Texas Personal Injury News

Monday, January 25, 2016

Texas Personal Injury Laws

What are the laws specific to Texas concerning personal injury?

If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, you should be aware of some of the Lone Star State's personal injury statutes that may affect your case. While there are relatively similar laws throughout the United States concerning personal injury, there are some differences from state to state and it is important to be aware of them.

Time Limits on Personal Injury Lawsuits

All states have statutory limits on personal injury claims, meaning that the time you have to go to court and file a lawsuit after you have suffered an injury is limited. This deadline is referred to as statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is 2 years from the date of the injury. You must file a lawsuit in the state's civil court system within these 2 years or the Texas civil court will almost certainly refuse to hear your case and you will have forfeited your right to compensation.

Shared Fault Rules

In certain personal injury cases, the individual or business you are suing argues that you are fully or partially responsible for the incident that resulted in your injuries. If your opponent can prove that you share some degree of liability, the amount of your compensation will be negatively affected.

If the court rules that fault is shared, Texas applies a "modified comparative negligence rule," meaning that the amount of your compensation will be decreased by the amount equal to the percentage of your fault in the incident. If you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible, you won't be able to collect anything from the other party.

Not only will all Texas courts follow this rule, but the rule of modified comparative negligence rule also comes into play during settlement negotiations.

Owner Liability for Animal Injuries

Texas has no specific laws governing liability for dog bites or other animal-inflicted injuries

In Texas, owners are held liable for injuries caused by an animal they own only if the injured individual can demonstrate that the owner knew, or should have known, that the animal was dangerous. Known as the “one bite” rule, this law means that, if the owner has had a dog (or other animal) for 10 years and the dog has never shown aggressive tendencies during that time, the first time the dog bites someone, the owner is off the hook. Once the dog has bitten someone, however, the owner has been forewarned and will be held responsible for the second offense.

Caps on Malpractice Injury Damages


In Texas, caps on damages only apply to medical malpractice cases. In most medical malpractice cases, for example, damage amounts meant to compensate for pain and suffering, as opposed to financial reimbursement for medical or rehabilitation costs, are limited to $250,000 for each plaintiff and $500,000 overall. Where such cases involve a wrongful death, however, the cap is adjusted for inflation so that, although it began at $500,000 in 1977, it has now reached $1.9 million.

Claims against the Government of Texas

In Texas, as in many other states, if your injury case involves government liability, there are further complexities involved. For one thing, in such cases, you must file a formal claim of intention to sue with the government unit you believe to be responsible for causing your injury before you can file the actual lawsuit. For another, you have only 6 months to file such a claim. The claim of injury must include a description of the damage or injury, the specific time and place of the incident, and a review of the circumstances that occurred.

Though it is certainly helpful to understand the legal underpinning of personal injury law in Texas, there is no substitute for hiring a skilled personal injury attorney. If you have suffered a personal injury, seek a law firm with the experience and know-how to handle your case while you concentrate on healing.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pelvic Mesh Case Heads to TX Supreme Court

In November 2015, a Dallas appellate court reversed a $1.2 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly designing a defective pelvic mesh product. The plaintiff subsequently filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court. The overarching issue the Court will consider is what evidence is necessary to satisfy the "causation standard" in a product liability lawsuit related to an implanted medical device.

What are the facts in the pelvic mesh case in Texas?

It has been reported that the plaintiff has a "complex" medical history. She had claimed that the defendant, along with its subsidiary, Dallas-based Ethicon, manufactured a polypropylene mesh which caused her to be injured. The trial jury agreed and found that the medical product was defectively designed and awarded the plaintiff $1.2 million.

Johnson & Johnson appealed the judgment, arguing, among other things, that the trial court erroneously excluded all FDA evidence as well as evidence from independent physician organizations that contradicted the plaintiff’s theories of injury. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ruled that the plaintiff must show that a specific defect in the product caused her injuries.

What is the history of pelvic mesh medical devices?

Pelvic mesh products were initially viewed as a significant technological improvement over traditional surgical methods. Those methods involved the use of stitches and a patient's own body tissue and had the potential for postsurgical complications. Mesh devices had already been widely used in other types of surgery for decades, particularly for repairing hernias.

Based on the successful history of other mesh devices, The Food and Drug Administration "fast-tracked" approval of pelvic mesh devices -- without conducting tests the agency normally requires for new devices. In 2002, the FDA cleared these soft, lightweight porous plastic devices for pelvic organ prolapse. The agency subsequently said in a 2008 public notice that problems were rare. In 2011 the agency reversed itself and said that most common problems occurred in 10 percent of women within one year of surgery.

In light of this finding, about a year ago, the FDA finally ordered a number of medical device manufacturers to conduct "rigorous" studies to determine the complication rates, over time, of surgical mesh.

What impact will the pelvic mesh case in Texas have on product liability?
In her petition, the plaintiff is asking the Supreme Court to clarify whether the appeals court accurately interpreted state common law to hold that a product liability plaintiff must isolate the cause of her injuries to a “specific defect” in a medical device case. The Supreme Court's decision will have a far- reaching impact on pelvic mesh product liability cases.

If you have been injured by a medical device, you should consult with a qualified attorney who can determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

5 Ways to Know Whether You Will Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Refinery Accident

Workers in the oil field industry, refineries and chemical plants never know when they kiss their spouses and kids goodbye before leaving for their shift if that will be the last memory of them their family will ever have. It is a well-known fact that jobs in the oil field, refineries and chemical plants pay higher than average wages (even for unskilled workers!) because of the inherent dangers of the jobs.

The Numbers Don't Lie

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas led the nation from 2007 to 20011 in the number of on-the-job fatalities in the gas and oil field industries. During that five year period, 199 workers lost their lives trying to earn a living. Rounding out the top three were the neighboring states of Oklahoma in second place with 64 deaths, and Louisiana, with 62 fatalities, a close third.

Of course, there is a logical reason why the Texas death rate is so much higher than even its neighbors to the north and east that also have a heavy presence in the same industries. The sheer size of Texas means that, of necessity, there will be more jobs and more workers eager to fill them. These factors combine to produce a higher number of deaths than those in smaller states with fewer employees working in these same high risk industries.

The BLS report profiled the nationwide deaths of gas and oil field workers in 2011. Below are their findings.

  • 70 percent of the fatalities occurred to non-Hispanic white workers.
  • 100 percent of those who died on the job that year were male.
  • Nearly half of all deaths were attributable to some type of transportation accidents.
  • In 26 of the deaths, workers died after contact was made with equipment or objects, usually when the workers were hit by the objects or equipment.
  • Explosions and fires on the job killed a dozen workers in 2011.
  • Of the total of 112 fatalities in that calendar year, 19.4 percent were multiple fatalities where two or more employees died in the same industrial accident.

It doesn't have to be a fatal accident to derail a life

Certainly, fatal accidents take a terrible toll on the survivors, but plenty of workers suffer serious injuries that cause a greatly reduced quality of life. In addition, many are left unable to work again, or to work in the capacity at which they formerly did, thus significantly reducing their take-home pay and family's lifestyle.

There are typically more injuries than deaths when an accident or explosion occurs in the gas extraction and oil field industries. Citing statistics from 2011, the BLS estimates that there were 1,400 illnesses and injuries that occurred from accidents or on-the-job hazardous exposures. If those supportive industries that feed the petrochemical industry are included in the statistics, there were approximately 8,500 more illness and injuries. The drilling industry contributed another 2,600 more non-fatal illnesses and industries.

As you can see by the statistics, any given workday for those in the petrochemical and oil and gas industries can be fraught with danger. Just recently in the state of Louisiana, three died and two more suffered serious injuries after an explosion rocked an out of service natural gas plant located about an hour's drive from New Orleans in Gibson. One contractor had to be treated in the burn unit of a hospital in Baton Rouge.

In the immediate aftermath of a horrific injury, it can be difficult to ascertain whether it will be necessary for the injured parties to retain a personal injury attorney to represent their interests. Below are some criteria that can help you determine whether this will be in your best interests.

5 ways to know whether to hire a personal injury attorney after your at-work accident or injury

  • Was this a major explosion or accident where many were killed or injured? 

It is a journalistic cliche that "if it bleeds, it leads," but is a truism all the same. The media races to scenes of accidents at refineries and plants when there are mass casualties, broadcasting these human tragedies far and wide in the days and weeks that follow. In these type of cases, the companies that bear the brunt of the responsibility for the incident are thrust into the spotlight, making it harder for them to deny responsibility. In some cases, this is an incentive for them to tender fair settlement offers. But a personal injury lawyer can be helpful in high profile cases as well, as they tend to be complex, often with multiple defendants with differing degrees of liability.

  • Is there class action litigation filed regarding the injured workers? 

?You may qualify to join an already-filed class action lawsuit, or you may find that your interests are best represented separately by retaining your own attorney.

  • Are your injuries serious enough that you will be convalescing for an extended period of time in which you are unable to work and earn money? 

If so, Worker's Compensation payments may be woefully inadequate to meet your living expenses.

  • What is your own physician's (not the company doctor's) prognosis of your recovery, and will you need long-term or ongoing rehabilitative services? 

?If such is the case, any settlement offer must be enough to compensate you for future medical expenses you will otherwise have to pay out of pocket.

  • Are you getting the runaround from insurance adjusters, or are the at-fault parties attempting to deny responsibility? 

This is perhaps the biggest red flag of all. Any signs of corporate "passing the buck" is a sign that companies are trying to downplay their role in the accident that left you with serious and potentially disabling injuries. While all of these factors can point toward a need for you to obtain qualified representation from an experienced personal injury attorney, if you sense that company execs or insurance adjusters are shirking their responsibility to compensate you fairly for your injuries, don't delay.

At Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, our attorneys have been representing injured Texans for more than 40 years. We use our skills and expertise to hold corporations accountable for their injured workers. Call today for a free, confidential case assessment.




Monday, November 2, 2015

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Reckless Teen Drivers for Damages

In the halls of high schools all over Texas, posters are going up advertising the schools' annual homecoming football games and dances. There is high drama over who is taking whom to the big dance, who will be crowned homecoming king and queen, and where all the best after-parties will be held. The yearly ritual is perhaps second in importance only to prom for the millions of high school teens who will be taking part in the fall festivities.

The dangers of the exuberance of youth

All this frantic activity means that there will be many high-spirited — but very inexperienced — young drivers out on the highways late at night. Inevitably, some of them will be imbibing illegally-obtained alcoholic drinks, but even for those who remain sober, their excitement and effervescence can bubble over into dangerous driving situations.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 26, 2015

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer After a Wreck with a Texting Driver

Many of us have been guilty of it. We're heading down the highway at 70 mph, and our phone dings — a text. We know that we shouldn't, but what if it's work (or the kids, our significant other or the babysitter)? So we grab the phone, glance down at it quickly, then back up at the road. Maybe we shoot off a quick answer; even a short "yes," "no" or "LOL." If we are lucky, nothing terrible results.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney After Losing a Loved One to a Chemical Plant Accident?

Texas is home to an incredible number of refineries and chemical plants. They dot the landscape in clusters all over the state, providing the jobs the workers need to support their families. In some communities, they are literally almost in the backyards of the residents.

We don't have to look too far back into Texas history to find a catastrophic occurrence at one of these plants. It was only a little over two years ago that a powerful explosion occurred in West, Texas, at a fertilizer plant. The blast injured hundreds, killed 15 individuals and leveled scores of schools, homes and one nursing home.

Federal and corporate response to the disaster

After the fire and subsequent explosion at West Fertilizer Company, the president issued an Executive Order for the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and Homeland Security to devise more effective safety measures to implement at these types of plants. But the responsibility does not end with the federal government to safeguard the workers and those living among and in close proximity to the plants that are the lifeblood of the Texas economy.

The corporate owners of these plants bear the brunt of the responsibility to make sure that these facilities are run as safely as possible. In turn, they must task the operations managers, safety men and supervisors to galvanize their crews to keep safety first and foremost to avert future disasters.

After the explosion at the fertilizer plant, researchers from Greenpeace located 473 plants around the country that could potentially jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of not only their workers, but others living and working in the vicinity. Even scarier, of that total, 89 facilities posed a risk for more than a million residents who lived as far as 25 miles away, but were downwind of the plants. Most frightening of all, Greenpeace estimated that one of every third person in the United States had a risk of harm from toxic chemical releases from plants.

Where the risk arises

Disasters can begin in myriad ways. Fires are sparked by something as fearsome as a lightning strike or as mundane as a worker's forbidden cigarette. Improperly stored, mixed or maintained dangerous chemicals can result in explosions of toxic gases that can travel miles, sickening all who breathe in the airborne poisons. A poorly trained employee handling highly volatile substances can pose an enormous safety hazard and liability for a company.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has standards for the way these toxic materials must be handled in the plants. They include:

  • Storing hazardous chemicals in a designated area a minimum of 100 feet from surface waters.
  • Storing chemicals downwind of any homes in the vicinity and on a planed area that does not flood.
  • Never stacking chemical containers or storing them above eye level.
  • Keeping chemicals out of direct sunlight.
  • Elevating chemical storage containers off of the ground. 

Workers, residents all share considerable risk

If you or a loved one work in one of these plants, you already know there are many dangers that can erupt in a moment's notice if the proper safety procedures are not followed. Workers injured on the job have the Worker's Compensation system to fall back on after a mishap occurs. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the treatment that is rendered, the settlement from Worker's Comp may be sufficient. In many cases, however, injured workers and the family members who rely on them may be forced to seek additional compensation through the Texas civil courts.

But those who are in harm's way during a fire, explosion or toxic gas release due to the close proximity of their homes, schools and communities don't have the Worker's Compensation to turn to. Instead, they are dependent on the corporate owners of the hazardous plant to make it right for them with a settlement offer.

As was observed following the Deepwater Horizon Macondo blowout and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, parent company BP and their co-defendants faced criticism for denying damage claims and underpaying claimants even when lives and livelihoods were at risk and, in many cases, still disrupted.

Wrongful death suits force accountability

There is no question that there can be no dollar sum sufficient to replace the loss of a spouse, sibling or child to grieving families after an industrial accident occurs. There will still be that empty side of the bed, missing chair at family dinners, a little less laughter and joy in the room. When a senseless death occurs as a result of negligent acts or a series of safety protocols left undone, there is no way to undo what was done.

What we at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley can do is hold these corporate entities liable for the economic damages, pain, suffering and losses by taking civil action against them in the Texas courts. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent parties, we fight for settlements and judgments for our bereft clients. It won't bring their loved ones back, but it can give them a financial cushion that can make life a little easier, especially if it was the breadwinner who was killed.

But there is actually another reason to hire a wrongful death attorney to go after chemical plants and refineries who bear responsibility for these deaths. By making defendants ante up a financial settlement when their lack of oversight causes an explosion or toxic release, it incentivizes these plants to keep a tight rein on safety procedures and policies. Forcing them to accept economic responsibility for their actions encourages a climate of safety to prevail in these plants. This, in turn, increases workers' safety and the safety of those who live and work around the plants.

Reaching out for help can be hard

Grief can be paralyzing, making it difficult to take the necessary actions to initiate a wrongful death suit after a catastrophic accident occurs. However, due to statutory limitations for filing wrongful death claims, inaction can be a costly mistake to make. 

When you reach out to our wrongful death attorneys, we know exactly what to do and the time frame in which we need to do it. You can put your trust in our experienced and capable legal team. We will take it from here. We will file your claim, launch our own fact-finding mission, retain experts that can demonstrate exactly the way the safety protocols failed and cost your loved one his or her life. We will always treat you and the memory of your beloved family member with the utmost compassion and respect.

Don't wait until it is too late to seek a legal remedy against a chemical plant or refinery for its safety breaches. Call us today for a confidential case evaluation. We are here for you.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

10 Things a Wrongful Death Attorney Wishes You Knew

If a family member has suffered as a result of personal injury or wrongful death, bringing a cause of action is not necessarily about personal gain. The individuals or businesses deemed responsible for the wrongful death are often forced into action to prevent the deaths of others, even if they’ve settled out of court. 

Here are some things you should know about personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Read more . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: Are Senior Drivers More Likely to Cause a Collision?

Being able to drive gives senior citizens autonomy and allows them to remain active longer in their communities. Retaining a valid Texas driver's license lets elderly citizens get to and from medical appointments, the grocery store, worship services and other activities. Driving not only keeps them from burdening friends or family members in order to get where they need to go, but it is an integral part of their identity — a competent, licensed driver.

But are older drivers more of a safety risk behind the wheel? The answer might surprise you.

What the numbers say

According to statistics supplied by the United States Census Bureau, there were approximately 30 million senior citizens 70 or older living in America in 2013. This group comprises about a tenth of the nation's total population. Federal Highway Administration reports from the same year indicate that there were more than 23 million senior citizens over 69 who were licensed drivers. Of that age range, seniors who still legally drive made up 78 percent of that group. One factor that is likely to increase the propensity for driving among senior citizens is the death of a spouse or a late-in-life divorce. Conversely, retiring has the opposite effect; seniors tend to drive fewer miles when they no longer work.

Overall, today's senior citizens are electing to drive longer than they have in past decades. This could be because of several factors. As a group, they are living longer and enjoying better health farther into their golden years due to medical advances. Also, more men and women in the 70-and-older group have been in possession of drivers' licenses for the majority of their lives, unlike many of the same age only a few decades ago.

In the years between 1997-2012, there was a 30 percent uptick in licensed drivers over 69. Yet the rate of drivers aged 70 and up who were involved in a fatal collision between those same years actually decreased more than the rates for drivers between 35 and 54. Some possible reasons for this include:

  • Data suggests that those 70 and older drive less than their younger counterparts. Senior drivers travel 45 percent fewer miles than those licensed drivers 35 to 54 years old. Shorter trips and less time spent behind the wheel results in fewer opportunities to be involved in an auto accident.
  • Some studies indicate that those older than 64 impose their own restrictions on driving due to declining health, vision, memory and mobility. Senior citizens may choose to only drive during daylight hours, drive solely on the surface streets and avoid driving at all in inclement weather.

Where the problem lies

One of the ironic characteristics of cognitive impairment is that often those with a significant degree of memory loss, or indications of the onset of dementia, fail to recognize these signs and symptoms in themselves. Some cognitively-impaired senior citizens continue to drive long after it is no longer safe for them or others on the road. Those who live alone and have no family members around to monitor their driving are at the highest risk for unsafe driving behaviors.

It is important to understand that age alone does not determine a senior citizen's ability to drive. There are some healthy seniors in full possession of their mental faculties who continue to drive without incident well into their 80s. Alternatively, there are drivers in their early 60s whose mental and physical conditions make them true hazards on the road. 

Because there is no specific criterion to determine who should no longer be driving, it's important to understand how the aging process impacts one's driving abilities.

As people age, they become less flexible. Body parts don't move as smoothly or as quickly as they do in younger folks. Aging diminishes both coordination and strength, which can have serious repercussions behind the wheel.

5 consequences of aging

  • Leg pain or stiff knees can make it harder to switch the foot quickly from the gas pedal to the brake when seconds count.
  • Reduced mobility in the neck can make it impossible to glance over the shoulder to check for clearance when changing lanes. Even looking right and left at intersections to check for oncoming cars, pedestrians and cyclists can be challenging.
  • When reaction times are slowed by even tenths of a second, failing to note that vehicular traffic ahead has slowed, another car is merging or a child has darted out into the street can have tragic consequences.
  • Weakness in the arms and wrists can make it difficult to quickly turn the steering wheel to avert disaster. 
  • Multitasking becomes harder with age. Monitoring the road, weather conditions and the movements of pedestrians and other vehicles may become overwhelming to some older drivers.

Texas license renewal policies

The state of Texas acknowledges that, over a relatively short period of time, there can be substantial changes in an older driver's abilities to safely operate a motor vehicle. As such, there are some licensing restrictions in place for older drivers to prevent those who are no longer mentally or physically able to drive from renewing their licenses. Additionally, during the driver's license renewal process, drivers of any age whose demeanor, behavior or appearance raises red flags to agency personnel may be required to provide additional evidence to substantiate their fitness to drive.

This may include retaking all or some of the licensing examinations. Drivers who have a sketchy history of accidents or past driving violations, and those whose dangerous driving behaviors may have been red-flagged to the agency, might face closer scrutiny before a renewal is granted. Even when a license is renewed, certain restrictions may be put in place. They may include:

  • Daylight driving only
  • Driving only to specific locations
  • Driving only within stated boundaries

The liability is clear

Nobody wants to deprive senior citizens of their independence, but when older drivers demonstrate that they are no longer competent to drive, they become both a deadly hazard and a legal liability on Texas roads. Accident victims who sustain injuries and property damages in collisions with at-fault senior drivers have a legal right to pursue a claim for damages through the Texas civil courts.

After an auto accident, medical bills mount quickly. Traumatic brain injuries and multiple fractures can require months of rehabilitation from physical and occupational therapists, and many accident victims will never fully recover from the injuries they suffered. To return to at least a semblance of your pre-collision life, you will likely need to retain a Texas car accident lawyer to best represent your interests.

The dedicated attorneys at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley stand ready to assist our clients in pursuing justice. For over 40 years, we have maintained a strong and unblemished legal record in East Texas and Houston. If you have being injured in an at-fault wreck with another driver, we can help. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Have You or a Loved One Been Harmed by the Blood-Thinner Xarelto?

We trust our doctors with our very lives. They see us on some of the worst days that we will ever experience and in the worst possible conditions. We believe that they will take the best possible care of us using all the tools and technologies of modern medicine that are available to them.

So when our trusted physician writes us a prescription for a new drug on the market, we think that it will be fine to start taking it. We put our faith in the pharmaceutical wonders being touted by the drug makers. In the case of a drug called Xarelto, an anticoagulant with the generic name rivaroxaban, it can be a very bad decision.

Problems associated with Xarelto

Xarelto is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceutical and co-marketed by Bayer Healthcare. It is a type of blood thinner often prescribed in patients diagnosed with, or at an elevated risk of developing, deep vein thrombosis. The condition is very serious and is a common complication of surgery. Blood clots deep in the large pelvic and leg veins break away and travel to the lungs, causing often-fatal pulmonary embolisms. The elderly and anyone who is bedridden for a long period are at a greater risk of developing DVT and PE's.

Xeralto first gained approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration for use in patients who had hip and knee replacement operations. Later, approval was granted for it to be prescribed for those with heart rhythm irregularities like atrial fibrillation.

Shortly after doctors began prescribing Xarelto to their patients, however, a significant number of them began hemorrhaging uncontrollably, and many died. Their cause of death was exsanguination, which means that they bled to death. The problem was exacerbated by the medication having no antidote. According to one lawsuit filed against the pharmaceutical company that makes Xarelto, as many as 65 patients bled to death while on the medication. The FDA had over 1,000 reports of adverse effects from Xarelto on file with their agency by the early summer of 2012.

This case is not without legal precedent, as another drug maker of a similar medication, Pradaxa, settled a class action case with a $650 million settlement for the nearly 9,000 lawsuits filed after the deaths of more than 500 patients from side effects of treatment with Pradaxa.

Risk benefit ratio — what is safe?

All blood thinners carry a risk of excessive bleeding. Patients who routinely are exposed to potential trauma to their bodies, e.g., athletes, would not be good candidates for extended anticoagulant therapy. Before prescribing blood thinners, doctors weigh their risk against the potential benefits of preventing a more serious, and likely fatal, medical event in their patients. 

Some of the adverse effects of Xarelto include:

  • Elevated risk of infection from artificial hip and knee replacement surgeries
  • Strokes
  • Adrenal bleeds
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhages
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Retinal and intracranial hemorrhages
  • Peripheral edema of the legs
  • Lowered hemoglobin counts
  • Epidural hematomas
  • Death

Who dropped the ball?

Doctors rely on pharmaceutical companies to conduct rigorous tests on all of their new medications before releasing them for use by consumers. All drugs must also pass the approval of the FDA before they can be prescribed to patients by physicians. In the plethora of separate and combined cases of personal injury and wrongful death cases filed against the manufacturers and marketers of Xarelto, plaintiffs allege that the pharmaceutical companies failed to adequately test the medicine and covered up the fact that no antidote exists. Court filings also allege that the manufacturers exaggerated the efficacy of Xarelto to boost sales.

Before there was Pradaxa and Xarelto, doctors routinely treated their patients at risk of DVT and pulmonary embolisms with Coumadin. For more than 50 years, it has been a reliable treatment for those conditions. While some risks exist with Coumadin therapy, patients who exercise reasonable care can expect to successfully take it for treatment. The downside of Coumadin is that to ensure patients' safety, they had to undergo regular monitoring of their blood-plasma levels to make sure their dosage was calibrated correctly. With these newer medications, the monitoring became unnecessary.

Overdosing on Coumadin was dangerous, of course. But it was rarely fatal simply because overdosing patients could be treated with high doses of Vitamin K and receive transfusions of plasma that would halt the bleeding rapidly. Without a known antidote for Xarelto, for patients who took too much or got the wrong dosage, the bleeding couldn't be stopped.

There was, of course, a major benefit for marketing this drug to hospitals and doctors. Patients (or their insurance companies) could be billed as much as $300 a month for Xeralto, when the average cost of warfarin, the generic version of Coumadin, only costs about 50 cents per day for patients. The financial incentive was powerful.

Profit or peril?

An aggressive marketing campaign by the drug companies resulted in Xarelto sales of over $2 billion in 2013. Data from Bloomberg showed sales of $414 million by the third quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, all across America, patients continued to die and experience life-threatening hemorrhages after taking Xarelto. A patient who suffered a bump or bruise while taking Coumadin might need a shot of Vitamin K. The same circumstances for patients on Xarelto could cause them to bleed out.

Corporations are profit-driven and focus on satisfying shareholders with burgeoning sales. However, they owe the public a duty of care not to release medications that are excessively dangerous and jeopardize the life and health of the patients receiving treatment. When patients are needlessly harmed by bad drugs that should never have made it to market, patients are not without recourse in the matter. They, or the survivors of those who died as a result of a drug's side effects, can challenge these corporate giants in a civil court of law.

Holding these corporations financially responsible for their egregious disregard for human lives is one way to bring closure to the nightmare of an adverse Xarelto medical emergency or the devastating loss of a loved one.

Putting it all together

As one can imagine, the attorneys for the drug companies are vociferously defending their product and denying the allegations contained in the lawsuits. Fortunately, dedicated lawyers are seeking justice for those who have been harmed by the drug. We at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley are not afraid to take on drug manufacturers and their phalanx of corporate counselors to see that our clients get the justice they deserve.

If you or a loved one experienced a worsened medical condition after being prescribed Xarelto, we can help. Contact us today for a no obligation, confidential consultation.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Pursue Justice After a Collision with a Drunk Driver

Texans believe in working hard and playing hard. After work is over, many Texans pop a top or down a couple shots at the bar to celebrate the weekend. Or because it's Wednesday or we won the game. "Hook 'em horns!" You get the idea. Celebrating with friends over a few cold ones is a cherished Texas tradition, but driving drunk has no place in our state's hallowed history.

Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths

Grim statistics from one recent year don't bear that out. In 2013, Texas had more deaths from auto accidents involving impaired drivers than any other state in the nation. In that banner year, 1,337 men, women and children died senselessly because somebody made a really, really poor decision.

According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately every 53 minutes, someone in the United States gets killed in a collision with a drunk driver. Additionally, someone suffers injuries from a wreck with an impaired driver every two minutes. The figures are sobering. But they are just abstract numbers until the day the injured person is you. You may even be left grieving over the loss of a family member taken too soon in a completely preventable accident.

All of a sudden — it's personal. Your world has suddenly been turned upside down, and if your injuries are particularly severe, it is possible that you will never be the same as you were before colliding with a person who was in no condition to drive. Picking up the pieces of a fractured life can be overwhelming and frustrating. It's likely that you are also mad as a wet hen at the drunk driver whose negligence caused all your misery. 

5 quick facts about drunk driving in Texas

  • It's very expensive. In a single year, Texas taxpayers were stuck with a tab of $6.2 billion to subsidize expenses related to drunk driving deaths. That will buy a lot of Budweiser.
  • A conviction is never guaranteed. Do you think that it is a foregone conclusion that the drunk driver who hit you and played havoc with your life will be convicted? Think again. In the same year, 99,195 individuals were arrested on DUI charges in the state. Only 71,030 were convicted.
  • Drunk drivers aren't learning from their mistakes. About a third of the social ills associated with impaired drivers — the wrecks and DUI arrests, the injuries and fatalities — are caused by repeat offenders. 
  • Losing their driving privileges doesn't keep them off the roads. The percentage of those convicted of drunk driving who continue to drive with suspended licenses may be as high as 75 percent.
  • Impaired drivers are a continuous threat. At any given moment, as many as 2 million drunk drivers with multiple convictions are tooling down our nation's highways. 

It is apparent that the criminal penalties for drunk driving in Texas are an insufficient deterrent to keep irresponsible unlicensed drivers from getting behind the wheel after being convicted on DUI charges. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, it's time to get proactive and pursue another form of justice.

Filing a claim for damages is only the first step

Immediately following your accident, you probably provided the investigating officer with your insurance information for the police report. The alleged drunken driver who hit you will have done the same. Perhaps you received a call or two from the driver's insurance company in an attempt to get you to agree to settle the claim and allow them to close out the books on your accident.

Don't settle for less than the amount to which you are entitled. The typical M.O. of insurance companies is to dangle a low-ball settlement check in front of often cash-starved claimants, hoping they will bite. Those who suffered serious injuries in the drunk-driving accident likely were not able to return to work immediately. Some may still be living off dwindling savings while the bills — medical and otherwise — continue to mount. This is what the insurance companies are waiting for. Just like sharks in the ocean can detect the faintest trace of blood from a wounded sea creature, so can insurance adjusters pick up on the whiff of desperation emanating from a claimant in dire financial straits.

A personal injury lawyer can fairly evaluate your case

One of the problems with settling for that quick check is that most accident victims have no real concept of what their injuries and damages are actually worth. Personal injury claim values are determined by a number of different factors, such as:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitative expenses. In legal parlance, these are known as "special damages," and can include ambulance fees, x-rays, charges stemming from the initial ER visit and all subsequent treatment. Pharmacy bills for medication and medical equipment necessary during your convalescence also fall into this category. In some cases. future medical expenses should also be calculated.
  • Lost wages. This figure is derived from the amount of salary or wages you would have received if you hadn't been injured in the accident with their insured. But the sum may potentially be higher if you missed out on some lucrative business opportunities during your recuperation.
  • Pain and suffering. These damages are harder to quantify due to their nebulous nature. Insurance companies typically use a simple formula to multiply the estimated value of your accident-related pain and suffering claims.
  • Severity and duration of injuries. Accidents that leave claimants with permanent disabling injuries or disfigurement are of course going to be worth more than a wreck that leaves only bruises or a sprain. 

However, unless you are armed with a great deal of information regarding the litigation of personal injury claims in Texas, chances are good that your attempts to arrive at the true value of your personal injury case will fall short of the mark.

A personal injury lawyer can offer peace of mind

In addition to the considerable courtroom experience and legal knowledge a personal injury attorney brings to the litigation table, he or she can ease your worries and uncertainties about the progress of your case. Allowing the professionals to do what they do best lets you devote your time and energy to healing and getting on with your post-accident life. Your attorney can provide you with some measure of closure by forcing the drunk driver and their insurance carrier to assume responsibility for the negligent acts that caused your injuries and damages.

When you get tired of the insurance company runaround, give the seasoned professionals at Chandler, Mathis & Zivley a call. We will arrange a free consultation with a firm associate who can review your case with no obligation.



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crash Facts Involving Large Trucks — A Texas Truck Accident Lawyer is Your Ally

Statistics show that the majority of fatalities in 18-wheeler collisions occur to those driving or riding in passenger cars. The size and weight disparity between the two is simply too great for the outcome to be favorable for the smaller vehicle. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 30 times as much as a 4-door sedan.
Read more . . .

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Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC has offices located in Houston and Lufkin Texas and serves clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.
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