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August 2016 Archives

How to Handle an Insurance Adjuster After Being Suffering a Personal Injury

After an individual has been involved in a collision or been the victim of some other incident where they have received personal injuries, it is normal for the injured person or his/her family to be contacted by an insurance company very soon afterwards. It is important to understand that these insurance representatives have adverse interests and are agents of a profit-motivated insurance company. It is common for the insurance adjusters to suggest that the injury victim not contact a lawyer and that people are better off dealing directly with the insurance company. This is all in an effort to try and get the injury victim to settle quickly for an inadequate amount. For the reasons stated below, it is strongly suggested that injury victims ignore any quick settlement offers or advice from adverse parties.

Medical Misconduct

Every year pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers hire doctors as consultants and endorsers for their products, however an analysis by ProPublica shows that many hundreds of these doctors have various sanctions against them, some which are very serious. A repeat offender of this is Stryker Corp. In 2015, the company hired two doctors, one with sanctions for improper prescription of pain medications that resulted in 3 years of probation and a $50,000 fine; the other doctor had a $16,000 fine, psychological evaluation, 60 day suspension, and 7 year probation for an improper sexual relationship. That doctor still needs a third party present when treating female patients. These doctors were paid well over $10,000 for their services, despite their serious and arguably criminal actions.

The Dangers of Pavement and Shoulder Edge Drop-Offs

A pavement or shoulder edge drop-off is a condition where there is a significant elevation change from one travel lane to another, or between a travel lane and the adjacent shoulder. This condition has been found to be hazardous to motorists, particularly motorcycles, compact cars, and vehicles pulling trailers and has led to numerous investigation and even litigation. Both drop-offs are created due to uncompleted and inadequate highway reconstruction projects.

Tragedy at the Gun Range: How Young is Too Young to Fire an Uzi?

Given the nature of firearms, a day at the gun range can be exhilarating, but should always be treated with precaution and a safety-first mentality. On August 25th, 2014, a 9-year-old girl was taken by her parents to the Last Stop outdoor gun range in Arizona to shoot an Uzi, a fully automatic submachine gun. In the video taken by the 9-year-old's parents, the girl holds the machine gun and begins to fire at a target down range. The machine gun recoil is too much for her and the girl loses control over the weapon as the automatic fire recoil forces the weapon upward and to the left. Tragically, the range instructor, Charles Vacca, a U.S. Army veteran that did two tours in Kosovo as a tank operator, was shot in the head and died shortly after being shot by the 9-year-old.

4 Injured in Rollover Accident on Sam Houston Parkway

A violent two-vehicle collision between a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Chrysler, sent four people to the hospital early Wednesday morning. According to the Houston Police Department, the collision occurred at 3:00 a.m. on the South Sam Houston Parkway feeder road at South Post Oak.

Stroller Injuries Result in More Head Injuries Than Previously Thought

According to a report published last Wednesday in the journal Academic Pediatrics, an average of 17,187 children a year wind up in emergency rooms because of stroller and baby carrier accidents. Sadly, more of these children are suffering brain injuries than previously believed.

Tesla and the Autopilot Plight

When a person is not following the rules of the road and causes an incident, that person usually is at fault. But what about if the car causes the wreck? Tesla is on the cutting edge of technology with the electric cars they manufacture. Those electric cars also come with an autopilot function. So who is at fault with an autopilot wreck?

Chemical Plant Injures Several Workers in Nederland, Texas

An explosion injured several workers at the Sunoco Logistics plant in Nederland, Texas on Friday, August 12, 2016, at approximately 8:40 p.m. Several workers, contracted to work on a pipe containing crude oil, were working the night-shift, when suddenly and without warning, the pipe exploded. The blast and ensuing fire caused severe injuries to several workers who were directly within the proximity at the time of the explosion. Thankfully, monitors with the state and federal governments found no immediate threat to the general public afterward.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Investigates Another Airbag Manufacturer

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal engineering analysis investigation into airbags made by ARC Automotive after the company's airbags were linked to the death of a Canadian driver last month. The fatality in Canada was due to the driver's Hyundai Elantra's airbag inflator exploding as a result of a low impact collision. This death was the first known fatality in recent years from a rupture in an airbag manufactured by a supplier other than Takata. Previous non-fatal incidents involving ARC airbags in 2009 and 2014 sparked preliminary investigations into whether the airbags should be the subject of a product recall.

GM Recalling Over 1 Million Trucks Due to Different Malfunctions

General Motors recalled over one million 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks worldwide because there is an issue the functionality of the seatbelts. Namely, there was a possibility that seatbelts in those vehicles would not hold or protect the driver or passenger in a crash. At issue of the seatbelt is a flexible steel cable that connects the seat belt to the vehicle. This steel cable can separate from the vehicle because of consistent wear and tear, and the repeated action of pulling the seatbelt over time. As of April of this year, there were no reports of crashes or injuries due to the faulty seatbelt.

Brainwaves and Texting

Texting for communication has been on the rise since its inception. Many people seem unable to resist texting at any and all hours of the day, including while driving despite the obvious risks. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic about why it is so dangerous has finally given us an idea. A one year study of 129 patients was done using EEGs, called electroencephalograms, and video. The study found that 1 in 5 had altered brainwaves while texting, and those altered brain waves were a result of extra effort and concentration in the brain. They discovered that while it affected everyone's concentration, those 1 in 5 were especially effected.

Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act, Court Rules

Texas' 2011 voter identification law - which stipulates the types of photo identification election officials can and cannot accept at the polls - does not comply with the Voting Rights Act, a federal appeals court ruled. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the voter ID law violated the federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections and instructed the lower court to draw up a remedy. It was the fourth time in nearly four years that a federal court found that the law discriminated against or disproportionately affected black and Hispanic voters.

Woman Sues Kaiser Permanente for Failing to Stop Her from Jumping Off Parking Structure

The parents of Andrea Selby have filed an $8.2 million lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente claiming they refused to admit their suicidal daughter despite her threats to jump off the third story of the hospital's parking garage.

Six Flags: Water Park Liability

A day at the water park was supposed to be the 20th birthday celebration for Ms. Tolyndra Pierre but instead ended in a trip to the hospital after Ms. Pierre broke her ankle while riding the King Cobra water slide at Six Flags in New Jersey.

Local Driver Dies in Head-On-Collision

It is every driver's nightmare. You are traveling on the highway when, suddenly, a vehicle is coming straight at you in the opposite direction. The time to react is small; the potential harm is huge. And that is precisely what happened this week.

Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills Sixteen in Central Texas

A deadly tragedy hit Central Texas the early morning of July 30, 2016, when a hot air balloon came crashing to the ground in a literal ball of fire. Federal and local authorities reporting this story believed that the hot air balloon was carrying 16 people at the time of the crash, none of whom survived. Federal Aviation Authority officials said the balloon caught fire before crashing, but did not provide any other details.

Social Media, a Snapshot of Life

After a serious personal injury, the last thing on anyone's mind is social media. However, social media can play a large role in a personal injury claim. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially on a personal injury claim, because it can give a snapshot into someone's life.

Late Actor's Parents Sue Fiat-Chrysler

The parents of Anton Yelchin-an actor known for his roles in the recent Star Trek movies-have filed a negligence and product liability lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) over the death of their son.

Floor Collapses Causing Church's Chicken Fryer to Fall on Top of and Severely Burn Three Young Women

The kitchen floor of a Livingston, Texas Church's Chicken restaurant collapsed, causing the industrial fryer full of boiling grease to fall on top of three young women working there. Each of the women sustained severe burns and all were life-flighted to a Houston hospital and remain in critical condition. Benny Agosto, Jr. represents two of the injured women.

5 Killed in California Charter Bus Accident

At least five people were killed and numerous people were seriously injured on Tuesday, when a charter bus full of people crashed on Highway 99 in California. The bus originated in Mexico and had stopped in Los Angeles on Monday night. It made a stop in Livingston and was headed to Pasco, Washington. The bus made a turning movement and struck a support pole around 3:35 a.m. near the town of Livingston. The pole sliced halfway through the bus.

Poison in Schools and the Origins of PCBs

Since 1979, the toxic sleeper chemical polychlorinated biphenyls has been banned. Commonly known as PCB, the chemical has been proven to cause many ailments such as cancer. One of the more popular uses for the chemical is in window caulks used in schools, and any school built before 1979 could possibly home the PCB poison. Parents worried about their children's welfare took the guilty school districts to court over the matter.

More on Ineos USA, LLC vs. Elmgren

In addition to finding that property owner's agents are not provided protections under Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the recent opinion by the Texas Supreme Court in Ineos USA, LLC vs. Elmgren also found that Chapter 95 only applies when the worker is injured by the same improvement the contractor (or its employee) is working on.

NTSB: Hot Air Balloon Likely Struck Power Lines Before Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday that a hot air balloon that crashed near Lockhart, Texas likely struck power lines before it crashed. The crash, which occurred on Saturday morning and garnered national media attention, killed all sixteen people aboard. It was the deadliest hot air balloon crash on record in the U.S., eclipsed only by a 2013 crash in Luxor, Egypt that killed 19.

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.

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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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