Carbon Monoxide Poisoning — A Lesson From A Cat

I’ve handled a case or two involving carbon monoxide poisoning so I’m sensitive to the risks that arise when we turn on heaters for the first time each season.

This story from Fox News about a cat that saved his owners from carbon monoxide poisoning.  In short, the family felt weird and the husband and wife went to a doctor, who sent them home.  When the cat started screaming at them, the wife called the vet, who successfully diagnosed them as having carbon monoxide poisoning and urged them to get out of the house.

This is a story worth watching, but there is no way to embed it so I hope you’ll click on the link.

And after you do, go buy a carbon monoxide detector to protect you and your family as you turn on your furnace this year.

Study Shows Texas Supreme Court Is Activist & Ideological

I’m not sure how I missed this, but last January, Texas Watch, a non-partisan watchdog organization, released a decade-long study about cases before the Texas Supreme Court.  The study found the following:

Corporate and government defendants prevail in an average of 74% of cases annually.

Consumers have lost 79% of cases in which they were pitted against a corporate or government defendant.

These findings lead Court Watch to conclude: “The Texas Supreme Court has become a reliable friend to those who seek to escape the consequences of their actions; its justices are the ultimate guardians for the moneyed and powerful who wish to shirk responsibility.”

The report focuses on the decade beginning in 2000 because it reflects a paradigm shift. In 2000, Rick Perry became governor. His appointees to the Court have taken it in a decidedly activist and ideological turn.

Justices appointed to the Court by Governor Rick Perry have sided with consumers an average of just 29% of the time.

Despite a constitutional provision limiting its jurisdiction to questions of law – not fact – the Court has routinely overturned decisions made by local juries. Even Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson admonished the Court in a 2004 dissenting opinion, writing: “This Court is constitutionally bound to conduct only a legal – not factual – sufficiency review.”

Texas Supreme Court has overturned local jury decisions in consumer cases an average of 74% of the time since 2004.

Court Watch writes that “The jury is our smallest, most direct, and least corrupted form of government. … However, the Texas Supreme Court has displayed a fundamental disregard for juries.”

If you’re interested in the Texas Civil Justice system, you should read the entire report:  Thumbs On The Scale-A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court.

A Sobering Reminder About The Dangers Of Texting While Driving

I preach here often about the dangers of texting while driving, but nothing I say could be as effective as the story of Bobby Augusto, who lost his daughter to a car wreck caused by texting while driving.  You should read it here.

An Example Of An Insurance Company Trying To Chisel You On Your Personal Injury Claim

I had a maddening exchange with an insurance company this week, and it’s an example of why an injured person needs to hire a good lawyer.

My client was seriously injured in a car wreck.  We had already settled with the other driver for the driver’s policy limits, and we were making a claim on my client’s underinsured motorist coverage.  My client had $30,000.00 of underinsured motorist coverage.

I felt that it was obvious that the claim was worth more than that so I prepared a settlement package and requested the insurance company to pay the $30,000.00 policy limits of the underinsured motorist coverage.  Earlier this week, I received the insurance company’s response, and the adjuster had offered several thousand dollars less than the policy limits.


I called them today.  The adjuster asked me if I was going to make a counter-offer.  I told her that I wasn’t because the claim was worth more than the $30,000.00.  The adjuster then agreed — she too valued the claim at more than the policy limits — and that she would be writing a check for the entire $30,000.00 today.

If the insurance companies know that the claim is worth the policy limits, why not just offer that in the first place?  Because they know some attorneys will advise their clients to accept the offer.

That just drives me crazy.  Instead of properly representing their clients, some lawyers will be afraid to stick to their guns and file a lawsuit, resulting in their clients settling claims for less than the case might be worth.

Unfortunately, there’s not a good way for clients to know when hiring their lawyer whether their chosen lawyer who will fully represent their interests.  But the insurance companies know.  They keep databases of what attorneys like to settle cases, what attorneys settle too cheaply, and what attorneys will fight tooth and nail.

I hope you’re never in a wreck or are injured as a result of someone else’s conduct, but if you are, I hope you get a lawyer really willing to protect your rights.


Is Cedar Park Dropping The Ball By Not Enacting A Ban On Texting While Driving?

Last week, the Cedar Park City Council discussed the possibility of enacting a ban on texting while driving.   But despite acknowledging the problem  (they passed a resolution saying it’s bad), they didn’t take any steps to actually curb it.   They seemed to lean against an outright ban for all, and are only weakly considering a ban for city drivers.

Not surprisingly, they are parroting Governor Perry’s lame excuses for vetoing a state-wide ban that such a ban might be micro-managing behavior.  That’s just ridiculous.

Studies show that texting and driving are much more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and speeding.  Yet no one would think that DUI/DWI laws or speed limits are “micro-managing” behavior.  Doesn’t it make sense to outlaw one of the most dangerous activities that people can do while driving?

I’ve got a wife and two kids.  I want to know that they’re safe out there on the roadways.  If people are dumb enough to text while driving (and apparently they are), then I think it’s fine to enact a law discouraging that so that the roadways are safer for my family and yours.


Texas Is Leading The Nation In Workplace Deaths and Fatalities

Last week, the Dallas Morning News had a good article on the number of workplace deaths in Texas.

While the number of deaths have decreased in almost all parts of the nation, they remain high in Texas.  Indeed, in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, Texas was responsible for 10% of the nation’s workplace fatalities.

The story suggests a number of potential causes for the high rates of workplace injuries.  Most of the fatalaties involved a driving or highway accident, and Texas has a vast network of highways compared to other states.

The story also suggests that Texas remains very lax about requiring training for Texas workers.  This lack of training helps decrease the safety of all workers.

Additionally, Texas relies on a high percentage of temporary workers.  These temporary workers often receive even less training and have less experience than their permanent counterparts — making them even more dangerous to all.

If you or a family member has been injured in a workplace or jobsite injury, please call us at (512)476-4944 and allow us the opportunity to help you.

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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