Marisa Schouten Successfully Defends Client at Texas Supreme Court

Marisa Schouten Successfully defends client at Texas Supreme Court

Texas Supreme Court
Are all accidents that happen on a hospital’s property subject to the strict laws meant to protect hospitals and doctors from frivolous healthcare liability lawsuits? That was the question decided by the Texas Supreme Court last Friday. The case before the high court involved hospital visitor Louisa Reddic who was represented by Martin Walker Law’s Marisa Schouten. Reddic was injured when she slipped on a floor mat located in an East Texas hospital’s front entryway.
Previously, in the lower Twelfth Court of Appeals, the hospital had successfully argued that Reddic would need to file an expert report, claiming that her injury represented a healthcare liability suit. The Texas Supreme Court disagreed. In a per curiam opinion, the high court ruled that Reddic’s suit should not be subject to the stricter laws, noting that Reddic was not injured in an area of the hospital where patients sought or received medical treatment.
Before this important reversal, trial lawyers and judges “were assuming the worst, that any action occurring on a hospital premises was de facto a medial malpractice case,” Schouten noted, explaining that many similar cases had been dismissed since a previous 2012 Texas Supreme Court Ruling.
“We are pleased with the court’s opinion,” Schouten said. “I’m glad to see the Supreme Court is drawing some clear lines for practitioners.”
For a more in-depth look at this case see Law 360’s coverage of the issues.


Why Volkswagen's Cheating May Come Back To Haunt You

Why Volkswagen's Cheating May Come Back To Haunt You

vwjetta
On September 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency made a stunning announcement that may be the downfall of one of the world’s biggest automakers, and, more importantly, may eventually hit you in the pocket book and even affect your health. The E.P.A. concluded that almost 500,000 Volkswagen diesels sold in the United States between 2009 and 2015 would have to be recalled and fixed after it was found that the car maker had developed special engine software designed to let its cars cheat their way past mandatory U.S. emissions testing. When one of the affected cars was put through the usual test it would reduce its engine’s power and change the way it dealt with engine exhaust thus allowing it to meet the required standards.  But, out on the open road, away from the controlled environments of testing labs, cars with these Volkswagen diesel engines would, and do, put out 40x more pollutants. Already, Volkswagen faces the challenge of an expensive U.S. recall, and potentially billions of dollars in U.S. fines, but that may only be the tip of the iceberg. The car company sold 11 million such cheating cars worldwide and you can be sure Europe, among others, will have something to say to the German automaker soon.
What does this mean for you? Two things:

  1. Your VW may soon be worth a lot less. If you bought a diesel powered Jetta, Golf, Beetle, Passat, or Audi A3 any time between the 2009 and 2015 model years your car may be subject to the upcoming recall. The problem is, VW doesn’t yet know how exactly it will fix the affected cars. When they run normally they put out unacceptable levels of pollution, but if they run in the cleaner cheating mode their engines operate at lower power levels and in ways that some say may actually cause engine damage over the longer term. End result? There may not be an easy fix, and what fix is possible might result in cars that don’t perform as well as they used to. Some speculate that the resell values of VW diesels may drop off a cliff because of this scandal. After all, who wants to buy a used car that either pollutes too much or has too little power?
  2. Exhaust from your VW may be more harmful than you realized. One of the main things the affected VW engines did while cheating was drastically reduce the amount of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) released into the air. During normal everyday use one of these cars puts out up to 40 times more NOx than allowed by the clean air act. NOx is known to be a contributor to climate change and ozone layer destruction and is a hazardous gas that can cause various respiratory and breathing problems.
    Now, not only is your VW diesel soon to be subject to a nationwide recall that may result in worse driving performance and a drop in resell value, it may also be harming your health and the environment.

At Martin Walker Law, our team has significant experience in both Product Liability and Personal Injury cases. If you have questions about this Volkswagen emissions scandal or related issues you can contact us at 903-526-1600, by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com, or by using the Contact page of our website


Dangers of Keyless Ignitions

Dangers of Keyless Ignitions


Cars equipped with keyless ignitions feel like something out of the future. With just one button press you can start or stop the engine. But what happens when you walk away and take your “key” with you? In an ordinary car, having the key means the car is safely off, but that’s not always the case with cars that feature keyless ignitions. Some will continue to run long after you’ve closed the door and gone inside which can result in significant injury or even death. Our own Marisa Schouten was recently interviewed by CBS 19 on this very issue.
Car manufactures claim that their keyless ignition systems are safe, but keyless ignitions have already been linked to injuries and deaths across the country. If you or someone you know has been harmed by carbon monoxide build up or other injury related to a car with a keyless ignition give us a call. The experienced team at Martin and Walker can assist you.
Call us today at: 903-526-1600
 


Ten Reasons to Call a Lawyer if You've Been in a Car Wreck

Ten Reasons to Call a Lawyer if You've Been in a Car Wreck

carcrash
I’ve been in a car wreck, now what?
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may have a lot of questions about what to do. It’s a confusing time and you may feel like you need advice. Here are some common questions that people have after an accident.
1. What can an attorney do for me?
Only you can decide if you need an attorney. At Martin Walker, P.C., we promise top quality representation to our clients in making sure that they receive the right value for their claim. We will handle the negotiations of your claim so that you don’t have to. Our extensive experience in negotiation allows us to work with the insurance company effectively for you. And if the offer isn’t fair, we go to trial.
In the State of Texas, only one party needs to give permission in order for a phone call to be recorded. Because the insurance company representative can give himself that permission without telling you he is doing so, he can and most likely will record all of your conversations with him. For this reason, you should spend as little time talking directly with the insurance company representative as possible. We will handle all communications with the insurance company for you, and if a recorded statement is necessary, we will be present with you to make sure that the insurance company representative treats you fairly.
Many people can’t afford a doctor and don’t have medical insurance. Consequently, they don’t get treatment that they desperately need. We have a relationship of trust with good doctors throughout our East Texas community who will assist people in these circumstances.
We also make sure that liability facts are documented early on through photographic evidence, police reports and witness statements.
2. When should I hire an attorney?
If you plan to hire an attorney, the sooner you hire one, the better. As you get further away from the date of the accident, information becomes stale and memories fade. It is very important to make sure that the facts of your accident are documented early on and effectively.
3. Should I get medical treatment?
You should only get medical treatment if you are injured. If you need emergency medical attention, go to the emergency room and follow the recommendations of the emergency room physicians. If you do not need emergency medical attention, go to your primary care physician and follow his recommendations.
4. The insurance company wants to take a recorded statement. Should I give one?
A recorded statement is generally not necessary. The insurance company representative does not have your best interest in mind, and may not treat you fairly. We do not recommend giving a recorded statement without the presence of an attorney who will make sure that you are treated fairly.
5. What if I need medical treatment, but can’t afford it?
If you are injured, don’t have medical insurance, and can’t afford to get treatment, we can help you to get medical treatment. We have a relationship of trust with many good doctors in East Texas who understand your situation and will help you to receive the treatment you need. Don’t delay on this point just because you can’t afford treatment. If you are injured, you must get treatment right away. It’s a matter of your health.
6. Will I lose my rights if I wait too long?
Yes. For car accidents occurring in the State of Texas, your suit must be brought within two years of the date of the accident, or you will be forever barred from recovery.
7. What do I need to do immediately after the accident?
Make sure the police have been called to document the scene of the accident and assign fault. If you need emergency medical treatment, get it. Call a family member or friend and ask them to help you. Many times, a person who has been in an accident will be in shock after the accident. Having a family member or friend with you will help you to make sure your bases are covered. Take photographs, or have a friend take photographs.
8. Do I need to call the police out to have an accident report done?
Yes. Many times, the person who hit you will try to talk you into exchanging information only and not “waiting around” for a police officer. The police officer documents what happened in the accident and who was at fault in causing this. It is the first and most important step in establishing that the other party was in fact at fault in causing the accident. Without that, it’s your word versus theirs.
9. What if the person who hit me left the scene?
It’s a crime in the State of Texas to leave the scene of an accident. If the person who hit you left the scene, try to immediately note as much as you can remember about them. For example, get the license plate number, make, model and color of the vehicle. If you saw the person, write down their description while it is fresh in your memory. Then, immediately report this to the police and seek their assistance in tracking this person down.
10. The initial consultation is free.
The team at Martin and Walker can help with your auto accident if you received property damage, injuries, medical attention, and need help with medical bills. If you have a question about your legal situation and need legal evaluation, call us today at 903-526-1600. Your initial consultation is free.
 


Martha Chavis, Victim of Drunk Driver Wreck, Receives MADD Victims Rights Advocate Award

Martha Chavis, Victim of Drunk Driver Wreck, Receives MADD Victims Rights Advocate Award

martha-chavez-award

On April 24, 2015, Martha Chavis received an award from MADD on the steps of the Gregg County Courthouse. It was National Crime Victim’s week, and Martha has worked tirelessly to spread the message of the damage that drunk driving does.
Martha lost her son in a drunk driver wreck.
The drunk driver hit Martha’s son in a head-on style collision on August 20, 2011, at 3:35 a.m. on I-20. Both vehicles were crushed and both people died. The drunk driver was driving the WRONG WAY in the east-bound lanes of traffic, at eighty to eighty-five miles per hour, in an intoxicated state–almost three times the legal limit.
The drunk driver had two prior DWI convictions, and one prior DWI arrest with a pending court date at the time of the wreck that ended Martha’s son’s life.
A trooper stopped and detained the drunk driver just minutes before the collision, assessed that he was intoxicated, admonished him nine times not to drive or he would “go to jail”, and let him go in possession of keys. At the time the trooper detained the drunk driver, he was headed the correct way down I-20. After the trooper detained the drunk driver, the drunk driver pulled a U-turn and drove the wrong way, causing the deadly wreck.
We are proud and honored to represent Martha Chavis, and other victims of drunk driving wrecks.


Drunk Driver Wrecks Affect Us All

Drunk Driver Wrecks Affect Us All

It’s terrifying to think that the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his first arrest.[1]
The problem is prolific. In fact, on average, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes.[2]
These wrecks tend to be high-impact, and high-injury:
drunk-driver-1
They destroy families. And these reckless drivers tend to be under insured.
The floorboard of a drunk driver’s vehicle, revealing a beer bottle:
drunk-driver-2
At Martin Walker, we specialize in helping the victims of drunk driver wrecks. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, it’s important to hire a legal team that will act quickly to preserve evidence and aggressively to prosecute your case.
 
Call Martin Walker, PC at 903-526-1600.


 
[1] Centers for Disease Control. “Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among adults—United States, 2010.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
[2] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, May 2014, DOT HS 812 013. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812013.pdf.


ALERT-Oil Field Service Company Salaried Employees-You May Be Owed Back Pay

ALERT-Oil Field Service Company Salaried Employees-You May Be Owed Back Pay

oil-rig
Oil field service companies have failed to pay thousands in overtime, bonuses and other benefits to salaried employees. Contact Martin Walker, P.C. to find out if you are owed additional money.
The FLSA requires certain companies to pay time and a half overtime for certain employees. Recently, oil field service companies have been intentionally categorizing employees as salaried in order to avoid paying time and a half for overtime work.
You've worked hard. You deserve to be paid for your time.
At Martin Walker, P.C., we're fighting hard to collect the wrongly withheld wages for employees who have been the victim of creative job-titling at the hands of oil field service company employers. We'd like to get that money back in your pocket, where it belongs.
Contact Martin Walker, P.C. to see if you have a claim call us today 903-202-0886


Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak

bluebelltruck

Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak

It’s a staple of the southern diet and enjoyed in twenty-three states in America. It’s our go-to treat for birthdays, hot summer afternoons, and midnight cravings. But now the iconic Blue Bell Ice Cream brand has recalled all of its products due to an outbreak of listeria. This infectious bacteria can cause fever, nausea, intense headaches and other influenza-like symptoms resulting in hospitalization and even death.
If you have been infected by listeria you need strong representation on your side. The team at Martin and Walker are experienced trial lawyers with the knowledge to help you. With contaminated factories in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma this misfortune has hit us close to home.
The cause was your favorite ice cream, but the result could mean your life. Take action now. Appoint Martin and Walker to protect your health and your future.
Give us a call today 903-526-1600


John F. "Jack" Walker, III, Esq. Inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers


international-academy-of-trial-lawyers-jack-walker
John F. “Jack” Walker, III, Esq. of Martin Walker P.C. in Tyler, TX was recently inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) at their Annual Meeting held March 18-21, 2015.
The International Academy of Trial Lawyers limits membership to 500 Fellows from the United States. The Academy seeks out, identifies, acknowledges and honors those who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court and appellate practice. Members are engaged in civil practice on both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s side of the courtroom, and the trial of criminal cases. The Academy invites only lawyers who have attained the highest level of advocacy. A comprehensive screening process identifies the most distinguished members of the trial bar by means of both peer and judicial review. Mr. Walker has been evaluated by his colleagues and the judges in his jurisdiction and has been highly recommended by them as possessing these qualifications and characteristics.
 
Chartered in 1954, the Academy’s general purposes are to cultivate the science of jurisprudence, promote reforms in the law, facilitate the Administration of Justice, and elevate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession.
Press Release with photo (JW)