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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Texas Judge Dismisses Defective Tire Suit Before Trial


What must plaintiffs do to ensure that an accident case can move forward?

Accident cases involving defective automobile tires are not uncommon, and sometimes they result in verdicts in the millions of dollars. But not always. When a horrific vehicular accident occurs, it may not be enough to name a tire company as a defendant. A recent summary judgment in Texas suggests that the plaintiff didn't do quite enough to establish that a tire defect might have been the cause of the car wreck.

The plaintiff in the case claimed that a Michelin LTX tire failed catastrophically, causing a 2000 Ford Expedition to crash.


Read more . . .


Friday, May 13, 2016

Motorcycle Crash Victim Sues Harley-Davidson, Motorcycle Dealer and Texas Department of Transportation


Who can be held legally responsible for negligence that causes a fatal accident?

When the police chief of Corpus Christ, Texas was killed in a motorcycle accident, all eyes turned to possible causes. A report issued shortly after the crash focused on a teen driver, whose pick-up truck drifted into the wrong lane, grazing the victim's helmet and causing another vehicle to take evasive action. No alcohol or drugs were involved, cellphone use was ruled out, and speed and weather conditions were not a factor.
Read more . . .


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Xarelto Lawsuit Filed in Texas


What types of personal injuries are linked to Xarelto use?

Today it seems as if there is a medication for everything from dry eyes to low sex drive; new drugs are popping up all over the market. Sometimes, however, it seems as if the benefits of taking one of these medications are outweighed by the possibility that you might experience one of their serious side effects. People across the country, for example, are complaining about personal injuries they believe they suffered as a result of taking the medication Xarelto.

Xarelto is a blood-thinning medication prescribed to prevent blood clots, deep vein and stent thrombosis in patients with various issues. The side effects of the medication, however, are more than the users bargained for.


Read more . . .


Friday, April 22, 2016

Family of Texas Man Killed at Work Gets Large Judgment


If you are injured at work can you file a negligence lawsuit outside of the workers’ compensation system?

Going to work can be a serious pain, but a hazard to your health? You wouldn’t think so.  Well, think again. Everyday there are a number of people in the United States who are injured and killed on the job. From simple slip and falls to major accidents that result in death, most cases end up being routed through the specific state’s workers’ compensation system. Not all cases, however, end with an award from workers’ compensation.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Everyday Handling of Materials in the Workplace Causes Large Number of Workplace Injuries


Why are manual material-handling injuries so common in the workplace?

We are all aware of the disastrous workplace accidents that are widely covered by the media -- cranes that fall, scaffolds that tip, gas explosions, mining catastrophes. But what about the everyday occurrences that cause so many workers serious injuries? Many people, often office workers as well as those who work in construction or other jobs that involve climbing or heavy lifting, suffer severe, debilitating injuries in the workplace daily. These accidents, however, do not make the headlines.

Numbers Don't Lie

According to an occupational health and safety research study by SHARP research group, work-related claims of musculoskeletal disorders serious enough to warrant lost work time and/or disability benefits accounted for 21 percent of total state-funded claims from 2009 to 2013.

The reported injuries of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) were all related to overexertion and/or repetitive motion.
Read more . . .


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Surviving Family Members of Horrific Houston Hotel Fire File Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Texas, wrongful death laws allow surviving family members the opportunity to seek justice against the individual(s) responsible for the death of their loved one. While no amount of money can bring back a beloved family member, wrongful death laws help ensure the at-fault party does not escape the duty to redress the victim’s injuries simply because he or she succumbed to the severity of the trauma.

In May 2013, a five-alarm fire at a Houston-area Southwest Hotel led to unspeakable tragedy – and now, families are seeking answers. On that day, first responders from several local fire companies responded to calls of a rapidly growing blaze at the hotel. Problem was, firefighters in the Houston Fire Department were also battling defective and malfunctioning radio communications systems – despite the fact the city just spent $140 million on the new digital devices.

Tragically, four firefighters were killed on that day, allegedly due to the fact their colleagues could not pinpoint their location. As a result, the victims became trapped beneath falling ceiling materials, creating an even more treacherous hazard as high winds caused the flames to grow quickly.

According to the details of the lawsuit, the families have named Motorola – maker of the devices – as well as five other companies involved in the installation and maintenance of the digital system. As a result of the failures, other firefighters involved in the blaze were required to use hand signals to try and communicate with their comrades – a fatal combination.

The lawsuit specifically claims that the defects caused radio communications to “drop out” whenever another firefighter attempted to use the devices – resulting in an alleged 339 dropped communications during the first half hour of the Houston hotel blaze.

If you are a surviving loved one of someone tragically killed due to the negligence or reckless misconduct of another person, you should consult with a personal injury attorney with expertise in wrongful death claims.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Everyday Handling of Materials in the Workplace Causes Large Number of Workplace Injuries

Why are manual material-handling injuries so common in the workplace?

We are all aware of the disastrous workplace accidents that are widely covered by the media -- cranes that fall, scaffolds that tip, gas explosions, mining catastrophes. But what about the everyday occurrences that cause so many workers serious injuries? Many people, often office workers as well as those who work in construction or other jobs that involve climbing or heavy lifting, suffer severe, debilitating injuries in the workplace daily. These accidents, however, do not make the headlines.

Numbers Don't Lie

According to an occupational health and safety research study by SHARP research group, work-related claims of musculoskeletal disorders serious enough to warrant lost work time and/or disability benefits accounted for 21 percent of total state-funded claims from 2009 to 2013.

The reported injuries of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) were all related to overexertion and/or repetitive motion. These statistics mean that a more than one in every five claims during a recent five-year period resulted not from unavoidable colossal accidents but from ordinary day-to-day work-related activities.

Both employers and employees should pay attention to these statistics because a great many of these injuries are avoidable with some foresight and planning. Not only do these injuries mean pain and suffering to those who get hurt; they also mean expenditures and loss of work time to management and workers alike.

The Most Common Injuries and Their Causes

The most common WMSD injuries reported by workers were injuries to the back, neck and shoulders, resulting in about 2/3 of the manual material handling claims. The most prevalent cause of injury, cited by a full quarter of the workers, was handling a container. Where particular actions were reported as causative:

  • Lifting accounted for 55 percent
  • Holding, carrying, turning, and wielding accounted for 17 percent
  • Pushing and pulling accounted for 14 percent

Rick Goggins, an ergonomist with the Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries (DOSH), states that "Lifting is by far the biggest issue when it comes to WMSDs or ‘sprains and strains’ in the workplace." He points out that while heavy lifting is an obvious risk, awkward lifts, such as those involving bending over or reaching to lift heavy objects, are also dangerous.

Possible Solutions

Goggins does not feel that training alone is helpful in preventing lifting injuries. He points out that even though many companies have implemented training programs designed to keep employees safe, these programs have not been particularly effective. He also notes that the best-trained professionals in the field of body mechanics, physical therapists, frequently injure themselves when they lift patients.

 Nonetheless, Goggins has several proposals to lower rates of WMSD injuries, including:

  • Storing things to be lifted at waist height, rather than on the floor
  • Coming up with engineering solutions so that equipment, not people, do the lifting
  • Increasing  training relative to manual lifting and equipment use
  • Encouraging workers to be alert and aware when they are lifting
  • Developing ergonomic processes with employee input about hazards and possible solutions
  • Teaching employees not to rely on ineffective solutions, such as back braces

Since U.S. businesses spend $62 billion per year as a result of workplace injuries, this is a topic to be taken very seriously. If you have been seriously injured at the workplace, get medical assistance as soon as possible and then contact a competent workplace attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Sexual Assaults: What the Statistics Tell Us

Can the facts about sexual assaults help us to protect ourselves?

 As we are all well aware, through media coverage, if not firsthand or secondhand information, sexual assault is a crime that is all too prevalent in our society. Though attention lately seems to focus on assaults on college campuses and assaults involving celebrity athletes, the problem is pervasive in all areas of our communities. Hopefully, increased awareness of when, where and how these crimes take place will help us to diminish their frequency and keep ourselves and our families from being victimized.

Where and When Sexual Assaults Occur

Though many people fear stranger-rape in heavily populated urban areas or in the solitude of the woods, 50 percent of sexual assaults take place within a one-mile radius of the home or within the home itself. Other locations of sexual assaults are:

  • Public area, such as a park or parking lot (18 percent)
  • Home of a friend, neighbor or relative (13 percent)
  • School (7 percent)

     

    Over 60 percent of sexual assaults occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

    The Victims of Sexual Assaults

    The following are important statistics about the victims of sexual assaults: 44 four percent are under the age of 18 and 80 percent are under the age of 30. This, as we know, does not mean older individuals are immune to sexual assault since the crime is one of violence, not lust.

    Frequency and Reportage of Sexual Assaults

    Sexual assaults occur with alarming frequency. In the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. Annually, almost 300,000 individuals are victims of sexual assault.

    It is estimated that as many as 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

    Facts about Sexual Offenders

    Contrary to the myth that sexual offenders are usually strangers, it is approximated that four out of five offenders are known to their victims, and almost half are actually friends or acquaintances. Astonishingly, as many as 25 percent of offenders are intimates of their victims and 5 percent are relatives.

    Statistics about sexual offenders themselves include the following facts:

  • The average age of offenders is 31 years old
  • More than half of those who commit sexual assaults are white
  • Almost a quarter of imprisoned sexual offenders report being married
  • Nearly a fifth of sexual assaults are committed by minors
  • One in three sexual offenses is committed by someone intoxicated with alcohol or drugs
  • 11 percent of offenders used weapons; the rest used only physical force and intimidation
  • Nearly half of sexual offenders commit another type of criminal offense within 3 years

For a combination of reasons, including under-reportage, about 98 percent of those who commit sexual assault will never be incarcerated.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, it is essential to obtain medical and psychological care and to contact a personal injury attorney experienced in the field promptly.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Texas Appellate Court Rules against Big Lots in Injury Case

Earlier this year, a Texas appellate court reviewed a $1 million verdict in favor of a man injured at a Pasadena Big Lots location. Despite the chain’s best efforts to avoid the payout, the court ultimately held in favor of the victim under Texas’s laws of negligence and premises liability. The case involves multiple components of personal injury law, including a 10 percent reduction in the plaintiff’s ultimate recover amount due to his contribution to the injury – a concept known as “comparative negligence.” If you have been recently injured while shopping at a retail or grocery store, please do not hesitate to contact the legal professionals of Sawicki Law.

Details of Big Lots case

The case against Big Lots began in 2011 when a 62-year old man shopping in the store was sudden impaled by a 32-ounce jug of deck wash falling from atop a four-foot shelf. Allegedly, the jug was shoved off the shelf by a store employee in the next aisle over who was in the process of stocking the adjacent shelf. According to the plaintiff, he was kneeling on the floor to pick up additional jugs that had fallen – also due to the inventory shifts caused by the associate in the neighboring aisle – when he was struck by the jug in question. Using this admission, Big Lots asserted that the victim was obviously aware that bottles were falling, and he assumed the risk of being hit when he kneeled down to pick up the other bottles.

Following the incident, the victim was treated for a concussion and was ultimately treated for post-concussion syndrome, which manifests in the following ways:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty with cognitive tasks

To compensate him for his injuries, the victim and was ultimately awarded $1,063,788. The award was reduced by 10 ten percent due to the defense’s “assumption of the risk” argument, and was ultimately upheld on appeal.

If you have been recently injured while shopping, you should be contact a reputable personal attorney injury to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive appropriate compensation for the injuries you have received. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cases of Sexual Misconduct by Police Are on the Rise

What can be done about sexual assault?

Last December, a former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted on 18 charges of sexually assaulting 13 women. While his conviction does not represent the law enforcement community, there are other cases of male police officers using their position of authority to victimize women. Across the nation as well as in the state of Texas, cases of police officers being charged with, or convicted of, sexual assault are on the rise.

For example, in June 2016, an Amarillo police officer was fired after he responded to a 911 call at the home of a victim of domestic violence. Not only did the officer not help the woman, he raped her.
The aggravated assault charges, unfortunately, were not an isolated incident. These accusations surface more frequently than one would believe, not only in Texas, but across the country.

Other cases of misconduct are not as dramatic as these. In December, a trooper was fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety after he stopped a woman for speeding and then offered her$300 to have sex with him. Then there is the case of a former Odessa police officer who was convicted on five counts of improper sexual activity after he confessed to groping five women he pulled over for traffic stops.

These cases are often referred to a grand jury, but grand juries are very reluctant to indict police officers, as was the case with the Amarillo officer. Moreover, criminal convictions are rare, although police departments do take disciplinary measures.

In a recent study recently reported by the Associated Press, over a 6 year period, nearly 1,000 officers had their licenses to work in law enforcement revoked because of sexual misconduct. In addition, others were fired, but their licenses were not revoked. That being said, these 1,000 cases involve a small percentage of the 1.1 million police in the United States.

Even if these cases do not reflect the conduct of most police officers, they are still an abuse of power that damages a lot of people. The victims, of course, suffer not only from the physical assault, but from the resulting emotional trauma. Moreover, the law enforcement community is tarnished by these incidents. And the public at large is put at risk, becoming fearful of being pulled over by the police or making a 911 call in an emergency.

In spite of the facts that grand juries are not inclined to indict police officers, and criminal convictions are rare, there are other legal remedies. If you have been the victim of sexual assault, you should consult with an attorney who can determine if you may be entitled to monetary compensation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

GM Ignition Switch Lawsuits Set for Trial

What is the latest news regarding the General Motors ignition switch debacle?


As you may recall, 2015 was a tough year for a number of domestic and foreign automakers. With recalls at historic highs – and drivers’ trust slowly diminishing – brands from GM to Volkswagen have worked overtime to mitigate the damage caused by faulty (and in some cases, fraudulent) parts and components. During this time, General Motors began preparing for the onslaught of lawsuits to be filed against it regarding faulty ignition switches – all of which are scheduled to reach an apex with trials slated to begin later this month.

Beginning over 10 years ago, General Motors was allegedly made aware of problematic ignition switches in several of its compact and smaller models. The problem was, the company did not take any steps to rectify the situation until 2014, at which point it initiated an unprecedented recall of affected models. To further confound the issue, thousands of drivers had already experienced injuries or – in some cases – death due to the faulty switches.

According to the details of the personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, ignition switches would become unknowingly lodged in the “off” position, causing the vehicle to stall, airbags to malfunction, and power steering to fail. As a result, 124 deaths and 275 injuries were reported to the company – and it has since paid out over $600 million in settlement funds.

Nonetheless, several additional cases remain to be resolved, with the first trial set to commence on January 11, 2016. In that case, the plaintiff was severely and permanently injured after the airbags in his Saturn Ion failed to deploy when he struck two trees head-on. According to GM, the outcome of that trial will help guide the company toward determining appropriate settlement amounts for the remaining cases.

If you have been recently injured in an auto accident, you should discuss your options with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.

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