Month: January 2019

Arlington Insurance Lawyers

Arlington, Texas Hotel Owner Files Hail Damage Claim Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a hail damage claim lawsuit on behalf of an Arlington, Texas hotel owner against Zurich American Insurance Company after its hail damage claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Our client operates a four-story hotel located on 54,537 square feet of land with 45,340 square feet of interior space. In May 2016, our Texas hotel owner client discovered extensive hail damage to the property from a hail storm that swept through Arlington. Substantial portions of the property’s roof, windows, and interiors sustained damage. The plaintiff promptly filed a claim with Zurich, alerting them to the extensive damages and asking that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

Zurich’s retained adjuster performed a cursory investigation of the property in April 2017 and prepared an estimate for payment to the plaintiff. The adjuster documented a minimal amount of damage, and then issued an underpayment based on its own faulty estimates.

In part, due to the significant underpayment, in July 2017, the plaintiff engaged a public adjuster to represent its interests. It was only after the plaintiff notified Zurich that it had hired a public adjuster that Zurich retained also a third-party company to perform an investigation of the property. The third-party determined the damages were the result of “long-term deterioration of the seals,” and recommended an additional, sub-standard payment.

Zurich’s claims-handling process omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious damages, and meteorological data supporting the plaintiff’s claim. Zurich unreasonably determined the damage “was the result of long-term deterioration,” ignoring significant evidence to the contrary. The third-party report simply rubber-stamped the underpayment Zurich previously authorized.

Zurich Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges Zurich violated numerous aspects of the Texas Insurance Code, including failing to attempt to effectuate the prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of the claim, and misrepresentation of the policy under which it affords coverage to the plaintiff.

Arlington Insurance Lawyers

Policyholders deserve full protection under their policies. Many insurance companies prey upon uninformed policyholders unaware of their legal rights. If your insurance company is denying your claim or misrepresenting the terms of your policy, contact the Arlington insurance lawyers at Raizner Law today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

concussions

NFL Sees Fewer Concussions In 2018, But The Damage Is Already Done

Concussions have been plaguing the sport of football for decades. The concussive and sub-concussive hits sustained during play have given players long-term neurological conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, among many others. It took years for the NFL to implement concussion management protocols that could lessen the effects of concussions, but once the league did so, the number of concussions finally decreased. Unfortunately, these concussion protocols come too late for hundreds of former athletes.

The NFL reported a 24% decrease in concussions in the 2018 season versus the previous year. In 2017, the league reported 281 concussions, but that number was reduced to 214 in 2018. On average, an NFL team could expect one concussion out of every four games. While this will certainly help mitigate the long-term effects of concussions for current football players, it comes far too late for many.

In 2017, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led by researchers from Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System found 99% of former NFL football players had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated impacts to the head. The study was the largest to investigate the link between brain trauma sustained as the result of playing football and CTE, with researchers examining at the brains of over 202 deceased football players.

NFL players aren’t the only athletes suffering from the long-term effects of concussions, however. The study also looked at the brains of former college football players and determined 91% had CTE. Collegiate football players later diagnosed with CTE and other sports related concussion injuries don’t receive the compensation that professional players do, which means when they begin to suffer serious side effects from concussions, many don’t have the financial means to receive the same level of care as their professional counterparts.

While there is currently no cure for brain damage caused by repeated impacts to the head, former collegiate football players can hold the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) responsible for failing to implement proper concussion mitigation protocols. Raizner Law is currently representing former NCAA football players in a lawsuit against the NCAA, certain universities, and athletic conferences for putting profits before players.

Contact Raizner Law Today For Help

Our experienced trial attorneys provide free consultations to former NCAA college football players. We can explain your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf. If you choose to work with us, there is no upfront cost and you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover financial compensation. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Hurricane Damage Insurance Lawyers

New Bill Seeks To Investigate How Federal Government Failed Puerto Rico

Over a year has passed since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, but the island is far from achieving a complete recovery. Puerto Rico’s slow recovery has been surprising to many; and, now lawmakers will formally investigate the exact cause of the island’s slow-paced recovery process.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has reintroduced a bill that would establish a third-party investigation into the actions and response of the federal government after Hurricane Maria. Specifically, lawmakers want to know why the government’s estimated death toll is so far below other estimates, why there was a lack of disaster preparedness, and how the telecommunication system became so inadequate. The investigation would also look into other matters that slowed down Puerto Rico’s emergency response.

Considering the disparity between the government’s estimated death toll and the death toll estimated by independent researchers at George Washington University commissioned by the Puerto Rico government, there appears to be much to sort out. Researchers at George Washington University conservatively estimated that as many as 3,000 Puerto Ricans died in Hurricane Maria and her aftermath, but President Trump has refused to acknowledge this as an accurate death toll and has stated he believed it was a conspiracy created by the Democratic Party.

The investigation would also look into how ten trailers filled with supplies for Puerto Rico were left to rot at a state elections office. The supplies were discovered months after the storm and were deeply needed by victims.

Slow Recovery For Puerto Rico

While the government’s actions or inactions play a huge part in Puerto Rico’s recovery, it is only one part of the puzzle. Insurance companies in Puerto Rico have been slow to process and pay out on property insurance claims, meaning Puerto Rican business owners have been forced to pay for repairs themselves, or worse, close their doors. The Puerto Rico Commissioner of Insurance has already levied millions of dollars in fines against the insurance industry, but that has done little to encourage them to process claims.

Helping Hurricane Maria Victims

The experienced lawyers at Raizner Law understand that Hurricane Maria victims are still struggling. We are representing condominium associations, business owners and real estate investors in delayed and disputed insurance claims in Puerto Rico. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your options and see how we can help.

Concussion Lawsuit Attorney

How Insurance Changes Could Alter The Sport Of Football

For years, organizations such as the National Football League (NFL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have been subject to lawsuits filed by players as a result of concussion injuries sustained during play. For decades, studies have linked the concussive and sub-concussive hits sustained while playing football to long-term injuries. The NCAA and NFL concussion lawsuits seek to hold the organizations responsible for not taking proper precautions and failing to warn players. The lawsuits are also affecting the insurance market; and, recent changes could dramatically impact the prevalence of the sport.

According to multiple sources, the NFL no longer has general liability insurance that covers head trauma. Additionally, there is only one insurance company willing to provide workers compensation coverage for the NFL. But the scarcity of insurance isn’t just hurting teams. Football helmet manufacturers are also struggling to find insurance companies that will issue policies without exclusions for brain injuries.

Jon Butler, the executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars has said, “People say football will never go away, but if we can’t get insurance, it will.” Pop Warner is a non-profit organization that provides afterschool football programs to kids from five to sixteen years old. Dr. Julian Bailes, Pop Warner’s medical director and a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, also warned, “insurance coverage is arguably the biggest threat to the sport.”

How Does Insurance Affect Football?

Like any endeavor that involves risk, organized sports need insurance. Injuries are highly likely, if not a large part of the game, so organizations need insurance to cover the cost of lawsuits that arise out of injuries sustained during play. With hundreds of lawsuits filed around the country against the NFL, the NCAA, and other sports organizations, offering insurance policies just isn’t worth the risk anymore. This means the organizations themselves would be on the hook for damages awarded in any lawsuits, but they are unable to cover those costs themselves. Without insurance policies available, some sports organizations have had to stop offering football.

Lawsuits against football teams and organizations are arising because these organizations were responsible for the health and wellbeing of their players. Football players were not warned that the hits they sustained during play could cause them to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, among other neurological conditions. For years, instead of implementing concussion protocols that could have protected players, these organizations told players to “shake it off,” an action that has now cost players dearly.

Concussion Lawsuit Attorney

The experienced trial lawyers at Raizner Law are representing former college football players in concussion lawsuits against the NCAA. If you or someone you love played for an NCAA regulated football team prior to 2010, you may be able to file a lawsuit to hold the NCAA accountable. Contact us today to learn your legal options.

Effects of Concussions

Former University of Iowa Football Player Describes Degenerative Effects of Concussions

Football has been one of America’s favorite sports for decades. Many young boys have eagerly played the game with hopes of playing at the collegiate or professional level. Unfortunately, players are now learning the concussions they sustained during play lead to long-term health consequences. Hundreds of former collegiate football players are suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for failing to protect them from concussions while playing. One such player is Marc Mazzeri who is a former University of Iowa football player.

Mr. Mazzeri played for the University of Iowa in the 1980s as a receiver and as a special teams “gunner.” Gunners are responsible for tackling the opposing team’s punter, which made it a particularly violent position. Mr. Mazzeri suffered many instances of “seeing stars,” and regularly received headaches from playing football but continued to play for fear of losing his spot on the practice squad. Mr. Mazzeri specifically remembers blacking out several times after hard hits he received in games. In these instances, he couldn’t remember what happened later, and in one instance, he woke up with vertigo and was unable to look up. While Mr. Mazzeri did see a neurologist for his symptoms, he still played for the university the following week.

When Mr. Mazzeri graduated in 1988, the damage was already done. His behavior had changed. He was often aggressive and irritable and suffered from pain in his neck, head, and shoulders. After years working in executive security, Mr. Mazzeri’s once impeccable memory was fading. A neurologist eventually tested him because the doctor believed his memory loss was consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is a degenerative neurological condition similar to dementia that has been associated with football players. Concussions sustained while playing football cause brain cells to die. When a brain cell dies, it releases a protein that can cause further cell death. This protein can build up and eventually lead to enough cell death to cause serious neurological impairment. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the development of CTE.

The NCAA is responsible for safeguarding the health and wellbeing of student athletes. Even though the NCAA has known for decades that the concussions sustained while playing football can cause long-term damage, the organization failed to warn players or implement any concussion protocols to mitigate the effects until 2010. The NCAA had no right to profit off of collegiate football players at the expensive of their health.

Raizner Law Is Representing Former Collegiate Football Players

If you are a former collegiate football player, Raizner law can explain your legal options and hold the NCAA accountable for the injuries you suffered. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Aetna

Trump Administration May Use Hurricane Harvey Recovery Funds To Build Border Wall

As President Donald Trump considers declaring a state of national emergency in order to build the border wall, certain organizations have been asked to prepare for this scenario. The White House has told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to examine its budget and determine what funds can be redirected from its emergency fund. This emergency fund is comprised of $13.8 billion dollars that has been set aside to fund over 50 disaster relief projects in California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Large portions of this fund are designated to aid Texans suffering from damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and Puerto Ricans suffering from damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

Although it has been a year since both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria made landfall, neither Texas nor Puerto Rico has reached a full recovery. Both storms caused billions of dollars in damage and millions more will be needed to undertake flood-control projects to prevent catastrophic flooding from recurring. Specifically in Houston, flood-control projects aim to widen and deepen Clear Creek, Hunting Bayou, Brays Bayou, and White Oak Bayou.

Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria are struggling enough with rebuilding. The use of their designated emergency funds on anything other than hurricane recovery would be a serious blow. Insurance companies have been both extremely slow to process and pay out on hurricane property damage claims and utilizing bad faith tactics to deny valid claims. The Puerto Rico Commissioner of Insurance has already levied millions of dollars in fines against insurance companies for their inaction, but policyholders are still reporting outstanding claims and wrongful denials.

Although President Trump has stated he does not plan on declaring a state of emergency in the next few days, the option to do so still looms overhead for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria victims. A major loss in funding could bring an already slow recovery to a screeching halt.

Representing Hurricane Victims

There are many challenges facing hurricane victims. Raizner Law is proudly representing both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria victims in a variety of lawsuits to get the compensation they deserve and need to rebuild. If you suffered property damage during a hurricane, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.