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Personal Injury Lawyer

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.

Johnson & Johnson to Pay $502 Million Over Flawed Pinnacle Hips
Johnson & Johnson to Pay $502 Million Over Flawed Pinnacle Hips 150 150 admin

What is the latest news over J&J’s hip replacement failures?

Medical device maker Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered to pay $502 million in damages to 5 patients over flawed artificial hip devices sold under the Pinnacle brand name. The defective devices were sold by J&J’s Depuy unit, and a federal-court jury in Dallas found that company officials were aware of the flaws but failed to warn patients and doctors. In a product liability case, failure to warn is a key element in a successful lawsuit.

Pinnacle Hip Flaws

The flawed Pinnacle artificial hips prematurely failed causing pain and suffering to the patients who also required additional surgery. The verdict is said to be the second-largest jury award in the U.S. this year, of which $142 million was in actual damages and $360 million in punitive damages. While punitive damages are designed to induce a defendant to change its behavior, this is not the first time J&J has been forced to pay damages for failures in hip replacement devices.

In November 2013, J&J and Dupuy paid over $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over defective ASR hip replacement devices. The company recalled 93,000 of those devices worldwide in August 2010, after acknowledging 12 percent failed within five years. In addition to replacement surgeries, many of the patients suffered extraordinary medical injuries such as strokes and heart attacks or requires multiple hip replacements surgeries.

The Pinnacle verdict is the second trial of about 8,000 lawsuits filed against J&J and DePuy; J&J prevailed in the first jury case in 2014. The company stopped selling the devices in 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toughened artificial-hip regulations. The plaintiffs in this case all received Pinnacle Ultramet hip replacements that failed after the devices leached cobalt and chromium into their bloodstreams.

The jury agreed that company officials knew the metal-on-metal design would cause such injuries but aggressively marketed the devices nonetheless. In short, the company earned billions in ill-gotten gains while misleading doctors and consumers about the dangers of the devices. For its part, Johnson & Johnson argues that it acted responsibly in designing and testing the devices and the Pinnacle replacements had a strong record of safety and effectiveness. The company intends to appeal the verdict and seek a reduction in the punitive damages.

Whether J&J will prevail remains to be seen and it appears the company will face additional lawsuits by patients who suffered similar injuries related to the Pinnacle devices. In the meantime, if you have been injured by a flawed medical device, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Top Causes of Truck Accidents 150 150 admin

Can I file a lawsuit if am injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer?

Sharing the road with semi-trucks and tractor trailers in unavoidable, so it makes sense to proceed with caution if you are driving along aside or passing a large truck. Because of their weight and length, trucks can be hard to navigate. Moreover, a tractor-trailer, even traveling at a normal speed, can take a long time to stop. That being said, truckers are required to exercise reasonable care when operating a rig not to injure other drivers.

Truck Accidents at a Glance

There are state and federal laws in place that require trucks to be adequately maintained and inspected regularly. In addition, truckers must have special licenses and comply with hourly driving limits. Even with all these rules and regulations in place, semi-trucks are frequently involved in accidents for the following reasons.

Improper Maintenance

One of the main reasons for semi-truck accidents is that vehicle parts and components, including braking systems, engines, tires and trailers, are improperly maintained. A trucking company that fails to abide by federal laws regarding vehicle maintenance can be found legally responsible if an accident occurs.

Driver Fatigue

Because they are often paid based on miles and have strict delivery deadlines, truck drivers who work long hours and cover vast distances can easily become fatigued. Driver fatigue is serious problem in the trucking industry, even though federal regulations impose hourly driving limits on truckers and require drivers to take breaks.

Distracted Driving

While distracted driving is serious issue for all vehicle drivers, truckers are more prone to becoming distracted because of their long work schedules and the rigors of driving. While truckers are prohibited from using cell phones, the most common cause of distracted driving, truck drivers can also become distracted by tuning the radio, checking the GPS system, eating or drinking.

 

Inadequate Training

Trucking companies routinely pay drivers to complete trucking courses and are notorious for quickly putting them on the road. These drivers are typically paid less per mile than seasoned truckers, and  many new drivers lack the experience needed to safely maneuver these large vehicles.

Improper Loading
State and federal law regulate the weight of cargo on trucks, but may accidents are caused due to improper loading. If the weight is not properly distributed, a semi-truck can become difficult to maneuver or even jack-knife, leading to a deadly accident.

In spite of state and federal laws regulating the trucking industry, truck accidents frequently occur causing property damage, serious injuries and death. If you were involved in a truck accident that was due to the negligence of the trucker or trucking company, you should speak with a personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Death by Personal Injury: What Are the Chances?
Death by Personal Injury: What Are the Chances? 150 150 admin

Though we all know that death will eventually come to us and that, no matter how proactive we are about our health and safety, it may come suddenly and unexpectedly, we have no choice but to go living our lives. At times, we all experience anxiety about the risks inherent in the process. In a world where terrorist attacks have become all too common, we cannot help but worry about being attacked in the midst of any average day: in the mall, the airport, at school, at the movies, in the nightclub. Things that we do less frequently — like taking trips, going on daring adventures, undergoing surgery, living through extreme weather events — only raise our level of anxiety.

According to the National Safety Council, many of our worries are disproportionate to the risks involved.

Their annual list of Americans’ “Odds of Dying” gives us the statistical averages of our lifetime odds of dying from various causes. This list was compiled by using fatality data for the entire U.S. population. The reason for releasing this information, as stated by Deborah A.P.Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, is that “knowing the real odds of dying can empower people to make better choices and result in longer lives.”

Of course, not all personal injuries lead to death, but they may lead to painful or even disabling injuries. If you live in the Greater Houston Area and have suffered a serious personal injury due to the fault of another, you should be sure to contact a competent attorney promptly.

Odds of Dying

While most Americans worry more about dying during a commercial airplane crash than during a car excursion, they are actually 865 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than in a plane crash.

Other statistics, some of which are surprising, include that:

  • We are much more likely to overdose on an opioid prescription painkiller (1/234) than to be electrocuted (1/12,200)
  • Falling is much more likely to take our lives (1/144) than a catastrophic storm (1/6,780)
  • The odds are much higher that we will die as passengers in a car(1/470) than that we will perish in a lightning strike (1/164,968)
  • We are in much greater danger walking down or crossing the street (1/704) than of being stung by a wasp, bee, or hornet (1/55,764)
  • Our chances of dying in an earthquake are far lower (1/179,965) than our chances of dying due to medical or surgical care or mistreatment (1/532)
  • We are far more likely to die unintentionally (1/31),by accidental poisoning for example, than we are to die from a deliberate assault with a firearm (1/358)

Of course statistics don’t have too much meaning except when they personally include you or a loved one. While hopefully we all take reasonable precautions in our daily lives, being injured is also unavoidable. If you have suffered a serious or even disabling personal injury during a vehicular accident, at the workplace or anywhere else due to the negligence of malice of another, you should contact a skilled and well-reputed personal injury attorney in your area. Having an expert attorney at your side can make all the difference in terms of your receiving the compensation you’re entitled to for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Popular Competitive Event ‘Tough Mudder’ Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Popular Competitive Event ‘Tough Mudder’ Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits 150 150 admin

“Tough Mudder” competitions have gained increasing popularity over the past several years, primarily due to the fact these races impart multifaceted obstacles courses and consistent terrain changes – in stark contrast to the traditional 10k or marathon-style race. In a typical Tough Mudder competition, contestants travel across dirt pathways, up hills and through aquatic areas – which are typically laced with dirt and natural debris.

 

In 2013, while participating in a Tough Mudder competition in West Virginia, a young competitor drowned completing the “Walk the Plank” exercise. The exercise required the contestant to plummet from a 15-foot into murky water below. According to video footage, over four minutes passed before race officials even realized the contestant had not surfaced, and additional critical seconds passed before the rescue dive team was dispatched to try and find the young man. In the end, he spent nearly nine minutes submerged under water before he was brought to the surface. While he did have a pulse at the time he was rescued, he was removed from life support the following day upon the request of his family.

 

The family filed a lawsuit against the Tough Mudder race, alleging that it was negligent in its organization and supervision of racers – particularly in the more dangerous aquatic areas. As well, the family alleged that the competition negligently “hurried” competitors through the Walk the Plank section in response to complaints on social media of the wait times associated with the event.

 

The case eventually settled just weeks before the trial was slated to begin, and several months following a failed attempt at mediation. As well, Tough Mudder attempted to rely on its “Death Waiver,” which the victim signed prior to beginning the event. Amid questions of enforceability, the waiver expressly absolves Tough Mudder from liability in the event a contestant is killed. However, these types of agreements have been routinely overruled by courts across the U.S. for being overly biased toward the event, as well as ambiguous in meaning and scope.

 

The Tough Mudder death is the first for this particular race, but one of several recent deaths within the context of competitive obstacle courses. In 2010, two men were killed while participating in the Warrior Dash, and another man drowned during a 2012 Mud Run in Texas.

 

Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today.

 

If you recently experienced the death of a loved one, and believe the death may have been caused by negligence, please contact Chandler Mathis Zivley today: 1-800-657-7744.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver 150 150 admin

Texans believe in working hard and playing hard. After work is over, many Texans pop a top or down a couple shots at the bar to celebrate the weekend. Or because it’s Wednesday or we won the game. “Hook ’em horns!” You get the idea. Celebrating with friends over a few cold ones is a cherished Texas tradition, but driving drunk has no place in our state’s hallowed history.

Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths

Grim statistics from one recent year don’t bear that out. In 2013, Texas had more deaths from auto accidents involving impaired drivers than any other state in the nation. In that banner year, 1,337 men, women and children died senselessly because somebody made a really, really poor decision.

According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately every 53 minutes, someone in the United States gets killed in a collision with a drunk driver. Additionally, someone suffers injuries from a wreck with an impaired driver every two minutes. The figures are sobering. But they are just abstract numbers until the day the injured person is you. You may even be left grieving over the loss of a family member taken too soon in a completely preventable accident.

All of a sudden — it’s personal. Your world has suddenly been turned upside down, and if your injuries are particularly severe, it is possible that you will never be the same as you were before colliding with a person who was in no condition to drive. Picking up the pieces of a fractured life can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s likely that you are also mad as a wet hen at the drunk driver whose negligence caused all your misery. 

5 quick facts about drunk driving in Texas

  • It’s very expensive. In a single year, Texas taxpayers were stuck with a tab of $6.2 billion to subsidize expenses related to drunk driving deaths. That will buy a lot of Budweiser.
  • A conviction is never guaranteed. Do you think that it is a foregone conclusion that the drunk driver who hit you and played havoc with your life will be convicted? Think again. In the same year, 99,195 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in the state. Only 71,030 were convicted.
  • Drunk drivers aren’t learning from their mistakes. About a third of the social ills associated with impaired drivers — the wrecks and DUI arrests, the injuries and fatalities — are caused by repeat offenders. 
  • Losing their driving privileges doesn’t keep them off the roads. The percentage of those convicted of drunk driving who continue to drive with suspended licenses may be as high as 75 percent.
  • Impaired drivers are a continuous threat. At any given moment, as many as 2 million drunk drivers with multiple convictions are tooling down our nation’s highways. 

It is apparent that the criminal penalties for drunk driving in Texas are an insufficient deterrent to keep irresponsible unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel after being convicted on DUI charges. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, it’s time to get proactive and pursue another form of justice.

Filing a claim for damages is only the first step

Immediately following your accident, you probably provided the investigating officer with your insurance information for the police report. The alleged drunken driver who hit you will have done the same. Perhaps you received a call or two from the driver’s insurance company in an attempt to get you to agree to settle the claim and allow them to close out the books on your accident.

Don’t settle for less than the amount to which you are entitled. The typical M.O. of insurance companies is to dangle a low-ball settlement check in front of often cash-starved claimants, hoping they will bite. Those who suffered serious injuries in the drunk-driving accident likely were not able to return to work immediately. Some may still be living off dwindling savings while the bills — medical and otherwise — continue to mount. This is what the insurance companies are waiting for. Just like sharks in the ocean can detect the faintest trace of blood from a wounded sea creature, so can insurance adjusters pick up on the whiff of desperation emanating from a claimant in dire financial straits.

A personal injury lawyer can fairly evaluate your case

One of the problems with settling for that quick check is that most accident victims have no real concept of what their injuries and damages are actually worth. Personal injury claim values are determined by a number of different factors, such as:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitative expenses. In legal parlance, these are known as “special damages,” and can include ambulance fees, x-rays, charges stemming from the initial ER visit and all subsequent treatment. Pharmacy bills for medication and medical equipment necessary during your convalescence also fall into this category. In some cases. future medical expenses should also be calculated.
  • Lost wages. This figure is derived from the amount of salary or wages you would have received if you hadn’t been injured in the accident with their insured. But the sum may potentially be higher if you missed out on some lucrative business opportunities during your recuperation.
  • Pain and suffering. These damages are harder to quantify due to their nebulous nature. Insurance companies typically use a simple formula to multiply the estimated value of your accident-related pain and suffering claims.
  • Severity and duration of injuries. Accidents that leave claimants with permanent disabling injuries or disfigurement are of course going to be worth more than a wreck that leaves only bruises or a sprain. 

However, unless you are armed with a great deal of information regarding the litigation of personal injury claims in Texas, chances are good that your attempts to arrive at the true value of your personal injury case will fall short of the mark.

A personal injury lawyer can offer peace of mind

In addition to the considerable courtroom experience and legal knowledge a personal injury attorney brings to the litigation table, he or she can ease your worries and uncertainties about the progress of your case. Allowing the professionals to do what they do best lets you devote your time and energy to healing and getting on with your post-accident life. Your attorney can provide you with some measure of closure by forcing the drunk driver and their insurance carrier to assume responsibility for the negligent acts that caused your injuries and damages.

When you get tired of the insurance company runaround, give the seasoned professionals at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley a call. We will arrange a free consultation with a firm associate who can review your case with no obligation.

 

Sources:

http://www.injurytriallawyer.com/library/How%20To%20Determine%20The%20Value%20Of%20A%20Personal%20Injury%20Case1.pdf

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/?referrer=http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Texas.html?referrer=http://www.bing.com/

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/

Have You or a Loved One Been Harmed by the Blood-Thinner Xarelto?
Have You or a Loved One Been Harmed by the Blood-Thinner Xarelto? 150 150 admin

We trust our doctors with our very lives. They see us on some of the worst days that we will ever experience and in the worst possible conditions. We believe that they will take the best possible care of us using all the tools and technologies of modern medicine that are available to them.

So when our trusted physician writes us a prescription for a new drug on the market, we think that it will be fine to start taking it. We put our faith in the pharmaceutical wonders being touted by the drug makers. In the case of a drug called Xarelto, an anticoagulant with the generic name rivaroxaban, it can be a very bad decision.

Problems associated with Xarelto

Xarelto is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceutical and co-marketed by Bayer Healthcare. It is a type of blood thinner often prescribed in patients diagnosed with, or at an elevated risk of developing, deep vein thrombosis. The condition is very serious and is a common complication of surgery. Blood clots deep in the large pelvic and leg veins break away and travel to the lungs, causing often-fatal pulmonary embolisms. The elderly and anyone who is bedridden for a long period are at a greater risk of developing DVT and PE’s.

Xeralto first gained approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration for use in patients who had hip and knee replacement operations. Later, approval was granted for it to be prescribed for those with heart rhythm irregularities like atrial fibrillation.

Shortly after doctors began prescribing Xarelto to their patients, however, a significant number of them began hemorrhaging uncontrollably, and many died. Their cause of death was exsanguination, which means that they bled to death. The problem was exacerbated by the medication having no antidote. According to one lawsuit filed against the pharmaceutical company that makes Xarelto, as many as 65 patients bled to death while on the medication. The FDA had over 1,000 reports of adverse effects from Xarelto on file with their agency by the early summer of 2012.

This case is not without legal precedent, as another drug maker of a similar medication, Pradaxa, settled a class action case with a $650 million settlement for the nearly 9,000 lawsuits filed after the deaths of more than 500 patients from side effects of treatment with Pradaxa.

Risk benefit ratio — what is safe?

All blood thinners carry a risk of excessive bleeding. Patients who routinely are exposed to potential trauma to their bodies, e.g., athletes, would not be good candidates for extended anticoagulant therapy. Before prescribing blood thinners, doctors weigh their risk against the potential benefits of preventing a more serious, and likely fatal, medical event in their patients. 

Some of the adverse effects of Xarelto include:

  • Elevated risk of infection from artificial hip and knee replacement surgeries
  • Strokes
  • Adrenal bleeds
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhages
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Retinal and intracranial hemorrhages
  • Peripheral edema of the legs
  • Lowered hemoglobin counts
  • Epidural hematomas
  • Death

Who dropped the ball?

Doctors rely on pharmaceutical companies to conduct rigorous tests on all of their new medications before releasing them for use by consumers. All drugs must also pass the approval of the FDA before they can be prescribed to patients by physicians. In the plethora of separate and combined cases of personal injury and wrongful death cases filed against the manufacturers and marketers of Xarelto, plaintiffs allege that the pharmaceutical companies failed to adequately test the medicine and covered up the fact that no antidote exists. Court filings also allege that the manufacturers exaggerated the efficacy of Xarelto to boost sales.

Before there was Pradaxa and Xarelto, doctors routinely treated their patients at risk of DVT and pulmonary embolisms with Coumadin. For more than 50 years, it has been a reliable treatment for those conditions. While some risks exist with Coumadin therapy, patients who exercise reasonable care can expect to successfully take it for treatment. The downside of Coumadin is that to ensure patients’ safety, they had to undergo regular monitoring of their blood-plasma levels to make sure their dosage was calibrated correctly. With these newer medications, the monitoring became unnecessary.

Overdosing on Coumadin was dangerous, of course. But it was rarely fatal simply because overdosing patients could be treated with high doses of Vitamin K and receive transfusions of plasma that would halt the bleeding rapidly. Without a known antidote for Xarelto, for patients who took too much or got the wrong dosage, the bleeding couldn’t be stopped.

There was, of course, a major benefit for marketing this drug to hospitals and doctors. Patients (or their insurance companies) could be billed as much as $300 a month for Xeralto, when the average cost of warfarin, the generic version of Coumadin, only costs about 50 cents per day for patients. The financial incentive was powerful.

Profit or peril?

An aggressive marketing campaign by the drug companies resulted in Xarelto sales of over $2 billion in 2013. Data from Bloomberg showed sales of $414 million by the third quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, all across America, patients continued to die and experience life-threatening hemorrhages after taking Xarelto. A patient who suffered a bump or bruise while taking Coumadin might need a shot of Vitamin K. The same circumstances for patients on Xarelto could cause them to bleed out.

Corporations are profit-driven and focus on satisfying shareholders with burgeoning sales. However, they owe the public a duty of care not to release medications that are excessively dangerous and jeopardize the life and health of the patients receiving treatment. When patients are needlessly harmed by bad drugs that should never have made it to market, patients are not without recourse in the matter. They, or the survivors of those who died as a result of a drug’s side effects, can challenge these corporate giants in a civil court of law.

Holding these corporations financially responsible for their egregious disregard for human lives is one way to bring closure to the nightmare of an adverse Xarelto medical emergency or the devastating loss of a loved one.

Putting it all together

As one can imagine, the attorneys for the drug companies are vociferously defending their product and denying the allegations contained in the lawsuits. Fortunately, dedicated lawyers are seeking justice for those who have been harmed by the drug. We at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley are not afraid to take on drug manufacturers and their phalanx of corporate counselors to see that our clients get the justice they deserve.

If you or a loved one experienced a worsened medical condition after being prescribed Xarelto, we can help. Contact us today for a no obligation, confidential consultation.

Sources

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-12-04/bayer-j-j-face-calls-to-consolidate-xarelto-blood-thinner-suits

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/xarelto/xarelto-lawsuit-death-bleeding-issue-24-20876.html#.VefNIvZViko

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/xarelto/interview-xarelto-lawsuit-bleeding-events-20522.html#.VefNX_ZViko

 

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver 150 150 admin

Texans believe in working hard and playing hard. After work is over, many Texans pop a top or down a couple shots at the bar to celebrate the weekend. Or because it’s Wednesday or we won the game. “Hook ’em horns!” You get the idea. Celebrating with friends over a few cold ones is a cherished Texas tradition, but driving drunk has no place in our state’s hallowed history.

Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths

Grim statistics from one recent year don’t bear that out. In 2013, Texas had more deaths from auto accidents involving impaired drivers than any other state in the nation. In that banner year, 1,337 men, women and children died senselessly because somebody made a really, really poor decision.

According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately every 53 minutes, someone in the United States gets killed in a collision with a drunk driver. Additionally, someone suffers injuries from a wreck with an impaired driver every two minutes. The figures are sobering. But they are just abstract numbers until the day the injured person is you. You may even be left grieving over the loss of a family member taken too soon in a completely preventable accident.

All of a sudden — it’s personal. Your world has suddenly been turned upside down, and if your injuries are particularly severe, it is possible that you will never be the same as you were before colliding with a person who was in no condition to drive. Picking up the pieces of a fractured life can be overwhelming and frustrating. It’s likely that you are also mad as a wet hen at the drunk driver whose negligence caused all your misery. 

5 quick facts about drunk driving in Texas

  • It’s very expensive. In a single year, Texas taxpayers were stuck with a tab of $6.2 billion to subsidize expenses related to drunk driving deaths. That will buy a lot of Budweiser.
  • A conviction is never guaranteed. Do you think that it is a foregone conclusion that the drunk driver who hit you and played havoc with your life will be convicted? Think again. In the same year, 99,195 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in the state. Only 71,030 were convicted.
  • Drunk drivers aren’t learning from their mistakes. About a third of the social ills associated with impaired drivers — the wrecks and DUI arrests, the injuries and fatalities — are caused by repeat offenders. 
  • Losing their driving privileges doesn’t keep them off the roads. The percentage of those convicted of drunk driving who continue to drive with suspended licenses may be as high as 75 percent.
  • Impaired drivers are a continuous threat. At any given moment, as many as 2 million drunk drivers with multiple convictions are tooling down our nation’s highways. 

It is apparent that the criminal penalties for drunk driving in Texas are an insufficient deterrent to keep irresponsible unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel after being convicted on DUI charges. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, it’s time to get proactive and pursue another form of justice.

Filing a claim for damages is only the first step

Immediately following your accident, you probably provided the investigating officer with your insurance information for the police report. The alleged drunken driver who hit you will have done the same. Perhaps you received a call or two from the driver’s insurance company in an attempt to get you to agree to settle the claim and allow them to close out the books on your accident.

Don’t settle for less than the amount to which you are entitled. The typical M.O. of insurance companies is to dangle a low-ball settlement check in front of often cash-starved claimants, hoping they will bite. Those who suffered serious injuries in the drunk-driving accident likely were not able to return to work immediately. Some may still be living off dwindling savings while the bills — medical and otherwise — continue to mount. This is what the insurance companies are waiting for. Just like sharks in the ocean can detect the faintest trace of blood from a wounded sea creature, so can insurance adjusters pick up on the whiff of desperation emanating from a claimant in dire financial straits.

A personal injury lawyer can fairly evaluate your case

One of the problems with settling for that quick check is that most accident victims have no real concept of what their injuries and damages are actually worth. Personal injury claim values are determined by a number of different factors, such as:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitative expenses. In legal parlance, these are known as “special damages,” and can include ambulance fees, x-rays, charges stemming from the initial ER visit and all subsequent treatment. Pharmacy bills for medication and medical equipment necessary during your convalescence also fall into this category. In some cases. future medical expenses should also be calculated.
  • Lost wages. This figure is derived from the amount of salary or wages you would have received if you hadn’t been injured in the accident with their insured. But the sum may potentially be higher if you missed out on some lucrative business opportunities during your recuperation.
  • Pain and suffering. These damages are harder to quantify due to their nebulous nature. Insurance companies typically use a simple formula to multiply the estimated value of your accident-related pain and suffering claims.
  • Severity and duration of injuries. Accidents that leave claimants with permanent disabling injuries or disfigurement are of course going to be worth more than a wreck that leaves only bruises or a sprain. 

However, unless you are armed with a great deal of information regarding the litigation of personal injury claims in Texas, chances are good that your attempts to arrive at the true value of your personal injury case will fall short of the mark.

A personal injury lawyer can offer peace of mind

In addition to the considerable courtroom experience and legal knowledge a personal injury attorney brings to the litigation table, he or she can ease your worries and uncertainties about the progress of your case. Allowing the professionals to do what they do best lets you devote your time and energy to healing and getting on with your post-accident life. Your attorney can provide you with some measure of closure by forcing the drunk driver and their insurance carrier to assume responsibility for the negligent acts that caused your injuries and damages.

When you get tired of the insurance company runaround, give the seasoned professionals at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley a call. We will arrange a free consultation with a firm associate who can review your case with no obligation.

Sources:

http://www.injurytriallawyer.com/library/How%20To%20Determine%20The%20Value%20Of%20A%20Personal%20Injury%20Case1.pdf

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/?referrer=http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Texas.html?referrer=http://www.bing.com/

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/

 

http://www.injurytriallawyer.com/library/How%20To%20Determine%20The%20Value%20Of%20A%20Personal%20Injury%20Case1.pdf

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/?referrer=http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Texas.html?referrer=http://www.bing.com/

http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/

9 Big Things a Lawyer Does (and Doesn’t Do) When Handling a Pharmaceutical Case
9 Big Things a Lawyer Does (and Doesn’t Do) When Handling a Pharmaceutical Case 150 150 admin

 

A wrongful death attorney has the unenviable job of pursuing justice for an individual who suffered serious harm or death from taking a prescription medication. Drug manufacturers frequently release medications to the public that have serious side effects, and they aren’t always as safe as manufacturers claim they are. When a death occurs as a result of taking a prescription medication, the stakes are much higher for the survivors. Following are nine reasons why retaining an attorney for pharmaceutical cases that resulted in death can be beneficial to those who have suffered.

1. Doesn’t charge a fee. 

In these types of cases, a lawyer won’t charge a fee up front. Instead, the fees are paid from the financial award to the client — if the case is won. In the event that the case isn’t won, the client never pays a cent — even though the lawyer put out his funds to pursue the case. This is done to encourage injured parties to come forward and take advantage of their legal right to recover economic damages after being injured. In the event of death as a result of medication, the family has the option to seek justice on behalf of the deceased — no matter their financial situation.

2. Make sure that the statute of limitations hasn’t run out.
    
The State of Texas has a two-year limit on filing a defective products lawsuit. That is to say, the injured party or their family members have two years from the date of taking the medication that caused injury or death to file a lawsuit in court. If the time has run out on filing suit, the court will not hear the case no matter what the reason is for not filing on time. There may be extenuating circumstances that prevent the injured or his/her family from seeing a lawyer right away, but it’s best to see a lawyer at the first available opportunity in order to preserve the facts of the case while the details are still fresh. 

3. Determine the facts of the case, or how the drug caused injury or death. 
    

The pharmaceutical manufacturer may have failed to warn adequately about side effects, resulting in injury or death. When this happens, it is, at the very least, a violation of the trust that the patient gives the manufacturer when taking their medication. The lawyer investigates the events that led up to the injury or death, and seeks to uncover how the medication caused harm.

4. Consult with expert witnesses to examine the case.

It’s possible that the cause of injury or death isn’t clear-cut. The lawyer, while having extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical cases, is not a physician or medical expert. An expert witness with a medical background takes on the job of examining the case file and determining what went wrong, how, and where. 

5. Pursue justice — and compensation.

In the event that a family member died as a result of an adverse reaction to the drug or side effects, the lawyer can help the family make an attempt to receive economic damages for the loss of income from the deceased. This one may seem morally wrong on its surface, but it is a completely valid request in a wrongful death from a pharmaceutical lawsuit. The deceased provided financial support to their family, and it is possible for a wrongful death attorney to put a number on that support. Some of the items included in an economic damage include:

  • The cost of the output of the deceased. If the deceased was in the business of creating goods of some sort and selling them for financial benefit, the total sales volume can be calculated and included.
  •  Loss of inheritance from another family member. If the deceased was due to inherit money from parents or other family members, and that inheritance was lost due to their death, the survivors may allowed to include that amount in the lawsuit.
  • Loss of love and comfort from the deceased. This one may sound a bit odd, but it’s in line with pain and suffering. While it’s difficult to put a value on something as seemingly abstract as emotional loss, it is possible to do so and sue for the amount in court.
  • Loss of leadership, or the loss of guidance that family members received from the deceased. This is akin to the loss of love and comfort
  • The cost of funeral and burial expenses that were incurred when least expected.

6. Make negotiations (whenever possible).

Wrongful death and personal injury attorneys generally approach the pharmaceutical company directly about settling before taking the case to court. Sometimes, a pharmaceutical company sets aside a fund for lawsuits and may prefer to pay out an agreed-upon sum as opposed to litigating in court. It’s unusual — but not unknown, either. A skilled lawyer may be able to satisfy all parties without having to drag the situation out in the courtroom.

7. Take it to to trial.

A good lawyer will also not hesitate to pursue a case in court when negotiations fail to elicit a response or result from the pharmaceutical company. This is the more likely scenario for most victims of bad drugs, as manufacturers frequently don’t care to admit fault about their products. Manufacturers will often prefer to fight the action in court, so that they can maintain sales of the drug instead of pulling it off the market — until absolutely forced to.

8. Decide what kind of suit to file.

Determine if the case belongs on pharmaceutical dockets for an individual suit, class-action or multi-district legislation action. Depending on the details, the case may be better off as an individual suit (which involves one plaintiff only), a class-action suit (comprised of multiple plaintiffs acting as a unit), or multi-district legislation action (where multiple cases are combined but still ruled on individually). A lawyer can help decide which of the types of pharmaceutical dockets makes the most sense for your situation.

9. Advocate for the client in court.

When and if the case goes to court, there are going to be questions raised — and, sometimes, accusations made that question the truthfulness of the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s attorney knows the truth, as does the plaintiff. However, the pharmaceutical company doesn’t want to admit responsibility, and its lawyers are going to do what they can to put the blame on the plaintiff instead of the medication. Your lawyer’s job is to stop them in their tracks.

 

Citations:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/statute-of-limitations-state-laws-chart-29941.html

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/time-limits-filing-product-liability-claim-29558.html

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=57092

http://www.druginjurylaw.com/

 

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Reckless Teen Drivers for Damages
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Reckless Teen Drivers for Damages 150 150 admin

In the halls of high schools all over Texas, posters are going up advertising the schools’ annual homecoming football games and dances. There is high drama over who is taking whom to the big dance, who will be crowned homecoming king and queen, and where all the best after-parties will be held. The yearly ritual is perhaps second in importance only to prom for the millions of high school teens who will be taking part in the fall festivities.

The dangers of the exuberance of youth

All this frantic activity means that there will be many high-spirited — but very inexperienced — young drivers out on the highways late at night. Inevitably, some of them will be imbibing illegally-obtained alcoholic drinks, but even for those who remain sober, their excitement and effervescence can bubble over into dangerous driving situations. This risks not only their own safety, but that of everyone else who shares the roads with them on their big night.

Below are some sobering statistics.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car wrecks are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.
  • Approximately 2,650 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died in 2011 as a result of car accidents.
  • Nearly 292,000 more received treatment in emergency rooms all across the United States for injuries caused by car collisions.
  • Statistics from 2013 indicate that for each mile driven on America’s roads, teenagers from 16-19 average three times the risk of fatal wrecks than those in their 20’s and older.
  • While those in the age range of 15 to 24 make up only 14 percent of the total population, they are responsible for 30 percent, or $19 billion, of all costs for injuries from accidents involving male drivers.
  • Female drivers in that group contribute to 28 percent, or $7 billion, of all costs of injuries from collisions.

Risk higher with ADHD diagnosis

For the  6 million students diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the teen years present even more driving challenges. Studies have shown that those teens have four times the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle accident than their peers without ADHD. Some of this can be attributed to excessive speed behind the wheel, as well as failing to yield to other vehicles who have the right-of-way. The inability to focus can cause teens with ADHD to drive fast to remain on schedule and ignore posted speed limits. The impulsiveness that is a hallmark of the disorder only complicates the situation, heightening the risk of reckless driving.

It appears that even suffering the consequences of a car wreck had little effect on ADHD-diagnosed kids, as when compared with their peers without ADHD, teen drivers with the condition had seven times the risk of being involved in subsequent accidents.

How to keep kids (and others sharing the roads) safer?

Statistics are just a jumble of numbers until you, or one of your loved ones, become that statistic. But there are things that parents and teenagers can do to lower their risk of harm. Homecoming dances are a treasured rite of teen passage, and there is no reason to avoid participating in the festivities when there are some safety checks and balances in place.

  • Gather a group to rent a limousine or party van. This eliminates the need for teens driving, as the driver picks up and delivers each teen to and from their home.
  • Parents can make sure that their teens comply with alcohol prohibitions by making them and their date sign agreements not to imbibe. Failing to honor the agreements should bring about stiff consequences.
  • Host alcohol-free after-parties that are discreetly chaperoned by parents. Send each kid off at sun-up with a belly full of a home-cooked breakfast.
  • When money is tight, get an older sibling to act as chauffeur for the night. No siblings? Hire a reliable college student for the job. Pay extra if they agree to be a good sport and don a suit and chauffeur’s cap for the evening.

A personal injury attorney can hold at-fault drivers accountable

Despite all the best intentions, accidents can and do happen every day. It doesn’t require a celebratory homecoming dance for a teen driver or anyone behind the wheel to derail a life, sometimes permanently. If you are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you have legal options you can pursue.

  • An attorney can assist you with filing a claim for damages. While initially you may feel that you can handle filing a simple claim yourself, non-attorneys are at a big disadvantage trying to quantify values of injuries suffered, as well as factoring future medical needs.
  • Attorneys develop working relationships with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and others who can assist you in your rehabilitation process. If you have limited medical insurance coverage, most of these health care providers will agree to accept their payment later from a future settlement.
  • Texas personal injury attorneys understand the importance of meeting all deadlines in order to pursue legal action in the event that the insurance company balks at a decent settlement for your injuries.
  • Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe them legal fees if you do not prevail in court. This is helpful to the client and provides attorneys with plenty of incentive to work their hardest for all of their clients.
  • When you turn your accident and subsequent claims for injuries and property damages over to a personal injury attorney, this allows you to focus all of your attention on healing.

It’s important to understand that you are not alone in your battle with big insurance companies. Their representatives may initially appear to be helpful, but that is only because they are trying to get you to accept a paltry offer to settle your claim. Once you refuse an inadequate offer, their facade of helpfulness is shed and you will instead face only steely resolve to low-ball or deny your claim outright.

We at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley are always willing to go the extra mile to fight for the compensation our clients deserve. Call us today and set up a confidential appointment to discuss your personal injury case with one of our skilled attorneys.

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