Think about your last meal. Did you prepare it yourself? Maybe it came from a fast-food restaurant or was brought to your door by a delivery driver. Perhaps you went to a potluck dinner with friends or family.

Whatever your last meal might have been, the chances are good that the food you consumed was handled by several different people before it reached your plate. That’s because our food supply chain is a complex, interwoven network of farmers, processors, distributors, and other businesses.

The troubling aspect of this complex network is that contamination can happen at any point in this process. Even more troubling is the fact that close to 50 million people suffer from food poisoning every year in the United States. That means that 1 out of every 6 Americans will get food poisoning this year.

Understanding Food Poisoning

When people talk about food poisoning, they are referring to the presence of certain pathogens – bacteria or viruses – that make us sick. Many illnesses, like those caused by infections or noroviruses, are spread through food and, thus, could be classified as food-borne illnesses.

Proper handling of food reduces the likelihood of dangerous pathogens. That’s one of the reasons there are guidelines regarding the temperatures at which meat should be cooked. It’s also one of the reasons that food should be thrown away after it sits in your fridge for a long period.

Some food-borne illnesses resemble a stomach bug, and they go away after an extremely unpleasant day or so. However, some are very dangerous and could potentially lead to severe health consequences, including death. Salmonella, E. coli, and listeria are examples of the most dangerous food-related outbreaks.

How Food Poisoning Happens

Many people tend to think of food poisoning as something that occurs during or immediately following preparation, and there is truth to that notion. For example, an outdoor gathering – like a potluck or barbecue – can be a likely place for poisoning. That’s because food sits out at room temperature for long periods and is exposed to several people. Cruise ships are notorious for food-borne illness outbreaks for many of the same reasons.

But food poisoning can also happen in restaurants with unsanitary practices. It can occur because a distributor fails to take precautions in testing the food before it is used in preparation.

Let’s consider the E. coli outbreak involving Chipotle restaurants in 2015. Dozens of people became extremely ill after eating at the Mexican food chain and investigators believed the illnesses might have been caused from exposure to pathogens on fresh produce. One patron even filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for $75,000 in damages. The chain experienced intense media scrutiny for the illnesses and even shut down all its locations for a day to reassure the public it had taken sufficient measures to prevent future illnesses.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many cases of food poisoning happen, simply because so many cases go unreported. By the time an outbreak reaches levels that garner recalls or media attention, it has likely already caused several consumers illness or death. When food-borne illnesses lead to significant suffering, legal action can be taken against the responsible party.

Legal Options for Food Poisoning Victims

Food poisoning often happens because food is mishandled by producers, processor, distributors, or cooks. If you’ve suffered serious harm due a food-related illness, you can pursue your legal options and speak to an attorney about who might be at fault and your potential recovery.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have years of experience representing clients suffering from serious injuries and illnesses. If you’d like to speak to our team about a food poisoning, we encourage you to reach out. To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Brain injuries carry the potential to have dramatic impact on our lives. Unlike other types of injuries, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can change how we think, behave, speak, and process language. These injuries are also unique because they are not always easily detectable.

After an accident, a brain injury victim might appear confused or, in some cases, might be rendered unconscious. However, people may not immediately recognize these things as signs of a brain injury. When a person suffers a TBI, they should be screened and treated immediately. Loved ones of a TBI victim should also be aware of just how serious these injuries can be and how they might be able to help their loved ones in the recovery process.

TBIs are caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Some are minor, in which case a victim might recover quickly. However, serious brain injuries, or the accumulation of several mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries, can have serious consequences, including mental impairment and difficulty communicating. Concussions are classified as mild TBIs, though they should also be treated very seriously.

TBIs are Very Common

To understand how widespread these injuries are and how great their impact is on victims, consider the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Around 153 people die from TBI-related injuries every day in the United States, making it one of the leading causes of death.
  • In 2013, nearly 3 million people were treated in emergency rooms, admitted into hospitals, or lost their lives because of a TBI.
  • TBIs contribute to around one-third of all injury deaths.
  • Falls are the leading cause of TBI, comprising nearly half of all TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.
  • Fall-related TBIs are especially common among children and older adults.

TBIs are also frequently caused by motor vehicle crashes and being struck by or against an object. TBIs among young people frequently occur while playing sports or other recreational activities.

Spotting a TBI – Why It’s So Important

Noticing the presence of a TBI in an accident victim is important because, if these injuries are left undiagnosed or untreated, the effects can quickly worsen, causing death, disability, or long-term impairment. It’s imperative that anyone suspected of having a TBI should seek immediate medical attention.

Signs of a TBI include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings, depression, or anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Nausea soon after an accident
  • Blurred vision

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one after a fall, motor vehicle crash, or any other type of accident, don’t take any chances. Go to a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible for tests and treatment.

When a TBI has lasting consequences, victims should know that they have the right to consider legal action if that injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI and would like to explore a personal injury claim, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today to learn more.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Texans are accustomed to the sweltering heat of the summer months. While the temperatures run the gamut from hot to astonishingly hot, we typically know how to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our pets from the heat.

However, not all of us have the option of turning on the air conditioner when the heat becomes insufferable. Some types of workers simply don’t have that luxury. As we head into the hottest days of the year, it’s important for employers, supervisors, and workers to find ways to protect those who do their jobs outdoors.

Construction workers, farmers, landscapers – these are just a few of the occupations most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Workers are guaranteed the right to a safe workplace, and it’s vital that their employers remember that providing adequate shade, water, and rest is key to preventing heat illness in the summer.

Heat-Related Illness in the Workplace

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 18 people died and 2,630 suffered from heat-related illness in 2014. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are preventable if employers and workers take the proper safety precautions and identify signs and risks for heat illness.

The onset of heat-related illnesses can be rapid, especially if workers aren’t used to working in the heat. People develop a heat tolerance to withstand hot and humid conditions, but building that tolerance takes time and it can be lost quickly after just a few days away from the job. A worker who has taken a week off work needs to gradually rebuild their tolerance to hot and humid weather conditions.

Identifying Signs of Heat Illness

According to OSHA, signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, weakness, cramps, nausea, and an accelerated heartbeat. If a worker shows any of these signs, it is important to put them in the shade, give them water, and seek medical attention if the condition doesn’t improve.

Heat strokes can be fatal. Common signs of heat stroke include confusion, fainting, convulsions, high body temperature, and red, hot, and dry skin. If a worker suffers a heat stroke, they should be treated immediately by a doctor.

Preventing Heat Illness

The best way to protect workers from heat illness is to enact safety protocols. Make sure that workers have constant access to water and shade. When the temperatures rise and the sun is out, encourage workers to take breaks as often as needed. Wearing lighter shades of clothing can also keep body temperatures down. Make sure that there is a plan to access emergency medical care in the event of a worker injury.

Most workplace injuries and deaths are preventable. This is especially true when it comes to heat-related illnesses. Plan wisely before the heat sets in to make sure your workers are as safe as possible. If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury and would like to speak to a Texas injury attorney, call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Construction is a part of life for Texas motorists. There’s literally no way of getting around it in a city like Houston, which not only has a seemingly endless number of roads that need repair, but also has a booming population that requires expanded roadways.

Growth in Houston is good. We all want better roads and fewer traffic headaches, so when we see work zones, we should be glad that progress is being made. However, statistics tell us that we should also proceed with caution. Work zones account for many vehicle crashes, both nationwide and in Texas.

An Increase in Texas Work Zone Crashes

In fact, last year saw a huge jump – 27% – in the number of work zone crashes. Over 25,000 vehicle crashes occurred in Texas work zones in 2016. In those crashes, 181 people lost their lives.

96% of Texas work zone deaths in 2016 were non-workers, which means they were motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists. Our roads have up to 2,500 work zones active at any given time, so the chances are good you will find yourself navigating a road that is under construction while driving in Texas.

Tips for Driving Safely in Work Zones

The surge in work zone deaths in Texas should prompt us all to ask how we might protect ourselves from these crashes. Essentially, you’ll want to pay closer attention to the signs posted and give motorists extra space to make sure you aren’t involved in a crash. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Slow down to the recommended speed limits in a work zone.
  • Be mindful of lane closures and shift lanes accordingly.
  • Leave extra space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Know that navigating a work zone is especially dangerous for drivers of large vehicles. Adjust your driving habits by leaving adequate space, and allow room for these vehicles to shift lanes.
  • Avoid all forms of distraction while driving.

Rear-end collisions are the leading type of crashes in work zones. Nearly all collisions are preventable, and they can be avoided by leaving adequate room between yourself and another vehicle.

Unfortunately, even if we do everything we can to drive safely in a work zone, we are still vulnerable to crashes. Construction companies still bear much of the responsibility to ensure that a work site is safe for workers and motorists. Our safety is also in the hands of our fellow motorists.

Work Zone Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a work zone crash, you might be able to take legal action. When negligence leads to a car wreck, someone can be held financially responsible for the damages suffered by the victim. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we are here to assist victims of negligence to make sure they don’t have to pay the costs of their injuries.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1(800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

The Texas coast is lined with ports that help the local economy thrive. Texans have made a living working in the ports and on the water since first settling the state. Now, many years later, Texans continue to earn their livelihood on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, crew boats in inland waters, and ship channels weaving throughout Texas and the southeastern United States.

An unfortunate fact of life is that injuries are inherent in this line of work. Many related jobs involve dangerous equipment, volatile chemicals, and high-risk travel. If you have spent any amount of time working in the industry—or even just living in Texas—you know someone who has been injured on the job through no fault of his or her own.

If you have suffered an injury while on the job aboard a vessel, it is wise to consider your legal options to recover the compensation you deserve.

Who Can Bring a Claim for a Jones Act Injury?

Men and women injured while working on the vessels may be able to make a claim for their injuries and damages.

If a worker dies as a result of an injury while aboard a vessel, the worker’s family members may be able to bring a claim in the worker’s place and also assert a wrongful death claim for their loved one’s untimely passing.

The Jones Act is a specific body of federal law created to provide legal remedies to workers injured on vessels. Men and women working on vessels may be able to make a claim under the Jones Act. However, a Jones Act claimant must be classified as a seaman because the Jones Act only provides legal remedies to seamen who suffer injuries while on the job aboard a vessel.

>h2>What Damages Can Be Recovered for Jones Act Injuries?

The Jones Act allows a seaman to make a claim for negligence against his or her employer. In a Jones Act claim, if the seaman shows the employer’s negligence played a part in causing the seaman’s injury, the seaman may recover damages for personal injury, which include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and lost earning capacity.

A seaman may also make a claim for unseaworthiness, which is separate from the Jones Act. When a seaman boards a vessel to perform work, it is the vessel owner’s duty to ensure the vessel is seaworthy. This includes the safety of the vessel itself and the crew employed to man the vessel. If an unseaworthy condition of a vessel injures a seaman, a seaman may recover personal injury damages. A seaman’s spouse and children may also recover loss of consortium damages for the effect of the seaman’s injury on their relationship. At this time, courts are split on whether punitive damages are available in unseaworthiness claims. The U.S. Fifth Circuit, which hears cases arising in Texas, does not allow the recovery of punitive damages in unseaworthiness claims.

A seaman may recover damages called maintenance and cure, regardless of who is at fault for causing the seaman’s injury. Maintenance includes wages until the end of the voyage and basic living expenses while the seaman is injured and unable to earn income. Cure means medical expenses for treatment of a seaman’s injuries sustained on the job. A seaman may also be able to recover punitive damages if an employer intentionally fails to pay maintenance and cure owed to a seaman.

Why is An Experienced Attorney Important to a Successful Jones Act Injury Claim?

The Jones Act and other related maritime and admiralty law are highly complex. There are many special deadlines and procedural requirements associated with these types of claims. An attorney who is experienced with maritime and admiralty law is essential to obtaining the full amount of damages an injured seaman is entitled to recover under the law.

Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has a team of attorneys that is experienced in handling claims to help injured seamen and their families. Our attorneys were part of the legal team that secured a successful outcome in the claims of the nine seamen attacked by Somali pirates aboard the Maersk Alabama, led by Captain Phillips, in 2009. With the help of a talented legal team, the seamen brought claims for negligence under the Jones Act, unseaworthiness, punitive damages, and maintenance and cure against Maersk Lines Limited and Waterman Steamship Corporation.

If you or a family member has suffered an injury while on the job aboard a vessel, contact a board certified personal injury attorney today for a free consultation and evaluation of your potential claim.

We all know that certain modes of transportation are more dangerous than others. For example, we know that car crashes are common on our roads and that planes are generally safer than other forms of travel. But what about the oldest form of transportation – the one we use every day?

Traveling by foot offers many health benefits and is free, but in bustling cities like Houston, it can also be quite dangerous. Few people feel vulnerable to serious injury when they’re simply walking to their destination. However, statistics show that we should be as concerned about our safety while walking as we should using other types of transportation.

Nationally, the number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by over 20% in the last two years. Just last year, pedestrian deaths increased by 11%. The recent surge in these fatalities outpaces the increase in all types of traffic fatalities, which, by the way, also set a record for the largest increase in five decades.

Houston is not immune from this troubling trend. In fact, it could be even more acute in our city. In November 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported that year-to-date through October, the number of pedestrian fatalities had increased by more than 30%.

Why are Pedestrian Accidents Increasing?

Many experts point to the same factors that have been offered to explain the increase in the number of vehicle crashes. These factors may include an improvement in the economy and lower gas prices, both of which result in more people out on our roads and, thus, more vehicle crashes.

Experts have also been theorizing that distraction is playing a big role in the increase of both vehicle crashes and pedestrian deaths. Just like drivers, pedestrians can be distracted by mobile phones. And, like drivers, pedestrians can suffer serious injuries if they aren’t focused on the road ahead.

Speeding is likely another significant factor. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 40 miles per hour will suffer significantly greater injuries than one struck by a vehicle traveling 20 miles per hour. This is one of the primary reasons that cities like New York are seeking to lower speed limits within the city limits.

Also, Houston is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, which means that there are more people traveling our streets, both in cars and on foot. This helps us understand some of the challenges we’re facing and should serve as a reminder that we all need to be as cautious as possible to avoid serious accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian collision, you should consider all your legal options. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is here to help you.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1(800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Last July, a 62-year-old woman, Patricia Dowdell, went to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to watch the Baltimore Orioles host the Cleveland Indians. When Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis took the plate, Dowdell had no way of knowing that her life was about to dramatically change for the worse.

While swinging at a pitch, Davis lost control of his bat, which went flying into the stands and struck Dowdell in the head. She suffered skull and orbital fractures and brain swelling, requiring screws in her cheek and four plates to hold her left eye in place, as reported in the Baltimore Sun. In March of 2017, Dowdell filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and the Orioles, alleging negligence on behalf of both parties.

Dowdell’s incident is alarming, but it’s not as rare as you might think. In 2014, Bloomberg News reported that 1,750 spectators at Major League Baseball games are struck by balls propelling off a player’s bat. Flying baseball bats don’t cause as many injuries as errant balls, though it is also a relatively common occurrence at these games.

Who is Responsible for Fan Injuries at Stadiums?

There are many parties responsible for ensuring fan safety at sporting events. The owners of the premises are responsible for making sure that the area is safe from fall risks or other potential hazards. The security teams that oversee these events have a responsibility to protect event-goers from violence. The organization hosting the event must also protect people from harm.

In the context of a baseball game, individual teams are charged with ensuring that there is adequate netting to protect fans from flying objects. The MLB offers guidelines and recommendations to their teams, but the final decision over netting is up to each team, so protections for fans can vary from one stadium to another. Other governing sports bodies, such as the National Hockey League (“NHL”), have mandatory requirements in this regard, but the MLB still leaves control in the hands of teams.

Limiting Liability in the Small Print

Dowdell’s lawsuit is filed against the Orioles and the MLB because those two parties both play a role in determining the amount of protection offered to spectators. Unlike Dowdell, many fans struck by objects at games don’t file lawsuits. One of the reasons for this lack of legal action by injured spectators is the disclaimer included with a ticket purchased to these games, which attempts to deny liability in the event of injuries.

However, even though these organizations include disclaimers, they can still be held responsible. In cases where an injury could have been prevented were it not for the negligence of another person, the injury victim can pursue compensation for the damages they have suffered. Disclaimers might help reduce liability, but they don’t entirely absolve a business or organization from blame.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we believe that anyone injured by negligence should have the opportunity to be heard. Whether it is a case of premises liability or related claims like negligent security, someone who has suffered serious injury should explore all his or her options. We offer free consultations so that you can better understand the benefits and risks of pursuing compensation in an injury claim.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1(800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

If you own a motorcycle, you’ve probably heard this statistic: People on motorcycles are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other types of motorists. That’s an unsettling fact, to say the least, especially for those who regularly ride motorcycles or have loved ones that own motorcycles.

Keeping motorcyclists safe requires the efforts of everyone on our roads, not just bikers. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and it is the perfect opportunity for all motorists to review how we might reduce the number of fatalities and injuries suffered by motorcyclists. First, let’s look at how serious the problem is in Texas:

  • In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 459 people were killed in motorcycle crashesin Texas.
    • More than halfwere not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
    • 1,887 people suffered incapacitating injuries.
  • In 2014, 43% of motorcyclists who died in single-vehicle crashes were under the influence of alcohol.

Staying Safe on Motorcycles

Most motorcyclists are well-versed in safety, but it never hurts to review the precautions you should be taking.

  • Have your motorcycle inspected regularly to make sure that it is safefor you and your passengers. Check handlebars, pedals, brakes, lights, wheels, tires, cables, tubes, and fluids, and keep an eye out for any alerts provided through your instrument panel.
  • Always wear protective gear and ask the same of your passengers. That gear includes helmets, protective eyewear, gloves, jackets, pants, or a full motorcycle suit.
  • Know the weather before taking to the road, and dress accordingly.
  • Practice defensive driving techniques. Consider taking motorcycling safety courses to increase your knowledge.
  • Always follow the rules of the roadand never ride after drinking alcohol.

Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists

All of us can do our part to create a safer road environment for motorcyclists. Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and a motorcyclist. Keep in mind that motorcycles aren’t always as visible as other vehicles, especially in your blind spots. Assume that motorcycles are closer than they appear, particularly at intersections. It can be difficult for a driver to accurately assess the distance and speed of a motorcycle at first glance.

Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash. When a biker or their passenger is hurt, it is often a severe or fatal injury. These injuries might include several broken bones, severe head injuriesspinal cord injuries, and internal damage. Because motorcyclists don’t have the same structural protection that other motorists have, they also suffer significantly higher fatality rates in crashes.

All of us can be mindful of how easily a crash can impact motorcyclists and adjust our driving habits accordingly. Never crowd a motorcyclist, and always make sure to give them a full lane to drive in. Bikers are typically courteous, safe drivers. Let’s make sure that they are given the space and respect they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. We represent people that have been injured due to the negligence of others, and our experienced team fights to make sure our clients get the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1(800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.

Typically, people don’t need the services of an attorney unless they are experiencing some type of serious issue. Those issues often involve some sort of dispute with another person or a brush with the law. In other words, you need an attorney when something unpleasant has happened.

Clients who come to us have usually suffered a serious injury.

Even picking the right attorney to meet your needs can seem like a challenge. If you’ve never needed the services of a lawyer, how do you know which one to choose? There are several different law firms, and different attorneys provide different services. It can be confusing, even overwhelming, at times.

If you are considering hiring an attorney, here are five things to keep in mind.

  1. Look for an attorney that specializes in the type of legal issue you are facing.

Not all attorneys handle the same types of cases. If you need a will or a power of attorney, you should search for an attorney with estate planning experience. If you need assistance in a criminal matter, contact a criminal defense attorney. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we help clients who have suffered serious injuries or death due to another’s negligence.

  1. Look for an attorney that practices law where you live or in the area where your legal issue is taking place.

Most attorneys practice law in a single state. Though firms will have attorneys that practice in several states and some attorneys can practice in more than one state, look for an attorney that practices in your state. It is also helpful to have an attorney that has an office in your area, even within a certain state. For example, if you live in Houston, look for an attorney that has offices in the Houston area. While that is not a requirement, it might make your life easier if you need to be in constant contact with your lawyer.

  1. Consider the experience of the attorney.

This is one of the most important things that you should remember when looking for an attorney. Do they have a track record of success? Are they in good standing with the state bar? Do they have good client reviews online? You want to find an attorney that has a reputation for getting results for their clients.

  1. How much will the attorney charge you?

You don’t want to hire an attorney unless you know how they will charge you for their services. Some lawyers will charge large fees regardless of the results obtained. Different types of billing are used in different areas of the law. Our firm knows our clients need compensation for a costly injury and, thus, might not have the financial means to pay a large legal fee. In an effort to help every accident victim that calls us, we offer a free initial consultation. That’s also why we offer a No Fee Guarantee, so our clients don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win their case.

  1. Do you feel comfortable with the attorney?

If an attorney you’re considering offers a free consultation, take advantage of that. This first conversation will give you an idea of what it likes to work with the attorney/firm, and also helps the attorney assess the merits of the potential claim and their ability to help. How are you treated in your consultation? Are they upfront about challenges your case might face? Do they already begin to manage your expectations about the process involved, and the time typically needed for successful resolution? These are important questions to ask yourself after a consultation.

If you have any more questions about hiring an attorney, or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation about your injury claim, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 1(800) 444-5000.

A recent action taken by plaintiffs in Physiomesh™ flexible composite hernia mesh cases may accelerate the process to get these lawsuits heard.

Certain plaintiffs in Florida and Illinois have filed a motion to create a new multi-district litigation (MDL) to hear lawsuits filed against the device’s manufacturer Ethicon as well as its parent company Johnson & Johnson.

As many as 300,000 individuals have been implanted with a Physiomesh product since approved by the FDA in 2010. However, in 2016 Ethicon issued an urgent field safety notice and recalled all existing stock of this product line.

Studies show that there is a higher level of revision rates, or need for repeat surgery to repair the hernia, with those who have been implanted with Physiomesh. The defective device has also been linked to high rates of complications such as bowel obstructions, infections, seromas, and mesh failures.

The recall has prevented future patients in need of hernia repair from being implanted with Physiomesh. However, this does not help the thousands living with the defective hernia mesh product. In the near future, we expect that hundreds of additional cases will be filed by those who have been harmed by this defective product.

The MDL motion is a special federal legal procedure that can speed up the process of handling complex product liability suits such as those pending against Ethicon because of the Physiomesh defects.

If you (or a loved one) have been implanted with hernia mesh since 2005 and have had the mesh fail or has experienced post-surgical complications, please contact us as soon as possible. We can help get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

If you or any family member has been injured by an auto accident, a defective product, or any other type of personal injury, it’s important to get experienced legal help immediately. Call 800-444-5000 now for your free consultation.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we care deeply about delivering exemplary service to everyone in our community needing help with a serious injury. We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website.

For years we have invested in our website by creating and sharing useful content to keep people informed of their legal rights as well as potential dangers in the marketplace. Our newly-redesigned site helps organize this plethora of information in a new way that is easy to navigate.

Optimized for Mobile Devices

We recognize that today those most in need of legal information often search from mobile devices, rather than using desktop computers. Therefore, we invested in an even-better mobile experience across all types of mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, and notebooks.

For example, just tap your mobile device to send a text to our main number rather than chatting via your desktop browser. We are truly just a touch away when you need legal help.

Targeted Topics Let Us Help You Faster

Our website now offers readers the ability to reach out to us via a free consult webform request on every topic page. So we’ll know in advance whether you need help with a vehicle accident, a medical malpractice complaint, or a consumer product injury so we can better address your needs.

Sincere Testimonials from Actual Clients

You can read about our many successful case results but it’s much more impressive to read or view endorsements from satisfied clients. We value our victims’ unique personal stories because they are speaking about real experiences with our firm.

Rich Content with Real Solutions for Legal Issues

We strive to deliver 5-star experience to our clients as well as our callers and website visitors, too, as we bring you valuable, relevant content to help with legal issues. You’ll find it easy to get helpful information on the specific personal injury topic that concerns you. You can even learn how your case will be handled with step-by-step details on how we handle a personal injury case.

Stay tuned in upcoming months to see even more new features to help you get the legal help you need when you want it.

Whether you realize it or not, your life has been affected by herbicides. Herbicides have been used for decades to kill weeds, and they are used in our gardens, on our foods, and in many other settings, such as vineyards. While herbicides can provide several benefits to growers of crops, gardens, or lawns, they can also cause severe health consequences.

The herbicide Roundup has long been popular among growers ranging from commercial enterprises to landscapers. It has also been linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (“NHL”), a type of blood cancer that includes several types of lymphoma. Recent reports indicate that the maker of this product has not only known about the potential hazards to users, but they have sought to influence regulatory policies of the federal government.

What Makes Roundup So Dangerous?

To understand why Roundup poses a threat to users, you must first understand the ingredients. Roundup is made using glyphosate, water, and surfactant. Glyphosate, or gly, is the key herbicide used in the mixture and has been linked by a growing body of science to the development of many types of cancer, including Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The surfactant is used in the mixture to “flatten” the solution so it stays on the plant, and then bores in and kills it. Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, uses POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine) as its surfactant. POEA has also been identified as a cancer-causing agent, though its use in the solution is currently being phased out.

According to the New York Times, federal court documents reveal that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was attributed to academics and worked with at least one senior official at the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to silence an evaluation of the harmful effects of Roundup.

Who is Affected by Roundup?

Roundup comes in many different forms. Varieties are available for different climates, industries, and uses around the home. This means that many of us are exposed to some variety of Roundup, either directly or indirectly. Farmers, landscapers, and industrial workers are more likely to have direct exposure, while those of us whose yards or foods are treated with the herbicide might have been exposed indirectly.

Direct exposure to the carcinogenic components of herbicides obviously poses a greater risk for the development of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but it is possible to develop Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through indirect exposure to Roundup.

The attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are meeting with anyone diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to determine if Roundup exposure could be the underlying cause. If you or a loved one has been exposed to Roundup and suffer from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, contact our office to schedule a free consultation.

We understand how severely Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can impact the lives of sufferers. This condition can be fatal, but even survivors face large medical bills, pain, suffering, lost productivity, and lost wages.

Our team is here to help you find out more about your legal options. Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 1(800) 444-5000.

If you’ve ever had a hernia, then you know how excruciating it can be. You’ll do whatever is necessary to relieve the incredible pain you’re experiencing. Whatever a doctor suggests, a patient with a hernia is likely to agree to. In many cases, that means agreeing to a surgery, which then means agreeing to the use of surgical mesh.

The Food and Drug Administration defines mesh as a “medical device that is used to provide additional support to weakened or damaged tissue.” Mesh comes in many different forms. It can be made from synthetic materials or from animal tissue. It can be knitted or in sheet form. Mesh can be implanted on a permanent basis or it can be a mesh that will dissolve after a certain period.

Unfortunately, as much as mesh can be helpful in treating a patient with a hernia, many types of surgical mesh have been recalled because they pose a major threat to patients. Surgical remedies for hernias come with several potential risks, but when a surgeon uses a defective hernia mesh, the complications can be even more extreme than the original injury.

The FDA found through its research that adverse events involving hernia mesh include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Hernia recurrence
  • Adhesion
  • Bowel obstruction.

Those complications can involve mesh that hasn’t been subjected to recalls.

Hernia Mesh Recalls

There have been several recalls of surgical mesh. While that means that some of the mesh most prone to failure is no longer on the market, there are still many patients who have had defective mesh implanted in their bodies. There are also many different makers of mesh and, as we have already seen, so many different types of mesh on the market, that there are likely several more types of mesh that could be harming patients even though they haven’t been recalled yet.

Recalls are important for the safety of patients but, unfortunately, products are often recalled only after serious damage has been suffered by many patients. It’s important for patients who have had hernia mesh used in their surgical procedures to be aware of the complications commonly associated with defective mesh so they can seek medical help and take legal action.

What to Do if You’re Hurt by Hernia Mesh

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered serious harm from hernia mesh, you should get medical attention and contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your options. In addition to the many physical complications that can occur from faulty hernia mesh, there are also many other consequences for patients. Getting additional surgeries or treatment can be very costly. Injury or illness might also lead to time away from work, costing a patient money at a time when they have additional medical bills to pay.

We offer free consultations so you can discuss the details of your case and find out if you might have grounds for filing an injury claim. By taking legal action, you might be able to receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 1(800) 444-5000.

Morgan Harrod loves race cars, so celebrating his 13th birthday at the Gator Motorplex in Willis should have been the perfect experience. Instead, Morgan spent that night and the next several nights in the Children’s Memorial Hermann Intensive Care Unit after being struck by a race car at the track.

It was a Thursday evening. Morgan’s mother, Jennifer, had bought “pit passes,” so Morgan could see NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne, who was signing autographs in the pit area.  Morgan and his mom were walking up to fence outside the track, along with dozens of other spectators, when the #87 race car of Aaron Reutzel suddenly came into their path, striking Morgan and leaving Jennifer in a panic.

“I was screaming. I was crying. Honestly, I don’t know if he lost consciousness for a few minutes or if he was in shock and his eyes were closed. I didn’t know he was alive. I thought he was gone,” Jennifer told ABC 13 Eyewitness News.

The driver didn’t stop to check on Morgan, much to the surprise of one witness.

“The part I have a problem with is that the gentleman did not get out of the car and try to help the kid that he hit,” Richard Vetter said to Eyewitness News.

Ruetzel’s “hit and run” was only one of several oversights that evening. The pit road was poorly lit, which made the jet-black #87 car hard to see. Also, there were no crowd-control measures implemented by Gator Motorplex or World of Outlaws Racing to protect spectators or warn them that race cars were approaching.  When guests hurried to report the incident to on-site paramedics, the ambulance was unoccupied. Patrons turned on the lights and sirens of the ambulance to summon help.

Morgan suffered a head wound that required 22 staples to close. The extent of his injuries is undetermined, but he remains in the hospital. His family hopes for a full recovery, but severe head injuries often have long-lasting consequences.

Morgan Harrod and his family were victims of a series of negligent actions, and they should not have to shoulder the extraordinary costs they now face. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law’s Steve Waldman is handling the case and we will do everything in our power to make sure that this family is not burdened by any more hardship than they have already suffered.

Morgan’s family is touched by the support offered by friends, family members, and others who understand how traumatic a severe injury to a child is to an entire family. We hope that by holding the driver, track, and sponsoring race organization accountable for their failure to secure the safety of guests, we can make sure future race fans  are safe, and Morgan and his family have what they need to cope with the challenges they are facing as a result of Morgan’s injury.

If you would like to speak to Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Lawfill out our online form or call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally at (713) 973-8888.

When people list their personal goals, good health almost always takes top billing. Aside from family, few things are more important than taking care of yourself. It’s why we watch what we eat, exercise, rest, and strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

National Public Health Week is observed in 2017 during the first week of April, and it’s a good time to revisit your own list of priorities. At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we believe it is especially important to focus on your personal health, including finding ways to improve it and also ways to avoid serious injuries and illnesses. Our clients come to us after suffering injuries that have a devastating impact on their well-being, so this issue is one we care deeply about.

Improving Your Health

Most Americans know the keys to living a healthy life – eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, and getting plenty of exercise. Of course, it’s easier said than done. It’s important to carve out time to be active and arrange your schedule to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For people that have a serious injury or medical condition, this challenge is even more difficult.

For example, our clients often suffer from catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. As difficult as it is to stay active, people suffering from these types of injuries must work even harder to make sure that they are doing activities recommended by doctors, which might mean regularly seeing a physical therapist or doing exercises to overcome the obstacles presented by their medical condition.

Preventing Injury and Illness

We can tell you from experience that no one wants to suffer a serious injury or illness that diminishes their quality of life. People can improve their chances of avoiding these injuries by being more cautious and diligent in their daily lives. For example, around 35,000 people lose their lives and countless others are injured every year in vehicle accidents. By adopting better driving habits – avoiding speeding, distraction, and fatigue – we can lessen our chances of being involved in a crash.

There are several other ways that we can prevent injuries and illnesses. Perform a safety check in your home to look for hazards like unsecured medicines, cleaning agents, lead, asbestos, and fall risks. Workplace dangers pose threats of their own. Talk to your employer or supervisor to make sure your work environment is as safe as possible to reduce the occurrence of workplace injuries.

If you suffer an injury or an illness because of someone else’s negligence, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free consultation. When negligence leads to serious injuries, a personal injury claim can help ensure that victims get the compensation they deserve so they can then focus on the important task of recovery. We have been helping clients with injury cases since 1985, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you.

Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law by filling out our online contact form or calling us today at 1(800) 444-5000.

Patients assume that there are safeguards to protect us from medical error. Surely, when we seek medical treatment there are systems in place to catch mistakes before they reach the patient. Unfortunately, a large number of medical errors occur every day in the United States, some of which are fatal or cause significant harm.

One area of the healthcare process that is designed to protect us as patients and consumers is the prescription drug supply chain. The gatekeeper of prescriptions is the pharmacist, who is charged with the task of identifying dangerous drug recalls, catching the mistakes of a prescribing doctor, and informing patients about possible drug interactions.

Pharmacists follow strict standards that are set forth by the law and the rules from their state’s Board of Pharmacy. Prescription medication is a rarified space in the medical community, especially regarding the accountability to patients. Yet for all of these procedures and standards, medication errors are surprisingly common in the United States.

5 Facts About Prescription and Medication Errors

  • Every day in the United States, at least one persondies from a medication error.
  • Every year, around 1.3 million people suffer injuries from medication errors.
  • Around 70%of medication errors are due to errors in the prescribing process.
  • When a patient suffers harm because of exposure to a medication, it is referred to as an adverse drug event. Adverse drug events contribute to around 700,000 emergency room visits and 100,000 hospitalizations every year.
  • Around one in every 20 hospitalized patients suffers an adverse drug event every year.

Prescription errors can occur anywhere in the distribution process. The error could be made by the manufacturer of the drug if the medication itself is defective. If the prescription is for the wrong dosage or the wrong drug, the fault could be placed on the doctor who wrote the prescription. If the drug is filled improperly or if the patient isn’t adequately informed about drug interactions, the pharmacist might bear responsibility. As we noted above, pharmacists are generally responsible for catching mistakes made by others in the supply chain.

If You’ve Suffered from a Medication Error, You Do Have Options

The big takeaway from these facts is that patients must be diligent about the medications they are given. We should remind ourselves that mistakes are common and that we need to be sure that the medications we take are in our best interest. When you receive a prescription, make sure that it doesn’t have dangerous interactions with other medications you take. Look up the medication to ensure it hasn’t been subjected to a recall.

If you have suffered injury or illness because of a prescription or medication error, you also have legal options. By filing a medical malpractice or other legal claim, you can hold the responsible party accountable for the harm they have caused you. This will help you cope with the financial consequences of your injuries and make sure that others don’t fall prey to the same errors.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have been standing up for the rights of patients and consumers since 1985. We have years of experience holding negligent medical providers, pharmacists, and drug manufacturers accountable, and we are proud to put that experience to work for our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team and to learn more about your options.

Modern technology provides consumers with many options in the for-hire transportation market. Over recent years, the rideshare industry has gained market share and expanded to large cities internationally. Private drivers were once exclusively associated with the wealthy. But now, the average consumer can afford to request a private driver through a rideshare app on a per ride basis at a relatively low cost.

Here in Houston, Uber has disrupted the taxi market and become a popular transportation option. Lyft is another rideshare company available in other Texas metropolitan areas, including Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio.

Despite legal efforts, largely on the part of taxi unions and local governments, to prevent rideshare companies from operating in certain cities, rideshare companies look like they are here to stay. Many arguments against rideshare companies focused on the issues of lack of regulation and safety.

The process of becoming a driver for a rideshare service is largely unregulated. Policies vary by company, but most classify their drivers as independent contractors—not employees. Generally, a potential driver must complete an online application process, which includes providing a valid drivers license and proof of a personal auto insurance policy, getting their car inspected, and passing a basic background check. Once a rideshare company approves a driver as an independent contractor, the driver can hit the road with the mobile phone and rideshare app and start picking up customers.

While most rideshare users focus on price and convenience, some do not take the time to think about safety concerns associated with using a rideshare app. Most rideshare drivers do not have any more training than the minimum state requirements to obtain a drivers license, meaning rideshare drivers will not be specifically trained to offer transportation in a commercial capacity.

One of the most glaring safety concerns in using a rideshare app is insurance coverage. When a motor vehicle collision involving a rideshare driver occurs, there may not be applicable or adequate insurance coverage for bodily injuries sustained by passengers.

Uber currently maintains $1 million in liability insurance coverage and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage that applies when a driver is “on trip.”This coverage is reduced to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident in bodily injury liability coverage and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage if an Uber driver is between trips. Lyft has similar coverage with similar conditions. There are complex conditions about what mode the driver’s app must be in for coverage to apply, and in some instances, the rideshare company’s commercial policy is secondary coverage.

The key to insurance coverage will most likely lie within the distinction of the rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy and the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance policy. Although a rideshare company will likely require a driver to have a valid personal auto insurance policy at the time of submitting an application, the rideshare company may not continue to monitor the driver’s continued coverage. More importantly, many personal auto insurance policies contain coverage exclusions that apply when the covered driver is engaged in providing for-hire transportation services. This means that the driver’s personal auto insurance policy will not likely provide coverage for injuries sustained while the driver is transporting customers from a rideshare app.

A consumer may think that any injuries not covered by the driver’s personal auto insurance policy would be covered under the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance policy. Not necessarily. In addition to “on trip” requirements, most commercial policies contain other coverage exclusions. For example, if your rideshare driver’s app malfunctions and the trip is not properly documented, the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance policy may not provide coverage.

It is quite possible to find a gap in auto insurance coverage between a rideshare driver’s personal auto insurance policy and the rideshare company’s commercial auto insurance policy. In the event of an injury claim, it is important to thoroughly evaluate all potential insurance coverage available and pursue relief from the proper parties. The law that applies to rideshare companies, drivers, and collisions is new and evolving, so there may not be a clear answer.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision involving a rideshare driver, consult a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

If you keep up with the local news in Houston, then you know that our roads have recently become more dangerous. The number of vehicle crashes has been on the rise, reflecting a trend seen across the United States. Pedestrian fatalities have also seen sharp increases over recent years.

In 2015 alone, there were over 66,000 vehicle crashes in Houston. Those crashes led to 1,310 incapacitating injuries and 203 fatalities. While the Texas Department of Transportation hasn’t listed the official numbers for last year yet, nationwide estimates lead us to believe that those numbers will likely be even larger for 2016.

Houston residents rely heavily on our vehicles to get where we’re going, so it’s not surprising that residents have been worried by these trends. Serious vehicle accidents are a threat to all of us, including our loved ones. This worry is prompting many Houstonians to learn more about what we can do to help make ourselves and our families safer on our next drive.

Perhaps one key way to accomplish this goal is to know where crashes are most likely to occur. Fortunately, there is plenty of information available on this topic.

Major Roads Host Many Serious Crashes

As you see in a map listed in this Houston Chronicle article, crashes are distributed rather evenly across the city but seem to be particularly common along our biggest interstates. I-69, I-45, and Loop 610 can be very dangerous for drivers. These major roads are dangerous for two reasons. First, vehicles travel at higher speeds on these roads. Second, major roads also have higher volumes of traffic. The combination of these two factors leads to more accidents and more severe injuries in these accidents.

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Intersections are Also More Dangerous for Motorists

Busy Houston intersections set the scene for many crashes. Bissonnet Street at Sam Houston Parkway, Hardy Road at Sam Houston Parkway, and Sam Houston Parkway at Westheimer Road are three of the 10 most dangerous intersections in Houston. It’s worth noting that feeder lanes alongside toll roads tend to have higher numbers of crashes than other locations.

When Bad Weather Sets In, Watch Out for These Locations

When flooding hits our city, drivers encounter even more challenges on Houston’s roadways. As we’ve mentioned before, there are several spots more likely to flood than others. Some of the most dangerous during a flash flood are Telge Road near Spring Cypress Road, Interstate 45 near Crosstimbers, and White Oak Drive near Beauchamp Street

There are several dangerous locations for drivers in Houston. In addition to the ones listed above, you probably have your own shortlist of hazardous spots that you encounter on your way to work or in your own neighborhood. While we can’t control the actions of other drivers, we can all do our part to curb the number of crashes across our community.

Improving our driving habits means focusing on the basics. Observe the rules of the road, be mindful of those driving recklessly and always keep your attention on the road ahead.

Sometimes, the unexpected turns in life cause us the greatest harm. The things that we take most for granted are the ones that pounce when we are at our most vulnerable. Unfortunately, many Americans learn this lesson when they get sick and seek medical treatment. We trust that medical professionals will do everything in their power to make us better.

Most of the time, things go just as we hope. Doctors treat our ailment, and then we get better. Other times, however, a doctor or other healthcare provider not only fails to help a patient, but they cause a patient serious harm. A recent major medical study found that as many as 250,000 people die every year because of medical error. Millions more are injured or made ill because of mistakes made in a medical setting.

Common Examples of Medical Mistakes

Medical errors can occur at any point in the healthcare process, from diagnosis to surgery. Some of the most common include:

  • Misdiagnosis– When a doctor or nurse misidentifies a patient’s condition, the treatments can be harmful to a patient. This is one of the most common forms of medical error.
  • Medication error– Medication-related error occur when a patient is given the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, or the medication that prompts an allergic reaction.
  • Surgical error– Thousands of surgical errors occur in the United States every year. They occur when a surgeon performs the wrong operation, performs an operation on the wrong patient, or leaves a foreign object inside the body of a patient.
  • Birth injury– These injuries are tragic because they are often preventable and lead to injuries that can affect a newborn throughout the course of his or her life.
  • Communication breakdowns– Many medical errors occur because providers fail to communicate the needs or conditions of a patient to another provider. These communication failures can occur between doctors, nurses, hospitals, or departments within a hospital.
  • Healthcare-associated infection– When a staff fails to sanitize surfaces or equipment, an infection can spread among patients, many of whom are already suffering from another injury or illness. The results of a healthcare-associated infection can be devastating and, in some cases, fatal.

Medical Malpractice Cases are Complicated – That’s Why Attorneys Can Help

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase meaning, “first, do no harm.” It’s one of the fundamental principles of the medical profession. Sadly, patients regularly suffer harm at the hands of healthcare providers. These cases are both complex and intimidating for patients who have suffered from medical negligence. That’s probably the reason that most people who are hurt by a doctor’s mistakes don’t take any legal action, even though it is their right to do so.

If a healthcare provider – a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, etc. – has injured you, it is important to realize that you do have options. An experienced medical malpractice attorney knows that the law is designed to help people who have been wronged by another’s negligence, and they can help their clients to win compensation for the damages they have suffered.

While these situations can be overwhelming for a patient, an experienced lawyer knows what to do and can make your life much simpler by handling your medical malpractice case. To speak to one our attorneys, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today.

It can be difficult to keep track of the many awareness weeks and observances that we have in the United States. Some are certainly more memorable than others. For example, you probably haven’t marked your calendar for “Fill Your Staplers Day” or the equally forgettable “Canadian Bacon Day.”

But there are other designated weeks that, while they may or may not be on your radar, deserve more attention than they get. National Patient Safety Awareness Week falls into the category of high importance. The medical community is gaining a deeper understanding of how medical errors impact patient safety, and the situation borders on being dire.

Why It is So Important

In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine released a study that found over 250,000 people die every year due to medical error. That makes medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer.

There are several reasons that so many errors occur in our healthcare system every year. Mistakes can occur anywhere in the healthcare process. Drug makers can release harmful medications to the marketplace. Doctors can wrongly diagnose patients. Pharmacists can give the wrong drug or dosage to a patient.

Patients interact with many different types of medical professionals every time they seek medical care. This presents several opportunities for mistakes. The sicker a person is and the more care they need, the more interactions they have, and the more likely they are to suffer from medical error.

Mistakes in medical settings are often due to human error. Medical professionals, just like anyone else, can be careless, distracted, or tired. Unfortunately, when healthcare providers make mistakes, the results can be very serious for a sick patient. Which brings us back to the importance of patient safety awareness.

About National Patient Safety Awareness Week

National Patient Safety Awareness Week is an initiative of the National Patient Safety Foundation. In 2017, it is observed from March 12 to March 18, and it is a great opportunity for both patients and providers to take stock in the risks present in the healthcare system.

As the foundation points out on their website, most Americans will experience a wrong, delayed, or missed diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. To address concerns of patients and healthcare providers, NPSF will host a chat on March 14. They also provide resources on their website to help reduce the occurrence of medical error and improve patient safety.

The efforts of the NPSF are much appreciated. They are giving voice to an important issue in our country. More Americans will become dependent on healthcare providers in the years to come, due in part to the aging U.S. population. As more people seek care, the importance of patient safety will become even more central to our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness due to the mistakes of a healthcare provider, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law has helped clients receive the compensation they deserve since 1985. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation, contact us to learn more.

In late 2016, Houston police indicated that pedestrian fatalities in Houston jumped 31% from the year before. The dramatic increase left many safety advocates and government officials bewildered.

“The numbers are just dramatically going up, and it’s been really hard for us to explain why,” said Houston Police Department Sgt. Derrick Hall in a news conference.

While last year’s increase was steep, it is part of a multi-year trend in Houston. An interactive map included in a Houston Chronicle article provides a glimpse into where vehicle crashes happen. They are equally distributed throughout the city but seem especially common along I-69, I-49, Route 248, and I-610.

Some of the most severe crashes in our city involve pedestrians. The police department said that many pedestrian collisions occur while people attempt to cross freeways. Pedestrians also face risks in supposedly more pedestrian-friendly areas, like Downtown.

How Pedestrian Crashes Happen

Pedestrian accidents often happen at night when it is harder for drivers to see people crossing the road. They can occur because drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings. A distracted, drunk, or drowsy driver is far less likely to notice someone crossing a street.

As we have discussed before in a previous post about distracted driving, safety advocates have sounded the alarms about the increase of distraction among drivers in recent years. It’s not difficult to connect the dots between the rise of pedestrian collisions and the rise of distracted driving across the country.

Avoiding Pedestrian Injuries

Drivers should keep a watchful eye for pedestrians on our roads. This means driving slowly in areas where there are higher numbers of pedestrians, always observing traffic signs and signals, and avoiding passing vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks and crossing paths. Drivers should also avoid using their mobile devices when behind the wheel.

For pedestrians, it’s important to remember that even though you see a vehicle, the driver of that vehicle may not see you, especially at night. If walking or running at night, wear bright, reflective materials to make your presence known to drivers. When crossing the street, try to make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle to make sure they see you. Avoid crossing the street anywhere other than designated crossing locations. Always adhere to crossing signals and stop lights.

Many pedestrian fatalities are children and older adults. Since these pedestrians are most vulnerable to accidents, drivers and other pedestrians should do their part to keep them safe. For drivers, that means allowing extra time for an elderly pedestrian to cross the street, or coming to a complete stop when schoolchildren are crossing the road.

Safety has become a major concern on our roads over the last couple of years. Pedestrian collisions and traffic deaths have both increased at an alarming rate. As Houston residents look for ways to make our roads safer, we should first be mindful of how we can improve our own driving practices to help reduce the number of pedestrian collisions.

Last year, it seemed like the news couldn’t get any worse on our roads. The 8% increase in road fatalities in 2015 was the largest increase in 50 years. That was an alarming jump in traffic deaths — enough to prompt safety advocates to push for even more safety features on vehicles and launch safety awareness campaigns.

Unfortunately, the news gets worse. Now, we have the numbers from 2016, which reveal that traffic deaths jumped another 6%. That puts the number of traffic deaths over 40,000 for the first time since before the Great Recession. Road safety experts are still saying that much of that increase is related to an improving economy. More people have money in their pockets, so they tend to drive more.

But there is another concern on our roads, one that is prompting a justified wave of anxiety among drivers and safety advocates alike. Distracted driving is proving to be an incredible challenge. Studies indicate that many of us may not be taking the calls to put our phones away as seriously as we should.

We’re Getting Texts, but We Might Not Be Getting the Message

AAA released a survey that sheds new light on just how dire the problem really is. As reported in USA Today, the survey found that 88% of drivers 19 to 24 years old, admitted that, in just 30 days before being surveyed, they engaged in reckless driving practices, including texting while driving, running red lights, or speeding.

Young people have long been culprits of distracted driving, but the study shows that the distracted driving problem is likely much worse than we thought. As it turns out, distraction is prevalent across all age groups, even if it is not as acute as it is among millennials. For example, over 40% of all drivers admitted to reading a text or email while behind the wheel.

One of the biggest challenges we face is that people don’t view distraction with the gravity it deserves. Nearly 80% of drivers surveyed said that reading an email or text while driving was completely acceptable behavior.

Houston Should Be Especially Concerned About This Trend

Texas perennially tops the lists of traffic death statistics in the U.S. It’s likely no coincidence that we are also one of the few states that doesn’t have a complete ban on texting while driving. Some estimates say that distracted driving accounts for around 20% of Texas vehicle crashes.

In Houston, the problem is especially a concern in school zones. Though police can and do give citations to drivers who use their phones in school zones, a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department says that it doesn’t seem to stop drivers from using their mobile devices.

Texas lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a full ban several times, but some of those legislators believe that 2017 could be the year they finally make it happen. If we hope to stop the trend that we’ve seen over the past couple of years, something must be done. Cracking down on distracted driving will be central to our efforts.

In late 2016, Houston police indicated that pedestrian fatalities in Houston jumped 31% from the year before. The dramatic increase left many safety advocates and government officials bewildered.

“The numbers are just dramatically going up, and it’s been really hard for us to explain why,” said Houston Police Department Sgt. Derrick Hall in a news conference.

While last year’s increase was steep, it is part of a multi-year trend in Houston. An interactive map included in a Houston Chronicle article provides a glimpse into where vehicle crashes happen. They are equally distributed throughout the city but seem especially common along I-69, I-49, Route 248, and I-610.

Some of the most severe crashes in our city involve pedestrians. The police department said that many pedestrian collisions occur while people attempt to cross freeways. Pedestrians also face risks in supposedly more pedestrian-friendly areas, like Downtown.

How Pedestrian Crashes Happen

Pedestrian accidents often happen at night when it is harder for drivers to see people crossing the road. They can occur because drivers fail to pay attention to their surroundings. A distracted, drunk, or drowsy driver is far less likely to notice someone crossing a street.

As we have discussed before in a previous post about distracted driving, safety advocates have sounded the alarms about the increase of distraction among drivers in recent years. It’s not difficult to connect the dots between the rise of pedestrian collisions and the rise of distracted driving across the country.

Avoiding Pedestrian Injuries

Drivers should keep a watchful eye for pedestrians on our roads. This means driving slowly in areas where there are higher numbers of pedestrians, always observing traffic signs and signals, and avoiding passing vehicles that are stopped at crosswalks and crossing paths. Drivers should also avoid using their mobile devices when behind the wheel.

For pedestrians, it’s important to remember that even though you see a vehicle, the driver of that vehicle may not see you, especially at night. If walking or running at night, wear bright, reflective materials to make your presence known to drivers. When crossing the street, try to make eye contact with the driver of a vehicle to make sure they see you. Avoid crossing the street anywhere other than designated crossing locations. Always adhere to crossing signals and stop lights.

Many pedestrian fatalities are children and older adults. Since these pedestrians are most vulnerable to accidents, drivers and other pedestrians should do their part to keep them safe. For drivers, that means allowing extra time for an elderly pedestrian to cross the street, or coming to a complete stop when schoolchildren are crossing the road.

Safety has become a major concern on our roads over the last couple of years. Pedestrian collisions and traffic deaths have both increased at an alarming rate. As Houston residents look for ways to make our roads safer, we should first be mindful of how we can improve our own driving practices to help reduce the number of pedestrian collisions.

Houston residents are no strangers to floods. They have become an ever-present reality in our lives over recent years, and our city’s infrastructure is obviously struggling to meet the demands caused by flash floods.

When the skies open and the rain floods our roads, drivers are put in a very dangerous situation. Some parts of Houston are more susceptible to flooding than others, as the Houston Chronicle pointed out in an article about the areas of our city that are most vulnerable to flooding. The article lists Telge Road near Spring Cypress Road, Interstate 45 near Crosstimbers, White Oak Drive near Beauchamp Street, and more than 25 other spots that pose flood risks to drivers.

The Houston Chronicle says that in a two-month span (between January and March of 2015) about 150 flooding incidents were reported on Houston streets. Being caught in the middle of a flash flood can be a scary experience, a fact that Houstonians know all too well. However, knowing what to do in the event of a flood can make you safer and help take some of the anxiety out of the situation.

Here are a few flood-safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never enter a flooded area, either on foot or in a vehicle. As the Department of Homeland Securitypoints out, even six inches of flood water can knock someone off their feet, and two feet of water can sweep away a vehicle.
  • If you are trapped in your vehicle during a flood, attempt to reach higher ground. Never enter moving water unless there is no other option.
  • If your vehicle is flooding, attempt to find a pocket of air. If possible, roll a window down slowly and try to swim to the nearest safe location. This is the last resort in an emergency.
  • Prepare your vehicle and home to be ready in the event of a flood. Have flotation devices and emergency kits on hand. Know how susceptible your location is to a flood risk.
  • After flood waters recede, be mindful of areas that were covered in water, which might be eroded and unsafe. Avoid standing water at all costs.

It’s worth restating the fact that preparation is the best way to avoid the dangers of flooding. If you have elderly relatives who live in areas where floods are likely, help them prepare for a flood by stocking their homes with a safety kit. When there are flood warnings, take advantage of the warning by readying your home and vehicle, and looking after loved ones who might be vulnerable during a flash flood.

Insurance is also an important part of preparing for the possibility of a flood. Flood insurance is especially important for those who live in areas that are more prone to flooding. Unfortunately, even flood insurance policyholders may experience some difficulties getting adequate compensation from insurance companies. To help maximize that compensation, take plenty of pictures of any flood damage you experience after a flood.

Floods will likely continue to be a part of life in Houston for some time to come, so taking proper flood safety precautions is more important now than ever before.

How do you feel about self-driving cars? Are you excited by the thought of getting in a vehicle and letting the autonomous system chauffeur you to your destination, or are you terrified by the prospect of surrendering control to a self-driving vehicle?

Both mindsets are justified. In fact, many of you are probably of two minds about self-driving vehicles, and for good reason. Advocates of autonomous vehicles tell us that self-driving cars could virtually eliminate traffic deaths. Critics point out that these technologies aren’t ready for public use, and they caution companies against making them available before they thoroughly test them.

Whether you’re hesitant or eager, self-driving cars are coming to a road near you. Many Texas cities, including Houston, plan to work with research institutes to test self-driving cars on our roads. Uber has already launched test runs in cities like Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Companies from Tesla to Google to Uber are racing to be first in the autonomous vehicle frontier. This competition is key to speeding up technological advances, but it might also present some problems if the competitors act hastily in releasing their new vehicles.

This is precisely what critics of Tesla fear happened with the company’s Autopilot system, which was at the center of the controversy surrounding a Florida driver’s death. A system like Tesla’s Autopilot has autonomous features, but a driver might still need to take over in certain situations. It’s not clear whether the driver, killed in Florida, wasn’t prepared to take control of the vehicle, or if the Autopilot system didn’t do its job.

Safety Concerns in Increasingly Autonomous Vehicles

Even vehicles that have autonomous features will require some driver involvement. That means that drivers need to know how to work with the autonomous vehicle, but it is not entirely clear who will be responsible for this training. Dealerships, for example, are currently selling vehicles with plenty of autonomous features, but many don’t possess the knowledge to explain to buyers how they work.

Autonomous vehicles also present some other safety concerns. For example, self-driving cars aren’t yet sophisticated enough to make certain subtle distinctions that human drivers make with ease. Uber announced last year that they were working to fix a programming flaw that caused cars to cross biking lanes in a way that posed a threat to cyclists.

Self-driving cars still have a long way to go in being able to deal with other circumstances, including unpredictable human behavior on roads, detours, weather conditions that make road lanes invisible, and situations that call for spontaneous decision making.

Time Will Tell if Companies Can Address These Concerns

Many of these concerns might be addressed as the feature’s programming becomes more advanced, but that could require a special effort by the companies working on autonomous vehicles. To make sure that these vehicles are as safe as possible, it is in the public’s best interest for companies to share their research. This is something that they might not be willing to do unless convinced, or forced, by the government.

In the months and years ahead, be prepared to hear much more about these issues. Self-driving technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and there is a big push at both the consumer and professional levels to make autonomous vehicles a reality. In other words – ready or not, here they come.

Every 2 hours and 41 minutes, someone dies in a fire in the United States. Most of these deaths, along with many more burn-related injuries, occur in the home. Burn injuries are incredibly painful, expensive, and debilitating. They are often preventable.

Burn Injury Awareness Week is observed during the first full week of February, which means that this year it takes place from February 5th to February 11th. It’s a great opportunity to make sure that your homes and workplaces are as safe as possible.

How Common are Burns?

According to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • In 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States.
  • Fire departments responded to a fire every 23 seconds.
  • 3,280 civilians died in fires or from smoke inhalation.
  • 15,700 civilians suffered burn injuries in these fires.

Burns aren’t just caused by exposure to fire and smoke inhalation. They are also caused by exposure to hot liquids. In fact, over 500,000 scald burns happen every year in the U.S. Scalding is the leading cause of burn injuries for children under the age of four.

How Burns Happen

Burns happen for several reasons, including kitchen fires, cigarette-related fires, faulty electrical wiring, and scalding.

Kitchen Fires: Cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires. Home cooking fires often start on ranges and cooktops. Many of these fires begin while someone is frying food.

Smoking-related fires: Cigarettes and smoking materials cause around 90,000 fires in the United States every year. These fires often start because a cigarette is placed in the trash or falls on furniture, such as a mattress or other type of bedding.

Electrical fires: Home electrical fires account for roughly 13% of structure fires in the U.S. Any device powered by electricity carries the potential to start a fire if it is faulty or malfunctioning. Wiring and wiring-related equipment are listed as causes in over 60% of electrical fires.

Scald burns: Scalding injuries are typically due to kitchen-related accidents or water heaters that are set too high. A hot water heater’s thermostat should be set at 120 degrees or lower. Children and older adults are most vulnerable to scalding injuries.

Burn Prevention Tips

Nearly all causes of burns can be prevented by taking the proper precautions.

To prevent home fires:

  • Make sure all smoke detectors in your home are functioning properly.
  • If there are cigarette or cigar smokers in the house, make sure that they smoke in designated areas or, if possible, outside the home. Always dispose of cigarettes in a designated fire-proof bin.
  • Have a property’s electrical wiring regularly inspected for fire-hazards.
  • Have an escape plan for you and your family in the event of a fire.

To prevent scalding injuries:

  • Designate a “no-go” zone around ovens, stoves, grills, or anywhere else that you will be cooking. Remind children not to enter that area when you are cooking.
  • Check the temperature set on your water heater’s thermostat. It is not uncommon for injuries to occur because of hot water from a faucet.
  • Consider installing anti-scalding devices on shower heads and faucets.

Fire safety awareness can prevent almost every home fire. If you live in a rental home or apartment building, don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord or property management about any concerns you have. It is their responsibility to respond to your concerns.

It’s exciting to be at the center of the sports world. Houston is brimming with anticipation as we prepare to host our third Big Game. Football fans from around the country, along with some from around the globe, are filling our city to witness the biggest event in American sports.

Attending a Big Game is an incredible experience, one that comes at a steep price. CBS Sports recently reported that the average cost of a ticket to the Big Game 51 is $4,744. In fact, the largest ticket price recorded for this year’s Big Game is nearly $75,000.

For many football lovers, the price they pay for the ticket is well worth it. But to have the best experience possible, it’s best to be prepared. If you are attending the Big Game 51, you likely have your tickets, lodging and travel lined up. However, you might be asking yourself if there is anything you should keep in mind when it comes to safety.

Safety concerns are completely warranted at any sporting event, especially at an event as massive as the Big Game. To help make sure that your gridiron experience is as safe as possible, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Take These Precautions When Attending the Big Game 51

  • If you are attending the game with a child, always keep them in sight and designate a spot to meet up in case you are separated.
  • If you are attending the game with an older adult with a medical condition, make sure they have any necessary medications on hand and help them as they walk up steps.
  • Be mindful of slick areas or steep flights of stairs, both of which could present a fall risk.
  • If you plan on drinking alcohol, remember that you’ll be safer if you drink in moderation. Always arrange transportation ahead of time when drinking at a game.
  • Make note of where emergency services are located at NRG Stadium. You never know when you or another fan might need assistance, and knowing where to go before an emergency arises can make all the difference.
  • Familiarize yourself with NRG Stadium’s layout before you go to the game. This mapwill help you navigate the stadium, along with locations of any emergency services.

To learn more about what to expect when attending the Big Game 51, check out these resources:

Safety Tips for Big Game Parties

Even if you don’t have tickets to the Big Game, you can still take steps to ensure that your Big Game party is safer for everyone. Perhaps the two biggest concerns surrounding these parties are drunk driving and food poisoning. You can avoid both by:

  • Making sure that you arrange transportation for any partygoers who are drinking alcohol.
  • Offering non-alcoholic options for those who will be driving.
  • Cutting off alcoholic beverages well before the party is over.
  • Keeping all food at a safe temperature. Here’s a food safety guide from the CDCto learn more.
  • Thoroughly washing your hands before handling food.

From diehard fans to casual viewers, the Big Game is the perfect chance to enjoy football with loved ones. We can’t wait for kickoff, and we hope you have a great time watching the game, whether you’ll be at home or in the stands. Game on!

Have you worked more than 40 hours in a week without paid overtime by your employer?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), first enacted in 1938, establishes overtime pay, minimum wage, record-keeping and child labor standards affecting all workers – full-time and part-time – in the private sector as well as in federal, state, and local governments.

In general, unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for those hours worked that exceed 40 in a work week. That overtime pay will not be less than time and one-half of their regular pay. The Act does not mandate overtime pay for weekend or holiday work unless overtime hours are worked on those days.

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hours Division (WHD) is responsible for enforcing our nation’s labor laws. After investigating violations, unpaid wages on behalf of U.S. employees are often recovered.

If you believe that you or a family member may be owed back wages that have been collected by WHD, search our database beginning with the employer’s name. You can submit a claim if you find that you are due money.

Please call us now at 800-444-5000 to explore other legal remedies.

If you or any family member has been injured by an auto accident or any other type of personal injury, it’s important to get an attorney experienced in these types of cases involved immediately. Call 800-444-5000 for your initial free consultation. The Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firmpersonal injury attorney in Houston, can help you determine whether you need a lawyer for any incident or any personal injury case.

Even if you’re not much of a football fan, we’re sure that you know that Houston is hosting the 51st Big Game on Sunday, February 5.

It’s been 13 years since our city 38th Big Game in 2004 and we’ve seen many changes in this short time. Social media will now be the #1 vehicle for viewers to share their experiences. And our 10-day live festival will lure more than 1 million fans with free concerts, local culinary experiences, and fan games.

Know Before You Go

All these activities will significantly impact downtown Houston and surrounding businesses. Here’s what to expect as football fever comes to town, courtesy of the Houston Big Game Host Committee:

  • Check out parking availabilityin advance. You can even pay in advance.
  • Organizers encourage fans to park on the west side of downtown and ride the Mass Transitto their event.
  • Leave plenty of time to arrive at your destination due to event-specific detours and road closures.
  • METRO transportationwill have extended event schedules and additional routes and shuttles.
  • Uber and taxis will be available 24/7 for all event areas.
  • Big Game LIVE will offer valet service to store your bicycle.
  • Big Game ticketholders are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy Game Day Fan Plaza.

Don’t Drink and Drive

Houston is gearing up to entertain thousands of visitors as well as residents and their guests. With more than 10,000 restaurants and bars in the Houston area, there will be plenty of opportunities to party and celebrate your favorite team.

But don’t make the mistake of drinking and driving! Big Game Sunday is one of the biggest drinking days of the year. However, you can enjoy Super Bowl events safely and avoid auto accidentseven while drinking alcohol:

  • Select a reliable designated driver who drinks no alcohol at all.
  • Take public transportation.
  • Call a taxi or Uber driver for door-to-door service.
  • Book a hotel room or stay at a friend’s for the night.

If you’re hosting a Big Game party, hold your guests’ keys and don’t release them to anyone who has had too much to drink. Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages too.

Don’t let Big Game 51 be a tragic event – drive safely and sober!

Understanding why tires blow out is essential to any driver’s ability to not only prevent a blowout, but also to handle their vehicle safely in the event one occurs.

A blowout refers to the popping of a tire due to a sudden or gradual decrease in air pressure. The decrease can be caused by a variety of things, including underinflation, unnoticed punctures by screws or nails, quick changes in weather temperature, and impact damage caused by hitting an object or pothole in the road. Anything that prevents the tire from being able to properly support the weight of the vehicle and allows air to escape quickly is a potential source of a blowout.

In the event of a blowout, drivers need to act quickly and calmly to prevent the vehicle from slamming into the driver in front of them or swerving to hit the drivers on either side of them. In the event of a blowout, which sounds like a loud explosion, the car will quickly decelerate and begin to pull hard to the left or right, depending on the side the tire blew out on. One can apply the accelerator to compensate for the sudden deceleration, while steering against the pull. This should help the vehicle stabilize and allow you to begin to slow down and pull over.

While seeing blown out tires on the side of the road is no big deal for the passerby, for the driver of the vehicle that was affected, it is anything but. Knowing why tires blow out can help prevent these accidents and better prepare us all.

Invokamet is a drug prescribed for the purpose of lowering blood sugar levels in combination with diet and exercise in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is comprised of two different drugs, Invokana (canagliflozin) and metformin and is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Canagliflozin is supposed to assist the kidneys in removing glucose from the bloodstream and metformin is designed to lower glucose production in the liver and allow the intestines to absorb less glucose. The manufacturer cites a potential side benefit of incidental weight loss for patients with type 2 diabetes, as well.

In addition to the potential benefits of Invokamet, however, the drug also carries with it the risk of various side effects, many of which may result in very serious or potentially life-threatening consequences for the patient. Common side effects include urinary tract infection, yeast infection, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, frequent urination, muscle pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. The list of grave possibilities includes lactic acidosis, a buildup of lactic acid in the blood which can cause death, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (an increased level of ketones in the blood), serious kidney injury, serious urinary tract infection, increased risk of heart attack, and broken bones. In particular, two of these maladies can be either very confusing and/or very difficult to detect. In the case of lactic acidosis, a number of the most common side effects cited by the manufacturer’s warnings (nausea/ vomiting, muscle pain, feeling weak or tired) may also be symptoms of this condition, leading to confusion by the patient as to whether or not they should seek emergency help. In the case of DKA, there is a particular risk that blood glucose levels may appear normal when tested, potentially resulting in delayed diagnosis or treatment.

Over the last two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued several warnings about use of Invokamet. In September 2015, they warned that the drug might cause an increased risk of bone fractures and potentially cause a decrease in bone density. In December 2015, they warned that the drug had been linked to a number of serious side effects that might result in hospitalization or require emergency room treatment, including serious blood infections, kidney injury, diabetic ketoacidosis, urosepsis, kidney infection, and renal failure. In January 2016, the FDA mandated that Janssen make changes to their labeling indicating use of the drug may entail an increased risk of acute kidney injury. In May 2016, they warned that it may also cause an increased risk of leg, foot, or toe amputation.

Prior to the warnings, there were at least 73 confirmed cases of diabetic ketoacidosis and 19 cases of blood or kidney infection reported. Lawsuits now contend that the manufacturer, Janssen, was aware of the potential hazards and side effects of taking Invokamet prior to the issuance of these warnings by the FDA, but nevertheless failed to warn either doctors or patients. The contention is that if warned, doctors would have prescribed differently for patients with type 2 diabetes and patients would have been monitored much more closely for conditions such as signs of heart issues, renal impairment, or high ketone levels.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by patients who have been harmed by taking Invokamet. Many have resulted in large settlements for reimbursement of medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, or for other compensable losses available through a wrongful death claim. It is important to note, there is no class action lawsuit on this against Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Any litigation by patients adversely affected by Invokamet, must be initiated by the individual. There has also been no broad settlement from the manufacturer, as of yet. Many cases are still in litigation and can take up to several years to resolve. Nonetheless, if you have been a victim of any of these adverse and serious side effects and wish to pursue litigation, you should consult with an experienced lawyer to discuss your options.

What is an Endoscopy Examination?

An endoscopy is a procedure that a doctor uses to see inside the esophagus (throat), the stomach, and the upper section of the small intestine. The medical tool that is used is called an endoscope, and it is made up of a camera mounted on a thin, bendable scope that is flexible enough to slide down the throat and take pictures of the parts that need to be examined. The doctor can record images and see the areas on a television screen. There is some general concern that a patient can fall victim to endoscope bacterial infections from the treatment.

The procedure is often used to diagnose various health problems. The danger of endoscope bacterial infections is from the use of contaminated endoscopes. The endoscopes can become sullied from blood, other body fluids, or bacteria during routine use. After use, they must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The problem is that due to how they are constructed, it is hard to get them 100% clean. Sensitive scopes may break down from intense heat. Bacteria can form on the inside surfaces, and as a result, infections related to endoscope use can be spread from person to person. There are two basic types of contamination. One is a scope contaminated by a prior patient, and the other is contamination from a patient’s own bacteria.

What Are Endoscope Bacterial Infections, and Why Are They So Dangerous?

That is the question on many people’s minds who have received the examination. The headlines that have captured everyone’s attention are about a ‘super bug,’ called CRE, that is resistant to drugs and other treatments. These types of endoscope bacterial infections are hard for doctors to manage and, in some cases, lead to death. Some of the symptoms of having the ‘superbug’ vary from person to person. After an endoscope procedure it is wise to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swelling or Soreness
  • Under the Skin Sores That Don’t Heal
  • Lethargy

There are very few antibiotics that can cure a CRE infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death rate from CRE might be as high as 50%. This is the reason CRE has earned the reputation of a “killer bacteria.”

The Case of Antonia Cerda

The Estate of Antonia Cerda, a 48-year-old wife and mother, has sued Olympus Corp. of the Americas, a leading endoscope manufacturer in Los Angeles, for wrongful death. Allegedly, high-level executives at Olympus chose not to warn hospitals in the U.S. about the “superbug” infection that occurred from using their scopes. Mrs. Cerda became ill and eventually passed away from an endoscope bacterial infection from a contaminated endoscope. The suit also accuses Olympus of negligence for selling a “defective” scope and presenting it as safe to use. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the design of the Olympus scope is such that endoscope bacterial infections may remain even after being cleaned according to Olympus’s exact specifications. This puts each patient receiving an examination at risk. The FDA said that Olympus failed to prove that the scope could be thoroughly cleaned. Mrs. Cerda is survived by her spouse and four children.

If Infected, It Is Important to Get Help

The Senate Health Committee released a report in January 2016 stating that Olympus knew their scopes could transmit infection as far back as 2012 but failed or chose not to warn the FDA, physicians, and hospitals until three years later. During that time, hundreds of patients became infected. On January 15, 2016, Olympus recalled the scopes in question for a redesign, hopefully lowering the risk of infections.

Anyone who has had an endoscopic examination before January 15, 2016, should be aware of associated symptoms and consult a doctor for any questions. For any individual that may have been injured, or has a family member that has died, it is recommended to consult with an attorney. An attorney can steer a victim through challenging and traumatic times, and help seek financial compensation to assist with medical bills, lost income, and more.

By now, many people in the U.S. have heard of the Zika virus, as it dominated the airwaves for much of late 2015 and early 2016. The sudden conversation regarding the virus may make it seem like Zika has only been around for a short time, but it was actually discovered in Uganda back in 1947. It bears resemblance to yellow fever and West Nile, the latter of which has a consistent presence in Texas. Zika is always much more common around the Equator and in areas that produce a tropical or subtropical climate, but until recently, Zika was confined to Africa and Asia. In 2015, though, an outbreak in Brazil brought disease fears closer to the U.S., and with the onset of summer, areas of Florida and Texas are now at risk of localized spread of the virus.

Zika is an Emerging Threat

Zika is primarily spread through mosquito activity, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in particular. The Aedes aegypti prefers warmer climates, though the CDC believes it could migrate as far north as New York City. Aedes aegypti populations are expected to be more common and more concentrated in areas along the Gulf Coast, especially in cities like Houston. That’s because Aedes aegypti, according to the CDC, is well adapted to surviving in areas that humans inhabit, and have adapted to surviving and finding sources of water inside homes.

Zika is a low-level threat to most people, and in most cases, the patient will experience no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they typically include fever, rash, joint pain and headaches. These symptoms almost always resolve within a week, with no lasting complications. In some rare instances, though, Zika can result in Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can be life threatening and involves spreading muscle weakness and pain.

The most worrying element of the Zika outbreak, though, is the damage it can do to developing fetuses. The New England Journal of Medicine published evidence regarding Zika complications in April 2016, and confirmed the link between Zika infection in fetuses and microcephaly. Microcephaly is a devastating birth defect that refers to a dramatically reduced brain and head size in newborns. This condition is irreversible and cognitive outcomes are generally poor. Children born with microcephaly tend to live shorter lives, as well.

Although testing methods have improved in recent months, it’s still extremely difficult for a pregnant woman to know whether she has contracted Zika, and for her doctor to detect complications with the pregnancy related to Zika infection. For this reason, pregnant women living or traveling within the range of Aedes aegypti are encouraged to ward off mosquitos with repellants and long sleeved clothing.

Vaccines are being developed to combat Zika, but even though initial human trials are already underway, some researchers believe it could take years before a vaccine is approved for use by the public.

Predatory Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is already taking note of product manufacturers looking to capitalize on Zika fears. In fact, the FTC sent out several warning letters to manufacturers in August alone, and the letter states that product manufacturers must do the following if they are going to market their products as a way to prevent Zika infection:

  1. If the manufacturer claims that its products repel Aedes aegypti, then the manufacturer must produce human clinical testing that specifically includes methodology relevant to the Aedes aegypti  It’s not enough for a clinical test to demonstrate effectiveness to mosquitos in general – it must target Aedes aegypti in particular.
  2. If the manufacturer claims that its product provides full body protection (even if only applied to a small area), then the manufacturer must produce reliable, competent scientific evidence that this is indeed the case.
  3. If a manufacturer has made such claims without scientific evidence, they must immediately remove those claims from their marketing materials or they face legal consequences.

In addition to fines and forced recalls, companies in violation of FTC rules may be ordered to pay back consumers. It’s a problem that comes under the purview of state attorney general offices as well. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman confirmed in early August that his office has already sent out cease and desist letters to several companies, threatening them with legal action if they do not stop marketing products claiming to prevent Zika infection.

Product manufacturers that are likely to be in violation of FTC standards include those marketing ultrasonic repellers, botanical oils, wristband repellants, anti-Zika spray repellants and even anti-Zika condoms (because the virus can also spread through sexual contact).

Product manufactures that make these claims without providing sufficient evidence may also expose themselves to class-action lawsuits from consumers, especially among those that purchased the product and then later suffered from a Zika infection.

Zika and Liability

Twenty-nine confirmed cases of Zika have already been detected in Houston, though all 29 victims were infected while traveling to Central or South America. This still represents a significant health hazard, as mosquitoes that bite infected people can then go on to infect others. And though there haven’t been any confirmed cases of locally transmitted Zika in Houston (at least as of late August 2016), county and city health experts believe it is only a matter of time before it does happen.

It’s up to pregnant women and their doctors, then, to protect themselves, and pregnant women in particular should expect their doctor to take every step necessary to detect the Zika virus. Blood and urine testing can confirm a Zika case, and should be done if a pregnant woman has any reason to believe they have been exposed to Aedes aegypti bites. These tests are improving all the time, and doctors should always provide the most current version to ensure optimal speed and accuracy for a diagnosis. Testing is essential for providing pregnant women with all the information they need to make decisions regarding their pregnancy. Doctors that do not provide adequate testing are doing their patients a disservice, and may be liable if they do not detect a Zika case in time for a pregnant woman to respond appropriately.

Zika can spread through sexual contact, so people must also take steps to inform their sexual partners and reduce the chances of transmitting the disease. The CDC has confirmed that Zika can survive longer in semen than in other bodily fluids, and that condoms can reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus. Safe sex practices, then, are considered a must for men who have been exposed to Aedes aegypt.

Finally, a municipality may be liable for Zika cases if local counties and cities do not properly monitor and react to the spread of the virus. This can be difficult to prove, and Houston is taking significant steps in monitoring Zika. For example, according to Microsoft, its drones are surveying mosquito hotspots to detect and trap mosquito populations for further study – an initiative known as Project Premonition. According to a Microsoft news release, Project Premonition is already generating hundreds of gigabytes of mosquito data every week in Houston, helping city officials and epidemiologists map the virus’s progress into the city.

The fight against Zika is just beginning, and how doctors, governments and others react to it will determine how it spreads, where it spreads, and if it even spreads at all. But until the battle over Zika is won, people need to stay informed.

It’s no mystery why so many victims neglect to seek out the assistance of burn injury lawyers. Between the painful recovery, the social stigma, and the persuasive attempts of those at fault, seeking legal aid can seem like a minor consideration, or even a detrimental course of action. But proper legal representation is one of the most important parts of the recovery process due to the nature of insurance and our medical system.

A burn victim already has a lot to deal with, and it can be difficult to ensure that one is receiving the appropriate medical attention from the confines of a hospital bed. When this kind of incident is the result of negligence on the part of an employer or other person or entity charged with maintaining the safety of those exposed to harm, victims can find themselves harassed and pressured into silence. A lot of these cases result in the victim being blamed for someone else’s negligence.

Those that have been harmed by the negligence of others deserve to have legal representation assist them in ensuring that their medical needs are properly tended to. Even if you’re not the suing type, a consultation with reputable burn injury lawyers will help you determine if you’ve been wronged, and what you can do about it.

Sometimes, the victims can’t make this call for themselves because of the nature and extent of their injuries. If you know someone in such a circumstance, the best thing you can do to protect them and their interests is to speak with reputable burn injury lawyers that will be able to determine if they have grounds for a legal claim.

Aviation accident causes are many, but most fall into four distinct categories: pilot error, mechanical failure, inclement weather, and air traffic controller error. Of the four, pilot error is by far the most common. No one is perfect and everyone makes a mistake sooner or later. Unfortunately, when a major mistake is made by a pilot, the consequences can be severe.

While flight is generally the safest way to travel, it can be considerably less safe in small planes with private pilots. A large percentage of accidents occur in private planes. Unfortunately, when things go wrong at high altitudes or during high-speed landings, the results can be fatal.

Mechanical failure is the next most common of the four aviation accident causes outlined here. Mechanical failure can occur for a variety of reasons, including improper installation, poor maintenance, or a manufacturing issue with one of the many parts onboard.

The third most common reason for aircraft accidents is inclement weather. Poor weather can cause numerous problems with an aircraft. Potential issues include ignition of fuel tanks or electrical outages by way of a lightning strike, or lack of visibility while attempting to navigate or land.

Air traffic controller error is the fourth most common cause of accidents. Generally speaking, air traffic controllers are highly trained and specialized professionals who operate with a variety of safeguards and protocols. However, every now and then something may go wrong, unfortunately with potentially dire consequences.

When suffering from depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or another mental health condition, people may struggle to find relief. If other treatments fail, doctors may prescribe from a wide array of medications. However, certain prescription meds like Abilify (ariprazole) can cause compulsive gambling and other trigger-based obsessive behaviors.

Mental disorders such as depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Two of the main chemicals (otherwise known as neurotransmitters) in the brain are dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is associated with the part of the brain that recognizes pleasure, happiness, and reward, and compels us to act in our lives to receive said rewards and pleasures. For instance, if someone is depressed, their dopamine level may be low, causing them to recognize that they need to clean the house and that they would feel better if it was clean, but they feel unable to physically act and begin the cleaning process. Serotonin, on the other hand, sends signals between nerve cells and is the main regulator of our mood and libido. A low level of serotonin could result in a low or depressed state of mind. Any imbalance of these two chemicals can cause mental disorders. Drugs like Abilify are intended to correct any imbalance by either decreasing or increasing dopamine or serotonin in the brain.

Compulsive behavior is defined as any act that is repeated persistently. A compulsion can begin as an activity that brings someone joy, such as winning a friendly bet. Over time, however, the compulsion can start to become unfulfilling, no longer bringing pleasure, or even to the point where it causes harm. Eventually, the person continues the act regardless of whether they feel it is good for them or not, much like an addiction.

So how is Abilify linked to compulsive gambling? The drug, which generated over $6 billion in 2013 alone, acts on the receptors of the brain for serotonin and dopamine. In a normal brain, these chemicals respond appropriately to pleasurable activities. However, the active ingredient in this popular drug can over-stimulate the receptors, allowing for an overdose of sorts on dopamine. This high that is experienced after activities such as sex, gambling, or overeating becomes increasingly addicting and almost impossible to stop.

Multiple case studies have been conducted to prove the connection between Abilify and compulsive gambling. Yet the manufacturer (Bristol-Myers Squibb) continues to not only sell the drug as an add-on to other anti-depressants, but also advertises it as a quick solution to depression. Commercial ads even state that some patients saw relief from depression symptoms in as early as one to two weeks. Aside from brief mentions of “unusual behavior,” televised ads do not warn consumers of the potential for compulsions to gamble. In fact, the manufacturer did not include any type of warning on Abilify regarding compulsive gambling until November 2015, even though drug regulators in Europe had been aware of the dangerous potential since November 2012. As a result, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of plaintiffs who claim that Bristol-Myers Squibb was aware of or should have been aware of the potential for compulsions to gamble and failed to properly inform consumers. Damages to cover financial losses as well as compensation for pain and suffering have been sought.

A case example of a lawsuit regarding the connection between Abilify and compulsive gambling is Nicholas Meyer’s case in Indiana. Meyer claimed that after beginning the drug in November 2010, he developed a previously non-existent compulsion to gamble. He claimed his addiction lost him over $45,000 and that “the injurious impact… on [his] brain constitutes a physical injury, and as a result… [he] has suffered, and will continue to suffer, neuro-psychiatric and physical injury, emotional distress, harm, and economic loss.” After Meyer had discontinued use of Abilify, he claimed his compulsive gambling stopped. In situations like Meyer’s, the urge to gamble becomes uncontrollable and can result in terrible ramifications such as emotional pain and mental suffering.

The devastation that a gambling addiction can cause to a family is remarkable. Accumulating massive amounts of debt, draining a family’s life savings, and/or lying and hiding reckless actions from a spouse can tear families apart. If you or someone you know has taken Abilify and suffers from compulsive gambling, speaking with an attorney may help you understand your legal rights and help determine if your case warrants a lawsuit.

Onglyza and Kombiglyze are two of the many drugs intended for use in Type 2 diabetes patients. They are also known by their trade names saxagliptin and metformin, respectively. At one time, both were considered to be promising front-line options in the fight against the diabetes epidemic, and though they do provide some symptom resolution, research is also uncovering some problematic risks with these medications. And the research is only beginning, along with legal action against the drugs’ manufacturers – Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.

The Many Dangers of New Diabetic Drugs

Saxagliptin hit the market in 2007 and metformin in 1995, though they had been known for a while before that. In pharmaceutical terms, that makes metformin and saxagliptin young, and they aren’t the first promising, new diabetic drugs to eventually find their way into the crosshairs. Several drugs that behave like saxagliptin have been developed and marketed under other names, and also produced worrying effects.

According to Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, and later confirmed by several scientific papers, saxagliptin and metformin are effective at reducing the concentration of glucose in the blood. It’s not completely understood how Onglyza and Kombiglyze produce their effects, but it is known that they inhibit the production of glucose by the liver. In a patient with Type 2 diabetes, the rate of glucose production in the liver is three times that of a healthy person. By taking saxagliptin and metformin, this rate of glucose production can be cut by a third.

Those are significant benefits, but at what cost? Of the two, saxagliptin is generating more attention, specifically due to an April 2016 FDA statement calling for additional warnings on the drug’s packaging. This warning regarded heart failure, as it is one of the most serious and more common complications due to saxagliptin use. This came after a review of approximately 16,500 patients using the medication. Of these, more than 1,200 reported a major cardiovascular event. This may have included heart attack, stroke, or a deep thrombotic event, all of which can be fatal. Currently, Onglyza and Kombiglyze are considered serious threats to heart health, and during the FDA review, 14 of 15 reviewers agreed to add additional warnings. The 15th reviewer recommended withdrawing saxagliptin from the U.S. market completely.

Although yet to be confirmed, medications like saxagliptin and metformin are also believed to potentially harm the pancreas. A 2013 study regarding some diabetic inhibitors found that when the medication was administered to rats, it caused several changes to the pancreas, some of which could directly lead to pancreatic cancer. A review by the FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have not found the same link in humans, but representatives from the FDA acknowledge that further research will be needed to disprove the link.

And that research may not come soon enough. Some victims of these dangerous drugs are already taking legal action against Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. A multi-district lawsuit involving 53 cases was filed on August 26, 2013, concerning four branded diabetes drugs. Saxagliptin and metformin are among the drugs involved in the claim. The litigation was pushed forward because the 53 cases involved highly similar case histories, including an onset of pancreatic cancer. Such cases may set a precedent for Onglyza and Kombiglyze lawsuits.

Another worrisome case involves a Chicago woman who died in October 2013, after three years of taking saxagliptin. According to the woman’s daughter, who filed the lawsuit on her behalf, the victim suffered a heart attack just one year after being prescribed the drug and had to be hospitalized. In 2013, the victim had to be hospitalized twice more for heart complications before dying from heart failure.

Clearly, people have reason to be skeptical of Onglyza and Kombiglyze. Personal injury attorneys are also concerned about the safety research surrounding both drugs, and can use the latest scientific findings to help build a case for a victim. By the time patients realize their diabetes drugs are causing their heart or pancreas problems, it might be too late. The drug manufacturers who rush products to market and ignore and/or suppress critical research findings should be held accountable for the injuries they cause and the lives they disrupt.

It may seem like media hype to suggest exploding e-cigarettes are a concern for consumers, but what was once considered an anomaly is now getting the attention it deserves. Millions of Americans use vapor devices as an alternative to smoking, and they do so because they believe that vaping is safer. But there is a major problem concerning the lithium-ion batteries that are installed in vaping devices, and it’s causing serious injuries.

An Unregulated Industry

It’s a dangerous combination – an industry flooded with cheaply made products and an industry that is unregulated. Even though vaping devices have been around for years, there is still little oversight of product safety and quality. This is especially dangerous where it concerns lithium-ion batteries, which are installed in nearly every vaping device on the market. Although U.S. consumers have grown accustomed to lithium-ion batteries in all of their favorite electronic devices, such as cell phones and tablets, they can be extremely dangerous if not manufactured to standard. Any defect in the battery’s manufacturing can cause it to destabilize with use, and then rupture and detonate if the conditions are right.

Because regulators haven’t caught up to the industry, there are few statistics available regarding exploding e-cigarettes. Although one such statistic comes from the U.S. Fire Administration, which confirms that between 2009 and 2014, 25 people were injured by defective vaping devices. However, this number surely underestimates the trend, as the popularity of vaping has increased dramatically in the previous few years, according to industry experts.

So, too, has the incidence rate of defective products causing injuries. Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is one of a handful of burn units that has become familiar with exploding e-cigarettes. According to the burn unit, at least one person every month is admitted to their department with injuries resulting from a malfunctioning vaping device. And in most cases, these injuries are serious enough to require skin grafting. Even then, they often leave permanent scarring.

Rachel Berven is among the victims of poorly made vaping devices. In March, she filed legal action against a retailer that, she claims, sold her a defective vaping product. Her incident occurred in February, a month prior. Berven had, like many others, switched from smoking to vaping to preserve her health, but in February, while the device was in her mouth, it exploded, tearing a gaping wound in her face, spraying battery acid across her body and legs, and cracking three of her teeth.

A Bomb in the Battery

The U.S. Fire Administration has found that battery malfunctions are the only known cause of exploding e-cigarettes, and in 80% of cases, the incident occurs when the battery is being charged. It is during charging that the battery is often stressed the most, especially if it is accidentally overcharged, which is more likely to happen when using an off-brand charger. Still, this means 20% of incidents happen while the device is in operation.

And even if the device isn’t charging, it can still present a significant risk. For example, in Scotland, a man died when his device caught fire near an oxygen tank, which then exploded violently. From an engineering standpoint, vaping devices are unique in how they behave when their batteries malfunction. Their compact design means that when the battery fails and ignites, it acts like a rocket, expelling ignited fuel (in this case, battery acid) at incredible speeds. It’s this force that produces the explosion, and also why so many victims are left with deep tissue damage as a result of the product’s failure.

With little help from regulatory agencies, it is up to consumers to choose products that can be trusted. Cheap, poorly made parts are behind most of the product failures, so consider such devices with skepticism. And when injury does occur, victims should hold the negligent manufacturers and retailers accountable.

Fortunately, this message is gaining ground, as more and more lawsuits are expected against device manufacturers and retailers in the near future.

The Zimmer Persona knee replacement, like many joint replacements, is intended for use in patients that are suffering from frequent pain and loss of mobility in the affected area. In the vast majority of cases, joint replacement surgeries are for patients over 50 years of age, as this is when arthritis becomes more common. However, the Persona is different, as it was designed for use in younger patients. These are patients that have injured their knees in sports or other activities, and the device is meant to mimic the action of younger, more active joints. Unfortunately, the unique design hasn’t made it immune to many of the same problems that other joint replacements have, and these complications can leave a patient in terrible shape.

An Industry-Wide Recall

In March 2015, Zimmer instituted a voluntary recall for all of its Persona knee replacement devices. In response, the FDA instituted its own Class II recall for the knee replacement components, a recall believed to have affected 11,658 devices. A Class II recall means the device or drug in question may cause temporary adverse health consequences if a patient is exposed for a period of time. However, some experts believe this underestimates the impact that a faulty Persona knee replacement can have on a patient.

According to the company, the recall was done in response to reports of radiolucent lines and component loosening. The component loosening is easy to understand, as medical devices can and do frequently loosen following installation. This can cause components to drift and contact other tissues in the body. A situation that can result in serious pain and tearing.

The radiolucent lines, an obscure medical term, is much more unsettling. Technically, it refers to areas on X-rays that are visible. When used in this context, it means that doctors are noticing, through X-rays, that spaces are building up and widening between parts of the implant. When a doctor notices radiolucent lines on imaging, it signals that serious underlying complications are likely developing. For example, fluid may seep into cracks in the implant, exerting more and more pressure until it snaps apart. Fluid and tissue buildup in the implant can also create pressure on surrounding bone, damaging it in a process known as osteolysis.

If unchecked, osteolysis can cause total bone failure and fractures, a complication that is well-known to doctors managing joint replacement cases. Even worse, when an implant fails, additional surgeries are required to remove or repair it, and this entails other risks, such as damage to nerves. While the FDA may classify such complications as temporary, some victims would likely take issue with that.

A History of Product Issues

About a month before Zimmer recalled its Persona knee replacement components, it sent an urgent notice to doctors, hospitals, and surgeons, telling them to immediately quarantine all Persona components. It’s a process that Zimmer is all too familiar with.

In recent years, many medical devices have been pulled from the market for failure rates, and as one of the largest device manufacturers in the world, Zimmer has been among the companies required to do so.

In 2008, Zimmer instituted a short recall for its Durom Cup hip replacements. Zimmer representatives claimed that the recall was necessary because surgeons performing the procedure were not trained well enough. However, several experts, including one of Zimmer’s own paid consultants, found that the implant’s circular edge made it nearly impossible to keep it in place.

In 2010, Zimmer was required to recall approximately 70,000 MIS Tibial devices, also due to early loosening. And in 2014, the company’s flagship product, the NexGen Knee replacement, couldn’t escape the pattern of recalls when more than 40,000 were removed due to defective screws.

Zimmer has dealt with several waves of lawsuits as a result of its defective implants, and partitioned $70 million alone for damages resulting from the Durom Cup. Similar funds have been allocated for NexGen and MIS failures, and other funds will likely be set aside due to Persona failures.

A knee replacement failure is a medical nightmare for victims, with pain and extensive tissue damage among the common complications. It can take years to recover from a joint replacement failure, and in some cases, complications may be permanent. It’s important, then, that victims consult with an attorney as soon as possible to explore their potential legal claim.

Benicar, also known by its trade name Olmesartan, was developed in 1995 by Japanese pharmaceutical company Sankyo. It is an effective treatment of high blood pressure, though it operates in the body differently than the more popular ACE inhibitors. Instead, it blocks the binding of hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict. It’s a slight difference in function, but the result is the same – the vessels are kept open and flowing. Since its development, there have been several other branded drugs that operate like Olmesartan, including Tribenzor or Azor.

Sankyo spent nearly $1 billion marketing its drug to doctors and hospitals around the world. It engaged in its heaviest marketing from 2002 to 2008, and during this time, Sankyo claimed that Benicar was a safer, more effective way to treat high blood pressure. And while the drug is considered safer than a lot of other blood pressure medications, it can still cause severe complications in some people.

Complications That Can Cause Agony

For years, most research verified Sankyo’s claims that Olmesartan was safe. In fact, it was once believed to be no more dangerous than a placebo, which would have been quite the feat given its pharmacological profile. However, in the medical world, claims like these are usually too good to be true. And so it is with Olmesartan.

From 2008 to 2011, the Mayo Clinic began seeing a slow trickle of patients complaining of severe, chronic diarrhea and “sprue-like enteropathy,” which refers to an intestinal disease that causes malnourishment and weight loss. The Mayo Clinic recorded its findings with 22 patients who exhibited the symptoms during the three years of observation, and in every case ruled out celiac disease as the cause.

The common factor in all 22 patients was the administration of Benicar. In 14 of the 22 patients, weight loss was dramatic enough to require hospitalization, and in 15 of the patients, profound villous atrophy was found during intestinal biopsies. Villous atrophy is a dangerous condition in which the intestines shed their lining and lose their texture, also losing their ability to absorb nutrients in the process. The symptom profile is similar to celiac disease, but the degree of weight loss and malnutrition are much greater.

The Mayo Clinic followed up with 18 of the 22 patients who suffered sprue-like enteropathy, and found that after removing Olmesartan from their regimen, all of the patients improved. Although the Mayo Clinic believes more research is needed, the FDA has acknowledged that there is likely a link between Benicar and some intestinal diseases. Unfortunately, as digestive issues are often explained by many factors, it’s likely that some victims of Olmesartan don’t know that their pains are due to the drug. Many patients, for instance, are first admitted to the hospital for dehydration or abdominal pain, both of which are ubiquitous enough to be blamed on a variety of conditions.

That’s little comfort to George Williams, who, in February 2014, filed a lawsuit against Sankyo due to severe intestinal complications he suffered as a result of taking Olmesartan. According to Williams, the sprue-like enteropathy and chronic diarrhea he experienced was so severe that he had to be hospitalized for more than 100 days. The malnutrition he suffered, along with the treatment required to reverse his symptoms, resulted in a compression fracture in his spine and cataracts. He can no longer process food normally and must rely on a feeding tube to provide him his nutrition for the rest of his life. Williams will likely face extensive medical expenses, along with a major loss of life quality, for the rest of his days.

Worryingly, there is no current way for doctors to predict who will have a reaction to Benicar. This is the kind of research, of course, that patients hope pharmaceutical companies perform before releasing their products to the market. If, after all, there is $1 billion available for advertising purposes, why couldn’t more of that money have been dedicated to additional safety research? This is the question that more and more victims of Olmesartan are asking, and they are taking action against Sankyo in the process.

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise and becoming a severe problem for more and more Americans. Age, obesity, and lifestyle all contribute to the onset of this disease. This has led drug companies to feverishly compete in creating and delivering medicines for the treatment and relief of this illness. These medications, for the most part, are considered safe, some more than others. Unfortunately, some of the drugs that are available have side-effects that range from unpleasant to potentially deadly. One of the medications that has been linked to severely dangerous side-effects including pancreatic cancer and heart failure is called Onglyza, and it is manufactured by a company known as AstraZeneca. This drug maker may have kept vital information about harmful side-effects from patients and doctors. The medication has been on the market for years and has been prescribed to thousands of people unaware that it could be life-threatening. Instead, these people trusted the manufacturer and that the medicine would help them.

Anyone that has been prescribed Onglyza should be aware of the following symptoms linked to harmful side-effects:

  • Hives
  • A stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and/or coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet, or ankles
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upper stomach pain that spreads to the back
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Faster than average heart rate
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Headache

If any of these symptoms or allergic reactions happen, get in touch with a doctor immediately.

One Victim’s Story

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Onglyza in 2009. Studies have since shown a 27% increase in heart failure risk in patients that take this drug. Studies also suggest a link to pancreatic cancer.

A Chicago woman sued AstraZeneca, alleging that Onglyza use caused her mother’s death. The estate of Lillie Ree Gibson filed the wrongful death lawsuit because Gibson was prescribed this medicine on doctor’s orders in 2010, leading to heart problems and death on October 31, 2013. Mrs. Gibson trusted the manufacturer to produce a drug that was safe to use or barring that, at least they would warn of the possible severe health risks. As the suit maintains, neither of those occurred and Lillie Ree Gibson suffered from heart failure on more than one occasion, until it ultimately took her life, leaving behind a distraught family that wanted answers. It was necessary to file a lawsuit to get those answers and perhaps to throw enough light on the dangers of Onglyza use to spare others the same fate.

The Food and Drug Administration finally issued a warning in February 2014 and updated it in 2016 reporting that particular type-2 diabetes medicines such as Onglyza contain active ingredients that may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer and heart failure.

Anyone who is suffering from harm or serious injury or has a family member that has gotten pancreatic cancer or died from taking this medication should consider contacting a lawyer that specializes in Onglyza lawsuits. Reputable firms can take on the Big Pharma companies on behalf of individuals who have suffered injury or loss. Medical expenses, loss of work, or worse as a result of being prescribed this medication can be as devastating as diabetes itself.

The money gained from a successful suit will not end the physical and emotional pain from taking Onglyza, but compensation, including punitive damages, may be available that will help with the healthcare expenses connected to pancreatic cancer and heart failure, wage loss, and perhaps bring some comfort to the injured. Law firms exist to strike a fair balance between people and big corporations. It is within everyone’s rights to seek help if they have taken drugs that have been misrepresented. Some might consider it a duty to be a part of something that will make these big companies think twice before creating drugs that are supposed to make us feel better but instead end up causing more damage, even death.

For anyone who rides a bike, whether as their primary mode of transportation or simply as a recreational outlet on summer weekends, it is helpful to know what role bicycle accident attorneys can play should the bike rider experience an accident caused by the negligence of another person. In 2012 alone, 726 cyclists were killed in bike accidents involving automobiles. 40% of those deaths were caused by drivers of motor vehicles rear-ending the bike rider and 30% were labeled “unknown,” meaning the cause was never clear. Bike accidents are a rampant issue for cyclists. Cyclists are often treated as if they do not have the same rights as drivers in automobiles. Experienced and knowledgeable lawyers can help to prove to the bike riders and the at-fault party of the accident that they do, in fact, have many rights – when suffering from injuries caused by another person’s negligence.

 

Many newer model vehicles have automated safety features, including tire pressure monitoring systems. Although cars have gotten smart enough to sense when your tire pressure is low, no major vehicle manufacture has yet to roll out a system to monitor whether your tire tread is worn.

If you have your car serviced as recommended, your local auto mechanic should be monitoring your tire tread and mileage and advising on when to replace your tires. However, you should also be monitoring the wear and tear on your tires. Here is what to look for:

  • Uneven wear patterns
  • Cracks
  • Foreign objects
  • Wear or trauma

When you need to replace your tires depends on what type of tires are on your vehicle and how many miles are on your tires. Periodically monitor the wear and tear on your tires to anticipate when your tires will need to be replaced. New tires are an investment, but investing in quality tires can prevent problems such as flats and blow outs later down the road.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Bus travel presents risks of large scale collisions and major injuries. Whether it’s a high school football team traveling to an away game, tour group heading to the casinos, or Metro bus transporting passengers around town, similar risks exist.

Recently, these risks became a reality. A tour bus crashed into a tractor-trailer near Palm Springs, California, killing 13, including the driver, and injuring 31. The tour bus was returning to Los Angeles from a casino 135 miles away in Thermal. The impact occurred at 5:17 a.m. in the early morning hours before dawn.

The speed of the impact caused the bus to enter 15 feet into the trailer. It is estimated that the tractor-trailer was traveling at a speed of 5 mph when the bus crashed into its trailer at approximately 65 mph.

The cause of the collision was not immediately evident. Investigation has now revealed that the bus driver did not apply the brakes before the impact. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney for a consultation.

When most people think about an employee bringing a lawsuit arising out of the course and scope of employment, disputes about wages, overtime, and discrimination come to mind. Recently, DeMeco Ryans sued the Houston Texans over the condition of the turf at NRG Stadium.

NFL linebacker DeMeco Ryans tore his Achilles tendon while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Houston Texans on November 2, 2014. The Eagles placed him on injury reserve. He was released on February 24, 2016, and is currently a free agent.

Ryans had a promising NFL career that actually started as the Texans’ first pick of the second round of the 2006 NFL draft. He went on to be named the 2006 Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and selected to two Pro Bowls.

The lawsuit filed in Harris County alleges that the turf at NRG Stadium “prematurely ended DeMeco’s noteworthy NFL career.” DeMeco is not the first to bring a lawsuit over the field conditions at NRG Stadium. In 2012, former Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann also brought legal action after a career-ending ACL injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury through no fault of your own, contact a board certified personal injury attorney for a consultation.

Employee safety should always be a concern for every business, but even at the safest companies, worker’s compensation or non-subscriber claims are inevitable. However, if an employer has effective safety measures in place, they will greatly reduce the risk of serious on-the-job injuries. It’s these companies that potential employees should focus on, because being hurt on the job can be a disaster, both medically and financially. In a perfect world, people would be able to prioritize prospective employers by something akin to a safety rating.

At companies who make safety a priority, you should expect that before a new-hire begins their first day on the job, they should be briefed on all safety standards, and these standards should be provided in writing so there is no mistaking them. If an employee is hurt, an accident report should be produced immediately and it should coincide with the employee’s account.

It’s also important to remember that worker’s compensation claims can be complicated in Texas. That’s because Texas allows companies to opt out of state compensation programs if they choose to do so. However, opting out means they give away their protection from negligence lawsuits, so if an employee is hurt on the job, and their employer does not provide assistance, the employee may file legal action for negligence.

This can be an alternative to guaranteed assistance, which may only provide a small portion of what an employee needs. But it does come with more risk. Whether that risk is worth it, is something potential employees will have to consider before choosing a job.

There is no debate that helmets save lives, especially among motorcyclists. Bikers are generally comfortable with a certain level of risk, and there is a pervading belief among bikers that it’s a matter of when, not if, a rider will be thrown from their bike. There are numerous risks that motorcyclists incur while on the road that other drivers don’t have to contend with. Motorcycles are less stable, harder to see, and offer little protection in the event of a crash. From a safety standpoint, then, it makes sense that bikers would protect themselves with a helmet. And in Texas, it’s also the law.

Helmets are Life Savers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, helmets are approximately 37% effective at protecting against biker and rider fatalities. In other words, for every 100 motorcyclists not wearing a helmet who are killed in an accident, 37 would have survived if they had been wearing a helmet. And also according to the NHTSA, helmets reduce the rate of brain injuries by about 67%, significantly improving crash outcomes for the cyclist.

An in-depth study regarding motorcycle safety was published in 1981, titled Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures Volume 1: Technical Report. Given the study’s primary author, H.H. Hurt, its subject matter has been referred to as the “Hurt Report.”. The Hurt Report is still considered a primary safety resource, and confirms the importance of wearing a helmet while on the road.

The Hurt Report studied thousands of helmets that had been involved in an accident, and noted where they had sustained the most damage. What the researchers found was that 30% of all head impacts occur from the chin to the forehead. Obviously, striking pavement at high speeds is bad enough, but when it’s the face or forehead hitting the ground at high speeds, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic.

Most motorcyclists, though, don’t need to be convinced that a helmet is a critical piece of protective wear. What is less clear, though, is what Texas laws have to say about helmets.

Texas Helmet Law Specifics

Helmet laws have generally changed in response to trends in motorcycle deaths, either positively or negatively, across the entire nation. It’s also true of Texas, which has altered the laws on the books a few times in the past 40 years.

Before going into Texas motorcycle helmet law, though, it’s helpful to know what motorcycle fatality trends have looked like across the state. In the late 70s to the mid-80s, more than 4,000 motorcyclists were killed every year, a number that was, and still is, considered tragically high. This number, probably at least in part due to new legislation, dropped quickly from the mid-80s all the way to the year 2000, when it began spiking again. This latest rise in motorcycle fatalities has plateaued, but it shows no sign of returning to 90s levels.

That high, low, high trend has mirrored the state of Texas helmet laws to an extent, which shouldn’t be a surprise. When the law is tougher, more people wear their helmets, and when the law is more relaxed, fewer people wear them.

But as for the law itself, this is how it has evolved with time:

  • On January 1, 1968, Texas began enforcing its first universal helmet law. Like the term suggests, the law required all cyclists, regardless of age and experience level, to wear a helmet at all times while biking. This universal law also covered riders.
  • On August 29, 1977, Texas reworked the universal law so that only cyclists 17 and under were required to wear a helmet.
  • On September 1, 1989, Texas reinstated its universal law to cover all cyclists.
  • On September 1, 1997, Texas again reworked its universal law, so that any driver over 21 could be exempt from wearing a helmet if they maintained $10,000 worth of medical insurance or if they completed a motorcycle education course. If a cyclist was qualified for helmet exemption through either means, they were required to wear a sticker that could be easily identified by police.
  • Finally, on September 1, 2009, Texas once again modified its helmet law, removing the $10,000 medical insurance minimum and the sticker requirement. Instead, any biker over 21 just has to have proof of insurance through an applicable medical plan, or they may still opt for the motorcycle education course option. As part of the update, police are no longer allowed to pull motorcyclists over for the sole purpose of verifying whether or not a motorcyclist has fulfilled these requirements.

If that seems like a lot of changes, that’s because it is. Few states have modified their helmet laws as much as Texas, which may be due to a number of reasons. Texas always ranks at the top, or near it, in terms of fatal vehicle accidents every year, including fatal accidents due to alcohol use. This is true when it comes to motorcycle accidents as well, as according to the NHTSA’s 2011 data, Texas led the entire nation in motorcycle accident fatalities. It’s reasonable to believe, then, that when there are large swings in national motorcycle accident fatalities, Texas authorities notice those swings before most other states do.

The constant push and pull of state helmet laws, and not just in Texas, is also influenced by the ebb and flow of politics. There are several powerful cyclist groups, including the American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, which have succeeded in rolling back helmet laws, and the current pattern is for states to back away from universal helmet requirements and allow older riders to make the decision for themselves. It’s worth noting that these aren’t random groups of motorcyclists, but well-funded special interest groups. For example, the American Motorcyclist Association counts Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki among its corporate partners, and has spent nearly $4 million on lobbying Congress over the past decade.

Clearly, motorcyclists, safety advocates, and lawmakers are engaged in a tug of war over helmet laws, and it’s a pattern that doesn’t have an end in sight. But what about injury liability? How do these laws intersect with injury lawsuits? As it turns out, the two are heavily linked.

Helmets and Liability

When a cyclist is hit by another driver, the fault often lies with the other driver. Motorcycles are difficult to see, so motorists frequently sideswipe them while changing lanes or collide with them head on while attempting dangerous turns. Even at low speeds, these accidents are an immediate threat to the biker’s life, as a motorcycle offers no protection during a crash. In fact, the NHTSA states that mile for mile, a motorcyclist is 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident. There’s a reason why some hospital personnel refer to motorcycles as “donorcycles.”

But just because cyclists face additional danger on the road doesn’t mean they are always awarded compensation in the event of an accident. Even when the accident is clearly the fault of another motorist, the cyclist may have trouble recovering compensation if they were not protecting themselves at the time of the crash.

It’s a legal principle applicable in some states known as “comparative negligence.” Put simply, comparative negligence means that the victim was also partially responsible for their injuries, and will only receive partial compensation as a result. It’s a relevant concept when considering motorcycle accident injuries.

In Texas, cyclists over 21 years of age may not be required to wear a helmet if they have attained an exemption through training or through an insurance plan. However, this doesn’t protect a cyclist from comparative negligence arguments that their failure to protect themselves with a helmet should limit, if not bar, their recovery—especially where there has been an injury to the head or neck.

A life-saving piece of equipment, and a source of controversy, helmets will likely remain the subject of motorcycle legislation for the foreseeable future. But whether a cyclist considers a helmet to be essential or burdensome, the decision to wear one, or not to wear one, can have major consequences.

Blind spots are a liability for any vehicle, but they are particularly troublesome for 18-wheelers. The sight lines around a commercial truck are blocked by long and wide trailers, often putting the driver in an uncomfortable position. Of course, commercial drivers are trained to account for these blind spots, but even if a driver moves carefully and is alert at all times, they can easily fail to see other motorists when changing lanes, turning or backing up their vehicle. Even worse, other motorists are typically unaware of just how extensive these blind spots are, and may be invisible to the truck driver without realizing it.

Road visibility is a critical element of safe driving, which is why some commercial truck operators are turning to tractor trailer cameras for additional eyes on the road.

Blind Spots:

With blind spots a truck driver faces making difficult traffic maneuvers with extremely limited information coming to them through their mirrors.

But how limiting are blind spots, really?

It depends on the size and shape of a truck, but in general, blind spots extend for a couple car lengths on either side of the truck, and for several car lengths behind the truck. Some 18-wheeler drivers have little visibility up to 50 meters directly behind their vehicle, which means on high-traffic roads and on residential streets, there is almost always a car around the truck that cannot be seen. It’s common for motorists to get frustrated at how slow large trucks move and switch lanes. The reason for that slower movement is that a truck driver assumes that others are always in their blind spots, and know that sudden traffic maneuvers can result in tragic consequences.

In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, released a 520-page report on the problems associated with commercial truck’s blind spots, and how tractor trailer cameras can provide a workable solution. In its report, the NHTSA used data from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, or LTCCS, to track the causes behind commercial truck crashes. According to the LTCCS data, about 7% of all accidents are the result of blind spots affecting traffic maneuvers, and this number is consistent from year to year.

This data is corroborated by a 2009 sampling from the NHTSA’s General Estimates System, or GES. The GES reviews information from police reports to determine the major factors behind vehicle accidents, and according to the 2009 GES data, improper lane changes, turns and merges (all of which are heavily influenced by the presence of blind spots), accounted for 6.3% of all large truck crashes. By the raw numbers, that’s 20,311 crashes in 2009 alone. Clearly, blind spots are causing wrecks.

And that’s only the beginning because according to the GES data, 2% of all fatal and incapacitating crashes in 2009 (or 165 total) were the result of blind spots, and 6.1% of all crashes involving an injury (or 1,426 total) were caused by blind spots, at least in part.

Both 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles have blind spots at the immediate rear of the vehicle, and every week in the U.S., around 50 children are hit by vehicles that are backed up over them, according to the Department of Transportation. Of those 50, 48 require hospitalization and two die as a result of their injuries. Among all types of non-traffic fatalities involving children, back-overs are the most prevalent, representing 34% of all child fatalities from 2006 to 2010. On average, 232 people of all ages are killed and 13,000 are injured every year due to backup injuries.

The Transportation Security Administration estimates that if every vehicle, including commercial trucks, were equipped with backup cameras, 100 lives would be saved and 7,000 injuries would be avoided every year.

Fortunately, tractor trailer cameras provide a realistic, economical solution for most drivers.

A Full View of the Road

Cameras are normally installed to directly mitigate a truck’s blind spots. These cameras are built to be weatherproof and can resist heavy shock and vibration forces. Modern camera models can handle up to 100g of shock and 15g of vibration force, which far exceeds the daily wear and tear a camera will be subjected to on the road. They are also small and unobtrusive enough to stay out of the way, so they won’t effect the operation of the vehicle or the trailer.

Each camera is tied to a small LCD monitor that is installed in the cab. From the monitors, drivers can adjust the camera’s aim, switch on a microphone built into the camera to pick up exterior audio, and switch on lights for a better view at night. It’s a simple system that drivers are able to adjust to quickly, as confirmed by the NHTSA’s 2011 report on the use of tractor trailer cameras.

A note on the NHTSA study’s methodology – the 2011 study on tractor trailer cameras focused on monitoring how truck drivers adjusted to the technology and whether or not the camera’s presence improved driver performance. To gauge the former, eye tracking technology was installed in the driver cab to detect where the driver was looking at all times. This is important in figuring out if the driver’s attention is being diverted by the camera displays to a dangerous degree.

There was almost no learning curve when handling a newly installed system, even though researchers believed that drivers would express more dangerous driving while getting used to the cameras. In fact, the NHTSA found that, on average, a driver’s probability of looking forward at the road at any one moment was 86% before the cameras were installed. After installation, the NHTSA concluded that the chances of a driver looking forward at any given moment was unchanged. In short, the presence of monitors in the cab does not act as a distraction.

In fact, though most truck drivers have used mirrors exclusively for years, even decades, the NHTSA found that drivers were able to pull visual data faster from monitors than from the mirrors they were accustomed to. Again, using the eye tracking technology, the NHTSA determined that, on average, a truck driver spent 1.16 seconds looking at a mirror with each glance, while they only spent .74 seconds on average looking at a monitor each time they did so. That may seem like a negligible difference, but the difference between reacting to an emerging traffic hazard and causing a wreck is often just tenths of a second.

Perhaps most encouragingly, though, the NHTSA discovered that drivers relied on their cameras during traffic maneuvers and conditions usually considered the most dangerous. For example, drivers looked at the monitors about 8% of the time when changing lanes to the left. When changing lanes to the right, drivers looked at their monitors about 20% of the time. Right lane changes are considered riskier because the passenger side blind spot is much larger. Based on these numbers, it’s fair to assume that drivers relied on their monitors for high-risk traffic maneuvers, and found them to be effective in providing information.

Also, trucks equipped with cameras appeared to be much more confident at night, when blind spots are at their worst. The NHTSA’s study found that without cameras in place, the way truck drivers changed lanes differed greatly from day to night. When dark, drivers allowed much more clearance during lane changes than during the day. When equipped with cameras, though, driver behavior did not change from day to night, suggesting that the monitors offered the equivalent of daytime visibility.

Security and Convenience

The NHTSA’s 2011 study makes a convincing case for installing tractor trailer cameras in blind spots, but even if traffic safety wasn’t a priority to most drivers, cameras would still be a viable addition to any truck.

The National Safety Council considers commercial truck drivers a target for hijacking attempts, as the vehicle can be used to facilitate other crimes without appearing suspicious. Among the National Safety Council’s recommendations is to install rear and side cameras when possible, as they can alert a driver to a dangerous situation, such as hijackers hiding behind the trailer once the truck is stopped. If a driver is the victim of a crime, the cameras can be used to help identify and track the assailants, helping a driver recoup any losses they suffer as a result of a crime.

One more thing to consider. While truck drivers are accustomed to getting in and out of tight spaces, cameras make it even easier. When every minute counts, quickly positioning the trailer at an unloading facility or even during parking can help a driver maximize the value of their route and save money.

18-wheelers are still the backbone of U.S. freight transport, but their size and limited visibility makes them difficult to handle, even in the most experienced hands. A camera and monitor system can eliminate those dangerous blind spots and help a truck driver operate their vehicle with confidence and greater care for others.

 

Are You Covered After a Motorcycle Crash?

Many drivers have an automobile and a motorcycle. Is your motorcycle covered under your auto insurance policy? Generally, the answer is no.

If you have a motorcycle, you need to make sure your motorcycle is covered under an insurance policy. Most major auto insurance carriers offer separate motorcycle policies.

Motorcycle policies offer similar coverages to auto policies, but the premiums often differ. Motorcycle insurance premiums may be higher because of increased risks associated with riding motorcycles. Some factors that may increase your motorcycle insurance premiums are your riding experience and intended use (e.g. daily commuting) and the bike’s top speed and horsepower.

Before purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy, educate yourself on the options available to you and the cost-benefit of the coverage options.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

In The Time it Takes to Read This Three Lives May be Saved.As personal injury attorneys, we are confronted with many cases where life is threatened and people are hospitalized. This is no different than for this time of year. Holiday parties are almost a nightly occurrence, and people are out shopping or driving to see relatives. Consequently, area ER rooms remain busy, and statistics show one in every seven people entering a hospital need blood.

As personal injury attorneys, we are confronted with many cases where life is threatened and people are hospitalized. This is no different than for this time of year. Holiday parties are almost a nightly occurrence, and people are out shopping or driving to see relatives. Consequently, area ER rooms remain busy, and statistics show one in every seven people entering a hospital need blood.

This week we are sponsoring our Fall Blood Drive that will help our fellow Houstonians. We have successfully run our Pre-Summer Blood Drive each May for the past several years and decided that there is a significant need this time of year as well.

Sadly, the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank sees a dramatic reduction in donations as the holidays approach. In order to service the city of Houston, they need at least 1,000 donations every day of the year. Donors must be unpaid volunteers and this immediately stacks the deck so that only one in 20 will even donate.  Add vacations, parties, and all the extra stresses of the holiday season… People simply do not donate blood. This leads to shortages. This is one of the main reasons why we decided to add a second blood drive.

Because this event is so important to Houston, we wanted to give a few tips and information on blood donations. Regardless if it is your first time donating or you’ve done it hundreds of times, this information will be helpful.

So let’s start with the basics. There are different types of blood donations and each one has its own requirements on age and weight. Whole blood donation is the one that most people associate with ‘giving blood,’ but there is also an automated process that allows donors to give more specific components including double red cells and red cells and plasma. There are different requirements for the more advanced blood donation types. But in a nutshell,  If you are over 16 years of age and weigh over 120 pounds, chances are you are a viable donor.

When arriving, donors will be asked for some basic information and for a photo ID if not a member of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank’s Commit for Life Express program. So, be sure to bring valid identification featuring your picture. Donors are asked a series of private health questions that are kept confidential, and then a small blood drop is taken to verify iron levels.

From there, blood donation commences and will take about 10 minutes of your time.  This 10 minutes can save multiple lives. When finished, donors are provided with a snack and checked out to make sure there are no signs of being dizzy or light-headed, and if all checks out they are free to drive. Donors are however cautioned against exercise or lifting for the rest of the day.

What Happens After Blood is Donated?

After blood is donated, it is put through several different steps to maximize its usage. First, the blood is typed and entered into a database. Next, it is spun in centrifuges into its transfusable components, namely red cells, platelets, and plasma. Each of these components are individually processed into other components that include Leuko-reduced red cells. Plasma is often manufactured into multiple other components including cryoprecipitate. Single donor platelets are also Leuko-reduced and then bacterially tested.

Extensive testing often takes place as the blood is being processed and spun. The blood bank screens for dozens of infectious diseases. The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has stepped up its screening game and is one of four blood centers nationwide that has added the Zika virus to its testing. If at any time the blood donation does not pass the screening tests, the donor is notified.

Once blood passes the tests, it is divided up into transfusable units and stored in ways to maximize its shelf-life. Red cells are refrigerated at 42.8 degrees and can be stored up to 42 days. Platelets on the other hand, are stored at room temperature in agitators, but can only be stored for five days. Plasma has the longest shelf life, lasting for one year as long as it is stored in freezers.

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank will service Houston hospitals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But their having enough blood to service the community depends on the commitment of each of their donors.

 

                 Are You Ready For This?

The 2016 hurricane season has over a month left, and it is certainly not over yet.

This has been the deadliest hurricane season since 2005. To date, more than 1,100 lives have been claimed. Take this opportunity to make sure you are prepared for the rest of hurricane season. If you stocked up on supplies at the beginning of the season, refresh and replenish if necessary. Here are good items to keep on hand in a hurricane preparedness kit:

  • Non-perishable food
  • Potable water
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit

It is also a good idea to check your insurance coverages. This includes your homeowners insurance and auto insuranceFlood insurance is not included in standard homeowners insurance, so check your risk of flooding and consult with an insurance agent if you live in a flood zone or flood-prone area.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a hurricane, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

An ATV rollover crash puts the driver in immediate danger, as a typical all-terrain vehicle weighs around 500 to 600 pounds. At that size, a vehicle can crush bones and destroy organs if it strikes a person with considerable force. But as deadly as these accidents can be, there is little effort on the part of manufacturers to ensure it doesn’t happen. In fact, since manufacturers were forced by the federal government to transition to four-wheel models from three-wheel models, there has been almost no improvement in the injury and fatality statistics.

Vehicle manufacturers blame drivers, claiming that their products are not intended to be used on uneven ground, and by untrained or young operators. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission agrees to an extent, stating that children under 16 lack the strength and skill to handle all-terrain vehicles designed for adults.

However, there is reason to believe that manufacturers aren’t doing all they can to improve the situation, either. According to an independent review of fatal accident data, The Oregonian determined that whether a driver was following safety warnings or not had little bearing on whether they were killed in an ATV rollover crash. All-terrain vehicles are getting heavier and heavier, and federal regulators are not verifying that a model meets stability standards established in 1988. Sadly, this means that all-terrain vehicles will likely remain a threat to drivers of all ages, but particularly to children, until further changes are made in the industry.

 

                      Are You a Texas Tailgater?

Since tailgating drivers continue to cause many serious accidents and whiplash injuries, we all must learn how to minimize their chances of harming us. While some people purposefully tailgate or “ride your bumper” to express their road rage, others are just highly nervous, distracted, or impatient individuals – determined to get wherever they’re going, even if it means forcing you and others off the road.

During one recent year, Texas Department of Transportation driver accident statistics indicated that there were 14 fatal accidents in urban areas caused by “following too closely.” Another 286 urban collisions involved “tailgating” – and caused various incapacitating results like whiplash injuries.

Although the majority of accidents caused by tailgating do not cause serious injuries, there are approximately 20,000 of these types of auto collisions each year in Texas.

Here are some guidelines that may help you reduce the risk of your being hit by a tailgater.

Safety Tips for Sharing the Road with Careless or Impatient, Tailgating Drivers

  • Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Some car safety experts recommend keeping at least 10 feet per each 10 miles per hour you’re traveling between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Of course, this is easier said than done since so many bad drivers constantly see open spaces and zigzag right into them – never realizing that you tried to put distance between you and the vehicle ahead for safety reasons;
  • Always allow added space between you and other drivers during bad weather. Whether there’s rain, snow, or sleet, make sure you give yourself added “stopping space.” Keep in mind that slick streets often lead to extra accidents;
  • Switch lanes if a tailgater won’t leave you alone –and use your turn signal. It’s not your fault that other drivers often leave too late to reach their destinations on time. So, if other drivers keep right on your back bumper, move and give them the lane you’re traveling in;
  • Move into the right-hand lane and stay there. While this maneuver won’t save you from a run-of-the-mill distracted driver who may tailgate behind you – it may help you with the uptight and impatient tailgater who views all other drivers as mere nuisances to be ignored;
  • Memorize the person’s front license plate and be prepared to safely exit the freeway or road.Once you’ve pulled far out of the way of any danger and stopped your vehicle, jot down the license plate. Next, call the local police department or highway patrol and report the incident. Assuming the other driver did not stop to exchange information and wait for law enforcement to arrive, be prepared to also provide a description of the driver. You should also sit and wait a few minutes before returning to the same road. Hopefully, the tailgater will have finally passed on by – well ahead of you;
  • Do not let the other driver’s poor behavior upset you.While you may be dealing with a hopeless alcoholic or drug addict – the person may also be rushing to a hospital to see a loved one who may not make it through the night. Just stay calm and move out of the way. Breathe deeply and just look forward to reaching your own destination safely. Also, consider taking a defensive driving course that can teach you additional ways to properly handle careless and aggressive drivers.

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy in September 2016. Developed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the policy addresses highly automated vehicles (“HAVs”).

The policy is described as “agency guidance” designed “to speed the delivery of an initial regulatory framework and best practices to guide manufacturers and other entities in the safe design, development, testing, and deployment of HAVs.” The policy covers the following topics:

  • Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles
  • Model State Policy
  • NHTSA’s Current Regulatory Tools
  • New Tools and Authorities

To see the full policy, please visit Transportation.gov.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Truck drivers are asked to drive hundreds of miles in a single day, make their deliveries on time, and take their pay by the mile – so is it any surprise that fatigue is a constant concern?

But just how much of a concern it is depends on who is doing the talking. Safety researchers believe fatigue is the single greatest hazard that truck drivers face, while some trucking groups claim it’s practically irrelevant. Of course, what matters is what the federal regulators believe, but even they may not have an accurate picture of the situation.

In short, fatigue is a difficult to assess issue, but it is clear that tired drivers do cause accidents, and some of the worst in the industry.

Tired Drivers Are Accidents Waiting to Happen

Every year, 30,000 people die on U.S. roads, and commercial trucks are involved in one out of every seven of those deaths, or a little more than 4,000 annually. Commercial trucks are only involved in a small portion of vehicle accidents, but their much larger size makes them a major threat, even in low-speed crashes. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the primary regulatory agency in charge of the trucking industry, there were about 5.6 million vehicle accidents on U.S. roads in 2012, and only 333,000 involved commercial trucks, or about 6% of all crashes. But commercial vehicles are responsible for approximately 14% of all traffic accident deaths.

To what extent does fatigue play a part in this gruesome picture? Unfortunately, no one knows for sure, but several groups have put forth their best guesses. Remember, though, that some of these groups have a vested interest in defeating regulations that attempt to hold motor carriers to greater safety standards. That being said, here are several attempts to quantify the problem:

  • In 1990, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reviewed 182 commercial truck accidentsand determined that fatigue was a primary factor in 31% of the studied crashes. The sample size is small, but the study is believed to be a watershed moment for trucker fatigue, as other safety institutes, including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, state that drivers are twice as likely to cause a crash if they are behind the wheel for more than eight hours at a time. Also, the National Sleep Foundation states that 37% of all U.S. adults are so tired on a daily basis that it interferes with their activities, which dovetails with the NTSB’s data.
  • A 2006 data review by the FMCSA, using its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, determined that fatigue was the principal factor involved in 13% of all commercial vehicle crashes. This data is what the FMCSA and Department of Transportation use to build their safety regulations.
  • The American Trucking Association (ATA), among the trucking groups that has fought fatigue regulations, claims that only 2% of truck accidents involve fatigue, citing a 2002 study authored by Kenneth Campbelland presented at the International Truck and Bus Safety Research and Policy Symposium. However, what the ATA usually doesn’t mention is that Campbell himself admits that his study’s methodology cannot accurately determine fatigue as a cause, and likely underestimates it as an extent.
  • The ATA has since stated that it estimates the rate of accidents caused by fatigueto be around 7%, claiming that it uses federal data to come to that conclusion. However, given the ATA’s obvious conflict of interest and the FMCSA’s published federal data, it’s unclear just how trustworthy this estimate is.

These are only estimates, but the problem of fatigue in the truck cab is seen in some of the worst accidents that commercial drivers are involved in. In fact, experienced accident investigators can often tell when fatigue is present based on how the crash occurred. For example, an accident caused by fatigue typically looks like the following:

  • A fatigued driver often suffers from “microsleeps” just prior to causing an accident. Microsleeping is when the brain effectively shuts down for several seconds at a time, unable to properly respond to external stimuli. Drivers in the middle of a microsleep behave similarly to drivers under the influence of alcohol, and may not notice road signs, lane markings, or even other vehicles. To illustrate how dangerous a microsleep is, in the five seconds that a driver may lose focus, their vehicle will have traveled more than the length of a football field.
  • A fatigued driver usually does not apply the brakes before hitting an obstacle or vehicle, plowing into it at full speed.
  • A fatigued driver may exit the road without inclement weather or other obstacles forcing them off the road.
  • Fatigued drivers usually cannot point to weather or road conditions as a reason for their unsafe driving.

Investigators often point to fatigue when all other possibilities have been eliminated, and when no other explanation is easily available. For example, consider the 2010 truck crash in Oklahoma that killed 10 people. The truck driver, who suffered from sleep apnea, fell asleep at the wheel and smashed into a line of cars stopped on the highway. The driver did not respond until he had struck the line of vehicles, and his truck was not equipped with any warning system to alert him.

With so much at stake, most people would believe that motor carriers would do everything possible to avoid such outcomes, but if anything, many motor carriers are demonstrating the exact opposite behavior.

Motor Carriers Are Making the Problem Worse

Ask any motor carrier or company that employs a fleet of drivers and trucks, and they will claim they abide by all safety regulations. Those regulations include weekly driving limits and ensuring their drivers are given adequate rest. However, there is a pervading belief within the motor carrier industry that drivers alter their driving records to conform to any regulator inspections, and that their employers look the other way.

An investigative report aired on the TV show 20/20 in 2014 showed an example of how companies prod their drivers into taking dangerous risks. During the report, a driver with K&B informed several dispatchers within the company that he was too tired to drive safely after traveling 400 miles in the middle of the night to the first of two stops. At first, K&B dispatchers merely encouraged him to drink coffee and get back on the road, but after insisting on getting rest, the trucker was threatened with docked pay. According to the driver, this is a common occurrence he and others in the industry experience.

Part of the problem may be due to the extensive deregulation of the trucking industry, which reached its zenith in 1980, through the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Among the many changes it brought to the industry, including reduced entry and price controls, the act eliminated the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was responsible for tightly regulating commercial trucking.

Now, consider the pressures placed on truck drivers:

  1. Drivers are almost always paid by the mile. This means that motor carriers are constantly pushing per mile wages down.
  2. As a result, drivers often work 60+ hours a week. This fact alone veers drivers close to the maximum driving limits allowed by the FMCSA’s safety regulations.
  3. Driver hours are not planned or scheduled with any consistency, so they may be required to drive at times when their fatigue is likely to peak.
  4. Drivers are only paid when they are moving, so when stopping to fuel or sleep, they are not earning wages.
  5. Drivers stopped in traffic or by poor weather are losing money, and they have to make up for it by spending more time behind the wheel or increasing their speed.

These problems are further exacerbated by the influx of motor carriers into the industry. The ATA states that in 1980, there were about 30,000 motor carriers in the U.S., but more than 500,000 just 20 years later. With so many companies in the field, it’s never been easier for motor carriers to put the pressure on drivers to accept lower wages and poorer working conditions.

What’s Being Done to Solve the Problem?

FMCSA safety regulations do provide a measure of safety to the industry, and the latest moderation of the regulations in 2013, which established an 11-hour daily limit behind the wheel, were estimated by the DoT to eliminate 1,400 truck crashes, 560 injuries, and about 20 deaths per year. However, these regulations are constantly being resisted by trucking groups, and in 2015, their lobbyists succeeded in getting parts of the FMCSA’s regulations suspended until further studies could confirm their efficacy.

Perhaps a more promising angle is the required adoption of electronic logging devices (ELD). In 2012, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill, which among its many provisions was a call for the FMCSA to produce rules requiring the usage of ELDs. In December 2015, the FMCSA announced that all motor carriers must outfit their fleets with ELDs by December 2017, and those with devices already in place will have until December 2019 to verify they are within compliance standards.

ELDs are a major step forward for safety because they no longer allow drivers to alter their paper records and avoid scrutiny for driving while fatigued. ELDs are robust enough to do more than just log driving records, as they can track engine and brake performance, both of which can clue investigators in on whether a driver was fatigued prior to a crash. The first step to preventing fatigued driving is understanding the extent of it, and ELDs are an excellent tool in that regard.

ELDs may provide a way forward for the FMCSA to produce more precise and effective regulations, but whether it does or not, it will at least curb any attempts to suppress the issue of truckers and fatigue. And that will ensure drivers are sharper and more alert, and motor carriers safer.

Many people are injured every year due to another party’s negligence, which is why it’s important to understand which types of cases accident lawyers often help with. There are a variety of circumstances that can result in personal injury. Let’s examine some of the most common personal injury case types that experienced accident lawyers regularly encounter.

  • Car Accidents:Many people go from point A to point B every day in vehicles, whether a sedan, truck, or bus. Many of these same people have witnessed an accident on the roadway. Unfortunately, car accidents are all too common today, and if the driver causing the wreck was negligent, a lawyer may be able to help.
  • Product Liability:People use a variety of products in their daily lives, and each one of these items went through a stage of production and a period of distribution before arriving in the hands of a consumer. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line things can go wrong, whether by negligence or an attempt to cut costs, possibly later causing serious injury to the consumer.
  • Medical Malpractice:An enormous amount of trust is placed in the hands of medical professionals, and that trust is generally well placed. However, now and then negligence can occur, potentially causing injury or death.
  • Slip and Fall:Commercial and public spaces generally go to great efforts to keep walkways clear of obstructions and safe to traverse. Yet when this isn’t the case, innocent people can suffer unjustly. In a slip and fall case, like all of the above, getting the assistance of legal professionals can make all the difference in receiving the justice one deserves.

No game has ever captured the world like Pokemon Go. Why are so many people trying to catch them all? How can people stay safe while doing so?

Anyone who came of age in the 90s, or anyone who had a child who came of age in the 90s, probably remembers the world of Pokemon to some extent. The first games were released in the U.S. in 1998, the card game was released in 2000, and from there, the Pokemon phenomenon never let up. Pokemon Go is the newest entry into the franchise, and it may end up being its most memorable. Not only is it a massive success for Nintendo and Niantic (the game’s developer), Pokemon Go also confirms the power of augmented reality, which will likely become an increasing focus of game developers in the future.

But for those not familiar with augmented reality, what’s the big deal about Pokemon Go and its risks?

Augmented Reality: A New Way of Experiencing the World

Pokemon Go is largely successful due to the way it integrates a player’s surroundings with the game world. Augmented reality (AR) is nothing new, and in fact, it was invented in 1968. Back then, the technology was simple, requiring a full head-mounted display system, and only capable of producing wireframe drawings.

In 1998, AR was adapted for the NFL. Most people take the 1st and 10 yellow line that’s projected on the screen for granted, but the technology behind that humble line is based on improved AR methods. Before Sportvision offered the technology to the NFL, it was impossible to project informational markers on the screen during a live game.

Various gimmicks were coupled with AR in the early 2000s, and though it showed increasing promise in a number of fields, including the aerospace, film production and military equipment industries, it wasn’t until the late 2000s that game developers started taking advantage of it. And Pokemon Go is not the first game to reap a lot of success from AR. Niantic’s first AR game, Ingress, was also extremely successful, garnering 7,000,000 players at one point.

By all accounts, Pokemon Go has fully eclipsed Ingress in terms of popularity and profitability. Just three weeks after its release, the game had been downloaded more than 100 million times by Android and Apple users, according to an article in Engadget. And in that same article, Engadget also revealed that Pokemon Go makes about $10 million every day, and Nintendo’s valuation following the release of the game spiked up $11 billion before settling in at about $5.5 billion higher than its previous valuation.

To AR enthusiasts, Pokemon Go represents a watershed moment.

Pokemon Go: Combining Novelty and Nostalgia

Niantic’s hit title brings more than modern AR methods to the table, though. Pokemon is still a recognizable trend for millennials (those aged between 18 and 34)– 83% of players are part of the millennial generation, according to a marketing survey by MFour. In fact, more millennials recognize Pikachu, the game’s mouse-like mascot, than Vice President Joe Biden, which was revealed in a poll taken by Morning Consult. These millennials grew up with Pokemon, Pikachu, and a plethora of related products and merchandise. Various media reporting on the game has determined that millennials are drawn to the game for the nostalgia and socializing it offers.

But how does the game work?

Player avatars are represented in a game world that is mapped on top of the player’s surroundings. The game keeps track of the player through their phone’s onboard GPS, so when they move around in real life, their avatar moves in the game world accordingly. So, instead of being whisked to an alternate world that has no connection to the real one, Pokemon Go uses street-level maps as the setting for the player to romp around on. It’s important to note that almost all the gameplay interface involves real world maps of cities and communities.

Various landmarks, which may include schools, libraries, parks, or nearly any other point of interest, are represented in the game world as “Pokestops.” At these locations, players can accrue items that they use to catch the eponymous Pokemon. And these Pokemon are encountered randomly (or at least governed by algorithms that mimic randomness). They pop up on the map and players tap on them to attempt a capture.

There are other mechanics as well, but the basic gameplay loop encourages players to go outside, walk around (often for miles at a time), and stop at points of interest before carrying on. People unfamiliar with Pokemon Go may wonder why hundreds of players are gathering around in parks and markets. The reason is because these are high activity areas in the game, and this tendency to congregate has added a social element to the game that sparks cooperation and competitiveness.

It also, however, puts players at risk.

A Constant Distraction

The news isn’t all bad when considering Pokemon Go’s impact on health and safety. Players are walking long distances, and the sheer number doing so has attracted the attention of doctors, many of whom consider the game to be an excellent way to promote cardiovascular and mental health. For example, a fitness app known as Cardiogram tracks users’ heart rates throughout the day. This data is gathered by Cardiogram, and according to the app developer, the percentage of users getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day rose from about 45% on July 6th, the game’s release date, to about 55% just four days later.

Pokemon Go does require constant attention from the player, though, which encourages them to stare into the phone while walking and driving, even though players are cautioned by the game itself not to do so.

Most of the injuries and problems players have suffered have been due to distraction. Some examples include:

  • Two men in Encinitas, CA fell off a 90-foot ocean bluff while playing the game. One man landed on the beach 90 feet below while the other landed on a ledge 50 feet down. Both were taken to a local trauma center with unspecified, though serious injuries.
  • A player online claimed to have fallen in a ditch the first night after release, breaking several bones in their foot.
  • A Pittsburgh, PA teenager was hit by a car while distracted by the game and suffered several deep contusions. The teenager claims that she looked both ways before crossing the street, but was lured across a busy highway by the game.
  • A Baltimore man crashed into a police carwhile playing the game and driving at the same time. The crash occurred in the middle of the night, and several officers were standing by the car at the time of the crash. No one was hurt, but the driver was cited for failure to control his vehicle.
  • Police arrested four men in O’fallon, MO responsible for robbing nine Pokemon Go players at gunpoint. According to the police, the robbers waited for players at a popular Pokestop and ambushed them while they were distracted.

This is just after one month following the game’s release. Reports from other countries include hit and runs, people wandering into secure military bases, and even warnings for players to avoid walking into areas where live mines may still be buried.

If players remain aware of their surroundings at all times and put the phone away while in the car, they will greatly reduce their risk of injury. In addition, players should consider the following before hitting up the local Pokestops:

  • Police may be suspicious of players loitering in parks and around public buildings at night. Be prepared to explain the game to a patrolling officer.
  • Distracted players are easy to spot at night, as their phone’s glow can be seen from a distance.
  • Thieves may use this as a way to mark potential victims.
  • During the day, make sure to carry adequate water and stay close to shade. Heat stroke can sneak up on players who aren’t paying attention.
  • Parents should know exactly where their child are traveling before leaving the home. Also, parents should ask their child if they encountered anyone while attending Pokestops. Though there are no publicized cases yet, some police fear that predators may use the game as a way to meet unsupervised children.

In short, as long as players keep an eye out while tracking down the digital monsters, they can help avoid running, walking, or even driving into danger.

When a consumer suffers personal injury or loss due to a product that did not perform as intended, a defective products attorney may be an option. The victims in these types of cases have often suffered a terrible injury or loss of life that simply could have been avoided had the manufacturer been more diligent in the production of the item.

Examples of a defective product are a vehicle that has airbags that do not deploy correctly, a children’s toy painted with toxic paint, a pharmaceutical drug that causes organ failure, a bike helmet that does not effectively protect the head in the event of a crash, a health or beauty product that causes chemical burns on the skin, or a kitchen oven mitt that is made with materials that are flammable. Of course, there are countless other examples of product defects that have entered our marketplace and eventually our homes – and other realms of our daily lives. Major categories of products that are often involved include automobiles, children’s toys, baby items, health and beauty products, household appliances, and medical items and devices.

Product defects can cause severe burns, bodily injury, long-term health conditions, and possibly even loss of life. If an injury, illness, or death occurs due to a manufacturing defect, a defective products attorney may be able to assist in seeking compensation for the victim or their loved ones.

When an automobile accident occurs due to the negligence of another party, a car accident attorney can be helpful in many ways.

First, they can help determine who is the at-fault party or parties. For example, if a mechanical defect was present in the vehicle, but the manufacturer failed to inform all customers in a way that is in compliance with the law regarding these kind of defects, the lawyer may be able to determine that the manufacturer is at fault for the incident. If there was a malfunction in a traffic light, causing the intersection to become dangerous and resulting in the crash, it may be determined by the lawyer that the city or the manufacturer of the traffic light was ultimately at fault. Each of these examples is different, and each car wreck involves different circumstances, which is why so many injured people reach out to an attorney for help.

Second, a car accident attorney can help sift through and compile the necessary evidence to legally prove that the negligent party was at fault. Their experience in previous vehicle crash cases and education in law can help them determine the best course of action for their client. Every client and situation is unique, meaning the tactics used for each case will likely differ. The work to put together a case, should the client ultimately choose to file a lawsuit, is tedious and time consuming. Victims should seriously consider the advantages of having legal representation to deal with the very complicated and stressful aftermath of an accident that causes injury.

The ugly cloud of asbestos has been a burden on American workers for decades, causing numerous health problems and deaths over the years. A mesothelioma cancer attorney can work with you in an attempt to help you secure compensation for your hardship.

Asbestos had been a known carcinogen for many years. But some companies chose to continue implementing asbestos as insulation material in their buildings, opting to save money rather than lives. Although many buildings have been stripped of their asbestos or destroyed, many lingering health-effects exist for those initially exposed. Those in the construction industries are at risk of developing mesothelioma, as are those in the aviation and vehicle repair industries, and even those working in the oil and gas industries. Asbestos was widely used in many industries prior to its being labeled as potentially-deadly.

To receive compensation, a mesothelioma cancer attorney must be able to prove the relationship between the cancer and the time frame that their client was in contact with the asbestos. Once the relationship has been determined, they can pursue a claim. This compensation can come from the company that had installed the asbestos, a representative insurance company, or a victim trust fund. A victim should ALWAYS consult a lawyer to understand the exact deadline after diagnosis or death to file a potential claim.

If someone you know has died due to what you believe to be negligent behavior by another individual, a wrongful death suit may be the most effective way to receive suitable compensation.

A wrongful death can be defined as a situation where a victim’s demise was caused by a lack of safety and care. In order for a suit to be successful, a lawyer must be able to prove that an individual was negligent, and that significant financial or emotional suffering was endured by the victim’s loved ones. Examples of common lawsuits of this type include:

  • Death from a vehicular accident
  • Death from medical malpractice
  • Death from intentional harm

Not everybody is eligible to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death. The more distant a family member or friend is, the less likely it is that they faced significant financial distress. Also, not all states allow for the award of all categories of damages, but many will award compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, medical costs, and interment expenses.

The death of a loved one is intensely traumatic, and can cause a lot of uncertainty about your financial future. An attorney may be able to help you achieve peace of mind and security after the untimely death of a loved one. Consider an attorney with specialized experience in wrongful death suits that will serve as the support you need in this difficult time.

Statistics indicate that roadways across the United States can be dangerous even for the most careful driver. Regardless of how experienced a driver may be behind the wheel, how cautious a driver may be around other vehicles, and how defensive a driver’s outlook, there’s always the chance that an accident can occur due to the negligence of another driver.

Unfortunately, safety rules are sometimes weakened rather than strengthened. This is all too often done by those in power for the financial benefit of special interest groups, and at the expense of others.

In recent years, traffic safety laws aimed squarely at some of the most powerful interests on the road—18-wheeler companies—have at times been weakened rather than strengthened. Only one party benefits and it’s neither the general public nor the truck drivers themselves. Instead, these changes are often pushed by the trucking industry and other entities with vested commercial interests.

Profit over Safety

After intense lobbying pressure by the trucking industry, a variety of policies favoring profit over safety are currently being considered by Congress. Backed by shipping giants UPS and FedEx, as well as trucking industry trade association behemoth the American Trucking Associations (ATA), changes proposed as recently as 2015 would mean longer big rigs, sleepier drivers, and drivers as young as 18-years-old behind the wheel:

  • Regardless of a state’s current prohibition of such truck sizes, trucking companies would be allowed to attach two 33-foot trailers, which is a significant size increase over today’s limit of two 28-foot trailers.
  • Whittling away at what little rest drivers get today, proposals include a reduction in current rest period law requirements.
  • 18-year-olds would be allowed to drive 18-wheelers, yielding more inexperienced drivers on the road.

The Cold Reality of Trucking Fatalities and Injuries

Whether on their daily commute or enjoying a cross-country road trip, most drivers have experienced a dire sense of unease around 18-wheelers. That sense is well-founded. After all, tractor trailers are involved in a disproportionate amount of accidents on the road, with many crashes resulting in fatalities. Given the comparative size of these trucks to passenger cars, this should surprise no one.

While trucking industry groups are likely to continue pushing further for a profit-over-safety model, there are fortunately some things that a driver can do to avoid or minimize the possibility of an accident with an 18-wheeler:

  • Drive Defensively:When around 18-wheelers, keep an eye on truck behavior and maintain a significant distance from the vehicle whenever possible. If there are multiple lanes available and they are easily accessible, safely move further away from the truck. While driving defensively is wise in every circumstance, extra care should be taken around trucks. Never tailgate a semi and keep a cool head, regardless of the circumstance. By driving defensively and maintaining a safe distance, a driver is more likely to be prepared for another vehicle’s next move and with the size and weight of large trucks, this is doubly important.
  • Pass with Caution:When passing an 18-wheeler, do so with extreme caution and vigilance. Remember, it’s impossible to know the state of the driver: he or she may be fatigued, stressed, or inexperienced, for example, and if there’s no reason to take a chance, don’t do it.
  • Beware of Turns:Large trucks make wide turns. For an 18-wheeler to make a right turn, the truck driver may first need to veer to the left. Again, in this circumstance it’s wise to keep a safe distance from an 18-wheeler.
  • Avoid the Truck’s Blind Spots:As some truckers warn with stickers or other signage, trucks have blind spots. As the name implies, there are locations around a truck in which the driver cannot see other vehicles. If a trucker cannot see a vehicle, the likelihood of an accident may increase dramatically. As a result, it’s wise to avoid these spots altogether by keeping a generous distance.

Have you or someone you know been injured in a workplace incident? If so, workers compensation lawyers may be able to help hold your employer fully accountable.

Employers and insurance companies don’t always grant requests for compensation; in fact, some have been known to reject them just because they don’t think you’re going to appeal the decision. An attorney can guide you through the appeal process and cater the claim and lawsuit to your specific case, as not all workers compensation cases are created equal.

For example, if your injury is so severe that you may not be able to return to work in the near future, an attorney can help you sue for your medical bills as well as potential wages lost during the recovery process. Also, if you believe an employer is punishing you for filing an initial claim through cutting your hours or reducing your pay, an attorney can help fight to end the discrimination.

However, not every injured employee is eligible for workers compensation. The list of injuries that are covered varies by state, as some states allow a broader range of injuries to qualify for compensation. In any case, a distinct association between the workplace accident and your injury must be proven. Also, if you are not a full-time employee at the time of your injury, you may not be eligible for reimbursement.

Workers compensation lawyers could be your best chance to get the payment you deserve. A reputable attorney will stand beside you throughout the process and will guide you down the road to recovery.

Each year thousands of people enjoy vacation cruises to ports all over the globeThere is no question that a cruise can be a delightful experience for all involved, with a chance to visit exotic locales and enjoy gourmet dining twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The trip may include shopping and entertainment at your fingertips, beautiful white sandy beaches and azure seas, dreamy cocktails, fascinating cities, and the chance to soak up some foreign culture along with the sun. Cruises provide a sumptuous and leisurely way to travel and are often more about “getting there” than they are the destination. In short, vacation cruises are almost the ideal way to see different parts of the world in comfort, while playing and feasting as you go.

Unfortunately, there is a side to cruises that is not often talked about in the travel brochures or the travel shows, and that is the possibility of fatal accidents. Like any other form of travel, many cruise ships may be safe, where the majority of guests enjoy themselves and suffer no mishaps whatsoever. However, considering the number of individuals that take cruises each year, it is inevitable that fatal incidents will occur.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Death on a Cruise Ship?

  • Falling Overboard– Fortunately, it is not easy to accidentally fall overboard. Cruise ships take precautions to make sure that passengers do not go on deck during inclement weather and high seas. Many of these types of deaths may be attributed to suicide. Still, accidentally falling overboard can and does happen, generally due to negligent safety issues on board.
  • Murder– A cruise ship is a floating and closed environment where you just cannot walk away. Issues on land can be aggravated by the proximity that a cruise ship forces on passengers. Although rare, murder has occurred aboard cruise ships.
  • Sinking Ships– This is a rarity in the Cruise industry, fortunately. However, it does happen. Ships that are not adequately maintained or do not use accepted safety protocols are at risk. Crew errors and malfunctioning equipment can lead to disaster as well.
  • Medical Malpractice– Cruise ships have fully-functioning clinics on board that are typically well-equipped and staffed. Sea sickness is the most common complaint, but these floating hospitals can perform minor surgery if necessary. Just like land-based hospitals, mistakes can be made in the treatment and medications given.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents – Wet decking, slippery pool decks, and stairs can be dicey to navigate. Most of the accidents that occur due to these circumstances are not lethal, but serious and/or permanent injuries are possible.
  • Physical Assault– Intoxicated passengers have been known to get rowdy, and this can quickly turn into a violent atmosphere.
  • Excursion Vehicle Accidents– As at home, buses, boats, and recreational watercraft such as jet skis can be involved in fatal accidents. Poorly maintained vehicles and driver negligence are common reasons why these accidents happen.
  • Excursion Deaths–  Snorkeling, diving and countryside tours, while fun for most can turn problematic if the crew is negligent or the equipment fails.
  • Ship Catastrophes– Two of the most common ship catastrophes involve collisions with other vessels or stationary objects and fire. Collisions can cause the death of passengers and crew members, as can a fire. Fire is a serious threat, and when flames erupt onboard, it is difficult to get everyone safely into lifeboats as the smoke and flames may hinder sight and cause mass-confusion.

There are some questions an attorney will ask to help determine the best course of action to take after a loss on a cruise ship. To better prepare you in the event one occurs, we have listed a few examples:

  1. Date of the accident?Cruise lines often dictate when claims can be made, so it is important to contact an attorney soon after the incident. Each cruise line is different concerning requirements for claims.
  2. What is the name of the cruise line?Each line controls where hearings occur. Travel may be necessary.
  3. How did the injury or death occur?The more specific the details, the better.
  4. Where did the injury or death happen?Was it aboard ship? Did it happen on an excursion? This knowledge may provide insight as to the reason why the fatality occurred.
  5. Why do you think the cruise line or crew is at fault?Is there any evidence to substantiate the claim?
  6. Are there any witnesses?Witnesses are a great resource and can often offer a clear picture of what happened.
  7. Do any photos or video of the moments leading up to or the accident itself exist?This type of evidence can prove to be crucial in any proceedings.
  8. What kind of expenses have you incurred dealing with the aftermath?This would include medical expenses, repatriation of the deceased, funeral costs, loss of income, etc.

If you or anyone you know has been seriously injured or lost a loved one during a cruise, you may want to consider contacting a law firm that has experience with maritime law and representing cruise passengers, workers, and their families. Every case is different, but the best way to find out if you can seek compensatory damages is to speak with a qualified attorney.

big rig accident can be extremely devastating to those involved. This is the case not only for the drivers themselves but anyone who may be around them, including other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists. In fact, according to the CDC’s 2015 Vital Signs report on 18-wheelers, for every truck driver or truck passenger that died in a fatal truck accident in 2012, around six others (not in the truck) died as a result of the crash. Considering 700 truck drivers died in crashes in 2012 alone, this means that large truck crashes resulted in thousands of additional deaths the same year—and many more injuries.

These are numbers that every driver should be concerned about. And if a driver is involved in a big rig accident, it is important to know the proper steps to take. While liability depends on the circumstances surrounding the crash, it’s wise to follow these steps after an incident with an 18-wheeler:

  1. Get medical assistance immediately:Anyone injured at the scene should be everyone’s top priority.  Sometimes minor injuries can turn out to be much worse than they seem, so calling 911 is important.
  2. Do not leave the scene of the incident and do not admit responsibility:It’s important that drivers do not leave the scene of the incident if at all possible. In addition, drivers should not speculate about responsibility at the scene of the incident.
  3. Call the police:Call the police to the scene of the crash. Be sure that the police report is correct and ask about where to find the report in the future. Record police badge numbers and agencies as well.
  4. Take notes and photographs:Details can make all the difference when filing a claim with an insurance company, or during any legal action taken following the incident. Try to get contact and insurance information from any vehicles involved and record names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash. Photograph any vehicles involved and the accident scene.

 

Traffic is a fact of life in Houston, and so are traffic accidents. In 2011, approximately 15% of all vehicles accidents in Texas occurred in Houston, making its roads more dangerous than any other city’s streets in Texas. The two leading reasons cited are the city’s 11% annual population growth in recent year and a higher than average per capita drunk driving rate. Harris Country has the highest rate of drunk driving deaths in the nation, according to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And the numbers show that traffic safety in Houston is worsening. In 2011, there were 53,581 traffic accidents in Houston. In 2014, that number jumped to 70,774.

While officials try to understand the causes of these crashes, what authorities do know is which Houston intersections are the most dangerous. Using data compiled by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Houston media organizations have found where the most accidents occur.

THE TERRIBLE TEN

Keep a look out when traveling through these 10 Houston intersections:

  • 610 and Wallisville Road
  • Highway 59 and Highway 1960
  • Westheimer and Highway 6
  • Louetta Road and I-45
  • Highway 225 and Beltway 8
  • SH-249 and FM 2920
  • Westheimer Road and Beltway 8
  • Highway 6 and FM 529
  • Beltway 8 and Genoa Red Bluff Road
  • S. Route 90 Alt and Beltway 8

These 10 intersections are responsible for a significant number of crashes every year, and while there’s no arguing with the data, there are some interesting observations at first glance.

First, several of these intersections are at Beltway 8 or are within a few miles of it. Second, none of the intersections inside the 610 Loop make the list.  Speed seems to play a major role. Some of the more congested roadways during peak travel hours are inside the 610 Loop.  Drivers cannot travel as fast as they can on Beltway 8 or further out into the Houston suburbs. Additionally Beltway 8 is a heavily trafficked road during both rush hour commutes, even though many drivers will only access it for short stretches before they hit the next major highway, which allows there to be natural traffic gaps. Higher speeds translates to more crashes.

But there are problems with these intersections in particular, and they deserve a closer look to determine how the city can reduce their impact.

THE ANATOMY OF AN INTERSECTION

Drivers spend much of their time passing through or stopping at intersections, and one may look exactly like the next. But there are few standards when it comes to planning and building an intersection. There is a general concept to creating a safe intersection and it typically includes the following:

  • The intersection must not be too short. During heavy traffic periods, drivers can clog up short intersections and force others to slam on their brakes even when they have a green light. Highway 225 and Beltway 8 is notorious for its short length and cumbersome turn lane.
  • The intersection must not be too long. Longer intersections require more time to pass through, which means drivers may still be traveling through the intersection once cross traffic is given the green light. Genoa Red Bluff Road and Beltway 8 is a rather long intersection at 300 feet from one side to the other, and it’s the most dangerous intersection in Houston.
  • The intersection must be clearly visible from a distance. If drivers cannot see traffic lights and other cars from a distance, they may be forced to react suddenly. The intersection at Highway 59 and FM 1960, for instance, is sitting at the top of an incline, shielding it from view until drivers are right on top of it.
  • The intersection’s traffic lights must be reasonably timed.Rapid light cycles may help keep traffic flowing steadily, but drivers often don’t expect them, making it more likely that they enter the intersection through a red light. Westheimer at Highway 6 and Highway 6 at FM 529 have been the subject of numerous complaints to the city due to their rapid light cycles.

The time of day, local traffic patterns and the presence of popular businesses in the area can affect accident numbers as well.

It’s a lot for drivers to account for when on the road, but there are ways to mitigate the danger when passing through an intersection.

STAY ATTENTIVE, STAY ALIVE

Design quirks and technical issues at intersections can affect accident rates, but driver error is still the number one cause of vehicle crashes. Driver error is a catch-all term that can refer to a number of risky behaviors, all of which are preventable and should be avoided, especially when moving through intersections. Some of these dangerous behaviors include:

  • Speeding– The average road speeds in Texas are the highest in the nation, and when drivers travel through intersections at high speeds, they are unprepared for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers that may not notice the light has turned green.
  • Making unsafe left turns– Left turns are among the most dangerous maneuvers on the road, and require careful timing. When a driver either doesn’t pay attention to oncoming traffic, or attempts to beat a cyclist or vehicle, they can end up in a head-on collision. Accidents that involve left hand turns are often considered the fault of the driver making the turn.
  • Using cell phones– It’s well known that cell phone usage has a negative impact on driving skills, but the statistics are still staggering. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 25% of all traffic accidents are due, at least in part, to cell phone use. This includes talking, texting, web surfing and, yes, Pokemon Go.
  • Driving while impaired– Again, it is well known that alcohol or drug use can affect a driver’s ability to navigate roads safely. It’s particularly problematic at intersections, especially for pedestrians. Half of all pedestrian deaths at intersections are caused by drivers with a BAC of over .10, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2012, 38% of all Texas traffic fatalities involved alcohol, when data from the NHTSA is considered. That same year, TXDOT tracked 2,809 alcohol-related crashes in Harris County, or one nearly every three hours. 175 people lost their lives in those accidents.

It’s impossible to account for every risk, but removing driver error from the equation will maximize a driver’s likelihood of remaining safe, even when frequenting Houston’s most dangerous intersections.

 

What are the unknown dangers of a passenger van?

Two more serious 15-passenger van accidents occurred in 2015 that reminded everyone why it can be so dangerous – and often fatal – to ride in these vehicles. In February of last year, a large passenger van in Houston caught on fire when it collided with a Metro bus. All 13 people aboard the bus had to be taken to area hospitals.

In March 2015, more lives were forever changed by a 15-passenger van accident. While traveling to Fort Myers, Florida to attend a weekend Palm Springs revival, eight people lost their lives and 10 more were injured. This rural accident in southwest Florida was one of this country’s worst 15-passenger van tragedies in years.

Fortunately, many businesses and community groups took these deadly accidents quite seriously and decided to start limiting their use of these larger vans.

Boy Scouts of America Took an Early, Important Stand on Using Large Passenger Vans

Concerned about the safety of all of the children and their leaders who often ride in these larger vans, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) passed a new rule. It stated that effective September 1, 2015, the organization would no longer approve the use of 15-passenger vans (manufactured before 2005) for transporting scouts to any activities.

This strong and decisive action has now caused many others to follow suit, even if they’re doing so less formally. To understand why some groups are taking this type of action, it’s important to look at the chief safety concerns with 15-passenger vans.

Most Problematic Aspects of 15-Passenger Vans

Although precise safety statistics still vary slightly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other similar agencies have reported that when 15-passenger vans carry 10 or more people, they are roughly three to five times more likely to roll over in an accident than similar (or smaller) vans carrying five or fewer passengers.

Other special concerns regarding 2005 and earlier big passenger vans include:

  • They often do not offer fully functional seatbeltsfor all passengers;
  • A number of them do not offer ESC– electronic stability control;
  • They’re too oftenoverloaded with extra goods – and too many passengers – making it much harder for the driver to properly maneuver the vehicle;
  • The critical need to only allow adults to drive them who have completed specialized trainingfor passenger vans of this increased size;
  • They should never be alteredinside by adding or subtracting any interior seats;
  • Too many groups keep renting or using older vans with poor tire treads and improper inflation. The wrong level of air pressure in tires can directly cause a deadly accident;
  • Proper, ongoing maintenance remains critical for these vehicles. You must constantly check to be sure that their brakes, steering, and other features are being recalibrated and/or replaced as needed.

 

Many people who suffer injuries in a car wreck are concerned about medical bills and lost wages. Another important component of damages potentially available to a personal injury claimant arises from scarring and disfigurement.

Perhaps you cut yourself on a shattered windshield during a collision? Or maybe your injuries required surgery that left a permanent scar from an incision?

These residual injuries are compensable in a personal injury claim. The monetary value of a scarring or disfigurement claim depends on several factors such as visibility of the scar, age of the victim, and effect on mobility. For example, in the eyes of a jury, a young female who has a 3-inch scar across her face likely has a claim worth more than a middle aged male with a scar on his back from a surgical incision.

Regardless of the ultimate value of a scarring or disfigurement claim, it is important to document the injury through photos or videos. If it is possible to remove or reduce the scarring with plastic surgery, that procedure may also be covered as part of the claim, and the cost of it must be documented as well.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Serious Injuries Cause Serious Medical Bills

Whether or not you have insurance, medical bills are an inevitable reality after sustaining a serious injury in an auto accident. It is important to know your options before you get too far behind financially.

Auto insurance and health insurance may provide coverage for medical bills as a result of accident-related medical care. A personal injury attorney can educate you on the coverage available to you.

Auto insurance coverage may include personal injury protection benefits or medical payment benefits. However, obtaining these benefits takes time. Proper documentation of the wreck and the medical bills must be submitted to your auto insurance company for the claim to be processed. Meanwhile, bills are continuing to pile up.

Health insurance coverage may also cover medical treatment necessitated as a result of an auto accident. But many health insurance plans require the covered individual to reimburse the plan for benefits paid for accident-related treatment from any third party funds obtained from an at-fault party.

Each injured person’s options are different based on the insurance coverage in effect at the time of the wreck. A one-on-one consultation with a personal injury attorney can help you explore the coverage available to you and decide how to best handle your medical bills.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there was a least one major vehicle collision every 61 seconds in the state of Texas last year. There were nearly 250,000 serious injuries from these crashes. Is it possible that all of these events truly were “accidents?” Or is it more likely that someone was clearly at fault?

The word “accident” allows a guilty party to absolve themselves of responsibility, effectively saying that the event was caused by unforeseen, mutual circumstances.

The New York Times reports that, “The word was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job.” The companies did not want to take full responsibility for workers’ injuries and have to pay high insurance claim costs, so they cleverly (and unethically) changed the conversation. “Accident” allowed the companies to control semantics and say that the event was a rare, unavoidable hazard of the job, even if the company had been directly responsible for someone’s injuries. The Times also reports that as automobile use became more and more prevalent and collision deaths became more frequent, “a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the word to shift focus away from the cars themselves.”

In the case of an automobile collision, the word “accident” allows those who are at fault to deem the crash as beyond anyone’s control. But if someone drives drunk, falls asleep behind the wheel, goes the wrong direction down a one-way street, or speeds through a red light, is it still an accident? Or is it a product of negligence and misconduct?

As drivers in the Houston area know, there are many factors that can make our roads treacherous, including human error. There was at least one death from a traffic collision in Texas every day in 2015. Is it right to label all of these deaths a result of “accidents”?

Today, more and more states are changing their policy toward the word, opting to label the events as “crashes” or “incidents.” Texas has state troopers file “crash reports” rather than “accident reports.”

It’s time to take the word back. Car companies and insurance corporations should not be allowed to dictate who is at fault just by simple semantics. A victim deserves to know that all of the pain and suffering they were forced to endure was not merely an “accident.”

wrongful death lawyer can be described as an advocate for the surviving family members of the victim. They may be able to help when someone dies as a direct result of another party’s negligence. While seeking justice can’t bring a loved one back, it may help prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future by holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

An experienced wrongful death lawyer is familiar with any statutes of limitations on filing and laws governing the legal liability of manufacturers whose products result in the accidental death of someone using those products. They are experienced in discovering who was really to blame in automobile accidents and in other cases, whether the negligence of an individual, government entity, or corporation was responsible for the circumstances that caused the loss of a loved one.

They know which family members that a case can be filed on behalf of and what type of damages to seek, whether it’s compensatory, exemplary, or both. This will allow the surviving family members to be economically taken care of while punishing the party that was responsible for the death.

By utilizing the services of an attorney skilled in this type of lawsuit, a huge burden is lifted from the surviving family members, allowing them to recover from the tragedy and begin to move forward with their lives.

Though they are among the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world, patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are filing law suits at increasing rates. PPIs are highly effective at treating gastric acid disorders. In fact, there is no other class of medications that even compares, as PPIs are 99% more effective than antagonist medications. Their effects are usually long-term, and often permanent as well, which means that they only have to be used briefly. This is important, as there is little research into long-term use of PPIs, and emerging research suggests that there are significant health complications associated with long-term PPI use.

Since 2012, several research groups have published troubling safety findings regarding proton pump inhibitors leading to law suits. In 2016, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that patients that used PPIs were 95% more likely to develop serious kidney problems, including Chronic Kidney Disease or End Stage Renal Disease, both of which are extremely expensive and difficult to treat.

Also in 2016, the Pharmaceutical Journal published research that showed that patients using PPIs were 44% more likely to develop dementia, an emotionally and mentally devastating condition. Heart attacks and bone fractures have also been linked to PPI usage.

AstraZeneca is the pharmaceutical manufacturer most often linked to serious health problems, as Prilosec and Nexium are the two most popular PPIs on the market. Many claims assert that AstraZeneca was aware of these problems before research was made available, and the company has been involved in serious legal issues before.

 

Each new model year is equipped with more and more automatic features. Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, automakers began offering anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Now, ABS may start to mean something different—Automatic Braking System.

Within the next five years, many new vehicles will come equipped with an Automatic Braking System. This feature is designed to slow a vehicle by using cameras and sensors. The cameras and sensors trigger a slowing reaction if there is a stationary object, such as a stopped car, in front of the vehicle.

Experts say that, even though an Automatic Braking System may not completely stop a car, slowing a car down would reduce the severity of an impact. It is still important for drivers to stay alert and prepare to brake when necessary.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

When an employee gets hurt on the job, they may consider talking with work injury lawyers in an effort to protect their rights. From the state’s workers’ compensation laws to the legal process involved, an experienced attorney may be able to help.

Types of Workplace Injuries

Each type of injury can vary in severity, yet they aren’t all immediately apparent. While some are physical and obvious right away, others are mental or emotional and develop over a period of time. It is important to recognize both types of harm that can be endured on the job. The most common types include:

  • Falls from any distance that can result in broken bones, internal damage, paralysis and death.
  • Ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances.
  • Repetitive motion damage due to duties that require continuous and similar movements.
  • Mental and emotional anguish due to such things as discrimination, job related stress, and a hostile work environment.

Compensation

A knowledgeable legal professional can help to identify the overall cause of the injury, whether it is due to a lack of proper training and safety regulations, faulty equipment, or the negligence of fellow employees. Their main focus is to protect the victim’s rights and ensure they are heard. Many states require employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance which ultimately helps to recover benefits such as:

  • Loss of income
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Death benefits

In states such as Texas, companies are not required to carry such insurance under the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act. Therefore, applicable laws can vary and compensation available can be dependent on the employer’s participation.

With all these details to think of, it is no wonder why so many people choose to contact work injury lawyers for advice. They will be able to look at all of the facts and determine the victim’s eligibility and pursue legal proceedings, if appropriate.

Defective products can have tragic repercussions for unsuspecting families, which is why many consider defective product lawsuits following an injury or death due to improper manufacturing or warning labels.

There are three common ways a product can be deemed defective:

  1. A mishap at the factory where the product is manufactured, causing it to be ineffective or harmful. This may include medication that contains hazardous chemicals or does not list all of the possible side-effects.
  2. An inherent design flaw that prevents the product from fulfilling its intended purpose, which might include an engine that spontaneously combusts.
  3. An insufficient or non-existent warning label that could have prevented serious injury or death, such as a missing label on a flammable shower curtain that contributes to a house fire.

But in order to prove in a court of law that negligence occurred, the product must have been used the way it was intended by the manufacturer. If the injured party were tampering with or using the product in any other way, it would be a much harder case to try.

Defective product lawsuits can help victim’s hold a company accountable for the sometimes minor production mistakes that may lead to dangerous, or even fatal consequences.

No matter how careful one might be at work, driving on the roads, or involved in any number of other activities, there’s always the possibility than an accident may occur. As a result, understanding one’s legal options at an early point can be a crucial move in seeking the compensation and justice that one deserves.

While most people live their lives without any incidents, history again and again shows that there’s no telling when and where an accident can occur. Here are a few examples where a personal injury lawyer in Houston may be able to help a victim get the justice they deserve:

  • Automobile Accidents:No matter how careful a driver may be, they cannot account for every other driver on the road. In some instances, there can be no avoiding getting rear-ended or having a nearby car suddenly swerve into one’s lane, causing a crash.
  • Medical Malpractice:When people suffer from an injury or become ill, they expect the utmost care and professionalism from their medical team. Unfortunately, this duty of care isn’t always a reality, and those injured by the carelessness of a doctor or nurse may have recourse.
  • Wrongful Death:There’s no other way to put it—a wrongful death is a tragedy. And there’s nothing that can be done to fill that absence of the lost loved one. However, a personal injury lawyer in Houston may be able to help by seeing to it that the parties who are responsible for a wrongful death are held fully accountable for their actions.
  • Workplace Accidents:Accidents at the workplace can happen no matter how careful an employee is and what precautions he or she takes. Whether due to poor practice on the part of an employer or a company’s decision to cut corners and save some money, workers deserve justice when they are hurt on the job.

Accident lawyers in Texas have an important goal – to help their clients win compensation for their injuries. As every incident is different, how an attorney does that will change from claim to claim, but there are some types of incidents that are more common than others. Often, lawyers helps clients pursue legal action against a negligent party, as people are owed a duty of care from others, whether they are drivers, product manufacturers or employers.

Accident lawyers in Texas are prepared to help victims injured in any setting, but there are some types of claims that come up more frequently than others. For example, the most common injury claim in the state involves vehicle crashes. It’s no secret that the Lone Star State has a serious traffic issue, as it leads the nation on an annual basis in terms of total vehicle crashes and people injured as a result.

Defective products are also involved in many injury claims, and may include defective vehicles, appliances, machinery, toys, or anything else sold to a consumer or business.

Pharmaceutical companies are often implicated in injury claims as their medical products must meet rigorous safety standards before they can be sold to patients. Unfortunately, many of these companies often fail to test their medications adequately, leading many consumers to face dangerous side-effects unknowingly.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) side-effects are a major concern for users. These side-effects can be very serious and may far outweigh the benefits that consumers expect from taking PPIs.

PPIs are widely available either over-the-counter or by prescription. The most common brands of these medications are Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole), Nexium (Esomeprazole), Prilosec (Omeprazole), Protonix (Pantoprazole), Prevacid (Lansoprazole), and Aciphex (Rabeprazole). They are generally taken orally in either pill or liquid form.

Roughly 15 million people in the United States take PPIs for stomach acid problems each day. The drugs are used to treat a variety of diseases. However, many individuals who take PPIs are unaware of the side-effects that they are at risk of experiencing.

These side-effects can include a reduction of stomach acid production to the point of nutrition problems. Individuals taking PPIs can have trouble gaining nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from their food. This puts individuals using PPIs at risk of weakened bones more prone to break, for example.

Taking PPIs can also result in higher vulnerability to infections. Individuals taking the drugs have a higher risk of Clostridium difficile, salmonella, and possibly even pneumonia.

Today studies continue to reveal new potential proton pump inhibitors side-effects. For instance, a recent study by the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn found that individuals over the age of 75 had a 44% higher risk of suffering with dementia, although the reason why has yet to be determined.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working hard to notify consumers that they may have purchased some contaminated baking mixes between December 2015 and February 2016. The specific mixes in question contain General Mills flour that could be tied to an ongoing E. coli O121 outbreak.

Exactly What is E. Coli?

The Mayo Clinic website says that E. coli, also known as Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria that usually lives in the intestines of healthy animals and people. However, there are certain strains of this bacteria, including E. coli O121, that can make people very sick. The most common symptoms are vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

How Is E. Coli Normally Absorbed or Ingested?

Humans normally receive E. coli into their bodies when they consume it in their food or water. It’s a bacterium that is often actually “hidden” in undercooked beef or raw vegetables. While healthy people can recover from ingesting E. coli within about a week – older adults and those with serious, chronic medical conditions can actually develop life-threatening illnesses from it.

How Can You Find Out if You Have This Contaminated Flour in Your Baking Mixes?

According to an article published by FoodSafetyNews.com on August 12, 2016, consumers should look to see if any baking mixes they have were produced by Rabbit Creek under different brand names. On the company website, Rabbit Creek tells consumers with questions about any baking mixes that they can call 1-800-837-3073.

Government officials are concerned that consumers may later use one of these mixes, forgetting about this critical recall. After all, many baking mixes often have a long shelf-life.

The affected foods that may contain this defective or tainted flour include:

  • 15 brands of bread
  • 12 brands of brownies, and
  • Four brands of muffins

As of early August 2016, Rabbit Creek Products of Louisburg, Kansas, says that no illnesses have been reported to it regarding any of its mixes.

Outbreaks of E. Coli Involving General Mills Flour That Still Concern the Government

Unfortunately, consumers in at least 21 states have been infected with the specific strain of E. coli O121 – dating back to December 2015. Bags containing the bad flour have been found in the homes of those who became sick. Furthermore, among the 46 confirmed cases of those infected with this E. coli strain, 13 of them required hospitalization. One person has also now developed kidney failure – a potentially fatal condition.

Specific Brands Possibly Affected

Consumers should check their shelves and look for Krusteaz brand pancake mix, certain Betty Crocker cake mixes, Golden Dipt breading mix, and Marie Callender’s cheese biscuit mix. If you have one of these mixes, be sure to call 1-800-837-3073 before using it.

Should you wish to read more on this topic, be sure to visit the General Mills website – or the CDC website article entitled: “Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infections Linked to Flour.”

When a dangerous dog renders a bite, a lawyer may be able to build a case needed to hold the animal’s owner responsible. This is easier said than done, though, as in many states, Texas included, owners are protected by the one-bite-rule. This stipulation states that animal owners are not considered responsible if their pet did not show aggressive tendencies prior to the injury. In short, this gives an owner one free pass, but it’s not always a permissible defense. An owner, for example, is not protected if they were acting in negligence prior to the attack, and an attorney will focus on whether this was the case following a victim’s injury.

A canine that attempts to pursue people or furiously barks at people when in public may be considered aggressive by the court. This may even be the case if the animal was barking at people while behind a fence, though these canines are often given the benefit of the doubt. If the canine has been trained to fight or has attacked other animals in the past, then that would also be grounds to consider the canine aggressive.

When a dangerous dog bite occurs, a lawyer may also check the defendant’s home in an effort to determine whether or not the animal was properly enclosed. If the canine was loose at the time of the attack, even if animal was not considered aggressive before, the owner may still be liable for not keeping their pet enclosed.

These are some things for victims to keep in mind when pursuing a claim. It may seem difficult to get justice and restitution for such a terrifying experience, but an attorney will work to try to get the victim compensation for their injuries.

Many Americans were frightened by the recent JetBlue airplane turbulence that led to more than 20 passengers and two crew members being taken to a hospital for evaluation and possible treatment. After all, many of us have flown on planes during our lives that began moving up and down in a rather haphazard fashion. When you experience this, you can’t help but feel concern about your safety and whether it’s a small, isolated bump or something that might be more serious.

The Alleged Injuries Tied to the JetBlue Airline Episode

According to several news reports, the JetBlue plane was planning to fly from Boston to Sacramento, California. However, once the plane hit major turbulence, the pilot decided to cut the flight short and land in Rapid City, South Dakota. In a CNN article published on August 12, 2016, one passenger said the period of turbulence unfolded “like a bad dream.”

Another passenger said the flight felt like a dangerous Disney amusement park ride. The extremely rapid drops in altitude were especially frightening. One other report indicated that a passenger who didn’t keep her seatbelt fastened during the air turbulence flew upwards out of her seat, hitting her head on the airplane ceiling. Others are reported to have experienced bruising and other minor injuries.

A weather expert said that the turbulence the JetBlue encountered that day was caused by the rapid shifting of air within a thunderstorm.

How Common Are Serious Air Turbulence Episodes?

A 2014 Huffington Post story reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that between 2002 and 2013, air turbulence led to 430 injuries – but no fatalities. Nevertheless, that same story said that most airline pilots will never encounter any deadly air turbulence during their careers.

Since this type of conflicting information leaves many people unsure of what to expect when flying in the future, here are some additional facts that influence public safety on airplanes.

Are Most Pilots Trained Well Enough to Handle Air Turbulence?

Overall, licensed pilots are properly trained for a broad range of flight conditions. However, various news reports may always worry some travelers. One reason is that airplanes themselves can increase clear air turbulence just by passing by much smaller planes in the sky.

Fortunately, the FAA requires pilots of all large airplanes to master its Wake Turbulence Mitigation for Departure system. And all commercial aircraft must be built so that they can handle forces far greater than those normally experienced during heavy turbulence.

How Can Individual Passengers Maximize Their Safety?

  • Keep your seatbelt fastened the majority of the time – even when it’s not required. No one every knows exactly when air turbulence, wind shear and other forces are likely to effect a specific plane’s flight. You can often remain safest by always keeping your belt securely fastened except when walking back to use the lavatory;
  • Double check the expected weather conditions for the day you’ll be traveling. If heavy thunderstorms, snow or ice are predicted, it may be best to wait for a better weather day. Some travelers might prefer to buy tickets with features that allow them to reschedule their flights without incurring additional change fees;
  • Listen and learn all you can during the flight attendant’s initial safety lecture. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll personally experience severe air turbulence in the future, you should be prepared to duck your head or follow any other instructions from the crew during the flight;
  • Obey all rules regarding luggage placement. Keep items properly locked in the bins above you and make sure all other items are kept under the seats whenever possible. When you fail to do this, all larger items left out on the floor or in empty seats can quickly become dangerous projectiles — capable of hurting you and other passengers.

Bus travel offers an inexpensive and convenient alternative to air travel. As such, many more people are turning to that mode of transportation for their interstate or recreational travel needs. But with the increase in ridership, there is a congruent increase in accidents.

Some of these are minor, such as colliding with a sign, not making a turn properly or backing into a vehicle while departing a bus station. However, others are more serious, such as colliding with another vehicle or running off the road at high speed and rolling over. When the latter happens, serious injuries can result from the bus crash. A Texas lawyer experienced in litigating cases such as these can make all the difference in obtaining justice and compensation for the injured parties.

In cases following an interstate travel bus crash, a Texas lawyer will have knowledge of state laws and regulations governing liability of accidents involving road conditions related to maintenance or signage. An experienced attorney can also determine if the accident resulted from one of the parties not being familiar with the laws in Texas or another state or jurisdiction.

An attorney or law firm who specializes in this type of case will also have the experience to discover whether or not the transportation company was at fault through lack of proper training of its personnel, mechanical issues with the vehicle, or if the incident was caused by human error such as aggressive or reckless driving or driver fatigue.

Whatever the cause, victims have a right to seek compensation for their injuries.

When an accident involves an explosion, wrongful death claims often follow, as these accidents often involve negligence at some level. Defective products, poor wiring and lax safety measures can all result in a major accident that involves a sudden detonation. They can occur anywhere, including the home, but they tend to happen most often in facilities that handle hazardous materials, or on roadways where vehicles are filled with gasoline. As such, it’s extremely important that workplaces and roadways are kept safe, and this requires people to observe critical safety measures.

An explosion that results in death is a devastating tragedy, and often one that could have been avoided if all involved had acted responsibly. For example, the West, Texas plant disaster was an instance of extreme negligence by the facility owner. Safety inspections were infrequent, training was poor and unstable materials, including ammonia nitrate, were not stored properly, increasing the chances of a fire and subsequent detonation. Sadly, there are many such facilities in the U.S., as facility owners and employers often sacrifice worker safety for greater profits.

On the roads, motorists are required to observe all traffic regulations and pay attention at all times, but driver error remains a serious problem. Vehicle crashes may involve combustion and detonation of hazardous fluids, especially when commercial trucks are involved in the crash, and this can make a severe accident even worse.

Defective products are a common cause of accidents as well, as faulty electronics and heating elements can fail suddenly, resulting in a disaster that no one saw coming.

When such an accident occurs, loved ones might choose to seek legal counsel, as they may be able to attain closure by confronting those responsible for gross, unacceptable negligence.

An auto injury lawyer can be of significant assistance when filing a claim against a car insurance company and facing their attorneys. A personal injury lawyer understands the laws and procedures involved in these type of situations. They will handle the paperwork and details, acting as an advocate throughout the entire process. If an injury occurs due to the negligence of another party, it is important to seek medical attention. It is also important to gather as much evidence as possible following the crash, including witness statements and contact information, medical bills and transcripts, pictures of the scene and the police report on file.

Hiring an auto injury lawyer may be the best option if:

  • The victim has sustained severe injuries.
  • The accident has caused extensive medical expenses.
  • There has been a significant loss of wages due to the crash.

If any of the above have occurred, then compensation may be due. An attorney will determine who the negligent parties are and bring the appropriate response. They have an obligation to serve their client to the best of their abilities. Whether the negligent driver was intoxicated, distracted, or simply not obeying traffic laws, they should be held accountable for their actions. No one should have to suffer without the expectation of compensatory damages if the accident occurred through no fault of their own.

Tire separation cases are the most common form of wheel failure, and they often result in tragic outcomes. To an extent, they are inevitable, as rubber and steel do not adhere together easily. However, poor manufacturing practices make tire failure much more likely. Manufacturers push their workers to the limit, sometimes requiring them to work 12-hour shifts that result in severe fatigue. And with lax quality controls, it’s no surprise that tire failures are a problem throughout the industry.

Tire failure is more likely in hot and humid climates, and more likely when the wheel is underinflated, though often when there are manufacturing defects already present. Rubber and steel do not readily bond to each other, either. This means that manufacturers should do everything possible to avoid tire separation cases, and they often don’t.

For example, manufacturers may not execute the curing process properly, or may rely on rubber stock that is beyond its useful life. Manufacturers may employ petroleum solvents during the curing process, and this may effect how the rubber bonds. Foreign material may be cured in with the tire as well, and investigators have found everything from chicken bones to shotgun shells in defective tires. Improper repairs may fail to adequately deal with tread damage, making failure even more likely.

These careless manufacturing processes can be prevented, and as a result, they will help prevent catastrophic tire failure as well. Vehicle owners should expect that level of scrutiny from the companies they trust with their safety.

rail crash is like no other type of accident, as the forces involved are extreme. Nothing on the road is a match for a train, and when a car or truck collide with one, the result is often tragic. According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) 2015 data, there were 11,305 accidents involving trains, and 8,530 of them, or about 75%, resulted in injury. Nearly 800 resulted in fatal outcomes.

Because a rail crash can produce such staggering outcomes, it is essential that operators do everything possible to avoid them. Unfortunately, human error is a problem throughout the industry and represents the single largest cause of train accidents. For example, operators may fail to verify latching during a track switch, resulting in subsequent derailment. And trains that are tasked to push unsecured cars down the track must have someone ahead looking out for any potential danger. Unfortunately, some operators occasionally neglect to do so.

With so much human error in the industry, the FRA is taking steps to improve safety on tracks across the nation. Their solution, known as Positive Train Control (PTC), uses automation and communications technology to react to dangers before they result in an accident, and could be a major step forward in train safety. Many railroads have not yet universally adopted the technology, and there is some pushback that could delay its implementation. If that occurs, more preventable injuries and fatalities may occur as a result.

Trains are a major element of commuter and freight transit, but without additional safety measures, they will continue to pose a threat.

This week a distracted driver in Japan crashed into two women crossing the street. One woman suffered a fatal injury, and the other woman is currently hospitalized.

The driver’s distraction was Pokémon Go. The most notorious driving distraction in recent years has been texting. Since the advent of the cell phone, drivers have been easily distracted by phone calls, checking emails, and other smartphone activities.

This incident is not the first collision attributed to Pokémon Go, and the game’s distraction affects drivers and passengers alike. Earlier this summer, a distracted driver crashed into a parked police car in Baltimore while playing Pokémon Go. Then, not even 24 hours later, a driver who was chasing Pokémon with his wife, who was instructing him where to go, hit another police car while rushing to get to a Pokémon Gym.

Drivers on the streets are consumed by the virtual reality offered by Pokémon Go, diverting their attention from driving to playing the game. Distracted driving creates a high risk for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. No game is worth taking a human life. Those who play Pokémon Go should exercise self-restraint and only engage in the game when they are in a safe environment—not while driving.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

birth injury to can be deeply traumatic for any family who has to experience it. Injuries during delivery can range from minor to life changing, and the stress of having to deal with the consequences can be unbearable. If you or someone you care about believes that you have been victimized due to the negligence of a medical professional, it may be wise to consider consulting with a lawyer.

A doctor can be found negligent if it can be proven that they provided care that was far below medical standards.

Here are some examples that may involve negligence:

  • If a doctor fails to diagnose a mother or child of an ailment or defect.
  • If a doctor fails to notify of the ailment or defect.
  • If a doctor uses medical tools incorrectly.
  • If a doctor fails to actively monitor the mother and child over the course of the delivery.

If the injury occurred during pregnancy, it could be due to a genetic abnormality or something effecting the maternal environment (e.g. an infectious disease, the use of drugs or alcohol) — a birth defect. If an otherwise healthy baby was injured during the delivery itself, then it may be the fault of the doctor — a birth injury. Perceiving the nuances between birth injuries and birth defects can be instrumental in determining whether or not a claim is viable, and this is where an experienced lawyer can help.

Onboard a ship, death is not a frequent occurrence, but unfortunately tragic accidents do happen. Fatalities are often due to negligence, and the negligent parties must be held accountable to ensure that the victim’s family has the closure they deserve. This negligence can come from the vessel owner, the vessel’s manufacturer or even crew members, but no matter what causes a fatal accident, the victim’s family has legal rights.

There are unique hazards at sea that demand additional safety procedures. The surrounding water is chief among them, and vessel builders must do everything possible to guard against people falling into the sea. This means building sturdy guardrails and decks that do not become slippery when contacted with water. Builders must also account for the inherent instability of the vessel, constructing staircases that are easy to navigate and storage areas that can be secured.

When an accident on a ship results in death, it can also result from poorly maintained safety equipment. Vessel owners are required to keep enough safety equipment on hand to mitigate a major accident, such as keeping a bank of lifeboats that can safely evacuate hundreds or thousands of passengers. Failing to do this is an act of negligence and demands accountability.

Given their isolation from the mainland, it is essential that vessel owners and builders take their responsibilities seriously, and ensure that passenger safety is their chief concern.

When a dog bites, it may be relatively harmless, but when it’s not, it’s important that a victim receives medical assistance as soon as possible and documents the details surrounding the attack.

While there are millions of dog bites each year in the United States, many of them are small nips that may not even break the skin. However, dog bites can also be extremely serious, resulting in severe injury. In these cases, owners may be negligent and victims have the right to seek legal assistance to get the justice they deserve.

Many people love dogs, and there’s no shortage of reasons for their reputation as man’s best friend. However, canine attacks can be vicious, resulting in disfigurement, nerve damage, broken bones, and any other variety of ailments.

Beyond the initial injuries, there can be a variety of other consequences when a dog bites. Medical bills can rapidly pile up for a victim, no matter how good his or her medical coverage may be. Canines also often attack a victim’s hands, legs, or feet, meaning that a victim may be out of work for an extended period after their medical treatment has ended—and sometimes permanently. Finally, beyond the pain and suffering of the initial attack, victims—especially children—may suffer from continued psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When these incidents happen, they are often the result of negligence. Victims of vicious canine attacks should consider contacting a lawyer with a background in canine attack cases for a consultation.

When the consequences of a doctor or hospital’s actions are debilitating and devastating, patients may be left wondering if their situation is one that should be reviewed by medical malpractice lawyers. Before seeking representation, it is may help a patient assess their situation by understanding different forms of medical malpractice.

Hospital

A rather common type of malpractice, hospital negligence is when the staff (doctors, nurses, surgeons, etc.) at a hospital failed to provide the necessary and proper care. For instance, if a patient was in a car accident without any identification and the hospital made decisions regarding the care of the patient that were ultimately damaging, there may be grounds for a lawsuit if it can be proven that those choices made were not in the best interest of the patient.

Doctor

Doctors are our first lines to medical care. They tell us what medications to take, diagnose initial conditions and ultimately set the groundwork for every decision we make for our health. If it can be determined that they did not follow the proper guidelines or were negligent in some way, patients who experience injuries  may be able to seek retribution.

Pharmaceutical

From drug interactions to proper warning labels to overdoses, the drugs we take are often based on recommendations and guidelines set by the pharmaceutical companies that create and distribute them. Should an accident occur where the pharmaceutical company is found to be responsible, patients may be entitled to damages.

When looking into medical malpractice lawyers, it is helpful to gather as much information as possible, including medical records and other notes with specific information, including dates and details. Should the client seek representation, an attorney will guide them through the process in an effort to help them successfully resolve their medical malpractice claim.

Proton pump inhibitors adverse effects have recently been the focus of many news stories. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications that reduce the amount of stomach acid that the lining of the stomach produces. They are designed to relieve the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), better known as acid reflux. This is a condition in which matter from the stomach moves up to the esophagus, causing a variety of unpleasant sensations, as well as the possibility of permanent damage to the esophageal tract. PPIs are also used to treat indigestion and stomach ulcers.

There is a broad assortment of PPIs available on the market – both in over-the-counter and prescription form. Similarly, there is widespread use of many different proton pump inhibitors. Adverse effects from over-therapy include iron and B12 deficiency, diarrhea, bone fractures, and pneumonia. If there is an indication that PPIs were used incorrectly and severe damage to health occurred, it is possible that compensation could be available. Medical expenses and loss of income related directly to PPI use may be recovered. The long-term effects of PPI usage is causing many people to seek legal counsel to explore their options. An experienced attorney can determine if a legal remedy is warranted.

Daily life is full of interactions with any number of gadgets, machines, and other items, any of which may cause harm to the users, warranting defective product cases.

The Three Most Prominent Types of Defective Product Cases

Defective product cases can be split into three different types: (a) design defects, (b) manufacturing defects, and (c) improper labeling or inadequate instructions.

Defects of the Design

Design can be complicated, and a poorly designed product can be dangerous. In these cases, the faulty design may potentially cause injury to the person using the item.

Defects from Manufacturing

Problems in the manufacturing process can easily lead to defective items. For example, a manufacturer may decide to use poor quality materials, or an essential ingredient may somehow not make it into a product, potentially resulting in injury to an individual.

Inadequate Usage Instructions or Improper Labeling

This third type is just as serious as the rest, potentially leading to harm—or worse. Examples of this type include poor instructions on how to operate machinery, or medication with unclear labeling and warnings about possible side-effects.

It is important to note that none of these cases may be as straightforward as they initially seem—which is why many people choose to contact an attorney for help.

Most people assume that tobacco smoke is the primary cause of lung cancer, however, asbestos related lung cancer has become more prevalent in recent decades. In fact, roughly 4,800 people die each year as a direct result of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is fiber-shaped group of minerals that was once used in everything from building construction to household products. When disturbed and inhaled, it can become lodged in the lungs, eventually leading to tumors and disease.

Each year a person is exposed to asbestos causes a four percent increase in the risk of lung cancer, and a decrease in the chance of recovery. Unfortunately, it is known as a silent-killer because many who are affected don’t experience symptoms until the later stages of the disease. Individuals exposed to it in their home or community, and those who mine or mill, or work in another occupation where they are regularly exposed to it are at risk for this and other diseases.

While the EPA has implemented regulations for the public’s exposure to asbestos, and there are programs for the compensation of those affected, no legislature has been enacted to protect those who have been injured.  If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos and has lung cancer, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney to explore the options for restitution.

 

Preparing children for the new school year often focuses on school supplies and uniforms. What about back-to-school safety?

Take time to talk to your children about safety in their daily commutes to and from school. A new year may mean a new campus, involving a new route or a new bus or carpool driver. Making your children more aware of potential safety hazards can prevent future injuries. Here are some topics to talk about with your children:

  • Crosswalks: Cars are supposed to stop to allow children to pass through crosswalks around school campuses, but distracted drivers do not always pay attention. Instruct your children to stop and check for traffic before crossing the street, even in a crosswalk.
  • Buses: Unlike cars, buses sit up high and have more blind spots. Teach your children about the differences between cars and buses so they know the risks of riding in and crossing the road near a bus.
  • Young drivers: If your children are at a campus where some of the students are of driving age, give them specific rules about whether they are allowed to ride with their classmates who have drivers’ licenses. Young drivers are more prone to distractions and do not have the experience of adult drivers.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

The roll-out of the 2017 model year brings excitement for consumers who are looking to purchase a new vehicle. Much of the attention is going to SUVs and subcompact SUVs.

Many of the most popular SUVs have been redesigned for the new model year, and other automakers are launching new SUVs to compete in this category. New SUVs include the Jaguar F-Pace, Bentley Bentayga, and Maserati Levante. Toyota is also rolling out a new subcompact SUV: the Toyota C-HR.

It is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest new models, but all consumers should consider safety features and ratings before making a purchase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both test a variety of makes and models for safety considerations, then make their findings available online for consumer research at www.safercar.gov/Safety+Ratings and www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings.

The IIHS also performed a study on insurance losses by vehicle make and model, then sorted results among Collision, Property Damage, Comprehensive, Personal Injury, Medical Payment, and Bodily Injury claims. If you visit the IIHS website, you can compare model years, vehicle sizes, and vehicle types. Visit www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/insurance-loss-information to start your side-by-side comparison.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Learn How to Avoid Water Skiing Accidents

Nearly all of us have watched someone water ski on a lake or seen the sport being enjoyed during a TV show or movie. When it’s done well, the sport looks extremely easy. However, pulling yourself up on skis while a boat accelerates can take considerable practice and an excellent sense of balance. In general, water skiing is best pursued by adults or older teens who are willing to follow basic safety guidelines.

Every year, Texans enjoy pursuing many types of boating activities like water skiing with jet ski and personal watercraft. After all, we have a lengthy coastline – and more square miles of inland water than any other state. Our residents also own numerous boats. In fact, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says that our state currently has about 580,000 registered boats. This means we rank number six out of 50 states regarding how many boats are regularly maintained and used here.

Since so many of us enjoy water skiing and other boating activities, we must handle these pursuits responsibly. Here are some general safety tips and reminders that should serve us well.

Ways We All Can Help Prevent or Minimize Texas Water Skiing Accidents and Injuries      

  • Boat operators must remain fully sober and stay focused on their driving. No passenger should ever be injured because the boat pilot was secretly drinking or using any mind-altering drugs that can impair judgment or slow down physical reaction times. Boating under the influence is taken very seriously in Texas. Always have a designated, sober driver ready to handle your boat while out water skiing. After all, those pursuing this sporting activity deserve careful navigation – at a reasonable speed;
  • Good boat drivers must steer their vessels in a straight line whenever possible. It’s never appropriate to zig-zag through the water – unless a sudden change in direction is required to avoid an accident. Boat operators should also discuss the speeds they’ll be using with their water skiers prior to leaving the dock. This type of coordination is critical for both safety and full enjoyment of the sport;
  • Ask one passenger to act as a “spotter” before your boat leaves the dock.You’ll need this adult to carefully monitor each water skier’s safety at all times. Should a problem develop while the skier is holding onto the tow line and waiting to lift up (or when s/he needs to hurry and drop back down in the water), the spotter can immediately give this information to the boat operator. This can help minimize all potential injuries;
  • Carefully inspect all towing and safety equipment before pulling out into the water.The boat operator should personally examine all water skis, tubes, boards, and other equipment to be sure it’s in good repair. All unnecessary gear should be left on the dock and locked up. Boat drivers must look closely at all tow lines to be sure they’re not frayed or likely to suddenly snap. Finally, every passenger must wear a properly fastened and approved life jacket;
  • All tow lines must be kept far away from the boat propellersBefore heading out into the water, tell your water skiers to avoid skiing or dropping into the water close to the boat’s propellers. Serious injuries can occur when people forget this guideline;
  • Always have at least one extra adult onboard, ready to run the boat should the main pilot or skipper become ill. Also, you should agree on some handle signals with your skiers so they’ll know how to let you know if they’re in crisis – and need to get back into the boat;
  • When picking a skier up out of the water, steer slowly and carefully – and then turn off the motorIt’s never wise to try and pull a skier out of the water when the boat propellers are still moving about;
  • Agree ahead of time how long each skier will remain in the water. While it may be fun, waterskiing can easily tire out good athletes. It’s better to pull someone in a bit early than to leave them out so long they have trouble swimming over to the boat once you’ve stopped it.

Should you have some any general questions, you’d like answered out boating in Texas, be sure to visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

 

One thing Chinese cities and Houston have in common is traffic. Recently, China debuted the first Transit Elevated Bus (the “TEB-1”) to help alleviate traffic jams for mass transit.

The TEB-1 is designed to drive over cars. It is 16-feet high and has a clearance of about 7 feet underneath, so it can keep moving over traffic instead of being forced to stop. The inside of the TEB-1 looks a lot like the Houston Metro. It is 72-feet long and 26-feet wide, capable of holding up to 300 passengers.

The TEB-1 runs on rails laid along ordinary roads. While a design like this might not work in many parts of Houston because of the prevalence of tall commercial vehicles, this concept shows how technology can counter the rise in vehicular traffic throughout America’s large cities.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Recent reports of injuries at amusement parks have been troubling. In the last few weeks alone, a 10-year-old boy died from a neck injury sustained on a Schlitterbahn waterslide, three children fell out of a Ferris wheel in Tennessee, a three-year-old boy fell out of a rollercoaster at Idlewild and SoakZone in Pennsylvania, and two patrons were injured on an attraction at Cedar Point in Ohio.

Early August is the last chance to squeeze in a summer getaway before the start of the new school year, but safety must be first priority. Three of these recent incidents involved children. Parents need to take the time to read the rules and regulations regarding each attraction before allowing children to climb aboard. Height restrictions and weight restrictions may prevent children from riding certain attractions.

The amusement park staff should be making sure each rider is qualified to board each attraction, but as adults, you need to take extra precautions to keep you and your children safe. If you aren’t sure a ride is safe, don’t be afraid to ask questions or move on to the next ride.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?

Government statistics indicate that well over 200,000 children age 14 and under wind up having to go to emergency rooms each year due to serious injuries suffered on public and private playgrounds. About 75% of those injures are related to falls. Kids are always at greatest risk when they land on hard surfaces – that’s when they are most like to incur traumatic brain injuries or other long-term injuries or death.

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that one seven-year study documented 40 children’s deaths caused by playground injuries. Roughly 68% of those young people died as a result of asphyxiation or hanging. Such devastating injuries and deaths clearly indicate that all adults must provide highly focused monitoring of kids playing outdoors.

The following list of possible injuries may grow over time since new playground equipment hits the market every year.

Kids Often Suffer from These Playground Injuries

  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Deep bruises and severe cuts
  • Serious and often permanent eye damage
  • The loss of fingers or toes – and other types of disfigurement
  • Crushing injuries to many parts of the body
  • Life-threatening blood loss – especially after major falls
  • Far too often, children die on playgrounds — or shortly after reaching hospitals

What Can Families and Schools Do to Improve Playground Safety?

  • Choose the best playground surfaces. Do all you can to help “soften” a child’s fall. Look for playground surface materials like sand, shredded rubber, mulch or even special loose-filled wood chips. Avoid letting your kids ever play on surfaces that include big tree stumps, loose rocks, gravel and uncovered holes of any size;
  • Remind kids never to bully each other while playingSimple pushing and shoving can easily cause catastrophic falls;
  • Only let your kids play on small and sturdy swing sets. Never let children get into swings that let them pump so hard they can easily fly out of their seats and seriously harm themselves;
  • Just let your children play with others close to their age. Older kids may not want to injure your child seriously – but they may still cause dangerous injuries when they forget how much more they weigh when playing too rough with others;
  • Never let children play on rusty play equipment. Likewise, check to be sure all playground equipment is free of any sharp edges;
  • Encourage the use of all handrails and guardrails. Tell your children that using these items can often help them avoid falling off equipment;
  • Try always to have two adults monitor kids on any playground. This comes in very handy whenever a child is severely One adult can call for help while the other one can gather the kids together and tend to the afflicted child;
  • Keep a fully-charged cell phone on you at all times – for emergency purposes only. Never visit with friends or indoor co-workers while you’re supposed to be supervising children playing;
  • Obtain at least one official playground safety inspection each year. While this mainly applies to school and public playgrounds – it would be very wise to have all of your backyard play equipment inspected each year, too.

Careful adult supervision is the key to playground safety – along with well-made equipment and proper surface materials. Hopefully, adults will work together to keep playgrounds so safe that they will always be a part of our children’s happiest memories.

 

Are You Aware of Smart Car Dangers?

Cars are getting smarter. Each new model year rolls out new bells and whistles. Many of these features utilize computer systems that manage different features of cars without operator input.

One of the most popular features available—in standard and luxury models alike—are back-up cameras and audible warnings. Instead of having to turn your head over your shoulder to look where you’re reversing, you can use the back-up camera to see where you’re going. Many models also have audible warnings that start to beep when you get too close to other cars or objects.

All of these automated features are great . . . if they’re working properly. Once you become dependent on a back-up camera to see where you’re going, it could be a real shock for this item to malfunction. If you can only parallel park when relying on your audible warnings going “beep . . . beep . . . beep” until it flat lines, you could be in for a rude awakening when the first sound you hear is metal on metal.

To avoid auto accidents attributable to technical malfunctions, regularly test your automated features. Also, don’t become dependent on these features. You still need to be able to safely operate a vehicle without them. Just like many young drivers don’t know how to drive a standard transmission, many drivers of the future won’t know how to reverse a vehicle without automated assistance.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Know the Dangers of Underride Collisions

Big rigs get a bad rap for causing collisions resulting in catastrophic injury and death. One of the most dangerous risks involving 18-wheelers is underride collisions.

An underride collision occurs when a smaller vehicle is caught underneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler. This may result in the smaller vehicle being caught under the trailer for several feet before the 18-wheeler is able to come to a stop. Often, the roof of the vehicle is stripped from the frame, leaving passengers exposed and creating the risk of serious head trauma—even decapitation.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a requirement for stronger rear impact guards on the backs of trailers to provide better protection in the event of a collision. Current regulations require rear impact guards for most trailers, but tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that the rear impact guards on most trailers could be improved.

To reduce the risk of an underride collision, motorists should keep a safe distance from 18-wheelers. Many trailers have signs recommending that vehicles stay a certain distance away to create a safe breaking distance. Rainy conditions pose a greater risk because of reduced visibility and longer braking distances.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney specializing in trucking accidents to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Think ahead to avoid dangers.

Outdoor enthusiasts hike trails and mountains. Some take their interests indoors to rock climbing walls and other activities designed to fulfill their thrill-seeking personalities.

Regardless of whether you take a hike outdoors or indoors, you need to be aware of your surroundings and potential safety hazards. It is also a good idea to make sure you have the proper equipment.

Outdoor hiking involves risks of sharp drop-offs, loose rocks, and slippery terrain. With the weather changing on a moment’s notice, the trial can change just as quickly. Indoor activities like rock climbing involve risks of faulty equipment.

To avoid potential safety hazards, think ahead. Know the trail and the risks before embarking on an outdoor (or indoor) adventure unprepared. Many trails are regularly maintained by a public or private entity, but the trails are always evolving due to natural elements, which could create safety hazards.

Likewise, indoors, equipment eventually wears from day-to-day use. Ask an indoor facility when they last performed a safety inspection to make sure any course and equipment is up-to-date.

If you or someone you know has been injured, call a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

maritime injury lawyer can help a hurt seaman take advantage of their considerable legal rights following an accident, and make use of the powerful Jones Act to ensure any negligence is punished. Seamen face difficult working conditions on a daily basis, and these jobs can be extremely physically demanding. Even though seamen have to contend with such conditions, they aren’t afforded worker’s compensation in the event of an accident. Aside from basic maintenance and cure benefits, a hurt seaman can be left in a precarious position if they are too hurt to continue working, or need extensive medical treatment to recover.

Fortunately, these workers do have a major advantage in the form of the Jones Act, which an experienced maritime injury lawyer can build a claim around. The Jones Act grants qualified seamen rights similar to those that railroad workers enjoy, and perhaps the most important right among them is the ability to file a negligence claim against a vessel owner or captain in the event of an accident. These claims are presented during a trial by jury, and there is no cap on compensation, so while a seaman is not guaranteed compensation when hurt, they have a much greater chance of recovering full compensation for all medical expenses (both present and future), and any lost wages as well.

These claims have to meet a much lower standard of proof compared to other negligence claims, so qualified seamen do have options when involved in an accident. And an attorney can help a victim assess what those options are.

A reputable Houston mesothelioma lawyer can mean the difference in the quality of life for a person suffering from mesothelioma. Billions of dollars are set aside in trusts for the victims of asbestos-related mesothelioma, and an attorney can help a victim receive the compensation that is due. Most victims of this tragic disease were exposed while working for companies that were aware of the toxicity involved and did nothing to prevent their workers from harm. Mesothelioma victims have a right to expect financial assistance for day to day expenses and medical bills. Filing these cases is time sensitive, so it is essential to talk with an attorney as soon as possible after diagnosis. A qualified lawyer will determine if a claim is viable, will file the suit in the appropriate state, discover the responsible parties, depose witnesses, negotiate settlements, and litigate the case in court if it comes to that, which it rarely does.

The ideal Houston mesothelioma lawyer will have experience with asbestos-related cases, achieved favorable settlements, and understands the ramifications that the disease has for the victim and their family. They will typically not charge upfront to work the case and are only paid upon a successful settlement. Anyone diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma should move forward as quickly as possible in finding an attorney and filing a claim.

 

Stay Alive: Learn Motorcycle Safety Tips

Unfortunately, most Texas drivers have either seen a serious motorcycle accident unfold or have passed by and seen the tragic aftermath of one. Far too often, these are deadly events since motorcycles offer so little physical protection – and many riders refuse to wear the proper safety gear. However, even properly outfitted law enforcement officials and those who wear protective gear also lose their lives.

Houston has already seen too many serious or fatal motorcycle accidents during recent months. In fact, during July of 2016, a Bellaire motorcycle cop lost his life while chasing two suspects who were apparently trying to escape with stolen goods from a local Target store. The Houston Chronicle states that Officer Anthony Zarate was killed on July 12th – while he was pursuing these suspects. One or more witnesses at the scene believe that the officer may have lost control of his motorcycle during the chase.

Here’s a look at a few other Houston accidents that have left too many people injured or killed. This information is followed by general motorist safety tips for driving near motorcycles.

Other Recent Houston Motorcycle Injuries and Collisions

  • June 2016.A vehicle driving in northeast Houston failed to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist traveling on Alpine Bender and wound up hitting the 27-year-old young man. He died at the scene while the person driving the car who hit him was taken to a local hospital;
  • May 2016. During the first half of the month, a 65-year-old man died after possibly losing control of his motorcycle, then hitting a curb and a guardrail. The accident took place at 3000 North Main around rush hour;
  • April 2016. During the early part of this month, a 29-year-old Hispanic man riding a 2010 Honda motorcycle was hit and killed on Cypress Mills Drive. No one initially knew who was at fault in this accident that took place during the early morning hours.

Tips for Driving Safely Near Motorcycles, Motorized Bikes & Other Similar Vehicles

It’s fairly common for people riding quietly in their cars to become a bit nervous when a loud motorcycle pulls up near them in traffic. This may be because many of us may unfairly assume that most motorcyclists pay less attention to speed limits and road signs.

Concerned by all of these unnecessary deaths, the Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) has created a new safety campaign entitled “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles.”Here are some basic facts clearly indicating why we must all work hard to decrease these types of accidents in our state.

  1. In 2015, Texas motorcyclists suffered 455 fatalities and 1,867 injuries. Even though our state has considerable more paved surfaces than most others, we still need to work together greatly to reduce all of these serious injuries and deaths;
  2. By reading more online about the Texas DOT “Share the Road” campaign, we can each learn why so many motorists continue to collide with motorcyclists.
  3. Nearly every day, car and truck drivers misjudge how far away motorcyclists are traveling from their vehicles in traffic.We also fail to gauge properly the speed at which motorcycles are traveling;
  4. Too often, motorists take over the cyclist’s lane.Just like car and truck drivers, motorcyclists should be allowed to travel in their own separate lane – without others veering into it. Many of us wrongfully assume that the smaller vehicle needs less space;
  5. Motorists often tailgate motorcyclists.This bad habit greatly increases the chances that we will hit one of them. Houston motorcyclists should never have to suffer a serious neck injury because car and truck drivers are negligent;
  6. We all need to use our turn signals regularly– and we must look closely around our vehicles before changing lanes. Car and truck drivers frequently make the road more dangerous for motorcyclists;
  7. All drivers must remember how hard it can be to see motorcyclists at intersectionsToo many motorcycle accidents take place in these locations.

Conclusions

If all drivers commit to driving more carefully, we can move toward decreasing our state’s unacceptably high number of motorcycle deaths. Please visit the Texas DOT’s website to learn more about the unique safety needs of all Texas vehicles – and consider taking a defensive driving course so you can memorize the most important traffic safety laws.

construction injury lawyer has to be prepared to take on multiple defendants for their client, as accidents on a worksite can involve a myriad of factors and responsible parties. This industry is unique in the risks it poses to workers, and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all fatal worker injuries in the country. Falls, electrocution, heavy machinery, hazardous materials, and vehicles are all present on the typical worksite, and without tight safety regulations in place, they are all capable of badly injuring someone. And unfortunately, site managers and safety personnel often fail to protect their workers like they should.

Normally, when someone is hurt on the job, they first turn to worker’s compensation (if their employer has the insurance) to help them through the recovery process. Worker’s compensation is supposed to cover medical costs, lost wages and disability, but in practice, it often falls well short. And if a worker doesn’t have the ability to sue an employer for negligence, they may have to bring a claim against other parties that have demonstrated lax safety controls.

A construction injury lawyer will be able to manage a claim involving multiple defendants, and this will improve the victim’s chances of getting the compensation they need. Architects, engineers, drivers, product manufacturers, maintenance personnel, and specialists in charge of constructing scaffolding and other support systems all owe workers a duty of care. Any professional that fails in this regard will be liable for related injuries.

A serious accident can leave a victim without the ability to work, or even the ability to take care of themselves. Recovering from such an accident will take time and financial stability, and an attorney can help a victim fight for them.

One of the most difficult medical complications to contend with is paralysis, and a lawyer may be necessary when a victim is left without use of their extremities. In most cases, paraplegia and quadriplegia are the result of a serious accident, and serious accidents are normally the result of someone’s negligence or recklessness. For example, vehicle accidents are a major cause of paraplegia or quadriplegia, and driver error is usually implicated following serious crashes.

When working with a client suffering from paralysis, an injury lawyer will focus on the emotional and occupational damages, as well as the physical damages. Medical costs are normally extensive in the wake of such an accident, but there are other expenses to account for as well. For example, it’s likely that the victim will not be able to return to work, so they will need to be compensated if they have to take a lesser position to make ends meet. A victim may also require medical devices like wheelchairs, and may need to make modifications to their home to accommodate reduced mobility.

However, the heaviest toll will be an emotional one, as people suffering from paraplegia or quadriplegia may not be able to enjoy their former hobbies or take care of themselves. An experienced attorney will ensure these damages are also assessed and factored in, as this will help the victim get the compensation they need for a lengthy and difficult recovery.

People often lose more than a limb when they undergo an amputation, and a lawyer will ensure that the victim’s extensive emotional damages are also taken into account. Vehicle crashesmedical malpractice, industrial accidents, and dog bites are all common reasons why a victim may lose an arm or leg, and in most cases, these are caused by another person’s negligence. And while such trauma can leave a victim devastated, recovery is possible, especially when the funds are available for long-term treatment and therapy.

When working with a client who has undergone amputation, an injury lawyer will focus on the victim’s psychological damages as well as the physical damage. Of course, the physical damages are significant, and victims are often left with chronic pain. Victims usually have to leave their current line of work and may not be able to replace their income. The cost of prosthetics will need to be factored in, as well as the cost of replacements down the line.

But the disruption to a victim’s life is enormous, and often warrants additional compensation. A victim may lose the ability to enjoy the hobbies they formerly loved, may not be able to drive, and may not even be able to perform basic duties around the house. At first, a victim may be embarrassed by their condition, resulting in additional emotional suffering.

An attorney will make sure all of this is considered during settlement, and with aggressive negotiations, a victim will have a better chance of being awarded the resources they need to manage their recovery as they see fit.

 

Learn How to Limit Hot Air Balloon Dangers

On July 30, 2016, sixteen people lost their lives in central Texas due to a tragic incident involving a hot air balloon that may have been caused by the balloon colliding with power lines. This incident happened about 30 miles south of Austin, the state capital. According to an NBC news article published online on July 30, 2016, at least one witness said that after she heard a loud “pop,” she looked up and saw a giant “fireball” forming.

The owner of the hot air balloon company, Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, has said that the pilot was experienced at this type of work. However, questions are now being raised about his past troubles with drunk driving and other questionable behaviors.

How Exactly Does a Hot Air Balloon Stay in the Air & Who Invented This Form of Travel?

Once a hot air balloon has been filled with air – a process that involves burning liquid propane in the balloon “basket’s” steel burner – it will start to rise. The more heat that is generated in the burner, the higher the balloon will ascend. To fly lower, the pilot must lower the heat being burned.

Since the French invented this unique aircraft back in the late 18th century, hot air balloons have been popular all around the globe. They’re used for sporting and tourist activities – and they’ve been used for limited military purposes in the past.

Have There Been a Large Number of Past Accidents Involving Numerous Fatalities?

Unfortunately, far too many hot air balloon tragedies have occurred during recent decades. Here’s a list of just a few of them, noted with their locations.

  • Three people died in a hot air balloon accident in eastern Just one month earlier, the National Traffic Safety Board had recommended tighter regulations for this dangerous form of travel. Sadly, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) then rejected that proposal;
  • 2013. Nineteen (19) individuals perished in an Egypthot air balloon disaster;
  • 2012. A fatal event in New Zealandtook the lives of eleven (11) people. That balloon apparently made wire contact;
  • 1988. Thirteen (13) people died in a balloon accident in Australia.

While this list may not be fully comprehensive, it clearly indicates that hot air balloon enthusiasts must do all they can to protect themselves. Surely stricter safety guidelines are also needed since all of these losses are just unacceptable.

Many other incidents have occurred, although they have often “only” involved various injury levels and not deaths. In fact, back in 2009 in Egypt, 16 tourists were injured when a balloon hit a cell phone transmission tower.

How Can Hot Air Balloon Fans Better Protect Themselves in the Future?

  • Carefully research each company’s safety track record. Early reports indicate that the recent deadly crash in Texas involved a company with a D+ rating with the local Better Business Bureau. Always take such ratings seriously – never brush aside excuses provided for such poor ratings;
  • Learn all you can about the one or more pilots employed by the company. According to a CBS Newsreport and another story published in the Chicago Tribune, this Texas pilot had served two prison terms in the past. He had also been repeatedly convicted (four times) of drunk driving. It’s not too far a stretch to wonder if he was fully sober at the time of this tragic loss of 15 customers’ lives – along with his life. Only fly with a pilot who has many years of hot air balloon flight experience that you can personally verify;
  • Inquire about the number of power lines and cell phone transmission towers in the flight path. Only book a flight if you are fully convinced that these are few in number and the person piloting the balloon ride convinces you that s/he has passed a recent criminal background check — and has no recent convictions for DUI or illegal drug use;
  • Only ride in pristine, clear weather. Also, be sure there’s enough daylight so a pilot can easily see power and transmission lines. Dawn and dusk flights are probably much more dangerous due to lower visibility;
  • Given the significant risks involved, it may be wise to avoid taking children or those unsteady on their feet with you. While it’s always tragic to lose any adult in a hot air balloon disaster, it’s probably best to just ride with those who won’t need any help staying on their feet during the ride. You want each person to have a chance to fully protect themselves should an accident start to unfold;
  • Inquire as to how high the balloon will be traveling – and about any known landscape obstacles. If there are considerable hills or other parts of the landscape that must be avoided, think twice about traveling across a flatter area somewhere else;
  • Find out when the balloon was last fully inspected. Also, ask how often the company that owns the balloon ride company performs routine maintenance work on each balloon.

 

Stairs are common in office buildings, apartment complexes, and homes. People hurriedly climb stairs without looking where they are placing their feet—sometimes with an armful of boxes or papers. However, others are very careful—even using the handrail.

What happens when someone is injured after falling on stairs by no fault of their own? Maybe the no-slip paint had worn off, and a rain caused the stairs to become slippery? Or—perhaps—the handrail was unstable, providing little to no support for the person climbing the stairs?

Someone injured by falling on stairs may have a premises liability claim against the party that owned or had the responsibility to maintain the stairs.

If you or someone you know has sustained a personal injury, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Day in and day out, a personal injury lawyer regularly handles quite a range of case types. In no particular order, here are ten of the most common types. In all of these incidents, the assistance of a Houston personal injury lawyer may be the best bet when a victim is seeking justice for his or her injuries.

  1. Auto Accidents
    Automobile accidents occur not only when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, but also when a vehicle collides with an animal, a stationary object, or a person.
  2. Defective Products
    Defective products can be highly dangerous. A product goes through a variety of stages before it finally reaches a consumer, and during that time—from design to manufacturing to labeling—many things can go wrong.
  3. Dangerous or Defective Drugs
    Dangerous and defective drugs include both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs that may result in physical harm. Just because a drug has been approved by the FDA does not mean it is safe for all consumers.
  4. Medical Malpractice
    Medical malpractice is when a medical professional deviates from accepted practices in the medical community, resulting in injury (or worse) for a patient.
  5. Maritime Accidents
    The ocean is huge and a lot happens in it. Unfortunately, some of these happenings include many accidents on vessels at sea, from cranes stationed on ships to structures such as oil rigs.
  6. Product Liability
    In product liability cases, a product manufacturer, product installer, or product seller may be liable for an injury or death due to a product defect.
  7. Wrongful Deaths
    When an individual or group of individuals is responsible for the death of others by way of negligence or misconduct, this can yield a wrongful death claim. Claims such as these may stem from, for example, auto accidents, medical malpractice, or defective products.
  8. Workplace Accidents
    Accidents in the workplace happen all the time, often resulting in psychological or physical injury.
  9. Slip and Falls
    Property owners and custodians who do not keep their property in a state of good upkeep, maintenance, and repair are at risk of injuring others. Such cases can result in slips and falls, and subsequent injuries.
  10. Dog Bites
    While most dog bites are harmless, others can result in injury and require medical treatment. In these cases, as with all others on this list, legal proceedings are complex, and getting the early assistance of a Houston accident lawyer might make the difference in the outcome.

No matter the severity of the burn, if negligence can be found, then a burn injury lawyer can help victims file a claim. An attorney will need a full account of the accident, including where it happened and how it happened. These questions are important in figuring out liability, and once the degree of liability is determined, it is easier to understand the possible outcome of a claim.

Burn injuries can occur at home with a faulty product, at the workplace, or in a vehicle accident. Regardless of the cause, the pain endured by a victim can be tremendous. And if the injury occurred due to the negligence of another party, a lawyer may be able to help the victim recover restitution for their injuries.

Depending on the facts surrounding the case, the victim may be able to file for gross negligence which simply means the guilty party acted intentionally, or they had knowledge of a problem and did nothing to solve it. Filing for gross negligence means a possible reward for punitive damages. However, an experienced burn injury lawyer understands that it isn’t simply about being rewarded. The victim may have suffered emotionally as well as physically. A victim could experience depression or embarrassment due to physical restrictions or disfigurement. In these cases it is likely that the damage award will be much higher to account for the additional trauma.

Increased risk of ovarian cancer is linked to the use of talc powder, also widely known as baby powder. Manufacturers of the product have been aware of the link for years after several studies were conducted. Researchers have conducted studies for decades to understand the link between using the product and the risk of disease. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society consider the product, when used around or near genital areas, as a high-risk factor for the disease. Despite these studies, there are no warnings in place to inform consumers of the potential risk of using the product.

Many consumers have filed class action lawsuits against companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, for failing to warn women about the risk of developing the potentially deadly disease. A class action lawsuit refers to a type of lawsuit in which many people have been harmed by the same product or service and suffer similar injuries. This type of action is intended to recover the cost of the products, but not cover medical or other related expenses. If diagnosed with ovarian cancer from using talc powder, patients should consider talking with a product liability lawyer about other types of lawsuits they can file in order to seek medical compensation.

 

Is Speed Deadlier Than Distraction?

Do you know what the leading behavior involved in traffic fatalities is? Drunk driving? Distracted driving?

No—according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving too fast was the leading behavior involved in traffic fatalities in 2014. In 18.8% of fatal crashes, driving too fast was reported, followed by driving under the influence in 12.3% of these incidents.

Houston freeways are full of fast drivers, even when traffic is clogging multiple lanes of the roadway. It is not uncommon to have a driver zip past a stopped line of vehicles by moving onto the shoulder.

Although traffic fatalities have certainly decreased with advancement in vehicular technology, human error is still responsible for deaths that could have been avoided.

When you are behind the wheel, take a proactive stance in decreasing the number of traffic fatalities by monitoring the following behaviors which, according to the NTHSA, were the leading human behaviors reported in traffic fatalities in 2014:

  • Driving too fast
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failure to keep in proper lane
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Distracted driving
  • Careless driving
  • Overcorrecting/oversteering
  • Failure to obey traffic signs
  • Driving recklessly, negligently
  • Swerving or avoiding

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Distracted driving is gaining national attention. CNN is hosting a weeklong online series “DWD: Driving While Distracted,” culminating with a television special on Saturday, August 6, at 1:30 p.m. CT.

In response to growing concerns over distracted driving, CNN is placing the spotlight on this serious social issue and generating national media coverage on its dangerous effects.

The focus of CNN’s coverage is on the following issues:

  • Deaths caused by distracted driving;
  • Social media as a leading cause of distracted driving;
  • Distracted driving’s effect on the brain; and
  • How teens are influenced by distractions while driving.

For more information on CNN’s coverage of distracted driving, visit http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/01/health/distracted-driving-not-just-texting-pokemon-go/index.html.

 

How Dangerous are PPIs like the purple pill?

During the past decade, television commercials and print ads constantly urged everyone to seek treatment for their chronic heartburn, acid indigestion, and GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) symptoms. Eventually, most of the ads for NexiumPrilosecPrevacid, and other PPI (proton pump inhibitor) drugs seemed almost to fade away.

While the public may not have noticed that these ads were diminishing, law firms knew that many people were asking to file lawsuits against these drug manufacturers. It’s now clear that a number of these drugs can greatly increase a person’s chances of developing (or worsening) specific medical conditions – if you take them for an extended period.

In fact, AstraZeneca, the maker of Nexium, was first sued over that drug’s most dangerous side effects more than a decade ago. Since that time, new research and studies are providing direct links between these PPI drugs and serious medical consequences.

Here’s a look at some of the alleged Nexium side effects, and the types of claims that plaintiffs are bringing.

Physical Conditions That Appear Directly Linked to Nexium

  • Bone fractures. Back in 2011, thirty (or more) Texans filed lawsuits against the makers of Nexium, alleging that the drug increases a long-term user’s chances of developing bone fractures. Years earlier, similar legal claims had been made by others. These cases eventually led the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2014 to require Nexiumdrug literature clearly to spell out the reduced bone density side effects of the drug – and the increased risk of bone fractures;
  • Very serious and even deadly kidney disease complications. Plaintiffs are now alleging that Nexiumcan aggravate or possibly even create chronic kidney disorder and acute kidney injuries – possibly leading to kidney Harry Mason of Illinois filed this type of complaint in May of 2016. He did this after his extended use of Nexium appeared to play a key role in his need for a kidney transplant. Mason requested actual and compensatory damages – as well as punitive damages;
  • Development of dementia. While this is not the most common allegation in these lawsuits — it’s still one that every potential user should take quite seriously. After all, there is no current cure for dementia and its tendency to rob people of their memory and ability to live independently.

Many plaintiffs felt misled since Nexium’s manufacturer had first only indicated that it might cause abdominal pain, headaches, and dry mouth.

Arguments Being Advanced in Nexium Cases

Like plaintiffs in other pharmaceutical lawsuits, those filing cases against AstraZeneca (Nexium’s manufacturer) are alleging that the company should be held liable to them based on the following legal grounds.

  • Plaintiffs say that the company purposefully misled the public about information it allegedly already knew about the most dangerous side effects of Nexium – and that this withheld information helped the manufacturer financially profit from its sales;
  • Product Defect. The plaintiffs say they have suffered serious pain and other losses due to using the drug. They also complain that Nexium’s maker created a defective design – and indulged in harmful manufacturing and marketing practices;
  • Negligence. Users also say that AstraZeneca failed to exercise “ordinary care” when both making and selling Nexium– directly causing the plaintiffs’ injuries;
  • Negligent Misrepresentation. By failing to disclose all it knew about Nexium’s potential side effects, the manufacturer prevented doctors and patients from choosing a possibly safer and less harmful drug.

All patients who were prescribed Nexium and took it over an extended period of time should speak to a board certified Houston personal injury attorney immediately — to learn if they, too, should file a lawsuit against AstraZeneca.

 

Avoid Danger by Knowing Bicycle Safety Tips

Summer weather draws outdoor enthusiasts to engage in—you guessed it—outdoor activities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 900 deaths and nearly 500,000 emergency room visits related to bicycle crashes for the year 2013.

Here in Houston, a variety of trails are available for bikes to weave throughout the city. Although many areas of these trails are protected from motor vehicle traffic, there are several intersections where bicyclists must cross heavily trafficked roadways.

Even worse, although many of these intersections have protective safety features for bicyclists, such as crosswalks, crossing signals, and signage, distracted drivers may not pay attention. Here are some tips for crossing intersections on a bicycle:

  • Make eye contact – lock eyes with a driver who is about to cross the bike path you are traveling. Just because you have the right of way does not mean the driver sees you.
  • Go with the flow – travel with the flow of traffic. If possible, stay in a designated bike path. If you must ride alongside motor vehicles, ride in the same direction the motor vehicles are driving—not against them.
  • Find a friend – riding in a group increases your visibility. A driver is more likely to see a group of cyclists as opposed to just one.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a bicycle accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Would you know how to deal with an aggressive dog?

As canine researchers will tell you, dog bites usually spike each year during the summer months. This may be due to more children playing outdoors during this time of year and because some dogs become more irritable when forced to spend hours outdoors in high temperatures.

According to one ABC News article, roughly 27% of dog bites are inflicted by family pets — all the remaining ones are imposed by unfamiliar or stray dogs.

You may want to review the following facts and information before speaking with your children and other family members about the threat posed by frightened or aggressive dogs.

General Statistics About Dog Bites

  • Parts of bodies most often bitten. Roughly 34% of dog bites are inflicted on a person’s head, neck, and cheeks. About 21% of bites are made to people’s lips. Another 8% of dog bites involve injuries to people’s noses and ears;
  • Dog breeds most likely to bite.While many dog owners disagree with this information, the fact remains that pit bulls usually inflict the most harm. The other most dangerous dogs include Akitas, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. It’s important to note that pit bulls often inflict three times as many bites as Rottweilers each year;
  • Dog bites account for one percent (1%) of all nationwide emergency room visits each year.That’s a rather striking number — so please tell your children never to pet an unfamiliar dog — and always to avoid provoking any family pets. Approximately 44,000 facial injuries are included in all of those emergency room trips caused by dog bites each year.

Preventive Measures That Can Help to Reduce Dog Violence

  • Keep your pet in the best health possible. Dogs are like many people, when they don’t feel well, they’re much more likely to strike out at others. Be sure your dog receives all recommended annual vaccinations and only let him/her play in safe surroundings. You may want to stop taking your dog to dog parks – simply because some of the more aggressive dogs might influence your calmer pet to change for the worse;
  • Provide your pet with his/her own bed and space in your home, if possible. Pets need “down time,” too. Try to have a place in a quiet room where your dog knows s/he can go and catch some much-needed sleep during the day;
  • Avoid playing rough with your dog. It can be very hard for canines to disengage suddenly from playing a bit rough with a family member. Never wrestle with a dog one minute – and then expect him/her to play calmly with others.

When an Apparently Aggressive Dog Approaches You or Your Child

The government’s Centers for Disease Control website provides some safety tips for dealing with an aggressive dog. It says that if a dangerous-looking dog approaches you or your child, be prepared to:

  1. Stay calm and don’t move;
  2. When a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball – then don’t panic or make any sudden moves;
  3. Tell the dog to “go home” or say “No” in a deep, firm voice;
  4. Try to keep your side turned to the dog so you’ll look less aggressive (but watch the dog carefully);
  5. Wait for the dog to slowly pass by or back away.

We hope you’ll later visit the CDC’s website to review all of the additional safety guidelines for interacting properly with dogs. Finally, be sure always to keep your pet on a leash when walking outside – and always make sure a caring adult is always supervising your children’s outdoor play.

 

Familiar with the dangers posed by hot tubs?

At present, the U. S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission’s statistics concerning annual hot tub injuries and deaths can be difficult to interpret since they’re commonly grouped together with swimming pool accidents and drowningsHowever, ongoing news stories clearly indicate that hot tubs still pose serious safety threats for all age groups. For example, in April of 2016, an older couple in their early 60s were discovered dead in a hot tub in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One year earlier in 2015, a Canadian couple in their 60s died while using a hot tub in Mexico, before attending their daughter’s wedding. In the latter instance, the husband had a heart attack while inside the hot tub with his wife.  He then fell on top of his wife — drowning her. When young children are injured or killed in hot tubs, it’s often due to their little hands and feet getting trapped near suction devices located at the bottom of hot tubs. The following hot tub safety guidelines, gleaned from both government and disability websites, can help all of us better prevent all future hot tub injuries and fatalities. Ways to Lessen Your Family’s Chances of Being Injured or Killed in a Hot Tub

  • Stay aware of all current health conditions and avoid hot tubs when necessary.Those who suffer from heart disease or seizure disorders are especially at risk when using hot tubs – along with those who drink alcohol or use any illegal (or highly sedating) drug;
  • Avoid using a hot tub unless someone is periodically checking on you. While you can get around this problem by using a hot tub maintained near an indoor or outdoor pool (that’s constantly monitored by a lifeguard), it’s never wise to use a hot tub alone. After all, nearly anyone can suddenly become too dehydrated or dizzy to stay above water. And certain viral infections can make people very nauseated or dizzy. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is best when performed quickly on anyone who is close to drowning;
  • Be careful about using feet and hands near hot tub suctions and drains. When a healthy or disabled child or adult drops below the water surface to look around, their carelessly placed fingers, hands and feet can get caught in suction devices and even cause them to drown. Likewise, children or adults with long hair can suddenly feel it get caught in a drain or suction – possibly pulling them down until they drown;
  • Limit your time spent in a hot tub. Even if you continually drink fresh water while in the tub, you’re still likely to become rather dehydrated if you stay in the tub too long;
  • Know your prescription drugs and all potential side effects before using a hot tub. Many drugs can accelerate your heart rate, possibly making it harder for a heart patient to breathe properly and stay afloat in an unusually warm hot tub;
  • Ask how often the hot tub is fully cleaned. No one needs to soak in any water shortly after another person has possibly urinated in it – or simply left behind a considerable amount of sun tan lotion and other topical creams or ointments;
  • Make sure the temperature is properly maintained. Just like swimming pools, patrons can become ill when the temperature isn’t kept within a narrow safety range. Go ahead and ask what the current water temperature is – and then compare it to what your personal doctor has indicated is safe for you, given your specific medical issues;
  • Pregnant women and very young children under age five may want to skip using hot tubs altogether. Given the often fragile state of these individuals’ health – as well as those battling one or more physical or developmental disabilities – soaking in a hot tub may not be worth the increased health risks;
  • Always keep an especially close eye on young children and the elderly. Those who are no longer steady on their feet may tend to slip below the surface quicker — long before anyone else notices.

Finally, try only to use a hot tub that’s surrounded by plenty of safety strips or properly treated surfaces since many people suffer serious slips and falls in pool and hot tub areas.

Know your options after sustaining a work injury?

Every year, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) gathers statistics, so it can learn more about how many workers are being hurt on the job. Based on 2014 statistics, we now know that almost one-fifth of all private industry employees lose their lives while working on construction sites.

This means that about 874 of the 4,251 total fatalities that occurred in 2014 involved workers employed on construction sites. We also know that more than one-half of those injuries were caused by what the DOL refers to as “the fatal four” – electrocutions, falls, being struck by falling objects, and getting “caught-in/between” machinery parts and other objects.

All of this data clearly indicates that construction site managers must keep doing a better job protecting all of their workers from serious injuries. After all, it’s currently estimated that about 500 workers’ lives could be saved each year if we can ever eliminate the annual number of “fatal four” injuries.

What Other Statistics Tell Us About Construction Site Dangers

  • Fallsstill cause far too many deaths. During 2014, the DOL learned that 349 of the total 874 deaths (39.9%) were the result of falls;
  • Electrocutionsremain far too common. It’s believed that seventy-four (74) of these deaths (8.5%) occurred in 2014;
  • Too many workers are still being struck by falling objects(usually from one level to another). We now know that 73 construction workers (8.4% of the total) lost their lives due to these types of injuries in 2014;
  • Workers caught-in/between machinery parts and other objects,Twelve people lost their lives (1.4% of the total) in 2014 when they suffered this type of accident.

A close examination of the Top Ten OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards showed that many construction sites are failing to uphold them. (Here’s a copy of that Top Ten List — taken from published Department of Labor statistics.)

  1. Fall protection, construction;
  2. Hazard communication standards;
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements;
  4. Respiratory protection;
  5. Powered industrial truck accidents;
  6. Control of hazardous energy;
  7. Incorrect usage of ladders during construction projects;
  8. Improper electrical wiring – or handling of various components and equipment;
  9. Faulty handling of machinery and use of guards on machines; and
  10. Poor design of electrical systems – and improper handling of industry requirements.

These deaths continue happening, even though thousands of on-site state and federal workplace inspections are completed each year. During 2014, the Department of Labor conducted over 36,000 federal workplace safety inspections. This number is in addition to the more than 47,000 state plan inspections.

Useful Construction Site Safety Tips

  • All employees must be properly tested (or licensed).Likewise, all applicants must provide medical documentation of their current physical fitness for certain types of construction work. When an employer fails to follow these guidelines, they put far too many lives at risk;
  • Work-site managers must keep reviewing all current OSHA/federal and state safety guidelines. This is critical since new workplace dangers are regularly discussed in government publications;
  • Workers deserve the safest equipment available. They must be provided with supported aerial lifts, scaffolds, and safe work platforms. Also, all ladders must be regularly checked to be sure they’re still working properly;
  • Employers should recommend the best construction safety clothing available. Workers need properly-fitting safety helmets, gloves that have proper gripping surfaces, and sunglasses (or equipment goggles) that keep out all dangerous glare from machinery or the sun;
  • Everyone must be properly trained regarding the equipment they’re assigned to use. They must also be told to keep metal ladders away from electrical equipment and nearby power lines;
  • Employees should work in teams. This can prove critical when one person is injured – so the other person can quickly summon help;
  • Every worker must be told about the closest safety area – a place where people gather when storms or sudden accidents occur on site. It’s also best if every worker has a cell phone available – for work purposes only. This can prove very useful when an accident unfolds.

While this list above isn’t intended to be comprehensive, it can help work-site managers cut down on injuries and fatalities.

Bounce houses of one type or another have been around for a long time. In fact, some of us first saw smaller versions of them inside restaurants designed for kids and their parents years ago. Then they became freestanding devices often rented for children’s parties – or incorporated into outdoor festivals and other family-friendly events.

Today, the bounce house industry has continued to grow. Yet now that many more bounce houses are turning up in our cities and neighborhoods, we must make sure that our kids obey certain safety guidelines – while attentive adults supervise all of the play.

Here’s a look at some of the more worrisome bounce house events of recent years, along with information about what you must look for when deciding whether a specific bounce house is safe enough for your child.

Bounce Houses and Similar Structures – Still Often Involved with Many Injuries

The year 2014 was not a good one for the bounce house industry. In fact, a March 2016 CNN report states that one bounce house back then was swept away by large gusts of wind in South Glenn Falls, New York. The two young boys playing inside were seriously injured.

Later that same year, a “bouncy slide” in Littleton, Colorado wound up being blow 200 or 300 feet from where it had been set up. Fortunately, the children playing on top of that inflatable slide were not harmed.

Yet one of the worst bounce house events imaginable happened earlier this year over in England. During an Easter fair in Essex, England, a little seven-year-old girl died as a result of injuries sustained when the “bouncy castle” she was playing on was swept away by heavy winds. This tragedy has obviously renewed parental concerns all over the world about these type of structures.

Available Statistics Are Rather Upsetting

Concerned parents may want to visit the HealthyChildren website by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That group has tried hard to educate concerned parents about bounce house dangers. In one of its articles, it states that back between 1990 and 2010, more than 64,000 children were injured while playing in “bounce house” structures. That website also provides useful tips for parents who want to teach their children how to play safely in or around these types of structures.

Ways to Minimize Bounce House Injuries for Your Children

  • Age considerations. Many parents won’t even allow their child to play in or around one of these “houses” until s/he is at least six years old;
  • Be careful about what your child is wearing. Make sure your child never wears a pair of glasses while playing in a bounce house – assuming that s/he can still see well enough to avoid falling or bumping into others due to vision problems. Likewise, kids should never wear any shoes or jewelry while playing in these structures;
  • No food or drinks should be consumed. If these are spilled, you can be sure your child or others will soon slip or fall, possibly causing a serious injury;
  • All sharp objects must be removed from pockets in advance. Make sure your child doesn’t carry a fountain pen or any other sharp object in a pocket while playing in a bounce house. These can easily wind up injuring your child or others;
  • Only children of the same size should play together at the same time. Smaller children are at too great a risk of falling underneath the larger kids. Make sure you tell every child that no rough play will be tolerated — especially pushing and shoving;
  • All bounce houses must be deflated when not in use and being supervised. If you fail to do this – you are leaving open a dangerous temptation to kids of all ages;
  • At least one or two adults must observe all bounce house activities at all times. Parents cannot afford to stand around visiting with each other while supervising this type of activity – they must keep their eyes glued on the children’s activities at all times;
  • Never put up a bounce house if the weather looks bad or threatening. Large gusts of wind often play a role in the worst injuries children suffer while playing in or around bounce houses;
  • Be sure to hire knowledgeable workers to put up and take down your bounce house. They must know how to use the special types of ground stakes required.

While the list above is not intended to be comprehensive, it still offers parents some useful safety tips. Finally, always carefully review any rental company’s current insurance policy — and ask to see its current state inspection sticker (or paperwork) – indicating its right to provide this type of equipment to you and others.

If your child suffers an injury involving a bouncy house or any inflatable structure in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas, call a Board Certified personal injury specializing in personal injury to evaluate your potential claim.

Many people currently playing the smartphone free-to-play app “Pokémon Go” are finding it wildly addictive. In fact, media reports indicate that some are even endangering themselves and others by playing the game as they drive or walk through both rural and urban areas.

Here’s a brief look at some of the recent injuries people have incurred while playing this cell phone game, and why certain individuals are willing to risk their own lives (and those of others) just to play Pokémon Go.

Some of the goals people pursue while playing this game

Fantasy game fans enjoy Pokémon Go because it lets them chase various creatures in their own environments and capture them. Some users go to great links to “capture” or locate “Eevee” and other Pokémon characters, while also searching for game tokens or conducting gym battles. Due to the game’s inherent distractions, the state of Washington’s Department of Transportation has now issued a warning, telling all drivers to avoid searching for Pokémon characters while behind the wheels of their cars.

Recent accidents, injuries, and crimes tied to the careless use of Pokémon Go

  • Falling off a cliff while playing the game. Sadly, two young men in their early 20s managed to do this in mid-July 2016 in Encinitas, California. Both of them fell between 50 to 90 feet. The full extent of their injuries is still not known;
  • Creating a clever “lure” at a Pokestop. Eleven Missouri kids between the ages of 16 and 18 were set up in this way. Eager to locate Pokémoncreatures and tokens, they wound up being robbed of all of their possessions. Always remember that even criminals know how to play this game;
  • Wandering into forbidden areas. Some Pokémon Gofans are unwittingly trespassing on both government and private property while playing the game. One of these people even discovered a dead body while she was walking alongside a creek bed;
  • Causing auto and pedestrian accidents by failing to watch the road ahead. According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Talk, Text, Crash” website, about thirty-eight percent (38%) of Texans now readily admit that they often talk on their phones while driving. Furthermore, an astonishing one-fifth (21.2 percent) of motorists admit that they read and send text messages while driving. When you add cell phone game apps like Pokémon Go to this volatile mix – you have a potential public safety disaster on your hands. USA Todayreports that one young man in Auburn, New York recently learned this the hard way when he crashed his car into a tree while playing the game.

We all have a duty to control our addictive behaviors fully to avoid harming other people

Just as too many Americans keep drinking while driving – others are now battling addictive game behaviors as they cruise down streets and highways. We may soon see news headlines about adults playing Pokémon Go on their phones — shortly before causing crippling or fatal injuries to others.

You may have mental health problems if you’re giving in to addictive game behaviors

Just before the last Diagnostic Statistical Manual (the DSM-V) was published, the psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who drafted and edited it stopped short of including “gaming disorder” as a formal diagnosis. However, they did reference it (according to the dsm5.org website) as a condition that warrants more clinical research. Games like Pokémon Go seem to be too big a match for many people’s proper exercise of self-control.  Perhaps this type of “gaming disorder” will be included in the future DSM manuals as a mental health disorder. After all, many people claim they undergo withdrawal when they try to stop playing this type of game.

Conclusions

We all need to embrace the real world every single day – and only use our phones for playing games while carefully seated at home. No further Pokémon Go injuries should be tolerated, especially those inflicted by those carelessly driving while playing the game. It’s possible that more cities will begin ticketing those who “text while walking” like Fort Lee, New Jersey. Even greater penalties should be passed for playing cell phone games while driving.

 

Think you’re immune from the road rage epidemic?

Whether you mainly travel down familiar Houston roads and freeways or often visit other parts of the country, chances are you’ve seen a number of road rage incidents. Yet while we all tend to think only “other people” behave in this manner, a new study provides some rather surprising facts about this behavior.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s study released on July 14, 2016, states that about 80% of us displayed road rage toward another driver (at least once) during 2015. Apparently, most of us could really use some psychological help handling this type of stress.

Road rage takes many forms

The study indicates that two of the most extreme forms of road rage include purposefully hitting or tailgating another car while angry – or getting out of your vehicle and actually yelling at another driver. A large percentage of people just swear at others while remaining in their cars.

Of course, the very worst forms of road rage can lead to serious physical injuries or even death – especially when one driver forces another one off the road – or into oncoming traffic.

Houston sees just as many of these incidents as other cities

A rather extreme incident of road rage occurred on FM 1960 in May of this year and was captured on cell phone video. Four different people were later interviewed by the police. Two men hit each other and then one woman was hit who tried to break up the fight. One man also threw a drink at another and someone purposefully kicked the grille of the other person’s car. ABC 13 Eyewitness news has the video posted on its website.

Like so many other similar incidents, this one apparently spun quickly out of control after one party apparently misread why another driver made a specific maneuver in his car.

Most common forms of road rage behavior that we must all stop exhibiting

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Study listed all of the following immature and often dangerous activities:

  • At least half of us display road rage by tailgating other vehicles – greatly increasing the chances of an accident;
  • Almost half of all road rage perpetrators yell or honk at others when they’re offended by other drivers;
  • Close to one-third (33%) of us make rude gestures with our hands at others;
  • About one-fourth (25%) of us try to stop another vehicle from changing lanes;
  • Over 10 percent (10%) of us even purposefully prevent another vehicle from going where it’s headed – we try to “cut if off” as an act of revenge.

Certain people are a bit more likely than others to display road rage

Since about 80% of us sometimes engage in this type of behavior, we really can’t just point the finger at others. However, there are some drivers who do seem to get involved in more road rage incidents. These individuals tend to be between the ages of 19 and 39 (especially young men). In fact, males are three times more likely than women to jump out of their vehicles to confront others about supposedly wrongful driving behavior.

Simple and obvious remedies must be employed – by all of us – to stop road rage

  • Try to react calmly in response to someone else’s foolish or dangerous behavior. Keep in mind that we all make driving errors more often than we’d like to admit. Take a deep breath or two and just keep driving on your way — without stopping and escalating the situation;
  • Make a conscious effort to avoid making eye contact with the other personTry just to forgive the other person since they may not have sought to upset you. Everyone has bad days, and you may have encountered the other person on an especially bad day when s/he was just fired, learned about a serious medical diagnosis or had a terrible argument with someone else prior to getting in their car;
  • Call 9-1-1 if you see that others have stopped and are physically hitting or threatening each other. You should make this call after driving past the incident and stopping in a safe location, clearly off the road. Try to give the police an accurate description of each vehicle and what you believe you saw;
  • Ask yourself if you have personally been cited for illegal behavior like speeding or running red lights in recent months. If you have been ticketed for such behavior – you fall into a group of drivers that tend to be more likely than others to express road rage. Consider getting some psychological help to cope more appropriately with your most troubling emotional issues;
  • Find new, less congested pathways to your destinations. Many of us just can’t handle having to battle dense traffic, especially during rush hour. Either look for less congested ways of getting to where you need to go – or consider taking some form of mass transit to and from work or various appointments.

 

Boating safety is often overlooked

No matter how long you’ve been enjoying this big state’s many lakes and rivers, as well as the warm Gulf waters, you still need to be proactive about boating safety. That reality became clear again during the recent Fourth of July weekend. As might be expected, this long holiday weekend drew more people out onto the waters than just about any other this year.

Houston Chronicle article published on July 9, 2016, reported that there were at least 34 boating accidents that occurred during the holiday weekend. One of the saddest fatalities involved a nine-year-old child who fell out of a boat on Cedar Creek Lake. She died after being hit by the boat’s propeller. Two other boating enthusiasts suffered major injuries after their boats collided head-on on Chocolate Bayou in West Galveston Bay. One of those injured had to be flown to Houston for medical care. Other serious accidents were reported on Lake Travis in Austin and Lake Caddo.

Hit-and-run accidents also happen on the water

One of the most troubling accidents that recently occurred involved a 51-year-old woman who was swimming from a boat to a dock nearby. A ski-style boat hit the woman – then failed to stop and help after realizing a major injury had been incurred. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens are investigating this event and are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this terrible crime.

New and recurring dangers also threaten harm to today’s boaters

Due to the many heavy rains that have fallen all around Texas this year, there are a number of newly formed sandbars that can go unnoticed by less experienced boaters. Also, our waters contain considerable new flood debris, including large trees and their branches. These objects can interfere with the proper operation of some boats, particularly near shorelines. All boaters are asked to keep these less common hazards in mind.

So far, about 13 people have lost their lives this year while boating in Texas. During recent years, our average number of annual boating fatalities has run close to thirty (30). Although this figure is still too high to be acceptable, at least it’s lower than the annual average of about 50 fatalities that were occurring back between 1997 and 2007.

Which types of watercrafts are involved in the most accidents?

During this past year, approximately 40 percent of Texas’ boating fatalities involved what are called paddle craft – canoes and kayaks. During this current year, about half of the reported fatalities have involved these highly popular vessels. At present, its estimated that Texans own about 250,000 to 300,000 canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized boats that don’t have to be registered.

Unfortunately, far too many of those using these vehicles continue to make one major mistake in judgment – they don’t regularly wear life jackets.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is the single most important safety precaution any boater can take. It’s even more important for those traveling the waters in small paddle craft since they often capsize.

General warnings for all Texas boaters

  • Never drink and drive a boat or paddle an individual watercraft.Your sense of balance and judgment will be impaired – especially because warmer weather will cause you to feel the alcohol quicker as your become dehydrated;
  • Obey the Texas law regarding boater education requirements for all who were born on or after September 1, 1993.Failing to do so is not only against the law, it’s likely to result in your own serious injury or death – or that of one or more of your passengers;
  • Never go out boating when you’re exhausted or in poor health.Your judgment is likely to be impaired, and you deserve to return to shore safely – like everyone else you will encounter;
  • Avoid going out for fun on the water when the weather is poor or the forecast appears threatening.Too many novice boaters in every type of craft often fail to make it back to shore when they ignore this basic safety guideline.

Suffering from Taxotere-induced permanent hair loss?

Like many cancer patients, Alina S. Gorniak probably knew that when her breast cancer was treated with a chemotherapy drug, she might temporarily lose her hair. However, in a case her lawyer has now filed in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, she insists that she was never warned that any hair loss problem tied to the use of Taxotere might become permanent.

Plaintiff’s Cancer Diagnosis Leading to Treatment with Taxotere

Ms. Gorniak’s pleadings indicate that she was first diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma in her left breast back in January of 2013. Shortly thereafter, she was advised to accept treatment with the potent chemotherapy drug Taxotere, marketed by Sanofi-Aventis. This drug has been on the market since it was first approved by the FDA back in 1996.

The plaintiff was treated with Taxotere between February of 2013 and June of that same year. She received a total of six treatments.

When Ms. Gorniak First Noticed Her Hair Loss Was Permanent

It was after receiving her sixth treatment with Taxotere back in 2013 that the plaintiff discovered that her hair loss would be permanent. She is one of many people to sue based on this type of claim against Sanofi-Aventis. Ms. Gorniak refers to her current, ongoing condition as a permanently disfiguring form of alopecia (hair loss).

According to information currently posted on the National Alopecia Areata Foundation website, this hair loss condition often starts out with small patches of hair being lost – until an entire area of the body (such as the head) is completely hairless.

Chief Legal Complaints Asserted by Plaintiff’s Lawyer

The following arguments, along with the other data already set forth above, are outlined in the Injury Lawyer News website.

  1. The company had prior knowledge of this problem. Gorniak’s lawsuit alleges that Sanofi-Aventis already knew (based on earlier studies) — including one conducted back in 2005 — that as many as nine percent (9%) of patients treated with Taxotere might suffer hair loss lasting a decade or longer. She also asserts that one or more practicing oncologists alerted the drug manufacturer back around 2006 to the high percentage of patients suffering permanent hair loss;
  2. False claims made concerning Taxotere’s unique effectiveness. This lawsuit also alleges that Ms. Gorniak (and perhaps other similar plaintiffs) were misled that this drug was the most effective taxane-based one available to fight certain breast cancers. The plaintiff claims that the manufacturer’s claims were exaggerated and that it was not any more effective at treating her type of cancer than other chemotherapy drugs already on the market at the time Taxotere was administered to her;
  3. Severe emotional distress has been caused by the usage of Taxotere. Gorniak alleges that her quality of life has been seriously impaired due to her permanent hair loss and that it continues to cause her debilitating emotional distress;
  4. Other general product liability claims breach of warranty– as well as the violation of specific Texas consumer protection laws.

More Published Proof that Sanofi-Aventis Knew of the Permanent Hair Loss Problem

Besides the larger studies indicating the toxic side effects of Taxotere already referenced above, at least two smaller ones had been published. One of them appeared in 2011 in the Annals of Oncology. It explicitly referenced Taxotere side effects such as permanent hair loss. The other study was published that same year in the American Journal of Dermatology – it also noted the serious risk of permanent hair loss when chemotherapy drugs containing taxanes are used.

Ms. Gorniak’s complaint regarding her breast cancer treatment places special emphasis on her ongoing emotional suffering. Since she claims that she can no longer work due to her permanent hair loss – she is seeking damages to recover for all lost future earnings. Her complaint also seeks recovery for all past and future medical expenses.

 

Every year, a large percentage of American consumers have one or two items in their homes or garages that are currently subject to a manufacturer recall. Unfortunately, most of us never learn this information because we fail to conduct periodic searches of the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. It provides a special link to all general product recalls.

Although some product manufacturers do get in touch wth consumers, most of the time this is only done by auto manufacturers.

Common recall problems you may have and not even know about it

You may currently own a computer with a power cord that overheats and poses a serious fire danger. Likewise, your children may be wearing pajamas each night that are made of fabric that fails to meet our federal flammability standards. In addition, your children may be playing with toys that have so many small removable parts that they can cause fatal choking. These are just some of the reasons that it’s wise for everyone to periodically review recall websites.

Here are some products recently recalled by the CPSC and various manufacturers.

Products that must now be replaced, fixed or discarded (some refunds may be available)

  • Tip-over dangers possible with Bernhardt dressers and nightstands. According to the CPSC website, one child dies every two weeks due to a tip-over accident involving this type of furniture. This specific recall was issued on July 12th;
  • Urban 626 is recalling some of its scooters. Although teens and adults may love to use these types of scooters, they still remain quite dangerous, especially if riders aren’t wearing helmets and other protective gear. If and when the bolt underneath this scooter’s seat cracks, a serious fall hazard can develop – posing a variety of fall injuries;
  • Pacific Cycle is recalling its Swivel Wheel Jogging Strollers.According to this company, the front wheels on these strollers can detach once they become loose, posing both crash and fall hazards. Be sure to check and see if your stroller by this maker is included. This recall was issued on July 7th;
  • Little Lotus Baby Swaddles and Sleeping Bags are now considered dangerous and are being recalled by Embrace Technologies.Parts (such as the shoulder snaps) on these items can become loose and pose a significant choking hazard. This recall was issued on July 6, 2016;
  • Ten hoverboard manufacturers are recalling their products.Many hoverboards pose serious fire and fall hazards. Companies involved include Swagway, Keenford, Razor, Overstock.com; Hype-Wireless; Digital Gadgets; Boscov, and others. Most of these recalls were issued in early July of 2016;
  • Saro Trading is recalling some of its children’s sleepwear. Too many sleepwear items made by this company have failed to pass federal government flammability standards. A recall was issued in late June of 2016;
  • On June 23, 2016, both Hewlett Packard and Compaq issued recalls on some of their computer batteries.These batteries can overheat and pose serious burn and fire hazards;
  • 3M issued a recall on June 23rdfor some of its construction hard hats. Although these hats are supposed to protect the wearers from sustaining certain electrical shocks, it’s been determined that they do not actually provide this promised protection;
  • Osprey child backpack carriers under recall.According to this company, if the plastic buckle on the shoulder strap is cut, the shoulder strap can cease to function properly, possibly causing the backpack to fall unexpectedly. This recall was issued on May 26, 2016;
  • On May 19, 2016, the Scott bike manufacturer recalled many of its bicycles.If the post below the seat breaks, this can pose a serious fall hazard to riders.

While this update list is not intended to be comprehensive, it can provide you with some important warnings – and remind you to visit the CPSC website on a regular basis to better protect your family. You may also want to visit the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and Safe Kids Worldwide websites to review their lists of various recalled products – they will probably differ from those regularly listed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

What are the hidden dangers on a cruise ship?

Although it’s fairly common for some passengers to suffer routine slip-and-fall accidents aboard cruise ships, many other types of injuries can also occur. For example, when ships encounter significant turbulence from ocean waves, passengers can suffer cuts and bruises if onboard furniture and other objects are flung about. Likewise, food poisoning can occur, especially after a ship loses power and cannot properly refrigerate all food being served.

Occasionally, a passenger may fall overboard as one young man did back in 2015. He wasn’t found and rescued for many hours. Others may struggle with injuries following onboard crimes of assault and battery. All cruise ships passengers must remember that while they may be on a vacation, they’re still out on the high seas within a small neighborhood of people they must hope the cruise ship has properly evaluated before selling them tickets.

Here are some examples of past cruise ship accidents (noted in a 2013 Time magazine article and several online stories) that have caused serious problems and illnesses for some passengers.

Cruise ship excursions that failed to turn out well

  • In early 2016, a Royal Caribbean cruise turned around and headed back to port.Many people had boarded the Anthem of the Seas for what was supposed to be a seven-day trip from New Jersey to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, these passengers wound up wondering if they’d ever even get home alive after encountering 125-mile-per hour winds. Their trip was cut short after three harrowing days;
  • Royal Caribbean encountered another disaster back in 2013. Passengers who boarded the Grandeur of the Seascame to regret their voyage after that poor ship caught on fire;
  • Serious plumbing problems also plagued a Triumph cruise back in 2013. After this ship lost power, major plumbing issues developed, forcing nearly all on board to cope with raw sewage in highly undesirable locations;
  • In January 2012, thirty-two people lost their lives on one cruise ship excursion. While sailing off the coast of Italy, the Concordia capsized;
  • A Norwegian cruise line named Dawn met with serious problems back in 2005. Once this cruise ship was hit by a 70-foot tall wave, passengers had to do all they could to avoid flying furniture and broken glass onboard.

Harm inflicted onboard cruise ships due to various crimes

Back in 2013, one NBC news website stated that at least three cruise ship lines – the Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Carnival – all agreed to start periodically publishing their cruise ship crime statistics online. Other cruise lines have since followed suit. This was a major step forward in light of the statistics that were once being routinely gathered and often kept private by the U. S. Coast Guard.

In addition to many robberies and thefts, too many cruise ship passengers have endured rapes and other assaults while supposedly enjoying themselves on vacation.

While it’s hard to prevent many crimes when in an unfamiliar location, including time spent on a cruise ship, every person wanting to book a room on a cruise ship should first view the standards outline by the Cruise Lines International Association’s Cruise Line Bill of Rights that’s typically posted on every cruise company’s website.

Today, you can find the quarterly crime statistics about every major cruise line on the Transportation.gov website. For example, during the first three months of 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines reported that three of its passengers were assaulted and incurred serious bodily injuries. Always be sure to do this type of research before booking a place on any cruise line – and request information about any crimes that seem to be happening far too often. Also, ask if cruises in certain parts of the world are currently experiencing higher crime rates than others.

Finally, try to always travel with a spouse or close friend and never walk long distances alone after dark on any cruise ship. If necessary, have a ship employee walk you back to your cabin if those you’re traveling with aren’t available to do this with you.

 

How Dangerous Can a Hoverboard Really be?

Both young kids and adults enjoy the challenge of trying to balance themselves and move about on hoverboards. However, these motorized skateboards can pose serious injury hazards to riders and can even catch fire under certain circumstances.

During July of 2016, news agencies reported that over 500,000 hoverboards were recalled by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The boards made by ten separate companies are involved, including those manufactured and sold by Swagway and Keenford. Consumers who have recently purchased hoverboards should contact their manufacturers to find out if they are part of this massive recall. Failing to take this measure could cause you to suffer future serious injuries – or your children and other family members.

Common Injuries and Damages Sustained in Hoverboard Accidents

Texas doctors are now reporting an increase in the number of emergency room visits made by people injured while riding these boards. Many of them have suffered both concussions and wrist fractures after falling off the boards. Others are incurring severe knee and leg cuts and various types of abrasions.

Property damage has also become a common problem since the lithium-ion batteries that power hoverboards can catch on fire, especially while they’re being recharged.  A CBS DFW News report published on February 2, 2016, stated that a fire in a San Antonio River Walk hotel was caused by a hoverboard that caught on fire. Another similar incident occurred in a Houston-area shopping mall during recent months. These incidents usually happen while the lithium-ion battery is recharged.

More Businesses, Colleges and Public Gathering Areas May Outlaw Hoverboard Use

Some airline carriers are forbidding people to bring hoverboards onto planes, and many college campuses are advising students to leave their hoverboards at home. Given the many serious accidents now happening to hoverboard riders, we’re likely to see soon shopping malls and other public gathering places forbidding people from even bringing these boards onto their properties. The fire dangers can easily cause a building or house to be burned down.

Best Ways to Prevent Hoverboard Injuries

  • Always wear a helmet, even when riding indoors.Once you lose your balance on a hoverboard, you’re very likely to hit your head upon falling;
  • Consider wearing knee and elbow pads.While you may think you look a bit foolish, you’ll appreciate the extra padding if you land on these body parts after falling;
  • To prevent a hoverboard fire, sit close by while the board is recharging.Since the lithium-ion batteries are most likely to catch fire while the board is recharging, this is an important way to protect yourself and others from harm. Of course, you need to check immediately to see if your hoverboard is under recall – and repeat such online research every few months.

Some Hoverboard Injuries Can Land You in a Hospital ICU

Back in December of 2015, an Austin-area resident named Robert Maker sustained such serious injuries while visiting Florida that he had to be moved into a hospital’s ICU. His fall off his hoverboard caused him to sustain a whiplash injury to his head when it hit the pavement. He then began bleeding from his ear – and became unconscious. Since Mr. Maker was a very experienced hoverboard rider – many more Texans are now aware of the truly serious dangers posed by these fun — yet potentially deadly motorized skateboards.

After hiring a personal injury attorney, the first question many clients have is “what is my case worth?” The classic answer to this question is “it depends.”

Every case is different. Here, at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we handle every case differently based on facts specific to how you were injured and what type of injury you sustained.

The value of a personal injury case depends on a variety of factors, which may evolve over the life of a case. Here are some considerations in evaluating the worth of a personal injury case:

  • How you were injured– Were you broadsided by a drunk driver? Did a distracted driver hit your motorcycle?
  • Type of injury– Did you break your dominant hand? Did you suffer a traumatic brain injury?
  • Prognosis for recovery– Do you have a permanent injury? Have you made a full recovery?
  • Medical expenses– How much were your medical expenses? Did your health insurance cover some of your medical expenses? Were some of your bills written off or contractually adjusted?
  • Lost wages– Did you miss time from work? What is your normal income?
  • Insurance coverage– Does the at-fault party have adequate liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your damages? If not, does the at-fault party have assets that can be recovered in satisfaction of a judgment against them? Do you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage?

An experienced personal injury attorney can thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case so you do not accept an unfair settlement that is below the value of your case.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

When a dump truck causes an accident, the results are often tragic. Sedans and compact cars are no match for a huge cargo vehicle, especially when that vehicle is burdened with a heavy load. Severe injuries often result from these incidents, and victims may sustain permanent disability due to serious trauma. What is most frustrating, though, is that these crashes are usually caused by error or negligence of the driver.

Broken bones, lacerations, burns, crushing injuries, and traumatic brain or spine injuries are all common outcomes following a dump truck accident. Traumatic brain and spine injuries often produce the worst prognoses, as a victim may be rendered paraplegic or quadriplegic, or may sustain significant cognitive debilitation. Severe traumatic brain injuries can cause issues with speech, motor function, concentration, problem-solving, balance, or mood regulation. It can also cause chronic pain and nausea.

Following a crash, an injury attorney can help a victim pursue compensation for their injuries, and these claims can get quite complex. In addition to the driver, the driver’s employer will likely be named as a defendant, along with any personnel responsible for the vehicle’s upkeep, like the vehicle owner and the employer’s maintenance crews. By bringing claims against multiple defendants, an attorney will increase the chances of securing a favorable settlement for the victim and ensuring they get the compensation they need for medical costs and lost wages.

 

Do you know the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?

“Concussion” is a common diagnosis for a head injury. Many people are familiar with the term “concussion” and what it means.

But what is a “traumatic brain injury?” A traumatic brain injury, or “TBI,” results from damage to the brain, often caused by impact. A TBI may be mild, moderate, or severe.

A mild TBI is generally diagnosed by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness (30 minutes or less)
  • Memory loss (24 hours or less)
  • Altered mental state (dazed, confused)
  • Focal neurological deficits

Any one of the four symptoms listed above may indicate that you have suffered a mild TBI.

You may suffer from a moderate TBI or a severe TBI depending on how you were injured and the severity of symptoms you are experiencing.

The important thing to know about traumatic brain injury is that the symptoms are often missed by emergency medical professionals. Most of these symptoms cannot be identified on a CT scan or an MRI. Results of these tests would be normal. In turn, traumatic brain injury may go undiagnosed.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes are the most common cause of TBI, which result in 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths each year. It is important to know the symptoms so you can recognize them should you be in a car crash.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Are you a safer driver than your autonomous vehicle?

Although most of us welcome technological changes that offer greater safety and security, we still realize that when people are in charge of using any vehicle or device, human error will always remain a dangerous factor in the equation. On some level, human error likely played a role in the May 7, 2016 death of former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown while he was driving a 2015 Model S electric car.

Details Involved with Mr. Brown’s Accident – Some Not Yet Fully Documented

While out driving on a freeway, Mr. Brown decided to use his Tesla’s Autopilot feature. As he was traveling along, a tractor trailer apparently drove across the freeway, turning left in front of Mr. Brown’s Tesla. Reports of the accident indicate that the truck’s side was bright white and possibly difficult to see given the brightness of the sky.

Neither Mr. Brown nor the Autopilot featured activated the brake in time to save him from the ensuing crash. The Tesla drove underneath the big trailer, smashing its windshield and tragically killing Mr. Brown. Investigations continue regarding all of the factors involved in this event.

What Has Tesla Done to Try and Prevent This Type of Rare Accident?

According to a USA Today article published on July 1, 2016, Tesla has designed its cars with Autopilot so that drivers must keep both hands on the steering wheel. When they fail to do so, the cars are supposed to go slower until both hands return. This is surely a sign that Tesla recognizes that human error can easily work against the precision of its new technologies. Given the precise maneuvers required to turn the Autopilot system on and off, you have to hope that each driver receives adequate training before heading out on the road.

Did Human Error Play a Role in Mr. Brown’s Death?

Although the reported facts of the accident aren’t entirely clear, it appears that Mr. Brown may have been watching a “Harry Potter” movie at the time the accident occurred. If that’s true, his possible decision to watch a film instead of observing the freeway in front of him may have played a role in his crash. This possibility is clearly outlined in the USA Today article published on July 1, 2016. A DVD player was found in the Tesla accident wreckage.

We still don’t know whether the speed at which Mr. Brown was traveling might have played a role in his failure to stop. The same USA Today article just referenced notes that Mr. Brown had received a total of eight speeding tickets during the past six years. That’s quite high since most of us often only receive one or two of those in our lifetimes – assuming we only drive when fully alert and determined not to indulge in any distracted driving.

The other type of potential human error that can always be involved in accidents is the failure of design engineers to create sensors that are so highly effective that they can easily perceive large moving objects – regardless of their color – when they’re approaching a Tesla or other similar vehicle with an Autopilot-type program engaged.

How Many Model S Vehicles Are Currently on the Road?

The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that there are about 25,000 Model S vehicles currently in use in this country. Given the very rare incidents of injuries or fatal accidents being reported – they may indeed be providing a safer drive for many car and truck owners. Proponents of Teslas and similar vehicles are quick to point out that Mr. Brown’s death was the first one recorded or known after over 130 million miles of Autopilot usage.

Limitations of Both Self-Driving Vehicles and Cars with Autopilot-Type Features

Back in February of this year, a Google self-driving vehicle in California crashed into a public bus. The Google vehicle apparently failed to navigate properly around some sandbags in the road. At least nine other accidents involving self-driven autonomous cars had already occurred that same year which were all linked to human error.

Conclusions

Regardless of the millions of miles being logged by people driving Teslas with Autopilot and Google (and other brands of) self-driving cars, we will each simply need to make our own decisions about whether or not we think we’ll be safer driving such vehicles in the future. Since human errors abound in this world every day – a large number of us may prefer just to keep using our defensive driving skills to control our driving safety for many more years to come.

 

Can distracted driving in traffic cause more accidents?

Road safety officials are reporting that traffic deaths increased by nearly eight percent (8%) in 2015 – ending a lengthy period of decline in such numbers. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that about 35,200 people lost their lives in traffic collisions in 2015. All of these troubling facts were recently noted in Nathan Bomey’s USA Todayarticle published on July 1, 2016.

Many safety experts are puzzled by what may be causing this new trend. Fatalities haven’t been this high since 2008. Back then, roughly 37,000 people died on our nation’s roads.

While some people blame the increase on distracted driving (often caused by the selfish use of cell phones while behind the wheel) – others believe that lower gasoline prices have simply encouraged more of us to get out and drive. Regardless of what the main causes are, we should all do what we can to protect ourselves by developing defensive driving skills.

Here’s a quick look at whether self-driving cars are likely to improve vehicle safety in the future and at the groups of individuals currently causing the largest percentage of America’s accidents.

Are Self-Driving Cars the Answer?

In the USA Today article referenced above, we’re told that some authorities now claim that self-driving cars may help to greatly reduce accidents in this country in the future. However, recent reports concerning one Tesla Model S driver’s death are causing some to revisit that prediction.

You may want to watch some instructional videos about self-driving vehicles posted on automakers’ websites (or YouTube) so you can draw your conclusions on that topic. Everything will probably depend on how well the average driver will be able to master the art of using technologies like Autopilot. Given how distracted many drivers already are – you have to wonder how many people will remember to make all of the repeated adjustments to their steering wheel turn signal levers to use properly all of the new car technologies being developed.

Who Keeps Causing the Most Accidents?

  • Men still caused more accidents than women.According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Highway Loss Data Institute), men continue to cause more accidents than women. While men do still drive far more miles than women, the fact remains that men do tend to take greater risks regularly while driving than women;
  • Older drivers do not necessarily cause a higher percentage of accidents.In fact, they simply are more susceptible to injuries since many are in more fragile health. However, drivers age 85 and older do tend to experience the highest number of accidents, as opposed to those between ages 60 and 85;
  • Teenagers cause a greater number of collisions than others – especially those age 16 and 17.Changing more states laws to limit more teen drivers to daytime driving might help, as well as raising the minimum age for driving alone;
  • Drunk drivers and those impaired by many drugs remain a serious threat to others.Although the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers did decline for a while back during the mid-1990s, that trend has ended. More progress must now be made in keeping drunk and drug-impaired drivers off the roads in every state;
  • Drivers in certain parts of the country.While Texas is among the states that often have higher fatalities in terms of deaths per 100,000 in population, a number of less obvious factors can play a role in such statistics. For example, some states have more long stretches of highway in between cities, while others have more truckers regularly crisscrossing their state. The strict enforcement of drunk driving laws can also play a major role in these types of statistics.

All Houston drivers can increase their personal safety on the roads by (1) taking a defensive driving course; (2) never driving while impaired in any manner; (3) only driving during the day; and (4) never using a cell phone while behind the wheel of any car or truck.

 

Do you own dangerous IKEA furniture that tips over?

When parents and children glance around the same room, they often see very different things. While a mother may see a large set of dresser drawers filled with clothing, a child may see the same structure and decide to pull out the drawers out so they can be used like the rungs of a ladder – helping the child quickly climb to the top.

Unfortunately, that latter scenario unfolds far too often. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about two children a month die after a large TV, a heavy appliance or a piece of furniture (like a set of dresser drawers or a bookcase) unexpectedly falls down on top of them. In fact, three children per hour are injured this way every day.

One recent news story addressing this topic involves furniture maker IKEA who stated it’s no longer going to sell dresser drawers that tip over too easily. This announcement came after three toddlers died in this manner. The company is also planning to offer full refunds to millions of past buyers of these dressers. It’s estimated that about 29 million of these dresser drawers have been sold during the past decade. Unfortunately, far too many purchasers failed to secure these pieces of furniture to the nearest walls using anti-tip brackets or anchoring kits.

The following additional facts and statistics regarding tip-over accidents can help you better safeguard your home. Always be sure to anchor all of the named objects to the nearest walls.

Household Products and Objects Often Involved in Tip-Over Accidents

  • Any type of television set or home entertainment center. Kids often see a remote control device resting on a high shelf and decide to do whatever is necessary to climb up and grab it. They’re eager to change TV channels or otherwise control various music, video or other entertainment devices;
  • Bookcases made of nearly any type of wood or metal. Like dresser drawers, bookcases may look a bit like open rungs of a ladder to kids. They may eagerly climb them – fully unaware that they can suddenly fall over – seriously injuring or even killing them;
  • Computers, printers, scanners, copy machines and other office equipment. When young children see their parents or teachers at school working with these items, they assume that they are easy to use. However, it’s far too easy for small (or even older) children to climb into desk chairs (or onto desks) to use them – perhaps then losing their balance and having one of these machines fall on them;
  • Large household appliances (like those in your kitchen), exercise equipment, or general lawn tools. Always tell your children that they must first obtain permission from an adult to use any of these items – and that they can only use them when an adult is nearby. Never leave lawn mowers, carpentry equipment or other similar goods on display in your garage, thinking your kids will never try to use them. Instead, keep them safely locked up in a special

More CPSC’s Statistics Regarding How Kids Are Injured in Tip-Over Accidents

  • About sixty percent(60%) of children are suffocated or crushed to death when large dresser drawers (or other huge objects) fall on them;
  • Between 15 and 20 percentof children find themselves trapped beneath large wall TVs, bookcases or huge stoves that have fallen down on top of them. Many struggle to breathe while emergency personnel are rushing to help them;
  • About 10 percent of kids who climb on large objectsare hurt by falling items. All kinds of sharp or heavy keepsakes can fly off a set of dresser drawers or a bookcase as it falls to the ground. These items can also shoot out and hurt others sitting nearby;
  • A wide variety of other injuries affect the remaining 10 percent of children hurt in tip-over accidents. Falling glass objects or even heavy statuettes can hit a child in the head or face, causing serious lacerations and heavy bleeding – among other injuries. Also, when a wall-mounted TV falls off a wall or entertainment stand, it can even start a major fire.

Before Leaving Your Kids at Home with Babysitters or Older Relatives

Lock up heavy exercise equipment in your den or personal bedroom, forbidding anyone from using it while you’re away. Create rules about what activities are allowed when you’re not home. Explain that you’re concerned for your children’s safety and need their cooperation.

Finally, always remind your well-trained babysitter to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. Also, keep a posted list in the kitchen of your personal cell phone numbers, as well as those of local poison control, fire department, hospital emergency room — and other similar health and safety officials. Make it clear that you should be immediately contacted regarding any accident – however small or minor it seems, especially when head injuries are sustained.

 

Ignoring Airbag Recall Notices Can Be Deadly

When you fail to keep fully functional airbags in your vehicle, you greatly increase your chances of having your head or entire body shoot through a broken windshield. Furthermore, Houston drivers without airbags are also more likely to suffer broken bones, whiplash injuries, dangerous cuts and bruises, and head trauma.

Always be sure when buying a new vehicle to request side airbags since paying a little extra for these can increase your chances of surviving your next accident.

Here’s a bit more information about the usefulness of airbags, why we must all quickly respond to airbag (and other vehicle) recall notices, and why you must inquire about all airbags provided in any car you currently own — or plan to buy.

What Statistics Tell Us About the Different Types of Airbags

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that frontal airbags can significantly decrease driver deaths in frontal collisions by 29 percent and fatalities of front-seat passengers (at least 13 years old) by about 32 percent. Likewise, side airbags specifically designed to protect the head can lower a driver’s chance of dying (in a driver’s side accident) by 37 percent – and an SUV driver’s chance of being killed by 52 percent.

In addition, when you add rear-window curtain airbags, you also provide further safety for all back seat passengers during an accident. Front-center airbags can also lower your chances of hitting other passengers during a crash — and inflatable safety belts can better protect everyone during certain types of collisions.

Is Your Houston Vehicle Safe – Or Do You Need to Respond to a Current Recall?

According to a June 2016 article written by consumer reporter Amy Davis, over 1.1 million Houston cars are currently under one vehicle recall or another. This means we must each periodically check to see if our vehicles (or any of their parts) are currently being recalled. You can easily save your own life and that of your passengers if you’ll conduct this type of check every month or two. Of course, you should also immediately read all mail that comes to you from your car manufacturer, seller or dealer since a recall notice may be included.

If you don’t own a computer, ask your local librarian to help you make this type of quick Internet search. To run this inquiry, you’ll need to know your vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number), make, model and year. Your car mechanic can show you where your VIN is typically displayed on your front windshield.

Protect Yourself When Purchasing a Used Car

Always insist on being provided with the Carfax information for any vehicle’s past collisions. This report can tell you about most previous accidents that might make your purchase unwise. Also, keep in mind that simply purchasing new, fully authorized airbags can prove very expensive – even as high as several thousand dollars. However, no one should ever take the chance of first learning that their airbags (or other car parts) are defective until a serious accident unfolds.

Finally, keep up with the news and learn all you can about each new airbag recall since it may easily affect another driver in your family if it doesn’t affect you. Should you own a smartphone, consider downloading the newest My Carfax app so you can more easily stay current with this information. You can also visit the federal government’s VIN recall look-up page by visiting the Safercar website.

 

Could Social Media Posts Damage Your Case?

Modern users of technology are very open about their day to day lives. Social media users share their thoughts and experiences with their “Friends” on Facebook and “Followers” on Twitter, among other social media platforms. Have you ever stopped to think what effect social media might have on a personal injury claim?

If you have been injured and make a claim for injuries, the adverse party will do their best to find out as much as possible about you. This includes things about your day to day life. For example, if you claim that you can no longer lift objects heavier than 15 pounds, the adverse party will want to know whether you are, in fact, able to lift objects heavier than 15 pounds by catching you in the act.

The point of the investigation is to find out how your claimed injuries are affecting your activities of daily life and confirm that your claims are truthful. Traditional investigation included surveillance of the claimant by utilizing private investigators, photography, and videography. Now, social media makes the adverse party’s job very easy to investigate a claimant.

Some claimants do all the work themselves by posting on social media. If you are making a claim for personal injuries and have active social media accounts, you need to be mindful of what you post. Here are some things to consider:

  • Privacy settings– do you have privacy settings enabled so that you have control over which users see the content that you post? It is very easy to search a name and see all the content that user is posting if privacy settings are not enabled.
  • Search function– have you allowed other users to search for your social media account by typing in your name or username? It is sometimes possible to disable this feature.
  • Connections– do you allow connections with users you do not personally know? Someone may try to connect with you for investigative purposes. Be wary about connecting with users you do not know.
  • Posting Content– have you posted any content about your accident or injuries? Is that content truthful? Are you posting any content that is inconsistent with your claim for personal injuries?

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

According to Bill Vlasic’s New York Times article published June 22, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first notified Fiat Chrysler about numerous driver complaints concerning shifting mechanisms in 2014-15 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, some 2012-14 Dodge Chargers, and Chrysler 300 sedans as early as August 2015. However, the company failed to issue a recall until April of 2016. That delay may have played a direct role in allowing numerous new injuries to occur – and possibly even contributed to the death of actor Anton Yelchin in June 2016.

If You Drive Any of the Models Referenced Above – Is Your Gearshift Slipping?

Although the investigation into Anton Yelchin’s death is still ongoing, it currently appears that he may have thought he had placed his Jeep Grand Cherokee in park, when it suddenly rolled backwards in his driveway, crushing him to death. Fiat Chrysler claims that such events only occur if drivers have “misused” their gearshift mechanisms. Many drivers who’ve encountered this problem disagree and believe the mechanism either slips — or misleads a driver into thinking his/her vehicle has been properly placed in “park.”

If you drive one of the vehicles named above and have experienced any slippage or failure of the vehicle to shift properly into “park” (and stay in that position), contact your auto dealer to see if your model is under a current recall. It may need to be immediately repaired, even if it’s not technically listed in a recall. As the New York Times article indicates, by April of 2016, Fiat Chrysler already knew about 200 crashes and 41 injuries attributed to this gearshift problem – based on consumer complaints.

What Type of Reputation Does Fiat Chrysler Have Regarding Past Recalls?

Fiat Chrysler is definitely in “damage control” mode now, particularly as it’s been chastised by the government in the past due to its poor handling of recalls. According to the Times article, Fiat Chrysler even agreed back in 2015 to pay federal penalties (about $105 million) for its substandard handling of nearly two dozen recalls since 2013.

Despite Fiat Chrysler’s past handling of recalls, at least up until the recent tragic death of Anton Yelchin, sales of Jeep SUVs in America have remained strong. The company’s current promise to rush new computer software to dealers to repair the gearshift problem must go smoothly for the company to avoid incurring further harm to its brand name among consumers.

However, Fiat Chrysler is quick to point out that it did send out special brochures to its customers concerning the recalled Jeeps, explaining how drivers needed to shift the gears properly. At this point, no one knows for sure if Mr. Yelchin had received one of those brochures or had time to read it – before his fatal accident.

How Can the New Recall Gearshift Software Help Protect You?

According to Fiat Chrysler, once this new “recall” software is installed in an affected vehicle, it will automatically shift the vehicle into park once the driver’s door opens – regardless of whether or not the driver has left it in drive – or placed it in neutral or reverse.

Although the company had been planning first to make this new software available in either July or August – Fiat Chrysler now reports that it began delivering some of it to its approximate 2,400 dealers during late June.

While all Texas drivers must determine if their vehicles are part of this recall – those whose listed vehicles have a 3.6-liter or 5.7-liter engine — account for the majority of the vehicles with the faulty gearshift mechanisms.

Once the wreckage is cleared and the dust is settled, an auto accident victim is often left searching for reliable transportation. Their vehicle is either in the shop for repairs or declared a total loss. Even worse, the insurance company may have to investigate the wreck to determine who was at fault, which could take weeks.

Regardless of whether you were at fault for the wreck, you may have rental car coverage under your auto insurance policy. Check your declarations page to see if you elected to carry this coverage. If you did not, you may want to consider it so you can get a rental car without delay if you are involved in an auto accident.

If you were not at fault and the other driver’s insurance company has accepted liability for the wreck, rental car coverage may be available under that policy. However, relying on the other driver’s rental car coverage may be risky if liability is disputed. You could be left without a vehicle for days. Or, if there is coverage available, it may be limited to just a few days.

Finding rental car coverage could save you hundreds of dollars in out of pocket expenses that you might incur in paying for a rental car on your own. If you do have to pay for a rental car out of pocket, an insurance company will only reimburse you for a maximum amount per day, depending on the policy, which could still leave you out of money.

A personal injury attorney can be helpful in gathering information on the rental car options available to you after an auto accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Did you really understand the settlement release?

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, you may have a claim against the party responsible for causing your injuries. After the process of filing a claim with an insurance company, proving your damages, and agreeing upon a settlement amount, you will be asked to sign a release before receiving your settlement check.

Some victims are so relieved to be near the end of the claims process that they do not think twice about signing a release. However, a release may be a trap for the wary. Here are some things you should know before signing a settlement release:

  • It is likely a “release of all claims.” This means that, if you develop additional injuries or suffer complications in the future, you cannot make another claim to compensate you for additional damages.
  • It likely applies to the individual who injured you, as well as the insurance company. If you accept a settlement from the individual’s insurance company, you normally cannot pursue more money from the individual.
  • It may be broader than necessary. As an injured person, you have legal rights. You should not feel pressured to sign a settlement release that contains more restrictions than necessary.

Before signing a settlement release, seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. All documents you sign should be reviewed by an attorney. You need to know that your rights are protected.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Should I give a recorded statement?

It’s only natural to want to tell your side of the story—especially when you’ve been wronged. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, one of the first things an insurance adjuster will ask you to do is give a recorded statement. This statement is generally taken over the phone, then typed into a transcript.

Even if it’s a conversation with your own insurance company’s adjuster, a recorded statement could be used against you. You may think the events are fresh in your mind, but you may misspeak or forget an important detail.

Later in the claims process, if you forgot to mention something, that may be used against you. You do not want to give anyone the opportunity to read your recorded statement, listen to your later testimony, then argue that you are giving inconsistent statements or—even worse—being untruthful.

For example, if you give a recorded statement a couple of hours after the collision, your emotions will be high, and your primary concern may just be repairing your vehicle. A few days later, you may develop symptoms of injuries related to the incident and require medical treatment. It may hurt your bodily injury claim if you initially reported suffering no injuries at all, then make a claim for injuries.

This is why it is best to discuss any potential claim with an attorney before giving a recorded statement. Ask your lawyer if you should give a statement.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Depending on how an accident happens, a victim may wait to call an attorney until days—even weeks—after the event occurs. Before calling an attorney about an auto accident, here are some details to think about to prepare for an initial consultation:

  • When did the accident happen?
  • What road were you traveling on?
  • What were the weather conditions?
  • How did the impact occur?
  • Did you exchange information with the other driver?
  • Were there any witnesses?
  • Have you notified your insurance company?
  • Have you spoken to the other driver’s insurance company?
  • Did you give a recorded statement?
  • What kind of injuries did you sustain?
  • Have you received any medical treatment?
  • Have you lost any time from work?

All of these questions are important to evaluating a potential claim. So an attorney can best assist you, you should think about these questions and have any paperwork that you may have collected available when you call an attorney for help.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

How Dangerous is Street Construction?

Houston has a vast expanse of residential streets, highways, and interstates. With all of these roadways comes road construction to build new roads and improve existing ones.

Driving in construction zones is different. Motorists are alerted to construction zones by roadside signage, but there are safety measures that a motorist can take to decrease the likelihood of an auto accident in a construction zone:

  • Steer clear of cement barriers—if possible, avoid driving your vehicle in a lane next to a cement barrier. Should you need to quickly avoid another vehicle, this cement barrier leaves you with one less exit path.
  • Resist the need for speed—slow down well before entering a construction zone. Many cars slamming on their brakes to adhere to the reduced construction zone speed limit could cause a chain reaction collision.
  • Stay in the designated lanes—it may be tempting to circumvent standstill traffic by cutting across the green to a service road. But an unexpected incline may cause your vehicle to flip, or a deep hole in the ground may get your car stuck.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Many personal injury attorneys work under a contingent fee contract. But many injured people do not know what a contingent fee contract is. This can be intimidating to an accident victim who is looking for help but is afraid of signing a contract filled with legal jargon and unfamiliar terms.

Generally, a contingent fee contract is an agreement that the client will owe no attorneys’ fees or expenses unless the attorney recovers money on the client’s behalf. If the attorney recovers money for the client in a settlement or by winning a lawsuit, then the client owes an attorneys’ fee and is responsible for case expenses incurred in handling the claim. The terms of each attorney’s contingent fee contract are different.

A contingent fee contract is common in personal injury cases. Accident victims often cannot afford the out-of-pocket cost of hiring an attorney. When an accident victim needs legal representation, the financial stress of unexpected medical expenses, lost wages, and car repairs eat up any savings the client may have available to cover legal expenses. This is why the contingent fee contract, requiring no upfront payment, is so widely used.

It is important to choose an attorney who is willing to explain the terms of a contingent fee contract so you are comfortable with the professional you are choosing to represent you and understand what to expect during your representation. You should never sign a contract that you do not understand.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Dozens of people are killed in fatal bus rollover accidents every year, and in nearly every instance, the accident is due to negligence on someone’s part. Common carriers like Greyhound and the numerous companies that run charter vehicles have a duty to their customers to provide safe passage. When the common carrier fails to do so, they are liable for any injuries or deaths that occur in the process. Common carriers are held to rigorous standards like these because an accident involving a large passenger vehicle is typically devastating.

Large passenger vehicles are prone to tipping over, and they rarely come with safety restraints, so drivers must do everything possible to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, driver error is common, especially when a fatal bus rollover does occur. Driver error can range from speeding or changing lanes in a reckless fashion, to falling asleep at the wheel.

When driver error is present, the driver’s employer will typically be liable for any damages. In some cases, negligence on the common carrier’s part is also present, increasing their liability. Failure to maintain the vehicle, train the driver properly, or perform an adequate background check are all common instances of negligence, and warrant compensation.

When a family loses a loved one, they may be awarded compensation for emotional damages as well as damages resulting from medical and funeral costs. This includes the significant worth of the care and love the deceased would have provided, so while it is impossible to replace the warmth that a parent, spouse or child offers, at least a family can seek a small bit of closure with the help of an attorney.

The historical legacy of asbestos and lung cancer is far reaching. Not long ago, the material was used quite widely in a myriad of industries. Now it is commonly known that the material is carcinogenic, posing a major health hazard.

What is asbestos and how does it cause harm?

A compound made up of six silicate minerals, asbestos is composed of millions of tiny, invisible-to-the-naked eye crystal fibers. These fibers readily become airborne when disturbed and are often inhaled by those exposed. The fibers then become lodged in the lungs, which creates severe irritation and eventually, cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms of exposure may take decades to present. And once the symptoms appear, it is often too late for any treatment to be effective.

How is one exposed to the mineral?

Asbestos was used in a number of industries dating back to WWII. Before it was widely understood to be unsafe, the substance was particularly popular for construction purposes, in aerospace and in mechanical industries, and it was widely employed as an ingredient in various consumer products.

The material is heat, fire, and chemical-damage resistant, making it perfect for insulation and fire-proofing, among other uses. Due to its properties, it can be found in old drywall, bricks, and numerous other items, including vinyl flooring.

Today, individuals are most likely to encounter asbestos when dealing with older buildings. When a structure containing asbestos use is remodeled, ceiling and wall material can cause become disturbed, leading to exposure. The link between asbestos and lung cancer is clear, so people need to take precautions seriously to avoid exposure at all costs.

As the number of bicycles on streets and highways increases, so does the need for bicycle accident lawyers.  Whether cyclists sustain injuries due to road hazards, road conditions, or due to collisions with people driving automobiles, the end result is that bike riders often find themselves in need of legal assistance.

This assistance can range from determining who is legally to blame for causing the accident, to working on behalf of the cyclist to replace damaged or destroyed bicycles.  The attorney can present a case at trial, interpret information from witnesses and police reports, negotiate with insurance companies and medical personnel, research local and state laws, and discover vehicle safety issues.

If a motor vehicle is involved, a bicycle accident can be very serious. Many times though, accidents may be the fault of road hazards such as misplaced construction equipment, broken sewer grates, or some other obstacle that shouldn’t be in the roadway. If a rider sustains injuries, important procedures should be followed to make certain that the attorney will be able to prepare as strong of a case as possible. An attorney specializing in bicycle issues can determine if the rider’s actions or external factors are most responsible for the accident.

On the other hand, if it is a case of an automobile colliding with a cyclist, the experience and legal training of a bicycle accident lawyer is extremely valuable. They can assess whether the responsibility falls on the automobile driver due to reckless driving, lack of attention, or poor vehicle maintenance. If the rider is injured, the attorney may file a lawsuit against the auto driver. In this type of case, the cyclist may receive compensation for treatment, medical expenses, physical therapy, or income loss.

A child born with birth defects often faces a difficult road, many times the moment they enter the world. Such complications can have profound effects on the newborn’s ability to adjust to the world and develop normally. It’s also common for these complications to have far-reaching effects that persist into adulthood. And it’s normal for the parents to wonder how and why such complications could occur.  The tragic fact is, they are often preventable.

It must be acknowledged that researchers are only in the opening stages of understanding how and why a child might suffer birth defects, but more and more researchers believe it involves a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. It’s rare for either to completely explain a particular complication, but when a newborn is struggling with health problems, it may be due to negligence on the part of a doctor or other party.

For example, a pregnant woman who consumes contaminated food may experience a food-borne infection that passes to the developing fetus and causes harm. In this case, the food producer or supplier might be responsible for any damages.

In most cases, when negligence is involved, it is an irresponsible doctor or pharmaceutical company that takes the blame. There are many medications that can cause harm to a developing fetus, including some antibiotics, SSRIs, and nausea reducers like Zofran. By prescribing any of these to a pregnant woman, the doctor is taking a risk, and pharmaceutical companies must research their products for safety before marketing.

While these may seem like obvious precautions, they are all too often ignored, and many children are unfairly harmed as a result. With the help of a medical malpractice attorney, a family can fight back.

In today’s litigation-oriented society, a person should always be aware of their legal options. Among these is the accident lawyer with truck case legal experience. While it might seem to some that such a legal specialization would be a bit too focused, that’s not the case at all.

According to transportation industry sources, more than 50,000 people are hurt in accidents involving commercial trucks annually. Of these mishaps, approximately 3,000 are fatal. That really shouldn’t be a surprise since a fully loaded 18-wheeler can outweigh a passenger vehicle it collides with by sometimes as much as a 50 to one ratio.

There are many things that contribute to these accidents between commercial trucks and cars. Some are the result of reckless driving on the part of the truck operator. Some are the result of company policies depriving truck drivers of sufficient rest between runs. And some are the result of the truck itself being in poor operating condition.

Whatever the reason, an accident involving a truck and a passenger vehicle may involve a lengthy court case. The trucking companies have their experts to attempt to shift blame, convince the victim to agree to an unfavorable settlement, or to convince a jury that the facts are not facts at all.

To counter this, the victim’s best hope is to utilize an accident lawyer having truck case litigation experience. These specialists have the legal knowledge and resources to completely investigate the case and determine the truck owner’s responsibility, and then argue the case to obtain the best possible compensation for the victim.

Each year, the Better Business Bureau recognizes businesses and non-profits for their achievements and superior commitment to quality and ethics in the workplace. Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law was one of a select few of companies recognized at the annual Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence on May 11, 2016. Recognized as a Winner of Distinction in the category for Attorneys, this was the second year in a row to be selected by the Better Business Bureau for service excellence.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Better Business Bureau for providing exceptional service to our clients and we appreciate the acknowledgment of our efforts,” states Terry Bryant. “We are grateful to be recognized as a top quality Houston law firm, and I want to thank the Silver Fox Advisors for the many hours spent judging the hundreds of entries for this great event.”

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, a charter bus traveling to a Texas casino crashed rolling over resulting in eight deaths and at least 44 injured in South Texas.

According to local authorities, the charter bus operated by OGA Charters, based in San Juan, Texas, may have lost control due to inclement weather conditions on U.S. Highway 83 as it traveled northbound in Webb County about 130 miles north of Laredo, Texas.  The charter bus originated its trip in the Rio Grande Valley with a final destination of the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass indicated local investigators.

Emergency personnel from surrounding counties responded to the scene, where seven passengers were pronounced dead due to injuries.  Another passenger died on the way to a hospital.  Paramedics transported other injury victims to several local hospitals in Laredo (Webb County) and Carrizo Springs (Dimmit County).

The names of the victims have not yet been released, and local authorities continue developing the investigation.  The National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB) is due to begin their part of the inquiry Monday per several news reports.

While our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragic loss, it is important that an independent investigation compiles and safeguards the available evidence which can help determine why this accident happened and how it could have been prevented.  It is imperative those injured or the families of the deceased speak with a board certified Texas bus accident lawyer who has the necessary resources and experience to handle a complex bus rollover case of this magnitude.

The Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm in Houston has been serving Texas residents for over 30 years in helping with their accident related legal problems and concerns, ensuring their clients get all the assistance and protection to which they are entitled.  Terry Bryant is a former judge that has successfully handled numerous high profile personal injury cases.

 

How do you prepare before hitting the water?

The Houston-area waterways are filling up with boating traffic as the weather gets warmer. May is a popular month to return to outdoor activities—such as boating—with kids getting out of school for summer vacation and the Memorial Day weekend.

It is important to be prepared before hitting the waterways. Here is a checklist of things you should think about before heading to the boat launch:

  • Life jackets—do you have enough life jackets for everyone on board? Are the life jackets a proper fit?
  • Safety supplies—do you have a first aid kit if someone gets hurt? Do you have emergency supplies should you get stranded?
  • Communication—do you have a method of contacting emergency responders for help if your cell phone cannot get service?
  • Hydration—do you have plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated in the summer heat?
  • Designated driver—do you have a designated driver if people will be consuming alcohol during your trip?

Think about these questions before boarding the boat so you are prepared, instead of after a tragedy happens and it is too late.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a boating accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

A recent movement against American football has developed because of scientific evidence linking concussions and resulting long-term medical issues to injuries sustained while playing the sport. Have you ever thought about the dangers of concussions in relation to other sports? How about football’s counterpart—cheerleading?

Much of the focus and news media have been on football. But cheerleaders may suffer a higher risk of sustaining concussions and suffering from related medical issues. Cheerleading poses a great risk for contact with tumbling and stunting.

At the Knight Commission forum on Intercollegiate Athletics held this month, many attendants reported that their campus sports programs experienced higher numbers of concussions in cheerleaders than contact sports, such as football, soccer, wrestling, ice hockey, and lacrosse.

Head injuries can be very serious. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or visual impairment, among others. In the event that you are experiencing any of these symptoms after an injury, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident and suffered a concussion or brain injury, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

 

Helmets can prevent brain injuries.

Many outdoor activities recommend wearing a helmet to protect the participant from injury. These activities range from recreational and competitive bicycling, to baseball and softball, to extreme sports like mountain climbing.

Although the range of activities recommending a helmet varies, there is one goal in mind: protecting participants from a head injury. A head injury can be severe. And, unfortunately, many head injuries go undiagnosed during triage for two reasons: 1) other, more visible symptoms may distract the triage professionals from thoroughly evaluating a possible head injury; and 2) symptoms of a head injury may be delayed.

If you have been involved in an accident and hit your head, do not discount symptoms that may develop days later. Seek follow-up medical care from a trusted medical professional to obtain a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis.

Symptoms may indicate a concussion or traumatic brain injury. These may include a headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, behavioral changes, memory problems, or difficulty concentrating.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident resulting in a head injury, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Do you have enough insurance coverage?

Texas only requires motorists to carry a 30/60 bodily injury liability auto insurance policy. This means that, in the event you are at fault in an auto accident involving a car full of people, any one person can only recover a maximum of $30,000, and all persons involved can only recover a maximum of $60,000 combined under your insurance policy.

So, if you are involved in an auto accident with four people in a vehicle, a combined $60,000 among all claimants does not go far if each person sustained injuries. EMS bills, emergency room bills, and lost wages add up quickly. Multiply those damages by four, and your minimum limits policy is easily exhausted.

For just a few more dollars a month, you can increase your liability coverage to protect yourself against a lawsuit for damages in excess of your minimum auto insurance policy limits, should you find yourself at fault for an auto accident. Increasing your coverage now can save you the time of being involved in a lawsuit and the money a potential judgment could cost you later.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

When someone is the victim of an accident or has experienced personal harm due to negligence, a Texas injury lawyer will help redress the case and seek compensation for damages, hospital bills, and time away from work. Engaging the services of an attorney is the best way to proceed if there is a legitimate claim. When considering employing a lawyer in Texas, it is important to seek the counsel of an attorney with plenty of experience in personal injury cases, and a demonstrable record of helping clients receive the compensation that they deserve.

The types of cases that a Texas injury lawyer handles are many and varied. They range from car accidents to drug liability to wrongful death, and more. A personal injury attorney will work to resolve the issue on the client’s behalf, using a variety of tactics, evidence, and medical experts to prove the case. They file the appropriate documents with the court, go through the discovery process, gather evidence, depose witnesses, and will work to negotiate a settlement in the client’s favor. Most of these cases settle before they ever go to court. Some of the most reputable firms will not charge the client any money up front. The firm will do all the work on what is called a contingency basis, meaning they will receive a portion of the settlement after the case has been won.

Houston Flood 2016: I-10 & Gessner

During the week of April 18, 2016, Houston—once again—saw overwhelming rainfall. Many areas experienced rainfall that rivaled current records. Eight people lost their lives.

Over recent years, it has become an annual event for Houston to flood to overwhelming levels, leaving people trapped in cars and homes. Although many experts are attributing recent flooding to infrastructure issues because of Houston’s massive growth, there are ways to ease the effects of flooding until a long-term solution is implemented.

  • Stockpile supplies—have plenty of nonperishable goods to keep your household running should you be flooded into your home.
  • Drive sparingly—monitor road closures and water levels before leaving home. Do not leave unless absolutely necessary.
  • Turn around—do not proceed through standing water. Reroute to avoid flooding out your vehicle or being swept away by rushing water.

If you or a loved one has been damaged by flooding, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Fatal motorcycle crash in West Houston

A motorcyclist is dead after ramming an SUV Thursday in west Houston.

According to several eyewitnesses, a motorcycle rider on a 2003 Harley Davidson was weaving in and out of traffic on the Grand Parkway near Clay Road when he struck the rear of a Dodge Journey SUV.  The motorcycle rider skid about 100 feet before coming to a stop. Emergency personnel performed CPR on the motorcycle rider on the way to North Cypress Medical Center, where he was later declared dead.

Three dead, two hurt in lumber truck crash

The three vehicle collision involving an 18-wheeler carrying lumber claimed three lives and injured another in Montgomery County Friday afternoon.

Authorities are investigating why the semi-tractor trailer rolled over on Texas Highway 105 East near South Walker Road by Conroe.

Two drivers died at the scene of the accident while another died en route to Conroe Regional Medical Center with paramedics.   Several other victims were also transported to a local hospital.

Deadly hit-and-run collision

A fatal hit-and-run accident claimed the life of a pedestrian early Saturday morning in Northwest Harris County.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 19400 block of Tomball Parkway where a white pick-up hit a man walking in the far right northbound lane. The pick-up then swerved to the left striking a vehicle according to an eyewitness.

 

Polaris RZR Recall

Polaris has issued a recall for the RZR recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV). This recall affects model years 2013-2016 RZR 900 and RZR 1000 ROVs.

These ROVs were recalled after more than 160 consumers reported fires involving the recalled RZRs. At the time the recall was issued, 19 injuries, including multiple burn injuries, had been reported. A 15-year-old even died as a result of a rollover that led to a fire.

If you think that you may own a recalled RZR, you can visit Polaris.com to check your VIN number. The affected RZRs were sold between July 2012 and April 2016.

Polaris is now offering free repairs for models affected by this recall. If you own a recalled model, you can contact your local Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a recalled product, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Knowing when to call an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston is extremely important. Houston is a city with a lot of roadways and, subsequently, a lot of semi-trailer trucks (also known as tractor trailers, 18 wheelers, or big rigs). Unfortunately, a lot of huge trucks on the roads means a lot of auto accidents involving big rigs, often with horrifying results.

Semis may experience a variety of vehicle problems, such as brake or tire failure. Cargo may shift, or the trailer may be overloaded. In addition, other autos may enter a truck’s “blind spot.” Truck drivers may be tired, intoxicated, or aggressive behind the wheel. Due to the massive size of these trucks, any of these scenarios may result in serious injury—or worse—for surrounding drivers.

Incidents involving big rigs are not like other car accidents. These situations can be complex, and the trucking company involved will likely have inspectors, legal team, and their insurance company on the scene soon after an incident. Their goal is to accept as little responsibility as possible.

Only an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston can provide the assistance the victim needs following a wreck. And it’s important to remember the following after a wreck with a big rig:

  • Stay at the scene and talk with the police
  • Do not admit fault
  • If injured, seek medical attention
  • Get contact information from any witnesses
  • Take photos of the scene and vehicle involved

Following the steps above are important and will help a lawyer assist the victim in seeking restitution.

Although lung cancer and mesothelioma share a lot of the same characteristics, and are both deadly diseases that require extensive medical treatment, they are caused by different factors and progress in different ways. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the cause of a tumor, especially when it takes decades to detect them in the first place. But this isn’t the case with mesothelioma, which is always the result of asbestos exposure. This is a primary reason why attorneys regularly represent victims suffering from the disease, as the cause of the tumor can easily be connected to a negligent employer or material manufacturer.

In general, lung cancer and mesothelioma present with the same symptoms, which often include fatigue, chest pain, coughing and labored breathing. As these symptoms are nonspecific, it may be years before an accurate diagnosis is made, and the tumors will spread during this time. To produce a clear diagnosis, a doctor will need to take x-rays and perform a bronchoscopy, along with a biopsy.

Once a diagnosis is made, the patient’s long-term prognosis is unfortunately poor. No matter the cause behind the tumor, less than half of patients survive a year following diagnosis. Among patients whose tumors were caused by asbestos, only four percent survive for 10 years.

People who are facing a deadly tumor will need all the help they can get from loved ones, and from an attorney pursuing their interests. In many cases, the victim has been harmed by another party, and has a legal right to compensation as a result.

When a driver is involved in a vehicle crash, it may be necessary for them to seek an accident attorney that handles auto cases. TX, like most states, sees many injury claims resulting from vehicle crashes, and as a result, there is plenty of prior-case law that guides these claims. Aside from some rare exceptions, these claims are usually expedited through the legal process and usually end up in settlement. However, victims will still need a lawyer to protect their interests as they work through the settlement and trial stages.

Part of the reason why these claims tend to move quickly is that there is usually a lot of evidence available. Police reports, medical records, witness testimony and photos are typically available to support a case, and a lawyer can seek expert witness testimony as well. An expert witness can recreate the crash details and provide additional investigative details that can sway a claim in the victim’s favor.

In fact, the primary reason why a victim may need an accident attorney for auto injuries in TX is that it’s difficult for a victim to negotiate a settlement on their own. From the outset, the defendant’s insurance company will likely try to pressure the victim into taking a fraction of what they deserve, and pressure from the defendant’s lawyer can overwhelm a victim.

But armed with a lawyer of their own, a victim will stand a much better chance of getting the compensation they need for both their immediate medical concerns and long-term financial damages.

The last thing most people think of when getting hurt is to having to contact a Houston personal injury attorney. However, accidents happen that are sometimes beyond our control. When a person suffers injury due to negligence by an individual or a business, and the insurance companies involved try to avoid liability, it becomes necessary to seek outside help. That is why so many people denied money for medical treatment decide to consult with a lawyer to determine if a lawsuit is warranted. Most personal injury law firms don’t charge anything in advance to work this type of case. Instead, they take their fees out of the awarded compensation.

In Houston, personal injury cases rarely go to court. Most people prefer to avoid a long, drawn-out court case that might take them away from work and family. Outside of a possible deposition and medical examinations, the injured party doesn’t have to spend much time on the case. The lawyers do all of the legwork. The majority of cases such as these resolve out of court, to the benefit of everyone involved. Settling out of court saves time and allows the injured party to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

Companies that produce consumer products assume liability in the event that their goods cause injury, but even though businesses face several legal and financial penalties if they release a defective item to the public, it still happens regularly. In fact, there are safety recalls every week regarding consumer and medical products, and while many of these recalls are done before injuries occur, some companies delay recalls even though they are aware of possible risks to consumers. It is these companies that are acting negligently and victimizing people for the sake of profit.

There are many products that represent particular liability concerns for companies, but anything that is sold to consumers can be the subject of a claim if it harms someone. Furniture, clothing, toys and appliances are some basic consumer items that often come up in legal claims. Motor vehicles, medications, medical devices and heavy machinery, though, represent the bulk of major injury claims.

For example, in 2015, airbag manufacturer Takata instituted a safety recall that involved millions of vehicles and several popular car manufacturers. The fear was that the airbag could degrade to the point that when activating, it would break apart and shower the cabin with metal fragments. Several fatalities were reported before Takata recalled the vehicles, even though there were serious safety lapses at the company’s manufacturing facility.

This is one example of how a defective item can violate consumer safety, and as a result, Takata will be paying out millions to victims and their families. While this kind of judgment is not common, victims may be able to attain compensation for their injuries and suffering no matter the severity of their injury, as long as they can prove the item was defective and caused harm.

brain injury attorney in Houston has to be able to provide long-term guidance as well as legal assistance in the short-termTraumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are often unpredictable and can leave people with chronic pain, cognitive deficiencies, or behavioral changes. In severe cases, these complications are permanent and may only be controlled with ongoing therapy or help from in-home care professionals. And while the emotional and physical costs are the greatest, the financial impact of TBIs cannot be ignored, as they usually persist throughout the victim’s life.

This is why it is essential that a victim look for an experienced brain injury attorney in Houston when recovering from a TBI. Without this experience, a lawyer may not properly account for future medical costs, and may not pursue the compensation that they should. Also, a lawyer experienced in this area will have better connections to doctors specialized in TBIs, and this can provide a strong core of witness testimony for the victim’s case.

Finally, an inexperienced lawyer may not have the confidence they need to take a case through a tough settlement, and may effectively concede a claim to an insurance company, which will often look to shortchange a victim out of what they are really owed.

No matter what a claim consists of, the victim should prioritize experience in a legal professional. It’s no different when looking for a lawyer specialized in TBIs.

A worker on board a commercial vessel who becomes ill or hurt offshore has some recourse when it comes to compensation. It is prudent for anyone injured working of at sea to speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible. Dealing with a firm that is familiar with Maritime Law, and particularly the law known as The Jones Act, is important. The laws governing accidents at sea are complex, so it makes sense to hire a firm with lawyers experienced in this type of law. Maritime claims and workers’ compensation have very different applications of the law.

How does the Jones Act relate to being hurt offshore? The Jones Act, sometimes referred to as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that protects American workers who become injured or fall ill at sea. The law provides qualifying workers the right to receive compensation from their employers for their illness or injury. Attorneys that are well-versed in Maritime Laws will have experience investigating the circumstances that lead to injuries and will file a claim, if warranted, to make sure justice prevails. Anyone injured at sea has specific rights, and a Maritime lawyer is best equipped to fight for those rights.

More and more people that have received an IVC, or an inferior vena cava filter, have chosen to consult with an IVC filter injury lawyer. With this type of claim, it is important to consult with an attorney that has knowledge of product liability law. Product liability law can be disconcerting, but an expert will have the knowledge it takes to lead patients through the necessary steps. It is the rights of the patient to have safe products and in-depth description of the devices uses and ramifications. It is also the right of the patient to be represented by an attorney and to hold those companies accountable for their gross negligence.

Studies of the IVC filter have proven the FDA’s warnings and illustrates the dangers of this device. Of the patients who have the device, less than half had it safely and successfully removed. The number of complications associated with the device are staggering, and those affected should be aware that there is a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations will vary depending upon the state, but if the window of time closes, then patients with complications may not have any recourse. Since each situation and case varies from person to person, an IVC filter injury lawyer can take the time to assist patients on a case by case basis and determine whether or not they can help.

railroad accident can cause a great deal of damage to all parties involved, which is why legal representation is often considered in the aftermath. These types of incidents can quickly become too complicated for any individual to pursue simply because establishing liability and blame is a nuanced endeavor.

What can a victim do to seek restitution after a train wreck?

The first thing that any individual should pursue after suffering injuries in a commuter train or Amtrak incident is to consider consulting with a professional personal injury attorney. A lawyer of this kind will understand what things should be investigated in order to establish blame and win a case. There are many parties involved in these scenarios, ranging from the mechanics who inspect the vehicles, to the county or municipalities where the event took place. After consulting with an attorney and determining there are grounds for a case, the attorney will begin to gather evidence, file the necessary paperwork, and ultimately start working on recouping damages for any medical problems incurred during the incident.

A railroad accident doesn’t always center on the locomotives involved in the wreck. Culpability can be found in many places, and only an experienced attorney will know where to look. Beyond the common user error of the engineer, the tracks and crossing are a common area of fault in these incidents. Municipalities must maintain an appropriately even crossing as to avoid vehicles stalling or getting stuck in the path of an oncoming train. In other cases, the manufacturers of the train’s parts or the manufacturers of the actual tracks may be to blame. Trains must have their wheels, brakes, engines, among other things, properly inspected and kept up to safety standards, while tracks must be built to handle even the largest loads around tight turns and dramatic slopes in an effort to avoid a railroad accident.

At the very least, cruise ship accidents can ruin vacations. But at the most, these accidents can ruin lives.  If you or someone you know has been affected by serious injuries due to the negligence of a cruise ship operator or employee, it’s important to consider speaking with an experienced attorney to discuss the options.

An injury or mishap on a cruise ship can happen in a second. This could include slipping on a wet floor, contracting food-borne illnesses, and inappropriate actions or carelessness from crew members and employees leading to an injury. Accidents can even happen when passengers are enjoying themselves in a port city or on an island excursion. A personal injury attorney can help navigate the more confusing aspects of maritime law, such as where a case can be filed and how soon it should be filed. A personal injury attorney can also help with determining liability from the cruise line, (i.e. whether or not the accident was preventable by the company, and if they had any prior knowledge about the situation leading to the injury).

Nobody goes on vacation and expects a serious injury to happen, but unfortunately, many people are affected by cruise ship accidents each year. There is no way to prepare for the fallout of these incidents, but consulting with a personal injury lawyer will help you realize your options.

Consequences from malpractice often involve unneeded complications from surgery or medication, long-term financial hardship, and even death, which is why many patients and their family members choose to seek a medical malpractice attorney.

A credible lawsuit would include evidence that the doctor in question was directly responsible for the patient’s misfortune, and that significant issues resulted from the doctor’s mistakes. It is also important to prove the doctor was giving personalized medical counsel, and not just generalized advice for a mass audience, like in the case of medical TV shows or websites. In all cases, an attorney must be able to prove that the doctor provided care that was not up to par with commonly accepted standards of medical care.

A medical malpractice attorney may be able to assist if the victim believes they were improperly diagnosed, insufficiently treated, or uninformed of the specific risks associated with certain procedures and medications. If any other doctor under similar circumstances would provide more thorough and comprehensive care, then they may have a viable case.

It’s important to know that most states have a statute of limitations in place for filing malpractice lawsuits, and this timeframe varies depending on state law. For this reason, anyone harmed by a doctor’s negligence should consider contacting an attorney before too much time passes.

When someone’s carelessness takes away a loved one, wrongful death attorneys can help a family hold the responsible party accountable for their actions, and help them start the recovery process. People are expected to behave safely when around others, such as driving within the speed limit or keeping their dog in a secure enclosure. Too many people, though, fail to comport themselves properly around others, putting innocent people at risk. And when this results in a fatal injury, a family has the right to respond legally.

Wrongful death attorneys know that nothing is more difficult than recovering from the loss of a loved one, and a legal claim may seem like adding pain to the situation, but an experienced lawyer will handle the situation with care and consideration. And while it may be a challenge, a legal claim may be the only option a family has to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and the extreme mental suffering left behind. A lawyer will take everything into consideration when negotiating a settlement.

Although a settlement won’t undo the damage done to the family, it may offer a measure of closure and support so they can move forward. And a successful case may keep another family from suffering the same fate in the future at the hands of the negligent party.

When a consumer agency releases information on a product recall, an injury lawyer will be one of the first people to notice it. That’s because by the time a safety alert is sent out, there may already be several injuries associated with the product. Even when a company voluntarily removes a product from the market, it may only be done after people have been hurt, or even killed by the product in question.

There are several agencies that can institute a product recall, and an injury lawyer monitors them all to ensure consumers are protected. These agencies include the FDA, which handles any alerts related to food or drug products, the NHTSA, which releases safety alerts related to motor vehicles, and the CPSC, which oversees product safety for a variety of other consumer items, like furniture and clothing.

The FDA divides its safety alerts into multiple classes, depending on how much of a risk the defective item in question is. The FDA, along with other consumer protection agencies, also make a distinction between voluntary and mandatory alerts. A voluntary alert tends to involve items that could cause injury, but aren’t an immediate threat to more than just the product owner. Occasionally, an agency may force mandatory removal of a product if it has the potential to harm many people.

Personal injury lawyers, along with consumer protection agencies, ensure that companies can’t just release dangerous products to the market, and a product liability lawyer can help victims hold the responsible party accountable.

 

Are Teen Drivers Safe?

Your child’s ability to get a driver license is often bittersweet. Sure, it cuts out a parent’s carpooling duties, but it also increases a parent’s worries about their child’s safety behind the wheel.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires anyone under the age of 25 to complete a driver education course prior to obtaining a driver license.

Teen drivers, under the age of 18, are also required to adhere to the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program. Phase One allows a learner license, which must be held for a minimum of six months, upon reaching the age of 16. Phase Two allows a provisional license that limits the number of passengers and restricts the hours during which a teen is allowed to drive, subject to work and school-related exceptions.

In addition to the GDL Program, teen drivers are also prohibited from using wireless and hands-free communication devices. Together, these heightened restrictions keep teen drivers focused on the road and allow minimal distractions.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Commuting safely in Houston traffic

Houston roads are filled with hurried motorists rushing to get to work each morning. As the most populous city in Texas, this is no surprise.

It is all too easy to become distracted or “zone out” on a familiar commute. Use these safety tips to stay safe and focused each morning on the drive to work:

  • Time your departure—leaving earlier can allow you a few extra minutes should you run into traffic congestion, road construction, or a wreck. It may also help you avoid peak traffic at popular commute times. If you are not in a hurry, you will also be less likely to speed.
  • Dress for success—high heel shoes may present driving difficulties for female drivers. The heel may catch or slip on the floor mat. Drive to work in a different pair of shoes if your professional wardrobe requires that you wear shoes that are not safe for driving.
  • Monitor the weather—bright morning sunlight may blind you. Heavy rain may decrease your visibility. Plan your drive time around predictable weather conditions if at all possible.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Jones Act lawyer is focused on helping seamen and maritime workers fight back when they are hurt by an employer’s or vessel owner’s negligence. It is unfortunately common, and these workers don’t have state worker’s compensation programs to fall back on when they are hurt on the job. Instead, they have to rely on the Jones Act for protection, and it does offer some significant help in the event of a seaman injury. However, an attorney will have to know the statute’s ins and outs to take full advantage of it and ensure a victim has a strong chance of recovering compensation.

With the help of a Jones Act lawyer, a seaman that is qualified through the statute has some powerful protections on their side. Perhaps the most important among these is the fact that a seaman can sue an employer for negligence. This is important, as they aren’t guaranteed compensation if hurt. And unlike most negligence claims, these claims only have to demonstrate a low burden of proof, so maritime employers are held to a much greater standard of liability.

Through the statute, qualified seamen are also entitled to maintenance and cure, which is compensation for medical expenses, room and board, utilities, and other expenses until the seaman has been delivered to a hospital and achieved maximal recovery.

This statute is extremely important for guarding seamen against sudden misfortune and employer negligence, and an experienced attorney can execute it to powerful effect.

Pedestrian killed in NW Harris County

An unidentified male pedestrian is dead after a vehicle struck him while attempting to cross the 11300 block of Tanner Road near Thomas Road in northwest Harris County.

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, a Toyota Camry traveling westbound on Tanner Road struck the man after he failed to yield the right of way to the vehicle.  Paramedics responded to the scene of the incident and transported the victim to Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.  Investigators interviewed the driver of the Toyota after the incident.

3-year-old dragged by car

The Houston Police Department is searching for a vehicle that struck and dragged a 3-year-old child in north Houston Saturday afternoon.  The incident occurred in the 1100 block of Charnwood Street.  Emergency personnel transported the child to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Drowning in Spring home

The body of a 47-year-old man was found in a pool locating in north Harris County Saturday morning.  Police and paramedics responded to a house located in the 23300 block of Preserve View Circle.  Authorities continue investigating as to the possible cause of death.

 

Do you really know how to drive an RV?

With many families starting to plan summer vacations, some may be contemplating taking an RV on a road trip. In addition to planning a route for your road trip, you also need to familiarize yourself with the differences between an RV and your car.

Whether you own or plan to rent an RV, the operator needs to be aware of certain safety risks unique to RVs:

  • Sizing up—an RV is far larger than any standard vehicle that the average person drives on a daily basis. This means that an RV handles differently and requires the driver to adjust to the size of the vehicle.
  • Secure your belongings—if any items are loose in the RV or may fall out of an unsecure cabinet, put these items away to avoid the possibility of a passenger being hit by a falling object should the driver need to make a sudden maneuver.
  • Buckle up—do not allow your passengers to roam freely inside of the RV while the vehicle is moving. Although it may seem more like a lounge area as opposed to a car, the same risks of getting in a wreck apply.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Distracted drivers are always dangerous!

The National Safety Council (NSC) has named April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. With technology invading the attention of drivers everywhere, it is important to take the time to realize the dangers of distracted driving.

Onboard technology, electronic GPS, and cell phones have diverted the focus of drivers from the road to various gadgets. Many of these technologies are designed to make driving, navigating, and communications much easier, but the tradeoff is costly.

According to NSC research, after making a call, changing the music, or even using voice commands, the brain remains distracted for 27 seconds. This shows that even the slightest distraction—including hands-free technology—takes a driver’s attention off of the road.

Make a point of putting away the distractions during Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Then, commit to making focused driving a habit in the future.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Is music dangerous?

Outdoor exercise holds a subtle danger—music. Although many outdoor exercise enthusiasts get motivation from music, they may not realize that the same music may prevent them from avoiding a preventable collision with a car or another pedestrian.

Music wired through headphones prevents a pedestrian’s ability to hear cues that indicate danger, such as sirens, a car horn, or bicycle whizzing by. Here are some points of advice to keep pedestrians who are not willing to turn off the music safer while they exercise:

  • Decrease the volume—before you take off, listen to see whether you can hear oncoming traffic over your music. Do not play your music so loud that it blocks other sounds.
  • Stop at all intersections—do not risk crossing in front of traffic, regardless of whether you have a green light. Instead, treat each intersection like a stop sign and look both ways before crossing the street. Drivers may not see you, and you may not hear their vehicles.
  • Announce when you are passing—a simple, “on your left!” when passing another pedestrian or bicyclist can prevent sudden movement into your path and prevent a literal head on collision.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

A vehicle accident lawyer has one goal for their clients – to get them the compensation they are owed as a result of their injuries and suffering. Car crashes represent a major source of injuries, as many people are constantly acting recklessly behind the wheel. This includes speeding out of control, running traffic lights, making sudden turns or lane changes, or operating an automobile while under the influence. In the vast majority of crashes, driver error is present to some extent, and when it is, that usually means a driver was acting negligently.

If a vehicle accident lawyer takes on a case, they will have to prove that the defendant was behaving negligently at the time of the crash. This can be done with a combination of police reports, witness testimony, photos, medical records, sobriety tests taken by police at the crash site, driving records, surveillance camera footage, and a number of other sources of evidence. An attorney also has access to expert witnesses that can independently investigate a crash and build a comprehensive sequence of events leading up to the crash.

In many cases, liability will be quickly proven, but an attorney will still be helpful, as they can serve as a force during negotiations and ensure the victim doesn’t have to settle for less than they deserve.

A car crash can be a traumatic, life-changing experience, but it doesn’t have to be financially devastating.

personal injury case is often the only option a victim has when they have been hurt by another party’s negligence. A vehicle accident, a defective product, a poorly maintained workplace – these can all leave victims in terrible shape, and take away their ability to work, or even just take care of themselves. A claim is intended to return to the victim a measure of compensation so that they can overcome any short and long-term financial difficulties arising from the accident. This compensation may be essential to protecting the victim’s medical interests over time, and may get them the care they need.

A personal injury case may involve something as minor as a concussion resulting from a car wreck, or something as severe as brain damage or paralysis resulting from an explosion. In either event, though, the approach to the claim will be the same.

The attorney, after consulting with the victim and taking into consideration their evidence, will notify the defendant of the victim’s damages and the impending claim. A demand letter formalizes the process, and is a standard legal document that outlines the worth of the victim’s damages and the nature of their injuries. At this point, the defendant may settle or may go to court. If they do, evidence will be revealed and discussed, and the victim will be examined by the defense.

Eventually, the claim will either enter the settlement phase or will proceed to arbitration or to trial by jury. In all situations, an attorney will prove extremely valuable.

 

What kids should know about pool safety?

Spring break means swimming in the minds of many young children. Parents should be on high alert when supervising children in pools this early in the swim season. If you are taking a spring vacation to any destination with a pool or open water, instruct your children on the following safety points:

  • Buddy up—never swim alone. Always swim with someone you can trust to get help in case of an emergency.
  • Do a depth test—swimming in the deep end is a rite of passage. However, make your children show that they are strong enough to swim without touching the bottom before allowing them to swim in the deep end.
  • Test your skills—young children who first learned to swim last summer may not realize they have forgotten how to swim. Older children may have forgotten more advanced swim skills. It may be a good idea to schedule refresher lessons for your child.

Parental supervision is an important part of water safety. Educate your children on safe swimming, but also do your part in watching over them while they enjoy the water.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an a swimming accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Visibility to traffic is important while running

The spring weather is great for outdoor exercise. The roads are now filled with runners, bicyclists, and the like. With the increase in outdoor exercise also comes an increase for the likelihood of an auto-pedestrian accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 476 pedestrian fatalities and 50 bicyclist fatalities in the State of Texas in 2014.

So many motorists these days are distracted drivers. One look at a text message could send a driver straight into an unsuspecting pedestrian.

Another problem is decreased visibility after dark. Even though the daylight hours are longer during this time of year, many exercise enthusiasts get their workouts in before the sun rises or after the sun sets. This puts these individuals at higher risk for being the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident.

Impaired drivers are another risk for pedestrians. Once commonly thought of as a problem after dark, studies now show that there also many impaired drivers on the roads during daylight hours. Impairments may be attributed to alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription drugs.

Take adequate safety precautions if you will be enjoying the spring weather with outdoor exercise. Wear reflective gear, exercise in groups, and be sure your path is well-lit for maximum visibility.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Child Restraints Can Save a Life

According to recent National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) data, child restraints really do save lives.

In 2014 alone, 2,355 children age 5 and above died in car crashes. Of these 2,355 children, 56% were known to be restrained. The NHTSA estimates that 1,694 lives were saved due to seat belt usage, and a potential of 289 more lives could have been saved if all of these victims had been wearing a seat belt.

For children age 4 and under, there were 41 deaths resulting from car crashes in 2014. Of these 41 deaths, 70% of the children were known to be restrained. The NHTSA estimates that 38 lives were saved because of seat belt usage and child safety seats.

As parent or loved one of a child, take the precautions to ensure your child is properly buckled up and has an appropriate car seat. Many children do not understand the importance of buckling up, so it is necessary to continue monitoring your child’s car safety even after a car seat is no longer required.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

If someone is hurt by defective products, then the law might be able to help them recover compensation for their injuries and any expenses related to the incident. When companies don’t thoroughly test their goods before putting them on the market, they are effectively testing them on consumers. This is unfortunately common, as businesses that detect a flaw prior to release may be compelled to overlook it in the pursuit of immediate profits. Cynically, these companies may weigh the expected cost of any negligence claims against the cost of making the item safer. It is a situation that puts consumers in significant danger, caused by negligence that must be taken to task.

When an injury results from defective products, an experienced law firm may be the only option a victim has to recover the compensation they need for medical expenses, lost wages and any long-term effects of the incident. Before a victim can attain this compensation, though, they need to prove several things regarding their claim. For one, a victim has to prove that they were injured, and that they have the medical records to back this up. They also have to prove that the item in question was flawed in some way, and that this flaw was responsible for the victim’s injury. Finally, the victim has to prove that they were using the item as intended at the time of the injury.

Photos, witness testimony, safety reports and medical records can all be used to back a victim’s claim up, and ensure they can put up a fight during settlement negotiations.

Are offshore injury lawyers truly necessary following an accident aboard an oil rig? The answer is yes. Not only are they needed, they will be instrumental in proving the employer’s negligence and maximizing the compensation the employee and/or their family receives.

From drill ships and platform rigs to inland barges and semisubmersibles, those working in the industry are faced with hazardous working conditions many miles from land. It is the job of the owner and management to guarantee those on board are well trained, equipment is functioning properly, and safety measures are heightened at all times. Yet, accidents still occur. Broken bones, chemical burns, back and spinal cord injuries, and death are some of what employees endure as a result. In a study conducted by the CDC, it was found that the oil and gas industry fatalities far surpass those in other industries by seven times.

From day one, having the help of offshore injury lawyers will protect the rights of those involved. Rig owners are known to place negligence on the employee in order to protect the company and their profits. An experienced attorney will ensure the proper maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, are closely followed. They will interview witnesses, collect evidence, and question industry and medical professionals in order to prove liability and maximize the compensation awarded. The employee may be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and current and future pain and suffering.

It is crucial to choose a licensed attorney specializing in maritime cases, as well as occupational health and safety. From a minor burn to a fatal fall, only an experienced legal professional has the knowledge to do right by the employee involved. While the harm has been done, it is not too late to defend employee rights and punish the negligent.

Anyone exposed to asbestos that has developed cancer should consider consulting with a mesothelioma attorney. Depending on the situation, compensation may be available. Compensation covers a variety of issues such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income. The best thing is to contact a law firm with experience in these matters and the necessary resources to find out if it is viable to proceed with a suit.   If there is sufficient evidence for a case, the lawyers will be paid with money from the settlement. The cancer victim and family will not have to pay any fees or expenses directly or beforehand.

The mesothelioma attorney creates a complaint document and then files the case with the court. Since each case is different, it is impossible to determine if a case will go to trial, or how long it will take to reach a settlement. Cases often never make it to trial, but rather are settled out of court. Because the incubation period for this form of cancer can be a very long time, the prognosis is typically rather grave, with the victim facing limited time. This is why it is important to think about talking with an attorney as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.

 

Spring Break Safety

Many schools are closing their doors for spring break. Because of this, it is a common time for families take a vacation. This means more traffic on the road and more long distance travel.

Before taking off for the week, take time to have your vehicle maintained. A little extra time spent at the mechanic’s shop can give you peace of mind and potentially save time associated with breakdowns, tires problems, and preventable car crashes.

If your car is not properly maintained, it may breakdown under the stress of a long road trip. There is nothing worse than a breakdown with a car full of kids on the way to the beach. To avoid this disappointment, consult a mechanic for a general inspection.

Tire problems are also a leading cause of travel delay. You could spring a flat or experience a blowout if your tires are in poor condition. A trusted professional should check your tires for wear and tear before you take off.

Some maintenance issues may lead to preventable car crashes. For example, if your blinker is not working, another motorist may not realize you are merging lanes on the interstate. Or if your brake lights are out, someone may rear end you and cause a major traffic pile up.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Will your auto policy cover a motorcycle wreck?

In Texas, many insurance companies offer motorcycle insurance. This coverage specifically applies to any property damage or bodily injury arising from a crash involving the motorcycle listed in the policy. However, many motorcycle owners own another vehicle, as well.

Owning both a motorcycle and another vehicle presents interesting questions of insurance coverage. If you own and insure a motorcycle, you should ask your insurance agent to explain where your auto insurance policy ends and your motorcycle insurance policy steps in.

For example, if you carry uninsured motorist coverage under your auto insurance policy, it may not extend to a crash involving your motorcycle. You should also pay close attention to the policy limits on both your auto and motorcycle insurance policies. Any kind of crash can cause debilitating injuries, and even death, so you should consult your agent to determine whether you have sufficient coverage for the worst case scenario.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

When it comes to a products liability, an attorney can provide the needed advice on how to proceed with a claim, and how to steer it through the legal process. These are some of the most common cases in the legal field, as nearly anything can cause harm if it is not tested properly prior to its release on the market. In some cases, this harm can be extremely severe, even life threatening if the defect in question is particularly deadly. But even if a victim is only facing minor injuries, they have a right to seek compensation for the incident.

Products liability is something an attorney should handle, as these claims can be highly complex. A victim needs to prove several things to produce a successful claim, and there may be multiple defendants involved in the claim, depending on who manufactured and designed the defective item. Also, a victim’s injuries may include long-term complications, such as when the victim has been badly burned and experiences chronic pain as a result. It can be tough for a victim to figure out who the defendant should be, how much compensation they should seek, and what kind of evidence to bring to court.

This is something a legal professional is equipped to handle, and a lawyer will be able to provide evidence of the victim’s injuries and the item’s defect, and will also be able to accurately assess the damages to the victim, both short and long-term. This will make a settlement more comprehensive and more helpful to a victim.

 

What is your risk of wrong-way collision on a one-way street?

Houston is filled with freeways and feeder roads that allow traffic to flow in one direction only. Downtown is made up of intertwined one-way streets that are difficult to navigate if you do not frequent the downtown area.

Car crashes often occur on one-way streets when a driver who is not familiar with the area enters the street against the flow of traffic. Interstate entry and exit ramps are a common location of such crashes. The unsuspecting victim is lawfully driving with the flow of traffic when, suddenly, a car enters the lane out of nowhere and causes a head-on collision.

In 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a special investigative report on wrong-way driving. According to the NTSB, the number of fatalities attributed to wrong way collisions is 300 each year. Among the contributing factors cited were alcohol impairment, elderly drivers, and drug impairment. The study proposed new signage and pavement markings, interchange and ramp designs, and wrong-way monitoring programs as ways to improve safety.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

The risk of a fire accident is constant in many work settings, and it can cause some of the worst injuries imaginable, leaving victims affected for life. These disasters are often the result of an explosion, which are often caused by major safety failures on the part of an employer or other party. In general, these injuries tend to involve larger settlements, as victims often experience long-term disability and disfiguring scarring, which itself can cause extreme emotional suffering.

Car crashes, products with defective wiring, poorly maintained industrial equipment, improperly stored hazardous materials, overfilled propane tanks – these are all common causes of a fire accident, and they are all usually preventable. For example, factories that work with wood or paper products have to handle a lot of dust that’s sloughed off during industrial processes. If not removed promptly, this dust will suspend in the air and can combust explosively even in the presence of a stray spark. Dust removal systems, though, can prevent this disastrous outcome.

Victims who are badly hurt by an explosion or open flame are typically subjected to terrible pain, which may become chronic even after treatment. Loss of limb mobility is also common following major injuries, and victims may have clearly visible scars and marks left over. If these scars are in a visible area like on the face, then a victim may seek additional compensation for emotional damage as well, in addition to medical expenses, lost wages, and the suffering associated with chronic pain and loss of mobility.

Because these claims typically involve larger settlements, they are usually strongly contested, so victims are encouraged to consult with an attorney immediately to consider their options.

Whenever an individual or group suffers direct harm due to an unfortunate event, it is most likely under the scope of personal injury law. Everyone has rights, but it can be a daunting and seemingly overwhelming task to take on large corporations, institutions, or even cities after undergoing a traumatic event. And while there are safety regulations in many places of our lives, there will always be situations where negligence or malfunction comes into play, causing great harm to people every day.

One of the most common places where these types of cases are concerned is the workplace. Most employers do their best to create a safe environment at work and typically have to abide by many regulations to ensure this takes place. Unfortunately, accidents happen. When individuals experience a harmful incident at work, it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal expert who specializes in these types of cases, as they will have the experience needed to understand the circumstances. An attorney will gather all of the necessary evidence, talk to eye-witnesses and construct a case to help the individual win a beneficial settlement.

Personal injury law extends beyond the workplace, covering many things such as defective products and even traffic accidents. Any situation where harm is incurred can essentially be a case of this kind, though only an attorney will know how and where to establish liability. Since the damages can be of great variance, spanning concussions and bruises to loss of limbs and permanent disabilities, having legal assistance on your side is essential in helping to pay for medical bills. Consulting with an attorney means that no stone remains unturned.

Bike accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence on American roads, whether they are from a driver’s negligence or a vehicle malfunction. When cyclists share the road with much larger passenger vehicles, collisions can quickly turn devastating, or even fatal.

A distracted or negligent motorist is typically to blame in these sorts of situations, either from not obeying traffic laws or from the failure to properly assess cyclists, especially in intersections. This means that many motorists are quickly found liable for damages and injuries, though there are scenarios where neither parties are responsible for the incident. For example, if the roads are unfit to drive or if proper signage is not followed, the city can be a culpable party. Additionally, situations where one of the vehicles malfunctioned and caused the wreck can end with the manufacturer being liable.

Bike accidents can cause a variety of injuries to the rider, with some being permanent disabilities. Trauma to the extremities including the head, face and neck are among the most common. These can range in severity from simple abrasions, to gravel and debris becoming lodged in the skin and body, requiring special removal. Broken bones, especially those to the ribs, arms and legs are also very commonplace in cyclist accidents. The most traumatic injuries are those to the brain, and while a helmet can prevent a great deal of damage, it can’t protect riders in the most extreme wrecks. Medical bills for these injuries can extend far into the future, which is why so many victims consult with a personal injury attorney.

Houston bus wreck is no simple legal situation, as there can be many different parties involved, each with varying levels of liability. It’s common for people in the Bayou City to take charter buses to explore the city or to visit casinos in Louisiana. With all of this traffic, accidents can happen, and they typically involve a great number of people. Because of this, consulting with a personal injury attorney may be the best bet for anyone involved.

In Houston, a bus wreck can be so devastating due to a number of factors. The vehicles are enormous, and the way that they’re designed tends to make them top-heavy, meaning they have a higher chance to rollover in the event of a collision. They also don’t have seat belts, which often results in passengers being thrown from the bus. A rollover can cause glass and debris to strike passengers, and the twisted wreckage can result in severe lacerations and broken bones.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, it’s easy to see why so many people injured in this manner choose to hire a lawyer. Liability can be found at many levels, from the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles themselves, to drivers and other motorists failing to yield or adhere to traffic laws. A lawyer experienced in these cases will make sure that no stone remains unturned, and that their client is represented properly.

An asbestos injury attorney can help mesothelioma victims get the justice and closure they deserve. Few diagnoses are as devastating as this one, as it is one of the most aggressive cancers known to doctors. It is almost always fatal, and usually within months of being spotted. And there’s only one known cause of the cancer – exposure to asbestos. Workers who are at heightened risk of exposure include construction workers, shipbuilders, miners, automotive mechanics, roofers, and heating and cooling equipment repair professionals. This material is frequently found in older buildings, so even people who sit at a desk all day may be exposed without knowing it.

Exposure harms the body over many years, and it may take decades for the cancer to progress to the point where it is detectable. By then, it is too late, and the victim will face expensive medical treatment to manage the disease. Victims usually have to leave their job right away as well, as the cancer progresses quickly and causes major debilitation.

This is why victims are encouraged to seek an asbestos injury attorney following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Courts will typically expedite these cases, given their time-sensitive nature, and many claims will go immediately to settlement, where funds are paid out through victim funds set aside by former product manufacturers that used the material. This does mean that a victim will have to act quickly to ensure there are funds still available, but an experienced lawyer can assist with the process and ensure it moves along quickly.

 

Drowsy and fatigued drivers are dangerous

Discussions about inattentive drivers often focus on drunk driving, drugged driving, or the distractions of electronic devices. These are all contributing factors to auto accidents each year, but drowsy and fatigued driving also deserve attention.

Long before electronic distractions came into the picture, inattentive driving was caused by sleep-deprived drivers. This problem may have faded from the forefront, but it is still an issue today. Headline news reports tragic car crashes caused by drivers who fell asleep at the wheel, but drowsy driving and fatigue contribute to inattentiveness, which is also a major cause of car crashes.

According the drowsydriving.org, a website sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep can result in the following hazards:

  • Delayed reaction time
  • Impaired judgment and vision
  • Inability to process information
  • Decreased vigilance

Also of note, young people, shift workers, commercial drivers, and business travelers are high-risk categories. People who fall within these categories are particularly prone to driving long hours and being more at risk of drowsy driving.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

With a Houston area construction accident lawyer, hurt workers can exercise their legal rights and have a chance at recovering the compensation they are owed. The Bayou City is one of the most active cities in the nation in terms of development, and thousands of workers are constantly laboring on projects all over the area. Most of these people are working for employers that do what they can to keep their worksites safe, but some of them aren’t. And even among those sites that are well-maintained, subcontractors and other workers can pose a threat as well, so injuries are unfortunately common.

When someone is hurt while working on a project in the Bayou City, a Houston area construction accident lawyer is often one of the first people the victim contacts. These claims can be highly complex, so they need to be managed by an expert as soon as possible.

In general, an injured worker can file a claim through the state’s worker compensation program and get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term disability. However, if an employer is part of the program, workers generally can’t sue them for negligence. If a subcontractor, like a driver or equipment provider, injures the victim due to negligence, the worker can bring a claim against them.

As multiple defendants may be involved in a single claim, and workers are often facing severe injuries, only an experienced attorney should be considered for representation.

If a driver or pedestrian is hurt by a commercial truck, they may need to consult with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston to get the help they need. Large trucks can do some incredible damage to other cars, and if they are carrying hazardous materials, a crash can put many people nearby at risk as well. With so much mass and extra danger in play, commercial truck drivers should be some of the safest, most responsible people on the road. And while major commercial truck incidents are somewhat uncommon, they still happen more than they should.

When an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Houston takes on a case, they may look at the possibility of naming multiple defendants in the claim. That’s because employers, including trucking companies, are responsible for the damage that their employees cause, as long as it is done within the normal scope of their employment. If a driver intentionally tries to hurt someone, for example, the employer will not be considered liable as well. With multiple defendants, the victim may have a better chance of recovering the compensation they deserve, and trucking companies tend to have many more assets and a deeper insurance pool as well.

The truck’s manufacturer or the people responsible for maintaining the truck may also share liability if the truck suffered mechanical failure.

In summary, there may be multiple parties involved in a single claim, and while this will make an appropriate settlement more attainable, it will also make the case harder to manage. An experienced injury attorney will be able to keep such a claim organized and ensure every angle is exhausted when fighting for their client.

When a big truck causes an accident in Houston, the effects are often tragic. Commercial vehicles typically weigh several times more than a car, and the weight difference means incredible force on impact. A commercial vehicle driver that doesn’t do their job safely is a major risk to other motorists, and that’s why transport companies are regulated at the federal level as well. In fact, when a crash does occur, there is almost always some kind of safety violation somewhere, whether it’s simple driver inattention or a violation by the employer.

In the event of a big truck accident, a Houston injury attorney will normally invoke the legal principle of respondent superior, which means that when a worker hurts someone in the normal course of their job, the employer is held responsible. What this means is that when a claim is filed, the driver and their employer will both be named as defendants in the case. If the crash was also caused by mechanical failure, the vehicle’s manufacturer or the company tasked with maintaining the vehicle may be named in the suit as well.

So, a single claim can involve multiple defendants, and while this increases the complexity of the case, it also means a victim can recover additional compensation. As drivers alone have limited assets and insurance, it is usually advisable to name the employer as a defendant.

Though these claims can be complex, an experienced injury attorney will have no trouble gathering relevant evidence for a claim and ensuring all of a victim’s damages are represented during the settlement phase.

It’s a terrible, preventable tragedy, and when a drunk driver has killed someone, they should be held responsible for their reckless actions. An intoxicated motorist is breaking the law just by operating a vehicle, and if their negligence leads to a fatal injury, they will face severe criminal consequences. However, a family may choose to bring a civil claim against the motorist as well, if only to help soften the financial blow of a lost loved one.

Finances are the furthest thing from a family’s mind when a loved one is lost, but families facing such a tragedy often have to contend with mounting expenses, and loss of income in some cases. When a drunk driver has killed a primary breadwinner, they are taking away a family’s security, along with priceless care, comfort, guidance, and companionship. Though it’s impossible for an attorney to place a value on the emotional support a parent or spouse offers, it still has to be done to ensure the family receives the compensation they are entitled to.

As for liability, intoxicated motorists have almost no defenses, as they were in violation of criminal law at the time of the crash. However, alcohol-serving venues and anyone responsible for lending the motorist a vehicle may also be named as defendants in the claim, and this will increase the chances that a family may attain a favorable settlement.

Nothing is worse than losing a loved one, but an attorney will do everything possible to ensure that a family can heal without having to worry about being destitute as well.

Tread separation, and the accidents they cause, have occasionally made news, but it continues to be an industry-wide problem. It’s also a problem that will likely be around for a long time, as it is the result of major issues with negligence that have permeated throughout tire manufacturing facilities. And the people who are paying for this negligence are the consumers who trust tire manufacturers with their well-being. This trust is poorly placed, unfortunately, and consumers are unfairly blamed all too often for a manufacturer’s failings.

The primary cause of tread separation is poor adhesion between the rubber and the steel belt. Rubber and steel do not bond well naturally, which is why the vulcanization and curing processes have to be extremely precise. However, according to workers at tire manufacturing facilities, rubber contamination is common, with tools, hardware, and even foreign objects like chicken bones and shotgun shells ending up in cured rubber. This badly weakens the product, which is often disguised by tire manufacturers during inspections, where a manufacturer may present the same set of tires multiple times to earn a favorable review.

This kind of negligence is grossly irresponsible, and tire manufacturers attempt to get away with it by blaming the consumer instead. However, when a tire fails and the brakes engage automatically, there is little a driver can do to avoid an accident, even though tire manufacturers claim otherwise.

When a victim is blamed for a manufacturer’s negligence, it is inexcusable, and those who are harmed by this negligence are encouraged to seek justice with the help of an attorney.

heavy equipment accident can be nightmarish, resulting in instant, severe injuries that the victim may never recover from. Before this machinery can be installed and used by a factory, it must be built to stringent safety standards. Safeguards must be in place and the machinery must be inspected closely before it is sold. At the factory, all personnel that use the machine must be trained extensively on its safety features and possible risks. Management personnel must do everything possible to ensure this information is thoroughly communicated.

When any of these standards are not met, a heavy equipment accident is a dangerous possibility. This is particularly true of certain machine types, like punch presses, drills, welders, compresses and circular saws. The chances of injury occurring are even higher if factory management subjects employees to a strenuous work schedule or produces an uncomfortable work setting. Some grossly negligent factory managers have safeguards disabled outright in the name of greater productivity.

Industrial machinery can do a lot of damage to a person, smashing bone, severing limbs, or creating permanent, disfiguring trauma. The worst injuries tend to occur when a worker’s hair or clothing becomes entangled, and they are pulled into the machine.

Workers who spend their time around industrial technology deserve a work environment that is safe. If a worker is injured by employer negligence, an attorney will help the victim fight back in an attempt to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

While most cycle accidents involve just the cyclist, the worst bike accident injury cases typically include a motor vehicle. Clearly, cyclists are no match for cars, and with little impact protection, a cyclist may sustain thousands of pounds of force in an instant. Broken bones, friction burns, and deep lacerations are common, and severe injury like traumatic brain or spine damage is entirely possible. For this reason, it’s essential for cyclists to practice safe traffic procedures and ensure they never put themselves in a dangerous situation.

A bike accident injury may be long-term or permanent, but even though the cyclist will always bear the brunt of the impact, they can still be liable in some instances. Cycles are considered vehicles by most traffic laws, so they must stop and yield at stop signs, and may only cross streets at intersections or marked off areas. Cyclists often overestimate their own speed and suffer a collision while violating traffic laws. In these cases, the cyclist will be liable for any damages, as long as the motorist was not speeding.

However, there are two common cases where the motorist is almost always considered responsible. The “left hook” is one, and refers to a motorist attempting a left-hand turn in front of a cyclist, only to hit them as they travel through the intersection. The other, the “right cross,” refers to a motorist attempting a right turn that takes them into the path of the cyclist. In both cases, the motorist typically does not see the cyclist, or misjudges their speed.

No matter the circumstances surrounding the accident, a personal injury lawyer can review the claim and help the victim determine their best course of action.

Whether on the job or having fun with friends, an ATV accident can do irreparable and costly bodily damage.

Off-roading accidents usually occur to new or first-time users. Proper training and handling can help avoid this danger. Since most injuries occur to the upper body and head, wearing safety gear like jackets and helmets is important.

Also, children should not be allowed to drive four-wheelers intended for adults as a sizeable percentage of injuries happen to kids. Even vehicles made for children require constant adult supervision.

Riders should be familiar with the terrain they drive on, and avoid driving on regular roads. All-terrain autos are meant to traverse rough, uneven land and can be difficult to handle on smooth roads. Sliding and skidding can cause the unit to crash into automobiles that have more built-in protection than the ATV, leaving the exposed driver to deal with the full brunt of the impact.

Unless otherwise stated, off-road vehicles are designed for one person at a time. Many accidents occur because people ignore instructions and push the vehicles limits, despite manufacturer warning.

The scale of potential injuries is wide and can be anything from a skin wound to a broken bone or even death. Although a mishap can be avoided by taking precautions, if an accident does occur, the driver will likely face injury.

An ATV accident is a serious threat for operators of off-road vehicles. Being aware of your surroundings, obeying instructions and limits, and wearing protective gear may minimize the severity of injuries.

 

Extra Steps Prevent Injuries

 

Spring cleaning is such a common activity that most homeowners don’t think twice about it. They simply drive to the store, pick up some cleaning supplies, and start cleaning house. Have you ever thought of spring cleaning as a way of protecting yourself against homeowner liability?

Homeowners insurance protects you against liability for many injuries that guests may sustain on the premises of your home. But going the extra step in spring cleaning can prevent many injuries ever occurring in the first place. Here are some ideas to go the extra step in your spring cleaning this year:

Check balcony railings — some barriers may have rotted during the winter months when the balcony was not in use. Be sure the barrier is stable to protect against falls.

Survey your yard — when your lawn and garden stopped growing during the winter, holes and uneven areas may have developed undetected. Survey your yard for any potential trip and fall hazards. The same goes for concrete areas such as patios and driveways.

Fix your fence — areas of your fence may have weakened. This presents hazards for both children and animals. Check your entire fence line for any weak spots or holes.

Test smoke detectors — make sure the batteries are working properly to protect you and your family in case of a fire.

If you or someone you know has been injured, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

What happens after a dog attack?

Many people are attacked by vicious dogs each year. Of course, the media and authorities warn of certain breeds with dangerous propensities, but in reality, any breed of dog may be susceptible to harming an innocent bystander.

According to DogsBite.org, dogs killed 360 Americans between 2005 and 2015. Texas had the highest number of lethal dog attacks, reporting five deaths.

The average victim incurs $18,200 in medical charges for a hospital stay, based on a 2010 study. This means costs can add up quickly, and this does not even account for death or disfigurement claims. A victim might also accumulate lost wages if the injury prevents the victim from performing work duties.

It is important to remember that a victim who provoked a dog, trespassed on another person’s property, or somehow contributed to the injury may not be able to recover for an injury. But innocent victims often have legal recourse against the dog’s owner. There may also be distinctions if you are a licensee or an invitee.

Homeowners insurance may provide coverage for your injuries if you are attacked by a dog on another person’s property. If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog bite, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Avoid Traffic Accidents with GPS

A quick trip can quickly turn unpleasant because of unexpected traffic. These days, many drivers have tossed out their maps and rely upon their smartphones or built-in GPS to navigate them on their journeys. Why not use the same tools to avoid traffic, too?

Many apps and built-in GPS systems come with features to not only tell you how to get to your destination, but they can recommend the fastest way and the shortest path. In a city as big as Houston, it is not uncommon to punch in an address that yields three or even four recommended routes. This is all possible with technology that is able to monitor the current traffic and divert you with an alternate route, if necessary.

Choosing the right route ultimately cuts time off your trip, but it can more importantly cut the risk of a car crash, as well. It is common sense that you will reduce your likelihood of a car crash if you take the road less traveled. So, next time you hit the road, use technology to plan your route for double the benefit.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Speaks for Itself

Documenting a car crash is imperative to your personal injury case. One of the most effective ways to do this is with pictures. The following pictures are crucial evidence in proving your personal injury case:

  • Scene Photos—Take as many pictures as you can at the scene of the crash before the vehicles are moved. Be sure to capture the angles of the vehicles and where they came to rest after the impact.
  • Property Damage Photos—Also get photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle, if possible. These photos establish the extent of the property damage and the point of impact. This is helpful for your property damage claim and your bodily injury claim.
  • Injury Photos—Document your injuries immediately after the crash and as your injuries progress. Sometimes, bruising may not appear until a couple of days following the impact. It is also important to photograph photos of open injuries that may lead to scarring both before and after the injuries have healed. This kind of evidence can go a long way in proving a disfigurement claim.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Be Active In Your Case

Terry Bryant has more than 30 years of experience in representing personal injury claimants injured through no fault of their own. With this experience comes knowledge on how to help you, as our client, participate in your personal injury case.

Our firm has developed many ways to keep you involved in the process of handling your claim while taking care of as much of the process as possible for you. Here are our recommendations for you to ensure that you feel you are part of your own personal injury case:

  • Establish Expectations for Communication—When you first hire an attorney, establish expectations on how often you should expect to hear from your attorney’s office. Some cases develop very slowly, so it is normal to hear from your attorney’s office once a month. It is also common to hear from a staff member, who is very informed about your case and can efficiently relay information to your attorney.
  • Schedule a Time to Talk—More often than not, it is best to schedule a time to talk to your attorney, especially if you have concerns, instead of calling your attorney’s office expecting an immediate answer. Attorneys are often called to court or a client meeting, so your time will be best spent and your questions will be best addressed if you schedule a time to talk so you can have your attorney’s undivided attention.
  • Provide Information in a Timely Manner—If your attorney asks you for information, it is often crucial to your case and must sometimes be provided to another party by a deadline. To make the process go as smoothly as possible, provide the information requested at your earliest convenience and advise your attorney when to expect that information.
  • Keep Your Contact Information Current—you need to let your attorney know how to contact you and when is best to contact you. If you move or change your number, the attorney might have to incur the expense of hiring a private investigator to locate you, and your case may be at a standstill until you can be located.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

 

Is this the right insurance policy for you?

The State of Texas requires drivers to maintain financial responsibility, which means that all drivers must have a valid auto insurance policy. Unfortunately, drivers in Texas are only required to carry liability insurance with minimum policy limits of $30,000 per claimant and $60,000 in total coverage for each accident.

Selecting the right insurance policy depends on a variety of factors unique to the individual driver, but it is generally a good idea to take out a policy with more than minimum liability policy limits and purchase additional coverage to protect yourself in case you are involved in a car crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Here are the most common types of coverage available under a Texas auto insurance policy for you to consider:

  • Liability—liability coverage pays for an injured person’s damages if you are at fault for a car crash.
  • Collision—collision coverage pays for your property damage if you are at fault for a car crash.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM)—uninsured coverage applies if you are in a car crash with another driver who is at fault but does not carry auto insurance. Underinsured coverage applies if you are in a wreck with another driver who does not carry enough auto insurance to cover your damages.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)—PIP benefits cover your medical expenses and lost wages if you are involved in a car crash, regardless of fault.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

When most people hire a lawyer to handle their personal injury case, it is a common misconception that the lawyer will immediately file a lawsuit to take the client’s case to court. Filing a lawsuit is sometimes an unavoidable reality, but there are many benefits to attempting to settle a case out of court.

  • Saving the Client Money—Filing a lawsuit means more case expenses. The costs of filing fees, expert witnesses, and court reporters all add up quickly. This means more money coming out of the client’s final settlement to cover case expenses. Many expenses can be avoided or lessened by settling the case out of court.
  • Saving the Client Time—A lawsuit takes on a life of it’s own once filed with the court. Although there are rules in place to move the lawsuit along, this type of adversarial proceeding can take years, then additional time is often required to actually collect the judgment, if the defendant even has assets sufficient to cover the judgment.
  • Saving the Client Inconvenience—When a client has to hire a lawyer to handle a personal injury case, the client has already suffered a great inconvenience from being involved in an auto accident. There is time associated with handling a property damage claim, seeing the doctor, and missing work. Filing a lawsuit means more time spent resolving the case by providing necessary information to your attorney, giving your deposition, and attending trial.

All of these factors are important reasons why you should hire an experienced lawyer, who is prepared to counsel you on the potential benefits of settling your case out of court versus filing a lawsuit. Not every case is meant to be settled out of court, but if the facts are right, a client could save invaluable money and time.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Driver Distractions

The National Safety Council (NSC) recently published Injury Facts 2015, detailing many statistics on unintended injuries, including auto accidents. The publication found that the three leading causes of driving-related fatalities are alcohol (30.8%), speeding (30%), and distracted driving (26%).

All three of these leading causes of fatalities can be prevented. First, don’t drink and drive. Arrange a safe ride home or volunteer to be the designated driver. Either of these choices protects against a car crash caused by driving impaired and a DWI for driving over the limit. Second, follow the posted speed limit. Driving over the speed limit compromises your reaction time to changing road conditions and other vehicles. Third, limit distractions when both behind the wheel and riding as a passenger.  Just because you are using a hands-free device when driving does not mean you are free of distractions.  If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over to the side of the road.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Dangers of Livestock Causing Auto Accidents

Texas is known for its livestock and cattle ranches. However, livestock poses a serious issue when an auto accident is caused by a stray animal.

Generally, Texas law protects livestock owners from liability when one of their stray animals causes an auto accident. The “open range” law requires neighboring landowners to “fence out” stray animals, as opposed to requiring livestock owners to “fence in” their animals. As with most rules, exceptions to the “open range” law do exist, but the law is generally favorable to livestock owners.

The state of the law leaves a person injured in an auto accident caused by stray livestock with limited sources of recovery. Because you can rarely look to the owner of the stray livestock as a source of recovery, you can look to your own auto insurance policy or another driver’s auto insurance policy if another driver was involved in the crash. Unfortunately, this may not provide enough coverage if you have sustained serious injuries.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

When tour companies and other common carriers are involved in bus accident cases, negligence is often the primary cause behind the incident. Common carriers, such as casino charters and Greyhound, are expected to provide close oversight regarding their drivers and operating procedures, but many fail to meet this standard. All too often, unqualified drivers are hired and training is scant. Maintenance is inconsistent and employers wring their drivers for every last moment of production. These can all factor into a crash, which means a victim may be facing down multiple defendants during a claim.

Bus accident cases usually result from a number of factors, of which driver error is often one. However, no matter what causes a crash, a common carrier will generally be liable to some extent. Common carriers like travel and tour companies have a duty of care to their passengers, and must deliver them to their destination in the same state they boarded the vehicle.

Severe injuries often result from a crash involving a large passenger vehicle. Passengers can be ejected from the vehicle, or they may be struck by objects inside the vehicle, like seats or rails. If the vehicle frame fails, it may crumple and crush people inside, as well. The resulting injuries can include severe spine or brain damage, and often include things like chronic pain, burns, and disfiguring scars.

Travel and tour companies maintain greater liability compared to municipal-run common carriers, so an injury attorney can organize and execute a case in seeking a settlement on behalf of a victim.

Texas area offshore injury lawyer regularly helps seamen working in the Gulf of Mexico and Houston ship channel, providing them with an option if they are hurt while on the job. And accidents are common at sea. Vessels do not make for the most stable, safest work conditions, and even experienced seamen can be hurt if the vessel is not equipped and maintained properly. And when seamen are hurt, they cannot turn to the state for compensation. Instead, they have to turn to the Jones Act and the attorneys that know how to use it.

The Jones Act is perhaps the most powerful tool a Texas area offshore injury lawyer has. Because seamen do not have access to state compensation programs, they are instead given the legal right to sue an employer for negligence through the Jones Act. And this federal statute also increases the liability that vessel owners and employers have to their workers, so seamen don’t have to clear the same high bar of proof that most negligence claims demand.

However, only qualified seamen receive these extra rights. As long as a seaman spends at least 30 percent of their time on a navigating vessel, though, they will qualify. What constitutes a navigating vessel and a seaman’s exact work schedule are often points of contention, so an attorney will focus on demonstrating both in their client’s favor.

Without compensation through the state, maritime workers are at greater risk, but the Jones Act helps mitigate it to a large extent. And an experienced maritime attorney can take full advantage of it.

Pedestrian killed by hit-and-run driver

A hit-and-run driver killed a male pedestrian Saturday afternoon in East Houston.  The Houston Police Department indicated the man was trying to cross the road at the 800 block of Maxey Road when a gold colored Toyota Corolla struck him.  The driver of the Toyota fled the scene on foot leaving behind the passenger according to police.

Wrong-way driver dead after collision

A wrong-way driver died after a severe crash Sunday afternoon on Interstate 45 just south of Huntsville in Walker County.

Investigators stated the wrong-way collision, which occurred in the southbound lanes of Interstate 45, involved several vehicles.  First, the wrong-way driver who was traveling northbound in a silver Lincoln Towncar sideswiped several cars and finally hit an SUV head-on. The driver of the Lincoln Towncar died at the scene of the incident.

Fort Bend plane crash kills 1, injures another

A small plane crashed Monday morning at the Arcola Airport located on Highway 6 and McKeever Road claiming the life of the pilot and injuring the passenger.

Authorities indicated a P92 Echo Super struck a stationary plane as it was taking off.  The pilot was 68-year-old Johnny Michael Johnson, and the passenger was 20-year-old Nezabian Derale Thomas.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the investigation into the incident according to local authorities.

Hit-and-run driver kills man

A man in his 70s was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver Tuesday afternoon in northeast Houston.  The incident occurred in the 7900 block of the Tidwell Road.  Authorities continue the investigation.

National Burn Awareness Week is observed during the first week of February. Many Houstonians have recently suffered burn injuries and property damage as a result of apartment fires this past year, so this topic is very timely.

The American Burn Association ranked the most common causes of burn injuries for 2015 as follows:

  1. Fire and flames
  2. Scalding
  3. Thermal burns
  4. Electrical burns
  5. Chemical burns
  6. Other sources

Burn injuries can be sustained from a variety of causes. You should always keep your smoke detectors properly working, monitor electronic cords for wear and tear, and be sure all heat producing devices are turned off when not in use.

If you or someone you know has sustained a burn injury, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Biking with the Flow of Traffic

Many people take to the roads on bicycles, both competitively and leisurely. Unfortunately, many bicyclists think it is safer to ride against the flow of traffic so that drivers can see them pedaling toward their vehicles head on.

Although it may be counterintuitive, it is more dangerous to ride against the flow of vehicular traffic! You should always ride with the flow of traffic. Here’s why:

  • Oncoming Traffic—oncoming traffic may be more likely to see you if you are pedaling toward them head on, but this does not mean they would be able to avoid hitting you. You may actually cause an accident if a driver is unable to avoid you and must slam on the brakes. If you are moving with the flow of traffic, a driver can slow down, then pass you when it is safe.
  • Turning Traffic—cars turning right do not always think to look to the right. It is natural to stop, look left, then turn right. This means that a driver turning right may not see a bicyclist coming against the flow of traffic, which also means that a driver may turn right into you.
  • Backing Traffic—likewise, if a motorist is backing onto the roadway, a driver will not always think to look in the opposite direction of traffic. Again, this could result in a collision with a backing vehicle that did not look both ways.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an bicycle accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Borrowers Beware

Among friends and family, we often don’t think twice when borrowing a car for a short trip around the block. It is also not uncommon to take turns driving another person’s vehicle on a long trip.

These decisions can lead to serious liability issues and create financial exposure should a car crash occur when someone else is driving your vehicle. The law varies by state, but it is important to know that you, as the owner, may be personally liable for another driver’s fault when you have granted that person permission to drive your vehicle.

Before lending your vehicle to another driver—or even letting someone drive your car with you as a passenger—ask if the driver has auto insurance and, if so, what kind of policy?

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Houston Traffic is Tough

Driving in Houston is challenging at any time of day because of the high volume of traffic. You can make your drive safer by exercising defensive driving habits.

The National Safety Council (NSC) offered the first defensive driving course in 1964. From their experience, the NSC has found defensive driving to decrease car crashes, reduce insurance premiums, and keep drivers safer.

Here are some defensive driving tips to protect yourself from other drivers:

  • Know Your Surroundings—monitor other traffic by checking your mirrors regularly and noticing how other drivers are behaving. Are they speeding? Or distracted? If so, distance yourself from a potentially dangerous driver.
  • Maintain a Safe Speed—stay aware of the posted speed limit and the flow of current traffic.
  • Identify a Way Out—never trap yourself in a position where you cannot avoid a car crash. Either keep a clear path to a shoulder or give yourself plenty of distance to stop if another vehicle swerves in front of you or brakes suddenly.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Texas has the shameful distinction of being the worst in the nation in terms of deaths caused by drunk driving. Some of this is the function of the state’s high population, but not all of it. California, notably, has a higher population than Texas, but 40 percent fewer alcohol-related traffic fatalities. To some extent, the issue is getting better, as the number of fatal accidents is steadily dropping, but the trend isn’t fast enough. Nearly 10 percent of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur in Texas, which is a frightening statistic.

When deaths are caused by drunk driving, a family may only be able to find closure through a legal claim against the intoxicated motorist. The loss of a parent or spouse can have a devastating financial impact on the family, but even losing a child carries incalculable emotional suffering. It may seem wrong to try to calculate the worth of such losses, but it can help a family organize their claim and fight back against the defendant’s gross negligence.

In some cases, an attorney may choose to involve other defendants, depending on the events leading up to and following the defendant’s intoxication. If the defendant was supplied a vehicle even though there was reason to believe they would become intoxicated, the person who lent the vehicle may be named as a defendant. Also, a bar or restaurant that continues serving intoxicated patrons is in violation of the law, and may also be part of the claim.

No matter what, though, an attorney will handle the case with care, and ensure that a family is able to work through it with minimal stress.

Personal injury law suits are among the most powerful tools in a victim’s arsenal, giving them the ability to fight back against a person or institute they perceive as negligent. A claim can involve everything from vehicle accidents to dog bites to defective drugs, and can provide funds for medical expenses and other damages resulting from the accident. However, some claims are extremely complex and require attorney assistance. Professional representation also ensures a victim has a strong negotiating voice during the settlement process.

Although personal injury law suits can involve any number of subjects, they generally proceed the same way. In the wake of an accident, a victim may consult with an attorney to determine the merits of their case and assess the claim’s damages. An attorney will begin gathering evidence for their client’s claim, which may include photos, witness testimony, accident reports, medical records, safety alerts, recall notices and product research. During this time, an attorney will send an official demand letter to the defendant and their attorney, detailing the victim’s account of the accident’s events and the “worth” of the victim’s damages.

In some cases, the evidence against the defendant is so overwhelming that the claim proceeds to the settlement phase. If there is reasonable ground for disputing a claim, though, the case may proceed to trial, where both sides will argue their version of the accident.

It’s a process that can take months, and it is draining. That’s why so many victims consider hiring an experienced, reputable attorney to manage their claim.

lung cancer injury lawyer helps victims facing one of the worst medical conditions a person can experience. Tumors in the lungs are typically aggressive and often fatal within months. But perhaps the most frustrating thing about these tumors is that they are often caused by risk factors that could have been prevented with proper safety measures. Home builders, employers, and safety equipment manufacturers have a duty to keep people in their charge safe, especially when it comes to airborne hazards, as they cannot be detected and avoided.

In general, a lung cancer injury lawyer sees two kinds of patients most often. Though there are plenty of substances that can cause tumors if inhaled, asbestos and radon gas are the two primary offenders. Asbestos is deadly because it sheds imperceptibly tiny crystals when disturbed, and these crystals are easily inhaled. Once they are, they settle in the body and cause the body to slowly produce a fibrous mass over many years. This mass can become malignant, a fatal condition known as mesothelioma.

Radon gas is emitted as the uranium, thorium and radium found in soil decay. Radon gas is radioactive, so it can produce extreme damage at the genetic level, greatly increasing the chances of tumors forming on tissues. Radon gas tends to gather in basements and low lying floors, but can be detected and removed with the proper safety technology.

In both cases, the presence of a tumor means the victim was exposed to a hazardous substance that they shouldn’t have been exposed to. And while it may be a small comfort, an injury attorney can at least help a victim get closure.

18-year-old pedestrian killed in Baytown

An auto-pedestrian collision resulted in the death of 18-year-old Madison Nicole Creagh early Tuesday morning in Baytown.

Earlier, Creagh was driving a truck along Highway 99 when it became stuck in a ditch.  Creagh abandoned the disabled vehicle and started walking until she finally fell on Highway 146 according to the Baytown Police Department.  A driver came upon Creagh’s body in the road and stopped to render assistance.  Despite positioning the vehicle to protect Creagh, who was still laying in the road, another car came upon the scene striking Creagh.  The Baytown Police Department continues the investigation into this accidental death.

Dump truck kills pedestrian in northwest Houston

A dump truck struck a pedestrian Tuesday afternoon along Highway 290 near the intersection with Bingle Road in northwest Houston.  The accident occurred on the side with the outbound lanes of Highway 290. The area carries a high volume of traffic on a daily basis.

Auto-pedestrian accident hurts elementary school girl

The Houston Police Department is investigating an auto-pedestrian accident that occurred Tuesday afternoon after a vehicle struck a 6-year-old girl exiting a school bus in southwest Houston.

The incident occurred about 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of Tambourine Drive and Nobility Drive according to witnesses.  The young girl was crossing the street after getting off her school bus when a green Toyota struck her.  An ambulance transported her to West Houston Medical Center, where she was treated for a fractured leg, fractured wrist, and facial lacerations.

Deadly high-speed wreck in southeast Harris County

A fatal high-speed, single-vehicle crash claims the life of a male driver and seriously injures the male passenger early Wednesday morning in Pasadena.

The incident occurred on Vista Road new the Sam Houston Beltway. LifeFlight responded to the scene and transported the male passenger to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

A seaman knows that an accident is something that can always happen at sea, and yet, these workers face down the risks every day. Ship crew also know that they are particularly vulnerable when it comes to injury compensation as well, because they don’t get the same worker’s compensation that others get when they are hurt on the job. No, instead ship workers have to exercise their legal rights through the Jones Act, which is intended to protect the country’s shipping industry. And protecting the shipping industry means taking care of the people that keep the vessels going.

The Jones Act, fortunately, offers a powerful alternative to state compensation programs. Instead of receiving basic, usually paltry, compensation for an injury, a qualifying ship worker can sue an employer for negligence. This does not mean that compensation is guaranteed, and the process of getting compensation may take longer. However, through a suit, a hurt worker has the potential to secure a much higher settlement, which will help offset any long-term therapy or a needed change in occupation.

However, the victim will need to prove that they are a qualifying seaman. Following an accident, the victim’s employer will likely attempt to prove otherwise, but as long as the victim can show that they spend at least 30 percent of their working time on a vessel, they will likely be considered qualified in the eyes of the law.

An attorney can help a victim prove this, as well as use the Jones Act to demonstrate employer liability. This will ensure a victim has a real chance to enter settlement negotiations with a decisive advantage.

Because they can cause severe, even fatal injuries, victims of an auto accident often need lawyers in Houston to help facilitate their recovery. The Bayou City is one of the worst cities in the nation in terms of traffic safety, and in 2011, there were approximately 40,000 documented crashes in the city. No other city in Texas even comes close that figure, so motorists in the Bayou City have to be on their guard every time they get behind the wheel.

In the aftermath of an auto accident, injury lawyers in Houston can steward a victim through the claims process and help them secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the incident. This compensation is especially important for victims who have sustained long-term injuries, as they may need ongoing therapy and medical support to recover, and this can be extremely expensive.

In general, these claims move through the court quickly, as they are common and liability can normally be established right away. Who is liable will depend on who was acting recklessly at the time of the crash, and this is confirmed using a combination of police reports, witness testimony, photos and medical records. If a driver was violating a traffic law at the time of the crash, they will usually at least share liability, so if the defendant was speeding or ignoring traffic signage, a victim should make note of this.

Car crashes can be traumatic experiences that leave victims badly hurt. But with the help of an attorney, a victim can press forward in an attempt to put the experience behind them.

Jones Act lawyer in Houston regularly handles cases from seamen who work in the area. Whether on a shipping tow heading down the city’s ship channel, or on one of many oil drilling platforms, an attorney can help any seaman or ship worker who is hurt while on the job. And in many cases, a hurt seaman will need an attorney’s help because these workers are not covered by state compensation funds. Instead, they have to use the protections afforded to them by the Jones Act federal statute to get the restitution they deserve.

This federal statute has been around for decades, and is intended to ensure the well-being of seamen not protected by the state. Whereas most workers are eligible for workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job, seamen are not. However, qualified seamen can sue an employer for negligence, a power not given to other workers. A Jones Act lawyer in Houston can also enforce a seaman’s right to maintenance and cure, which are provisions that compel an employer to provide finances for medical care, rent, utilities, and other bills while the seaman is recovering from their injury.

Though seamen don’t have to shoulder a heavy burden of proof to make their case, they do have to show that they qualify through the statute. Specifically, qualified seamen have to spend at least 30 percent of their time on a navigating vessel, which is something that might be disputed by an employer. A hurt seaman only needs work records, though, something that an attorney can help acquire.

Working on a vessel is a dangerous job. Fortunately, an attorney is there for hurt workers and can ensure an injury doesn’t leave lasting financial wounds as well.

maritime injury lawyer in Houston is an important layer of protection for workers who spend much of their time on vessels. Seamen are not eligible for assistance through standard state agencies, so they are at serious risk when they are hurt on the job. Without legal assistance, these workers may never be given the medical help they need, and may never be able to replace their income if they need to find a different line of work. Fortunately, qualified seamen are protected by the Jones Act, and an attorney can use this federal statute to get a worker the benefits they need.

Under the Jones Act, a qualified seaman may file a negligence claim against their employer, which is something that standard worker’s compensation programs disallow. The Jones Act also increases the liability that employers and vessel owners have, so hurt workers don’t have to meet a high burden of proof to demonstrate their claim. Instead, a maritime injury lawyer in Houston only has to show that the employer’s negligence was at least a factor in the seaman’s injuries, even if it wasn’t the primary factor.

However, only qualified seamen are eligible for benefits, and to qualify, a worker has to spend a certain amount of time on a navigating vessel. An attorney can help demonstrate this work history, which will likely be contended by the defendant.

Victims of serious accidents may feel like they have nowhere to turn while they recover, but an attorney can steward them through the claims process, and fight on their behalf for a fair settlement.

Hit-and-run crash killed 11-year old girl and injured five people

Tragedy struck a family after a hit-and-run collision claims the life of an 11-year-old girl and injures five others Saturday evening in southwest Houston.

According to the Houston Police Department, Gladys Martinez was driving a truck northbound the Southwest Freeway frontage road near Westpark Drive when a small red car attempted to turn clipping the truck causing it to strike a concrete pillar.  Glady’s 11-year-old daughter, Tania Rodriguez, died at the scene of the incident. Emergency personnel transported Gladys and four other children to local hospitals after the wreck.

Police are still searching for the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle.

Pedestrian dead after collision with car in northwest Houston

A middle-aged woman is dead after getting struck by vehicle Sunday afternoon in northwest Houston.

A 70-year-old man was driving a vehicle near the intersection of T.C. Jester and FM 1960 when the woman walked out in front of his lane of traffic.  Despite the man stopping to provide assistance and witnesses stepping in as well, it was to no avail.  The victims died at the scene of the incident.

Bicyclist is dead after hit-and-run accident in southwest Houston

A 53-year-old man was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver early Monday morning at the intersection of the Southwest Freeway and Westpark Drive. Multiple people pulled over to attempt to render assistance, yet the injuries were too severe.  The bicyclist died at the scene several feet away from his twisted, mangled bicycle.

Ironically, this is the same intersection where another hit-and-run driver claimed the life of 11-year-old Tania Rodriguez, after the vehicle she was a passenger in struck a concrete pillar.

truck accident lawyer in Houston is almost always managing at least one claim. That’s because the Bayou City is a high activity area for commercial vehicles. With many oil & gas, construction and shipping companies in the area, cargo vehicles are constantly ferrying around materials from one place to another. And with the city’s winding roads and spread out traffic system, those commercial vehicles have to do a lot of driving. Inevitably, some of them won’t reach their destination, and when they don’t, the commercial vehicles driver or their employer is often to blame.

The primary responsibility of a truck accident lawyer in Houston is to prove the defendant’s liability. That may done through the use of police reports, witness testimony, medical records, or through the use of recording devices placed inside the commercial vehicle. By aggregating this evidence and reconstructing the crash with the help of experts, an attorney can produce a comprehensive account of the crash and determine if the driver was violating any traffic laws at the time of the crash. If the driver is responsible, though, it’s their employer that will likely be responsible for compensating the victim, which means an attorney will have to take on multiple defendants in most cases.

That’s why commercial vehicle claims can be extremely complex, especially if maintenance personnel, the vehicle’s manufacturer, or its owner are also involved in the case. But an experienced attorney is ready for this complexity, and can adjust a claim accordingly.

The best car accident lawyer for a victim is an attorney that brings a combination of experience, attentiveness and organization to a case. In the aftermath of a crash, a victim may not know how to proceed. They may have medical bills piling up without a source of income to offset them. They may be worried that they won’t have the resources they need to take care of their family or their own needs. That’s where an attorney can provide peace of mind and a plan for recovering compensation on the victim’s behalf.

A vehicle crash can produce terrible injuries, including injuries that affect the brain and spine. Victims may need ongoing therapy to recover fully, and may need assistance to perform basic tasks. Even if a victim fully recovers from their injuries, they may have thousands of dollars in medical bills and weeks of lost income. The best car accident lawyer for a victim will assess financial damages and needs, and put together a settlement that takes into account the victim’s current and future expenses.

A victim needs to be comfortable working with their attorney, and that attorney needs to have experience in cases similar to the victim’s. It also helps if the attorney is connected to professionals that can assist with research, and expert witnesses that can go to bat for the victim.

In general, a victim only has a single opportunity to attain compensation for their injuries, so only the most experienced and skilled attorney should be brought in to manage a claim.

drunk driving accident in Houston has terrible potential to cause harm, and they often do. Intoxicated motorists have little ability to control their vehicles, so they often hit others while traveling at dangerous speeds or rocketing through an intersection. And the Bayou City has a major problem with this form of reckless negligence, consistently ranking among the worst cities in the nation in terms of intoxicated incidents. For this reason, injury attorneys are constantly assisting victims with settlement claims. Most of the time, a claim will be the only opportunity a victim has to recover financially.

When a motorist is arrested and convicted of a DUI or DWI, they are almost always found liable for any damages. However, the defendant’s insurance company is the party that will likely have to pay out the settlement, and they will usually put up a fight. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Houston can deflect any unscrupulous attempts to undermine the victim’s claim. For example, an insurance company may pressure a victim into taking a lesser settlement in the immediate aftermath of a crash, but an attorney will put together a proper demand letter on behalf of the victim and ensure all of their damages are addressed.

An intoxicated motorist can cause a devastating outcome with their recklessness, but a victim has the right to demand restitution for their suffering.

Texas area mesothelioma lawyer regularly assists workers who spent time in the construction, shipbuilding, aviation and oil & gas industries, all of which have a major presence in the Bayou City. For these workers, they have received some of the worst news possible – that they are facing one of the most aggressive cancers known. In almost every patient, the cancer will spread fast enough to result in fatal complications within weeks or months. But perhaps the most frustrating aspect of these cases is that they are always caused by asbestos exposure.

Asbestos has been banned for years, but its effects have been known for far longer than that. However, its heat and shock resistance made it a cost-effective material for several industries. For that reason, companies used it even when they knew it would damage workers’ health. When a Texas area mesothelioma lawyer takes on a claim, they set their sights on employers and on funds left behind by now defunct asbestos product manufacturers. Many of these funds are no longer available, but some are, and an attorney can access them quickly.

When a victim receives such a devastating diagnosis, the situation can feel hopeless. But at least with an attorney’s help, a victim can ensure they get the medical care they need and ensure they leave something behind for their family.

No field of law is as extensive as personal injury law, as accidents can occur anywhere and at any time. There’s no predicting who will become a victim, but no matter who is harmed by a defective product, a careless driver or a negligent employer, an attorney can assist them in attaining compensation. These cases involve a lot of evidence gathering and forceful settlement negotiations, and the process can carry on for months, or even years. But a successful claim will ensure a victim has the support they need for medical expenses and to replace any lost income.

Personal injury accidents can be caused by nearly anything, but there are some situations and products that increase the chances of an incident occurring. For example, vehicle crashes represent a huge portion of claims, as dangerous and inebriated driving frequently causes wrecks. Defective products are also the subject of many claims, and often include items like children’s toys, appliances, vehicles, and industrial equipment.

Dangerous drugs, though, often involve some of the largest settlements in the field, as they can cause life-threatening complications in thousands of patients. In many instances, defective drugsare the result of poor research and negligent business practices on the part of a pharmaceutical company.

In addition to these commons cases, workplace incidentsdog bites, burn and explosion incidents and maritime incidents are also the subject of many claims, so victims can think of a personal injury attorney as a general purpose representative for a victim that has sustained injuries from another party’s negligence.

An 18 wheeler accident lawyer has to be ready to help victims whose lives have changed forever. Commercial trucks weigh many tons, and are capable of pulverizing sedans and compact cars. They can send other vehicles over guardrails, into ditches, and crush them against concrete barriers. In short, a big rig’s destructive potential is not to be underestimated. For the victims involved, the only recourse may be filing a claim against the driver and their employer. This is especially important when a victim has sustained long-term or permanent injuries.

When a commercial vehicle is involved in a crash, driver error is almost always the primary cause of the wreck. Driver fatigue, dangerous risk-taking, speeding, and not checking blind spots can all lead to a disastrous scenario, and an 18 wheeler accident lawyer will have to determine which of these factors were involved. It’s important to note that commercial trucking companies are often held liable for their drivers’ actions under the legal principle of respondeat superiorRespondeat superior states that if an employee causes harm while in the service of an employer, and that employee is acting within the scope of their employment, the employer will be liable to an extent. This means that when a commercial truck crash does occur, the victim can often file a claim against the driver and their employer.

This may be crucial in getting the compensation a victim is owed, and will hopefully prevent any delay in paying for and receiving medical treatment.

Today’s review of recent news related incidents will include multiple auto accidents, a school bus and an alleged drunk driver.

Alleged drunk driver causes wreck with her kids in car

Authorities arrested Robyn Marie Bennett, a 30-year-old, under suspicion of driving drunk and high after being involved in an auto accident Wednesday afternoon in the 13800 block of the Northwest Freeway in Houston. Much to the investigators’ surprise, they found an eleven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy as passengers in her wrecked car.

SUV Rollover Crash on Harwin Drive

Investigators are looking into a serious collision involving an SUV that lost control smashing into a power pole downing some power lines on Harwin Drive near South Gessner in southwest Houston on Thursday morning.  The SUV rammed the power pole so hard that it snapped it into two pieces resulting in lighting issues in the area.

Two Men Dead and One Severely Injured in East Houston

A single vehicle collision has claimed the lives of two men and critically injured a third after their pick-up rolled over multiple times Thursday evening.  The terrifying crash occurred in the eastbound lanes of the12900 block of the East Freeway.  The pick-up lost control while traveling at a high rate of speed causing it to crash into several guardrails resulting in it flipping many times, according to eyewitnesses. Authorities indicated one victim died at the scene, and another at a Ben Taub General Hospital.

Heavy Winds Cause Injuries to Five Students in School Bus

Heavy winds blew a metal gate into an Aldine ISD school bus injuring, at least, eleven of the forty-four students aboard.  Several ambulances responded to Rayford Intermediate School located in the 21900 block of Rayford Road and FM 1960 and five students were transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital Northeast.

Houston area construction accident lawyer has seen it all. They have seen scaffolding fail. They have seen workers injured after falling multiple stories. They have seen workers harmed by electrocution or fire. They have seen workers hurt by heavy machinery, by a careless driver, and by a collapsed trench. There is a lot that can go wrong at a worksite, and that means that a lot of protection has to be put in place. Sadly, this is not always the case, and it can lead to major incidents. That’s the primary reason why this industry is responsible for about 20 percent of worker fatalities every year.

When an incident occurs on a job site, a Houston area construction accident lawyer can help fight back immediately. A victim may not be able to file a claim against their employer due to stipulations with the state worker’s compensation program, but they can file a claim against other parties involved with the incident. This may include a driver who took a blind corner sharply and hit the worker. This may include the safety personnel responsible for inspecting fall protection harnesses. This may include machinery manufacturers.

In most cases, the employer will not be the only party responsible for the incident, and the victim may be able to recoup expenses from another party related to the injury. This will be much easier with an attorney, who can represent the victim during settlement and trial phases, and keep at a defendant until they provide the compensation the victim deserves.

Houston area automobile accident lawyer is among the busiest legal professionals in the Bayou City. There are several crashes on the city’s roads every day, and while thankfully most do not end in injury, many of them are serious. On average, a commuter in the area travels 23 miles to work. That’s a long way to go in a city filled with heavy traffic and sprawling streets, so it’s no surprise that every year, there are about 50,000 traffic incidents in the Houston area.

When a crash does occur, driver error is usually present somewhere, and an injured victim deserves to be compensated when it is. A Houston area automobile accident lawyer will analyze the merits of every claim and help determine liability for the victim. This may mean pulling accident reports, witness testimony, medical records, photos, and other documentation that may reveal negligence on the defendant’s part.

There are some situations where liability is clearly established. If a driver hurts someone while inebriated behind the wheel, or is in violation of a traffic law at the time of a crash, they will typically sustain the brunt of the liability.

A vehicle crash can leave a victim in terrible shape, producing debilitating injuries that they may never completely recover from. An attorney will take the victim’s injuries into account when organizing a case, as the victim’s future medical costs will need to be part of a settlement. An attorney can handle this, and protect their client from future financial hardship, letting them focus solely on getting better.

 

Teen Driving Danger to Teen Safety

Recent research shows that car crashes are the biggest threat to teen safety. However, the National Safety Council conducted a survey that showed 76 percent of parents were unaware that car crashes are the biggest threat to teen safety.

Parents can make a big difference in ensuring the safety of their teen drivers. It is not only important to teach teens the rules of the road. Parents should also consider educating their new drivers on the dangers of impaired driving, driving at night, and distracted driving.

  • Impaired Driving—teens need to know the risk of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Not only do they risk a DWI, but they also risk lifelong injuries and the potential loss of their lives.
  • Driving at Night—many young drivers do not appreciate the perils of driving at night. Parents and more experienced drivers should explain the risks, such as decreased visibility, to teen drivers.
  • Distracted Driving—many newer model vehicles have hands-free technology, but even this does not completely eliminate the distractions of cell phones and text messaging. Once you add a few teenage friends in the car, your teen driver is likely to start thinking about things other than driving. Set rules for using cell phones and how many passengers are allowed in the car.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Missing Work = Lost Wages

All too often, people who are injured in an auto accident are forced to miss work. This only adds insult to injury when you have mounting expenses and lose wages at the same time. You may miss work to contact the insurance company, have an estimate performed on your vehicle, or seek medical attention. In the most severe cases, you may be too badly injured to return to work.

It is important to document your time missed from work to assert a claim for lost wages as a result of your car crash. Whether you are paid by the hour or salaried, you may be able to recover for the time you missed from work. To prove your claim, you should maintain records of the following:

  • Time Missed from Work—keep a log of all time missed from work for accident-related reasons. It is too difficult to keep a mental log, then have to compile a written record later. You might forget time you missed from work, which could reduce the value of your claim.
  • Regular Rate of Pay—prepare documentation of your regular wages or salary. In many cases, a few pay stubs will be sufficient proof of your regular wages or salary.
  • Documentation from Your Supervisor—make your supervisor aware of the situation, so your supervisor can verify that the time you missed from work was accident related. Some insurance companies request a letter from your supervisor as additional proof that the time missed from work was, in fact, accident related.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Serious injury + Past Due Bills = Stress

Far too many victims of serious car crashes do not have enough funds to maintain their standard of living—much less cover their accident-related expenses—while dealing with everything that comes along with being injured in a collision. Even if you have paid time off from work and health insurance, the paid time off may eventually run out, and health insurance copays can quickly add up.

Insurance companies may use the mounting financial pressure that occurs after a serious car crash to back you into a corner when negotiating the value of your claim. Rather than taking this as an opportunity to help you, the adjusters may use this as an opportunity to detract from your bargaining power. If you fall behind on your monthly bills and start receiving calls from collection agencies, you may be tempted to settle your claim for an amount that is less than what you may be entitled to receive.

If you have attempted to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, do not let an adjuster pressure you into accepting a low settlement that does not fairly compensate you for your accident-related expenses. Instead, consult a legal professional to explore your rights and seek an evaluation of your claim.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

Today’s review of recent incidents will include several fatal motor vehicle collisions and a tipped golf cart. 

Three Die after SUV Plummets from Dallas Highway

An SUV fell over 60 feet from the Bush Turnpike in Dallas after losing control resulting in the death of three people Saturday evening. Authorities indicate the SUV swerved erratically in several directions before hitting another vehicle and then falling over the side. Despite alarming fall, only one person died at the scene of the incident. An ambulance transported three people to a Plano hospital, where two were later declared dead. The driver is still fighting for his life.

Single-Vehicle Crash into Ditch Kills Man

The Harris County’s Sheriff’s Office responded to the intersection of Mason Road and Clay Road where a man slammed his vehicle into a ditch early Sunday morning in the Katy area.  According to investigators, the man was traveling northbound on Mason Road where he apparently lost control of his vehicle failing to break properly propelling him into a ditch striking several trees. The investigation is on-going at this time.

Three Hurt in Parking Lot Hit-and-Run

A hit-and-run driver in a pick-up injured three people standing in a shopping center parking lot early Sunday morning in northwest Houston. The shopping center is located at the intersection of FM 529 and North Eldridge Pkwy. An ambulance transported the three victims to a local hospital. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office discovered the intoxicated hit-and-run driver several hours later at a nearby fast food restaurant where he was arrested.

Six-Year-Old Girl Dies in Golf Cart Accident

A six-year-old Bacliff girl was tragically crushed by a golf cart that tipped over on a turn Sunday afternoon in Trinity County.   Authorities state an eight-year-old boy was driving the 2010 EZ-Go golf cart when it flipped. Despite immediate assistance from a good Samaritan, the six-year-old victim named Kendall Lasseter was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Today’s review of recent news includes multiple fatality wrecks, an accidental shooting and chemical plant explosion. 

Three dead including a 3-year-old child in a Dallas area single vehicle wreck.

The Garland Police Department are investigating a tragic collision which claimed the life of three generations of family early Thursday morning. The victims are Tina Brown, 52, Crystal Davis, 28, and Alaiya Davis, 3.  Authorities stated Davis lost control of a Ford Mustang striking a large boulder causing it to flip. All three passengers were ejected from the vehicle resulting in fatal injuries to each.  The Garland Police Department has ruled out alcohol as a contributing factor in this heartbreaking incident.

Several die as pick-up strikes an 18-wheeler in North Houston

Two men in a Chevy Silverado pick-up are dead after slamming into the rear of a parked 18-wheeler on the shoulder of the northbound lanes of the North Freeway and Westfield Road Friday evening.  The Houston Police Department indicated the 18-wheeler was pulled over dealing with mechanical trouble when the incident occurred.  While the driver and front passenger died at the scene of the incident, an ambulance transported the backseat passenger to a local hospital. Authorities are investigating the potential contributing causes behind this unfortunate event.

Driver killed on Katy Freeway HOV lanes

A man is dead after losing control of his SUV spinning into the HOV lanes of the Katy Freeway near Campbell Drive Friday evening. Authorities indicate the driver exited his vehicle that was facing the wrong direction in the HOV lanes and another vehicle struck him as he attempted to cross the HOV lanes.

Teen dead after accidental shooting in southwest Houston

A 15-year-old boy is dead after an accidental shooting involving his 20-year old step-brother Saturday afternoon in southwest Houston.  According to authorities, a handgun belonging to the family discharged as the older brother handed it over to the victim. The accidental shooting occurred in the family home which is located in the 5200 block of Dumfries Drive and Manhattan Drive.

Chemical plant explosion kills 1, injures at least 3 others

An explosion at the Proxy-Chem Bayport Plant results in the death of one contractor and injuries to three employees Saturday afternoon in Pasadena.  According to the Pasadena Police Department, an over-pressurized tank caused the explosion at the chemical plant located on the 12000 block of Bay Area Boulevard.  Local investigations will be followed up by other inquiries into the cause of the incident by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

Today’s review of this week’s recent news for the Houston area includes multiple fatal auto-pedestrian accidents. 

A pedestrian is dead after a vehicle strikes him in north Houston on Monday afternoon.

The Houston Police Department is investigating the death of a man whom witnesses claim attempted to cross the main lanes of the North Freeway (Interstate 45), and a black Ford F-250 hit him.  Despite an ambulance responding and transporting him to Memorial Hermann Hospital, the man did not survive his injuries.  Authorities have ruled out alcohol as a contributing factor in this tragic incident.

Baytown woman loses life when a vehicle strikes her Tuesday evening.

Authorities are investigating an auto-pedestrian accident where Clare Spells was struck by a 2007 Ford Edge driven by Ebony Favors.  Both Spells and Favors were travelling southbound on the 8900 block of Garth Road when Spells failed to yield the right of way to the vehicle according to the Harris County Sherriff’s Department.   The impact thrust Spells into a ditch where she was later pronounced dead.

Hit-and-run claims the life of a pedestrian in South Houston Friday morning.

According to the Houston Police Department, a 56-year-old man was struck and killed early Friday morning on the eastbound lanes of the South Loop near Stella Link.  First, the man was struck by a vehicle who refused to stop and render aid to the victim.  Several seconds later, a Nissan Rogue SUV also struck the man.  The driver of the Nissan Rogue SUV did stop to speak with investigators.

 

Passengers in Car

If you were the passenger in a car crash, handling your claim can be very different than handling your driver’s claim. This is why it is important to consult with a board certified personal injury attorney to be sure your claim is handled properly.

A passenger in a car crash may be able to file a claim under the adverse driver’s auto insurance policy, his driver’s auto insurance policy, and his own auto insurance policy. In order to make that determination, you have to know which party was at fault for the accident and what kind of coverage each insurance policy affords to the passenger.

Although you cannot recover twice for the same accident-related expenses, one auto insurance policy may not be enough to cover all of your damages. Medical expenses and lost wages add up very quickly. It is best to have a professional evaluate the facts and circumstances of the incident to maximize your potential recovery from all available resources.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Swingasan Hanging Chair

The Pier 1 Imports recalled close to 276,000 outdoor swinging chairs and stands after multiple fall and injury reports.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were at least 100 separate incidents where the swinging chair either tipped over or fell from its metal stand resulting in 27 reported injuries.

The recalled Pier 1 Import swinging chairs sold under the name Swingasan between January 2010 and August 2015 throughout the United States and Canada.  The Swingasan chairs and stand were dangerously unstable after a person sat in them.

Pier 1 Imports is offering free repair kits to consumers who purchased the recalled swinging chairs.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an unsafe product, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that traffic deaths increased by 8 percent in the first part of 2015.

At this time, there is no scientific reason cited for the cause of increased traffic fatalities. Experts have speculated that causation could be linked to the fact that more people are hitting the roads due to lower prices at the pump and an improved economy. Others think that distractions are a key factor. These distractions include texting, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or simply focusing on a variety of things other than driving.

According to NHTSA research, 94 percent of all crashes are caused by human decisions. On one hand, this can be scary because you cannot control the decisions of other drivers. However, one the other hand, this can be a positive because you can control your own decisions when you get behind the wheel. Take the initiative to limit your distractions while driving.

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident, contact a board certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.

 

Smoke Detector

This blog post was written by a local firefighter and electrician