Articles Posted in Texas

According to a Jury Verdict Research study that was published this month, the average compensation for a personal injury lawsuit in Texas over the last six years is a compensatory median award for personal injury trials in Texas is $826,892. The highest verdict was over $100 million which, obviously, inflated the average verdict. The median verdict is only $12,281. Certainly, medical malpractice reform in Texas has not helped this number in recent years.  Unless it is a birth injury case or other claim with long term catastrophic injuries and future medical care or future lost wages, a Texas medical malpractice lawyer is hard to find.

Keep in mind too, Texas is not so much a state as several countries in terms of how they value personal injury cases.  So a verdict in East Texas might be very different than a verdict in San Antonio for the exact same case.

Sample Recent Verdicts in Texas

A Texas lawyer who botched a tragic mesothelioma asbestos case will get off scot-free according to the Court of Appeals of Texas for, well, reasons that escape me.

Briefly here are the facts. In July 2004, meso victim hires a lawyer to pursue her asbestos claims. Plaintiff had a rare form of meso called well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma. The lawyer waited until January, 2006, to file her lawsuit against various defendants that included negligence, strict liability, and premises liability. The case was removed to federal court.

Plaintiff found a lawyer for her malpractice action against her original lawyer. This new lawyer in turn hired another lawyer – annoyed yet? – who was set to testify that plaintiff would have recovered settlements from multiple tort defendants and asbestos bankruptcy trusts, totaling at least $2,000,000. Plaintiff’s malpractice expert then took the next leap of faith and concluded that these settlements should have been finalized by no later than the end of 2005. Anyone who follows the asbestos docket has now rolled their eyes in the back of their head.

A Plaintiff’s attorney in Texas has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the estate of a woman that was murdered.

These claims are not uncommon and they are a great way for plaintiffs’ lawyers to add million dollar verdicts to their resume. There is only one caveat: very rarely do they get a single penny for their clients because the defendants are not in a position to pay out a verdict.

This Texas case adds a new and I think bizarre wrinkle: the claim is not only against the murderer but his parents and his 92-year-old grandmother. Adding to the insanity, the murderer was a Dallas personal injury lawyer.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer also made what I think were odd comments: “You don’t see it often, but unfortunately I don’t have the liberty to discuss the facts we have to support our allegations, but we do have a basis to bring all of the claims we’ve brought,” the lawyer says, referring to naming the murderers’ parents and grandmother as defendants.

Not at liberty? Why? You have filed a lawsuit.

So we have a personal injury lawyer who is a murderer, whose 92 year-old grandmother is being sued for the murder he committed. It sounds like something personal injury claims tort reform advocates made up.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry will probably throw his hat in the ring to be the Republican who takes on President Obama next fall. Good for him. He’s got a good head start with George Will’s “Gee, I think you are hotter than Derek Jeter and I love the way you eat a big hamburger” article a few weeks back.

But while deciding to run, Perry has to make sure he nails his Republican bona fides by trying to run to the right of Michele Bachmann. That’s hard to do right now. But Perry wants to try.

The Texas Legislature passed a law virtually every state is passing: you can’t text and drive. Not a big controversial issue. Some studies suggest that texting is more dangerous than drunk driving. Probably a dangerous exaggeration in its own right but, still, you get the point: texting = more accidents and deaths in car accidents.

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After a near fistfight over this and a number of other contentious issues, the Texas House passed Saturday a “loser pays” bill. Under this law, even a winning plaintiff can end up losing if the award is less than 80 percent of a defendant’s settlement offer, the winner could owe more in legal fees than the award.

The Texans for Lawsuit Reform said that the bill provides “incentives for fair and early settlements and imposes risk on those who pursue meritless or abusive lawsuits.”

You pay expenses if you only get 79% of what the defendant offered. Texas has pretty much gone mad. I give it three years before Texans realize what they are doing.

Ameritox, a drug testing company based in Texas, has settled a false claims lawsuit for $16.3 million. The lawsuit alleged that the company paid kickbacks to doctors in exchange for business.

I would be interested in the fate of the doctors who received the kickbacks. It is like buying stolen goods. For stealing to be profitable, there typically needs to be a market for the stolen goods. This is why buying goods you know to be stolen is a crime. Do the doctors skate off with slightly fatter wallets?
You can find the UPI story here.

A Texas jury awarded $3.8 million to a man to who brought a defective design product liability lawsuit against Brunswick after a boating accident in 2007. The jury found that the man’s leg became tangled in the boat’s propeller because the boat did not have guards and covers to protect boaters from getting stuck in the propeller.

Thirteen million boats travel each year on our nation’s waterways. Last year there were 3,489 boating accident injuries that resulted in 710 deaths.

A Galveston County jury has awarded $1.72 million to a man severely injured in an accident at BP America Inc. oil refinery in Texas City. Plaintiff was struck by an oil burner being lifted by a crane operator, suffering severe injuries requiring over a half-million dollars in medical bills.

On the job injuries where there is a third-party defendant exempt from the protection of the workers’ compensation statue are often the types of cases where our lawyers can obtain the largest verdicts and settlements for our clients. This is because they often involve big companies and there are no limitations on the amount of insurance coverage at issue because the company either has adequate insurance or can pay any verdict in excess of the insurance policy.

I’ve written in the past about personal injury verdicts in Texas. A recent Jury Verdict Research found that the average verdict in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas is $826,892. But Texas is a particular example of the differences between the median and average jury verdicts: the median award is just $12,281. You can always drive a truck between the difference between average jury verdicts and median jury verdicts. But in Texas, this gap would not be covered by a fleet of trucks.

The average is also distorted by huge verdicts that are not collectible. A Texas jury awarded $118 million – the highest verdict included in this Texas jury verdict study – to the widow of a worker who died in the Phillips Petroleum Co. explosion, but the Texas cap on punitive damages reduced that award to under $12 million.

Sample Settlements and Verdicts in Texas

A jury in Texas found that the Texas Motor Speedway was negligent in an accident that left a boy with traumatic brain injuries, awarding more that $11 million in damages for his injuries.

The boy was hit by child while driving a miniature race car in the parking lot of the Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway, a paved one-fifth mile at the racetrack. The jury found the Texas Motor Speedway 80% responsible for the accident (and the boy’s parents 20%).

I would like to know how fast the kids were driving. My kids are too young but they will want to drive go-carts and the like just like I did as a child. Should I let them? Depressing issues to digest.

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