Monthly Archives October 2012

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Lawsuit Filed over Colorado Theater Shooting

Cinemark USA, headquartered in Plano, Texas, has been named in a lawsuit filed by some of the victims of the July 20, 2012 shootings that took place at one of their theaters in Aurora, Colorado. These shootings were big news, with 12 people having lost their lives and 58 other people having been injured by a shooter who managed to get into the theater with weaponry. The shooting took place during what was slated to be the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie.

Cinemark has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed and that it would be unfair for the company to have been expected to have foreseen the shooting. While this particular case is obviously going to be a high-profile one due to the circumstances and the already infamous shootings, it does speak to the question of a premise owner’s liability when they do not provide adequate security in certain situations.

Dangerous Places

Most of the time, if you read about premise liability lawsuits, they have to do with things like slip and fall injuries on dangerous flooring, people being injured by products left out in the middle of a high-traffic area and so forth. Security, however, is another area where premise owners are sometimes held liable for injuries and deaths that are suffered at their establishment.

One example of this that has happened many times involves concerts. There have been concerts where people have been trampled to death due to crowds getting out of hand and where people have been burned to death due to pyrotechnics misfiring and creating fire hazards.

Some establishments have a need for security that should be obvious to any reasonable person. For example, bars typically have bouncers because it is a given that some people are going to become violent or aggressive after having had too much to drink and, therefore, the bar provides for its patron’s safety by having qualified security people on hand to deal with the situation.

Premise liability lawsuits can be very complex and require a good lawyer to argue successfully. There are certain situations where you will want to consider speaking to an attorney about filing such a lawsuit in cases where the premise owner’s liability is not as obvious as it would be if you had slipped and fell on their floor and injured yourself.

Talking to an Attorney

A qualified personal injury attorney is the only person who can really give you advice on whether or not you should file a lawsuit for premise liability. If you were injured or somebody in your family died, however, because a property owner was negligent in providing adequate security for an event, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

 

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Another Change to Texas Medical Malpractice Law

The Texas Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision decided that workplace injuries for hospital workers, including nurses, should be treated as if they were medical errors. According to News-Journal.com, the decision will have impacts on nurses and other healthcare professionals who are injured on the job.

The Texas Medical Liability Act

The Texas Medical Liability Act limits the compensation that you can receive for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim to $250,000. The stated intention of this law was to reduce the number of medical malpractice claims throughout the state and to make the state more attractive to doctors, as well as to bring healthcare costs down. Since it was passed in 2003, the costs of healthcare have gone up and there has been no influx of doctors to Texas. The latest move extends this limitation to employees who want to sue for compensation for workplace injuries sustained at a hospital.

Under the law, an injured nurse or healthcare worker can only seek compensation from a hospital employer under the same restrictions that apply to the Texas Medical Liability Act. This applies if the healthcare facility hasn’t provided workers compensation insurance, as well. The limitations could make it difficult for employees who were injured to get enough compensation to help them carry their bills and other obligations while they recover.

Should You Sue?

The limitations in the Texas Medical Liability Act are not difficult to understand in terms of their purpose. The intent of the law is to make it less productive to sue over medical malpractice claims and, now, nurses who are injured on the job will be restricted by the same law. If you are injured, however, don’t give up.

The limitations on damages still leave room for a skilled attorney to get just compensation for what you’ve suffered if medical malpractice or workplace injuries were issues. Don’t let the law discourage you from talking to an attorney. A good Houston personal injury attorney may see an opportunity for you to get compensated and that may mean a lot of valuable assistance handling your bills and other obligations.

Malpractice law is designed to make doctors accountable for the treatment that they deliver to their patients. When that treatment is negligent, the law provides a way for people to seek compensation. There is a lot of talk about the damage that medical malpractice claims do to the healthcare system but far less talk about how much damage the healthcare system does to everyday people.

Make sure you talk to an attorney if you have questions. They can give you the information you’ll need on any laws that apply to your lawsuit and can let you know what your options are and which of them would be most productive.

 

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Low Speed Crash Causes Mayhem

The car crashes people dread are those that happen at high speeds, but a story from FOX in San Antonio reveals that you don’t have to be going fast to do real damage. According to the report, a 30mph crash resulted in $30,000 of damage to a home and two totaled cars.

The crash occurred on the northeast side of San Antonio. The driver of the vehicle that caused the crash ran a stop sign and slammed into a vehicle. The vehicle kept on going and slammed into a house. No one was injured in the home, but the three people in the vehicles were taken to the hospital, according to the report.

At Any Speed

Vehicles that are moving at low speeds are still very dangerous. The energy of a crash is partially determined by mass and, even at a slow speed, the tremendous mass of a motor vehicle makes it deadly. While no one was killed in the crash in San Antonio, cars travelling at low speed routinely cause death and destruction. In fact, even a car travelling at what seems a snail’s pace can be deadly.

In school zones, the 15mph speed limit may seem excessively slow, but a car going that fast can easily kill an adult, much less a child. The lowered speed does not make it safe to get hit by a car, but it makes it much easier for the driver to brake in time to avoid a disaster, which is the entire point. When drivers are negligent and do not follow speed limits, when they run stop signs and when they otherwise drive in an unreasonable way, there are recourses.

Civil vs. Criminal

In cases where there is negligent driving involved, there are sometimes criminal charges filed against the offending driver. This does nothing, however, for the people who were injured or who had their property destroyed by the negligent driver. That is where lawsuits come into play and they are sometimes the only realistic ways that people get compensated for their injuries.

Finding Help

Whether you’ve been injured or had your property destroyed by someone going 30mph or faster than 60mph, contacting an attorney is advisable. The attorney may be able to determine where negligence played a part in the wreck and, if it did, you may end up being able to file a successful lawsuit. Talking to an attorney right away after the wreck is highly advisable as there are limitations to consider.

Remember that someone facing criminal charges does not impact your ability to sue them. The criminal case will be a separate matter. A good Houston car accident lawyer may be able to help you get compensated for what you’ve been put through.

 

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Negligent Physicians not Being Sanctioned: Report

Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy organization, has conducted a study revealing that 459 physicians working in Texas who have been sanctioned by hospitals and other healthcare providers have not been disciplined by the state medical board. According to a report in KXAN, a letter was sent to Governor Rick Perry detailing the results of the finding. The study was conducted by analyzing 21 years of data collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Not Following Standards

The report details that the state medical board does not receive all of the funding generated by fees and fines. In fact, according to the report, even though $30 million are collected annually, the board only receives one third of that amount.

The report also details that there are open cases that date back as far as 2005. In total, the report found that 454 cases had been open for one year or more. The KXAN report goes on to detail that some of the disciplinary actions taken by healthcare facilities were for rather egregious infractions. They include sexual misconduct, endangering the lives of patients, negligence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse and insurance fraud, among other infractions.

Some of the malpractice claims that these physicians faced included failure to treat, failure to diagnose, performing unnecessary procedures and even wrongful death. With the state authority charged with overseeing doctors receiving only a third of the funding that it collects, many of these cases remain open and unresolved. Of course, that also means that any disciplinary actions that the state could take against these physicians are not being taken and that they may well continue to represent a threat to their patients.

Medical Malpractice

Fixing a broken regulatory system is a political task, but medical malpractice is a legal issue. Whenever a physician takes you on as a patient, they have an obligation to provide you with competent care, accurate diagnosis and to adhere to certain ethical guidelines. When they do not, one of your options for rectifying the situation is seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Texas does have limitations on how much you can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim, but a skillful Houston medical malpractice attorney can ensure that you maximize your chances of winning your claim.

Filing a Claim

The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is speaking with an attorney. If you’re not sure whether or not you do have a viable claim, an attorney can give you guidance in this matter. Because most medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency, they’ll have no interest in taking a claim that they don’t think is going to win. If they take your claim, you can be certain that they believe it is valid and that it could win in front of a jury.

 

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