Austin Drunk Driving News

It’s not directly related to personal injury litigation, but a little history was made yesterday when a Travis County jury convicted a drunk driver of murder for killing someone in a car wreck.  This was the first murder conviction in Travis County for a drunk driver.  The story from the Austin American Statesman is here.

For additional information on personal injury claims, please check out our “Austin Personal Injury Lawyers” page.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A New Threat to Austin: More Trucking Accidents?

We’ve written extensively about the dangers posed by the trucking industry.  We have prior posts on truckers admitting rules violations, two national reports about the dangers of trucking accidents, and a series from the Dallas Morning News about Texas trucking accidents.

But now, there are new concerns about trucking safety.  Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, US and Mexican truckers were supposed to be able to drive in each country with minimal limits.  But up to now, Mexican trucks have been limited to driving 25 miles into the US, and US trucks have been prohibited from entering Mexico at all.  That may change.  Starting this Saturday, September 1st, a new pilot program is supposed to allow many Mexican trucking companies more extensive privileges to drive on US Highways.  Although the National Transportation and Safety Board says these trucks will be inspected from headlight to taillight, we have serious reservations about the agency’s ability to enforce regulations on the existing US fleet, much less examining the countless additional Mexican trucks that will be showing up on the roads.

This should be a particular concern to those of us in Austin and Central Texas.  Interstate 35 is a main artery for trade to travel from the border in Laredo up through Texas and into the rest of the country.  Frankly, the prospect of even more (and perhaps less-safe) trucks driving through downtown Austin is frightening.

To hear a story from National Public Radio about the new agreement, click on the link.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Progressive Spies on Personal Injury Victims

How far is too far? Personal injury lawyers have always known that insurance companies might hire investigators to follow their clients. But a new story shows just how far some companies are willing to go.

Last week, the Atlanta Journal Constitution broke a story that started:

When a new couple arrived at Southside Christian Fellowship in August 2005, members welcomed them with open arms. Soon, the new couple talked their way into private group support sessions…During the private talks, church members confessed abortions, sexual orientation issues, drug addictions and other dark secrets. No one knew the couple wasn’t actually interested in joining the church. Instead, they were private investigators hoping two church members…would spill something they could use to discredit the pair in an ongoing lawsuit over a traffic accident. The private eyes even tape-recorded the sessions.

Even more appalling, the leader of the group, who says he has led the group for over twenty years, said that each session started with a statement that whatever was said in the room would remain private.

This conduct eventually led to a lawsuit against Progressive (the insurance company), its lawyers, and the private investigators and an investigation into the conduct by the Georgia Department of Insurance.

The real question is how far is too far?  It’s accepted, even in a town like Austin where the lawyers mostly get along, that personal injury clients might be taped.  But what is the line on acceptability?  It’s pretty obvious that this conduct crosses the line.  Even Progressive issued an apology for the conduct (though the investigators seem to maintain they acted properly). But where should the line be drawn?  That’s the harder question.

The other irony in these situations, at least in our experience here in Austin, is that videotaping victims rarely works.  Most of the time, the video footage actually documents that the personal injury victim really was hurt. Or, the private investigator ends up testifying that they watched the person for days to find the 20 second video that supposedly shows the client’s not hurt.  Those type of results are often more helpful to the personal injury victim’s lawyer than to the insurance company.  So it is almost mind-boggling that Progressive would engage in such improper conduct when the payoff is usually so low.

Thanks to the New York Personal Injury Blog and the California Personal Injury and Insurance Blog for the heads-up.

Mark Perlmutter and Brooks Schuelke are Austin, Texas personal injury lawyers.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Sports and Athletes at the Courthouse

Until September 1 and the start of the UT football season rolls around, there just isn’t much going on here in Austin sports-wise. So when we saw that Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post had written an article about athletes and their civil litigation and criminal prosecution woes (the latter of which hit a little close to home for some of us UT fans this summer), we had to link to it.

It may be a stretch to say that the article will be interesting to our regular audience of personal injury and civil litigation lawyers out there, but at least it has these tort snippets:

Okay, Bonds’s suit against Schilling would be frivolous at best because Bonds is a public figure. And to prove Schilling made knowingly or recklessly false statements, Bonds would have to submit his life to a degree of discovery a man with his baggage doesn’t want to undergo.

An even bigger waste of time, it would seem to me, would be Vaughn’s lawsuit against Imus, who never said her name on air, never identified her in any way in his mean and stupid remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team back in April. Nobody outside the Rutgers campus even knows Vaughn played for the team unless she tells them. You can’t imagine this would have any real traction in court, unless Judge Al Sharpton was presiding.

In the meantime, there are only 17 more days to kick-off.

Thanks to fellow UT law grad Bill Childs and his TortsProf blog for the link.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Austin Personal Injury Topics in the News

For some reason, Austin news stations have run several stories this week that should be of interest to Austin personal injury lawyers and our clients.  First, the city of Austin is installing its first red light cameras.  Right now, the cameras are only at a couple of intersections around town, but if they catch on, they could be a great source of evidence in future auto accident claims.

The Austin police department also issued a release about the disturbing number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents.  Most of the fatalaties seem to be the result of people attempting to cross busy streets, including I-35.

And finally, all of the stations had stories about the Mattel toy recall.

Mark Perlmutter and Brooks Schuelke are Austin personal injury lawyers.  To learn more about personal injury claims, visit our personal injury page.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Straight From The Horse’s Mouth Part 2

The Baylor Law Review has generously given us permission to reprint their article, Straight From the Horse’s Mouth:  Judicial Observations of Jury Behavior and the Need for Tort Reform.  Click here to read the entire article.

You can read our previous post, which summarized the article, here.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Personal Injury Lawyer Blogs

We’re not aware of any other Austin personal injury lawyers or attorneys that maintain blogs, but there are some good personal injury blogs from lawyers in Texas and around the country. In Texas, we routinely read the Texas Injury Law Blog and the P.I.S.S.D. blog (which always has interesting links of the day).

Around the country, we read the Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Blog, the New York Personal Injury Law Blog, the Atlanta Injury Law Blog, and Day on Torts. And, of course, the TortsProf blog.

Brooks Schuelke and Mark Perlmutter are Austin personal injury lawyers.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Wrong Site Surgery

We’ve both been practicing personal injury law here in Austin for several years, and we’ve seen a lot of different types of personal injury claims.  And of all the claims we see or hear about, the claims that make the least sense are those where doctors have either operated on the wrong part of their patient’s body or performed the wrong procedure.  We hear about it, and ask, “How does that happen?”  And yet, it’s very prevalent.  We’ve previously written on it here.

Now, Eric Turkewitz with the New York Personal Injury law Blog has a post that reveals that Rhode Island Hospital has performed a wrong site brain surgery for the third time in the last six years.  Again, how does that happen?

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Doctors Waking Up to Problems in Insurance Industry

Dealing with doctors and health care providers (particularly those located outside of Austin) is one of the most frustrating things about being a personal injury lawyer. We have difficulties getting medical records and bills, and many doctors refuse to participate more than they’re legally required to help prove our client’s cases. In fact, a year or so ago, I had lunch where one of my own physicians (who could not see me) was sitting with two other colleagues in a booth behind me. And I could overhear them talking about their options for avoiding a potential deposition on behalf of one of their patients.

I just don’t understand this attitude. We share the same goal: helping the same client/patient recover from the car wreck, on-the-job accident, or whatever else caused their injury. And we share the same enemy: the insurance companies.

Well now we find a little hope that the medical industry might be coming around. The Greedy Trial Lawyer blog has a post titled AMA Awakens to Insurance Scam of Unprompt Payments that describes the medical association’s frustration with the health insurance industry.

We’ve represented several doctors in various capacities, and we’ve long thought one of the biggest problems they face is the insurance industry. Maybe now that they’re recognizing that fact, we can get them to come around on the participation in helping their clients’ claims.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Federal Preemption As Tort Reform

An increasingly popular tactic of tort reformers is to seek protection from federal preemption. Regulators, backed by tort reform groups, continue to propose and institute measures that seek to preempt state laws and eliminate the rights of those injured. For example, the Food and Drug Administration proposed last year that their regulations should preempt state causes of action; in essence, if the food or drug was approved by them, it would be virtually impossible to sue the manufacturer for any defects in the product. Similar “regulatory preemption” measures have also been advanced with respect to autos, banking, railroads, and medical devices. And just yesterday, the California Supreme Court decided that federal law pre-empted a state court claim against tobacco companies.

However, it’s increasingly obvious that the federal government doesn’t have the resources necessary to completely protect the public. For example, in the wake of this week’s recall and investigation of Mattel’s toys that were made in China with lead paint, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is admitting that it doesn’t have the funds necessary adequately protect the public. But the CPSC isn’t the only problem. In April, the Food and Drug Administration announced stepped up inspections of food imported from China. But those stepped up inspections weren’t enough to stop tainted food from coming to the US, as the US eventually had to outright ban several foods from China. These problems with China have led some to describe it as the Wild West.

So today, federal preemption makes little sense.  At a time when it’s obvious that federal regulators aren’t able to properly do their job, products should be subject to more scrutiny, not less.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


Law Firm Website by CLM Grow