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State of Texas Data Reveals Vaccine Exemptions have Quadrupled Over Last Decade
State of Texas Data Reveals Vaccine Exemptions have Quadrupled Over Last Decade 150 150 admin

One of the longest running medical debates surrounds the use of vaccinations. While some parents have no issue with vaccinating their children, while others are unhappy with the government mandating their children’s medical decisions.

Conscientious Exemptions

More and more, the state of Texas is receiving conscientious exemptions from state-mandated vaccinations. Last year alone, more than one percent of Texas students – both public and private schools – received such exemptions. Last year’s numbers are very telling, as the state saw four times as many exemptions as the 2007 – 2008 school year. According to state data, this rate has increased every single year since then.

A Parent’s Right to Make Medical Decisions  

The biggest argument of parents who have obtained or support the exemptions is that they should be the ones to be making medical decisions for their children. Conservatives have been pushing for more leniencies when it comes exemptions, wishing to make it much easier to obtain forms.

Society’s Right to Maintain Health & Safety

As for those who are strongly for childhood vaccinations, including physicians, the main argument is that they save countless lives. As evidenced by recent spikes in many infectious diseases throughout Texas, public health officials are pointing the finger at conscientious exemptions, arguing that they put all children at risk – including those who cannot be vaccinated due to other medical reasons. Thus, this has the power to weaken the immunity of children in the community.

Public School Requirements

In order to attend schools in Texas, children are required to be vaccinated against whooping cough, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, and meningococcal disease. However, since 1972, Texas has permitted religious exemptions to those vaccinations, which are required to attend school. Then, in 2003, then-Gov. Rick Perry instituted a bill that allowed for parents to opt out of receiving vaccinations simply because of their personal beliefs. To be exempt, parents must submit a request – either online or by snail mail – an affidavit form from the Department of State Health Services.

Vaccinations and Trust

Donald Murphey, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, has seen the major positive impact of vaccinations. “I see kids with serious infections all the time. I know what things were like before we had some of the new vaccines, and I’ve seen kinds of diseases that were serious in kids go away when we had new immunizations come out,” he said. “The public doesn’t trust doctors and the whole medical field. They don’t trust pharmaceutical companies. They don’t trust anybody anymore.”

In 1998, incorrect research that linked vaccinations to autism spurred on much controversy and has left a lasting impression despite later evidence disproving that same research and the fact that the U.S. vaccine supply is the safest it’s ever been.

 

5 Ways to Know Whether You Will Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Refinery Accident
5 Ways to Know Whether You Will Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Refinery Accident 150 150 admin

Workers in the oil field industry, refineries and chemical plants never know when they kiss their spouses and kids goodbye before leaving for their shift if that will be the last memory of them their family will ever have. It is a well-known fact that jobs in the oil field, refineries and chemical plants pay higher than average wages (even for unskilled workers!) because of the inherent dangers of the jobs.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas led the nation from 2007 to 20011 in the number of on-the-job fatalities in the gas and oil field industries. During that five year period, 199 workers lost their lives trying to earn a living. Rounding out the top three were the neighboring states of Oklahoma in second place with 64 deaths, and Louisiana, with 62 fatalities, a close third.

Of course, there is a logical reason why the Texas death rate is so much higher than even its neighbors to the north and east that also have a heavy presence in the same industries. The sheer size of Texas means that, of necessity, there will be more jobs and more workers eager to fill them. These factors combine to produce a higher number of deaths than those in smaller states with fewer employees working in these same high risk industries.

The BLS report profiled the nationwide deaths of gas and oil field workers in 2011. Below are their findings.

  • 70 percent of the fatalities occurred to non-Hispanic white workers.
  • 100 percent of those who died on the job that year were male.
  • Nearly half of all deaths were attributable to some type of transportation accidents.
  • In 26 of the deaths, workers died after contact was made with equipment or objects, usually when the workers were hit by the objects or equipment.
  • Explosions and fires on the job killed a dozen workers in 2011.
  • Of the total of 112 fatalities in that calendar year, 19.4 percent were multiple fatalities where two or more employees died in the same industrial accident.

It doesn’t have to be a fatal accident to derail a life

Certainly, fatal accidents take a terrible toll on the survivors, but plenty of workers suffer serious injuries that cause a greatly reduced quality of life. In addition, many are left unable to work again, or to work in the capacity at which they formerly did, thus significantly reducing their take-home pay and family’s lifestyle.

There are typically more injuries than deaths when an accident or explosion occurs in the gas extraction and oil field industries. Citing statistics from 2011, the BLS estimates that there were 1,400 illnesses and injuries that occurred from accidents or on-the-job hazardous exposures. If those supportive industries that feed the petrochemical industry are included in the statistics, there were approximately 8,500 more illness and injuries. The drilling industry contributed another 2,600 more non-fatal illnesses and industries.

As you can see by the statistics, any given workday for those in the petrochemical and oil and gas industries can be fraught with danger. Just recently in the state of Louisiana, three died and two more suffered serious injuries after an explosion rocked an out of service natural gas plant located about an hour’s drive from New Orleans in Gibson. One contractor had to be treated in the burn unit of a hospital in Baton Rouge.

In the immediate aftermath of a horrific injury, it can be difficult to ascertain whether it will be necessary for the injured parties to retain a personal injury attorney to represent their interests. Below are some criteria that can help you determine whether this will be in your best interests.

5 ways to know whether to hire a personal injury attorney after your at-work accident or injury

  • Was this a major explosion or accident where many were killed or injured? 

It is a journalistic cliche that “if it bleeds, it leads,” but is a truism all the same. The media races to scenes of accidents at refineries and plants when there are mass casualties, broadcasting these human tragedies far and wide in the days and weeks that follow. In these type of cases, the companies that bear the brunt of the responsibility for the incident are thrust into the spotlight, making it harder for them to deny responsibility. In some cases, this is an incentive for them to tender fair settlement offers. But a personal injury lawyer can be helpful in high profile cases as well, as they tend to be complex, often with multiple defendants with differing degrees of liability.

  • Is there class action litigation filed regarding the injured workers? 

?You may qualify to join an already-filed class action lawsuit, or you may find that your interests are best represented separately by retaining your own attorney.

  • Are your injuries serious enough that you will be convalescing for an extended period of time in which you are unable to work and earn money? 

If so, Worker’s Compensation payments may be woefully inadequate to meet your living expenses.

  • What is your own physician’s (not the company doctor’s) prognosis of your recovery, and will you need long-term or ongoing rehabilitative services? 

?If such is the case, any settlement offer must be enough to compensate you for future medical expenses you will otherwise have to pay out of pocket.

  • Are you getting the runaround from insurance adjusters, or are the at-fault parties attempting to deny responsibility? 

This is perhaps the biggest red flag of all. Any signs of corporate “passing the buck” is a sign that companies are trying to downplay their role in the accident that left you with serious and potentially disabling injuries. While all of these factors can point toward a need for you to obtain qualified representation from an experienced personal injury attorney, if you sense that company execs or insurance adjusters are shirking their responsibility to compensate you fairly for your injuries, don’t delay.

At Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, our attorneys have been representing injured Texans for more than 40 years. We use our skills and expertise to hold corporations accountable for their injured workers. Call today for a free, confidential case assessment.

 

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/osar0018.htm

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/three-killed-two-seriously-injured-louisiana-gas-plant-explosion-n441351

Cell Phone Use Involved In Texas Crash Leading To Jury Award
Cell Phone Use Involved In Texas Crash Leading To Jury Award 150 150 admin

Can you be awarded damages if you were injured in an auto accident that involved call phone use?

Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of injury and death in the United States. The use of cell phones has made driving much more dangerous activity than it once was.  It is estimated that drivers distracted by cell phones cause as many as one quarter of the country’s car crashes every year. If you were injured in a car crash that occurred because another driver was distracted by cell phone use, you may be entitled to compensation just as in a recent case coming out of the State of Texas.

In 2013, an unnamed plaintiff was operating a pickup truck near an intersection in Dallas when another driver, which was distracted by the use of his or her cell phone, caused a collision. The plaintiff was seriously hurt and allegedly had to undergo months of medical treatment for injuries to his or her back and wrists. The plaintiff brought suit and a jury decided that a $138,504 verdict should be awarded.

What is interesting about this case is that it actually involves a modest award. Depending upon the circumstances of the case and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, these cases are known to involve verdicts ranging from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. Even if a case settles, it is likely that the plaintiff will receive significant compensation.  For example, in 2012, a distracted driving case from the same state fetched $22 million. It is also important to remember that distracted driving does not only include talking on a cell phone. A person can be held liable for distracted driving for various types of cell phone use, including texting, checking emails and using social media, among other things. If you or someone you love sustained injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, you should speak to a qualified personal injury attorney today.

Premise Liability in the Neighborhood
Premise Liability in the Neighborhood 150 150 admin

Can I sue my neighbor for premise liability if I fall on their property?

Many individuals know that if they were injured at the grocery store, or have an accident at any other place of business, it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. But what happens if you are injured in a  slip and fall when you are visiting a neighbor? If a property owner was negligent in keeping the property safe, you may be able to pursue a premise liability lawsuit.

Grounds for a Premise Liability Lawsuit

Premise liability claims arise from a variety of accidents such as tripping on ripped carpeting, falling on broken stairs, slipping on ice or snow, or tripping over a cracked sidewalk, among others. If you are invited onto a neighbor’s property, you have the right to expect a safe environment. If there is damage on the property or if it has been poorly maintained, and you suffer an injury, you may have grounds for a premise liability claim. Whether a property owner is aware of an unsafe condition and fails to repair it, or was not aware but should have been, he or she may still held liable for you injury.

There are other factors, however, that may have contributed to your injury. If you were careless and caused your own accident, the homeowner will not be liable. For example, if you spilled water on the floor and didn’t  wipe it up, you do not have grounds for a premise liability lawsuit.

Settling a Claim

If your neighbor is responsible for the injury and acknowledges this, it may be possible to negotiate a settlement without going to court. Moreover, many premise liability claims will be covered by homeowner’s insurance. While the insurance company may offer to settle the claim, many carriers prefer not to pay these types of claims and will look for ways to minimize any damages to which you may be entitled.

For this reason, you are well advised to engage the services of an experience personal injury attorney who can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. If a settlement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to file a premise liability lawsuit against the property owner.