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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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Houston Car Crashes Kill Two Well-Known Figures

A singer and a lighting designer were both among the fatalities that resulted from two separate car wrecks in Houston this month. Laura Botkin, a singer, died after being struck by a vehicle heading the wrong way. The accident occurred when she was on her way back from the Grand Canyon. According to a report on Chron.com, the singer was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. She was ejected from the car and killed.

Jeremy Choate, a lighting designer, was killed in a motorcycle accident on a service road near I-10. The 33 year-old artist was on his way to a cast party at the time of the wreck.

Police are investigating to see if alcohol was a factor in the accident that killed Botkin. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle had a warrant out for a previous DWI, according to the report on Chron.

Wrong-Way Accidents

Wrong-way accidents have been frighteningly common over the last few months. Drivers who mistakenly enter a freeway heading the wrong way can cause devastating damage to the cars they strike, oftentimes killing the driver or passengers. These accidents oftentimes do involve alcohol and the driver of the offending vehicle sometimes may have never made the mistake if they were not intoxicated.

Motorcycle Accidents

The wreck that killed Choate was a hit and run. These crashes are among the most frustrating because the driver who caused the accident sometimes ends up getting away with it for a time. Quite often, however, police are able to piece together evidence that allows them to determine who the hit-and-run driver was and to go after them for criminal charges.

Common Accidents and Options

If you’re involved in one of these types of accidents, you do have options. You can contact an attorney to discuss whether or not filing a lawsuit would be to your benefit.

Lawsuits over car crashes are filed due to the negligence of the driver that caused the accident. When that other driver was negligent and, because of that, brought you to harm, you can sometimes seek a jury award or a settlement through a lawsuit. Not every driver involved in such a crash, however, will have this option.

Talk to an Attorney

If you want to know whether or not it would be worth it to go ahead and file a lawsuit, the first step is consulting with a Houston accident attorney. They’ll be able to review the circumstances of your crash and help to determine whether or not the other driver involved was likely negligent. If they believe that driver was negligent, they can start putting together a case to establish as much to a jury and this may win you compensation.

 

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Pfizer Loses Fen-Phen Dismissal Move

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was unsuccessful in getting claims dismissed over fen-phen, a diet drug that has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. The company acquired the original manufacturer, Wyeth, in 2009 and sought to get lawsuits over the side effects of the drug thrown out. Specifically, it was trying to get lawsuits alleging that the lethal side effects of this drug could be experienced many years after usage had stopped.

Fen-Phen

A popular diet drug up until its 1997 recall, fen-phen was found to have potentially fatal side effects. The drug is linked to primary pulmonary hypertension and, according to some lawsuits, that condition can result from usage of this drug more than a decade after a patient has discontinued using it. At its peak, there were more than 6 million prescriptions written for fen-phen. In the year since it was recalled, fen-phen has been the subject of of nearly 200,000 lawsuits.

The Side Effects

The lawsuits filed over fen-phen alleged that the drug had side effects that were deliberately hidden by the manufacturer so that they could continue making profits on the drug. Since the drug was recalled from the market, however, fen-phen has cost the manufacturer a great deal of money. Some of the largest jury awards and settlements have taken place in Texas.

In a lawsuit over the wrongful death of a woman who was using fen-phen, a Texas jury ended up awarding her surviving family $900 million in punitive damages and $113 million in compensatory damages. To deal with the lawsuits that they were certain they were going to face, the original manufacturer of the drug had put aside $21 billion, according to reports.

Suing a Pharma Company

Pfizer and other large pharmaceutical companies, as you can see from the $21 billion figure, have plenty of money to protect themselves in court. In cases where you know you’re going to be up against such a huge company in a lawsuit, it’s easy to be cynical and think that you would never be able to win when a company can put up that kind of money. The fact of the matter is, however, that the law is on the side of a person who was wronged by a company that was irresponsible and people routinely win lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies when it can be established that those pharmaceutical companies deliberately and cynically endangered their customer’s lives.

If you believe that you were injured by a pharmaceutical company, whether it was from using fen-phen or any other drug, make certain that you contact a Texas personal injury attorney. They will be willing to sit down with you for a free consultation about whether or not filing a lawsuit is a good option for you.

 

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Houston Police Strike Pickup

A Houston police vehicle slammed into a pickup at the intersection of Bissonnet and Beechnut on August 19. According to Chron.com, the accident occurred when the driver of the police vehicle was on his way to a chase at around 1am.

The driver of the pickup will not be ticketed and no one was hurt in the accident. The truck was t-boned in the intersection. According to the report, the police officer did have his sirens and his lights on but the driver of the truck could not stop before entering the intersection.

Crashes with Municipal Vehicles

Drivers sometimes end up getting hurt or killed due to the actions of the drivers of emergency vehicles. Obviously, it’s not uncommon for emergency vehicle drivers to have to drive very fast in areas where the speed limits are much lower. Even though they do have reasons for doing this, you may be able to get compensated for the damages they caused.

Settlements

Sometimes, cities will be fair and offer a settlement amount that takes care of the damages that they caused to people’s property. If a police officer smashes into your vehicle and destroys it, for example, the municipality may simply offer to total out the vehicle for you and to pay you back. This isn’t always the case, however.

When to Sue

You need to talk to an attorney if you’re interested in going after a municipality because of damage that they caused to your property or because of medical expenses that you suffered due to a crash that they caused. There are cases where the municipality won’t offer anything or where they won’t offer enough to actually cover the damages that they caused. In such cases, it’s a good idea to at least consult with an attorney to see what your options are.

If it was a non-emergency vehicle that struck you, you may be able to sue, as well. Accidents involving city buses and other heavy, municipal vehicles can destroy a car in less than a second. In some cases, these accidents may involve serious injuries or even deaths and that means that you need to talk to an attorney about getting compensated. Which part of the city you go after for damages may vary depending upon the department responsible for the vehicle that struck you but, overall, there is usually a way that an attorney can seek compensation for you.

Talk to an attorney and let them know what happened. Even if the wreck didn’t cause injuries, you should be able to get compensated for your financial and property losses as a result of the crash. If an emergency or non-emergency vehicle struck you, be sure to talk to a lawyer about it.

 

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Driver Takes Plunge into Sinkhole

According to a report by ABC news, a college student in West Palm Beach, Florida drove into a sinkhole while trying to make a turn in a fast food restaurant’s parking lot. The student wasn’t injured. He also wasn’t the first to fall prey to the sinkhole. The story also details that the driver of an 18 wheeler also got stuck in the sink hole, but his vehicle was large enough to prevent him from falling in completely.

Unexpected Hazard

The driver, who happened to be a law student, was driving into the parking lot to turn around. He couldn’t see the hole, as the caution signs and tape that had been installed after the semi had gone in the hole had blown away overnight. The driver was driving a vehicle that was low to the ground, making it even harder to see.

It took a tow truck to get the vehicle out of the sinkhole. The report claims that the sinkhole was a whopping 8 feet deep.

Premise Liability

Not every premise liability claim involves a physical injury to the victim. As is the case in this story, the victim sometimes ends up suffering property damage. There are no reports as to whether the driver of the vehicle intends to sue for damages or not but this is a case where you would definitely want to speak with an attorney, whether or not you were injured.

Commercial establishments are responsible for the safety of the people they invite on their property. In a case such as this, it might not make any difference that the hazard was flagged initially. It wasn’t flagged at the time and, depending upon what an attorney thought of the matter upon review of the situation, there might be an opportunity to file a lawsuit for damages in a case such as this. Even though there are no physical injuries reported in the story, the driver’s car would certainly need a lot of work after falling into an 8-foot deep hole, if it was repairable at all.

Talking to a Lawyer

If you’ve suffered property damage or a personal injury on a commercial property, the time to talk to a lawyer is always right away. There are limitations on how long you have to file a lawsuit in such cases and the more quickly you report the incident the better.

An attorney who takes cases like these usually works on contingency. This means they don’t get paid if you don’t win via settlement or jury award. There’s no risk in talking to an attorney and, if you have a good claim, you may end up being compensated for your losses that resulted from the property owner’s negligence.

 

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Semi Driver May Face Charges in Houston County Crash

A semi driver may face criminal negligent homicide charges from an accident that resulted in the death of the driver of a passenger vehicle. The accident occurred at a construction zone, where four vehicles were already stopped. The semi driver, according to a report on KTRE, failed to apply brakes in time, slamming into the last of the vehicles and causing a chain reaction accident. In total, one driver died and six other people nearby were injured.

Negligence

Legally, negligence involves failing to take an action that would’ve prevented somebody from coming to harm or taking an action that caused somebody to come to harm. In instances where negligence involves a vehicle, nobody is expecting an everyday driver to be possessed of the type of skills that you would expect of a police officer or a professional driver. Negligence involves the types of actions or inaction that would apply to the average person.

In instances where negligence causes a death or injury, filing a civil lawsuit is an option for the parties that were injured, or their families, if somebody happened to lose their life as the result of the accident.

Accidents that involve negligence on the part of a semi driver are particularly deadly. In instances where a semi collides with passenger vehicles, there is very little chance that any of the drivers of those passenger vehicles are going to escape unharmed. Simply because of the mass of a semi, the amount of inertia it generates when it is moving at speed is incredible. No matter how sturdy a passenger vehicle may be, most of them will not stand a chance against that kind of force and that is precisely why accidents involving semis are so deadly.

Trucker or Company?

If you have been injured by a semi, your lawyer may recommend that you sue the trucking company for which the driver worked, the driver themselves or both. There are instances where the truck driver happens to be the one who was negligent and where they are solely responsible for having caused the accident. There are also cases where the trucking company was negligent in maintaining their equipment or in providing adequate rest time for their drivers, thereby being a party to the accident that occurred. An attorney is the only one who can really figure out where negligence may apply and who is responsible for it.

Filing a Lawsuit

There are essentially two types of lawsuits that come out of accidents involving semis where somebody is hurt. If you are injured, you’ll be looking at a personal injury lawsuit and, unfortunately, if somebody happened to die, you may find yourself talking to an attorney about filing a wrongful death claim. A Houston personal injury attorney can help you with either type of claim. The first step is arranging for a consultation with a personal injury attorney so that you can tell them the situation. Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything that happened, which is common in these situations. Attorneys have the technology and the knowledge required to reconstruct accidents if necessary.

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Texas Lawsuit Alleges Drug Test Ordered Before 911 Called

A lawsuit filed by the family of a Texas man who died at his workplace alleges that the employer ordered a drug test before they called 911 for assistance. As reported in the Courthouse News Service, the man ended up suffering a fatal injury at work due to a fall. The lawsuit also alleges that there was no fall protection equipment provided for the man and that he ended up falling to his death as a result of that.

Drug Test Before Paramedics

The lawsuit alleges that, while he was lying on the ground unconscious, the defendant ordered that a drug test be performed on the decedent. This is disputed by the defendant. The death occurred on July 1, 2011. According to the lawsuit, the man ended up falling several feet and was working as a loader at the time.

According to the lawsuit, it was the defendant’s failure to provide immediate medical assistance that ended up leading to the man’s death. It is also alleged by the lawsuit that OSHA violations – namely, the lack of fall protection – also contributed to his death. OSHA regulations hold that any employee working at a height be provided with personal fall protection equipment, a guardrail or another approved device that is designed to arrest their fall in the event that they lose their footing or otherwise come to lose her balance.

The lawsuit is seeking $15 million in wrongful death, gross negligence and punitive damages, according to the report.

Wrongful Death in the Workplace

OSHA and other organizations provide a regulatory framework that is designed to keep people safe at work. In addition to this regulatory framework, employers are also expected to be competent in delivering care to employees when they are injured. In any instance where an employee is injured on the job, performing a drug test on an employee at the hospital is generally standard procedure. In this particular case, the allegation that the employer ordered a drug test before 911 was even called is at the heart of the wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to provide for the family of the deceased individual. In some cases, they take into account the loss of income that the entire family suffers as a result of the loss of their loved one. They may also include – as in the case of this particular lawsuit – punitive damages against an employer or other agency that was proven to have been negligent.

If you have been injured in the workplace and you believe that your employer was negligent in either not following OSHA regulations or because they didn’t provide you with adequate care after the fact, you should speak with an attorney. The best thing to do, however, is to make certain that you don’t end up in one of these situations in the first place. Learn the OSHA regulations that apply to your work and make certain that your employer follows them. If they do not and you are injured, an attorney may be able to set the situation right for you.

 

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Investigating Auto Crashes

If you’ve engaged the services of a Houston personal injury attorney to represent you in a lawsuit related to a car accident, there will be an investigation involved. The attorney will need to collect evidence to back up your claim, and, to accomplish this, they will use their own investigators. This is much different than a police investigation in a very important way.

What the Police Want

When the police or other law enforcement agencies investigate an accident, they’re looking for criminal infractions. They’re not interested in whether or not the other driver was negligent, unless that negligence was somehow actually criminal.

The police are very good investigators and they have the forensic abilities required to reconstruct accidents very accurately. This helps them to determine whether or not one of the drivers involved did something that was in direct violation of criminal law and that led to the accident. What they find out in the course of their investigation may contribute to your case, but it will not be done on your behalf.

What Your Attorney Wants

Your attorney will specifically be interested in negligence. Your attorney, among other things, is trying to determine where financial responsibility for the accident lies. They will have investigators look at the circumstances of the accident and the scene of the accident to collect any evidence that may be available that bolsters your case.

Your attorney may find out that, for instance, the other driver didn’t check an intersection before they started to cross it, that they failed to check for vehicles before they backed out of their driveway or that they were negligent in some other regard that was directly a cause of your accident.

In some cases, your attorney will actually create a computer simulation of the accident so that they can review what happened. This will sometimes reveal where negligence played a role in you coming to harm.

Starting the Investigation

The very first part of this investigation will usually take place at your consultation with a Houston personal injury attorney. They’ll need to sit down with you and get as much information as you can give them about what happened. Don’t worry if you don’t remember exactly how the accident occurred. This is common, particularly in cases where the victim may have suffered a head injury.

If the attorney determines that you likely do have good cause to file a lawsuit and that they want to represent you, they will gather a great deal of evidence, including that which comes from their investigations into the scene of the accident. All of this evidence will be used to argue your case before a jury as convincingly as possible and, if you win, to help you get the largest possible jury award or settlement you can.

 

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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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