Month: July 2017

Harris County Hail Damage Insurance Lawyers

Local Apartment Complex Owner Files Hail Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a hail damage insurance lawsuit on behalf of local apartment complex owners against AmRisc, LLC, Certain Underwriters of Lloyd’s, London, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, QBE Specialty Insurance Company, Steadfast Insurance Company, General Security Indemnity Company of Arizona, United Specialty Insurance Company, Lexington Insurance Company, Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Company, International Insurance Company of Hannover, and Vericlaim, Inc.

January 2016 Harris County Wind and Hailstorm

On January 28, 2016, a severe wind and hailstorm swept through Harris County, causing substantial damage to the local apartment complexes. As a result, the exteriors, roofs, building interiors, HVAC units, and other structures of the properties were damaged. Immediately upon discovering the damages, the plaintiffs filed insurance claims under their policy with various carriers to cover the cost of repairs.

Underwriters of Lloyd’s, Indian Harbor, QBE, Steadfast, General Security Indemnity, United Specialty Insurance, Lexington, Princeton and the International Insurance Company of Hannover were the carriers on the policy. AmRisc was the program manager and it packaged a number of similar properties into the substandard insurance program at issue in the case. In response to the claim, the carriers assigned the claim to Vericlaim, who in turn assigned the claim to an internal adjuster.

Vericlaim and its internal adjuster conducted an unreasonable and inadequate investigation and denied any wind and hail damage to the roofs, windows, HVAC units, interior, and other structures of the properties. Additionally, they also grossly undervalued what damage they did accept. Specifically, the internal adjuster ignored or rejected facts, physical indicators, photos, and historical building reports confirming reasonably clear coverage for the wind and hail damage to the properties.

The internal adjuster assigned unqualified and biased consultants to the claim and failed to do his own investigation of damages to the properties. The carriers relied on Vericlaim’s incomplete and inadequate investigation to determine what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result, no payments have been issued under the policy.

The Carriers Acted In Bad Faith

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to adopt reasonable standards for a claim, and failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of claim.

Surplus Lines Insurers

In the Texas commercial insurance market, an increasing number of policies come from surplus lines insurers. Surplus lines insurers are typically really just a front – file drawer entity – and most or all of the true insurance risk is ceded to unauthorized foreign reinsurers that are neither licensed in the state nor legally authorized to conduct the business of insurance in the state. With very few regulations and very little oversight, these surplus lines insurers operate in a gray area of the market and often use bad faith insurance tactics to avoid costly payouts.

Harris County Hail Damage Insurance Lawyers

Raizner Slania is experienced in fighting insurance companies and surplus lines insurers who operate in bad faith. We handle all commercial hail damage insurance litigation on a contingency fee basis, so you owe us nothing unless we help you recover financial damages. If your commercial hail damage insurance claim has been denied, delayed, or underpaid, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

Georgia Couple Files Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a Bair Hugger staph infection lawsuit against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare on behalf of a Georgia couple after the husband suffered a severe infection from the device. The couple alleges 3M and Arizant failed to warn them that their Bair Hugger warming blanket presents a serious increased risk of infections for patients.

In July 2012, the plaintiff underwent surgery in which the Bair Hugger was used during the course and scope of his right total knee revision surgery. As a direct result of using the Bair Hugger device, contaminants were introduced into the plaintiff’s open surgical wound. These contaminants caused him to develop a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), also known as a deep joint infection (DJI). The pathogens identified were staphylococcus aureus and gram positive cocci.

Staphylococcus aureus or S. aureus is a rod-shaped bacterium commonly present on the skin or in the nose. However, when this bacterium travels into the body via open wounds, it can cause severe and life-threatening complications. If left untreated, S. aureus can cause pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome, and blood poisoning, among other severe medical complications.

Infections on artificial joints can be extremely difficult to treat. While the presence of bacteria usually triggers the body’s immune system response, the immune system cannot detect bacteria present on an artificial joint.

As a result of the infection caused by the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff was forced to undergo extensive medical treatment including irrigation and debridement with hardware exchange, aspiration, and long-term antibiotics.

The Georgia couple believes 3M and Arizant were grossly negligent by failing to warn patients and doctors of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger and that the device is defective in its design and manufacture. Finally, the couple also asserts the companies committed consumer fraud and/or unfair and deceptive trade practices under Georgia state law.

Raizner Slania: Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

If you or someone you love suffered an infection after a joint repair or replacement surgery within the last five years, you may be eligible to file a claim. The experienced medical device lawyers at Raizner Slania can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Nueces County Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers

Hotel Owners File Bad Faith Hail Damage Insurance Claim

Raizner Slania has filed bad faith hail damage insurance claims on behalf of two local hotel owners against Lexington Insurance Company and York Risk Services Group, Inc. after their hail damage claims were wrongfully denied.

March 2016 Hailstorm

On March 19, 2016, a severe wind and hail storm swept through Nueces County, Texas, causing significant damage to the roof, windows, exterior, and interior of the properties. Upon discovering the damages, the plaintiff immediately filed a commercial hail damage insurance claim with Lexington and asked that the cost of the repairs be covered pursuant to its policy.

In response to the claim, Lexington assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequately and improperly trained. Specifically, Lexington assigned the claim to York Risk Services, who in turn assigned the claim to an employee.

York and the employee failed to perform a thorough investigation of the damages. After visiting the properties, the employee did not prepare any estimates or scopes of damages and/or failed to provide them to the plaintiff. In addition, the employee failed to hire any qualified experts to inspect the damage and failed to communicate with the insured throughout the claims process.

Lexington relied solely on York and its employee’s substandard investigation to determine what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result of the employee’s inadequate, incomplete, and unreasonable investigation, Lexington wrongfully denied and grossly underpaid the plaintiff’s claim.

Lexington wrongly represented the damages were not covered under the policy, when in fact they were; and, Lexington continues to deny timely payment to cover the property damage. Lexington’s refusal to pay has caused the plaintiff to suffer significant economic impact, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damages. The plaintiff has been unable to make the necessary repairs to the properties, causing additional damage to the interiors, roofs, and other parts of the properties.

Lexington Violated The Texas Insurance Code

The plaintiff cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to plaintiff.

Nueces County Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers

If your insurance company wrongfully denied, delayed, or underpaid your commercial hail damage insurance claim, the experienced Nueces County bad faith insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania can help. Call us today to learn your legal options.

MRSA Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

Raizner Slania Files MRSA Infection Lawsuit On Behalf of Texas Couple

Raizner Slania has filed a MRSA infection lawsuit on behalf of a Texas couple against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare for an infection caused by their Bair Hugger warming blanket.

In October 2015, the husband underwent a revision right total hip arthroplasty in which the Bair Hugger was used throughout the scope of the procedure. The Bair Hugger regulates a patient’s body temperature by dispersing air through holes in a blanket draped over the patient. While regulating body temperature can help reduce bleeding risks, the device also introduces contaminants into patients’ open surgical wounds. As a direct result of using the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff developed a deep joint infection. The pathogen identified was Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

MRSA is often referred to as a “super bug” because it is resistant to antibiotics normally used to treat infections. MRSA is a form of the common staph infection that is incredibly difficult to treat, particularly in joint replacement patients. MRSA can cause a variety of dangerous and life-threatening complications like sepsis, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections, among others. In some cases, amputation of the entire limb is the only way to treat a MRSA infection.

As a result of the MRSA infection, the plaintiff was forced to undergo multiple extensive irrigation and debridements with arthrotomy, multiple placements and removals of wound vacs and irrigating wound vacs, long-term PICC line antibiotics, long-term oral antibiotics, and required an additional washout and delayed primary closure.

Not only did the MRSA infection cause the plaintiff pain and suffering, but the required medical treatments left the couple with extensive medical bills. The couple believes 3M and Arizant failed to warn them of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger and that the device is defective.

MRSA Infection Lawsuit Attorneys

If you or someone you love suffered an infection after hip or knee replacement surgery within the last five years, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Call the experienced defective medical device attorneys at Raizner Slania today to learn more about your legal options. We offer free consultations and you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover financially.

Odessa Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers

Odessa Hailstorm Rocks Businesses and Property Owners

Odessa, Texas is no stranger to hailstorms, but the storm that swept through the city on June 14, 2017 was something residents and business owners were not prepared for. Winds during the storm were reported to be between 60 and 70 miles per hour while hail the size of baseballs pelted the city.

Widespread Damage

Although the storm lasted for only half an hour, the damage to the city was catastrophic. The storm swept through Ector County and parts of Midland County, causing significant damage to businesses in the path of the storm. Many buildings suffered roof damage and broken windows, including the Second Baptist Church where an entire side of the church suffered broken windows. However, hail can also cause severe damage to anything exposed like HVAC systems, equipment, and siding among other things.

In total, the damage is estimated to cost $480 million in repairs, making this the most costly storm in Odessa in decades. However, business owners can be surprised to learn that the total damages include more than just the cost of repairs. Business owners can suffer addition damage to their property while waiting for repairs. Roofs that become damaged in a hail storm can leak when it rains and businesses can be forced to close their doors until repairs are complete causing them to lose revenue. Owners of retail centers and apartment complexes can lose tenants, either temporarily or permanently, and this type of lost income can give rise to significant business interruption claims.

Many buildings like hotels, retail buildings, office buildings, and apartments were all damaged in the storm, and business owners may soon see out of state contractors and roofers descend on Odessa with offers to complete repairs. Property owners should always be wary of out state contractors who chase storms like the one that hit Odessa. These contractors often over promise and under deliver. Before hiring any contractor, public adjuster, or attorney, policyholders should ask questions and do their research. There is a lot at stake with a commercial insurance claim, so only qualified professionals should be retained to help your claim.

What Does This Means For Property Owners?

Anytime there is a natural event that causes widespread damage, business owners can face unique challenges regarding their property insurance claims. Events like last month’s Odessa hailstorm present massive losses to insurance companies, and some may respond by using bad faith tactics to limit payouts.

Insurance companies might try to claim that the hail damage is “normal wear and tear” or falsely claim some or all of the damage existed before the storm. These tactics are often unfair and unfounded, and are frequently touted by fraudulent engineers and other insurance industry professions whose goal is to help insurance companies reduce or complete deny payouts. If it doesn’t sound right, it may not be, and property owners would be wise to seek an independent, second opinion from a qualified contractor or public adjuster of their choice prior to accepting an insurance denial or reduced claim payment.

Under the Texas Insurance Code, policyholders have the right to have their insurance claims be investigated promptly and fairly. Policyholders must also be provided with a reasonable explanation if their claim is denied.

Unfortunately, recent legislation will make it more difficult for business owners to pursue these types of claims. This means property owners need to hire experienced and qualified legal counsel to successfully navigate a bad faith insurance claim. With the help of an experienced lawyer, policyholders can fight back against claims that are not properly investigated or claims that are delayed, underpaid, or wrongfully denied.

Odessa Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers

At Raizner Slania, our lawyers know the tactics insurance companies use to avoid payouts. Our Texas bad faith insurance lawyers have earned nationwide recognition for helping policyholders fight for and win their rightful claims against insurance companies operating in bad faith. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Bair Hugger MSSA Infection Lawsuit

Ohio Woman Files Bair Hugger MSSA Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a Bair Hugger MSSA infection lawsuit on behalf of an Ohio woman against device manufacturers 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare. The woman alleges the companies failed to warn her of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger device.

In July 2015, the plaintiff underwent bilateral total knee arthroplasties in which the Bair Hugger device was used throughout the scope of her procedure. As a direct result of the Bair Hugger device, contaminants were introduced into her open surgical wound that resulted in her developing a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), also known as a deep joint infection (DJI). The pathogen was identified as methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus or MSSA.

MSSA is a form of the common staph infection. While staph bacteria are commonly found on the skin, they can cause life-threatening infections once inside the body. Even worse, MSSA infections in an artificial joint can be even more severe. While the presence of bacteria normally triggers the immune system’s response, bacteria present on an artificial joint do not. This means an MSSA infection on a joint can develop undetected.

As a result of the infection, the plaintiff was forced to undergo extensive medical treatment, including multiple irrigation and debridements with hardware exchanges, aspirations, wound vac application, and long-term antibiotics. Not only has the plaintiff suffered physically from the infection, but she has also suffered economically due to her extensive medical bills.

The plaintiff alleges the Bair Hugger device is defective in both design and manufacture and that 3M and Arizant were grossly negligent and breached their duties of express warranty. Additionally, the plaintiff also alleges the companies committed consumer fraud and/or unfair and deceptive trade practices under Ohio law.

Bair Hugger MSSA Infection Lawyers

People who have suffered an infection after a hip or knee joint surgery within the last five years may be able to hold the manufacturers of the Bair Hugger responsible. The Bair Hugger MSSA infection lawyers at Raizner Slania can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.