Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Brain Injury Risks After San Antonio Traffic Accident

Injury to the brain can have a devastating affect on your health. A concussion, the most common type of brain injury, is considered by some to be a relatively minor injury. However, experts caution that even this type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can take weeks to heal and can have lasting health effects. Repeated concussions or blows to the head can significantly increase the risk of major cognitive impairment.

A personal injury lawyer knows brain injuries frequently occur due to sports accidents; motor vehicle collisions and falls. People throughout San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills and surrounding areas need to be aware of the risks of brain injury, as well as the lasting consequences if they suffer a blow to the head. Those who are responsible for causing a brain injury need to be held accountable.

The Long-Term Impact of a Brain Injury

Recently, NBC News published an in-depth article about the long-term and severe consequences that are associated with a TBI. The article was prompted by the fact that an Ohio State University Football player who had suffered repeated concussions committed suicide. Suicide rates are higher among those with repeated brain injuries and a TBI may be linked not just to an increased risk of suicide but also to an increased risk of becoming dependent upon drugs or alcohol.

The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury will manifest immediately after the blow to the head, and differ depending upon the individual. Even a concussion causes a mini-seizure to occur, after which the brain shuts down to try to heal. The healing process can take several weeks. The immediate symptoms that are associated with a mild TBI usually include confusion and memory problems. Amnesia may also occur.

When multiple head traumas are sustained, a person will also experience lasting consequences. For example, a person who has suffered multiple concussions or a series of blows to the head has an increased chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, dementia, post-concussion syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE causes symptoms that are close to those caused by Lou Gehrig’s disease while post-concussion syndrome generally manifests as dizziness and concentration difficulties. Behavioral changes and cognitive impairment can be both a short-term and long-term effect of suffering a brain injury.

It is difficult to know whether a particular blow to the head is going to cause long-term consequences. There are also no real effective treatments that can prevent these consequences from occurring after a blow to the head happens. Patients, however, are increasingly seeking treatment due to TBIs. This is occurring in part because of more awareness of the dangers of head injuries due to high-profile lawsuits brought by football players against the National Football League. In just the past four years alone, there has been a 29 percent increase in people going to the ER to get treatment for a brain injury. Seniors and toddlers are the age groups most likely to experience this type of injury, but everyone is vulnerable to getting badly hurt due to a blow to the head.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit for a free case consultation. Serving San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills and surrounding areas.

Study Shows States With Fewer Work Injuries Have More Workplace Fatalities

While there are many federal worker protection laws, individual states have a lot of leeway as far as setting workers’ compensation rules and as far as enforcing worker safety regulations.

Recently, one study compared workplace injury and fatality rates across different states to see how each was doing with protecting workers. The study was conducted by the RAND Corporation and it used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate the rate of workplace injuries and workplace fatalities in different states in the country.

Our San Antonio work injury attorneys know that most people would assume a high rate of workplace injuries and a high rate of workplace deaths would go hand-in-hand. In fact, the opposite turned out to be true. In states where there were a lot of reports of non-fatal work injuries, there were fewer workplace fatalities and vice versa.

Understanding the Workplace Injury Study

At first, the study data seemed counter-intuitive. After all, if workplaces are unsafe enough to cause high rates of workplace deaths, it seems like it should be obvious that these same worksites would also cause lots of injuries.

After considering the data, however, researchers came to the conclusion that the results of the study could be easily explained. The explanation is a basic one: states with better workers’ compensation laws and with more protections for workers tend to have more reported non-fatal injuries but safer workplaces.

When a state has a business and regulatory climate that is protective of workers, workers are more likely to feel comfortable reporting injuries and are more likely to make reports of injuries in order to take advantage of generous workers’ compensation benefits. Thus, these states will have a higher rate of reported non-fatal workplace injuries.

Since non-fatal injuries are reported with greater frequency, worksite safety can be improved and worksites may be inspected more regularly to ensure that employers are taking steps to make the work areas safer.  Better worker protections and increased injury reports will, therefore, result in worksites where fewer fatal injuries occur.

When a state doesn’t have very strong worker protection laws or is not generous in workers’ comp benefits, on the other hand, fewer workplace injuries are likely to be reported. As a result, these states will have a lower rate of nonfatal workplace injuries. Since there are fewer unions, less protections for workers and fewer chances to fix safety violations, it also stands to reason that the death toll in these states will be higher.

This conclusion is supported by the fact that most of the states with high fatality and low injury rates are southern states that tend to have less favorable workers’ compensation and worker protection laws.  Texas is an example of one such southern state.

According to Think Progress, Texas has the highest rate of workplace fatalities out of every state in the United States. This is bad news for the Lone Star State, and the recent tragic accident in West Texas demonstrated that the high number of workplace deaths may have something to do with a lax regulatory environment and employers not taking workplace safety seriously.

Obviously, the outcome of this study shows that there may be a need to make some fundamental changes in order to better protect workers from death on the job.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Heat Stroke Deaths Cause Devastation in Texas Summers

On May 10th of this year, a tragedy happened in Texas. A five-month-old baby girl was left inside of a car parked outside of a Texas high school where her mother was a teacher. The baby died and investigators are still looking into the case. Unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident; Texas records more of these deaths than any state in the nation.

Our San Antonio personal injury attorneys know that this baby’s death was not the first to occur as a result of heatstroke and it won’t be the last. Texas summers are very hot and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 75 percent of the 32 heatstroke deaths in the U.S. last year occurred in June, July and August.  Heatstroke deaths can happen fast and parents and caregivers need to be aware of the very serious dangers that young children face.

Heatstroke Deaths a Major Risk for Children

According to NBC News, 567 kids have died in hot cars in the United States since 1998. This year alone, there have already been eight children killed by heatstroke including the five-month-old baby in Texas. Most of the children who died this year were babies or children under two, which is consistent with past findings showing that children ages four and under are at the greatest risk of heatstroke related fatalities.

Children are not as well-equipped as adults to regulate their body temperature and so are at a greater risk of dying of heatstroke with even a short period of exposure to excessively hot temperatures. Babies and young children are also unable to get themselves out of cars if a parent or caregiver forgets that they are in the backseat. Rear-facing car seats also up the chances of a baby being left inside of a car since a parent may not notice that the child is still in his or her carrier.

Unfortunately, a caregiver doesn’t have to have a long mental lapse in order for a baby or young child to die. NHTSA indicates that the temperature inside of a car can reach deadly levels within just ten minutes on an 80 degree day, even when the window has been cracked open.

A parent or caregiver who forgets the child even for just a few minutes could thus cause serious and permanent injury or death. When children do survive being locked in a hot car, they are likely to experience life-changing and permanent damage including cognitive impairments, blindness, deafness, and brain damage.

Parents and caregivers need to do everything possible to prevent further tragedies from occurring in Texas this year. NHTSA cautions that even dedicated and conscientious caregivers could forget a child in the back seat, especially if dropping off the baby is not part of their normal routine. Bus drivers and daycare centers may also forget children in vehicles, especially if they are transporting multiple kids and don’t check all of the seats at the end of their route.

The NHTSA’s summer campaign, Look Before You Lock, is intended to remind parents to check for their babies before they lock their car doors. Hopefully this campaign will prevent more deaths from happening this year either because of parents forgetting their kids or because of caregivers who fail to live up to their obligations to keep children safe.

If your child has been injured, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

Dangerous Drugs in Texas – Steroid Linked to Deadly Meningitis Outbreak

A contaminated drug — in this case an injectable steroid for back pain — has sickened more than 200 patients and claimed fifteen lives in the past week.

The medical crisis has quickly escalated —CNN reports seven new deaths were reported over the weekend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now reporting a total of 205 cases of fungal meningitis, believed caused by contaminated steroids from the New England Compounding Center. As many as 14,000 people may have received the injections.

Texas defective drug attorneys understand that this is far from an isolated incident.Compounding centers mix customized drugs for hospitals, pharmacies and medical centers. While the products they use are approved by the Food & Drug Administration, the final product is not subject to the same control measures. States are responsible for control measures at compounding pharmacies. In this case, the governor of Massachusetts is already indicating the facility may have misled state licensing agencies.

The truth of the matter is that the Food & Drug Administration wins no awards when it comes to ensuring the safety of the drugs it does approve. Loopholes, including ones that permit such mixing and compounding facilities, only add to the challenges when it comes to keeping consumers safe.

Patients in this case may be at particularly high risk because back injections are a direct means of contracting meningitis, which is an inflammation of the protective membrane around the brain and spinal column. Meningitis is a life-threatening health crisis. Symptoms may include confusion, discomfort, dizziness, headaches, dizziness and nausea. A number of victim’s have suffered strokes.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports patients have been diagnosed in Texas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.The steroid is a methylprednisolone acetate suspension. Three lots have been recalled and clinicians in 23 states are calling patients. Authorities are concerned about an onslaught of diagnosed cases because most have been diagnosed nearly three weeks after injection.

“If patients are having new or worsening symptoms, even mild symptoms, they should be evaluated immediately,” said Benjamin Park, of the CDC.

The three lots, according to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, are 05212012@68, 06292012@26, and 08102012@51.

The media is reporting it’s not the first time the New England facility has been in trouble with federal authorities over unsafe practices that either resulted or could have resulted in contaminated drugs. In this case, the FDA says at least one unopened vial at the facility has tested positive for fungal meningitis.

As NBC News reports, this case has clinics and medical facilities reviewing where they receive drugs and other pharmaceutical products. But the reality is that many health care facilities are turning to discount operators or oversees pharmaceutical companies to reduce costs. When combined with lax federal oversight, the consequences are too often deadly.

If you’ve been injured by a dangerous drug or medical product, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

San Antonio Construction Accidents Often Impact Hispanic & Latino Workers

The family of a man killed in a San Antonio construction accident is suing two contractors after the employee’s badly decomposed body was found last month at the bottom of the Pearl Brewery smokestack.

San Antonio wrongful death attorneys know many employees understand they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work accident. However, too often an injured worker believes he is without additional legal options. While it’s true workers’ compensation laws generally protect your employer from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, that protection does not extend to other contractors whose negligence may have contributed to the accident. Such third-party liability lawsuits are common when an injury or death occurs on a construction site, where multiple companies are often working under a general contractor.

In this case, the Express-News reports the 31-year-old Chiapas, Mexico native fell 20 feet down a shaft during his first day on the job. The family is suing two contractors for damages; the victim left behind a wife and two children.

The Occupations Safety and Health Administration is investigating. OSHA continues to be concerned about the large number of Hispanic and Latino workers injured in construction accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of fatal work accidents among Hispanic and Latino workers increased 3 percent last year. In all, 729 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed on the job in 2011. Seventy percent of those cases involved foreign-born workers, the majority of whom were from Mexico.

In fact, more than 700 Hispanic or Latino workers have been killed on the job in each of the last two years. Last year, these workers accounted for about 1 in 6 workplace deaths. And statistics show these workers are at particularly high risk for construction accidents — nationwide, one-third of construction workers are of Hispanic or Latino heritage.

In response, OSHA has been conducting outreach efforts to help foreign-born workers better understand their rights under the law. Immigration status does not negate and employer’s responsibility to provide safety training, fall protection and other safety equipment. These workers have the same right to a safe workplace enjoyed by all employees. Most recently, the government has been focused on reducing the risk of fall accidents in the residential construction industry.

“Fall protection saves lives,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls.”

Data shows about 40 workers are killed each year in falls from residential roofs — one-third of those are Latinos.

Construction remains among the nation’s most dangerous industries, although fatal accidents have declined in the wake of the economic recession. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 721 of the nation’s 4,609 fatal work accidents occurred in the private construction industry.

If you’ve been injured in a Texas construction accident, contact the The Herrera Law Firm, Inc at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

San Antonio Tractor-Trailer Accidents a Growing Concern

A series of deadly San Antonio tractor-trailer accidents has authorities preaching caution.

The Express-News reports the Tilden community — a once quiet community in McMullen County 60 miles South of San Antonio, has seen a rash of recent commercial trucking accidents. The risk for these accidents will continue to increase with economic recovery. More than a dozen counties have seen drastic increases in traffic with the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom — and with it an increase in the number of serious and fatal trucking accidents.

In fact, McMullen has seen commercial vehicle accidents increase tenfold — from just 4 crashes in 2008 to 46 crashes last year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Neighboring LaSalle County has seen a 48 percent increase in such crashes.Preview

Truckers ignoring signs in construction zones and defective headlights are top causes for accidents, according to state statistics.

Make no mistake about it: These trucking companies and commercial drivers have an obligation to protect the public. A passenger car doesn’t stand a chance against an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer. Such accidents are often fatal and almost always injure or kill the occupants on an involved passenger vehicle. In 2010, more than 3,600 people were killed and 80,000 injured in accidents with large commercial vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 377 fatal trucking accidents in the Lone Star State make Texas by far the deadliest state in the nation for such accidents. California was a distant second with 239 deadly accidents involving commercial trucks.

The Texas Department of Transportation offers safety tips for driving around large trucks:

-Maintain a safe following distance.

-Never cross behind a truck backing up.

-Don’t try to squeeze between a truck and a curb. Trucks make wide turns and can trap a passenger vehicle.

-Use caution when passing a truck – don’t move back into your lane until you can see the truck driver in your rearview mirror.

-Use caution in a truck’s blind spots — including behind and alongside the trailer and directly in front of the cab.

Trucking accidents are complex cases. Determining the cause of the accident and identifying those responsible are critical when seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Responsible parties may include the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance contractors, freight owner and even the manufacturer of the tractor-trailer. Trucking companies carry substantial liability insurance policies, typically in the amount of $2 million or more. So failure to make a proper claim against all of the parties responsible for your accident can be detrimental to your case.

Understanding the various state and federal regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies is also critical to building a case capable of winning the compensation you deserve. Federal text-messaging and cell-phone bans for commercial drivers may be key to proving negligence in a distracted driving accident, for instance, despite the fact that using an electronic device behind the wheel might not be illegal for most motorists under Texas law. Hours-of-service regulations may also play an important role in determining whether a truck driver was negligent in causing an accident.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact The Herrera Law Firm, Inc at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

Study: Diabetes Prescriptions Avandia and Actos are Dangerous Drugs, Increasing Chance of Impaired Vision or Blindness

Findings from a recent study show that a class of drugs prescribed for treating Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of vision problems in diabetics who take them. Sold as Actos and Avandia, thiazolidinediones can help prevent some complications from diabetes, but the reports that they can be dangerous drugs presents a tough dilemma for patients, their families, pharmacists and healthcare service providers.

Actos hazards and  Avandia risks include the chance of a diabetes patient developing macular edema, or swelling of the retina, which can result in dangerous diabetes drug blindness in one or both eyes.

The Texas personal injuries attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm, Inc. have seen many cases in which patients who trusted their doctors to prescribe good medications have ended up with prescription drug injuries. They urge anyone who takes thiazolidinediones to be cautious of drugs that have not been on the market very long. Pharmaceutical companies will often start selling a new drug before sufficiently testing it. Thiazolidinediones have been on the market for over ten years, but if it’s taken this long for diabetes drug eyesight side effects to be discovered, it’s anyone’s guess what other Actos and Avandia injuries may be discovered.

The study, conducted by the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust in England, is one of the largest to examine potential vision loss and sight problems associated with thiazolidinediones. Published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, the survey involved over

103,000 people with Type 2 diabetes who were followed for approximately 10 years. Those who were using one of the medications were found to have about a two to three times higher risk of developing macular edema. Combining the drugs with insulin, a common practice, seemed to heighten the risk further.

Good vision is a precious part of being healthy, and the idea that a medication for something as common as diabetes could cause thiazolidinediones injuries, resulting in diabetes impaired vision or diabetic blindness, is terrifying.

If you or a loved one has suffered diabetes drug injuries, whether you have vision loss or blurry eyesight or another type of Actos or Avandia medical crisis, contact a reliable personal injury lawyer in Texas today. Call The Herrera Law Firm, Inc. at 1-800-455-1054 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The Herrera Law Firm, Inc.

111 Soledad St., Suite 1900

San Antonio, TX 78205

Texans With Injuries from Generic Drugs May Get No Damages

When generic drugs first became available in the 1980s, patients everywhere celebrated due to the drastically lower prices. What consumers didn’t know was that, in choosing generic drugs over brand name versions, they were giving up their right to receive damages should they suffer from injuries due to ingesting generic drugs.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, while patients who became ill after taking brand name dangerous drugs can win a malpractice lawsuit, those who take generic drugs cannot. The reason goes back to a Supreme Court decision which stated that, since generic drugs do not have control over what is listed on their labels, they cannot be sued for medical malpractice. Even cases involving drugs that necessitated amputations due to gangrene and major surgeries to address debilitating gastrointestinal problems, the prescription injury victims who were given generic forms of the drug had their cases dismissed.

San Antonio personal injury lawyers at The Herrera Law Firm, Inc. know that some Texas medical malpractice cases involve generic drugs and are working hard to fight for the rights of their dangerous drug lawsuit clients.

In the article, the significant inequity of patients filing medical malpractice lawsuits is evident. “Your pharmacists aren’t telling you, hey, when we fill this with your generic, you are giving up all of your legal remedies,” said Michael Johnson, a lawyer who represented Gladys Mensing, one of the patients who sued generic drug companies in last year’s Supreme Court case, Pliva v. Mensing. “You have a disparate impact between one class of people and another.”

Since almost 80 percent of prescriptions in this country are filled by generic drugs, the Supreme Court ruling could be affecting millions of people. And since most states allow pharmacists to dispense prescriptions with a generic drug rather than brand name, the inability to sue for dangerous drug illnesses very likely impacts millions of people.

It is shocking to note that over 40 judges have dismissed cases against manufacturers of generic drugs since the 2011 Supreme Court ruling. In one instance, dozens of cases were summarily dismissed by one judge who used the Supreme Court’s decision as a reason to dismiss the medical malpractice claims of all those significantly injured people.

What this means is that all of us must be aware when we get a prescription filled generically, that we may be forfeiting all legal recourse if we end up suffering dangerous generic drug injuries.

At The Herrera Law Firm, Inc., we aggressively fight for the rights of our clients who have suffered dangerous drug injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription drug, you need a reliable and tough personal injury lawyer in Texas. Call us at 1-800-455-1054 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The Herrera Law Firm, Inc
111 Soledad St. , Suite 1900
San Antonio, TX 78205