Monthly Archives August 2012


On the Job Injuries in the Shipping Industry

The men and women who work in America’s shipping industry have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Heavy equipment is frequently found in shipping yards lifting massive loads high above the ground. Forklifts and other powerful equipment zips around shipyards, creating great potential for injuries. If you have been injured on the job and if your employer is trying to claim that it was your fault when it most certainly was not, contact a Houston personal injury attorney.

Employee Safety

There are very specific regulations that apply to the shipping industry as far as training employees properly for their jobs goes. In an industry as potentially dangerous as the shipping industry, employees who don’t have proper training are threats to themselves and their fellow employees.

If an employer was asking you to take on work that you were not trained to do and you were injured because of that, you should talk to an attorney right away. If you were injured by an employee that was doing a job that you know they were not qualified to be doing, you should also speak with an attorney right away.

The Industry

There’s no reason to kid yourself about what you’re up against if you’re going to sue a company involved in the shipping industry. These companies are frequently very large, very powerful and have plenty of money to spare. One of the tactics they may try is to offer you a settlement for your injuries to avoid going to court.

If a representative of the shipping company that you believe was negligent and that caused you to come to harm approaches you with a settlement, you can be very certain of one thing in particular. The shipping company had their attorneys take a look at the case, determine the minimum amount they could offer you to make you back off and then offered you that amount in an attempt to lower their risk of being sued.

Getting a settlement offer from the shipping company that injured you on the job is always a reason to speak with an attorney. It may turn out that the attorney will advise you to take the settlement if it is actually a fair settlement for what you’ve been through. There are good companies out there and there are good people in charge of some companies. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Talking to an Attorney

Anything you tell an attorney will be kept confidential. You don’t have to worry about the attorney contacting your employer and potentially costing you your job. If there are career implications involved with filing a lawsuit, your attorney will let you know. Talking to an attorney about these matters is generally free and, to avoid any limitations on your opportunity to sue, you should speak with an attorney right away.

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Handling Harassment and Lawsuits

Sometimes, you may end up suffering an injury that was the result of someone else’s negligence and the person responsible might start harassing you. It may be a driver who keeps calling you and asking you to accept cash in lieu of not suing them or it may be somebody who threatens you outright about filing a lawsuit. As is the case with any other aspect of a lawsuit, you need to speak with your attorney about these situations.

Don’t Talk

One of the most important things that any Houston personal injury attorney will tell you is that any communication related to your case should be handled through them. The defendant you’re going after may start trying to contact you or try to have their attorney or another representative contact you. Never take these communications. Refuse to say anything, hang up or walk away and contact your attorney right away and let them know what happened.

A personal injury attorney is there to represent your interests. They will do whatever they have to do that falls under the scope of their job to protect those interests. If this means having to deal with a situation where you are being harassed, they will most certainly know what to do to help you through it. Once you engage the services of an attorney, remember that it’s up to you to use them correctly.

Right After the Accident

One of the scariest times to go through after suffering a car accident or an accident with another type of vehicle is the first week or so that follows it. This will be the time when you’re not sure what you should do about it, and when you’re still assessing the damages you suffered. You may even be in the hospital from injuries that you suffered.

If you’re relatively certain from the start that it was negligence that led you to end up in this situation, you should start working with an attorney immediately. You don’t have to deal with the other driver or their insurance company at all if you don’t want to. Your attorney will handle all of this for you and, if you are already sure that you want to file a lawsuit over the matter, there’s no reason to not contact an attorney immediately. The period of time immediately following the accident is the one in which you are most likely to say something that goes against your interests out of anger or other emotions. Let an attorney handle this for you.

Tough Cases

Depending on who caused your accident, you may find yourself being intimidated by somebody’s wealth or power. Neither will impress your accident attorney. No matter how powerful somebody is, they are not above the law and an attorney knows it.

Contact an attorney for any difficult situation you find yourself in. Once you have one, follow their advice to the letter.


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Are Product Liability Lawsuits Legitimate?

The recent lawsuit by the CPSC over Buckyballs and Buckycube toys has brought product liability lawsuits to the forefront of media attention once again. Whenever these situations happen, there is a cynical voice that permeates the media that tries to lay the blame for the injuries that children and older people suffered due to a defective product only at the feet of the parents or the person involved. In reality, there is a reason that filing a product liability lawsuit is an option for people who were injured by a product.

Bad Labeling

Part of the problem with the Buckyballs and Buckycube toys originates from the labeling of them, which stated that they were safe for people age 13 and older. This sort of labeling is supposed to give parents a realistic idea of whether or not a toy is safe for their children. Parents have every reason to trust that labeling, as the labeling process is heavily regulated by federal agencies. When children are injured by a product that was supposed to be safe for people in their age range, it is hardly the fault of the parents that they trusted labeling that was designed to keep their children safe.

Bad Designs

Some products make it onto the market but are designed in a way that makes them inherently hazardous. Examples include stepladders that fold up under normal usage, coffee pots with timers that end up causing fires and other products that have, through the years, made the news. That cynical voice in the media will oftentimes declare that people who have been injured or have had their property destroyed by such products are simply looking for a way to get rich quick. If somebody has sold you something that was supposed to have been safe and that damaged your property or injured you personally, there is nothing cynical about filing a lawsuit to recover those damages.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you or someone in your family has been injured by a defective product, the first thing you need to do is contact a lawyer about the matter. Listening to the myriad voices in the media, many of whom will be declaring that anybody pursuing a product liability suit against the latest defective product that has made it into the media cycle is simply looking for a way to get rich is absolutely the worst way to get advice. In these situations, a personal injury attorney is there to help you and only you.

Putting trust in a company or a label that gave you every reason to trust it is not foolish. If your child was injured by a toy that was defective in some way, it is not your fault. Talking to an attorney is the only way you can determine whether or not you were injured because the manufacturer was sloppy in how they manufactured a product, how they designed a product or how they marketed the product. Do not listen to the media in these cases. Consult with a lawyer – it’s usually free – and listen to their advice. They are the only individuals in these situations who are representing your interests.


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Drug Recalls Becoming Common

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reports that drug recalls are very common these days. According to a study, reported by ABC News on July 4, 2012, drug recalls are happening at a rate of about one every month.

Reporting and Recalling

The ABC story notes that, while the FDA does make certain that it uses all of its available means of communication to get the word out that a drug has been recalled, that information might not be making it to healthcare providers. In fact, the story notes that the study found that the FDA only issues public notices for about half of the recalls that constitute the most serious instances of drugs being taken off the market. These are called Class I recalls, and they constitute instances where there is a very serious danger to people using the medications.

Big Numbers, Big Problems

The study found that there were 1,734 drug recalls between the years of 2004 and 2011. Of those drug recalls, there were 91 of them that were Class I recalls. A drug is only issued a Class I recall when utilizing the drug is found to present a significant risk of very serious – even deadly – side effects to patients.

Relying on Industry

In the ABC story, a spokesperson for the FDA noted that the system for announcing recalls is dependent upon the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals being open about the issues and upon the industry being responsible about their duties to the public. Of course, there are many drugs that have remained on the market for many years, even though manufacturers knew that they posed a risk.

Finding Out

One of the more effective mechanisms that the FDA has at its disposal is its website at This gives a list of all recalls – including recalls that are not related to pharmaceuticals – and provides whatever information patients need to know about the drug in question. Unfortunately, according to the study, it was also found that the most important recalls may end up being lost among the many other, less important, recalls that are announced by the agency. The combination of what recalls are announced being lost among the many communications put out by the agency as well as the reliance upon the industry to be honest about its products could both be contributing to a significant problem.

Lawsuits and Dangerous Drugs

Patients who are injured by pharmaceuticals that have proven to be dangerous sometimes have the option to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company that produced them. Drugs such as Paxil and Accutane, for example, both proved to be dangerous to patients and, because of that, juries have already awarded millions of dollars to people who have suffered because of the side effects of those drugs.

If you believe that you were injured because of a bad pharmaceutical or, even more so, if you know for a fact that you were injured because of a bad pharmaceutical, make certain that you speak with an attorney about the matter. Whether it’s through a class-action suit or an individual lawsuit, they may be able to help you pursue compensation.


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TxDOT Asks Houston Drivers to Be Attentive

A report in KUHF detailed that the Texas Department of Transportation is asking drivers to pay attention while they’re on the highway. According to the article, TxDOT statistics reveal that more than 180 people were hit while riding bicycles, 44 pedestrians were killed, 450 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in 2011 and 600 accidents occurred in work zones during the course of 2011. The article also features a DPS state trooper revealing an important fact about car crashes.

Crashes vs. Accidents

A state trooper quoted in the article says that the word “accident” doesn’t describe many of the car crashes that occur every day. Accidents, according to the trooper, involve situations where a driver has no control over their vehicle or where something unexpected and unavoidable happened. Crashes, conversely, involve situations where something may well have been done to avoid the entire ordeal.

Crashes frequently occur because of people not paying attention when they’re driving. They may pay attention most of the time, but, when the crash actually happens, they’ll be looking somewhere other than the direction the car is headed or otherwise distracted from what’s going on. This has become a more severe problem because of how much cellphones permeate our culture. People quite often send text massages, emails, answer phone calls without a headset and engage in other dangerous behaviors with their cellular devices when they’re driving.

When something really is an accident, no one is to blame. Many car crashes, however, never have to happen. If someone had been paying attention when they were not or if someone had exercised reasonable caution when they did not, quite a few car crashes would have been close calls and others would have never even been realistic possibilities. Too often, people are simply not paying attention and someone ends up injured, dead or having their property destroyed because of a crash.

Heed the Advice

When you’re on the road, pay attention. If you’re travelling at freeway or highway speeds, you go a long distance in a second. If you look down at your cellular phone for a couple of seconds to read a text, you can end up hurting someone or killing them quite easily. Slow down in construction zones. The workers there are frequently within 100 feet of the roadway and, if you lost control at freeway speeds, you’d be on top of them in less than a second.

If someone injures you because they were driving negligently, speak with an attorney about the matter to see if you have a good reason to sue. The attorney may be able to help you at least get compensated in a monetary sense. Some losses can’t really be compensated, but no one should suffer economic hardship on top of other hardships because of someone else’s negligence.


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Injury Claim Nets $175,000

The plaintiffs filing a lawsuit over a 2009 wreck in Temple, Texas received $175,000 in compensation. In this particular instance, the driver that caused the damage fled the scene of the accident. Even in instances where the negligent driver takes things a step farther and commits a crime such as fleeing the scene of an accident, it’s important to contact an attorney to represent you.

Do Not Go Alone

When people are injured in car accidents, it’s not uncommon for them to try to contact their insurance companies and to try to get compensation for the accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business of generating profits, they’re not in the business of paying out every claim that their customers deserve. For that reason, it’s important to have a good attorney at your side. Attorneys can not only deal with the other driver and their representation, they can also deal with insurance companies. You’re not likely to win against an insurance company unless you have an attorney representing you.

What Happened and Why

Good personal injury attorneys can help you by reconstructing accidents to figure out what happened. In many cases, there are instances where Houston drivers end up in a car accident and they have no idea how it happened or who is actually to blame. If you’re a good person, it’s natural to assume that you did something to cause the accident, even if that turns out not to be the case. This is why you need an attorney.

Personal injury attorneys are experts at figuring out what happened and how it led up to a car accident. In fact, their livelihoods depend upon it. By providing clients with effective representation that begins with determining how an accident came to pass and whether or not the other driver involved was negligent, personal injury attorneys are sometimes able to get large settlements, such as the one in Temple, for their clients. The money for these generally goes to pay for medical expenses. For example, the father and son that were injured in Temple, Texas suffered back and neck injuries that would’ve constituted major medical expenditures for them.

Should You Sue?

The civil courts in Texas are set up so that people can seek out material compensation for damages done to them. They are there for everybody, including you. Not every instance where you are injured in a car wreck is one where you would have cause to file a lawsuit, however, but it’s always worth it to talk to an attorney to investigate the matter.

Because attorneys that handle personal injury claims generally do allow a free consultation, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t go ahead and take advantage of this. If they determine that they cannot help you, you’ve lost nothing for having found out for sure. If they do determine that they could help you and they believe that they are the best attorney for you, they may want to take your claim on and they may want to represent you in court. The jury awards and settlements can be substantial in these cases, sometimes paying into the millions of dollars.


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Summer Boot Camps and Injuries

Getting fit might be all the rage but some methods of doing so can be dangerous. Fitness experts are exhibiting more and more concern over the popularity of the camps as methods of getting fit. These boot camps tend to emphasize strenuous activity – obviously, they take the boot camp moniker from the military – to help people lose extra pounds. There are safe ways and markedly unsafe ways to go about getting fit and, if somebody providing a service ends up injuring you because of their own negligence, you may find yourself with quite a lot of medical expenses on your hands.

Doctors and Personal Trainers

Boot camps are generally not run by physicians or anybody with any significant degree of medical training. That being the case, people who are markedly out of shape may find themselves in a situation where they are being pushed too far. According to a press release by a New Jersey doctor, there are over 600 different types of certifications that personal trainers can get. These types of certifications include ones that specialize in boot camp training.

While many fitness experts and personal trainers are very good at what they do, this isn’t true of all of them, nor is it true of all the camps. If you are planning on attending one of these facilities, it’s always best to consult with an actual physician before you do. In some cases, being out of shape for a long period of time may end up putting you at great risk if you engage in activity that is too strenuous for your level of fitness. If your body hasn’t been exercised in a long time, it’s not likely that you’re going to take to long runs, a lot of push-ups and situps and other strenuous activity very well.


If you happen to be injured at one of these boot camps, don’t let the fact that you may have signed a waiver dissuade you from speaking with an attorney. Even though you may have willingly taken on a certain amount of risk by signing such a waiver, only an attorney – who has specific training and experience dealing with contracts – can determine whether or not you do have an option to seek compensation for your injuries. When somebody provides you a service, they are required to be competent and, when they are not, they may be held to be negligent.

Understanding Negligence

Negligence essentially means failing to take reasonable care that would’ve prevented someone from coming to harm that they ended up experiencing. Whenever you suspect that you may have been the victim of negligence, you should speak to an attorney. If you or a family member have attended one of these boot camps and ended up suffering injuries, make certain that you take the time to sit down with an attorney and speak to them on the matter. They may be able to help you by filing a lawsuit against the company providing the services and, in some cases, they may be able to win compensation for you.


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Police Chase Ends with Car Crashing Into House

KHOU reports that a police chase on August 14 ended with the suspect vehicle crashing into a home. According to the report, during a high-speed chase that followed a reported robbery, the vehicle being pursued attempted to make a u-turn at high speeds. The car failed and crashed into the house.

One person ended up being pinned under the vehicle. Reports on injuries had not been released. One suspect was taken into custody.

Crimes and Negligence

While it is possible to be criminally negligent, this isn’t the question that most people would have in mind if this happened to them. When a vehicle that is being driven by a negligent driver slams into a house, whether or not it’s in the course of committing a crime, most victims would want to know what they could do about the situation.

Understanding What Negligence Is

Negligence means being reckless in a way that a normal person under the same circumstances would not be. In the case of someone being pursued by police and crashing into a house, a lawyer would definitely want to hear from that homeowner about filing a lawsuit, and there’s good reason that this is the case.

Crimes and Lawsuits

Someone having been charged with or convicted of a crime does not mean that you cannot go after them in court. In fact, if someone committed a negligent action and caused you to come to harm, being able to file a lawsuit against them to seek compensation for the damages that you suffered is among your rights.

Talking to a Lawyer

Talking to a lawyer is the first step in determining whether filing a claim for negligence would be advisable for you. You want to work with an attorney who works on contingency. This ensures that you can trust that they have no financial motivation to take a case that they know is not going to win. Under a contingency agreement, the attorney does not get paid unless they win the claim for their clients; therefore, there is no reason for them to take cases that are unlikely to win.

Speaking with an attorney is generally free, so you’ll want to set up a consultation as soon as possible. Even though you do have the right to sue someone if they committed a negligent action that brought you to harm, there are limitations on how long you do have to file a lawsuit.

When you’re moving ahead with the lawsuit, realize that these cases can take time. Your attorney will let you know what to expect and what will be involved in pursuing the lawsuit. With a good attorney at your side, you have the confidence that comes with knowing that your interests are being effectively represented.


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CPSC Sues Maxfield & Oberton Over Buckyballs

Maxfield & Oberton, manufacturer of the toys Buckyballs and Buckycube, has been sued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission over hazards posed by those products. These products both include high-powered rare earth magnets that have been shown to pose a substantial risk of injury to people, particularly children, under certain circumstances. Following the failure of an effort to negotiate a voluntary recall with the manufacturer, the CPSC filed an administrative complaint.

The Hazard

Buckyballs and Buckycube both include high-powered rare earth magnets that have caused injuries resulting in surgeries in several instances. In total, the CPSC has learned that there are over two dozen such incidents related to these products that have occurred since 2009. These products were labeled as being safe for people ages 13 and up but, following investigation, it was found that they did not meet the requirements for that safety label.

Each of these sets includes up to 216 of the powerful magnets, according to a press release by the CPSC. These magnets can pose a risk of serious injury and even death under certain circumstances.

The injuries were reported when the magnets were ingested accidentally or intentionally by young children and teenagers. When the magnets enter the stomach and intestinal tract, the attraction between them is powerful enough that they can make holes in the digestive system or stick together through the tissues of the digestive system, causing an array of problems. The problems can range from obstructions to blood poisoning to death and, because of that, the CPSC was demanding a recall. The current lawsuit seeks to stop Maxfield & Oberton from selling these products any longer.

Some of the injuries were caused when very young children swallowed the magnets. Other injuries were caused because teenagers and older children were using the magnets to imitate lip piercings and tongue piercings, according to the press release, and they accidentally inhaled or ingested those magnets. Rare earth magnets are powerful enough to attract one another through the tissues of the body and therein is where the hazard lies. If your child has been injured by one of these products, you may want to consider contacting a product liability lawyer to see if filing a lawsuit over the injuries would be an option for your family.

Filing a Lawsuit

Product liability claims can be filed over products that are found to be defective in manufacture, advertising or design. Because these products were advertised as being safe for children ages 13 and over but do not meet the standards for that labeling, you may be able to file a lawsuit if your child was injured.

Talking to a Houston product liability lawyer is the first step in determining whether or not this is an option for you. These attorneys will generally offer you a free consultation where they can listen to the details of your situation and determine whether or not it would be appropriate for you to press forward with a lawsuit. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is advisable.

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Oil Firm Nailed for Millions in Employee Injury Suit

An oil company that was found to be negligent in protecting its workers from harm was sued successfully for $4.1 million in damages by an employee. The incident in which the employee was injured occurred in Colorado, on an oil field where the employee worked as a roughneck. While working in oilfields is a notoriously dangerous profession, employees still do have a reasonable expectation that their employers will look out for their well-being as much as is possible, which they failed to do in this case, according to the jury’s finding.

The Wrong Parts

In the Colorado case, the oil drilling firm was found to have used improper parts in a drilling operation and, because of that, the employee ended up being crushed. The employee did survive, but suffered serious injuries. What made this particular case interesting was that the oil company had sold its operation and, because of that, both the oil company that originally owned the equipment and the company that had only recently purchased it were found to have both been liable to different degrees.

The case also found that the environment in which workers toiled for this oil company was one where intimidation was common. Employees feeling intimidated by supervisors and the company for which they work itself is far too common. In some cases, that intimidation ends up creating a corporate culture where injuries become much more common than they should be, simply because employees do not feel free to voice their concerns.

In the Colorado case, the employer failed to have the employees connect the safety line to the machinery on which they were working, in addition to the fact that they had been trying to use an incorrect part, both of which led to the injuries. The employee, unfortunately, ended up sustaining injuries to his back and to the spine that had impacts on his quality of life.

In any situation where an employee feels that they are being put in needless danger, reporting the incident is absolutely necessary. If one employee is being put in such a situation, it’s likely that others are, as well, and it’s only a matter of time before someone ends up getting hurt. If employers fail to adhere to federal and state regulations regarding their operations, they may end up being cited upon an inspection. In the worst-case scenarios, employees end up being hurt before any action is actually taken.

Taking Action

Intimidation, the fear of losing a job and other factors oftentimes dissuade employees from taking completely justified actions against employers who have put them at risk. If you have been put at risk and have been injured as a result of that, talking to an attorney right away is imperative. There may be limitations on how long you have to act, so speaking with a Houston personal injury attorney right away is your single best option. You can sit down with such an attorney for free, at which time they will determine whether or not it seems likely that you have a good case on your hands.

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