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Personal Injury

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 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

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.


Houston Leads Country as Deadliest Major Metro Area for Crash Fatalities
Houston Leads Country as Deadliest Major Metro Area for Crash Fatalities 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

According to the Houston Chronicle’s analysis of 16 years of federal highway data, Houston is the deadliest major metro area for car crash-related fatalities. Each year, 640 people are killed and 2,850 people are seriously injured. Despite the sheer number of people losing their lives, not much has been done in the way of preventative or increased safety measures. The extent of it is generally just an occasional warning from public safety officers.

Houston Places in Top Half for All Weakness Categories

The Chronicle shows that the region is also leading the country in fatal crashes that involve drugs or alcohol. Out of the 12 largest regions in the country, it is also number two for crashes per capita on federal highways. Out of those 12 regions, only Houston places in the top half in all categories regarding weaknesses.

Contributing Factors Adding to the Risk of Fatalities

Not only do these crashes commonly lead to fatalities, but they also carry other severe consequences, which often go unnoticed by drivers, lawmakers, and taxpayers. There are several factors that have compounded the risk of fatalities:

  • Driver commutes continue to get longer – they are up more than a minute since 2013. The average length of a commute is 29.5 minutes each way.
  • Roads designed for maximum speed, some of which have speed limits of up to 75 mph.
  • Trivial enforcement of traffic laws; Over the last three years, the number of issued speeding tickets have decreased, while the number of drivers and miles driven have continued to rise, and the number of officers has more or less stayed the same.
  • Texting bans are barely enforced
  • Politicians hold a strong opposition to automating the enforcement – things such as speed cameras, and video enforcement of red-light runners have been restricted, while a ban on sobriety checkpoints has been enforced.
  • Roads that allow for pedestrians and cyclists do not provide a safe place for them to walk or ride. Though the city has more than 6,200 miles of roads, there are far, far fewer of them that have sidewalks. Though the count may not be entirely accurate, Houston has fewer than 300 miles of on-street bike lanes.

The lack of consequences with which violators are met only encourages people to continue disregarding driving laws, such as staying off of their phones and paying attention to the road at all times.

Speeding Proves Massive Contributor

One of the largest contributors to these crash-related fatalities is speeding. In Texas, 44 percent of accidents in which the vehicle runs off of the road are in part due to speeding. In distraction-related crashes with fatalities, more than one-third included speeding as a factor. Furthermore, 25 percent of deaths of crashes at intersections include one or more speeding vehicles.

Methods for Reducing Fatalities Met with Roadblocks

Researchers say that there are certainly ways to reduce deaths, but they are not socially or politically acceptable, so they are not executed. The money available goes to widening highways and other large projects, while lawmakers are resistant to allow technology to play a bigger role, citing things such as personal liberty. Regardless of the type of solution, it is clear that something must be done.

Defective Injectable Drug Blinds at Least 68 People
Defective Injectable Drug Blinds at Least 68 People 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Who is liable for the blinding of the 68 cataract surgery patients?

Alarming stories have emerged from dozens of patients who were treated at a Dallas eye center for cataracts, only to end up blind.  One 57-year-old man underwent cataract surgery in 2017. After the procedure, the patient was injected with a medication intended to speed up healing.  Weeks later, the truck driver found himself blind in one eye. He is far from the only patient to experience vision loss after surgery in the Dallas area.  Investigations have traced the cause of the complication to a knock off version of the injectable drug called TriMoxi. Now, a complex legal web has emerged as the injured plaintiffs attempt to determine who is responsible for the tremendous injuries suffered due to the seemingly defective drug.

Shifting Liability Among Defendants

With so many questions still surrounding precisely why the injectable drug resulted in blindness, glares, flashing lights, and halos in some Dallas area patients, the injured patients have sued several defendants.  Currently, the plaintiffs, which number into the dozens, have sued the pharmacy that mixed the drug, the drug manufacturer, and the clinic which injected the drug.

Each of the defendants is attempting to shift blame to the others. The maker of the drug is saying the problem with the injectable stems from how it was mixed, thus pointing the finger at the pharmacy who mixed it.  Guardian Pharmacy Services, the party who mixed the drug, is blaming the clinic and the cataract surgery itself. Per the pharmacy, the patient’s symptoms are all known complications of cataract surgery. The clinic has countered that the drug is to blame and it has a strong reputation with minimal complications among patients.

This emerging legal battle over who is liable for a seemingly defective drug or compound illustrates perfectly the complications of a defective drug lawsuit.  In the realm of medicine, there are so many parties involved in the creation, decimation, and use of a drug, that it can be difficult to ascertain exactly where the defect developed.  As such, it is critically important that any injured patient seek the assistance of a defective products or medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after their injury.

Mother Accuses Church of Negligence in Minister’s Molestation of her Son
Mother Accuses Church of Negligence in Minister’s Molestation of her Son 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

The mother of a young boy who was molested by a former youth pastor is now suing the church for fraud and negligence, alleging that it aided and abetted the abuse.

Julia Davis’ son was abused by Dalton Lanphier, former youth pastor of Trinity Life Baptist Church. In 2016 he was convicted of multiple felony counts related to child sexual assault and was sentenced to 30 years in state prison.

The Abuse Begins

According to Davis’ complaint, Lamphier first began abusing her son when he was in middle school. He allowed him to drive his car and used the opportunity to gain his trust, and abuse him. As the lawsuit states, “through his position as youth minister, Lanphier came to know and gained access to minors and their families. Lanphier then used his position to sexually molest, abuse and assault minors.”

The Church Owed a Duty of Care

Also according to the lawsuit – filed in Dallas County district court in August, and seeking more than $1 million in damages – stems from the fact that the church “owed a duty to protect children from Lanphier, a sexual predator working as a youth minister.” The church has asked to move the suit to federal court.

Lanphier began working for Trinity Life Baptist Church as a youth minister around January 2014. According to the lawsuit, over the next several months, Lanphier used his leadership position at TLBC to routinely visit Brown Middle School in Forney, Texas, during lunchtime, where he would entice students into his vehicle with the lure of allowing them to drive around the campus parking lot” before sexually assaulting them.

An Incident of Abuse

On one occasion in April 2014, Davis’ son, a student at Brown Middle School, agreed to Lanphier’s request to help him load music equipment onto a truck and take it over to the church. After dropping off the equipment, the two went to dinner. Upon leaving dinner, Lanphier allowed the victim to drive his vehicle around in circles in the empty parking lot of North Forney High School, and “sexually molested” him. He made “repeated attempts to fondle” the victim. In vein, the victim told Lanphier to stop three times. The lawsuit explains that the incident severely traumatized the victim and may very well have an effect on him for the rest of his life. Lanphier eventually admitted guilt in molesting not only Davis’ son but also at least four other young boys.

The Church Fails to Meet Its Duty of Care

According to the lawsuit, the “Defendant knew or should have known of the foreseeable risk of harm that Lanphier posted to children,” yet failed to report the abuse to either law enforcement of child welfare agencies, failed to properly train and supervise Lanphier, failed to adopt and enforce sufficient policies, and failed to adequately investigate reports of child abuse.  

Though Lanphier has said that the criminal case positively changed his life, it remains unseen as to whether or not he understands the gravity of his actions.


Texas Dram Shop Laws Impact Personal Injury Lawsuits
Texas Dram Shop Laws Impact Personal Injury Lawsuits 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

What are Dram Shop Laws?

While state laws differ, the general premise of personal injury law holds that those who injure others through their negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions are responsible for the victim’s damages. In a nutshell, if something you did (or failed to do) hurt someone else, you could be civilly sued for monetary damages.

Sometimes, in unique situations, one or more additional persons or entities– which are a bit further removed from the incident between the victim and the person who injured them– may also be held partially responsible for the victim’s injuries.

A common such scenario happens when someone who has been drinking to excess at a bar or tavern leaves intoxicated and thereafter causes an automobile accident that injures or kills someone else.

In Texas, Dram Shop laws hold that bars and taverns may share liability in cases where their employees serve alcohol to someone who is drunk or underage and that person subsequently drives drunk and hurts or kills someone else.

According to authorities, it was only 15 minutes after a “visibly intoxicated” woman left a Galveston-area bar and plowed down two pedestrians, killing one and injuring the other. Reportedly, bartenders at the establishment served alcohol to the woman who, when leaving the bar, appeared on surveillance video to be “showing signs of being highly intoxicated, losing her balance and spilling drinks”. Authorities say her blood alcohol level several hours after the crash was .103 and she was charged with “intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter”. Two bartenders were also reportedly criminally charged for allegedly serving the woman.

Should the victim who survived decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, they may be entitled to compensatory damages for such things as current and future medical expenses, current and future lost income or diminished earning capacity, and past and future mental anguish and physical pain if they can prove the defendants’ liability.

In addition, the closest surviving family members of the victim who died may be able to commence a wrongful death lawsuit if they are suffering financially as a result of the victim’s death. Computing damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated and differ on a case-by-case basis but generally are determined based on such factors as the age, health, earning ability, and parenting responsibilities of the victim at the time they died. In addition to damages for the victim’s final medical and funeral expenses, damages for such items as loss of support, services, or prospective inheritance may be awarded on a case-by-case basis.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed as a result of someone else’s actions, the personal injury attorneys at the Noland Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. While we can’t undo the accident, we can help relieve the financial burden it has caused. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our office in Lufkin and Houston, Texas, we represent accident victims and their families throughout Texas as well as those injured while visiting Texas.

The Clock Is Ticking
The Clock Is Ticking 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

When you have been injured, the only thing you should have to focus on is getting better. But of course that is not how the world works. There are bills to pay, family members to take care of, and the boss wants to know when you will be back on the job.

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of life and the struggle to recover you may lose your chance to seek damages from the party that caused your injury. That is why it is critical to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident or other incident that leaves you injured.

Statute Of What?

You only have limited amount of time to file a lawsuit after you have been injured. The period of time the law allows you to file a lawsuit after an injury has occurred is called the statute of limitations.

Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run out is like running a brilliant play after the clock has run out and the refs have blown the whistle — it may look good, but it doesn’t count. The courts do not care how significant your injures are, or how obvious it is that the other party is to blame, if your lawsuit is filed after time has run out the court will almost certainly dismiss your suit.

How Long Is Too Long To Wait?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury. This may seem like a long time, but it goes by quickly. An added bonus of speaking to an attorney right away is that evidence that supports your case can be gathered and preserved before it is destroyed or lost.

A Couple Of Exceptions

There are only a few exceptions to the two-year rule:

  • If the injured party is under 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations many not start running right away. Typically the countdown clock doesn’t start running until after his or her 18th birthday.
  • If the injured party is “of unsound mind,” which is typically interpreted to mean that the injured person is suffering from a mental illness that prevents them from realizing the extent of their injuries and the possibility of litigation, the statute of limitations may be frozen until the injured party has recovered or someone brings a case on his or her behalf.
  • The clock may also be stopped if the person who is at fault travels or moves out of state. Upon the alleged defendant’s return, the countdown resumes.

Don’t Wait, Contact An Attorney Right Away

If you have been injured, and another party is at fault, it is critical that you talk to an attorney as soon as you are able to do so. If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our firm’s experienced personal injury attorneys, please contact us today. We serve clients throughout East Texas from our offices in Lufkin and Houston, and may even be able to travel to your home or hospital room for a free initial consultation.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Could Now Be Diagnosed with a Blood Test
Traumatic Brain Injuries Could Now Be Diagnosed with a Blood Test 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

How can a blood test determine if you have suffered a brain injury?

With millions of Americans suffering from brain injuries every year, diagnosing a brain injury rapidly is of critical importance.  Serious traumatic brain injuries need rapid treatment to prevent potentially long term brain damage or death.  Now, the first blood test designed to diagnose brain injuries has gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration.  While it may take time for the blood test to gain acceptance and improve in diagnostic abilities, it could potentially have a positive impact on the outcome of traumatic brain injuries for thousands of people. 

Detecting Brain Injuries Through the Bloodstream

Banyan Biomarkers has to lead the charge with the development of a blood test to detect some types of traumatic brain injuries.  While the test does not yet detect mild concussions, it opens the door for continued technological advances in the field of blood testing.  Soon, it could become standard to run a blood test on all patients suspected of traumatic brain injuries to aid in rapid diagnosis.

The blood test created by Banyan Biomarkers detects two different proteins that are found in brain cells.  When the brain is injured, these proteins can leak into the bloodstream.  The test has been found to detect brain cell proteins within 12 hours from the brain injury.  As of now, the test can assist doctors in determining which patients with serious concussions may have bleeding in the brain or another critical brain injury.

Patients that test positive in the blood test will then be sent for a CT scan to examine the brain.  At that point, the physician may recommend surgery or another treatment option.  The test could be used in emergency rooms as soon as the end of this year and it could potentially be used on football fields, in battlefields, and elsewhere in the near future.  

Banyan’s blood test could potentially avoid exposing patients with negative results to unnecessary CT scans, which emit radiation.  Physicians can employ the blood test to strengthen their diagnosis of brain injuries.  While the test is not yet sensitive enough to rule out basic concussions, with ever evolving medical technologies, the test will likely improve in the future.  Blood tests such as this one could represent the future of head trauma treatment nationwide.

Dance Lessons Learned in the O.R.
Dance Lessons Learned in the O.R. 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Q: Is dancing in the operating room malpractice or multitasking?

When the music strikes, some people can’t resist breaking into a little Texas two-step or other trendy dance moves. But if a surgeon is cutting the rug while cutting the patient in the operating room, a personal injury lawsuit may result.

Recently, a state medical board suspended a surgeon for “being a threat to public health” due to alleged multiple incidents of her hip-hop dancing that were reportedly videotaped during patients’ surgical procedures.

The doctor is reportedly being sued for medical malpractice by at least 9 or 10 unhappy patients, including one woman whose butt-lift procedure was one of those captured on tape. She says “her buttocks are now lopsided and her left side is continually itching” and claims the doctor should have paid more attention to the operation and not been distracted by dancing. The doctor reportedly denies any wrongdoing claims she’s able to “multitask”.

Medical malpractice actions full within the area of personal injury law. In a personal injury suit, there is a victim who has sustained an injury as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of someone else. In a medical malpractice action, that injury arises from a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the medical standard of care in the community with respect to examining, evaluating, diagnosing, treating, or caring for a patient. Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and medical institutions like hospitals may all be subject to a medical malpractice suit of they fail to uphold accepted standards of medical care and seriously injure a patient.

If the patient experiences a serious personal injury from physician or other healthcare provider malpractice, they may be entitled to recover compensatory damages for past and future medical bills, past and future mental anguish and physical pain, impairment or disfigurement, disability, as well as past and future loss of income or diminished earning capacity.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed as a result of medical malpractice, the skilled personal injury attorneys at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Lufkin and Houston, we serve clients throughout East Texas as well as those injured while visiting Texas.

The injury was proximately caused by a wrongful act, omission, or the negligence of a government employee while acting within the scope of employment, if the injury occurred due to the operation or use of a vehicle or motorized equipment; orThe injury was caused by a condition or use of tangible personal or real property, if the government entity would have been personally liable if it were a person.The government entity can further escape liability if it can show the injury was caused by the performance or non-performance of an act that was left to the discretion of the governmental unit. Municipal liability requires adherence to strict notice requirements, with the government entitled to at least six months’ notice following the injury. Contact a personal injury attorney right away for assistance with your government entity related personal injury claim.
The injury was proximately caused by a wrongful act, omission, or the negligence of a government employee while acting within the scope of employment, if the injury occurred due to the operation or use of a vehicle or motorized equipment; orThe injury was caused by a condition or use of tangible personal or real property, if the government entity would have been personally liable if it were a person.The government entity can further escape liability if it can show the injury was caused by the performance or non-performance of an act that was left to the discretion of the governmental unit. Municipal liability requires adherence to strict notice requirements, with the government entitled to at least six months’ notice following the injury. Contact a personal injury attorney right away for assistance with your government entity related personal injury claim. 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Who is liable for accidents occurring on city or state owned property?

Water towers stand tall in most towns across Texas, providing a source of water for the area. Water towers are constructed at a considerable height so as to allow water to be sufficiently pressured. Typically owned by a local municipality, water towers do require maintenance and updating. In Porter, Texas tragedy struck when a worker was killed in the water tower. A steel panel in the process of being lifted into the air crashed into the open water tank, killing one of the four employees within it.

Houston Police Encourage Exceeding Bike Safety Laws
Houston Police Encourage Exceeding Bike Safety Laws 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

During a recent news conference in Houston, Texas, the police demonstrated how they enforce the city’s Safe Passing Ordinance, a law passed in 2013, which requires that drivers give bicyclists at least three feet of space when passing them.

The police explained that they enforce the ordinance with the use of a C3FT, a device that is mounted on the handlebars of an officer’s bike. The C3FT works by bouncing ultrasonic waves against passing cares to determine how much space they are allowing when passing.

Vulnerable Road Users and Ordinance Enforcement

To date, 53 people have been sited and 33 others have been issued warnings under the law. Since the ordinance has been passed five years ago, 23 cyclists have been killed in Houston. John Long, the executive director of BikeHouston, wishes that the police would more regularly enforce the ordinance, though he believes that the change has been slow because many of them are not aware of it. “It’s like turning an oceanliner,” he said. Mary Natoli, the president of the Cycling and Triathlon team at Rice University, agrees. “I also think that every collision involving a vulnerable road user should be carefully evaluated for violation of the vulnerable road-user ordinance,” she said. “If a driver caused a collision and was violating the VRU ordinance at the time, they could be cited for that on top of another citation. Often the investigating officer either is not aware of the law or does not think of it.”

Education More Important than Citations

According to the League of American Bicyclists, Texas is one of thirty-three states to introduce a safe-passing distance of three feet or greater. One city, which defined its own safe-passing distance, is Chattanooga, Tennessee. The city has used its Safe Passing Ordinance to decrease accidents by about 25% only a year since its enforcement. Officer Rob Simmons of the Chattanooga police department strongly believes in letting drivers go with a warning and some education instead of a citation, since he claims most of the drivers he speaks with agree not to follow so closely in the future.

“You can always penalize people financially, but it does not lead to long-term behavior modification,” Simmons said. “These are human beings and it’s rare that a victim has the chance to explain it to the driver.” He feels that educating the public is more important than penalizing them.

Exceed the Ordinance When Possible

Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo, is pushing for motorists to observe – if not exceed – the city’s ordinance. “I tell folks life is about common sense and good judgment. If you can safely give yourself some space as a driver when you see someone riding a bicycle on the side of traffic and you can safely go into the left lane, do that. There’s nothing wrong with exceeding the requirements of the law.”

If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, there is a chance that you are entitled to compensation. Contact a Houston personal injury attorney today for more information.

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