Seven Ton Postal Truck Crushes Cyclist

This gruesome case demonstrates that bicycles and large trucks do not mix.

“This is a horrific case. A seven-ton U.S. Postal Service truck crushed a woman on a bicycle and then left the scene of the accident,” said Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “As the facts unfolded, it turned out the man driving the truck hadno idea he had hit anyone.”

The victim in this case was a former State Supreme Court special referee, and she was out biking with her husband one day in Manhattan, when she fell under the right rear tire of the postal vehicle. She was hit as she pedaled through a small gap between a moving truck and the parked postal truck. The driver, a 64-year-old man, indicated to police his vehicle bumped and rocked all the time, due to the nature of the streets in the city. He had not been aware of anything unusual that day and finished his run, returning to headquarters later, where he learned there had been an accident.

He did not connect the dots for some time. “However, roughly two hours later, in the middle of another postal run, the trucker began to have a sinking feeling he might has been the man who hit the cyclist. When he asked his supervisor for more details of the accident, he advised him he thought it was his truck that hit her,” Schuelke explained.

This case made it to trial and the prosecution wanted to know why the worker had waited two hours or more to talk to his supervisor. They did not accept his explanation that he did not feel anything out of the ordinary that day, when running over a human on a bike would certainly engender more than just a mere bump. Facing up to seven years in jail, if convicted, the man stuck to his story, and the jury believed him.

Leaving the scene of an accident is more common than people think. Some leave as a result of being under the influence of something. Some leave because they are scared and have no driver’s license or a suspended license, and some leave because they are not aware anything happened. Far too often death comes to cyclists on Americas streets. “It’s brutal for the families of those killed in this manner. Many wish to file wrongful death lawsuits, to ensure something like the loss of their loved one does not happen to anyone else,” Schuelke added.

 

Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC at http://www.civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.

Coaches are behind the times when it comes to traumatic brain injury

Even though traumatic brain injury is receiving more attention than every before, many coaches are lagging behind when it comes to doing something about it.

For many areas of the U.S., football is the social stitching that holds the fabric of a community together. Playoffs are a time of intensity, hard-hitting action, and a stand jammed pack with locals watching for those rough-and-tumble plays. More often than not, many in the stands are even secretly anticipating the sound of helmets crunching against each other, as one player takes another down. The crowd figures “seeing stars” is a normal part of the game. It is not.

This most recent off-season brought news of two National Football League (NFL) players taking their own lives. Along with that also came news that former NFL players were suing the League for keeping critical information from them relating to brain trauma and how it could affect them in the long-term. The time to do something about brain injuries is long past, and there is a lot of catching up to do, much of it by small-townfootball coaches.

Witness the case of a small rural high school, with a football team of go-getters, raring to make a name for themselves. During their practice scrimmages, several players get their “bells rung.” They keep on playing. One cannot recall what happened on the field of a most recent game. He was hit so hard, his memories only include being carried off the field, but he does not know why.

He did get hit. Hard. He is still trying to recover some semblance of normalcy in his daily life, but after four concussions in a short period of time, his doctor has banned him from sports for the foreseeable future. He may face up to two years down time before he can play again, if ever. He played through four concussions and his coach let him.

In small town America, football is a religion. Changing any of the rules about playing, or pulling players out because they got shaken up is frowned upon. However, even though many coaches are resistant to change, the awareness about concussions spreading to every corner of the nation. Small football venues with a coach for the local team are being forced into the mainstream of media awareness about traumatic brain injury.

The tide of media coverage is the harbinger of change. Between 2009 and 2011, the District of Columbia and 33 states passed laws, taking direct aim at preventing concussions in sports involving youth. Another 15 states have legislation on the table this year. Only Arkansas and Montana have done nothing. It’s time for change.

If your child has been involved in a sport that involves a high risk of brain injury, and the coaching staff did not advise them of the risks, or provide them with proper equipment, and they were injured you need to talk to an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.

Assault in Nursing Home Results in Wrongful Death

Nursing home abuse may escalate into a wrongful death scenario. This case did.

“It’s difficult to read and hear about senior citizens being mistreated so badly that they die as a result of someone’s abuse. In this case, an 85-year-old woman was viciously throttled, then thrown on the ground. She was further neglected by assisted-living home staff,” recounted Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “The woman died in a hospital a few days later.”

The facts of this case are disturbing because they paint a picture of an environment no one would want to find themselves in. The woman had chosen to live in the retirement community where she felt she would be secure and safe. Instead, she was stalked by a male Alzheimer’s patient, a man who has a record of assaulting others in the same facility. She was advised to avoid him. She did. He did not avoid her however, and one day he nabbed her in a corridor, brutally choked her and tossed her to the floor.

“Evidently, staff witnessed this event, but they did not call for medical help. She was escorted back to her room, where it was later noticed the left side of her face was drooping and the left side of her body was unresponsive. The woman was rushed to hospital at 3:00 a.m. several days later,” said Schuelke. Medical negligence? “The court may well regard this incident as being grossly negligent, as the staff did not provide the woman with immediate medical attention.”

The lawsuit alleges the facility was negligent in carrying out its duties to protect and care for the residents, and asks the court for damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and humiliation. “If you see medical negligence, or suspect it, don’t wait to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer. Someone needs to be held responsible for their negligent actions, particularly if they seriously injure, or kill someone,” Schuelke stated.

Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC at http://www.civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.

Traumatic brain injury is not a pillow fight

Many parents these days think their little football player will be fine with protective headgear. They will likely be wrong.

Over the last few years, a significant number of sports celebrities, and other not-so-famous players, have taken their own lives due to traumatic brain injury. Over time, repeated impacts can destroy the brain and create the idealenvironment for degenerative brain disease, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Children in large football or hockey outfits are cute, but their head health is a serious concern. Traumatic brain injury is not a pillow fight. It kills.

In step with the public’s demands for more information about traumatic brain injury and how to prevent it, the movie “Head Games,” directed by Steve James, was filmed with Little People. The movie is starkly moving and uses graphic images to show what concussions really do. These pictures are interspersed with parents relating personal stories of how their young athlete is valiantly struggling with head injuries, and how devastating the long-term effects are for the whole family. For families facing this life changing event, they may obtain the 90-minute film, on demand, at Amazon and iTunes, and it may also be available from some cable and satellite providers. It is well worth watching if you think playing football is a piece of cake. In fact, the issue is more complex and goes far deeper than anyone can imagine. Football and other contact sports have the potential to lead to irreparable brain damage. Too many people think of how cute the players look and pay scant attention to the seriousness of a concussion. Clearly, kids are being exposed to needless risks, and no one seems to get it.

This is a huge public health issue that people try to sweep under the carpet, because they do not grasp the ramifications of repeated concussions, until their son or daughter becomes a victim. Media reports about this issue are not sensationalized. They are the truth, and it is time parents woke up and started dealing with it.

It’s been scientifically proven that multiple blows to the head lead to brain trauma. If you don’t think that is true, consider that the National Football League is dealing with 140 lawsuits from about 3,500 former players, alleging the League hid the truth about concussions from them.

Little football players grow into big ones, and likely continue their love of sports over a lifetime. How does that affect their brain health? This is something we need to be upset about. Something we need to deal with before it gets completely out of hand. Ignoring head trauma does not mean it will go away.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.

Happy Thanksgiving & Safe Driving

We hope you have a great & safe Thanksgiving.  It’s easy to just celebrate Thanksgiving as a day of Turkey, football and food.  But I hope that you do take a few minutes to take stock of your blessings.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving isn’t just a day to celebrate; it’s also one of the most deadly travel days of the year.  The guys over at the Pop Tort have a great post today about Road Safety Tips.  If you’re venturing out on the roads, take a few minutes to read the tips to protect you and your family.

Things Your Personal Injury Lawyer Need To Know

Fellow trial lawyer Bob Kraft, who is Dallas injury lawyer, had a guest post on his blog this morning about things a potential client should tell a personal injury lawyer.

The author identified three things:

  • Medical history and pre-existing conditions.
  • Whether you have a criminal history.
  • Whether you are having financial troubles or have filed lawsuits in the past.

The post had a number of details about why each of the items is potentially important, and I’m not going to detail the reasons.  But I think the post is a good reminder about the importance of fully disclosing everything to your lawyer or potential lawyer.

A number of times clients or potential clients withhold information because they’re embarrassed about something or they don’t want to disclose something that they think will hurt their case.  That’s a mistake.

In most situations, if we know something up front, even if you think it’s bad, we can work around it.  We have techniques, tools and strategies that can help minimize the potential consequences of most problems if we know about the problems and can start planning from the start.

But problems do arise when we don’t know about issues, start our strategy, and then find out about these issues from the insurance company.  And you can be assured that the insurance company will know about the issues.   Insurance companies invest boatloads of money into systems designed to discover things about people making claims.  If you have skeletons, the companies will likely find them.  And if the insurance company finds out before we know about it, then it’s often too late.

Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you.  Be honest with your lawyer so the lawyer can best help you pursue your claim.

 

 

 

Austin Pedestrian & Bike Accidents An Increasing Problem

According to this morning’s Austin American Statesman, Austin has seen a record number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities despite the fact that there are still six weeks to go in the year.

About half of the pedestrian fatalities were caused in large part by the pedestrians not being careful.  For example, a number of the deaths involved pedestrians trying to cross IH 35 or other major highways, and a significant portion were caused when the pedestrian was intoxicated.

The bicycling fatalities are different — all were caused by the drivers hitting the cyclist from behind.

These findings mirror my own practice.  I’m seeing increasing number of cases where the victim was a pedestrian or on a bicycle.  Just this year, we’ve handled cases involving a child who was run over and suffered a horrific head injury, a pedestrian who sustained severe leg fractures as he was hit while on a sidewalk, and pedestrians who were hit in parking lots (including one who now needs surgery).

The description of the bike accidents is also similar to the types of accidents we’re seeing.  Most of the bicycle accident victims we’ve represented over the years have involved drivers who have hit the cyclists from behind.  We’ve also seen a number of clients who were injured when the drivers failed to yield to them at intersections — the driver either turns into the cyclist or doesn’t yield the right of way to the cyclist.

Unfortunately, these accidents usually involve significant injuries since pedestrians and cyclists have no protection.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian or cyclist, please call us at (512)476-4944 or submit your information via the “submit a case” boxes throughout our website.

Texas Is No. 1 —- For Fried Turkey Fires

  Earlier this week, State Farm released a study finding that we’re once again tops in an unwanted category — number of fires from frying turkeys.    The study notes that between 2007 and 2011, Texas had 19 reported fires started by those frying turkeys.  We just inched ahead of New York and Illinois, who each had 18.
Not surprising, over half of our turkey fires occurred on Thanksgiving Day.

I question the number of unreported incidents.  For each of those actual fires, I am sure there are dozens (or even hundreds) of other injuries from frying turkeys.

While it’s a great way to cook turkeys, you should also make sure that you’re doing it as safely as possible.

Here are some safety tips that I compiled from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other sources:

  • Keep the fryer in full view while the burner is on.  (Insurance officials say people being distracted is the number one cause of problems.)
  • Cook in a safe area.  Don’t cook in, on or under a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, wooden deck, or any other structure that could catch fire.  Also stay away from all walls, fences, etc.
  • Raise and lower the food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns.
  • Cover all bare skin when adding or removing food from the fryer.
  • Check the oil temperature frequently.
  • If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the gas supply off because the oil is overheated and could catch fire.
  • Set up the fryer so that the wind blows the flame away from the propane tank.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried.  Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
  • Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about determining the proper amount of oil to use.
  • Only use fryers on a flat surface.  You don’t want to be the idiot whose fryer tipped over spilling hot oil everywhere.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy — NEVER USE WATER to try and put out the fire.
  • Remember that the unit and the oil remain hot for hours after use.

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


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