Is Football Season Also Concussion And Lawsuit Season?

We’re fired up in Texas.  It’s finally game-week for the start of college and high school football.  At my house, we’re making lists of things we need for our beginning of the season barbecue, finalizing our tailgate plans, and starting to hydrate (with a 100 degree temps at kickoff and with our seats being in the sun, we have to plan ahead for these things).

But earlier this week, I also saw a story this week that reminded me about the legal nature of football.   It seems the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died as a result of head injuries has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the head coach, the player’s helmet manufacturer and the NCAA.  The lawsuit alleges that the school’s practices required players to repeatedly engage in a drill that involved nearly non-stop, head to head collisions.  The suit alleges that this several players suffered concussions in this drill.

While football is a naturally violent game, we’re likely to see more of these lawsuits as we learn more about the nature of football-related head injuries.  Hopefully the increased publicity surrounding head injuries in football will lead to manufacturers making better helmets and coaches and medical staff being more cautious with athletes who have experienced concussions.  While you can’t ever get rid of head injuries, these type of things will help reduce their incidence and severity.

Texas gas tanker and SUV collide, incinerating five victims

This accident scene looked like a towering inferno had swept though, leveling everything in sight.

The collision happened at the intersection of two rural roads. An SUV and a gas tanker collided in a ball of flames, scorching the earth around the two vehicles. None of the five teens in the SUV lived to see another day and the tanker driver was critically injured.

In the course of reconstructing the accident to determine how it happened, investigators found that the SUV driver had run a stop sign. It was a fatal error in judgement, one that put the SUV right in the path of the gas tanker. The truck slammed into the passenger’s side and the subsequent explosion and fire incinerated everyone in the SUV. The trucker, still alive when first responders arrived, was flown to the nearest burn unit.

Police at the scene and first responders noted with grim realization that yet another accident had claimed several young adults that had their whole lives yet to live. In Texas, the crash statistics show that accidents were responsible for almost one quarter of the deaths for those in the 15- to 24-year-old age range in 2010. The figures, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show vehicle accidents lead the parade of teenage deaths, outstripping suicides, homicides, gunfire and accidental poisonings.

Despite the serious nature of this particular accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims traffic fatalities have been declining since 2005. Their figures indicate there were 43,510 deaths in 2005, and 32,367 in 2011. While the numbers are still high, they are apparently lower each year than they have been since 1949. In 2009, traffic accidents were deemed to be the eleventh leading cause of death in the nation.

Numbers do not reveal the faces and lives behind the accidents, nor the families left behind as a result of someone’s negligence. In this case, the driver of the SUV was negligent by running a stop sign. Five people died and one was seriously injured as a result of that decision. It would not be surprising if there were several wrongful death lawsuits and a personal injury lawsuit filed in the wake of this terrible crash.

The families of those who died need to move forward and would likely wish to send a message to other teens about the necessity of driving with due care and attention to the rules of the road. Life can change in an instant. Life can come to an end in an instant. A wrongful death lawsuit can become an effective vehicle to send that message to others. A skilled Austin injury lawyer is the voice those in grief need to deliver their concerns to others.

Posted on: August 27, 2013 | Tagged

Back To School Safety Reminders

Today is the start of school for most of our Central Texas schools.

Remember to stay safe in your local communities and in school zones.  In Austin, the Austin Police Department will engage in a Back To School traffic safety initiative through Sept. 6th.  You’ll see more officers patrolling school zones and looking for drivers who are speeding, using cell phones, and failing to yield to pedestrians and buses.

Around the state, drivers should also be warned that fines are increasing for illegally passing school buses.  Effective September 1, the maximum fine for a first offense will increase from $1,000 to $1,250.  If you receive two tickets for passing a bus, your license may be suspended for up to six months.  And always remember that a ticket for illegally passing a bus can’t be dismissed through a driver’s ed course.

If you’re a parent, make sure your kids are at the bus stop early and that they don’t misbehave while waiting for the bus.  And don’t forget to make sure that they check the street multiple times before crossing the street.


Fake doctor sued in wrongful death of 5-year-old

Strange things can happen, but this wrongful death case borders on the bizarre.

A man who never obtained a medical degree or even a license was discovered to have worked at numerous New York hospitals. He was only outed when a five-year-old patient died after he had been seen by the fake doctor.

According to the information available, the man claimed that he graduated from a Canadian university. An investigation following the child’s death revealed that although he did attend the university he claimed he did, he did not earn enough credits to graduate. After leaving university, he then went to medical school in another location for a year, while working as a resident at a hospital in New Jersey. He was booted out of the program due to incompetence.

The fraud artist was able to secure a New York state medical license in 2007 by claiming he graduated from the Canadian university. Prior to the death of a five-year-old patient, he continued to practice in several other hospitals, including one in Ogdensburg. That sojourn ended when he left after an unnamed “unfavorable incident.”

Whatever the incident was that caused the fake doctor to leave was never mentioned or revealed to the next hospital he applied to work at, Wellsville Hospital. Federal officials tracking his lack of verifiable documentation said he was negligently dangerous by putting people’s lives in jeopardy. In addition, the man was also fraudulently received $230,000 from various health insurance entities.

This kind of trickery at the expense of innocent patients is abhorrent and the families of surviving victims, and those who died as a result of this man’s egregious actions, should consider filing a wrongful death action — a civil lawsuit to hold the man accountable for the trail of tears he left behind while holding himself out to be a medical doctor.

Should you ever find yourself in a situation like this one, or even one that has harmed you medically and/or physically, in some manner, seek the experienced legal counsel of an Austin personal injury lawyer. Justice will not be denied in cases where medical negligence is evident.

Posted on: August 12, 2013 | Tagged

Swimming Pool Drain Dangers

Earlier this week, the oldest son of Usher, a popular music star, was rushed to the hospital following an accident in their pool.  The five year old was playing in the pool when he dove down to remove a toy from the pool’s drain, and the child’s arm became stuck in the drain.  Fortunately, two men were able to get his arm unstuck, and the child appears that he’ll be okay.

But this is but another example of the dangers of swimming pool drains.

Drains seem innocuous, but they are often deadly.  Sadly, drains are an attraction for kids, who often want to dive down and touch them or even sit on them.   But swimming pool drains are dangerous.  Obviously, long hair can be caught in the drain, trapping kids underwater.  But some drains have so much suction power that it can hold kids down.  In some horrific cases, some children who have been sitting on drains have been subject to so much force that they are disemboweled.

But drains don’t have to be dangerous.  New anti-vortex drain covers have been designed so that they greatly reduce the amount of suction when in use.  The drains are also designed so that they are no longer flat and smooth, making it more difficult for a person to completely cover the drain holes, reducing the risk of suction injuries.

If you have a home pool, make sure that you have one of these protective drain covers.  And if you regularly use a public pool or other pool, inspect the drains to make sure they’re safe for your kids.

But also take the time to teach your kids about the dangers of drains.  Make them aware that drains are a hazard and not something to be played with.


If you or a loved one have been injured in a swimming pool accident, please call us at (512)476-4944 or submit your case using the forms on this website.  We’d love to have the opportunity to help you if we can.

Posted on: August 6, 2013 | Tagged

Austin Among 10 Worst Cities For Traffic

I just saw a story from Yahoo talking about the 10 US cities with the worst traffic, and Austin comes in at number 4 (ahead of even New York City).

The story details what all of us know.  For more than a decade, Austin has been among the fastest growing cities in the country,  but there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in road infrastructure to keep up with our growing population.  The result was a “congestion score” that was over three times the national average.

I’m not really surprised by the finding that Austin is among the worst cities for traffic.  But I am shocked that neither Houston nor Dallas made the list.  I’ve driven in both of them during rush hour, and I’d take Austin every day of the week.


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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