Month: June 2017

Harris County Hail Damage Lawsuit Attorneys

Harris County Hotel Owner Files Hail Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a hail damage insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Harris County hotel owner against Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe, Ltd. and Engle Martin & Associates.

April 2015 Hailstorm

On April 19, 2015, a severe hailstorm swept through Harris County and caused substantial damage to the plaintiff’s property. In addition to the hailstorm, that same week there were three days of high winds that also impacted the property. As a result, the roof, HVAC, stucco, windows, exterior, and interior of the property were damaged.

Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Liberty Mutual to cover the cost of repairs to the property. Liberty Mutual assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, Liberty Mutual assigned the claim to Engle Martin & Associates as the third party adjusting firm to handle the claim, and Engle Martin in turn assigned the claim to its internal adjuster.

The internal adjuster was given investigative responsibility and certain decision-making authority, although he would have no authority to issue a significant claim payment, only a denial.

The adjusting firm and its internal adjuster conducted an unreasonable and inadequate investigation and denied any wind, hail, and water damage to the roof, HVAC, stucco, windows, exterior, and interior. He also grossly undervalued what damage he did accept. Specifically, the internal adjuster ignored facts supporting the plaintiff’s assertions of covered wind, hail, and water damages in April 2015 and instead only accepted facts that would support the pre-determined denial of the property damage.

Because of the internal adjuster’s haphazard investigation, no payments have been issued under the policy. Liberty Mutual and Engle Martin wrongfully denied the insurance claim and delayed the plaintiff’s claim for property repairs. This caused the plaintiff significant economic impact, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damage.

The Insurance Claim Was Wrongfully Denied Under Texas Law

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and failure to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Harris County Hail Damage Lawsuit Attorneys

Policyholders who pay their premiums are entitled to the coverage provided under their policies. If your insurance carrier has grossly underpaid or wrongfully denied your hail damage claim, the experienced Houston hail damage lawsuit attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

Virginia Man Files Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a Bair Hugger staph infection lawsuit on behalf of a Virginia man against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare. The plaintiff believes the companies failed to warn him of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger device.

In April 2013, the plaintiff underwent surgery during which the Bair Hugger warming blanket was used throughout the scope of his revision left total knee arthroplasty. As a direct result of using the Bair Hugger, contaminants were introduced into the plaintiff’s open surgical wound that caused him to develop a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), also known as a deep joint infection (DJI). The pathogen identified was coagulase negative staph (MSSA).

Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus or MSSA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to several types of antibiotics commonly used to treat infections. Because of its resistance to antibiotics, MSSA is incredibly difficult to treat and can be life-threatening. For patients who develop MSSA infections after joint replacement surgery, treating the infections is even more challenging because artificial joint infections do not trigger the body’s natural immune response.

As a result of the plaintiff’s infection caused by the Bair Hugger, he was forced to undergo multiple revision surgeries, incision and drainage, long-term PICC line antibiotics, and was eventually discharged to a skilled nursing facility for further care.

The MSSA infection caused by the Bair Hugger not only caused the plaintiff to suffer physically, but also caused him economic harm. The plaintiff has extensive medical bills from the multiple surgeries and long-term treatment needed to fight the infection.

The plaintiff believes the Bair Hugger is defective in both design and manufacture and that the companies committed consumer fraud and/or unfair and deceptive trade practices under Virginia law.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

 Thousands of patients have been exposed to infection risks associated with the Bair Hugger medical device. If you or someone you love developed an infection after a hip or knee joint surgery within the last five years, you may be able to hold the manufacturers responsible. Contact the experienced defective device attorneys at Raizner Slania today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Commercial Hailstorm Insurance Claim Lawyers

Raizner Slania Files Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Industrial Building Owner

Raizner Slania filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit against Landmark American Insurance Company and Vericlaim, Inc. on behalf of a Dallas County industrial building owner after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied.

March 2016 Dallas County Hailstorm

On March 23, 2016, a severe hailstorm swept through Dallas County. The storm caused significant damage to the roof, HVAC system, exterior, and interior of the commercial property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Landmark to cover the cost of repairs pursuant to the terms of its policy.

In response to the claim, Landmark assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. More specifically, Landmark assigned the plaintiff’s claim to Vericlaim, which in turn assigned the claim to an employee.

The employee performed a substandard inspection of the property and did not prepare an estimate or scope of damage or failed to provide them to the plaintiff. Additionally, the employee failed to hire qualified experts to appropriately assess the damage. Although the employee was provided meteorological data supporting the claim and date of loss, he deceptively ignored the data. The employee was also given physical proof and building history establishing the legitimacy of the cause and extent of the loss, but he refused to consider this evidence.

Verclaim and Landmark relied solely on the employee’s haphazard investigation to determine what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. Vericlaim and Landmark grossly underpaid and wrongly denied the plaintiff’s claim before even finishing a thorough investigation.

Because of Vericlaim and Landmark’s delays, denials, and underpayment, the plaintiff has been unable to make necessary repairs to the property, which has resulted in further damages, including additional interior and roof damage, among others.

Vericlaim and Landmark Violated the Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to implement reasonable standards for the investigation of a claim, and misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff.

Raizner Slania: Commercial Hailstorm Insurance Claim Lawyers

If your insurance carrier wrongfully denied a Texas hailstorm damage claim, you need an experienced team of insurance lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call the experienced hailstorm damage claim attorneys at Raizner Slania today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawyers

Louisiana Couple Files Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania filed a Bair Hugger staph infection lawsuit on behalf of a Louisiana couple against Arizant Healthcare and 3M Company after the husband suffered a severe infection.

In December 2015, the plaintiff underwent a right hip bipolar hemiarthroplasty in which the Bair Hugger was used throughout the scope of the procedure. However, the Bair Hugger device introduced contaminants into the plaintiff’s open surgical wound that caused him to develop a deep joint infection. The pathogen identified was staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly referred to as staph, is a common infection found in hospitals that can be difficult to treat, particularly in patients who have undergone joint replacement surgery. Although the body is capable of fighting off most bacteria, bacteria present on artificial joints do not trigger the body’s immune system response. This makes post-surgical infections very dangerous for patients with medical implants, and can cause them serious and life-threatening side effects.

As a result of the infection caused by the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff was forced to undergo multiple excisional debridements, an incision and drainage along with a single-stage removal surgery, long-term PICC line antibiotics, and was ultimately discharged to a rehabilitation facility for further treatment.

Not only has the plaintiff suffered physically from the infection, but he has also suffered economically with extensive medical bills. The Louisiana couple believes the device is defective in design in manufacture, and that 3M and Arizant failed to warn patients and doctors of its risks.

Why Do Hospitals Use The Bair Hugger?

The Bair Hugger is used to regulate body temperature during surgery. Without a device to regulate temperature, most patients would experience hypothermia during operations. By regulating body temperature, patients can reduce their bleeding risk and shorten hospital stays. Unfortunately, the design of the Bair Hugger sucks in contaminants from the operating room and disperses them over the patient, leading to dangerous infections.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawyers

If you sustained a staph infection after a joint replacement surgery, call the defective device lawyers at Raizner Slania today. We can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Concussion Awareness

Women’s sports concussion injuries and the NCAA concussion awareness gender gap

The Effect of Title IX on Women’s Sports

It has been 45 years since congress enacted Title IX, and women’s sports have seen tremendous growth in the interim. The primary example is women’s soccer; the total number of NCAA women’s soccer teams has exploded from just 80 teams in 1982 to a staggering 1,034 teams as of 2016. That translate to 27,358 women playing college soccer in 2016, compared with just 1,855 in 1982, and represents a roughly 1500% increase.

While Title IX was huge step forward for women athletes, there is still a major gap in concussion awareness between men’s football and women’s sports. This is most notable with women soccer players, who comprise one of the largest blocks of athletes behind men’s football and suffer concussions at virtually the same rate as football players.

Unintended Consequences of Title IX

While Title IX has provided important opportunities for women athletes, it’s hardly the universal equalizer that it has often been touted to represent, and the growth of women’s sports may have created some unintended consequences.

For example, prior to 1972, 90% of all head coaches for women’s athletics were women; today, that figure has fallen to just 43%. And despite the growth in women participants in NCAA sports, there is far less media attention placed on collegiate women’s sports. Today, women’s athletics receive only 2 to 4% of all sports coverage, despite making up over 40% of all sports participants. The statistics continue this trend even to women’s soccer, one of the fastest growing sports, with more total players than almost all men’s sports.

Some of the gaps associated with women’s sports are being addressed by a wide range of groups, from the Women’s Sports Foundation to the United Nations. What seems not to be addressed, however, is the lasting effects sports concussions can have on women.

For reasons ranging from a lack of media attention to an ever-increasing social stigma around mental health issues, women who have suffered concussions during college athletics have been left in the dark on the topic, and in some cases even encouraged to conceal the lasting physical and mental effects of their injuries.

Women & Men Athletes Suffer Concussion Injuries at the Same Rate

Concussions are equally prevalent in both men’s and women’s sports. Statistics published by the NCAA bear this out. The rate of concussion in college athletics put women’s soccer and ice hockey as two of the top five most frequently concussed sports, with concussion rates on par with men’s football.

After decades of clear, concerted effort by the NCAA to hide the impacts of concussions from student athletes, media attention and concussion injury lawsuits are finally bringing awareness. But most of the buzz has surrounded men’s football.

Per the NCAA’s own published data, football players sustain 6.7 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures (one athlete’s participation in one competition or practice) and despite the lack of awareness about concussion in women’s sports, NCAA’s own data shows that women’s soccer players suffer 6.3 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures, a rate nearly identical to their male football counterparts. Women’s ice hockey came in at an even higher rate of 7.5 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures.

As of 2016, there were 27,358 NCAA women’s soccer players and 2,289 women’s hockey players, compared to 73,660 NCAA football players. So, while there are about 40% as many women’s athletes in these high-concussion rate sports as there are men’s football players, sports such as women’s soccer get disproportionally less focus and attention.

The gap in concussion awareness and attention may come down to two main factors: social stigma and a lack of any particular group focusing on the issue. This gap seems somewhat unique to concussion injuries, as it stands in stark contrast to studies documenting that women tend to report injuries and seek treatment 33-50% more frequently than men.

Regardless of the explanation, one thing is clear: the NCAA’s decades long campaign to hide the lifelong impacts of concussions affects women athletes at virtually the same rate as it does men.

Closing The Concussion Awareness Gap

Raizner Slania represents women athletes who sustained concussion playing NCAA sports. If you or a loved one experienced brain trauma after suffering a head injury while playing for an NCAA regulated team, please contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania.

Our consultations are free and confidential, and we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless we help you obtain compensation.

NCAA Concussion Lawsuits

Raizner Slania Files Five NCAA Concussion Lawsuits On Behalf of College Football Players

Raizner Slania recently filed five lawsuits against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and several Division 1 universities and conferences on behalf of former student athletes suffering from the debilitating long-term effects of repeated concussions sustained during play. The cases involve student athletes from Weber State University, the University of Iowa, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Tulsa, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The plaintiff from Weber State University played as a defensive end from 1996 to 1997. Some of the concussions sustained during games were so severe that the plaintiff often could not remember the games or injuries he had suffered. As a result, he now suffers from severe anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches, neurological disorders, memory loss, mood swings, and other debilitating issues. In addition, his medical team has diagnosed him with major depressive disorder, major neurocognitive disorder, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE.
In the case from the former University of Iowa football player, the plaintiff played for the university from 1986 through 1988 as a wide receiver. The plaintiff suffered from a number of concussions during his time playing for the university, and in one instance, he was hit so hard he was knocked unconscious. However, he was quickly returned to the same game without receiving the appropriate medical treatment. He now suffers from serious cognitive issues, including impaired memory, attention, processing speed, and other debilitating issues. Additionally, he was recently diagnosed with neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, depressive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, and his medical team believes he most probably suffers from CTE.

The plaintiff from West Point played for the university as a running back from 1995 to 1998. The plaintiff recalls suffering a number of concussive and sub-concussive hits while playing football for West Point, including suffering from at least 17 concussions during games. The hits he sustained were so severe that he often saw stars and experienced blurry vision and would even become disoriented after. On multiple occasions, he was hit so hard that he had lost consciousness. Additionally, these hits caused him to experience headaches during practices and games that would last long after play. One concussion even caused the plaintiff to experience post-traumatic amnesia. The plaintiff now suffer from severe headaches, memory loss, anxiety, depression, seizures, and other issues. He was diagnosed with severe postconcussive syndrome with neurological deficit and profound left 6th nerve palsy. Ultimately, he was forced to leave school due to concussion injuries he sustained playing football.

The plaintiff who played for the University of Tulsa was a safety, linebacker and played on special teams from 2006 to 2009. He suffered many concussive hits during his time and some of the hits were so severe, that he often experienced headaches during practices and games that would last long after play. In 2008, the plaintiff was hit so hard during a game that he lost consciousness. Given the severity of the impact and his state of unconsciousness, he had to be removed from the game. He was later evaluated by a physician and told that he had, in addition to this significant concussive event, previously suffered many concussive and sub-concussive hits that went undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, the plaintiff was instructed to stop playing football. The plaintiff now suffers from headaches, memory loss, mood swings, and has severe cognitive deficits as a consequence of his concussions.

In the case of the former University of Louisiana at Lafayette student-athlete, the plaintiff played for the university as a tight-end from 1995-1998. The plaintiff recalls suffering from numerous concussions during practices and games. As a result of his time playing college football, the plaintiff suffers from headaches, memory loss, trouble sleeping and mood swings. He has also been diagnosed with brain legions, likely caused by his years playing football. His doctors have concluded that he likely suffers from CTE.

For decades, the NCAA has known about the long-term dangers of concussions and concussion-related injuries. Despite this, the NCAA failed to implement reasonable concussion safety protocols and actively concealed the dangers of concussions from student-athletes.

Repeated impacts to the head greatly increase an athlete’s risk of developing long-term brain injuries like anxiety, memory loss, dementia, depression, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and severe cognitive and neurological deficits, among others.

Unfortunately for student athletes, many of the long-term side effects of concussions do not begin to manifest for years after they have played their last game. Additionally, most concussion-related brain damage is permanent and degenerative, meaning student athletes can do nothing to reverse or stop its progression.

The NCAA currently governs over 400,000 student athletes around the country playing 23 different sports. The institution has a duty to protect student athletes from dangers both on and off the field. Unfortunately, the NCAA’s inaction and concealment of the dangers of concussions created an epidemic that has harmed many college athletes. Despite gaining financially from its football players, the NCAA did little to protect them from the long-term consequences of concussions.

Raizner Slania Can Help Former College Athletes Who Suffered Concussions

Many former college football players were told to “shake it off” after receiving concussions, but this attitude deprived players of the medical treatment necessary to mitigate, monitor, and manage the long-term side effects of concussions.

The experienced trial attorneys at Raizner Slania can help former college football players and other athletes suffering from the long-term effects of concussions and sub-concussive hits sustained during practices and games. We offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options and we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.