Pregnant woman injured in wreck caused by fire truck hires VB Attorneys

Penitas Texas fire truck

On July 21, 2019, a Peñitas, Texas, fire truck hit a car carrying two women. The driver of the car was pregnant at the time of the wreck. She has hired our firm to represent her in her injury claim.

The wreck occurred as the fire truck was crossing Expressway 83. It did not have lights or a siren on to warn oncoming traffic even though it was on its way to respond to a fire. Our client and her passenger were transported to the hospital via ambulance to receive treatment for their injuries.

Our client has suffered multiple serious injuries as a result of this wreck. She seeks answers to questions that include:

  • Why did the driver of the fire truck not have the lights or siren on, especially since it was responding to a fire at the time of the wreck?
  • Was the driver of the fire truck trained and/or qualified to drive the vehicle?
  • What vehicle training does the Peñitas Fire Department give its first responders?
Vuk Vujasinovic has taken the lead on this case. As he and his team investigate and work up this case, they will be asking these questions and many more related to truck safety. Fire trucks, like large commercial trucks, are held to higher safety standards than regular cars and pickup trucks. The same goes for the people who drive them. 
 
 
Injury claims involving these vehicles are very different from regular car wreck cases. They require specialized experience that only a few firms can provide. Vuk Vujasinovic has taken the lead on this case. With a history of record-breaking verdicts and settlements in truck wreck cases, he is dedicated to getting answers and justice for our client. 
 
 

Family of man found dead in Bexar County jail hires VB Attorneys

Leon Causey, VB Attorneys Hired by Family of 24-Year-Old Man Found Dead at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center on July 18, 2019

VB Attorneys has been hired by the family of a 24-year-old man found dead at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center

Our firm has been hired by the family of Leon Causey, age 24. At approximately 8:44 a.m. on July 18, 2019, a Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy found Mr. Causey unresponsive in his cell. The officer was conducting face-to-face observation checks.

The sheriff’s office told the local media that deputies and jail medical staff began to perform life-saving procedures. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive him. Deputies had requested help from the San Antonio Fire Department emergency medical technicians. He was pronounced dead at 8:48 a.m.

Leon Causey’s death is 3rd high-profile incident at the Bexar County jail in 5 days

The Criminal Investigations Division, Internal Affairs, and the Public Integrity Unit of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office are investigating Mr. Causey’s death. His death marks the third high-profile incident at the jail in the 5 days prior to July 18, 2019.

Mr. Causey’s family has hired our firm to investigate this incident.

Job Tennant, an attorney at VB Attorneys working on this case says, “We are committed to answering the questions of why and how this possibly happened. Mr. Causey’s family is heartbroken. They have turned to us to help them get the answers they need.” 

Our firm has obtained multiple record-breaking verdicts in wrongful death cases in the past few years, including a $44,370,000 verdict in a Jefferson County wrongful death case in 2018 and a $17,720,000 verdict in a Harris County wrongful death case in 2016. Our Houston-based law firm handles high-profile fatality and injury cases. 

Family hires VB Attorneys after child injured at trampoline park

We have been hired by a Houston family whose son was injured at a local trampoline park. In January, our clients went to an indoor trampoline park. Their son suffered a serious injury at the trampoline park.

His parents have hired us to help them hold the indoor trampoline park accountable for the safety failures that caused their son’s injury. 

Indoor trampoline parks causing injuries across the United States

Indoor trampoline parks are becoming more and more popular across the United States. These parks market themselves as great for kids, but the injuries occurring across the country tell a different story.  

What they don’t tell you is that there really aren’t industry rules or guidelines. The only people making the rules are the trampoline parks themselves. There are no third-party independent safety groups making evidence-based safety rules that include regular inspections, maintenance, and safety training. 

An expert witness in more than 200 plaintiff cases against trampoline parks told CBS that the injuries these parks cause are “life-altering.” He continued, saying, “the danger lies in the design.” 

Indoor trampoline parks usually feature wall-to-wall trampolines with padded walls or angled trampoline walls. Because the trampolines are connected with steel cables or chain links under thin padding, jumping on one can cause a chain reaction on surrounding trampolines. As people jump, waves of energy radiate out in all directions, which can cause dangerous situations that end in high-impact collisions.

Emergency room visits caused by trampoline park injuries have skyrocketed from 2,500 in 2013 to nearly 18,000 in 2017, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2014, trampoline parks caused 7,000 people to be sent to the ER with injuries. Below is a graph from a study published in Pediatrics on trampoline park injuries that outlines the huge increase in trampoline park injuries in the past decade. 

trampoline park injury, trampoline injuries

Trampoline parks cause more injuries than home trampolines

In 2011, there were about 40 trampoline parks across the country. By 2014, there were 280. five to six new parks open each month. By the end of 2018, there were probably close to 500 parks open nationwide. 

Children ages 6-17 account for most of the injuries at home and at trampoline parks. Sprains and fractures are the most common trampoline injuries, but you’re 61% more likely to suffer a sprain at a trampoline park than at home. Dislocated joints were more than twice as likely to occur at trampoline parks. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against trampolines for all children. The Pediatrics study found that trampoline park injuries are more likely to involve a lower extremity injury or dislocation and are more likely to require people get admitted to the hospital for treatment. 

Common causes of injuries at trampoline parks include falls, contact with other jumpers, and flips. The study concluded that trampoline parks pose a high risk for leg injuries because of how high people are jumping and for the speeds they attain while jumping. These factors cause more stress on the lower extremities. Another factor that contributes to leg injuries is landing on the trampoline frames, springs, surrounding poles, and other structures. 

What to do if you signed a release at a trampoline park and your child was seriously injured or killed

Trampoline parks usually make parents and guardians sign releases before anyone can use the facility. They require these releases because they know the dangers. These releases openly warn you about the possibility of broken bones and paralysis. 

If your child suffered serious injuries or a fatal injury at a trampoline park, you should consult an attorney even if you signed a release. If you did not sign a release, you should consult an attorney. You are on the hook for medical bills, future medical care, and the costs associated with recovering from that injury. 

As one expert stated, these injuries are often life-altering. Physically, psychologically, and financially. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if the release is enforceable. We can also help you determine if the trampoline park should be held accountable as well as determine if there were any safety failures or design defects. 

At our firm, we hold unsafe, negligent, and irresponsible corporations accountable every day. To find out how we can help you get justice and fair compensation for your trampoline park injury, call us now at 877-724-7800 or fill out a contact form. Our experienced, Board Certified personal injury attorneys will answer your questions, help you determine if you have a case, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.

 

4 helpful tips for preparing for your deposition

In almost every personal injury, wrongful death, and civil lawsuit, the other side (the defense attorney) will ask you questions under oath. This is a deposition. As the person who was injured or suffered losses, you are the best witness to explain what happened.

You will answer questions under oath, with a court reporter and videographer present. Depositions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It may seem overwhelming, but remember, your attorney will always be there to protect you from any harassing or badgering questions. There will be a transcript of the deposition, and your testimony becomes evidence in the case. Depositions can be used as testimony at trial.

For many people, this will be the first time they have answered questions under oath. It is common to be nervous before your deposition. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you prepare. 

Tip #1: Tell the truth!

The most important thing during a deposition is that you TELL THE TRUTH.

During the deposition, the lawyer for the defendant (the person or entity being sued) will ask you questions about the accident or incident over which you are suing.  During this time, the defense attorney is trying to get the facts of the case. They are also trying to determine your credibility and the way a jury is likely to view you.

Again, this may seem overwhelming, but your attorney will be there by your side. 

Tip #2: Stay calm.

The defense attorney is going to try to catch you off guard, make you seem nervous, and generally try to get you to ruin your case. Their job is to make your case go away so their clients don’t have to compensate you for your losses.

Stay calm during your deposition. We help our clients prepare for depositions. This includes tips for staying calm. If you have anxiety, PTSD, or get nervous talking about certain topics, let us know in advance. We will work with you to help make sure you remain calm and know when to step in if you need a break.

Tip #3: Answer the question, and only the question.

Keep your answers short and to the point. If they ask you how old you are, tell them your age. That’s it. Don’t elaborate, talk about being born, or anything. Do not volunteer additional information. Make the defense attorney ask you a follow-up question. 

The reason you need to answer only the question that was asked is that the defense attorney will be looking for any shred of information they can use against you. They will be going through the transcript with a fine-tooth comb. Long answers that cover more than what was asked of you can ruin your case. 

We will work with you so that you are comfortable only providing the information the defense attorney asked for. If we don’t think you should answer the question for whatever reason, we will speak up. Our job in the deposition is to protect your claim.

Tip #4: Dress up.

Remember, your deposition will probably be filmed and shown to a jury. We recommend all our clients dress up. Blazer, tie, suits, button-down shirts, dresses, blouses, and other professional attire are appropriate for a deposition. Pretend you’re in court in front of a judge. 

Keep makeup, accessories, jewelry, and hair simple. We will help you figure out what to wear if you want help. We have taken tens of thousands of depositions and have been in front of many juries. We know what will make you look professional while also making you feel comfortable. 

Bottom line – we will make sure you are ready for your deposition. Also, we want you to ask for our help and guidance. Your deposition is very important to your case, so we will make sure you’re prepared. 

For more information about what happens in a personal injury lawsuit, click here.  

Crane collapses on Elan City Lights apartments in Dallas

A crane collapsed onto the Elan City Lights apartment complex in Dallas, Texas, killing at least one person and injuring multiple people on June 9, 2019. Dallas Fire-Rescue report that the investigation is “extremely fluid.”

Their spokesman, Jason Evans, went on to tell reporters that crane caused multiple collapses in both residences and the parking garage. He also reported that two victims were listed in critical condition. Three other people were listed in “serious” condition. More victims may be found as the investigation continues.

Some areas are still too dangerous for officials to access. Mr. Evans also reported that their number one priority is accessing a living area where all five stories inside the structure have collapsed. CNN reports that live-rescue dogs are being used to search for people trapped in the debris.

Collapsed crane owned by a company with offices in Houston, Texas

Elan City Lights is at the corner of Good Latimer and Live Oak in Downtown Dallas. The crane appears to be owned and operated by Bigge Crane, a company that has offices in Houston, Texas. It was on a construction site near the Elan apartments.

Crane collapses typically occur because of safety failures. While it is too soon to say why this crane collapse occurred, it is crucial that survivors and the families of people who were killed in this crane collapse launch an independent investigation. An independent investigation means you don’t have to rely on the company’s biased reports or on the government to release their conclusions. You can find out why the crane collapsed. The investigation will also determine who is responsible in time for you to hold them accountable in a court of law.

Why survivors and victims’ families should conduct an independent investigation into the Elan City Lights crane collapse

Construction sites tend to have multiple layers of safety rules and insurance policies to protect people. But sometimes, companies and their employees choose to prioritize profits over safety and ignore the rules. That’s why we recommend you consult an attorney as soon as possible. You have to protect your legal rights, which the right attorney can do immediately.

At our firm, we’ve handled multiple crane collapse cases and have obtained historic $17.72 million and $44.37 million verdicts on behalf of clients whose loved ones were killed in similar circumstances. We know how quickly companies get to work “cleaning up” these locations. And how easily evidence can be damaged or destroyed. We get to work right away, filing a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent any evidence from being moved, tampered with, or thrown away before our independent experts can conduct a thorough investigation.

Was this a freak accident? Or could it have been prevented?

CNN also reports that a severe thunderstorm watch was issued at 11:25 a.m. this morning. It included the Dallas-Fort Worth area according to CNN meteorologist Gene Norman. The National Weather Service reports that the watch is in effect until 10 p.m. CDT. He reports, “This was in response to a Mesoscale Convective Complex, a group of organized thunderstorms which originated in Oklahoma earlier in the morning. The same system produced localized flash flooding and strong storms with high winds in Oklahoma City during the morning.” Kyle Roberts, a meteorologist for WFAA in Dallas tweeted this timelapse of the weather:

Construction companies and crane companies are required to have safety policies in the event of severe weather. An independent investigation will reveal if there were such policies in place. It will also reveal if the policies were followed and if they did have time to take steps to prevent the crane from collapsing. It is important to find out if the company knew about the severe weather warning and how they responded. 

Modern cranes are designed to withstand 140 mile per hour winds. They also have onboard computers, which record whether or not the brakes were set. It will also tell us if the crane was allowed to swing freely in the wind, which is the current safety protocol for high-wind situations. 

Dallas crane collapse lawyers help victims get fair and just compensation

To find out how we can help you if you’ve been injured in this crane collapse, or if your loved one was killed, contact us at 877-724-7800 or fill out a contact form.

Our firm’s mission is to fight for people who have been injured by a company’s negligence. We have a track record of success in crane collapse cases. We know how to get you the answers and compensation you are owed.

Use our secret formula to win your legal case

When you file a civil lawsuit against an insurance company or large corporation, they see it as a declaration of war. These companies have the resources to hire highly trained armies of lawyers and adjusters. And they do. Their goal is to have these adjusters trick you into ruining your case and have their lawyers delay the process until the deadline has passed for your case to go to court. They also spend millions of dollars on disinformation campaigns to make sure you fall into their traps, rather than informing you of your legal rights.

These companies claim to be on your side, but they only care about one thing – making money. Your lawsuit threatens their bank accounts. That’s why they go into battle mode to make your case go away.

We know these companies’ insider secrets. We used to represent them. However, we quickly realized the people harmed by these companies needed the help of highly trained attorneys, too. But it was hard to find high quality legal representation out there for everyday people. That’s why VB Attorneys only helps people. We don’t represent insurance companies or large corporations. We put our extensive experience to work so that you can get the same quality of legal representation as the billion dollar companies.

At our firm, we tell you the truth about your legal rights and tell you what to expect in your case. Knowledge is power. That’s why we’re telling you the insider secrets to winning your case. And we’re doing it for free.

Our secret 7-step formula makes us different from other law firms. This is why:

We put the free consultation to work for you

The first step to winning your case is talking with our lawyers about your case. Our consultation is always confidential. And it’s always free. It’s important to have this conversation at the beginning of our relationship because it helps us figure out our plan of attack.

During the free consultation, we:

  • Gather as much information as possible from you about your case. If you have any files or documents, we make copies or scans of them.
  • Answer all of your questions.
  • Discuss why you pay only when we win your case.
  • Review everything and determine if you have a legal case.
  • Explain your legal rights.
  • Go over any potential issues or roadblocks so you know what to expect.
  • Lay out our initial game plan for your case and go over it with you.
  • Help you make an informed decision about what to do next.

Talking to us about your case will help you make sure you have picked the right firm for your case. You get answers to your questions. You also get to set your own expectations and goals for what’s about to happen. And we’ll make sure you know your legal rights so you don’t accidentally do anything to hurt your case.

Adjusters are trained to trick you into believing they’re on your side. They want you to accidentally give them information that could hurt your case. Or sign some forms that actually prevent you from ever suing them for your injuries. You’re facing highly trained adjusters and experienced insurance attorneys. And it can feel like you’re all alone. That nobody’s on your side in an injury case.

We’re changing their rules. You have a constitutional right to be compensated for the damage caused by a negligent person or company. We arm you with the information you need to defeat the adjusters and insurance attorneys. That’s why some people come away from the free consultation armed with the information they need to settle their case on their own. Others realize they actually do need an expert to help them. We put our decades of experience, nearly perfect success rate, and specialized knowledge to work for you.

Our expertise puts your case on track to succeed from day 1

Choosing who to hire as your attorney can mean the difference between getting the compensation you deserve or getting nothing.

Lawyers are allowed to say they handle all types of cases, but only a handful of attorneys actually have a track record of success. An even smaller group of attorneys are allowed to say they’re experts in their areas of the law. What that means is that unless you hire a lawyer who is Board Certified by their state’s Board of Legal Specialization, and that lawyer has a history of getting good results for people who have cases that are similar to yours, you probably won’t get the best result possible for your case.

At our firm, three of our attorneys are board certified. Brian BeckcomVuk Vujasinovic, and  Curtis Bickers are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. All decisions at our firm are made with Brian, Vuk, and Curtis’s approval.

Attorneys have to prove they get great results to become Board Certified

Fewer than 2% of all lawyers in Texas are Board Certified in any specialty. That number is similar across the board in the United States. So when you’re looking for a lawyer for your case and they aren’t Board Certified, you should probably keep looking. Board Certified attorneys have to win cases, pass a rigorous examination, and be recommended by other attorneys and judges. And they have to keep winning cases in order to keep their certification.

When you hire a Board Certified attorney, you’re sending a signal to the insurance company and the insurance attorneys that you mean business. That you won’t be tricked or trapped into a lowball settlement. That you know your rights and you’re serious about holding them accountable for all of the pain and suffering they’ve caused you and your loved ones.

An attorney who isn’t Board Certified won’t have the experience or the track record to get you the results you deserve. Often, we get calls from people who have hired attorneys who aren’t Board Certified. They’re a year into the lawsuit process and nothing’s been done. They’re frustrated and don’t understand why their attorney isn’t making things happen. Typically, when they choose to switch to our firm, they start seeing results right away.

We work harder and smarter than any other firm in the country to get you results

As soon as you hire us for your case, we get to work. Our legal team starts investigating right away. We work differently than most law firms. Most law firms assign you to an attorney and a paralegal and that’s it. You get our entire team.

  • We make sure your case gets filed in the best possible court
  • We protect all of the evidence in your case
  • We investigate your case
  • We conduct discovery, which means both sides exchange information and documents related to your case
  • We get the testimony of witnesses, corporate representatives, and experts
    • Your medical records will be crucial to proving your injury claim. We also work with independent medical and economic experts to figure out what medical care you will need to live a normal life. They help us translate a lifetime of medical care into a dollar amount we can fight for in court.
  • We prepare you for your own testimony
  • We get all your medical and billing records to prove your injury
  • We get all your wage documents to prove your lost wage claim if that’s part of your case
  • We assist you with medical treatment issues
  • We help you find ways to get your bills paid while you’re recovering from your injuries
  • We pay all of the up-front expenses necessary so you have the best chance of winning your case
  • We take as much time as necessary to do the work in order to win your case
  • We communicate with you regularly to make sure you’re informed and can make the right decisions for your case
  • We prepare your case for court

Legal cases can take anywhere from 12-18 months, or even years depending on how complex your case is. It is important that you make sure we know how to contact you. If you move, if you get a new phone number, if your email address changes, we need to know right away so your case isn’t delayed because your legal team has to track you down.

You must be honest with us. The fastest way to ruin your case is to lie to your attorneys. You may think it will make things better for the case, but it never does.

If you have hired us for your injury claim, your most important job during the lawsuit process is to get better. When you become our client, we work with you to make sure you have access to world-class doctors. You still have to do your part. You can ruin your case if you stop going to your appointments, if you re-injure yourself by not following your doctor’s orders, or if you are seen doing activities your doctor has told you not to do.

One reason it is so important that you do everything your doctors tell you to do is that you’re most likely being watched by the insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for hiring investigators. They are trying to catch you doing something your doctor has told you not to do. If your doctor has said you can’t lift or carry dog food, don’t lift or carry dog food. Always assume you’re being watched and filmed.

This is very important: if you are hiring an attorney for an injury or death case and they ask for money up front or want you to pay them by the hour, you’re hiring the wrong attorney. Good, ethical, and experienced attorneys in our area of the law work on a contingency fee basis.

A contingency fee means that you pay absolutely nothing until and unless we. win your case. In the event we do win your case, we are paid a percentage of your recovery. We work on a contingency fee basis for a few reasons:

  1. Lawsuits are expensive. Most people who need to pursue their constitutional right to be compensated for the injuries caused by a negligent person or company are already facing a mountain of medical bills. Adding another bill discourages people from seeking justice.
  2. We take on all the risk. And we don’t get paid unless you do. The contingency fee arrangement incentivizes us to get you the best result possible in the shortest amount of time.
  3. You deserve to hire the best firm for your case. If you were paying up front, out of pocket, you probably wouldn’t be able to afford a legal team with the resources, experience, and track record to beat the other side in court. This fee arrangement encourages you to shop around, interview multiple attorneys, and choose the firm that’s right for you.

So if the consultation isn’t free, if the attorney talks about a fee schedule, or if you’re asked to pay thousands of dollars up front, you’re talking to the wrong lawyers.

We maximize your settlement to put money in your pocket

There’s a reason people think of lawyers as being greedy. Some are. Other attorneys actually put in the work to get you a great result. We believe you get what you pay for.

At our firm, we don’t get paid unless we get you money in your pocket. We take on all the financial risk when we accept your case. We pay for court costs, experts, and more. If you need medical care, depending on the case, we cover the cost of that. One of our goals when we take injury cases is for you to recover as much as possible. That’s why we make sure you have access to world-class physicians and specialists and get the medical treatment you need.

Getting money in your pocket seems obvious. That’s a main goal of filing a lawsuit, right? But many attorneys don’t have the experience needed to maximize the money in your pocket. Whether it’s enough knowledge of the law to make sure your lawsuit covers all of your claims or the negotiating skills necessary to get you the most money possible, many lawyers don’t have what it takes. We do. See for yourself.

Like many of our clients, you’re probably going through one of the worst experiences of your life. It’s an understatement to say that catastrophic events, especially injuries and deaths, are life-changing. And getting back to “normal” can seem impossible.

Whenever we accept a new case, we start a dialogue with our clients about what “normal” means for them. And what it would take to get their lives back to normal. One reason why we have these conversations is because your goals are unique. For some people, the goals are learning to walk again, coping with PTSD, finding a new career path. For others, it’s being able to plan for retirement or pay for the medical care in the future. Whatever your goals are, they are important to us.

Also, a major part of what a jury looks at in a lawsuit is if you’ve mitigated your damages. In plain English, it means you need to be able to prove you’re trying to get back to “normal.”

If you have an injury claim, proving your case will include getting medical treatment and finding ways to go back to work, if possible.  In cases where your damages are all financial, that can mean proving you’ve taken steps to improve your situation.

It’s our job to make the case to the jury that you deserve to be compensated for your losses. We argue that, because you’ve tried everything possible to make up for the damage done to you and cant, that you are legally entitled to be fairly and justly compensated.

We can’t begin the settlement phase of your case until you’re as fully recovered from your injuries as possible. We collect all of your medical records and bills, along with your lost wage information, and work with experts to calculate your past and future monetary damages. Then, we take all of that data and those numbers to the insurance attorneys and insurance company in the form of a settlement demand. If they don’t accept that number, we keep working.

If the initial settlement demand isn’t accepted by the other side, we work with the courts and the insurance attorneys to schedule mediation. At mediation, both sides present their cases to a trained mediator. We argue why you deserve to be compensated for your past and future lost wages, your past and future medical bills, your pain and suffering, and your mental anguish. In some cases, the company has been so negligent, you also get to ask that the company pays you what’s called punitive damages. This is compensation on top of what you can normally ask for in an injury lawsuit.

Many cases settle at mediation. However, some cases don’t. If your case still hasn’t settled after mediating it, we will continue to work on reaching a satisfactory settlement agreement as we prepare your case for trial. Most cases, over 95% of them, settle before a jury reaches its verdict. Our firm won’t hesitate to go to Court, which sends a signal to most insurance companies that we believe in your case so strongly, we’re willing to take the risk.

Once you’ve agreed on a settlement, we still have work to do. We negotiate any liens and outstanding medical or case-related bills you have. Our goal is to get as much money as possible in your pocket, so we work to make the settlement agreement as favorable for you as possible. We then sit down with you to review the settlement agreement, sign all of the paperwork, and then make sure you receive your final settlement check.

Our biggest secret is hard work. Many firms will take a case and then realize how much work it will be and want you to either settle it for peanuts or take your case somewhere else. There are also tons of “trial attorneys” out there who haven’t stepped foot in a courtroom in years. We are in the courtroom every day. We spend tens of thousands of hours on cases – whatever it takes – to work your case up the right way. Our near-perfect success rate is that high not because we’re lucky. It’s because we out-work the competition. 

We invest the time and resources into every case we take. If you have a complex case, you’ve come to the right place. Call us now at 877-724-7800 to find out how we can help you.  

Two metal workers hire VB Attorneys after being hit by a work truck

Two metal workers have hired our firm to represent them in a commercial vehicle case. A work truck  owned and operated by Lonestar West Enterprises, LLC, hit their truck on May 8, 2019. Our clients are metal workers from Houston. They were working in Odessa, Texas, at the time of the incident. They were driving southbound on FM 1882 in Odessa when a work truck driving the opposite direction veered into their lane, crashing into the driver’s side door of our clients’ truck. The force of the impact sent our clients’ truck spinning and caused the work truck to lose its front left tire.

The police and EMTs responded to the wreck. Our clients suffered multiple injuries in the wreck. They were transported via ambulance to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa for treatment. They are still recovering from their injuries.

Driver claims broken steering wheel caused company truck to crash into oncoming traffic

A statement made by the driver of the work truck caused our clients to seek representation. The driver of the work truck reportedly said the steering wheel “broke off” as he was driving down FM 1882, causing him to lose control. Our clients want to find out why the steering wheel broke off and who was responsible for putting an unsafe truck on the road. They want to hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm they have caused our clients.

Companies are responsible for making sure their vehicles are maintained and safe

Companies have a legal duty to keep the public safe. That means, when companies own and operate vehicles, the company must maintain the vehicles and make sure they are safe. Drivers must be qualified, trained, and supervised.

As we work up this case, we will be thoroughly investigating the crash and events leading up to it. Curtis Bickers is the lead attorney on this case. His track record of success in these types of cases speaks for itself. He is also Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This certification means he has specialized expertise in this type of injury case.

In addition to investigating the crash and the company, we will determine if any part of the steering system on the truck was defective or had a recall notice on it. If the company knew about a defect but failed to correct it, the company could be held accountable. If the part manufacturer or car manufacturer knew about a defect or known issue with a part of the steering system, they could potentially be held accountable.

As the investigation continues in this case, we will provide updates.

Consult an attorney as soon as possible after being hit by a company truck

Crashes involving company vehicles are different from regular car wrecks in several ways. In addition to being held to a higher safety standard by the law, companies that own and operate vehicles are required to hold larger insurance policies. That means that when a company vehicle hits another car, the company and its insurer get to work to minimize their liability. Wrecks cost companies a lot of money.

Often, a company representative or an insurance adjuster will go to the scene of the wreck. In the past, clients have told us that the company representative arrived on the scene before the police. Other clients have said that company reps not only arrived before the police, they started picking up evidence. Bottom line – companies will already be hard at work finding ways to make your case go away. You’re at the hospital and the adjusters and company are already launching an investigation. Their investigation has one purpose: find a way to avoid being found responsible for your injuries.

Our experienced car accident attorneys know all the tricks companies and the insurance adjusters try to pull after you are injured in a wreck. In fact, we wrote an article about the top five ways companies trick victims of commercial truck wrecks out of being fairly compensated for their injuries. We get to work right away so that you don’t get tricked out of your legal rights. Our job is to protect you and your claim so that you can focus on getting better.

If you are in need of an aggressive car crash attorney you are looking in the right place. Give us a call today at  877-724-7800 or fill out a free, confidential contact form to learn more about how we can help you.

Are you sabotaging your construction site injury claim without realizing it?

You may be sabotaging your construction site injury claim without even realizing it. Even if you haven’t filed your claim yet, you might be making mistakes that could ruin your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Many of these mistakes are made because corporations and insurance companies deliberately misinform you of your legal rights. If you were wondering who is on your side in a work injury, it’s not your employer or the insurance company. The good news is that when you hire a work injury attorney, they are on your side. The best way avoid sabotaging your claim is to consult a work injury attorney right away.

5 ways to sabotage your construction site injury claim

Construction site work injuries tend to be more serious than injuries in other industries. Because of this fact, companies and their insurance companies spend millions of dollars each year figuring out ways to avoid paying you anything for your injuries. That’s where we come in. Our extensive experience helping people injured working in the construction industry means we’ve seen every trick, every trap, and every tactic these companies use to try and get you to sabotage your own claim.

The top five ways these companies try to get you to sabotage your own injury claim include:

1. Tell you they have worker’s compensation insurance when they don’t.

In Texas and some other states, companies aren’t required to subscribe to the state’s worker’s compensation insurance program. The company may call their insurance plan “worker’s compensation,” or lead you to believe they have some sort of coverage when they really don’t have any. This tactic has caused many thousands of workers to file worker’s compensation claims with the Texas Department of Insurance, only to discover there is no worker’s compensation. This delay can be incredibly damaging to your physical recovery and your chances of being compensated fairly.

2. Tell you not to file an incident report.

Incident reports are crucial to your work injury claim, so if your company tells you to not worry about filing the incident report,  you should take this as a major red flag the company is up to no good. We’ve helped clients who were told the company would fill out the report, that all they needed to do was sign at the bottom. They then discovered the company wrote a false report that placed all the blame on them. But their signature was on it, so the company used it to say they agreed with the fake report. We’ve helped clients who were told not to fill out an incident report. But when they filed their injury claim, the company denied the injury ever happened because there wasn’t an incident report on file.

The fact of the matter is that you are not legally required to sign an incident report – or any paperwork – in order for your claim to be processed. The incident report is important in proving your case in court, but the company and insurance adjuster are able to process your claim without one. If you’re stuck in a situation where the company said you didn’t need an incident report, write one yourself. If there were witnesses to the incident, you can ask them to either sign on to your report or write statements about what they saw.

3. Make you sign papers in order to see a doctor

Companies can’t prevent you from getting medical attention by claiming you have to sign forms first. Legally, companies cannot withhold medical care from you. This is a way to get you to sign away your legal rights.

We’ve had companies go into hospital rooms and tell patients still under the effects of anesthesia after emergency surgery that they had to sign papers right then and there. They were told to sign them in order for the company to pay for the very expensive emergency surgery that just happened. What the company was really doing was getting our client to sign away his right to file a lawsuit against the company. He had no idea what he was signing. He was just ordered to do it.

4. Don’t tell you about third party claims

A third party claim is when a company or an employee of another company is responsible for your work injury. For example, if you are working for a scaffolding company and a person drives a forklift into the scaffolding, causing you to fall and seriously injure yourself, you can pursue a third party claim against the forklift driver’s employer at the same time as when you file your work injury claim. Third party claims can be very valuable. Many construction site injuries are caused by third parties, so it is important that you consult an attorney about your case to make sure. You may be walking away from a lot of money if you don’t ask about any potential third party claims.

5. Try to say you can’t file a claim because you’re an independent contractor

Some companies will try to prevent you from filing an injury claim by calling you an independent contractor. However, if you truly are an independent contractor, the company’s effort has backfired. Independent contractors can file third party claims against the company responsible for their injuries. So if you truly are an independent contractor, you may have a very valuable claim on your hands.

The bottom line is that companies don’t want to pay you anything for your work-related injuries. They do not care about how loyal you are or how hard you worked for them. Their responsibility is to make money. And compensating you for your injuries reduces their profit margin.

Take these steps to protect your rights after being injured in a construction accident

First, seek medical treatment. Having your injuries documented is important to proving your case in court. The second step to take is to make sure there’s an accurate account of what happened. Whether it’s the company’s official report or your handwritten report, document everything. Third, consult an attorney right away.

Before you consult an attorney, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is responsible for my injuries? Did any other companies have employees working at my job site?
  2. What happened in the moments leading up to me being injured? Who did what and why?
  3. Was my supervisor on site when I got injured?
  4. How could the incident have been prevented?
  5. Was I given the right safety equipment for the job? The right training?
  6. Was any equipment broken? Defective?
  7. Was any paperwork completed or signed after I got hurt?
  8. Did the company violate safety rules?

Even if the answer to these questions is “I don’t know,” they will help prepare you for meeting with a work injury attorney. At the initial consultation, they will review your case with you. Having as much of this information as possible will help them analyze your case properly.

What if the company violated OSHA rules?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets and enforces standards and provides training, outreach, education, and assistance to companies and workers. OSHA rules are in place to protect you, but that doesn’t mean companies always follow them. If you were injured because your company ignored OSHA’s safety rules or if you lost a loved one because the company didn’t follow OSHA safety rules, you have a legal right to hold the company accountable.

One example of the consequences of violating OSHA safety laws is the result we obtained for 43 workers injured in a plant explosion. On February 8, 2011 an explosion occurred at a natural gas storage facility in Southeast Texas, injuring dozens of workers. 43 of the construction and refinery workers hired us to help them get the medical care they needed to recover from their injuries and to hold the responsible companies accountable. Multiple companies had employees at the site, which was owned by Enterprise.

OSHA obtained a warrant to investigate the explosion. The agency found that Turner Company failed to give its employees proper instructions and failed to supervise them properly. OSHA also found that Enterprise did not give workers the correct procedure to follow so that they could avoid over-stressing the pipe that ultimately exploded. Based on OSHA’s findings and our own independent investigation, our lawyers proved that the company had not taken measures to protect the workers even though there had previously been two accidents in the same area.

What damages can an attorney help you recover?

Many fatalities occur at construction sites which result in a serious injury or death. State and federal workplace safety rules and regulations protect construction workers. If you have been injured on a construction site, you may be able to be compensated for:

  • past and future lost wages
  • your medical bills and future medical expenses
  • past and future counseling costs
  • the cost of physical therapy
  • mortgage and rent costs
  • your pain and suffering
  • loss of consortium for widows or widowers

Each case is unique, however getting the company responsible for your injuries to compensate you fairly can require the help of an experienced attorney. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file a lawsuit and expose their unsafe practices in court in order for you to be paid the money you are legally owed for your injuries.

If you have been seriously injured in a construction accident or are confused on what to do next, contact our firm for a free consultation today. We will make sure have the information you need so you don’t accidentally sabotage your claim. Give us a call at 877-724-7800 now. We will answer all of your questions, help you understand your legal rights, and help you decide what your next steps should be. 

Watch this video to find out why you should consult our attorneys about your case:

My thoughts on the Hurricane Harvey trial

I’m sitting in courtroom 11B immediately after the close of evidence in the largest case of which I’ve ever been a part.

In August of 2017, I was working as a briefing attorney for Harris County Judge Larry Weiman as I watched Hurricane Harvey flood the majority of the city in which I grew up. A few months later, I had been hired by Vujasinovic & Beckcom (VB Attorneys) in part to help with a 5th Amendment takings case against the Army Corps of Engineers based on the design and operation of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.

At the time, I knew almost nothing about takings law outside of a couple of cases that we covered in my constitutional law class. Since then I have seen a claim that I thought would be barred by sovereign immunity (it’s not – the 5th Amendment supersedes sovereign immunity) develop in to a case that I feel very confident in. And I have been lucky enough to spend the last two weeks watching the case in which I was confident turn into a very strong trial performance by attorneys that I both like and respect.

In short, the legal claim is that the Army Corps of Engineers built and developed the Addicks and Barker reservoirs with the intent that it flood a certain area behind the dams. But some of that land is privately owned land. The land owners have a property right (the right to exclude) in keeping flood waters that the government controlled off of their property. The 5th Amendment gives the government the right to take someone’s property, but requires that they be given “just compensation.” Our claim was simply that the homeowners were not given that just compensation.

It has been an honor to be able to represent thousands of people who had their lives flipped upside down by the devastating impacts of having their homes flooded and to try to ensure that our city can recover. Professionally, I have learned a lot in seeing the development of such an enormous case with millions of documents, dozens of witnesses, and plenty of extremely sharp attorneys.

I will keep on learning from each day that I “practice” law, but this was absolutely a keystone event for the first year and a half of my practice of the law. We will have closing arguments after post-trial briefing on Friday, September 13th, 2019. Hopefully a decision will be rendered soon thereafter and we can begin to put all of this in the rear view mirror. To all of you who have had to deal with me being gone, tired, or stressed: thank you for putting up with me!

Why oil rig workers face real danger during helicopter transport

Offshore oil rigs can be dangerous—even deadly—work environments, and even getting to work can create serious risks for the men and women who spend long hours laboring on platforms and rigs around the world. Helicopter accidents at sea injure or kill oil rig contractors and employees during air transportation to or from worksites. A study of offshore injuries and fatalities concluded that getting to work was the most dangerous part of an offshore worker’s job. In fact, multiple accidents have taken place involving helicopters transporting to and from rigs and platforms:

  • On March 10, 2019, a Bell 407 helicopter owned and operated by Bristow crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Both people on board died.
  • On January 13, 2018, a helicopter crashed carrying employees of an Indian oil company to an offshore rig in the Arabian Sea. At least five people died.
  • On February 27, 2017, a helicopter owned by Westwind helicopters crashed in the marshy waters of Bayou Barre, killing the pilot. It was returning to Louisiana after completing a passenger flight to drop someone off on the South Timbalier, an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • On April 29 2016, a helicopter crashed off the coast of Norway, killing all 13 people on board.
  • On June 11, 2014, a helicopter owned by Westwind Helicopters sunk just under 200 yards away from a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, killing both the pilot and a passenger.
  • On May 30, 2014 another Westwind helicopter crashed and fell off a platform near Marsh Island, Louisiana, while carrying six people. Nobody was injured.
  • On May 8, 2014 a helicopter transporting workers to a Russian-owned rig crashed off the coast of Ghana, taking three lives.

This list represents some of the recent offshore helicopter accidents. It illustrates the need for improved safety at every stage. Companies need to address safety from the point of manufacture to maintenance. Mechanical failure is listed as the culprit for far too many of these tragedies.

How to prepare pilots and workers for an emergency during air transport to offshore rigs and platforms

Helicopter pilots who transport workers to offshore rigs generally undergo training to help limit the severity of a crash when something goes wrong. However, safety training and emergency planning can’t stop every accident – and that danger is seriously compounded when:

  • Safety training is skipped, rushed, or inadequate
  • Equipment malfunctions or is not maintained properly
  • Safety procedures aren’t followed
  • Companies don’t put the priority on the safety of its workers at sea

HeliOffshore, the global safety-focused association for the offshore helicopter industry, has partnered with government agencies, oil and gas companies, and other partners to improve safety on personnel transfer flights. Their goal is to reduce the fatality rate to zero. HeliOffshore’s Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) is set to upgrade. HTAWS gives pilots between 6 and 30 seconds of additional warning of a potential collision.

Helicopters are essential to the offshore industry and the maritime industry. From transporting crews to offshore rigs and providing life-saving emergency rescue services, helicopters do what other aircraft and vessels can’t. This means that governments should examine safety regulations and find ways to improve them. And that companies should prioritize state-of-the-art safety equipment, software, and training.

How the offshore helicopter transport industry can improve safety

“Safety failure” stands for multiple types of failure. It includes a manufacturing defect that slips through testing and quality control checks because the company wanted to maximize profits. The failure of a company to implement safety rules about flying in severe weather is also a safety failure. Another safety failure is the company’s failure to follow industry standards when it comes to maintenance or use. Safety failures include hiring inexperienced pilots or pilots with spotty safety records. The list goes on.

Most safety failures are preventable. But reducing the number of safety failures in the offshore helicopter transport industry requires that the industry and governments prioritize safety over profits.

Dr. Rob Hunter, head of flight safety at the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), told the Telegraph, “In offshore helicopter operations in support of the oil and gas industry, the fatal accident rate is around one per 250,000 hours.” This is much higher compared to the commercial airline industry. Commercial airlines experience one fatal accident per 10,000,000 hours. However, planes cannot fly in many of the situations for which helicopters are used. These statistics are unable to account for that difference.

One solution would be for governments to increase safety standards while providing incentives to upgrade or buy new helicopters. We know that safety regulations are effective in reducing the number of crashes and fatalities. The British Civil Aviation Authority, their FAA, is implementing new safety regulations after the 2016 crash that killed 13 people off the coast of Norway. These new safety rules include increasing safety measures on board helicopters as well as prohibiting helicopters from flying in dangerous weather.

Cut through the confusion after an offshore helicopter transport accident

Often, you will face a confusing maze of companies, owners, contractors, adjusters, and mysterious paperwork after a crash. Companies try to avoid being held responsible for a crash. They purposefully make things confusing for you. In addition, you may have a Jones Act claim, depending on your job. These claims require specialized expertise in maritime law.

Also, companies, especially in the United States, take action only when their bottom line is threatened. An injury or wrongful death lawsuit is not only your constitutional right, it is often the only way to hold the company accountable for their safety failures and to prevent future incidents. That’s where our team of offshore helicopter accident attorneys can help you.

We have the experience you need to investigate the crash, determine who is responsible for your loss, and hold them accountable in court. With our track record of historic and record-breaking verdicts and settlements, including multiple 8-figure results, we have the experience you need to get the results you deserve. Start winning your case. Call us at 877-724-7800 or fill out a contact form.

Eight things your company does as soon as you get hurt working in the maritime industry

Maritime and offshore companies often act like they are taking care of injured employees. You, like many maritime and offshore workers, may want to wait before hiring an attorney for their Jones Act claims. Many employees often “feel” like the company is taking care of them and watching out for their best interests. You may be in the same boat.

Then, the company seems to suddenly turn its back on you. This will turn out to be after most of the deadlines on a Jones Act claim expire. The company stops benefits, stops helping with medical care and wages, and may even fire you. Since the company strung the situation out for so long, you have no recourse.  All the important deadlines have passed and you’ll be unable to sue.

Common “tricks” your employer may use to defeat your Jones Act injury claim

Employers and vessel owners work hard to minimize their liability for accidents and injuries—and they don’t always play fair. Injured Jones Act workers should watch out for company attempts to:

  • Get you to see a company doctor. There is good news for Jones Act mariners. Under the law, you have the right to see your own doctor after you’ve been injured at work. And your company, under maintenance and cure, will cover your medical bills.
  • Offer a low settlement. Your lost wages, medical bills, and living expenses add up quickly. If you accept a settlement offer before you’ve fully recovered from your injuries, and the money runs out, you’re stuck. If you accept a settlement offer before you find out that your injuries are career-ending, you’re really stuck. The true cost of your injury could be more than the company is offering. Possibly tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars more.
  • Have you sign away your rights. If you sign forms you don’t understand or accept the company’s initial settlement offer, you might be signing away your Jones Act rights. These are valuable rights that allow you to recover your lost wages, medical bills, expenses, future medical bills, and future lost wages. If you aren’t 100 percent sure what you’re signing, review it with an attorney.
  • Prepare an inaccurate report about your injury. Typically, the company will downplay their own fault for causing your injury. They may blame you for your accident. They may claim you weren’t seriously injured. For these reasons, usually the company won’t give you a copy of your own accident report.
  • Take recorded statements. The company will try to take recorded statements from you and your co-workers, and those statements could hurt your claim. The company tricks you and your fellow employees into giving statements that are bad for your claim. Your co-workers feel obligated to go along with what the company says about your accident because they don’t want to jeopardize their jobs.
  • Hire a private investigator. The company may hire a private investigator to follow you around and secretly videotape you. Then, when you assert a Jones Act claim, they will pull up these videos. They will use them to claim you weren’t injured as seriously as you claim.
  • Get copies of your private medical records. You are not required to sign forms for release of personal records. The company will try to get you to give up your full medical record, then send the records to a company doctor, who will write a report that downplays your injuries and returns you to work prematurely.

​These are just some of the things your employer is doing behind your back while you are trying to recover from your injuries. While they are doing these things, they are telling you that they are looking out for you, and looking out for your best interest. They are also probably telling you not to talk to any attorneys about a Jones Act claim.

The truth of the matter is this: your company is only looking out for itself and trying to find ways it can pay you as little as possible for your injury. The company tells you one thing, and does the opposite behind your back.

Talk to an attorney right away to find out how to protect your claim

If one of the above scenarios sounds familiar, get legal advice immediately. Injured seamen should get legal advice immediately because there is no doubt the company has attorneys on their side working to protect the company. The legal team at VB Attorneys has often given “behind the scenes” legal advice free of charge to injured workers to make sure they don’t start off way behind the company if legal action becomes necessary.

VB Attorneys has represented hundreds of people injured while working on the water, and you can call the firm today to start getting answers. We review your case for free, and with no obligation, so that you can make informed decisions about your Jones Act claim and protect your rights.