Texas Lawyers Blog


The Texas Lawyers Blog provides useful information on the law and Texas lawyers. For more information on this Blog or a legal topic, please feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail message to blog@texaslawyers.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Understanding Texas Civil Law After a Fatal or Catastrophic Injury Drunk Driver Collision

Understanding Texas Civil Law After a Fatal or Catastrophic Injury Drunk Driver Collision by Texas Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Every year thousands of Texans are killed or seriously injured by the negligence of drunk drivers, intoxicated drivers, and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many of the people that are killed by drunk and intoxicated drivers, leave behind spouses, parents, children, and other loved ones that are devastated by their loss. This article is designed to provide general information regarding Texas law to families that have lost a loved one in a fatal drunk driver collision or have had a loved one permanently injured through the wrongful actions of a drunk driver. For specific information on particular case, it is important to contact an experienced Texas lawyer familiar with fatal accidents, catastrophic injury crashes, and drunk driver collisions.

The Grieving Process: Aftermath of a Fatal Collision

Losing a loved one is one is one of the most difficult experiences that a person can go through. This is especially true when the loss is a result of a sudden, accidental, unexpected or traumatic death. This sudden loss can shatter the world as we know it and make us realize that life is not always fair and leave us feeling shaken, unsure and vulnerable.

The grief response following sudden loss is often intensified since there is little to no opportunity to prepare for the loss, say good-bye, finish unfinished business or prepare for bereavement. Families and friends are suddenly forced to face the loss of a loved one instantaneously and without warning. This type of loss can generate intense grief responses such as shock, anger, guilt, sudden depression, despair and hopelessness.

Along with the primary loss of the person, families and loved ones may experience concurrent crises and multiple secondary losses: lost income, loss of home, loss of social status. The role the loved one held in the family is gone. It takes time for the family to reorganize. Family may be left feeling in a state of perpetual disarray with a lingering sense of unease and disorganization. Marital and other family relationships can become strained. Additionally, there are other immediate issues that come up including dealing with funeral arrangements, probate issues, medical expenses, pending criminal charges against the drunk driver, and the loss of income. These issues can often prevent a person from seeking assistance in investigating and potentially filing a wrongful death and survival action civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.

Texas Fatal Injury Law Suits and Claims: Texas Survival Action Claims, Texas Insurance Claims, and Texas Wrongful Death Claims

Under Texas law, Parents, Children, and Spouses of persons killed by drunk drivers have potential wrongful death claims against the drunk driver that killed their mother, father, husband, wife, son, or daughter. Through these wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions the relatives of a person killed by a drunk driver can often recover from the drunk driver's insurance company, the drunk driver, parent that provided alcohol to minors that were driving, or the bar where the drunk was drinking.

The Wrongful Death Claim seeks money compensation for the parents, spouse and children of the decedent based on a variety of factors including:

- Loss of love, companionship, comfort, assistance, protection, affection or care
- Loss of financial support
- Lost benefits, such as insurance, from the death
- Loss of inheritance from an untimely death

It is however important to realize that there is a two year statute of limitation on these wrongful death lawsuits. Though it is often difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one immediately after losing the person, it is extremely important not to wait beyond two year to act or the cause of action may be lost.

Also under Texas law, the estate of the person that was killed has a potential claim called a "survival action". The survival action are claims for what the decedent would have recovered had the person survived the accident. These claims travel through the decedent's estate and either go to their heirs or beneficiaries depending if the person had done any estate planning. These damages include:

- Expenses associated with the death including funeral costs
- Medical expenses prior to the death
- Pain and suffering associated with the untimely death

In addition to seeking compensation from defendants responsible for the accidental death of a loved one, insurance can often provide compensation for the loss of a loved one. Accidental Death Policies, Life Insurance Policies, Homeowners Insurance, General Commercial Insurance Policies, UM policies, and Automobile Accident Liability Policies are all types of insurance that can compensate widows and Texas families for the accidental death of a loved one in a drunk driver accident. Most insurance policies must be triggered within a certain time of the death or injury and will not be automatically triggered. A formal demand typically must be made to trigger these insurance policies.

The Grieving Process: Aftermath of a Catastrophic Injury Collision

In addition to losing a loved one, a catastrophic injury caused by drunk driver collision can also shatter the world of a family as we know it. Having a loved one suffer severe brain damage, loss of use of their arms or legs, suffering severe back injuries, or suffering multiple bone fractures can create large medical expenses, the need for 24 hour in home nursing care, lost income, end of a career, loss of a care taker, and many other damages that can dramatically change a family's world.

Not only does the family have to deal with the loss of their world, they also need to focus on preparing and rebuilding their lives. In these situations, it can also be difficult to find the time and energy to find a good Texas lawyer that can assist the family in investigating and potentially filing a catastrophic injury lawsuit.

Texas Catastrophic Injury Law Suits and Claims: Texas Minors' Claims, Texas Parents' Claims, and Texas Insurance Claims

There are also several different types of compensation that may be available under Texas law and insurance coverage to people injured in a vehicle collision. One of the most misunderstood claims in that of minors. When a minor is severely injured in a collision both the minor and the minor's parents or guardians may have claims under Texas law for different types of damages. While the minor's claims typically exist until two years after the minor's 18th birthday, the parent's claims for the medical expenses typically only are viable for two years after the statute of limitations. It is important to discuss these potential claims and any other potential claims that may exist under Texas law or insurance policies with an experienced Texas lawyer that understands catastrophic injury cases.

Avoiding Opportunists and Vultures

Unfortunately, after a fatal or catastrophic injury crash, numerous unethical people will often contact families to take advantage of the situation. From case runners working for chiropractors and unethical lawyers to insurance adjusters looking to avoid liability, families of those killed or severely injured are too often the target of opportunists that will start contacting a family after collision. Most troubling are those that show up or call after a collision.

In dealing with these opportunists, it is important not to sign away any rights or give a recorded statement until you have had the opportunity to speak with an experienced catastrophic injury or fatal collision lawyer.

Boating and Driving Under the Influence is against Texas Law

Driving on our roads is a necessary risk we all have to take, but driving becomes increasingly dangerous with drunk drivers are carelessly and recklessly driving on our roads. In Texas, there are laws against drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but too many drivers do not respect these laws and recklessly drive causing many automobile collisions.

Under Texas law, a driver is considered drunk or under the influence if they do not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body or if they have a blood alcohol concentration of over .08. And it is against Texas law for drunk drivers to operate motor vehicles, water craft, and air craft. If the drunk driver causes an automobile accident or boating accident that causes serious injuries or death, they can be charged under Texas law with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter both serious felonies.

Texas Fraternity Hazing & Night Club Law Suits

Fatal DWI Automobile Accidents can also be caused by businesses and fraternities that knowingly serve patrons too much alcohol. There are many bars, night clubs, party hosts, and restaurants that serve customers that have already drunk too much alcohol. Under Texas law a bar, night club, or restaurant that serves a drunk person alcohol can be held liable if they let that intoxicated person drive and the intoxicated person causes a serious or fatal automobile accident. For more information on Texas Dram Shop lawsuits, go to our page on Texas Dram Shop Claims.

Texas Drunk Driver Wrongful Death Lawsuits and
Texas Wrongful Death Claims

Texas DWI Accident Lawyer Jason Coomer works with district attorneys to make sure that drunk drivers that cause serious accidents are prosecuted as well as seeks compensation for the families that have lost loved ones due to drunk drivers.

He has also worked hard to prevent future fatal accidents and make sure that fatal accidents do not occur in the same manner. Through his efforts, policies and safety regulations throughout North America have been changed to make work places safer. He has also worked hard to obtain compensation for those left behind including reimbursement for medical bills, funeral costs, lost future earnings, pain & suffering, and other damages suffered.

Whether a person is accidentally killed by a hazardous defect or the carelessness of another, individuals often need assistance in dealing with and seeking just compensation from insurance companies and large corporations. Corporations that carelessly kill a person will all too often spend a lot of money fighting the claim instead of compensating the family for the loss and fixing the problem. Unfortunately, insurance companies are often the same way. Having an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side can force large corporations and insurance companies to do the right thing and value life and safety above profits.

If you have lost a loved one and that loved one was killed through the negligence of a drunk driver, feel free to go to the website of the Law Offices of Jason S. Coomer.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits, Secondary Exposure Lawsuits, Asbestos Cancer Lawsuits, and Mesothelioma Lawsuits by Texas Mesothelioma Lawyer

Information on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs.

Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum. The pleura is the outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Mesothelioma may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart), or the layer surrounding reproductive organs.

Most people who develop mesothelioma have inhaled asbestos particles either through occupational exposure or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibre in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products. Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.

Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer, but reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos products used in the society. The incidence is expected to continue increase in many parts of the world as asbestos products become more common. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.

In the United States between 1939 and 1980, approximately 30 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States. Between 1970 and 1990, there was a large increase in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in asbestos workers and their families. Though many asbestos exposure mesothelioma cases have been misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung or other diseases, it is clear that the incidence of mesothelioma increases with use of asbestos products.

In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.

If someone you know has mesothelioma or other form of cancer related to Asbestos exposure it is important that they get the best medical care that they can find and that the source of their exposure is stopped. If you have any questions feel free to send an e-mail to Texas Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Asbestos Secondary Exposure Lawsuits by Mesothelioma Secondary Exposure Lawyer

Many families in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were supported by workers that were exposed to high levels of asbestos fibers. Many of these workers unknowingly brought asbestos fibers and asbestos dust home exposing their wives and families to toxic dust fibers that were inhaled. These secondary exposure claims are becoming more common along the Houston Ship Channel area as well as other industrial areas throughout the United States as more and more wives and widows of asbestos workers are now coming down with mesothelioma, asbestos cancer, and other asbestos diseases. If you are the spouse or family member of an asbestos worker and are experiencing severe symptoms including the following symptoms, you should be screened for asbestos diseases:

1) Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness.
2) A persistent cough that gets worse over time.
3) Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up.
4) Pain or tightening in the chest.
5) Difficulty swallowing.
6) Swelling of the neck or face.
7) Loss of appetite.
8) Weight loss.
9) Fatigue or anemia.
10) Fever, night sweat

Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Diagnosing mesothelioma begins with a review of the patient's medical history to determine if the patient has had exposure to asbestos. A physical examination also performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray is used to determine if there is any pleural thickening that is commonly seen after asbestos exposure. If there is pleural thickening it increases suspicion of a diagnoses of mesothelioma.

A CAT scan or an MRI and cytology is then done to determine if a large amount of fluid and or abnormal cells are present. To study the pleural fluid a pleural tap or chest drain is done, in ascites with an paracentesis or ascitic drain and in a pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. If cytology is positive or a plaque is regarded as suspicious, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

The biopsy is performed by a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer). This surgeon or oncologist removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.

If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.

Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.

If someone you know has mesothelioma or other form of cancer related to Asbestos exposure it is important that they get the best medical care that they can find and that the source of their exposure is stopped. If you have any questions feel free to send an e-mail to Texas Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Other Asbestos Primary Exposure Worker & Construction Worker Claims

Today despite being better regulated over 1 million employees in construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Many of these exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos products in the renovation or demolition process. Numerous construction workers are now dismantling many of the buildings and refineries that were built with asbestos products. These workers are often not given proper respiratory protection and sustain heavy primary exposure from the demolition of buildings that cause asbestos fibers to be knocked into the air. Many of these construction workers and abatement workers will have mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases in the future. Employees are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.

Asbestos Secondary Exposure is Still Occurring

The families and spouses of these hardworking construction workers that are tearing down asbestos filled buildings, refineries, and manufacturing plants are still receiving asbestos exposure from construction and demolition companies that do not take proper asbestos abatement procedures. Wives and children of these construction workers greet their hard working husbands and fathers at home and unknowingly receive exposure to high levels of asbestos fibers that can cause mesothelioma and asbestos diseases later in life.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma can appear 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. These symptoms include shortness of breath, chronic cough, coughing up blood, night sweats, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

Mesothelioma can affect several areas of the body and can cause the following symptoms:

  • chest wall pain

  • pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung

  • shortness of breath

  • fatigue or anemia

  • wheezing, hoarseness, or cough

  • blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up

  • abdominal pain

  • ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen

  • a mass in the abdomen

  • problems with bowel function

  • weight loss

  • blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis

  • disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs

  • jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin

  • low blood sugar level

  • pleural effusion

  • pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs

  • severe ascites

Shortness of breath and pain in the chest from accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the mesothelioma cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

Many of the above symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis. Please read below for information on the diagnosis of mesothelioma.

If someone you know has mesothelioma or other form of cancer related to Asbestos exposure it is important that they get the best medical care that they can find and that the source of their exposure is stopped. If you have any questions feel free to send an e-mail to Texas Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer, Jason Coomer.

Mesothelioma Treatment

Treatment for mesothelioma vary depending on the location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, and the patient’s age and general health. Some of the more common treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and drainage of fluid.

Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma. The doctor may remove abnormal or cancerous tissue and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural mesothelioma), a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation therapy affects the cancer cells only in the treated area. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body.

To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. It is common to use surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and fluid drainage to relieve symptoms and treat mesothelioma.

If someone you know has mesothelioma or other form of cancer related to Asbestos exposure it is important that they get the best medical care that they can find and that the source of their exposure is stopped. If you have any questions feel free to send an e-mail to Texas Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer, Jason Coomer

Asbestos Cancer Lawsuits, Mesothelioma Lawsuits, and Mesothelioma Seconday Exposure Lawsuits handled by Texas Asbestos Lawyers and other Mesothelioma Lawyers

As a Texas Mesothelioma Lawyer, Jason Coomer commonly works with other Asbesto Mesothelioma Lawyers on cases throughout the United States. He handles mesothelioma lawsuits, asbestos cancer lawsuits, and asbestos exposure lawsuits including asbestos product dumping lawsuits, asbestos secondary exposure lawsuits, asbestos death lawsuits, asbestos premises liability lawsuits, asbestos negligence abatement lawsuits, asbestos non-subscriber lawsuits, and other asbestos exposure lawsuits that have caused mesothelioma or other asbestos cancer.

He has worked on a wide variety of asbestos cases and has had the opportunity to work with and against some excellent asbestos mesothelioma lawyers including Dallas Mesothelioma Lawyers, Houston Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyers, San Antonio Mesothelioma Lawyers, and Austin Mesothelioma Lawyers. He prides himself on working hard for his clients.

For more information on this topic please go to the following webpage Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits, Asbestos Secondary Exposure Lawsuits, Asbestos Cancer Lawsuits, and Mesothelioma Lawsuits by Texas Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer Jason S. Coomer

Monday, January 4, 2010

Federal Spending, Government Fraud Lawsuits, Federal False Claims Lawsuits, False Certification Claims Lawsuits, and Qui Tam Lawsuits

Federal Spending, Government Fraud Lawsuits, Federal False Claims Lawsuits, False Certification Claims Lawsuits, and Qui Tam Lawsuits

Over the past several years spending by the Federal government has increased substantially including Medicare and Health Care Spending, Defense Spending, Public Works Spending, Bailout Spending, Road Construction Spending, Local Government Spending, and Public Health Spending. For more information on Federal government spending, please go to the following web pages on Federal government spending Fedspending.org, Stimulus Plan, USASpending.gov, and Recovery.gov.

With the sharp increase in Federal Government Spending has come unethical wrongdoers, that have committed fraud, made false claims, and submitted false certifications in order to steal millions and even billions of dollars from the United States Government. To prevent theft and fraud, the government has recently enacted regulation that expands the Federal False Claims Act and expands protections for whistleblowers. This expansion of the Federal False Claims Act was intended to encourage whistleblowers to step forward and blow the whistle on fraud against the government to which they have specialized knowledge and are the original source. The expansion also provides new protections to protect whistleblowers from retaliation for filing false claims act claims.

Under the Federal False Claims Act, fraudulent or false claims by persons or corporations made for payment or approval by the United States Government can be the basis of relator qui tam claims in which the relator or whistleblower can obtain a portion of the money recovered by the government for exposing the fraud. Whistleblowers have successfully helped the United States Government recover Billions of Dollars for wrongdoers. Some common area of fraud against the United States Government include government contractors seeking payment for services not provided; government contractors over billing and double billing; health care providers seeking Medicare reimbursement for services not provided or upcoded services; Pharmaceutical companies seeking Medicare payments for off-label drugs, patent fraud, defective vaccine fraud, or poor quality goods; defense contractors seeking payment for poor quality products, defective weapons, or not provide services; road contractors falsely certifying services completed or hours worked; TARP recipients making false statements to obtain TARP funds; and subcontractors falsely certifying services or goods were provided when they were not.

Many other forms of fraud that can lead to successful qui tam claims also exist. The key is to obtain evidence of a fraudulent act or false certification that has been made for the purpose of obtaining money from the United States government. To be a successful qui tam claim the relator must be the original source with specialized knowledge of the fraud.

Federal False Claim Act Whistleblower Lawyers and Federal False Claims Act Fraud Lawsuits (Qui Tam Lawyers & Relator Claims)

If you are aware of Medicare Fraud, Defense Contractor Fraud, Stimulus Fraud, Government Contractor Fraud, or other government fraud and are the original source with special knowledge of fraud, it is important to step forward and become a whistleblower and an American Hero. For more information on specific types of Federal False Claims Act Whistleblower Lawsuits or False Certification Whistleblower Lawsuits feel free to go to the following web pages: Federal False Certification Whistleblower Lawsuits, Health Care Fraud lawsuit, Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit, Defense Contract Fraud Lawsuit, and Government Fraud Lawsuits.