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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

18-Wheeler Wreck in Rockwall Shuts Down I-30.

ROCKWALL, TX (CBSDFW.COM) — Traffic was stopped at the Fate exit on Interstate 30 in the city of Rockwall due to a major accident that claimed the life of at least one person.

Texas Department of Public Safety Officials say two semi-trucks and four cars were involved in the wreck.

Kyle Bradford with DPS confirmed that at least one person died in the wreck. He said — according to a witness — traffic was slowing and one semi didn’t slow in time and slammed into another vehicle causing a chain reaction. He said the person who died was in one of the passenger vehicles.

Assistant Chief Simmons with the Fate Department of Public Safety said he could confirm two others victims were taken to the hospital. No word on the nature of their injuries.

A dispatcher with Bravo Logistics who owns one of the trucks involved in the accident said they were aware of the accident but had no report on the condition of the driver.

Traffic was being routed off the highway at FM 3549 according to reports.

A Texas Department of Transportation camera on the west side of Lake Ray Hubbard shows traffic backup across the Lake Ray Hubbard Bridge. The Texas DPS was assisting Fate DPS in the investigation.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident, the experienced attorneys of Miller Weisbrod are ready to help. For a free case evaluation, contact us at 214-987-0005. #carwrecklawyers

Friday, January 20, 2017

Workplace Deaths at an 8-Year High

Workplace Deaths at an 8-Year High: When Workers' Comp is not the Sole Remedy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its annual report on work place fatalities.
The report revealed that workplace deaths have climbed to nearly 5,000 deaths. This is the highest number of workplace deaths since 2008. Workplace fatalities had been declining since hitting a peak in 2006.

Several interesting observations about the report: Men accounted for 93% of all workplace fatalities, the occupation with the highest number of deaths was truck driver (745 deaths), 903 Hispanic/Latino workers died on the job (two-thirds were foreign-born) which is the highest number from any other year, other than 2007 when the home building market was at its pre-crash high and 650 of the workplace deaths involved workers over the age
of 65.

Several factors have played a role in this decline during the last several years. First, the strengthening of government and industry safety regulations has provided workers with safer environments. Second, the economy following the crash of 2008 led to a reduction in building and manufacturing — two of the more dangerous occupations. As the economy recovers and the new President-elect promises to roll back government regulations, a likely consequence of both will be increased workplace accidents and fatalities.

Many employers carry workers’ compensation insurance in Texas. Under these plans, the employee is compensated regardless of fault and the employee’s family, in the case of death, receives partial income replacement benefits for various periods of time. The trade-off is the employee’s family cannot sue the employer for actual damages if the employee’s death was caused by negligence. This statutory immunity is granted by the Texas Labor Code.

What if a family comes to your office and their loved one has been killed on the job due to the wrong-doing of the employer, is the family limited to just workers’ compensation benefits? The answer is “Maybe Not.”
Here are the questions to ask:
  • Did the deceased employee leave a spouse and/or any children?
  • Was the death caused not just by negligence but by possibly “gross negligence” of the employer? (meaning the risk was known and the company ignored the risks despite this knowledge)
  • Is the gross negligence attributable to a vice-principal (i.e. manager/supervisor) or caused by conduct that had been ratified by the company (even implicitly) on previous occasions?
If the answer to the above three questions is “Yes” then Texas Law allows the surviving spouse and/or the children (but not the parents) of the deceased employee to sue the employer for punitive damages only. The Burden of Proof is high and the punitive damages are subject to a cap of 2 times the economic damages plus $750,000 of non-economic damages (so actual damages must be proven, even though not recoverable, for purposes of the cap calculation.)

At Miller Weisbrod, we have successfully handled dozens of cases involving the death of an employee caused by the gross negligence of the employer.

Examples of cases successfully resolved over the last year include the following fact patterns:
  • Employee killed when a house being demolished unexpectedly collapsed—the employer failed to have OSHA-mandated Engineering Survey completed prior to starting work
  • Employee’s death caused by a failure to control traffic during a highway construction project
  • Employee killed when a form fell on him at a manufacturing facility—employer failed to brace the form during maintenance activities despite warnings to do so
  • Employee’s died after a forklift carrying a wooden box being used as a work basket flipped over—the employer knew the 17 year old forklift driver had no experience and knew the practice was dangerous
  • Employee falls to his death when lifting up a piece of wood he believed was trash—the wood was covering a hole in a multi-story parking garage and was not marked or secured pursuant to OSHA regulations

If you are contacted by a family of a worker killed in a situation that involves wrong-doing of some degree, we would be honored to work on this case with you. We will put our resources to work in order to investigate the facts to determine if a gross negligence case can be made. While evidentiary and legal hurdles exist in these cases, we can put our experience and expertise to work to maximize the potential for recovery.

Miller Weisbrod, LLP is a national law firm specializing in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Partners Clay Miller and Les Weisbrod have built the firm’s reputation with successful verdicts, settlements, appeals and favorable decisions across the country. With resources and finances available to take on the powerful interests that have caused harm, the firm is committed to providing quality representation for clients who are seriously injured and families of victims who are killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct of others.

Miller Weisbrod has offices in Dallas and affiliate offices in Houston and Austin. For more information call toll-free at (888) 987-0005.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Delayed 2015 Jeep Cherokee Recall in Question After Crushing Anton Yelchin

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that rolled backward down a driveway and killed the actor, Anton Yelchin, early Sunday was a model that Fiat Chrysler has recalled for a gearshift issue that has confused drivers, leading them to accidentally leave the car in neutral when they think it is safely in park.

Mr. Yelchin was killed after he got out of his Jeep and it rolled down his steep driveway, crushing him against a concrete-reinforced mailbox, a police spokeswoman, Liliana Preciado, said.

Mr. Yelchin’s Jeep was part of a recall by Fiat Chrysler
in April of almost 812,000
vehicles including the
2014 & 2015 Grand Cherokee models. That recall was prompted by an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after complaints by car owners and reports of dozens of related injuries.
NHTSA: Preliminary Evaluation dated August 20, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced August 24, 2015 that it will open a preliminary investigation into 408,000 2014–2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, after receiving several complaints about the vehicles rolling away after being shifted into park.

Currently, the NHTSA has received 14 complaints describing incidents where a Grand Cherokee has rolled away when the gearshift indicated Park. NHTSA’s Preliminary Evaluation paperwork indicates that five crashes and three injuries have been associated with the complaints. Rollaway incidents have occurred both with the engine running and turned off.
2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokees use a shift-by-wire gear selector that springs back to center no matter which gear is selected. According to The Detroit News, complaints filed to NHTSA indicate that the gear selector showed the vehicle was in Park in the incidents where an affected Jeep rolled away.

Fiat Chrysler has been a prime target of the government’s efforts to penalize automakers for lax safety practices.

Last year, federal regulators accused Fiat Chrysler of failing to conduct recalls and complete repairs in a timely fashion, and hit the company with $105 million in penalties.

The safety administration released a statement Monday evening saying, “This is the first fatality we’re aware of that may be related to this safety defect and vehicle recall.”

When a manufacturer fails to exercise proper caution or makes decisions it knows put American consumers in harm's way, the experienced attorneys of Miller Weisbrod, LLP, will be there to fight for the individuals and families who suffer.

Our lawyers at Miller Weisbrod, LLP are recognized as national leaders in the fight to hold the auto industry to account for the accidents, injuries and wrongful deaths that can occur as a result of corporate negligence or greed.

We believe that no minor cost savings should ever take priority over the lives of American consumers. Our capable attorneys welcome the opportunity to take on automakers who continue to make dangerous or defective vehicles.

The affected vehicles, which also include 2012-14 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, use an unconventional lever to shift the automatic transmission. Instead of moving to a different position with each gear, the lever returns to a center position. The driver must look at the shifter to make sure the proper gear is selected.

When the recall was announced earlier this year, the automaker said it was aware of 41 injuries related to the gear shift problem. Car & Driver

After the April recall, Fiat Chrysler said in a notice sent to owners that “a permanent remedy for this condition is currently under development” and that the automaker hoped to “finalize” it by the fourth quarter. It warned owners, in the meantime, to use the parking brake and to always check to make sure the vehicle was in the correct gear.

Since the recall was announced, the agency has received at least eight additional complaints from owners of Grand Cherokees who said their vehicles had rolled away and crashed, although no injuries were reported.

Contact Us
If you were injured or a loved one died in an accident and you believe an unsafe or defective vehicle is partly to blame, please contact our Dallas offices at 214.987.0005 to discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced trial lawyer.

We offer free initial consultations to potential clients nationwide. If you are calling from outside the DFW Metroplex, please use our toll-free line at 888.987.0005 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Miller Weisbrod Settles Construction Accident - Dangerous Pump Jack

Our clients were siding contractors on a large apartment construction project in South Central Texas. In order to place large pieces of pre-fabricated siding, the workers needed to have an elevated platform to work at the necessary heights. Since the work involved moving horizontally along the face of the building, stationary scaffolding did not make practical sense because it takes so long to erect, disassemble and move. Instead, the typical aerial platform for this and similar trades is called a pump jack.

This device utilizes two horizontal metal poles and a platform that can be lifted or “jacked” up and down to the necessary heights to perform the work.

OSHA generally requires independent lifelines connected to harnesses unless an adequate guardrail system can surround the entire work platform. But in many cases, the pump jack must be placed inside crevices in such a way that a smaller platform without guardrails is utilized. Industry practice is that a bolt is placed at the top of a building so the workers can hook long lanyards/lifelines to hang down and attach to their harnesses. This allows protection should the platform fail or become unstable.

In our case, the superintendent for the general contractor knew about the industry standard and claimed that the siding contractors were always tied off when on the pump jacks (that did not have proper guardrails). Our clients claimed they never had been issued harnesses and there were no hard points for lifeline connection on the roof of the apartments. They had been working for three weeks when their platform became unstable (due to inadequate bracing) causing them to fall over the side. One client suffered several orthopedic fractures — the other suffered a broken spinal cord leaving him permanently paralyzed.

The problem was collectability — our clients were hired by Edwin, who was hired by Raul, who was hired by Jessie who was hired by a company in Kansas that had the siding subcontract but had never visited the job site or met in person Jessie, Raul, Edwin or our clients. The Kansas company had been contracted by the General Contractor on the job.

Our theory was that the general contractor knew that the lack of fall protection was dangerous and approved the practice by failing to require fall protection even though they walked by the workers a half dozen or more times every day for several weeks.
Cross examination of the job superintendent:

On the strength of this cross examination and other admissions from the general contractor’s employees were able to secure a substantial confidential settlement that will provide for the life care needs of our paralyzed client and compensated his co-worker for his orthopedic injuries.

Miller Weisbrod has partnered with law firms across the state of Texas on a referral and joint venture basis to pursue cases of catastrophic injury and wrongful death arising from construction and work site incidents. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you to obtain justice for your clients injured or killed on the job.

Miller Weisbrod, LLP is a national law firm specializing in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Partners Clay Miller and Les Weisbrod have built the firm’s reputation with successful verdicts, settlements, appeals and favorable decisions across the country. With resources and finances available to take on the powerful interests that have caused harm, the firm is committed to providing quality representation for clients who are seriously injured and families of victims who are killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct of others.

Miller Weisbrod has offices in Dallas and affiliate offices in Houston and Austin. For more information call toll-free at (888) 987-0005.

Serious Injuries From Commercial Truck Accidents

There are an estimated 500,000 truck accidents in the U.S. each year. The injuries associated with truck accidents are often serious.

An accident between a car and a truck is quite dangerous and can result in serious injuries. Most often it is the occupants of the car which bear the brunt of the accident and get severely or fatally injured. These injuries can be life altering for the victim and even simple day to day tasks can become extremely difficult. Some of the common bodily injuries sustained by truck accident victims are listed below:

Traumatic Brain Injuries
These injuries occur when an individual’s head hits an object with great force. The traumatic brain injuries are of a closed-head kind with the skull and the dura matter remaining intact. The data of car accidents collected over the years indicates that brain related injuries are a leading cause of death of children who are less than four years old. In case the brain injury is non-fatal, toddlers and young children can still be severely affected with some physical or cognitive disability showing up in future.

A coma can result from various conditions or events, like traumatic head injury, intoxication, central nervous system disorders, abnormalities in metabolism, etc. The majority of coma cases are drug-related and the second largest cause of coma is the reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. The reduced oxygen supply to the brain can result from serious cardio-pulmonary conditions like a heart attack which can be caused by a serious truck accident.

Organ Damage
Damage to internal organs can result from high speed impacts in traffic accidents especially involving cars and trucks. Any type of organ damage injury requires immediate medical attention. One of the most common organ’s that gets injured is the spleen. A person’s spleen is located in the upper-left region of the abdomen and is a critical organ which filters the blood and removes damaged blood cells and platelets.

This condition is commonly referred to as internal bleeding and is caused when there is a loss of blood from the vascular system into the internal cavity. A hemorrhage is generally caused by blunt force trauma which can happen when a car suddenly decelerates post colliding with a truck or other large vehicle. A hemorrhage is a serious condition which can easily become life threatening whenever there is heavy blood loss. The stomach, lungs and brain are commonly affected by hemorrhaging in high speed car accidents with large vehicles. The internal hemorrhage can cause a catastrophic heart-attack in the victim which can sometimes be fatal.

Compound Fractures
A fracture in which the bone pierces the skin causing extreme pain and bleeding is termed a compound fracture. A compound fracture is a serious condition as the protruding bone can easily become infected causing further complications. The severity of damage and the angle of the broken bone determine the further course of treatment. Usually the fractured bone can be set right by a physician.

The impact of a vehicle crash can be so severe that a victim’s limb may get severed.

Contact Miller Weisbrod
Many of these injuries require expensive medical procedures and multiple surgeries to correct — if they can be corrected at all — and add financial stress to an already emotionally stressful situation. More often than not, however, these injuries result in permanent damage, leaving families with lifelong medical expenses and the realities of living with permanent disability or caring for a person with disabilities.

We represent truck accident victims and their families on a contingency fee basis. We don't get paid until we obtain a financial settlement or jury award for our clients. For more information, contact our offices at 214.987.0005 to speak with our experienced Dallas trucking accident attorneys.

If you are seeking legal advice and experienced representation in a trucking accident case, please call us toll free at 888.987.0005 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an appointment.