Texas Personal Injury News

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 . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Injured by a big rig? Contact an East Texas Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have ever traveled on a Texas highway with 80,000 pounds of 18-wheeler bearing down on your bumper, you know that it can be quite intimidating to share the road with the big rig behemoths. Because commercial trucks need extra time to both speed up and slow down, it is imperative that they allow enough room between them and any passenger cars. When factoring in the blind spots inherent in the design of all 18-wheelers, motorists can find themselves at considerable risk from negligent truck drivers. 

The life you save may be your own

There are certain driving behaviors motorists can adopt to help give them an edge on highway safety. Taking these tips and suggestions into consideration when behind the wheel may help you avoid a deadly accident and injuries. Keep the following precautions in mind when cruising down the interstate:

  • Avoid the trucks' "No Zones." If a truck driver can't see you or your vehicle, you are at risk. These big rigs have four primary blind spots where other motorists appear suddenly invisible to truckers. While it may be necessary to briefly occupy these spots while in transit or changing lanes, avoid driving for long periods immediately in front of or behind a truck, as well as the areas to the left and right just behind the cab.
  • Use care when passing 18-wheelers. Don't cut off a truck, as the truck driver is unable to stop on a dime. When passing a big rig, use your mirrors to verify that you can see the whole truck before shifting back to the lane. It is recommended that motorists leave a minimum of four car lengths' space between them and large trucks.
  • Leave room for right turns. Have you ever noticed how widely a truck driver swings his rig to the right when turning? If you are in between the truck and the roadside, you could be in a danger zone.
  • Don't tailgate. A car is at a definite disadvantage when it runs up against the bumper of a semi-truck or 18-wheeler. What can be a minor fender-bender for the truck can cause catastrophic injuries or death and total most passenger vehicles. The bumpers on most commercial trucks are not designed to absorb an impact. Due to size disparities, they are not likely to line up with those on a car. Running into the back of an 18-wheeler can open up your car like a can of sardines.
  • Give them plenty of room. The more distance between your passenger car and a big rig, the less likely they are to collide. As a collision between a truck and a car does not usually bode well for the occupants of the 4-wheel vehicle, this is an important safety precaution to observe. One way to make sure there is enough distance between you is to note a stationary object ahead, like a road sign. When the trucker passes this object, begin counting. If your car passes the stationary object before you can count to two seconds, you are too close for comfort.
  • Don't drive behind a truck backing up. This is more of a hazard in parking areas and loading zones than on the interstates, but never place your person or vehicle behind an 18-wheeler as it attempts to back up.

Truckers bear increased financial responsibility

The Texas Department of Public Safety promotes safer driving by truckers through voluntary compliance with safety guidelines. But in reality, accidents happen every day on Texas highways and surface streets. Because collisions between cars and semis can be so devastating, big rig drivers or the companies that employ them are required to take out additional insurance coverage far above the minimum limits of passenger vehicle drivers.

This means that the drivers or companies must have sufficient coverage in place to meet the minimum liability requirements for any environmental or property damage, as well as bodily injuries, for which they are deemed to be responsible.

It's not pleasant to contemplate, but lives are changed in the blink of an eye when vehicles collide on a roadway or interstate. Even those lucky enough to walk away without a scratch may face extensive vehicle repairs or even replacement. But the fact is that far too many don't walk away.

Some motorists and passengers may suffer physical injuries that leave them incapacitated and unable to work or carry out activities of daily living. These injuries may be temporary or permanent; they can wind up with life-long disabilities or disfigurements after a crash with a large commercial vehicle. Few, if any, will have the necessary insurance coverage to meet all of their medical bills and rehabilitation costs. This is one reason behind the disparity in the amount of coverage that trucking companies and drivers must carry when compared with 4-wheel vehicle insurance policies.

Some damages don't leave a scar

Survivors of horrific collisions often are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome months or even years after the accident. The mental and psychological traumas from which these accident victims suffer are very real and can severely inhibit their ability to resume normal activities like simply driving to and from work each day.  

Just for a moment, imagine how difficult your life would suddenly become if you were unable to drive or even ride in a vehicle due to lingering psychological scars from a previous wreck. You or a loved one might suddenly no longer be able to do some, or even all, of the following:

  • Commute to and from a job
  • Pick up or drop off your children at school or other activities
  • Shop independently for clothing, groceries or household necessities
  • Transport you and other family members to medical and dental appointments, leisure or worship activities

Instead, you could become completely dependent upon another person, and the vagaries of their own day-to-day schedule, for the most minor and intimate activities.

When bad things happen to good people, it is often not enough to trust that the system will provide for them and their present and future needs. Insurance companies have a duty to keep their profit margins high and their settlement offers low. They retain entire firms of high-priced attorneys whose sole responsibility is to prove that their client bore no liability for an accident victim's injuries, pain, suffering and reduced quality of life.

Where to turn after an accident with serious injuries involving a big rig?

Some accident victims elect to pursue justice on their own because they believe that they will fare better financially without retaining an attorney to vigorously pursue their claims for damages. This can wind up being penny-wise but pound-foolish. Personal injury attorneys can closely estimate the worth of a case and deflect settlement offers that fall far short of the mark. They can put legal pressure on defendants to release documents that would demonstrate their liability for an injured motorist's injuries and medical bills.

If you have been injured in a collision with a big rig, consult with the Truck Accident Lawyers with Chandler, Mathis & Zivley.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

9 Big Things a Lawyer Does (and Doesn't Do) When Handling a Pharmaceutical Case


A wrongful death attorney has the unenviable job of pursuing justice for an individual who suffered serious harm or death from taking a prescription medication. Drug manufacturers frequently release medications to the public that have serious side effects, and they aren't always as safe as manufacturers claim they are. When a death occurs as a result of taking a prescription medication, the stakes are much higher for the survivors. Following are nine reasons why retaining an attorney for pharmaceutical cases that resulted in death can be beneficial to those who have suffered.

1. Doesn't charge a fee. 

In these types of cases, a lawyer won't charge a fee up front. Instead, the fees are paid from the financial award to the client -- if the case is won. In the event that the case isn't won, the client never pays a cent -- even though the lawyer put out his funds to pursue the case. This is done to encourage injured parties to come forward and take advantage of their legal right to recover economic damages after being injured. In the event of death as a result of medication, the family has the option to seek justice on behalf of the deceased -- no matter their financial situation.

2. Make sure that the statute of limitations hasn't run out.
The State of Texas has a two-year limit on filing a defective products lawsuit. That is to say, the injured party or their family members have two years from the date of taking the medication that caused injury or death to file a lawsuit in court. If the time has run out on filing suit, the court will not hear the case no matter what the reason is for not filing on time. There may be extenuating circumstances that prevent the injured or his/her family from seeing a lawyer right away, but it's best to see a lawyer at the first available opportunity in order to preserve the facts of the case while the details are still fresh. 

3. Determine the facts of the case, or how the drug caused injury or death. 

The pharmaceutical manufacturer may have failed to warn adequately about side effects, resulting in injury or death. When this happens, it is, at the very least, a violation of the trust that the patient gives the manufacturer when taking their medication. The lawyer investigates the events that led up to the injury or death, and seeks to uncover how the medication caused harm.

4. Consult with expert witnesses to examine the case.

It's possible that the cause of injury or death isn't clear-cut. The lawyer, while having extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical cases, is not a physician or medical expert. An expert witness with a medical background takes on the job of examining the case file and determining what went wrong, how, and where. 

5. Pursue justice -- and compensation.

In the event that a family member died as a result of an adverse reaction to the drug or side effects, the lawyer can help the family make an attempt to receive economic damages for the loss of income from the deceased. This one may seem morally wrong on its surface, but it is a completely valid request in a wrongful death from a pharmaceutical lawsuit. The deceased provided financial support to their family, and it is possible for a wrongful death attorney to put a number on that support. Some of the items included in an economic damage include:

  • The cost of the output of the deceased. If the deceased was in the business of creating goods of some sort and selling them for financial benefit, the total sales volume can be calculated and included.
  •  Loss of inheritance from another family member. If the deceased was due to inherit money from parents or other family members, and that inheritance was lost due to their death, the survivors may allowed to include that amount in the lawsuit.
  • Loss of love and comfort from the deceased. This one may sound a bit odd, but it's in line with pain and suffering. While it's difficult to put a value on something as seemingly abstract as emotional loss, it is possible to do so and sue for the amount in court.
  • Loss of leadership, or the loss of guidance that family members received from the deceased. This is akin to the loss of love and comfort
  • The cost of funeral and burial expenses that were incurred when least expected.

6. Make negotiations (whenever possible).

Wrongful death and personal injury attorneys generally approach the pharmaceutical company directly about settling before taking the case to court. Sometimes, a pharmaceutical company sets aside a fund for lawsuits and may prefer to pay out an agreed-upon sum as opposed to litigating in court. It's unusual -- but not unknown, either. A skilled lawyer may be able to satisfy all parties without having to drag the situation out in the courtroom.

7. Take it to to trial.

A good lawyer will also not hesitate to pursue a case in court when negotiations fail to elicit a response or result from the pharmaceutical company. This is the more likely scenario for most victims of bad drugs, as manufacturers frequently don't care to admit fault about their products. Manufacturers will often prefer to fight the action in court, so that they can maintain sales of the drug instead of pulling it off the market -- until absolutely forced to.

8. Decide what kind of suit to file.

Determine if the case belongs on pharmaceutical dockets for an individual suit, class-action or multi-district legislation action. Depending on the details, the case may be better off as an individual suit (which involves one plaintiff only), a class-action suit (comprised of multiple plaintiffs acting as a unit), or multi-district legislation action (where multiple cases are combined but still ruled on individually). A lawyer can help decide which of the types of pharmaceutical dockets makes the most sense for your situation.

9. Advocate for the client in court.

When and if the case goes to court, there are going to be questions raised -- and, sometimes, accusations made that question the truthfulness of the plaintiff. The plaintiff's attorney knows the truth, as does the plaintiff. However, the pharmaceutical company doesn't want to admit responsibility, and its lawyers are going to do what they can to put the blame on the plaintiff instead of the medication. Your lawyer's job is to stop them in their tracks.




Friday, November 14, 2014

State Bar of Texas set to honor Chandler as Legal Legend

Texas is full of legends. Tomorrow, it will have one more.

George Chandler - Lufkin Daily NewsThe Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas is scheduled on Monday to induct Lufkin attorney George Chandler as a Texas Legel Legend at Baylor University.

Chandler is the founder and chairman of Chandler, Mathis & Zivley.

Texas Legal Legends’ purpose is to memorialize the stories of many legendary lawyers who have practiced in Texas, according to information provided by the State Bar of Texas, and to use those stories to enhance the public’s understanding of the historical importance of law students and lawyers to “emulate legends like Chandler by serving others and making difference – not just a living”

Read the whole Article (PDF)

Photo by ANDY ADAMS/The Lufkin News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Don't Hesitate In Speaking To an 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer for Legal Advice

Victims in automobile accidents don't always get the justice they deserve but that can be the result of their failure to take action when it is justified. If you're involved in an accident, you need to speak to an attorney to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit, especially if you believe the other driver was at fault. When that other driver is operating an 18 wheeler or similar commercial vehicle, it's important that you hold them accountable when they're at fault because if you don't, they're more likely to repeat their offense. To get legal advice in this situation, you'll want to consult with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer that has previously represented these cases and won so that you can trust the advice you're receiving.

The companies that own these 18 wheeler trucks and employ the drivers will certainly want to avoid accepting any blame for the accident. This is why they have legal teams prepared for these situations and that's why you need to have an equally prepared 18 wheeler accident lawyer working on your behalf. You want someone that won't be intimidated and will put your best interests first. The Law Offices of Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley can provide you with this kind of representation.

When you contact our firm, we will give you a free case review with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer so that you can get your side of the story on record. This is an important step to take right away so that the details are still fresh in your mind. A Personal injury attorney will fully assess the circumstances of the incident so that we can recommend whether or not you should move forward with litigation. If you make that decision, we'll be ready to go to work building your case by gathering additional witness testimony and evidence to support your stance.

An 18 wheeler accident lawyer from Chandler, Mathis, & Zivley will work hard fighting for your rights, even if that means taking your case all the way to court. We're known as a "trial firm" because we're not afraid to go to court and when we do, we utilize state of the art techniques to present the best case to a judge or jury. This can include computer animations, computer reenactments and any other methods that we feel will help you win your case and get the compensation you deserve.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


By Christine S. Diamond - Lufkin Daily News

An Angelina County jury on Thursday night awarded $2.7 million to the 6-year-old son of a man who died in an automobile accident in December 2000.

Emerson Roy Shaw Sr. died at age 36 on Dec. 26, 2000, when his Ford Aspire collided with a United Parcel Service truck that hydroplaned on state Highway 63 just east of the Zavalla City Hall and crossed the center line, according to former Zavalla Police Chief Josh Parks.

The jury awarded Shaw’s son, Emerson Roy Shaw Jr., $2.65 million for the loss of his father, according to plaintiff’s attorney Reich Chandler. Jurors also awarded the man’s family $50,000 for the mental anguish he suffered in the moments after the accident, as well as $6,000 for burial costs, Chandler said.

UPS attorney Doug Gosda said it was too soon for him to comment on the case or say whether UPS intends to appeal the jury's decision.

Melinda Shaw filed the wrongful death suit as next-of-kin for Shaw Jr., her nephew. She is the boy's current guardian. In addition to caring for the boy, Melinda Shaw is raising two of her own children and the child of a deceased sister, Chandler said.

At nine months old, Emerson Shaw Jr. lost his mother to the same disease that brought him into the world mentally handicapped, Chandler said. Shortly after his father's death, the boy’s grandmother also died, the attorney said.

Chandler said UPS’s attorneys argued that because the boy's grandmother was raising Shaw Jr. at the time his father was killed, the father's death should be of no economic value to the boy, Chandler said.

"His father regularly visited him," Chandler said. "And (Shaw Jr.) spent every other weekend or so with his dad at his father's home.

"Justice was finally served in this case for this little boy," he said.

Wes Allen Thomason, the 32-year-old driver of the UPS truck, was neither ticketed nor charged with any offense in connection with the traffic accident, Chandler said. UPS initially terminated the Lufkin man, but rehired him after he filed a grievance through his union, Chandler said.

UPS also blamed Texas Department of Transportation in the accident, alleging the road was in poor condition, Chandler said. Parks said the accident was Zavalla's first fatal wreck in many years and the first he had seen in that area.

"It was raining at the time of the wreck and we alleged that the UPS truck — which had a history of hydroplaning, had defective tires and that the driver was driving too fast for the circumstances," Chandler said.

After four days of hearing evidence, the jury deliberated for four hours before announcing their decision about 7 p.m. Thursday, Chandler said. The jury award is the largest this year in Angelina County, he said. "We didn't ask for a specific amount. They just used their good judgment to determine the proper amount of this child's loss," Chandler said. "There's no norm in a case like this. It all depends on the evidence.”

State District Judge Paul White, who presided over the civil trial, appointed Lufkin attorney Clay Dark as the boy's legal representative, Chandler said.

"This award benefits just the child," Chandler said. "Clay Dark's job is to make sure that any money awarded to the child is properly invested — custodial care, therapy, those types of things."

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