Nursing Home Neglect
Auto Accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for Americans under 30. In 2015 approximately 35,000 Americans lost their lives in auto accidents, a number which has steadily declined from its peak of over 50,000 in 1979. Safer vehicles and tougher laws for drinking and driving are primarily responsible for the decrease in fatalities. However, today, just as in 1979, most deaths could be avoided. Over 2 million Americans are injured in car wrecks each year. Most of these injuries could likewise be avoided. Tough new laws and lawsuits made our roads safer. The positive effect of lawsuits in creating safer highways is illustrated from the fact that 90% of the world’s fatalities come from low to middle income countries which have less than half of the world’s drivers. Auto accidents are typically a result of someone’s negligence and almost always create some injury to an innocent victim. At Mehaffey & Watson we hold drivers and their insurance companies accountable to their victims. Mehaffey & Watson represents people in all types of auto accidents to include 18-wheeler, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
Injuries may be physical, emotional, financial, or any combination of the three. Many of us have been both a victim and a cause of an auto accident in the past and therefore are reluctant to sue. However, it’s important to remember that the insurance company representing the negligent party is trained to pay as little as possible and avoid litigation rather than offer an objectively reasonable settlement. It’s also important to remember that typically the insurance company will pay the entire settlement and rarely will drivers be expected to pay anything out of pocket for your injuries.
Possible Legal Claims
Legal claims for damages, or money for injuries, includes past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, lost earning capacity, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress/mental anguish, and prejudgment interest, and post-judgment interest. Other injuries include damages for the pain caused for losing a loved one, the loss of consortium or relationship that may come when a loved one is severely impaired, and in some instances punitive damages. See wrongful death.
How to React to an Accident
The most important thing you can do to improve your chances of a fair settlement are see an attorney quickly. You should consult with an attorney before making any statement to the insurance company. The insurance company will try to get you to admit that the accident might was partially your fault and that your injuries were more minor than they actually were. This tactic may be used even if the other driver is clearly at fault.
It’s also helpful to walk into your initial consultation with your attorney with your insurance card, drivers’ license, a copy of the accident report, and contact information for any known witnesses to include anyone in the vehicle with you.
Millions of work related injuries occur every year. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment and to ensure employees are adequately trained. This includes providing a safe location for employees to work, and adequate equipment and tools. Periodic inspections of all safety measures should be conducted to further assure employee safety in physical jobs.
Different from Car Wrecks
Unlike car wrecks where the responsible party is typically immediately ascertainable, workplace injuries are often the result of several causes. When one or more of these causes include the negligence of the employer or a third party an accident victim is entitled to compensation. The types of injuries are as varied as the causes of injuries and sometimes put the victim in an awkward position when they are still employed by the negligent employer. At Mehaffey & Watson we’ll make every effort to maximize your claim for damages while minimizing the risk of retaliation by your employer.
Effect of Workers Compensation Insurance
Many workers incorrectly think that their claim for damages is precluded by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Law. It’s true that if an employer subscribes to qualifying workers’ compensation insurance they’re protected from many lawsuits brought by an injured workers. However, employers often use a more inexpensive form of insurance or let their coverage lapse. These employers are known as “nonsubscribers.” By not having qualifying workers’ compensation insurance these employers open themselves up to the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit. Further, 3rd parties are not shielded from liability just because the employer has workers compensation insurance.
Possible Legal Claims
Legal claims for damages, or money for injuries, includes past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, lost earning capacity, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress/mental anguish, and pre-judgment interest, and post-judgment interest. Other injuries include damages for the pain caused for losing a loved one, the loss of consortium or relationship that may come when a loved one is severely impaired, and in some instances punitive damages.
Estimates of yearly deaths from medical malpractice vary widely and the actual total may be higher than 400,000/year. Essentially medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured as a result of a health care provider breaching the appropriate standard of care. Although this sounds easy to prove an expert witness is necessary to establish the applicable standard of care making medical malpractice cases expensive for attorneys.
The situation in Texas is even worse for victims of medical malpractice than in most states. Texas’ tort reform measures put in place in 2003 have reduced the number of attorneys willing to accept medical malpractice cases. These measures include a requirement for an expert witness to evaluate the merits of a case and write a report before or shortly after filing a lawsuit and arbitrary caps on damages.
However, there is a silver lining to tort reform that applies more to clients than to their attorneys in medical malpractice cases. The requirement for a preliminary report means that early in your case your attorney likely will spend the money to have a medical expert review your case. Secondly, the damages caps, expert report requirement, and rigid pretrial deadlines force your attorney to pay close attention to your case should he or she decide to take it. It’s true that in most personal injury cases you and your attorney are, “in it together,” since your attorney will most likely take a contingent fee, however, in a medical malpractice case you and your attorney are “in it together” like no other type of litigation.
Defective or unsafe products are the cause of thousands of injuries and deaths every year. The injuries caused by a defective product can be severe and life altering. Permanent disability may result. Common injuries include injuries to the hands, fingers, and face, and include burns and amputation. The type of defective products that can pose a danger is limitless. Our fist thoughts may turn to the Ford Pinto or a certain cup of McDonald’s Coffee. Some products we reasonably expect will never fail. Think about the results of a failed pacemaker, aircraft engine, or seatbelt. Other products we fear, perhaps too much. Think of air compressors, jacks, and almost anything that makes a loud noise. However, it’s reasonable to expect products won’t injure us and to take action when they do.
Types of Products Cases
Successful product liability cases generally arise from design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure adequately to warn consumers. Design defects occur before a product is made and effects every product made until the design defect is cured. A design defect creates a product that is inherently dangerous. A manufacturing defect occurs when a product is designed well, but some or all of the products were not made according to specifications. Manufacturing defects, like design defects, may render a product unreasonably dangerous. Manufacturers or retailers who fail to warn consumers about the dangers of their product may be held liable for injuries resulting from foreseeable use or misuse of their product that might not have occurred if the user was properly warned.
Insurance disputes are part of personal injury practice. Insurance companies have an inherent conflict of interest with our clients. They want to pay as little as possible and we want as much as possible for our clients. It’s a common belief among plaintiffs’ attorneys that insurance companies would rather pay more money to their lawyers than to injured persons. Low settlement offers by insurance companies are not the only type of insurance disputes that Mehaffey & Watson handles.
Sometimes your own insurance company is in breach of their contract of insurance with you or is guilty of the tort of “breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.” Even your own insurance company wants to save money and sometimes this is done at your expense. For example, when you file a claim on your own uninsured or underinsured motorist your own insurance company’s duty to pay is determined by their contract with you. Your insurance company has a duty to protect you according to the terms of your contract and if they fail to do so they may be guilty of a breach of contract, violation of the Texas Insurance Code, Violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, or guilty of the Tort of Breaching the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
More workplace injuries and fatalities occur in the construction industry than any other private sector industry. Construction workers have a one in ten chance of being injured on the job in any given year, according to the US Department of Labor. Construction accident litigation is not its own body of law, but describes litigation arising out of the construction industry or out of a job site. Construction accidents are a type of workplace injury but involve a setting where injuries are common. Construction litigation also may enable the plaintiff to establish a higher standard of care or duty to exercise reasonable care than in some other industries where accident are less common and less preventable.
For example, construction projects are often regulated by OSHA and subject to other state and federal regulations in issues of safety. Further, construction projects often have “safety men,” safety meetings, and safety counsels. The presence or absence of these can affect the strength of your construction accident case.
Oilfield accidents, to include oilfield fatalities, are on the rise in the past ten years and the numbers generally coincide with the number of employees in the oil field industry. Like construction accidents, oilfield accident litigation is not a body of law but describes litigation arising out of the petroleum industry or out of a job site. Oilfield accidents are another type of workplace injury. Although the number of oilfield accidents are no higher than the number of accidents in many industries, oilfield accidents tend to be more severe than other workplace injuries. This is why a disproportionate amount of oilfield employers are subscribers of qualifying Texas Workers Compensation Insurance that protects them from personal injury lawsuits. An experienced attorney can evaluate your claim arising out of the oilfield and determine whether or how you can succeed in your lawsuit.
Possible Legal Claims
Legal claims for damages (money) for injuries includes past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages or earning capacity, disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress/mental anguish, and prejudgment and postjudgment interest. Other injuries include damages for the pain caused for losing a loved one, the loss of consortium or relationship that may come when a loved one is severely impaired, and in some instances punitive damages.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home is a type of medical malpractice case because most claims fall under the Texas Health Care Liability Act. These cases require the plaintiff’s attorney to obtain a qualifying expert before filing a lawsuit or shortly afterwards to establish the plausibility of a breach of the standard of care. Texas courts have required this even when the injury had nothing to do with a medical standard of care such as when a patient is dropped by the nursing staff.
The most common lawsuits are for bed sores, dehydration, and improper wound care. However, the types of injuries patients suffer from negligent care in a nursing home is limited only by the imagination. Nursing home cases are often on the severe end of injury cases because vulnerable victims of nursing home neglect often die or suffer helplessly for an extended period of time.
Property owners have a duty to provide a safe environment for their visitors. When they fail to do so, and an individual is injured on the property then the landowner and/or person or entity responsible for the upkeep of the property may be held liable. Often these cases have multiple defendants that point the finger at each other in an attempt to avoid responsibility. Control over the property is sometimes more important than ownership of the property in determining liability. Getting compensation for injuries suffered on someone else’s property depends on the reason that the victim was on the property, the dangerous condition that caused the accident, and how long the condition had been in place. The most common premises case is a slip and fall. The scope of the duty depends on the classification of the person injured.
An invitee is a person who goes onto property with the owner’s knowledge and consent. Usually, the invitee enters the property for a business purpose or for a reason that will result in some benefit to the property owner. The owner must use ordinary care to make the premises safe for an invitee, including all actions that a reasonable owner would have taken to discover hidden dangers on the property. A shopper is typically an invitee.
Licensees have expressed or implied permission to be on the property in question, but they are there for a social rather than a business purpose. A landowner must not intentionally harm a licensee or cause him or her any injury through wanton conduct or gross negligence. Generally, a landowner does have a duty to warn a licensee of hidden dangers. Friends and friends of friends generally fall into this category.
Trespassers enter a landowner’s property without permission. Generally, the only duty that a landowner owes to a trespasser is to not intentionally harm him or her. However, this may be different in cases involving children, where a higher level of care is sometimes required.
The Texas Wrongful Death Act grants certain family members of people who are fatally injured the right to sue for damages. Only spouses, parents, and children may file a lawsuit under the Texas Wrongful Death Statute. Like other injury cases in Texas there is a two year statute of limitations. However, exceptions to the statute of limitations are more common in wrongful death claims than in other injury cases. Wrongful death is treated as a serious matter by the courts and you should consult with an attorney even if the two year statute has passed. If two years has not passed then time is of the essence because your attorney will require time to investigate the case before filing it. In addition to a wrongful death lawsuit, the heir or personal representative of the estate of the deceased person may also be able to bring suit under the Texas Survival Statute. Compensation in a survival action is the damages that would have been available to the deceased person had he or she survived the accident which is slightly different than the damages allowed under the Texas Wrongful Death Act.