The Personal Injury Law Round-Up is ALIVE

Earlier this week, the guys (and gal) over at TortsProf announced that they would take over the Personal Injury Law Round-Up.  I presume that their first effort will be tomorrow.  Hopefully, with three profs to contribute, they can avoid the over-work, burnout issue.

I’d also suggest that all go to their site and listen to their audio announcement.  I know Bill worked hard to bring that to the readers (and listeners).

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Insurance Company Rules

I don’t know anything about HealthCareForAmerica.  I don’t know their platform, and I obviously can’t say whether I support their positions.  Having said that, their video, INSURANCE COMPANY RULES, will speak to most personal injury attorneys and their clients.

And I want to thank San Antonio personal injury lawyer Ed Goldner for the heads up on the video.

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Personal Injury Law Round-Up Update

As most of you probably noticed, there hasn’t been a Personal Injury Law Round-Up for the last two weeks. I have been on vacation, and have not taken the time to post. I would have liked to have warned people that no posts would be forthcoming, but my family isn’t too thrilled with the idea of me publicly announcing when we were going to be out of town. Imagine that.

A large part of the last two weeks involved Tropical Storm/Hurricane Dolly. First, we weathered Tropical Storm Dolly out on a small Mexican island just off Cancun. We were worried that she would interfere with our departure, but we woke up on the day of departure to blue skies and a relatively calm beach. The flight home was significantly longer than planned as we had to fly around the storm, but we arrived safely. And then we had to spend the next few days waiting anxiously as Dolly hit land very close to family members who had to bear the full brunt of the storm. Fortunately, everything is okay on that end.

I had intended to resume the Round-Up upon my return. But while out, I had time to go back and look at some of my past posts. I didn’t really realize it, but the Round-Up has taken n a life of its own. Even with the help of a law clerk, I spent most of my blogging time looking for Round-Up stories at the expense of the more in-depth posts that I previously enjoyed. So after much thought, I’m not going to return to the Round-Up. I have really enjoyed the Round-Up, but I think it’s time to move on.

For those that have been regular readers, I say “Thanks.” And I hope you’ll stick around for our regular blog postings.

And most of all, thanks to Eric Turkewitz.  I hope people really appreciate the work that he put in to the Round-Up.

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Does the Tort System Help Reduce Crane Accidents?

Texas-Notebook footballThe front page story of this morning’s Austin American Statesman noted that city council member Mike Martinez is proposing that the city staff study whether the city should regulate the use of cranes in the city.

Given that there seem to be more cranes dotting the Austin skyline than buildings, and given the far too frequent crane injuries, this seems like a rational thing to consider.  I was interested in the general information in the article relating to crane regulation and injuries.  For instance, the article noted that Texas doesn’t regulate cranes, instead relying on the federal government, and that the number of city-wide deaths relating to crane accidents has already surpassed the total deaths for 2007.

But the thing that really struck me was the response from the crane industry.  In the article, the crane industry took the predictable position that an additional layer of city oversight wouldn’t help increase the safety of the crane industry.  And this quote from Mike Green, the president of Crocker Crane Rentals here in Austin, was telling:

“I do my inspections not because the federal government or some local entity tells me to, but so I can sleep at night.  If I am sued for an accident, I lose everything I’ve worked for all my life.  I live safety day and night.  Who has more on the line: me or the city?”

And that’s exactly one of the goals of those of us that are trial lawyers.  Yes, we want to help our clients get the compensation they deserve.  But the tort system plays a critical part in regulating activity to improve safety for all Americans.  That’s especially true when the federal government, whether it’s OSHA, the FDA, or the CPSC, doesn’t have enough resources to adequately police the market.

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Personal Injury Law Round-Up #69

bgeI apologize. I spent last Friday by the grill (thus the picture) and not grinding out another round-up. (We had brisket and pulled pork for those of you wondering.) But after that brief hiatus, the Personal Injury Law Round-Up is happy to return to the blogosphere. We’ve got a fair amount of news this week, so let’s head to it.

We’ll start out with tort “reform” issues…..

Our top story is that AAJ published its list of the Top Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America. (I know what you’re thinking? What kind of list is that? Doesn’t that imply that there are some good insurance companies? It’s like making a list of the Top Ten Ways To Be Scammed or listing the Top Ten Deadly Diseases To Contract.) Anyway, the big winner (or loser) was Allstate.

At Corpreform, they write that defensive medicine is merely a euphemism for insurance fraud.

On to the litigation news…

And this might have been posted in the tort “reform” section due to the nature of the suit, but in Knoxville, a man that says he was at church and so consumed by the spirit of God that he fell and hit his head is now suing the church. It may be just me, but if you’re struck down by God during worship, perhaps you ought to be more concerned with other things that just filing a suit. (I haven’t been able to determine whether the man has insurance or if it’s a pro se suit.)

Eric Turkewitz has the “Tale of Two Hospitals,” which discusses one hospital where employees watched a patient die and another hospital’s decision to apologize for wrong side surgery (now admittedly, it would be hard to deny in such a case that a mistake had been made; of course, Ben Glass has the story of a New Jersey doctor that tried just that). This is something I never understand. Sitting around and talking with plaintiffs’ lawyers, we almost universally agree that if defendants apologized or truly made an effort to care about the plaintiff, the lawsuit would be avoided. And yet, risk managers and defense attorneys are scared to death of letting the defendant talk to the plaintiff. (In related news, the family of the woman left to die has already filed suit.)

Bill Marler continues to cover the story of the tomato/salsa salmonella poisoning. I was fine with it being tomatoes, because I can skip those. But salsa, that’s another thing. In only the last three days, I’ve had significant doses of salsa at four different meals. I hope I’m not poisoning myself.

Virginia Beach lawyer Rick Shapiro tells the story of one of his cases involving a pilot electrocuted in a hotel shower. That’s never good.

The National Injuryboard desk reports on 17 Texas babies that received Heparin overdoses.

Staying in Texas, the plaintiffs continue to settle suits over the British Petroleum explosion. But the most puzzling part of the story? Is the following comment from the poster “Tort Reform” for real?

This money could have been better used on profits to the shareholders. Money will not help any of these greedy plaintiffs. These cases are the perfect example of payments to “injured” people being a drag on our economy. The price of gas probably went up because of all the money that BP had to pay out. Lets hope the Texas legislature or the Congress caps damages recoverable against petrochemical companies. We need energy security and allowing a system where companies like BP every have to pay out one red cent is bad for our energy security. To learn more about how to protect corporations that help our economy thrive, please contact your representative at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

And from Maryland, we have a report on lawsuits over errant golf balls. Not a personal injury claim, but we sued a golf course over errant shots several years ago. It turns out the golf course had redesigned the hole and moved the green in such a manner that it created a dogleg, and golfers who were in the left half of the fairway (let alone the rough) had to hit over my client’s property to get to the green. Any case that requires you to spend working hours at a golf course is a good case.

Pharmalot has a report on a widow suing Pfizer over a Chantix suicide.

Staying with medication errors, a former Wall Street banker is suing various drug manufacturers arguing that Mirapex caused his compulsive gambling.

In a hometown story, the US 5th Circuit court of appeals has denied the Austin Police Department’s claims of immunity and allowed a suit to go forward. In 2004, the APD kicked in the door to a woman’s apartment after her ex-boyfriend made a false report that the woman was suicidal. Not finding the woman, the APD left the ex-boyfriend in the apartment, and he hung around and ambushed the woman and her new boyfriend, killing the new boyfriend.

From the New York Times, it might be best if you avoid medical helicopters.

And now to the miscellaneous…

While we were gone, Eric Turkewitz finished his series on his trial. Congrats to Eric on a great trial and great series of posts.

Anne Reed has the great advice, “Stop Thinking Like A Lawyer.” Hallelujah. I can’t tell you how many times mock jurors or even random e-mails to non-lawyer friends about cases have helped me find out what’s really important about a case.

It’s also from last week, but the South Carolina Trial Law Blog has a guest post from an MD explaining why MRIs are ineffective in diagnosing most spinal problems.

This is not a personal injury story per se, but the Houston Chronicle has a report on the problems with ERISA. I doubt that there has ever been a more abused law in the history of our country. What was enacted as a law designed to protect employees is not interpreted so that it is a huge protector of employers.

That’s all the news for this week.  I hope you had a great 4th.  As always, thanks for reading.

Brooks Schuelke

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

Schuelke Law 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

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