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Another Lawsuit Over Hot Beverages

A woman in Seattle is suing Starbucks over injuries allegedly caused by a hot beverage. The woman claims that, after buying tea in a drive through lane, she suffered burns that resulted from the lid not being affixed to the cup properly. These types of cases are oftentimes ridiculed in the media, but it’s important to understand what happened to the woman and why she might want to sue.

The Injuries

The injuries that were allegedly the results of the tea not being sealed correctly are distressing. The woman claims that, upon taking a sip of the tea, the lid came off the cup and the hot tea poured all over her body. She suffered immediate blistering and second-degree burns, according to a report in Seattle PI. The woman’s representation claims that the company was negligent and that the cup was designed improperly. They also claim that the popular coffee chain is aware of the problem and that they have done nothing to remedy the issue.

The woman’s injuries required skin grafts to repair, which are both expensive and painful procedures. She also claims other injuries in her lawsuit, according to the report.

When It’s Not Your Fault

There are plenty of ways that claims like these are characterized as being the fault of the injured party. In some cases, the injured individual likely is to blame. In other cases, however, the injured party is simply a victim of someone else’s negligence or of negligence on the part of a company.

When you buy a product, you have a justified reason to expect that you’re buying something that’s safe. There are plenty of cases, however, where someone is sold a defective product that ends up injuring them. Sometimes it’s a cup of coffee and sometimes it’s a medical device; these cases vary widely. The thing to keep in mind is that accepting a settlement without talking to an attorney is not in your best interests.

Negligence

It’s natural to feel like something such as the incident described above, or a remarkably similar incident in Albuquerque years ago, would somehow be your fault if it happened to you. An attorney should be consulted about these matters, however. There’s no sense paying for your own injuries if you didn’t cause them through your own actions and if a little more care in the delivery of a service or a product on behalf of a provider would have prevented those injuries.

Don’t accept a settlement without contacting an attorney if you’re injured by a product or a service. If you’re offered a settlement, consider it an indication that the company offering it is worried about being sued and there may be good reason for that! Contact a Houston personal injury attorney and get their opinion first.

 

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Distracted Driving an Epidemic, Says CDC

Distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions, according to a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June of 2012. According to this survey, over 55 percent of high school seniors acknowledged that they had sent messages via text or e-mail while they were driving. The same survey said that approximately 40 percent of high school juniors had also e-mailed or texted while they were driving.

Distracted driving is rapidly becoming one of the worst threats on the road. In the second or two it takes to look down at the screen of a cellular phone, a car can travel a significant distance and, of course, that car may end up plowing into somebody in front of them or into a pedestrian crossing the road.

Tech Cures and Failures

According to an Associated Press report, the industry has responded to problems with people driving while distracted by releasing a range of cell phone apps that are designed to curb this behavior. Rather than relying upon the driver’s own sense of responsibility, these apps turn off or reduce the volume on cellular devices when they detect that they are moving at vehicle speeds. Results of these apps have been mixed, though they have proven somewhat popular.

At the same time that the technology sector is attempting to address this problem with new apps, the Transportation Department is looking to law enforcement. Hoping that a combination of public service messages and increased law enforcement will curb the problem, the Department is planning on spending millions in California and Delaware to address this issue, according to the same Associated Press reports.

Sensible Solutions

In Texas, there are restrictions on teenage drivers using cellular phones while they are in cars. There is no statewide ban on texting as of yet, however. Using cellular phones has long known to be dangerous when behind the wheel. Obviously, the easiest solution to this problem is to either turn your cellular phone off when you’re driving or to use a hands-free device. There are conflicting studies, however, where the safety of hands-free devices is concerned. Some of them maintain that there is an increase in safety when utilizing a hands-free device and others have found that there is no appreciable difference between the levels of distraction experienced by drivers utilizing hands-free devices as compared to those using a cellular phone with their hands.

Negligent Drivers

Driving while distracted, in some cases, may be determined to be a form of negligence by a jury. Drivers who have their vehicles wrecked or who suffer personal injuries because of a driver who was distracted by a cellular phone or any other electronic device may wish to contact an attorney about the matter. Rather than footing the entire bill for the repairs and the medical expenses yourself, an attorney may be able to present you with an option to file a lawsuit, which could win you significant compensation and, possibly, enough to more than pay for the damages and injuries that you suffered as a result of the other driver’s negligence.

 

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Food Recall Hits Fast Food Giants

Burger King and McDonald’s are among the businesses being asked to pull apple slices and pieces from their shelves. Ready Pack Foods announced the voluntary recall of approximately 300,000 cases, according to reporting by NPR. The food supplier’s recall will also affect many different national supermarkets.

The Use-By dates on these products include those that go up to August 20, according to the report.

Listeria

According to the reporting, these products may have been exposed to listeria when they came in contact with contaminated equipment. There have been no illnesses reported and the company undertook the recall on its own. They are a very large producer of prepackaged vegetable and fruit products. The company is, according to Yahoo cited in NPR, among the top four producers of these food products.

Listeria is caused by the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. When someone becomes infected with this bacteria, the symptoms can be very severe. They include vomiting, fever and others that can be deadly to some people.

There are other products associated with this recall, as well. Recalls.gov will give constantly updated information on the recall and whether or not anyone has been injured.

Listeria symptoms are life-and-death issues in some people. If you start to exhibit any of the signs of listeria infection or food poisoning in general, contact a physician. These symptoms can progress quickly and to the point where they are incapacitating.

Liability and Food Products

Food producers can be and have been sued for contaminated food that they put onto the market. You can most certainly file a lawsuit against one if you’ve been injured or if someone has actually died because of contracting an illness that resulted from contaminated food, in some circumstances. Talk to a lawyer about your situation and they may find that suing would be a good option for you.

Liability claims can be complex. They usually include any obvious damages you’ve suffered-such as medical, lost time at work, etc.-but they sometimes include damages that are less obvious in terms of how they’re calculated. Mental anguish, for instance, is sometimes added to a lawsuit because of what a claimant has been put through.

Your attorney will be able to help you work out the damages. Some of the things that people sue for can be a bit confusing, but they are real damages and one of the things an attorney will help you do is to determine the actual economic consequences of what you endured.

If you’ve been poisoned by food that was recalled, contact an attorney. If you have any food that is recalled, always check to see what the manufacturer would have you do with it. If you’re poisoned at a restaurant, be sure to report the incident. It’s not going after the restaurant owner; it’s helping other people to avoid being poisoned at all.

 

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Malpractice and Practitioners

If you go to a hospital, you’ll be handled by many different people and many of those people will belong to different departments. It’s important to understand that malpractice lawsuits can be brought against individuals other than your attending physician. For example, an article in Diagnostic Imaging details a claim that was brought against a radiologist, which is likely not the first person that somebody who has been the victim of medical malpractice would think to sue.

Failure to Communicate

In the claim detailed in the article, a radiologist was sued for malpractice in 2011 in Pennsylvania due to failing to communicate important information to the patient. The patient had one chest x-ray done, which showed, according to the article, increased density in the lungs.

The problem came after a second x-ray was recommended and taken. The results of that x-ray was never given to the patient, who ended up suffering with inoperable lung cancer.

In order for patients receive quality, competent care, all of the different departments within a healthcare facility have to communicate with one another, and with that the patient, effectively. In some instances, situations where hospital staff does not communicate with one another can end up in disaster, as is detailed in the case above.

Suing

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, you may actually wonder whom it is you would sue. You may know that you got treated poorly by healthcare a facility, but speaking with the lawyer may reveal surprising information about who would ultimately be as possible for the negligence that caused you to suffer. In some cases, it may be the radiologist. It may also be the healthcare facility itself, an ER technician who did not take enough time to notice that you had a serious problem or someone else involved in your healthcare who failed you.

There are limitations on how long you have to file a medical malpractice claim after the incident has occurred. If you believe that you may have been the victim of medical malpractice, you should speak with an attorney, whether or not you’re even considering suing. Attorneys generally offer free consultations and, at those consultations, they’ll be able to get any of their questions answered and to see if there is information that they need to follow up on. They can determine from this whether or not it seems logical for you to sue and why.

If it’s unclear how a healthcare provider failed you, ask an attorney what they think. Even if it doesn’t persuade you to go ahead and sue or convince you not to sue at all, you’ll at least have an expert opinion to work with when you decide whether or not a healthcare facility or someone within it owes you compensation.

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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 Recalls.gov. 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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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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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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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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Be Careful at the Pool this Summer

Houston has already heated up for the summer, and that means a lot of people are heading to the pool. Whether you’re at a public pool or private pool, exercising a bit of caution may prevent you from sustaining a grievous injury or worse. According to a report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 390 children between the ages of zero and 14 died in drowning deaths through the period extending between the years 2007 and 2009.

High Risk Groups

According to the report, the highest risk group for drowning deaths are those between the ages of zero and five years old. They constituted 293 of the 390 deaths reported from 2007 2009. This translates to roughly 75 percent of those deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Mitigating the risk posed to children by drowning starts with paying attention. Children should not be allowed to go to swimming pools where there is no supervision or where there is no lifeguard on duty. Keep in mind that, even though other well-intentioned parents may be willing to bring your child down to the swimming pool, there still may be a risk to those children that you’re not considering. Unless those well-intentioned parents happen to have first aid training for drowning victims, they may be able to do little for a child who suffers a submersion injury.

Liability and Swimming Pools

In some cases were children or adults are injured at swimming pools, filing a lawsuit might be an option. There are certainly plenty of swimming pools out there that are swim at your own risk affairs. Even though this is the case, it’s still worth it to speak with an attorney if you or your child happens to have been injured at a swimming pool. The best possible thing you can do, however, is to provide your child with the tools they need to stay safe.

Swimming Instruction

When you don’t live next to any large bodies of water, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that swimming lessons may be frivolous for children. Remember: even large cities without any recreational lakes or rivers nearby tend to have a lot of houses with swimming pools. Taking a child to a facility that provides qualified instruction in swimming is always a good idea. It may be a skill that they never need to use to save themselves but, if they do, it is literally the difference between life and death.

Make certain that you visit any recreational facility where your child goes to swim so that you can see what kind of a safety culture they have. While an attorney can certainly help you if your child suffers an injury due to negligence on the part of somebody who should’ve intervened or provided a safer environment, the best case scenario is one where you see negligence before it causes injury and where you are able to remove your child from that situation before the worst happens.

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Suing for Workplace Injuries

Many people are fortunate enough to have an employer that cares about their health and welfare. Beyond that, such people are also fortunate enough to have an employer who follows the guidelines put forth by OSHA and other regulators that are designed to keep people safe in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are too many people who do not have these types of employers and who end up being treated as if they were machines that can simply be replaced when they are broken due to their work. If you are injured on the job and you believe your employer was negligent, you need to speak with an injury attorney.

Workplace Regulations and Obligations

There are some jobs that are notoriously dangerous. For example, oil workers face some of the most brutal and dangerous working conditions imaginable. Even though this is the case, their employers are expected to keep them as safe as possible, given the circumstances of their work. This applies to all workers. There is a complex set of regulations in place that apply to just about every industry out there that has a certain number of employees.

When employers fail to adhere to these regulations and their employees are injured, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you. There are numerous cases of people being injured in ways that should’ve never happened. Safety equipment isn’t replaced or repaired as needed, employees are not given the training they need to do their jobs safely or employers, relying on the fact that they have the intimidation of holding the employee’s paycheck in their hand, ask employees to do unreasonably dangerous things. None of these things are legal and all of these things are negligent.

Fighting Back

Sometimes, people end up in the unfortunate situation of still relying on the employer who is responsible for their injuries and, therefore, they feel that they are in a position where they cannot file a lawsuit. Speaking with an attorney is always confidential. Speak with an attorney and ask them what they can do for you. They may well advise you to go ahead and file a lawsuit. Some injured employees are put in the insufferable situation of still having to draw a paycheck that is not enough to pay for the expenses caused them by the actions of a negligent employer. Some employers can be very manipulative about this. They may actually make it sound like they’re doing you a favor by keeping you on at your unreasonably dangerous job.

Experienced attorneys understand negligence. Simply put, they can see right through the smokescreen that employers will put up to protect themselves and they are certainly not intimidated by going up against a large corporation. You may feel that you have all of the odds stacked against you in these cases simply because the company you work for has, essentially, limitless resources to defend themselves. Realize that you have the law on your side. And, with a good attorney to represent you, that can be incredibly powerful and may provide you with the means you need to recover financially.

The Law offices of Blaine Tucker provides FREE initial consultation for victims of workplace injuries in the Houston and surrounding areas. Contact his office at 713-771-5453 today.

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