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November 2015 Archives

Injured American Seamen Are Entitled to Maintenance and Cure Benefits

Under general maritime law and the Jones Act, injured American seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure benefits from their employer. Maintenance and cure benefits require the employers of injured seamen to pay for medical care associated with work-related accidents and provide periodic payments to help cover day-to-day living expenses. Employers of injured seamen are required to pay maintenance and cure until the seaman is fit for duty or until the seaman has reached a point where additional medical treatment will not help the injury.

The Supreme Court Reiterates: Slip-and-Fall Cases Are Not Med Mal

In the case of Lezlea Ross v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, the Supreme Court ruled on May 1, 2015 that slip-and-fall cases are not health care liability claims, and the medical profession cannot be protected by the Texas Medical Liability Act. When the plaintiff initially filed suit, the hospital moved to dismiss for the reason that the slip-and-fall claim was a health care liability claim, and the plaintiff failed to produce an expert report within the specified time frame. The trial court granted the dismissal, and the court of appeals affirmed the decision.

Interstate Highways = Fewer Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths

i 10 texas sign.pngDid you know that roads that are part of the Texas interstate highway system have the fewest crashes? This is the case even in congested urban areas. The highest crash rate is on farm-to-market roads, with the next highest being state highways and U.S. highways, in that order. Similarly, the safest type of road is a divided road in both urban and rural areas.

E-Cigarettes: The "Safer" Alternative to Tobacco?

Thursday, November 19, 2015, three California men filed lawsuits against e-cigarette makers, wholesalers, and retailers. Each man suffered injuries after their e-cigarettes exploded. One of the men, Vincente Garza of Bakersfield, California, lost half of his left index finger. These men are seeking damages for their injuries and hope to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

Teen Dies Hours After ER Visit

On August 2, 2011, Lewis Ogioba, then 15 years old, felt dizzy during basketball practice. His parents took him to Easton Hospital located in Forks Township, Pennsylvania. He was seen at 7:59 p.m. by Dr. Chiraag Gupta in the emergency room. Dr. Gupta treated Lewis with oxygen and prescribed oral prednisone medication. Additionally, Dr. Gupta diagnosed Lewis with asthma and ordered him to follow up with his primary care physician. He was discharged at 10:52 p.m. Approximately three hours later, Lewis went into cardiac arrest and died.

Toyota Window Switch Recall

Toyota Motor Corporation announced that they are conducting a safety recall on more than 6.5 million vehicles worldwide. The recall was prompted by consumer complaints about the driver's side Power Window Master Switch catching fire. The automaker received 11 reports of burned door trims. The only report of physical harm came from a U.S. customer that suffered from a burn on the hand. Toyota stated they are not aware of any accidents resulting from any defective switches. The malfunction is linked to neglect during the manufacturing process; the switches did not receive enough lubricating grease. In some situations the lack of grease allows debris to accumulate at electrical points, triggering a short circuit that can result in overheating and melting.

Determining Liability in an Accident with an 18-Wheeler

So you have been involved in an accident with an 18-Wheeler. What now? Who is responsible? Unlike car accidents, which are usually caused by some combination of driver error, vehicle malfunction or road conditions, accidents involving large commercial trucks may have many other contributing factors that are unique to the trucking industry.In order to establish liability and recover compensation, it is first necessary to identify every possible person or business entity responsible for the crash. Potential defendants in a truck accident case may include:Truck Driver - Commercial truck drivers are responsible for following the same driving rules as all other drivers. These rules include avoidance of dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, texting while driving, and driving under the influence. Truck drivers must also adhere to additional standards as directed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This includes following hours of service rules, and maintaining detailed records regarding driving times and vehicle inspection.Trucking Company - Trucking companies must ensure that the drivers they employ are qualified and properly licensed. This includes conducting background checks and random screenings for drug or alcohol abuse. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from requiring or encouraging drivers to break federal safety regulations. Additionally, the trucking company is responsible for properly training their drivers before and after they get out on the highway. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

Texas Has Fewer Fatal Motorcycle Crashes Than Other States

motorcycle-410165_640.jpgIn 2013, the last year for which federal data is available, there were 499 fatal motorcycle accidents in Texas, representing about 10 percent of the total number of motorcycle fatalities in the United States. But what does this really mean? Is Texas more dangerous for motorcyclists than other states?

Attacks in Paris

On Friday the 13th, Paris was subjected to multiple terrorist attacks. News agencies have provided non-stop graphic images of the ensuing deaths and panic. In the wake of this horrific event, governments and cities across the world have pledged their support and solidarity with the French. And, French fighter jets have launched retaliatory strikes in Syria.

Common Medical Errors

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is considered one of the top hospitals in the nation. Researchers discovered about half of the surgeries performed at this institution have administered medications by error or with unintended side effects. These findings are even more likely to be found at other U.S. hospitals. In 2013-2014 researchers at MGH observed and discovered that 124 of the 227 procedures included at least one medication error or drug-related incident that harmed the patient. According to this study, the most frequent errors were due to mislabeling, incorrect dosages, and medications unnecessarily administered.

Big-Rig Crash Leaves Motorcyclist Dead and Wife Injured

A motorcyclist was killed in a big-rig crash on Thursday November 5th, 2015 in Galveston. The collision occurred on the first day of the Lone Star Rally as thousands of bikers were in route to the island city. The biker was said to have collided with the big-rig and was pronounced dead at the scene while his wife was rushed to the hospital.

Death of Austin Airbnb Guest Highlights Risks of the "Sharing Economy"

In a horrific story published Sunday in the online magazine Matter, writer Zak Stone told the story of the death of his father while a guest at an Austin cottage rented through the "home sharing" website Airbnb. This story, and others like it, highlight the safety and liability risks of the largely unregulated "sharing economy" that has grown up around Silicon Valley startups like Airbnb and Uber.

Teen Killed by Drunk Driver While Changing Tire

Sunday morning New Caney, Texas mourned the loss of seventeen-year-old Jose Damien who was struck by a drunk driver while helping his family change a flat tire. According to the victim's family, the driver veered towards the family's truck, smashed into it, and killed the New Caney ISD student. The driver, who has been identified as Charles Baxter, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. Baxter is not only facing jail time, but also a potential lawsuit for the family's loss of their loved one.

I just got into a car accident: what should I do?

Getting into a car accident is a jarring experience, and not only in a literal sense. When you get into a car accident, it is very likely that you will be confused and shocked, and you may not know what you have to do in the wake of the accident to help your cause. So let's talk about this very important aspect of car accidents.

Widower Files Suit for the Death of His Family

Dexter Culclager, the widower of Yakel Culclager, brought a lawsuit against the driver of a Peterbilt truck and several other companies involved in the death of his wife and step-children. Mr. Culclager filed a $10 million personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit. Along with the truck driver, Judson Humphries, Mr. Culclager sued General Motors, Hobit Express, Sunteck Transport Group, Sunteck Transport Co., and the service shop that checked Mrs. Culclager's 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe prior to the incident.

Takata Air Bag Recall

Honda Motor Company indicated it will no longer use airbags made by its long time Japanese supplier, Takata. The automobile company stated, "Honda expects its suppliers to act with integrity at all times and we are deeply troubled by this apparent behavior by one of our suppliers." Honda also alleges that Takata misrepresented and manipulated test data to conceal defective airbag inflators. New Honda automobile models currently under development will not use any of the Japanese auto supplier's airbags or any other of its products in the future.

GM's Safety Record Marred Again, This Time From Fiery Oil Leak

General Motors announced earlier this week that the company is recalling 1.4 million of its vehicles due to increased susceptibility to catch fire from oil leaks. All the vehicles covered by the recall contain 3.8 liter V6 engines and model dates range between 1997 to 2004. GM has previously recalled these vehicles twice before. Consumers are encouraged to check if their vehicles are covered at recalls.gm.com.

Medical Issues Investigated in NYC Halloween Crash

Tragedy struck New York this Halloween when a black Dodge Charger driven by a 52-year-old man jumped a curb and plowed into a group of trick-or-treaters in the Bronx. A 10-year-old girl, her 65-year-old grandfather, and a 24-year-old man were injured. Four others, including a 3-year-old and a 9-year-old, were injured.

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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