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Individual Legal Resources Archives

Endorsements and Judicial Information

As the mid-term elections approach, there are a lot of political races to be excited about. In Texas, the most watched race will be that of governor of the state of Texas. Voters will be given many opportunities to see what each individual gubernatorial candidate stands for and believes in. The airways, internet, social media sites, and print media will all receive attention from both camps vying for statewide votes.But down ballot races -- those which probably more directly affect the local citizenry -- will not received near the media attention or voter interest as the top of the ticket candidates. This is not unusual, and likely a necessary evil of a complete democracy, but there are tools available to voters who want to educate themselves on the races and not just pull a single lever or vote based on an arbitrary system. For judicial races in Harris County (also encompassing the two courts of appeals that cover 10 counties including Harris County, and the Texas Supreme Court), voters should look to several different endorsement groups, as well as the Houston Bar Association Preference Poll.There is not one definitive group that a single voter should completely rely on in deciding who he or she should cast their vote for. The top of the endorsement chain is the Houston Chronicle. They endorse both republicans and democrats, males and females, and non-minorities and minorities. There are other groups that also put in a lot of time and effort to interview and make a sincere effort to recommend a candidate. The Association of Women Attorneys is one group that clearly does not favor "women" over men, and they spend many hours to try to get it right. One other group that does a good job of analyzing the candidates is the Houston Bar Association's Preference Poll. All members of the HBA are given the opportunity to cast their preference vote on the judges they are personally familiar with. While there can be some potential to skew the results (for example if a large group of like-minded lawyers vote for a particular judge even though those lawyers do not have personal knowledge or experience with the judge), for the most part the HBA poll excels at identify those who would be acceptable in a judicial position (or at times, those who have no business sitting as a judge).I encourage voters to use these tools as they head to early voting or their polling locations on November 2, 2010.

"Consumer Reports Rates Safest Vehicles"

Each year Consumer Reports rates the best vehicles for overall safety. They determine the safety scores by combining government and insurance industry crash test scores with accident avoidance results. Included on the list are the Kia Soul, Mazda3, Acura TL, Volkswagen Passat, Cadillac CTS, Nissan Rogue, and Infiniti EX. On the other hand, on the worst list are the Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Scion tC, and Dodge Dakota.

Insurance Coverage - What To Do Following a Catastrophe

Recently, I did a podcast where I was asked questions regarding what to do following a catastrophe with your insurance claim. The podcast was conducted in a question-and-answer format and ended up running about twenty minutes long. That podcast can be reached by navigating my firm's website (www.abrahamwatkins.com). I wanted to discuss what you should do following a catastrophe, such as a hurricane or a fire.

Largest Company Vehicle Recall Ever

Toyota Motor Corporation announced it would recall 3.8 million vehicles in the United States -- the company's largest ever U.S. recall -- to address problems with a removable floor mat that could cause accelerators to get stuck and lead to a crash. The recall involves popular models such as the Toyota Camry, the top-selling passenger car in America, and the Toyota Prius, the best-selling gas-electric hybrid. Toyota said owners could be notified about the recall as early as next week. Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said until the company finds a fix, owners should take out the removable floor mat on the driver's side and not replace it. A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop a vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death. The Toyota models being recalled include the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma and 2007-2010 Tundra. The Lexus models facing the safety recall are the 2007-2010 ES 350 and the 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS 350.

New Laws Passed Regarding Teen Drivers and Child Booster Seat Usage

Parents need to be aware of recent new laws that go into effect September 1 regarding driving and child passenger safety! Below is a very brief description of the recent changes and some recommendations as these new laws take effect.

Government Warns about Deadly Bassinets

After two more babies have died, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a new warning about a bassinet named "Simplicity close-sleeper/bedside sleeper." The infants were killed when they were "trapped" by the bassinets. The bassinets have already been recalled, but not all parents have received the warning.

Blinds, Shades Recalled After Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a wide recall recently on Roll-up and Roman window shades due to strangulation risks and deaths. About once a month a child in the U.S. dies from window cord strangulation. Children are becoming entangled in the inner cord of a Roman shade, which has resulted in deaths in many children. These shades are sold by such retailers as IKEA International, Williams-Sonoma Inc., and Target Corp. Some of these retailers have already pulled these products off their shelves. The CPSC works to recall products as quickly as they can. When there is a fatality, especially a child, it is of the utmost concern to the agency.

Injured Victims, Beware! Protect Your Legal Rights Before You Sign Anything

This past week, I met with a young man who was recently injured on the job. He worked at a valve shop and was directed by his employer to burn materials in the shop. However, this young man was not given the proper equipment, training, or instructions by his employer. Consequently, the worker was badly burned, spent several months in the intensive care burn unit, had multiple skin grafts, and is now terribly scarred. After meeting with this young man and his fiancé for nearly an hour, and after hearing the full details of the incident and the subsequent treatment, I discovered something in the materials that changed the entire meeting.

Follow Your Doctor's Advice

I am often asked from a legal medical perspective what is the first thing a client should do following an accident. The answer is fairly simple: Follow your doctor's advice and concentrate on your recovery. Although straight forward, this advice is sometimes difficult to follow.

Motorcycle Riders Beware

If you are a motorcycle rider in Harris County, it's likely that you use the HOV lanes throughout town. If so, BE CAREFUL! METRO is the entity responsible for the HOV lanes and they don't always warn you of the dangers out there. The latest example is the 45 South HOV lane. If you use this HOV lane to come from Clear Lake in the mornings, you better be careful when you get to the downtown exit. There is a metal gate arm at the exit into downtown which is operated by a electric motor. The electric motor is turned off and on by the "loop sensors" located in the pavement. Unfortunately, these loop detectors and gate arm mechanisms were never designed for motorcycles. This recently came to my attention in a current lawsuit I have filed against Metro. When we inspected the scene, I noticed a big warning on the gate arm itself which says "Cars Only, No pedestrians, motorcycles or bicycles." The reason the manufacturer of this equipment puts this warning on there is because the "loop sensors" operate on an electromagnetic force. Cars are the only thing which contain enough metal to trip the "loop sensors" and make the gate arm go up and down. Metro knew of this limitation the day the gate arm was installed. However, they never told any one about this. Instead, they promote the HOV lanes to motorcycles as a safe place to travel. Bottom line is be very careful. These unassuming gate arms can cause serious injury to those on motorcycles.

  • $50+ Million Fire & 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 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 Plant Fire & 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 Worksite 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 18-Wheeler Collision

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

  • $48 Million Catastrophic Burns

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $48 million.

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