Month: May 2015

Hailstorm Claims

When an Insurance Company Denies Your Hailstorm Claim

Hailstorms are a fact of life in Texas; we’re famous for them. Because they can be triggered by or associated with strong thunderstorms, hurricanes, or tornadoes, and all of those are common in Texas, we have to deal with a lot of rough weather conditions. Perilous weather often pops up quickly and is difficult to impossible to predict, so it’s almost out of the question to prepare for one.

Most Texans carry insurance policies designed to protect them from the unpredictable events in life, and whenever a hailstorm causes significant damage to property, including homes, businesses, churches, schools and just about any type of building, the people affected depend on their insurance company to make things right. Unfortunately, too often policyholders quickly find themselves disappointed when the insurance company objects to or denies a claim, delays or denies a claim, underpays a claim, or even cancels their customer’s coverage after many years of loyal payment of premiums.

Insurance Company Tactics To Avoid Paying Claims

It’s quite common for insurance adjusters and other representatives of insurance companies to dispute how much hailstorm claim coverage a person actually has, the amount of property damage that was actually incurred due to the hail, and even whether hail caused the damage. Policyholders can easily find themselves out of their league when it comes to getting the compensation they’re due.

Often, insurance companies will inundate claimants with complex coverage claim forms or disputes that are written in complicated, hard-to-understand language. Other times, they’ll operate in bad faith when dealing with claims, or they’ll make a really low-ball offer that they hope the policyholder will take just to make it all go away. A number of people also believe they have no choice but to accept the insurance company’s offer, and the insurance company’s version of what happened, which is simply not true.

Quite often, the property damage done by a hailstorm to your home or business has a profound effect on your life and your ability to make a living, and the longer the damage stays unrepaired, the worse things will get. If any of your property has been damaged by a hailstorm and you have been unfairly denied the property insurance benefits that you have paid for, often for many years, you need to understand your legal rights as a policyholder, and your only recourse may be to file suit against the insurance company.

Raizner Slania Texas Hailstorm Insurance Lawyers

The hailstorm damage lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP have successfully represented many people and businesses against insurance companies that are acting unfairly. Our insurance team has been able to hold very large, very powerful insurers accountable for improper claim processing, so if you feel your claim has been denied unfairly, please contact Raizner Slania today.


Xarelto Litigation Update

As most people who read this blog by now know, all federal Xarelto litigation lawsuits were consolidated into one court in the Eastern District of Louisiana in December 2014, and one judge, The Honorable Eldon E. Fallon, was appointed to oversee the proceedings. The purpose of putting all of the litigation into one pot, so to speak, is to make everything proceed more efficiently and to reduce the amount of redundancy when it comes to fact gathering and document filing.

Science Day is Coming in the Xarelto Litigation

As part of his attempt to move the cases forward, Judge Fallon has ordered a “Science Day,” a hearing that is unique to pharmaceutical litigation, which will take place June 11, 2015. During this hearing, both sides will present overviews of their positions regarding the medical and scientific facts related to Xarelto. Additionally, they will also discuss the results of the studies conducted to date, what they mean for patients, and address any other scientific evidence available to support or deny any claims made by plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs seeking compensation from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, who manufacture Xarelto, claim that taking the drug resulted in serious side effects including uncontrolled bleeding and blood-related conditions such as pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis, strokes, and even heart attacks.

Plaintiffs also claim drug manufacturers failed to do enough to warn doctors and patients of the risks associated with Xarelto, and that those companies should have undertaken more research and conducted a greater number of clinical trials before putting the drug on the market. Often, a “Science Day” hearing will include the presentation of studies and the expert testimony of many witnesses, including researchers and physicians, supporting both sides’ arguments, and this one should be no different.

Xarelto Basics

The FDA approved Xarelto, considered a “newer-generation” blood thinner, in July 2011 as a treatment to reduce the risk of blood clots, especially for those patients undergoing hip- or knee-replacement surgery, but they later expanded its approved uses. The drug was heavily advertised as a better alternative to warfarin, the leading oral anticoagulant, because dosing could be more easily adjusted and no blood monitoring or dietary restrictions were required.

However, in 2013 the FDA wrote the manufacturers, accusing them of making false and misleading claims and minimizing the risks of Xarelto. Later that year, the number of reported cases of medical problems associated with the drug skyrocketed. Despite this, the manufacturers refused to change the written warnings about Xarelto, and continued to downplay its potential side effects.

If you or a loved one have experienced a serious or fatal bleeding event while taking the drug Xarelto, please contact the experienced Drug Litigation Attorneys at Raizner Slania immediately to discuss the specifics of your case and preserve your legal rights.

College Sports Injuries

College Athletes and Loss of Value Insurance

When talented college athletes get ready to consider entering professional sports leagues, their most valuable asset is often their own body. Just as celebrities like Jennifer Lopez insure their valuable physical assets, athletes often insure themselves against injury as well.

A recent New York Times article highlights the limitations and pitfalls that can be associated with loss of value insurance policies for college athletes. These policies are designed to pay likely future earnings that are lost after a player is injured and then falls significantly in their draft position due to that injury.

What Is Loss Of Value Insurance?

Loss-of-value insurance is not a new concept; these policies have been available to college athletes, but the athletes generally paid the premiums themselves. A new trend has emerged where colleges pay the premiums for their star athletes out of student assistance funds to keep them playing on their college teams even if they become eligible for professional play. Loss-of-value insurance is created specifically to protect elite athletes from lost wages, and is purchased as a rider to total disability insurance. The premiums can be quite substantial considering the potential earnings that are at stake are in the millions of dollars. Earlier this year, the NCAA instituted a new rule permitting student athletes to take out loans collateralized by their future earnings in order to purchase loss-of-value insurance.

What If An Athlete Gets Injured?

If a college athlete is eligible to leave early and move on to professional sports and big money, but they decide to stay in college anyway, loss-of-value insurance should protect against losses from an extra year out of professional sports. However, if the insured is injured during his college career, that would seemingly decrease his potential future professional sports earnings.

Like many other types of insurance, the devil is in the details. If a player’s “value” declines because of poor performance, a player is not protected by their policy. And even if the player’s draft position falls due to an injury, the change in draft position typically must be precipitous before the loss-of-value policy will be triggered. Even more troubling is the fact that no college player is yet known to have recovered under this type of policy. Student athletes need to be informed about what could really happen to them if they choose to stay in school over going pro.

Raizner Slania Insurance Lawyers

With athletic or celebrity loss of value insurance claims, the pivotal determination is how much loss of income is due to the injury and how much might be due to other factors – like poor performance – that are not part of the coverage.

If you are delayed, denied, or underpaid on a loss of value insurance policy, you can call upon the significant experience of Raizner Slania for assistance. We have experience working with college athletes in a variety of legal matters, including college sports concussion litigation, and we are able to review your insurance issues free of charge.