We’ve heard it a million times; the only two things we can’t escape are death and taxes. Neither of these inevitables is enjoyable to think about, but while Tax Day is expected every April 15, death can happen unexpectedly. We know that it’s a grim thought, but we can’t stress enough how important it is important to have a plan in place. Planning ahead will do more than put you and your family at ease, it will ensure that your wishes are carried out after you’re gone.
Estate planning should not be seen as an age-specific project. Baby boomers aren’t the only ones who should be concerned about putting an estate plan into place. Younger generations should understand the importance of estate planning too. Generation X and Millenials have begun to purchase large assets like homes and cars. Anyone who has children or possessions of any kind needs to take action on estate planning now.
In order to maintain a piece of mind, estate planning should be a priority. Estate planning is essential across generations because without a plan, your loved ones could be thrown into chaos.
Estate planning is making a plan in advance and naming who or what you want to receive the things you own after you die. No matter how much or how little you have, your belongings will be divided amongst your loved ones whether you plan for it or not. You can either allow state laws or judge decide what happens to your things, or you can take control of your wishes. Taking action will ensure your family will be taken care of while honoring your last wishes.
When someone dies before creating a will, they die Intestate. Since an executor hasn’t been named, the state will choose someone they feel are eligible to fill the role. If not, the role will be filled through probate court. Commonly, a surviving spouse or adult child will oversee the estate is handled in a way that the deceased would have wished.
There is no such thing as being too old or too young to begin the estate planning process. There are a few essential documents that will leave you at peace after passing.
Last Will and Testament
One of the most important documents in estate planning. A Last Will and Testament provides details of how an individual’s belongings will be divided, who will be receiving the belongings and when they will be receiving them. Typically, the will names an executor, a person nominated by the decedent to serve as the administrator of the decedent’s estate. The will enters the probate process when the executor presents the document to a county court.
Most importantly, if you have minor children your will should include who will take guardianship of your children.
A living will may also be referred to as an “advance directive”. A living will illustrates what someone would like to happen to themselves for end-of-life medical care. This document lets people chose their wishes for medical care, in the event that they are unable to communicate themselves.Living wills are applicable only in near-death situations.. A living will can cover a number of different medical situations, such as:
- Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.
- If you do/do not wish to be put on a ventilator.
- Medical wishes in the event of a coma.
It’s important to know that living wills can be updated at any time.
Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA)
Health Care Power of Attorney, also known as medical power of attorney, is a document that designates another person to make medical decisions while a person is unable to make those decisions on their own. This document gives your HCPOA the ability to consent or refuse treatments or procedures, as well as consent to the withdrawal of medical care.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Financial Power of Attorney is a document that authorizes someone to control your financial matters if you are unable or deceased. However, the agent named to oversee your finances is legally obligated to make financial decisions that are consistent with your own.
There are several other documents a person can have to ensure their wishes in the event of an unexpected death.
The final step in the estate planning process doesn’t actually occur until you die. Probate is the process of allocating your property to the intended beneficiary after you die. To begin the probate of your estate, the executor must validate your will in court. From there, the executor will pay any taxes or debts that your estate may owe before distributing property to the beneficiaries.
It’s never too late or too early to begin planning your estate. We have a team of experienced, dedicated Texas estate planning attorneys who have nothing but your best interests in mind. Our compassionate attorneys know the importance of estate planning. In addition, we understand the difficult process of probating a will after a loved one passes.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation, or to schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney.
The Permian Basin is the home of some of Texas’ most productive oil fields. But it is also the home of one of Texas’ most deadly roads. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, only 2% of Texans live in the Permian Basin, however, 11% of all traffic fatalities occurred there in 2016.
For example, in 2015, the number of traffic deaths involving big trucks shrank when oil prices collapsed. However, when crude oil prices surged in 2017, so did the number of big truck crashes in the area. This is because when crude oil rally, the need for more truckers to drive huge 18-wheelers increases. These large trucks can carry anything from water and sand to steel pipes and fuel.
The Permian Basin stretches more than 75,000 sq. miles across West Texas and into New Mexico. The Basin is producing so much oil that by 2025 the region is expected to be equal to the production of Saudia Arabia and Russia combined.
In 2019, the region is expected to generate an average of 3.9 million barrels of oil per day. For the last three years, the Basin’s production has transformed the U.S. economy. In fact, the United States is now the world’s leading producer of crude oil. Additionally, because of the amount of oil the region is producing, the nation is no longer reliant on foreign oil.
The region has also experienced a boom in jobs leading to an increase in traffic. As a result, crashes aren’t just up on Route 285, they are up all over the Permian Basin.
The Permian Basin has long been the home of ranchers and farmers. Consequently, many of the roads and highways in the region were designed for farm equipment use. Further, road sizes weren’t designed for the increase in traffic—especially in oversized trucks.
The roads can’t keep up with the significant growth in the area. Different parts of the highway have four lanes, three lanes or two lanes. With the amount of increasing traffic and the fluctuation in lane amounts, truckers and passenger vehicle drivers have to constantly think about merging. Unfortunately, Texas can’t widen roads overnight, which experts believe will reduce crashes in the area.
Route 285 is one of the main roads used to carry supplies to and from the oil fields of West Texas. However, locals have abandoned the highway’s formal name and now simply call it “Death Highway”. This is because, as crude oil continues to surge, crashes continue to surge. In 2017, as many as 93 people were killed in truck accidents—just on the Texas side of the Permian Basin. This marked a 43% increase over crashes in 2012.
Route 285 is in the Midland-Odessa area of West Texas and runs through Pecos, Texas up through Carlsbad, New Mexico. Many consider the highway to be the deadliest in the country.
Another problem with the trucking in the area is that the trucks are often overloaded and carrying more weight than the truck is designed for. Further trucks used to carry oil field supplies aren’t always properly maintained. Oil field trucks often require more maintenance than a regular on-the-road truck. When oil companies don’t maintain these trucks, small maintenance issues can turn into larger issues that lead to deadly crashes.
Truck driver distraction is among the top reasons TxDOT cites for car crash increases in the Permian Basin. At least 15% of truckers involved in crashes admit that they were on Facebook or something similar while operating their vehicle.
Several trucking companies are facing a shortage of drivers. Leading to a younger, more inexperienced pool of drivers. Trainers in the Permian Basin report that the pool of drivers with two to three years or more of oilfield experience has “dwindled to nothing.” This essentially forces companies to substitute formal training for the experience.
Finally, drivers in the Permian Basin are in such high demand that they can earn up to $120,000 a year. Combined with their youth and inexperience, many of these drivers can work 14-hour shifts for several days. Drivers want to make the most amount of money possible. So, they will often speed on the highway to make deadlines. In addition, many are too tired to be behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.
In addition to crashes along U.S. Highway 285, there has been a significant increase in crashes along I-20 and State Highway 302. According to a DPS spokesperson, crashes in the area range from minor to fatal.
In the last two years, crashes in Ector County in 2018 hovered around 5,170—double the number of crashes reported in 2016.
- Car crash fatalities in the Permian Basin were up 97%
- Total crashes were up 67%
- Commercial vehicle crashes were up 160%
- Commercial vehicle-related fatalities were up 122%
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is working to alleviate the problems along Route 285. For example, speed limits were once as high as 75 miles per hour and have been lowered. In addition, DPS has sent more troopers to monitor the roads. However, because of the number of drivers on the road, there is only so much that the troopers can do.
Further, the size of the road plays a major factor in the number of accidents on the road. TxDOT is looked to spend nearly $1 billion to repair and expand highways in the area.
Commercial vehicle accidents can lead to far more severe injuries. If you lost a loved one or were severely injured in a Permian Basin trucking crash, contact The Carlson Law Firm for aggressive representation. We have 12 locations across the state and more than 40 attorneys with the experience you need on your team.
We’ve all seen those viral dashcam videos of a car careening off the main highway and hitting another car or person parked on a highway shoulder. These videos are striking reminders of the dangerous situations that can arise from parking on a highway shoulder. The number of pedestrian deaths from motor vehicles accounts for approximately 16% of car crash deaths. Pedestrian deaths on highway shoulders account for a small percentage of those deaths. These deaths are commonly caused by driver error and driver distractions. While these situations may seem cut and dry when it comes to fault and liability, pedestrians are required to exercise a certain level of care. If the pedestrian’s own conduct fails to meet these standards, there is a possibility that they can see their recovery reduced.
Texas law takes into consideration that people may need to pull over on the highway for various reasons. In other words, if you are having car trouble or some other emergency, you can lawfully pull over to the shoulder of the highway. In many cases, that’s what the highway shoulder is for. Parking on the shoulder ensures that a driver is not blocking the flow of traffic and is the preferable act over stopping in a lane. In fact, the Texas code states that a vehicle may park, stop or stand in the following situations:
- Stopping, parking or leaving the vehicle off the main traveled part of the highway is not practicable.
- A width of the highway beside the vehicle is unobstructed and open for the passage of other vehicles; and
- The vehicle is in clear view for at least 200 feet in each direction on the highway.
It is never a safe practice to stop along the roadways, however, when there is an emergency, these stops may be necessary.
Estimates suggest that at least 600 people a year are killed in highway pedestrian deaths. It seems counterintuitive that a space on the highway meant to ensure safety is actually fairly unsafe for pedestrians. However, crashes can occur on the highway shoulder for the following reasons:
Pulling to the shoulder is typically your best bet when you are unable to get to an exit, your best bet is to move to the shoulder. When other drivers on the road are careless, this can put you in serious danger.
Being a pedestrian on a highway shoulder is extremely dangerous. For this reason, if you are not in an emergency, do not stop on the shoulder. But, if you are in an emergency the following guidelines will reduce your risk of injuries.
Take your foot off the accelerator
When you run into trouble on the road, don’t slam the brakes. You never what other drivers are doing behind you and if they’re paying attention or not. Instead, gently and smoothly take your foot off the accelerator.
Signal your intentions to drivers around you
There is nothing scarier (or annoying) than a driver who cuts into your lane without warning. Don’t do it to others. If you have an emergency of some sort and need to pull over, use your blinkers to warn other drivers that you are intending to switch lanes.
Drive to the nearest exit, if possible
In the event of a flat tire, many people want to stop immediately to avoid bent rims. However, a couple of hundred dollars for repairs is worth it when you consider the deadly risks on a highway shoulder.
Pull to the right side
The right lane is typically the slowest lane. Because high speeds limit reaction times and visibility, slower is generally safer. This means that drivers in the right lane will likely be able to
Pull off the road as far as possible
This seems like common sense, however many people fail to follow through on this. Even when the shoulder is wide enough, you should try to pull over as far as possible. It’s best to put as much space as possible between your car and the roadway. In fact, if the ground next to the pavement is even, you may want to consider pulling off the shoulder entirely.
Put the parking brake on
Ensuring your parking brake is on will keep your vehicle from easily rolling if hit.
Stand on the opposite side of the roadway
If a car does come careening off the road and plows into your car, you want to be standing on the other side of the car. In fact, it is in your best interest to stand a couple of hundred feet away from the vehicle and off to the side. A car traveling at a high speed can push a stopped car hundreds of feet.
Make sure you’re visible
Often, accidents occur because drivers simply don’t see that someone is on the side of the road. Flags, flares and other hazard indicators can warn others of your presence on the highway shoulder. Especially, at night.
Call for help immediately
If you don’t have the equipment to change your tire or spend several minutes trying to start your car—call a tow truck. Every minute you are on the side of the highway puts you at serious risk. Your priority should be your safety, not your car and not saving money. If you’ve been trying to start a disabled car, call a tow company.
In addition, consider the safety of others on highway shoulders when you’re behind the wheel. Whenever possible, move over to the next lane. In fact, if there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder, Texas law requires you to move over to the next lane or slow to at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
The best way to avoid highway shoulder pedestrian crashes is to reduce the likelihood of needing to pull over on the shoulder. This is particularly true during the summer when people take longer road trips. America’s vast network of highways. Without basic car maintenance, you may end up in a situation where you are broken down on the side of the road.
Check your vehicle’s coolant
One of the many reasons your vehicle may breakdown on the road is from overheating. The effects of poor coolant maintenance can be catastrophic and irreversible. Coolant ensure that your vehicle
Ensure tires are properly inflated and without
Tires are, arguably, the most important part of your vehicle. They are your first line of defense for both performance and safety. Worn or underinflated tires can be a ticking time bomb, leading to blowouts on highways and interstates.
Look at your brakes
Brake pads are particularly susceptible to extreme thermal cycling. Massive temperature drops from high heat to freezing temperature can cause brake pads to wear and crack. Before hitting the road, take your tires off to look at your brak pads. Ensure your brake pads don’t have crumbling edges or heavy discoloration. In addition, checking your brake fluid is just as important. If your brake fluid degrades in any way, it can reduce braking performance and, in serious cases, complete brake failure.
Vehicles with an automatic transmission have automatic transmission fluid. Your transmission fluid should be at the level recommended by the manufacturer and a bright shade of red. Too much fluid can lead to overpressure problems, while too little can burn out your torque converter.
Routine oil changes
An oil change consists of removing old oil from a vehicle’s engine and replacing it with new fresh oil. This helps keep your vehicle lubricated and absorbing heat. Oil allows the internal parts to work together effectively without overheating. Changing the oil before it breaks down will lessen the likelihood of major engine troubles.
Check for recalls
Recalls ensure safety by address failures to meet federal minimum standards. Manufacturers make voluntary recalls ensure that a safety issue is addressed prior to causing serious injuries or fatalities because of a defect.
The best way to avoid dangerous highway shoulder stops is to keep your vehicle operating at its best. Before you hit the road this summer, make sure to check your car for any flaws.
People take more road trips during the summer months. Without properly caring for their vehicle, they run the risk of highway shoulder pedestrian crashes. Unfortunately, injuries stemming from these types of crashes can lead to complex situations for victims. It is important that pedestrians on the highway use an appropriate level of care to protect themselves in these situations. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
On June 1, famous corporate logos on social media turn to rainbows, and parades, picnics, and parties start occurring all over the country to recognize and celebrate Pride Month. Pride Month, celebrated every June, is when the world’s LGBTQ communities celebrate the freedom to be themselves. It’s also a nod to the history of the gay liberation movement. This year marks 50 years since Stonewall when LGBTQ communities began fighting for their rights.
June is notable for the LGBTQ community for several reasons. It is the month that President Bill Clinton declared Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June 2000, to commemorate Stonewall. June is also the month that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage just four years ago on June 26, 2015. These dates get their significance from June 28, 1969, when Stonewall riots became the watershed moment for gay rights.
The work of these individuals created the society we now live in. Corporations and businesses who once fired people for living their truth, now embrace Pride Month; and even the police departments who once ordered officers to raid gay-friendly establishments now march in Pride parades across cities all over the world. But getting to this basic level of acceptance wasn’t easy and there is still work to do. The LGBTQ community still lives in danger of being discriminated against for employment, being physically assaulted, hyper-sexualized, sexual abuse and rape, face homelessness at alarming rates and being ostracized from their families
Today’s LGBTQ pride movement began as a result of police civil rights abuse licensed by the state. In fact, gay, lesbian and transgendered people endured decades of civil rights violations.
Post World War II, America underwent a desire to restore the pre-war social order. In other words, groups of people deemed as un-American were considered security risks. Along with communists, anarchists and Black civil rights leaders, gays were included on the list of security risks because of the theory that they were susceptible to blackmail.
Rather than work to create an environment where the LGBTQ community would feel safe, state governments and cities passed a series of laws that outlawed homosexuality and queer identities. Often, police officers raided and shut down bars and other establishments catering to homosexuals. In addition, their customers were arrested and outed in newspapers. Cities performed “sweeps” to rid neighborhoods, parks, bars and beaches where gay people lived or frequented. In addition, genders were banned from wearing clothes of the opposite gender.
Through the late 1960s, police commonly raided gay establishments simply to destroy LGBTQ-friendly spaces. This was an unconscionable targeting of a community of people who found it difficult to find employment or stay employed, after the raids. These civil rights violations are what led to Stonewall and the beginning of the gay liberation movement.
The Stonewall riots were a series of violent demonstrations in 1969 against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York.
New York City officers were tasked with enforcing anti-gay laws that banned homosexual acts. As a result, they regularly raided gay bars and other LGBTQ communities. At the time, New York City refused to grant licenses to bars that served gay people. This law allowed police to enter Stonewall without a warrant and arrested 13 people. A majority of people at Stonewall were drag queens or gay men of color.
Tensions between the NYPD and gay residents in Greenwich Village culminated with an unknown person throwing a brick.
The riots came at a time when there was significant civil unrest in the United States. Social and political movements such as the Black civil rights movement, the counterculture of the 1960s and the anti-Vietnam War movement are said to have influenced the gay liberation movement.
Queer Black and Latinos were often shunned from their families and from the general public at large. In fact, in the 1950s and 1960s, very few establishments in New York welcomed openly gay people. The Stonewall Inn, at the time, was owned by the Mafia, and catered to an assortment of marginalized people in the gay community include:
- Drag queens
- Transgender people
- Effeminate young men
- Butch lesbians
- Male prostitutes
- Homeless youth
These communities often resorted to policing and taking care of themselves. This was often because society, and especially the police, dismissed their problems or made them worse.
In June 1970 to commemorate Stonewall, the New York LGBTQ community held Christopher Street Liberation Day. In addition, marches were held in Los Angeles and San Francisco. This year marked the first official celebration of Pride. By 1972, Pride marches spread to:
- West Berlin
- Washing D.C.
Today, countless Pride marches occur all over the world during the month of June.
For many young people coming out, Pride Month and the celebrations are a celebration of who they are. In addition, these young people are finding acceptance and love within the LGBTQ community.
This is particularly true among the trans community. For example:
- Trans people are four times more likely to live in poverty.
- Trans people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population — with rates for trans people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.
- About 46% of trans people report being uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
- 41% of trans people report attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.
LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as their peers to have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. In fact, many of the students are afraid to go to school because they fear for their safety. Further, LGBTQ youth without a home face higher risks of human trafficking and exploitation.
As you can gather from the above statistics, the LGBTQ community still faces significant discrimination and homophobia. An unfortunate side effect of an intolerant family, school, church or hometown puts this community at greater risk of suicide and living in poverty. In addition, lawmakers currently sitting in office are still inciting violence against gays and trying to deny them equal protection under the law. This is why Pride continues to be so important.
As people sharing this Earth, we have a responsibility to uplift and love one another. This means doing more than tolerating a person but accepting them for who they are—regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender. This is the world that Pride Month aims to create—a world where kids can feel safe and loved no matter who they are or who they love.
It’s difficult to change the minds and opinions of people. We know that the LGBTQ community still faces extreme hate, discrimination, and abuse. Unfortunately, federal civil rights laws do not cover harassment based on sexual orientation. However, LGBTQ youth-targeted in school may be protected under sexual harassment clauses under Title IX. The Carlson Law Firm fights for and protects the rights of all people who have their rights violated in some way.
Our firm can also handle civil lawsuits related to:
If you believe that you have been the victim of a civil violation, contact our firm to speak with a qualified legal representative.
In April of this year, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered all manufacturers of surgical mesh intended for transvaginal repair to stop selling and distributing their products immediately. The FDA made this decision after giving manufacturers Boston Scientific and Coloplast time to submit evidence that the benefits of these devices outweigh their probable risks. These companies failed to do so.
In 2011, the FDA reported that it received 2,874 reports of injury, death, malfunctions, and other complications related to transvaginal mesh from Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010.
As of January 31, 2019, the agency said that it received 69,000 adverse events reports to POP mesh products. The adverse event reports included 64,000 injuries and 393 patients died.
However, the FDA’s action came too late for many women across the country. It took eight years for the FDA to issue any kind of definitive action on vaginal mesh. In that time, hundreds of thousands of American women have suffered irreversible damage from vaginal mesh. Many of these women required further surgery to remove the mesh and will live with chronic pain for the rest of their lives.
Transvaginal mesh is a net-like implant used to treat stress urinary incontinence. In addition, it serves as a repair for pelvic organ prolapse. The implant was originally used to repair hernias. Their use as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) expanded in the early 2000s.
However, at the time no tests or clinical trials were done to give doctors and consumers data on the medical device’s long-term consequences.
In May 2019, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $80 million in damages which included $50 million in punitive damages for a woman who received a mesh implant to treat pelvic organ prolapse.
Months after Patricia “Jill” Mesigian received the Prolift implant, she began experiencing vaginal bleeding. Doctors recommended a second surgery to treat her condition. Doctors found that the vaginal mesh implant sawed into her vagina. While doctors were able to remove the mesh, four years later, she was still experiencing pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal bleeding.
Eventually, doctors had to perform a third surgery on Mesigan to remove bits of mesh that remained in her vagina. Still, between 2013 and 2017, she required three additional surgeries to correct the lasting adverse side effects.
- April 24, 2019 – Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $120 million verdict after finding in favor of a plaintiff who suffered incontinence and chronic pain.
- February 2019 – J&J settles a majority of cases out of court.
- August 2018 – J&J starts settling cases.
- April 13, 2018 – A New Jersey jury hit vaginal mesh manufacturer, C.R. Bard with a $68 million verdict. The plaintiff was award $33 million in compensatory damages and $35 million in punitive damages.
- September 2017 – A Philadelphia jury awarded a woman $57.1 million after it found J&J guilty of negligence because of its mesh product’s defective design.
As mentioned above more than 100,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed over the years. Many of these lawsuits have resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements. In addition, these cases are still ongoing. The lawsuits are based on the defective design of transvaginal mesh that has led to serious injuries in women.
According to research, transvaginal mesh implants cause serious complication about 15%-25% of the time. Women often need revision surgery to remove the problematic mesh.
- Chronic pain
- Nerve damage
- Vaginal scarring
- Vaginal shrinkage (scar tissue)
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Neuro-muscular problems
- Mesh erosion
- Organ perforation
From 2002 to 2013, because of a loophole that is supposed to speed up its approval process, the FDA approved more than 100 vaginal mesh products. The FDA considered these products “substantially equivalent” to devices on the market, which does not require them to go through safety and effectiveness testing.
Manufacturers have sought out this process for millions of devices. In fact, roughly 60% of all U.S. device submissions seek approval through the “substantial equivalent” process.
The Carlson Law Firm is currently investigating transvaginal mesh cases. If you or a loved one suffered injuries after having vaginal mesh implanted, contact us for a free case evaluation.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most frequent workplace injuries involve trips, slips, and falls. Approximately 19,565 people die annually from injuries sustained by unintentional falls. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, injuries from falls, slips and trips in the workplace led to 849 deaths.
There is a common misconception that slip and fall injuries are less serious than other personal injuries. However, this is simply not true, unintentional falls can result in devastating, potentially life-threatening injuries.
A significant amount of people and families have been affected by unintentional falls in the workplace. But falls, especially in the workplace, are 100% preventable.
Slips are the result of an unexpected change between a person’s feet and the surface that they are walking on. There are many factors that contribute to an unsafe workplace that may lead to unintended falls such as:
- Wet surfaces
- Uneven surfaces
- Descending stairs
- Floor cleaning
- Vehicles (especially exiting)
- Pallets and other objects obstructing walkways
- Ice, snow
- Housekeeping issues
- Poor lighting
- Human Error
Fall incidents can be classified into two groups:
- Same level falls occur most frequently and generally result in minor injuries. They are generally caused by unsafe floor conditions, such as slippery surface, objects restricting one’s path, or uneven surface space.
- Elevated falls happen when someone takes a spill from a height. These falls can results from falling from a ladder, a vehicle, loading docks or downstairs. Typically elevated falls result in more severe injuries.
One out of every five falls results in serious injuries such as broken bones or a head injury. In 2014, almost 50,000 workers experienced a fall causing injuries severe enough to require days off work.
A slip and fall can impact a worker’s life, the potential injuries can range from minor to life-threatening. Potential slip and fall injuries include the following:
- Head injuries. Even a minor head injury requires immediate medical attention. Concussions generally clear up on their own. However, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can permanently alter ones ability to function.
- Broken Bones. Whether it be a minor fracture or a severe break, broken bones are extremely painful and can take a considerable amount of time to heal.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord becomes compressed or severed. In fact, these injuries are especially serious because they can produce paralysis.
- Cuts and Abrasions. Expected in most slip and falls, cuts and abrasions can also range in severity. If cut deep enough, stitches may need to close the wound.
- Soft tissue injuries. The most common type of injuries. Soft-tissue injuries include sprains, bruises, strains, and tendonitis.
- Death. In the most severe cases, a person can die from a slip and fall. Head, neck and back injuries can be fatal.
Workplace slip and falls are not an industry-specific injury and can occur across many different occupations. The most at-risk professions are:
- Education and Health Services
- Wholesale trade
- Transportation and Warehousing
In addition, while many believe that workplace injuries are a problem that only contract or hourly workers face, salaried and even self-employed employees also run the risk of slip and fall injuries.
Slips, trips and falls are among the leading causes of workplace injuries. There are plenty of ways to proactively manage your working environment to reduce the possibility of slip and falls. Check out these 8 tips on how to avoid slipping in the workplace:
- Ensure that walkways are clutter free. This should be a no brainer. Keeping walkways clear greatly reduces the potential for a trip, slip, and fall.
- Wear appropriate footwear. It is extremely important to wear shoes with proper traction for working conditions. Such as non-slip shoes.
- Immediately clean up spills. If there is a spill on the floor, immediately clean it up. Slippery floors are prime conditions for slip and falls. Immediately wipe up spills and place proper signage.
- Proper lighting. Steps and other hazards may be lurking in the darkness. It is important that lighting inside and outside of the workplace illuminates all areas that employees are customers will walk.
- Proper signage. A well-placed sign calls attention to potential hazards. Signs can indicate wet floors, steps, and loose gravel. Reflective tape may also be used on steps to make them more visible.
- Stairways and handrails. Stairways can be dangerous. All stairways should be equipped with handrails and top and bottom stairs should be marked with reflective tape.
- Report unsafe conditions. Areas that look unsafe should immediately be reported to supervisors.
- Non-skid rugs. Rugs are a great way to keep areas that are prone to slipperiness, dry, such as bathrooms. Rugs can also be added to other wet areas.
After suffering a workplace fall, the first thing you should do is report the incident to a supervising authority-if your injuries allow you to do so. Secondly, if possible, gather information from anyone who may have witnessed the fall. Most importantly, seek immediate medical attention. Prompt medical treatment will help you to understand the extent of your injuries. Then, contact a qualified workplace slip and fall attorney to guide on your next steps.
Slip and falls can lead to devastating, life-altering injuries. If you or a loved one experienced a slip and fall in the workplace, The Carlson Law Firm is ready to help. Our qualified attorneys can guide you through the legal process and assist in recovering compensation for past and future loss of income, medical bills and other damages resulting from your injuries. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free case evaluation. Our qualified attorneys will work hard on your behalf to get you a favorable resolution.
A Fort Bend County jury sent a message to anyone thinking of criminally assaulting an elderly person: You will pay for it. After a 2-hour deliberation, a jury came back with a $4 million verdict award for Barbara White, a now 80-year-old woman, who was assaulted by her neighbor more than 10 years ago.
On February 20, 2009, 70-year-old Barbara White woke up in a pool of her own blood. She was missing teeth and her larynx was fractured. Earlier that day, she placed a letter on neighbor Keith Wilson’s door asking him to quiet the ongoing nuisance of incessant barking from his dogs.
Wilson had a history of violence, domestic abuse and more. According to the lawsuit, in response to the letter, Wilson and his wife confronted Barbara and eventually trespassed into her home and assaulted her. The first punch knocked her titanium implants out—a feat her dentist later stated he didn’t believe possible. His second punch fractured her larynx.
This all happened in front of Barbara’s 75-year-old paraplegic husband, Larry White. Larry struggled in his attempts to stop the bleeding. He placed a towel in Barbara’s mouth where her teeth used to be and called 911.
Attorneys Jacob Mancha and Nick Merz served as co-counsel for White during the trial.
“Keith Wilson only got a slap on the wrist in criminal courts and served probation for his actions,” Mancha said. “But today, the jury told the world that this reprehensible behavior is not something we will ever tolerate as a society and allowed a verdict of $4,000,000. Sometimes civil justice is the only justice.” Mancha said.
The Whites filed their lawsuit against the Wilsons soon after the assault. The elderly coupled sued for the assault, trespassing and harassment they endured from Wilson and his wife dating back to at least 2002.
“This has been a long time coming,” Merz said. “The Carlson Law Firm has spent almost a decade working with these clients as the defendants dragged the process out. We are really proud that our patience paid off and this elderly couple was able to get the justice they deserved.”
Memorial Day marks the unofficial kickoff to summer. Many of us celebrate the lives of our fallen troops by accepting an invite to a good friend’s barbecue or hitting the road to the nearest beach. Those hosting barbecues or beach parties are already putting together Memorial Day playlists for the party. But travelers headed out for a road trip may also want to get in on the playlist action. The increase in roadway travel makes Memorial Day one of the deadliest holidays for car accidents. This increase in motor vehicle travel increases a driver’s duty to pay attention to their surroundings.
Most warnings about holiday driving centers around drunk driving, sleepy driving, weather, and road conditions. However, there are not nearly enough warnings about the dangers of distracted driving. Studies show that adjusting the radio is the single biggest distraction in the vehicle and accounts for approximately 80% of all distracted driving. Further, distracted driving is the cause of more than 420,000 accident-related injuries and more than 3,100 fatalities each year. Even if you don’t text and drive, picking up your cell phone to search for a song on your preferred music streaming service is an added distraction most motorists now have to consider.
Despite the newness of this technology, we aren’t saying anything new about fiddling with the radio while driving. Since the introduction of the car radio in the 1930s, there has been pushback about music’s ability to take a driver’s attention from the road. But music streaming services may be the solution to the radio distraction.
Gone are the days where you have to sit through five minutes of radio commercials. Gone are the days of lowering your car radio when all of your favorite stations presets are on commercial break at the same time. You don’t have to worry about taking your eyes off the road to rewind a tape or find and switch out a CD. In 2019, you have more choices than ever to keep your commutes and road trips enjoyable. As long as your cell phone bill is paid, you can stream whatever you want from almost anywhere in the world.
While it’s fair to say that apps like Apple Music, Spotify, Google Music, and Tidal can be a distraction, they also offer drivers an innovation of selection not seen since the first mix CD. But where mix CDs were bound by data constraints, streaming offers drivers the ability to create an unlimited playlist. Playlists make roads safer simply because they remove the temptation to multitask. Fiddling with the car controls and radio dials is actually more distracting than you may think. In addition, searching for music on your phone while you’re driving is just as dangerous as texting and driving.
If your Memorial Day plans include a road trip, consider creating the perfect playlist right now. We have some song suggestions that honor our nation’s fallen soldiers and make your drive enjoyable while ensuring your surroundings have your attention.
Memorial Day honors those who have died in armed conflicts while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Your Memorial Day playlist would be incomplete without a few songs that honor the sacrifices these men and women have made.
Who is more American than Bruce Springsteen? Heralded as the blue-collar worker’s champion, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” is the go-to song we think of to celebrate the country. But past its aggressive piano, Springsteen’s anger, and its catchy ubiquitous chorus, the song tells the story of a man sent off to the Vietnam war whose left dealing with the lasting effects of war.
Tom Petty is an American icon with an extensive catalog. Despite its current ubiquity, “American Girl” wasn’t actually a hit on its initial release in 1977. But thanks to the chilling scene from 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs” and a 1994 re-release, the song now gets the credit it deserves as an American classic. There are a lot of myths as to what the song is actually about. (Tom Petty wrote the song about the sounds of a highway.) However, you can interpret it however you want. No matter what you interpret, the song is easy to bop along to and will make you feel patriotic driving on America’s open roads. When the song comes on, its upbeat tempo is enough to keep you awake through any length road trip.
Young millennials may only know Billy Ray Cyrus as Miley Cyrus’ real life and Hannah Montana dad. And Gen Z may only know Billy Ray Cyrus from his current long-running number one song in the country, “Old Town Road” with rapper Lil Nas X. But before becoming a Disney dad and blending musical genres, Billy Ray Cyrus was honoring fallen soldiers on the ballad “Some Gave All”, the eponymous title of his first album.
You won’t find “Surrender” by Cheap Trick on many U.S.-specific holiday playlists. Why? Because it doesn’t contain the word America or U.S.A. However, the song is about the advice a Baby Boomer receives from his Greatest Generation parents. “Surrender” even nods to the contributions that women made to our country’s military efforts as it dismisses claims that women recruited into the WACS (Women’s Arny Corps) during WWII were old maids.
What would a Memorial Day road trip playlist be without the only rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to become a top 10 hit? Houston recorded the song as a charity song to raise funds for soldiers and families who were involved in the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Arista Records, her label, re-released the song in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Funds from the re-release were donated to the first responders and victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Sometime between Hannah Montanna and becoming Mrs. Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus found time to release the effervescent 2009 classic “Party in the U.S.A.” The song opens with an infectious pop guitar riff before the beat drops and Miley begins crooning about moving from Small Town, U.S.A. to Hollywood to pursue her dreams. She listens to Jay Z and Britney Spears in her cowgirl boots. The song will keep your mood up as it celebrates the freedom of pursuing the American Dream while soaking in all of the cultures and backgrounds this great country has to offer—the freedoms those who fought and died for this country swore to uphold and protect.
It’s warming up and you’re likely to spend your Memorial Day outside. Not everyone gets MLK Day or Good Friday off of work, so for some workers, the three-day Memorial Day weekend is their first break of the New Year. We already know, any summer road trip playlist would be incomplete without summer-themed hits that bring about that teenaged nostalgia. Add these to your Memorial Day playlist:
- “Hot in Herre” – Nelly
- “Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
- “Summer Girls” – LFO
- “Cruel Summer” – Bananarama
- “The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley (or The Ataris – whichever version you were a teen for)
- “Summer of ‘69” – Bryan Adams
- “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey
- “It Was A Good Day” – Ice Cube
- “Summer Madness” – Kool & The Gang
In addition to honoring the fallen, we know you want to have a good time to get you pumped to celebrate your three-day Memorial Day Weekend. While we’re not quite into the summer there are some early contenders for song of the summer, 2019. Here are a few top hits across genres that you might want to consider adding into your Memorial Day road trip playlist:
- “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus
- “If I Can’t Have You” – Shawn Mendes
- “Before I Let Go” – Beyoncé*
- “Juice” – Lizzo*
- “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers
- “Go” – The Black Keys
- “Wow” – Post Malone*
- “Sweet but Psycho” – Ava Max
- “Talk” – Khalid, Disclosure
- “God’s Country” – Blake Shelton
- “MIA” – Bad Bunny, Drake
- “Key Song” – Toebow
- “Taki Taki” – DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B
- “Bad Guy” – Billie Eillish
- “I’ve Been Waiting” – Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen ft. Fall Out Boy*
- “Crave” – Madonna, Swae Lee
*If you’re taking a family trip this holiday, make sure you get the clean versions.
Even when you settle on your music early, there are still dangers associated with listening to music. Some studies show that music increases distractions. However, other studies indicate that listening to jazz or other smooth sounds increases attentiveness.
Your Memorial Day road trip playlist might be perfect, but here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re driving:
Listen to your music at a reasonable level.
There is something to the old joke about turning your music down when you’re lost. When the volume is high, the time needed to make decisions increases by 20 percent.
Hit play and don’t touch your playlist until you stop
And we’re not talking when you come to a quick halt in stop and go traffic, we’re talking about you’re pulled off the road and stopped at a gas station. Searching for songs means that you will look away from the road more often and for more than two seconds.
Turn off cell phone notifications
That text and that phone call can wait. Even hands-free cell phone use can be a distraction.
Don’t drink and drive
This has nothing to do with music, but it’s worth repeating.
Memorial Day is meant to honor fallen heroes, but it can quickly become a day that your family has to honor your memory as well. Tragedy can strike at any moment—particularly when drivers aren’t aware of what’s going on around them. The Carlson Law Firm believes that responsible driving begins with using common sense. If everyone takes responsibility for their actions on the road, we can reduce the number of car crashes and keep yourself and others safe. Even if none of the songs we suggested are your jam, putting together a playlist before you put the car in ‘drive’ is the best way to avoid searching for songs and causing a distracted driving accident.
Even responsible drivers who are aware of their surroundings can become car crash victims. If you were the victim of a distracted driving or Memorial Day car crash, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our team of experienced and dedicated attorneys is ready to help you and your family begin the recovery process.
When negligence causes an injury, seeking the assistance of a personal injury lawyer will ensure the negligent party is held responsible for the cost of your injuries. When you hire a Carlson Law Firm attorney, you’re hiring a team of investigators, nurses, and accessing an entire network of experts to assist you through your recovery. What you may not know is that the insurance companies you’re going up against also have these in-house experts. Their team of insurance adjusters and lawyers will immediately begin working to discredit your injury claim. And one way they do this is by monitoring your social media.
According to research, 69% of U.S. adults across all age groups have and actively use at least one social media site. With that in mind, it’s fair to assume that a majority of personal injury clients have at least one social media account. But it’s important for clients to understand that no matter how harmless it may seem, anything you post to social media can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Some people don’t care about their privacy settings on social media. In fact, some people do not realize that even if they just share memes, they are still revealing quite a bit about themselves online. What you post online may seem insignificant to you, but much of what we do and say on the internet is not in line with how to talk or act at work or at dinner parties. For some reason, sitting in front of a computer screen strips us of the social filter that governs much of our daily lives. We turn to social media to vent, to share an exciting or fun time and to celebrate accomplishments.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys are skilled at twisting information available to create a narrative around a claimant and their injuries. Even accounts that haven’t been used in years contain a wealth of information. Typically, a person’s profile provides the following information:
- Date of birth
- Relationship status
- Photos of the person and family
- Videos that may show the person’s speaking patterns
- Posts and comments
While all of this information is useful, typically what defense teams are searching for are messages, videos, and photographs. These types of social media posts may provide evidence that can help them deny your claim.
Social media is deeply embedded in our lives. As more people leave their digital footprints online, risk managers, insurance carriers and corporations can now leverage social media to combat what they consider insurance fraud. They can use the information they find online to insinuate that your injuries aren’t nearly as severe as you say.
For example, if you are filing a lawsuit and claiming that you have a back injury as the result of a slip and fall, it’s best that you not post about the 5K race you recently completed. A savvy insurance agent can find your profile and see the photo of you running the race. The insurance agent may claim that your injury is not that serious or that you’re not even injured.
Personal injury attorneys tell their clients not to talk to anyone after a crash. The reason they do so is that anything that you say can be used against you. Admitting any liability whether to an insurance agent or online can hurt your case. For example, snapping a quick picture of your car and captioning it with “I crashed my car” can suggest that you are liable for your own injuries.
Even responding to a comment about your accident can be used against you. If a friend asks you if you’re doing OK and you respond “I feel great!” this could hurt your settlement.
If you are injured after an act of negligence, do not post the following on social media:
Offering an apology after a crash can seriously reduce the amount of your settlement. Even if you’re sorry, don’t say it after a crash, and especially don’t say it online.
Even you are genuinely upset about how the insurance company is giving you the runaround, ranting or venting about your situation is not a good look. In fact, it can make you seem like a vindictive person who is filing a lawsuit simply out of revenge. Saying anything negative about the parties involved such as the defendant or the insurance company can be construed as vindictiveness. A judge or jury may be less likely to show compassion toward you if the defense can successfully paint you as vindictive.
Even when you know that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries posting a picture of your broken arm in a cast with a post saying, “I wasn’t paying attention and slipped on a wet floor,” can hurt your case.
Even if you have to take an extra pain reliever, to make it through an event, posting a picture as innocent as a picture of your son’s baseball game, or even having dinner with friends can suggest that your injuries aren’t as severe as you may claim.
We recommend taking photos and videos of a crash scene to help your case. But posting those photos and videos online is not something recommend.
You may think that your privacy settings ensure everything you post is private. However, that is not the case. Opposing attorneys and insurance adjusters can easily find you on social media and can access anything you post. In fact, there are entire companies that exist to help insurance companies dig through your social media accounts. This is because unlike emails and texts, social media posts do not have those same privacy protections.
While privacy is less of a concern with some sites than it is others, you should post with the idea that nothing online is private—no matter how good the company promises its privacy settings are.
Pinterest is the go-to place for inspiration. When it comes to social media, it’s the site that is least likely to affect your personal injury. That’s more so because the nature of what the site is used for. Generally, users post more about their DIY projects and care less about engagement. It’s not likely that an insurance adjuster will try to find you on Pinterest, but you should never underestimate the depths they’ll go to deny your claim.
TikTok is growing in popularity in the United States, particularly among pre-teens and teens. It’s only a matter of time until the video sharing social networking reaches Millennials and Gen X and maybe some Boomers. The app allows users to create 15-second videos with filters and create lip-syncing videos. Users can sign up through their Facebook, Google or Twitter accounts and prompts you to put in your birthday. You can add friends through Facebook and your contact list or scan your TikCode
Tumblr is a microblogging site and social networking site. Users can share blogs, photos, links, videos and audio. The site isn’t as popular as other social media sites, but it is often the source of viral content. If you are a Tumblr user, be mindful of what you post.
WhatsApp is the third most used social media site in the world. The app started off as a messaging app between friends and family, but it has gradually rolled out a business platform. While the site is secure, just like any other messaging platform, users can screenshot or screen record whatever you share with them. What makes the site insecure is that you input your real phone number and the app automatically syncs your contact list. Consider the information you share and who you share it with.
Snapchat is a user to user social media app. It’s popularity stems from its disappearing messages, screenshot and message saved alerts, and beautifying or goofy filters. Snapchat helps users find friends by syncing your phone’s contact list. Users can send direct messages, post to their stories or share ‘our’ story which posts public posts to the nearest region.
Those familiar with Linked In may be surprised to see the social networking site for professionals so high up on the list. But LinkedIn allows users to write blogs, share photos and post status updates. It may not seem like a big deal to share an inspirational post about a car accident or the company hike you were part of, but doing so can hurt a personal injury lawsuit you may be pursuing.
Twitter isn’t as popular as the media leads us to believe. With just 335 million monthly active users a month, Twitter is only the 12th most used social media site. Twitter differs from other social media websites because its popularity is based on its emphasis on real time information. Users can post photos, videos and gifs with a 280-character text limit.
Another piece of the Facebook family, the more than 1 billion Instagram users can share videos and photos with filters over them. In addition, Instagram’s stories have now eclipsed Snapchat. Instagram allows users to control their privacy settings, however, many people aren’t aware that their profiles are public.
YouTube nets about 1.9 billion monthly active users—making it the second most used social networking site. It’s easy to think of YouTube as a place where you just watch videos, but if you have a vlog and actively post to YouTube then you may could hurt your personal injury case.
Facebook is the first social media site to hit one billion users. While other apps on this list offer slices of everything social media has to offer, Facebook is the all in one stop. You can share videos, pictures, texts statuses, links, stories, livestream and so on. It’s also the most popular social network by far—boasting more than 2.23 billion monthly active users. It’s the social networking site that many of us turn to when we are dealing with stress and need to vent. With that in mind, it’s also the first place insurance agents look when a claim is filed.
In addition to physical injuries, many personal injury claimants suffer emotional distress. Injured parties are also entitled to compensation for emotional injuries. Emotional distress can include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Even if you’re careful about what you post as far as your physical injuries are concerned, a picture with you smiling can be misconstrued as your emotional distress being a facade.
Be careful what you post. Social media is a very public outlet, no matter how secure you think your privacy settings are. Information you post online can be easily accessed. If you or a loved one are filing a personal injury lawsuit, consider these do’s and don’ts:
- Double check your privacy settings. While nothing on the internet is private, you shouldn’t make it easy for insurance companies and defense attorneys to find the information.
- Consider deactivating your accounts for the duration of your lawsuit, or until your doctor releases you because you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
- Ask your attorney about appropriate social media behavior for the duration of your case.
- Ask your friends not to post about you online until your case resolves.
- Post information about your injury or the accident.
- Post the details about your personal injury claim.
- Accept friend requests from people you’ve never met.
- Post photos or videos about the accident or injuries related to the accident.
- Post details about your medical treatment.
- Accept calls or return calls or messages from strangers.
- Post anything about pre-existing conditions, illnesses or unrelated physical injuries.
- Post photos or videos that show your physical capabilities are not consistent with the limitations you allege in your personal injury claim.
Suffering an injury is a traumatic event and navigating the American legal system after an injury can be confusing. While turning to social media to vent about your dealings with insurance companies or defendants is tempting, it’s better to turn to a personal injury attorney. The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 attorneys who are backed by a team of private investigators, nurses, and a legal team built for building strong cases. Our legal professionals can guide you through the legal process and give you tips to ensure you receive favorable compensation.
Four years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a carcinogen. Immediately, Monsanto denied the claim and pointed to several studies. Still, the company’s damage control didn’t stop the thousands of lawsuit that followed the IARC news. It is 2019, and although Monsanto is now owned by Bayer, the company is still struggling to get in front of the image that Roundup—the most popular herbicide in the world—is linked to cancer.
Bayer-Monsanto is currently battling thousands of lawsuits alleging that its popular herbicide Roundup is linked to cancer. More than 13,000 plaintiffs currently have cases pending against agrochemical company. Each case alleges that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, led to the development of cancer.
The evidence against Monsanto’s popular herbicide, Roundup, is building. This year alone, several studies have shown that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is carcinogenic. In fact, a study out of the University of Washington said the exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of some cancers by more than 40 percent.
The research coming out about the carcinogenesis of glyphosate is a blow to the long-held position of the Environmental Protection Agency and Monsanto that the synthetic chemical compound does not cause cancer in humans.
Further aiding plaintiff’s cases against Monsanto is the damning study released by the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in April 2019. The ATSDR is a department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that announced plans to evaluate glyphosate’s health effects on human in February 2015 and publish its results in October of that same year. However, there is evidence that the EPA and Monsanto conspired to kill the study and its release.
More than four years after the CDC announced it plans, it was only at the urging of Congress that the long-awaited study was released in April 2019. The study raised several alarming flags about both the chemical’s carcinogenesis and non-cancerous effects.
The release of the CDC’s Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s findings was a blow to Monsanto’s court defense that its popular herbicide is non-toxic.
In 2015, the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in human”. Its decision to do so was based on “convincing evidence” that glyphosate led to tumors and cancer in laboratory animals. Particularly, the IARC found that exposure to glyphosate led to
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- B-cell lymphoma
- multiple myeloma
Those most at risk for developing cancer are farm workers and others who use or are in proximity to the substance as part of their jobs. For example, The Carlson Law Firm is currently representing clients who have been exposed through farm work, landscaping garden centers, nurseries, and rental property owners.
Last year, jurors gave $289 million to DeWayne Johnson, a former landscaper diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While a judge later reduced the verdict, Johnson’s injuries were significant enough for an award worth almost $80 million. With that in mind, 2019 hasn’t faired any better for Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria bifurcated the first bellwether trials in the multidistrict litigation. This was a win for Bayer-Monsanto whose attorneys asked that the trials be split into two. The first phase of the trials would focus on whether or not Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If the jury found this to be the case, then it should award compensatory damages. The second phase, if needed, would address Monsanto’s liability and punitive damages.
Monsanto cited the $289-million ruling in the Johnson case as its reasoning. In fact, the agrochemical company argued that conflicting regulatory findings confused the jury.
However, critics of the move say that Monsanto asked to split the case into phases in order to quell key information from the plaintiff’s attorneys. A major theme in the attorneys’ arguments is that Monsanto has worked for decades to influence scientific studies that backed the safety of glyphosate—including collusion with the EPA.
Chabria wrote in his decision:
“Although this type of bifurcation is unusual and should be done with caution—both generally and in the context of MDL bellwether trials—it is warranted here. A significant portion of the plaintiffs’ case involves attacks on Monsanto for attempting to influence regulatory agencies and manipulate public opinion regarding glyphosate. These issues are relevant to punitive damages and some liability questions. But when it comes to whether glyphosate caused a plaintiff’s NHL, these issues are mostly a distraction, and a significant one at that.”
Phase one of the bifurcated trials came to a close in mid-March. The second jury dealt Bayer-Monsanto a major blow. The jury concluded that the weedkiller’s active ingredient was a “substantial factor” in causing Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hardeman used Roundup for 26 years to control weeds and poison oak on his property for 26 years. Doctors diagnosed him with NHL in 2015.
The second phase began the day after the jury finding that Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer. But less than two weeks after the trial began, the jury ordered Monsanto to pay more than $80 million in damages to Hardeman. The jury awarded Hardeman for the following:
- $75 million in punitive damages
- $5 million for past and future suffering
- $200,000 for medical bills
The company deliberately failed to warn consumers about the risks. This is why punitive damage awards have been so significant. In addition, the evidence presented shows that Bayer engaged in a decades-long cover-up, putting its profits over people.
Two different juries found the science backing claims that glyphosate is a carcinogen credible. Further, two different juries found that Monsanto worked to conceal the fact that it knew about glyphosate’s probability of being a carcinogen. And two different juries awarded significant punitive damages.
The company’s failure to warn consumers about the risks of using Roundup has put millions of people in danger. Currently, Bayer-Monsanto is facing U.S. lawsuits from more than 13,000 people over cancer claims.
Despite finding from juries and the CDC report, the Environmental Protection Agency reaffirmed its stance at the end of April that the popular weed killer is safe for people. However, the agency notes potential risks to mammals and birds that feed on leaves treated with glyphosate. It has plans to announce ways to reduce drift.
On May 14, in the third consecutive U.S. jury verdict against Bayer, a California jury awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer-Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killer, Roundup, caused their cancer. The ruling became the largest jury verdict against the company over cancer claims to date. The jury awarded $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages to California couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod. However, there is likely to be a reduction in punitive damages because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1.
The Pilliods both received non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis. Doctors diagnosed Alva with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 and Alberta in 2015. The couple filed their lawsuit in 2017. Both are currently in remission. But their trial was expedited due to the risk of relapse and potentially shortened life expectancy.
Individually, the jury awarded Alva $18 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion in punitive damages; and Alberta $37 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages.
In its ruling, the jury found that Round’s design is defective. Further, the jury alleged that the company failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risks and the company acted negligently.
The Carlson Law Firm is currently investigating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases all over the country. We are accepting cases from all 50 states. If you or a loved one used Roundup for work or personal yard maintenance, contact us today. The science that this dangerous chemical is significantly affecting health is on your side. We can help you hold Bayer-Monsanto accountable for its failure to warn you that glyphosate is carcinogenic.
We have a team of attorneys with the experience you deserve. A Carlson Law Firm Roundup lawyer will fight tirelessly for the justice you and your family deserves. We protect the rights of victims nationwide from negligent companies for their injuries. If you received a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis after using Roundup, contact our office for a free consultation.