July 2014 Archives

The Price of Oil and Gas is Much Higher than We Ever Imagined

Oil and Gas workers are subject to some of the most hazardous industrial conditions in the U.S., and serious injuries and fatalities often occur from oil and gas accidents. In January of this year, NPR reported that accidents among workers in the industry are on the rise. From 2009 to 2012 the industry added 23 percent more workers, "[b]ut the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job - an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009," wrote Andrew Schneider and Marilyn Geewax for NPR. "In fact, the fatality rate among oil and gas workers in now nearly eight times higher than the all-industry rate of 3.2 deaths for every 100,000 workers."

Is your makeup a dangerous product?

Your "natural" makeup and health products may not be as safe as you think. Even though brands are marketing more "natural" items -- including hair color and cosmetics -- in Texas stores, many of these items could be considered dangerous products. In fact, ingredients contained in these products could lead to heightened cancer risk and other serious health issues, according to medical experts.

GT Bike Recall

Houston Texas is home to many bike trails. Memorial Park, located inside the 610 loop, has some of the best. Riders of most skill levels can find a trail they find changeling and enjoyable. While trail rides can be a great form of entertainment, they can also be dangerous. Injuries can occur when a rider attacks a trail that is beyond their skill level. But not all mishaps are the result of rider error. Many times faulty equipment is the cause of a rider's injury.

No Right to Independent Counsel

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Graper v. Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Floyd affirmed summary judgment in favor of an insurer who had provided its chosen attorney instead of reimbursing the fees charged by the attorney chosen by the insureds. The Fifth Circuit held that under Texas law no conflict of interest exists between an insurer and its insured when the insurer defends a claim subject to a reservation of rights, if the issues to be litigated in the underlying action are separate and distinct from issues that determine insurance coverage.

Summer Vacations for the Soul: Three Ways to Give Back this Summer

While the attorneys here at Abraham Watkins encourage those and their loved ones who have been injured to contact our firm, we also believe in giving back to the community.

TxDOT Launches "Be Safe. Drive Smart." Campaign in Accident-Plagued Eagle Ford Shale

Since the first well was drilled in 2008, the oil business has been booming in the Eagle Ford Shale, making it one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. The oil rush has also brought unprecedented levels of truck traffic to the rural South Texas region and, with it, skyrocketing traffic accident and fatality rates. The number of crashes has now prompted the Texas Department of Transportation to launch an education campaign in the area, urging drivers to "Be Safe. Drive Smart."

Surge In Oil And Gas Exploration Leads To Serious Injuries

As oil and gas extraction jobs skyrocket across the south, so have fatalities and injuries associated with them. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 142 fatalities reported in 2012, an energy industry high.

Temporary workers face higher risk of workplace accident

If you are a temporary worker, you may not realize that workers' compensation laws do not always apply to your individual situation. In fact, a growing number of companies that are employing temporary workers -- in office settings and even manufacturing plants -- are being cited by Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials. Temporary workers face heightened risk for on-the-job injury for a variety of reasons; paramount among those: The fact that temp workers generally are not properly trained.

Three Injured in Montgomery County House Explosion

Early Tuesday morning, two adult males and one adult female were injured when their home exploded in Willis in Montgomery County. The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. at a three-bedroom, wood frame home on Mandy Lane near Rogers in the Willis area. The three adults were rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital by LifeFlight helicopter service. According to Memorial Hermann, one patient was in critical condition, one patient was in serious condition, and the third was in fair condition. Based on the photographs posted online by the local news stations, it is a miracle that anyone survived the explosion.

Woman Injured Riding A Party Bus

Lauren Guerra filed suit after her face was hit by a tree branch while riding a Starline party bus. Her lower eye socket was shattered and the lower muscle was damaged. Photos showed her eyes going in opposite directions in addition to extensive bruising.

Drunk Driver Kills Mother and 2 Children

Recently, a family of four near Kilgore, Texas suffered a tragic car accident when a drunk driver collided with their vehicle. The accident claimed the life of Heema Patel and her two children, six year-old Ryera Patel and twelve year-old Trish Patel. According to local news, the Patels were struck by a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road on Highway 259.

Texas man involved in fatal hit-and-run charged with homicide

A man from Texas has been charged with a number of different counts after police say that he was involved in a fatal accident. The counts include driving while intoxicated, causing a hit and run and negligent homicide. The man is a resident of Bedias, Texas, and he is 27 years old.

DUI fatal car accident kills 5, injures 1 in fiery crash

A 34-year-old drunk driver could face up to 100 years in prison after causing a horrific fatal car accident on a Harris County, Texas, road. The at-fault driver reportedly had a blood alcohol content that approached three times the legal limit for driving in the state, according to authorities. Five victims died in that fatal car accident, according to authorities, and one 11-year-old victim is in such critical condition that she is not expected to live.

More Chevy Recalls Due to Unsafe Parts

Over the past several months, General Motors (GM) has recalled over 29 million vehicles. This staggering number is more than the total amount of vehicles GM has sold in the last seven model years. Most if not all of the recalls are related to safety issues such as faulty ignition switches. This problem dates as far back as 2003 and is potentially deadly.

Cruise Ship Reminds Us of Dangers of the Sea

Television and print media have recfently shown numerous images of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. It was refloated recently, to be taken about 225 miles to a scrap yard in Genoa.

Fracking Wastewater Likely Causing Oklahoma Earthquakes

A recent study from Cornell University has determined that pumping wastewater from natural gas drilling sites into wells buried deep underground is probably why Oklahoma is experiencing more small earthquakes than California. The study says hydraulic fracturing for gas cannot be directly linked to increased seismic activity, but the injection of wastewater from drilling at disposal sites creates fluid pressure below the surface that can trigger earthquakes. The lead author of the study is Katie Keranen, an assistant professor of seismology at Corfnell University in New York.

Six Flags Roller Coaster Strikes Tree Leaving 4 Injured

A roller coaster in Santa Clarita, California hit a tree branch at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park last Monday. The impact dislodged the front car, leaving four people injured and keeping nearly two dozen people hanging 20 to 30 feet from the ground for hours.

Graco recall issued to fix dangerous products

Graco Children's Products is one of the most well known names in its industry, providing Americans from Texas to California with products for their child. Unfortunately, the company has found itself in the middle of a recall involving 1.9 million car seats. This is part of the largest seat recall that the U.S. has ever experienced.

Texas couple allege dangerous product caused motorcycle crash

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson is facing civil action from a couple who claim that their vehicle was not outfitted with appropriate safety mechanisms to protect them from serious injury. The Texas couple say that the defective product caused them to be seriously injured in July 2013, when they lost control of their vehicle during an emergency stop. The couple claim that Harley-Davidson should have installed anti-lock braking systems on the 2012 Electra Glide Classic, which they were riding when they were seriously injured.

2 Injured in Port Arthur Plant Explosion

At least two workers were injured after a fire erupted Monday night at the Chevron Phillips Chemical plant in Port Arthur. Although the exact number of injured has not been released, it is known that at least two persons were taken by helicopter to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where they remained in a burn unit as of Tuesday. The extent of their injuries has not been released.

Another Needless Crash

Near midnight last Friday night, all inbound lanes of Highway 290 were stopped. Law enforcement officers directed thousands of cars onto the shoulder or the service road to get past the area. As motorists inched forward through the 45-minute delay, they saw the remains of a collision. The small sedan was significantly damaged; but the motorcycle in front of it was torn up. Looking upon the scene takes your breath away, as you realize that someone may have been killed that evening. And you wonder, how did this happen? Did the car not see the motorcyclist?

They Took Care Of Us, Shouldn't We Take Care Of Them: The Trouble With Nursing Homes

Continuity of care is essential to providing quality health care for patients. Unfortunately for many loved ones in Texas, our state is ranked near the bottom in ensuring stability of health services in nursing homes. According to the AARP, the national median for nursing home staff turnover is 38.1 percent; by contrast, Texas has a dismal annual average of 72 percent. Particularly, low turnover rates are important for nursing home residents who, more than most, need a staff that builds relationships with its patients. In doing so, patients and professionals develop more fulfilling bonds that lead to better overall quality of care, giving patients the feeling of community, and the warmth of home versus constant change and the thought of being alone.

Government Entities No Longer Required to Release Information Regarding Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

In a recent decision regarding information of chemicals used and stored in local areas and plants, Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, ruled that state agencies would no longer be required to release such inventories.

Sports and Athletic Injuries

Soccer has been called "the world's religion", well maybe not in the United States. However, the FIFA World Cup match between the USA and Portugal was the most watched soccer game in the United Sates, ever. Around 25 million people watched the game here, in the United States alone. One thing these 25 million viewers may have noticed is that injuries in soccer are very common. It is true that many of the injuries are exaggerated with the intent to draw a free kick or a yellow card. In fact, soccer players, not the Miami Heat, are responsible for perfecting the art of flopping.

Uninsured 18-Wheeler Driver Kills Mother Of Two

On April 22, 2014, Vilma Marenco, the wife and mother of two, was killed in an 18-wheeler accident at the intersection of Pineland Avenue and Beaumont Highway, just outside of Sheldon Lake State Park.

Alleged Cancer Misdiagnoses Leads To Death

Russell Means, an American Indian activist, died in 2012. His widow has sued a New Mexico hospital for wrongful death and medical malpractice, alleging her husband's cancer was misdiagnosed.

Benny Agosto, Jr. Was Sworn In As 2014-2015 Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas

The Houston personal injury firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, of Houston, Texas, congratulates firm partner Benny Agosto, Jr. for being sworn in as the 2014-2015 Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at the 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting held in Austin, Texas. Mr. Agosto was sworn in by longtime friend and former Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section, Honorable Patricia O. Alvarez of the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. After serving as Chair-Elect and being named the 2013 recipient of the Peter Torres, Jr. Community Service Award by the Hispanic Issues Section, Mr. Agosto said he is excited to continue working with such a driven group of individuals.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

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