Texas Texting While Driving Ban Effective Today

By Sep 1, 2017 Posted in Car Accidents

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With Revised Hurricane Forecast, Offshore Workers May Need to Brace for Bad Weather

By Aug 31, 2017 Posted in Maritime Injuries

As Texas’s Gulf Coast begins the difficult task of recovering from Hurricane Harvey, the latest updates from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that the remainder of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be more active than previously expected. With multiple ships in the Gulf of Mexico diverted ahead of Hurricane Harvey, the risk of bad weather offshore is far greater than the chances of another major storm making landfall, and offshore workers in the cruise, oil and gas, and shipping industries must be prepared to act quickly when the forecast calls for potentially life-threatening conditions. Remainder of 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Likely to See “Above Normal” Storm Activity The NOAA released its revised projections on August 9, approximately three weeks prior to Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas. According to the NOAA’s media release, there is now a 60-percent chance that we will see an “above normal” level of storm activity during the remainder of the season. This is an increase from the initial 45-percent projection the NOAA published in May, and a figure that takes into account the six named storms that formed prior to August 9. The NOAA is now forecasting: 14 to 19 named storms (increased from NOAA’s projection of 11 to 17 named storms in May) 5 to 9 hurricanes (these numbers are unchanged from May) 2 to 5 major hurricanes (a slight increase from the NOAA’s May forecast of 2 to 4) According to the NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, the […]

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Hurricane Harvey Devastates Gulf Coast Oil & Gas Production

By Aug 30, 2017 Posted in Plant, Refinery & Industrial Accidents

Texas industrial injury lawyers discuss Hurricane Harvey’s damage to Gulf Coast refining and chemical operations in Texas and Louisiana. Refinery Shutdowns Cause Nearly 25 Percent Drop In Production In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, 23 percent of U.S. refining capacity has been temporarily lost.  That amounts to 4.2 million barrels of oil per day. Even under optimal conditions, it will take weeks for refineries to return to full operation. Gas Prices Surge As of August 30, 2017, gasoline prices have surged six percent as Hurricane Harvey has forced one quarter of U.S. refining capacity offline.  Prices are now at a two-year high. Motiva Port Arthur Refinery Shut Down The largest refinery in the United States is the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas.  Hurricane Harvey forced a complete shutdown of the facility. The refinery began ramping down production in the days leading up to the hurricane.  As of Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the refinery was operating at only 40 percent capacity. The entire refinery was later shut down as Hurricane Harvey made its second landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border on Wednesday. Port Arthur’s mayor, Derrick Freeman, told followers on Facebook that “Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming! If you called, we are coming. Please get to higher ground if you can . . .” Exxon’s Baytown Refinery Damaged The ExxonMobil refinery near Baytown, Texas was damaged by Hurricane Harvey, and Exxon warned that chemicals might be released into the air as a result. Exxon declined to […]

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Uber, Lyft and Commercial Truck Accidents: Where to Look for Financial Compensation

By Aug 29, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

Since launching earlier this decade, Uber and Lyft have become ubiquitous in major cities such as Houston. Whether for a convenient ride downtown or a safe ride home, when you don’t want to (or can’t) drive yourself, the ability to summon an inexpensive ride with a few taps on your phone has revolutionized the way that many of us get where we need to go. But, hiring an Uber or Lyft driver is not without its risks. While both companies tout their driver screening policies, it is not hard to get set up as a driver. You certainly do not have to be a professional, and there is no way for Uber or Lyft to ensure that their drivers observe the rules of the road or adequately maintain their cars. When you add Houston’s high volume of commercial trucks into the equation, it is of little surprise that many local Uber and Lyft passengers have suffered injuries in dangerous collisions. Who Is Liable in an Uber or Lyft Accident? If you were injured in a commercial truck accident while riding with an Uber or Lyft driver, who do you sue? Is your driver liable? The ride-sharing company? The trucking company? As in other cases, the answer depends on all of the unique facts and circumstances involved. 1. Your Uber or Lyft Driver Your Uber or Lyft driver could be liable if he or she was at fault (or partially at fault) in the accident. While the circumstances of your accident […]

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“Skills Gap” in Oil and Gas May Put Offshore Workers at Risk

By Aug 28, 2017 Posted in Maritime Injuries

When performing complicated tasks under potentially-dangerous conditions offshore, it is critical that everyone involved has the skill and experience required to complete the job safely. Lack of training is a common factor in offshore accidents, and it is often the result of offshore employers choosing to prioritize meeting deadlines over ensuring their workers’ safety. However, a recent article on suggests that there may be a new factor contributing to on-the-job risks for offshore workers. The article discusses what the author refers to as a “skills gap,” which may be reducing the pool of qualified and willing applicants for offshore jobs. Lack of Focus on Employee Retention May Lead to Shortage of Experienced Offshore Workers According to the article, many millennials (individuals born roughly between 1982 and 2004) are finding the current job opportunities in oil and gas unsatisfactory. The author references one expert who points to lack of technological innovation as a primary factor, while Rigzone’s own survey identified lack of advancement opportunities as the primary turn-off for millennials who might otherwise pursue careers in the offshore industry. Whatever the precise cause (or causes) may be, the article warns of a potential “skills gap” resulting from a generation of would-be employees expecting more from their jobs and being willing to look elsewhere when their jobs do not provide adequate levels of satisfaction. Without a sufficient skilled workforce, offshore job sites – including vessels, rigs and platforms – may become more dangerous for those workers who choose to pursue careers […]

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5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Offshore Accident

By Aug 25, 2017 Posted in Maritime Injuries

If you were injured working offshore, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Maritime laws, including the Jones Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the law of unseaworthiness, provide offshore workers with important legal rights – including the right to collect compensation when they are unable to work due to job-related injuries. But, to protect your rights after an offshore accident, there are some steps you need to take as soon as possible. Equally important, there are some critical mistakes you need to try to avoid. Here are five mistakes injured offshore workers should avoid in order to preserve their right to a maximum financial recovery: 1. Only Seeking a Diagnosis from the Ship Doctor If you suffered serious traumatic injuries offshore, you may have no choice but to seek treatment from your ship’s doctor. However, even if you receive a diagnosis and treatment offshore, it is still important that you seek a second opinion when you get back to land. Since your ship’s doctor likely works for your employer or the vessel owner, he or she may be incentivized to provide only the minimum treatment necessary in order to get you back to work as soon as possible. You are entitled to the treatment you need to make a full recovery, and it is critical that you seek independent medical advice. 2. Returning to Work Too Soon While you may feel compelled to return to work before you are fully recovered so that you can keep up […]

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By Aug 24, 2017 Posted in Plant, Refinery & Industrial Accidents

Each year, hurricanes hit our shores and leave a trail of devastation in their wake.  Hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damages.  Homes, buildings, roads, and highways are destroyed.  But more importantly, lives are lost and people are severely injured, even after the hurricane is gone. Employers Should Have an Emergency Plan According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) website, employers should have an evacuation plan in place to ensure workers are able to get to safety when a hurricane strikes.  The plan should include the following: Conditions that will activate the plan A clear chain of command Emergency functions and designated people who will perform them Evacuation procedures, including routes and exits Procedures in place for accounting for personnel, customers, and visitors Equipment for personnel Failing to have a plan in place to respond to an emergency is irresponsible and negligent.  It puts lives at risk.  Severe storms and hurricanes result in high winds, flooding, loss of power and raw materials, disruptions in infrastructure, and etc.  Employers need to ensure all employees have access to critical safety equipment, including: Face shields Respirators Safety glasses Hard hats Ear plugs Personal protective equipment (PPE) The Injury Count Grows After the Hurricane is Gone Chemical and industrial plants are bound by certain regulations, such as the OSHA regulations, to provide a safe work environment. Measures must be taken to prevent accidents—hazards need to be identified to reduce risk of injury.  Employers are responsible for protecting their employees, yet plant accidents […]

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Houston Area Sees Three Fatal Truck Accidents in Just Over Three Weeks

By Aug 23, 2017 Posted in Trucking Accidents

With some of the busiest trucking routes in the nation, Texas sees numerous serious commercial truck accidents every year. Sadly, local news outlets have recently reported on a spate of fatal collisions, including three fatal collisions in the Houston area in the span of just over three weeks. These accidents, which involved a trailer, an 18-wheeler and a garbage truck, serve as stark reminders of the risks Houston-area drivers face on a daily basis, and they highlight some of the key risks that can lead to serious and fatal trucking collisions. Truck Flips onto Concrete Barrier on Southbound I-45 On July 21, reported that a truck towing a trailer on I-45 crashed into the barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes, causing the truck to flip and crushing the driver’s side of the truck cab. The report indicates that one person died at the scene while another was trapped in the truck, and from the photos it does not appear that any other vehicles were involved. There are numerous factors that can cause trucks with trailers to rollover. In many cases, rollovers will lead to multiple-vehicle accidents that leave numerous drivers and passengers with serious, if not fatal, injuries. While it is fortunate that no other vehicles appear to have been involved in this instance, the accident was still a tragedy, and it shows that rollovers can happen under a wide range of circumstances. Side-Impact Collision with Turning 18-Wheeler Results in Driver Fatality On August 1, reported on […]

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Cargo Ship Captain Sentenced for Navigating at Five Times the Legal Limit

By Aug 22, 2017 Posted in Maritime Injuries

Earlier this summer, authorities in New Zealand ordered a ship captain to pay a $3,000 after he reportedly piloted the ship into harbor with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more than five times the legal limit. According to the maritime industry publication gCaptain, the captain was guiding a 200-meter cargo ship into port when harbor pilots noted that he smelled of alcohol. Upon boarding the vessel, local police officers performed a breathalyzer test which showed that the captain’s BAC was 1,345 micrograms – well above the 250-microgram legal limit. He was promptly placed under arrest. Fortunately, the article does not suggest that any crewmembers were harmed as a result of the captain’s poor decision to pilot the ship severely under the influence of alcohol. But, operating a container ship – or any other vessel – while intoxicated obviously presents the potential for a severe accident that could jeopardize the safety of everyone onboard. If an alcohol-impaired ship captain causes a collision or runs aground, crewmembers and passengers can suffer costly injuries, and the law entitles them to seek just compensation. The Risks of Alcohol Impairment Offshore While the risks of intoxication are well-known, this unfortunately does not stop many people from putting others in harm’s way. Alcohol intoxication causes three different types of impairment, all of which can have extreme consequences on an offshore vessel: Cognitive impairment – Being drunk limits a person’s ability to react to their surroundings and make sound decisions. Visual impairment – Alcohol intoxication results in […]

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Injured in an Uber?

By Aug 21, 2017 Posted in Car Accidents

Uber Accidents Require Immediate Action You step into a nice car that you ordered to meet up with your friends for a fun night out when suddenly your Uber driver gets into an accident. If needed, call 911 and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Otherwise, the first thing you should do is get the other drivers name, contact number, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Next, take pictures and/or video of the scene–be sure to capture the damage to each vehicle. Lastly, get the contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident.   Uber and Lyft Possess a $1 Million Dollar Insurance Coverage Although, Uber (and Lyft) possess a $1 million in insurance coverage, that does not mean you will receive the maximum compensation allowed under the law if you negotiate your claim directly with Uber’s insurance company. Contact a personal injury attorney in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. Hire Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys  The attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard have tried and won many cases. They have recovered millions and millions of dollars for clients. They have spent thousands of hours working on complicated personal injury and business disputes. If you hire Morrow & Sheppard you can guarantee they will know the facts of your case. They will know the law. And They will know it better than the other side. At Morrow & Sheppard we will work hard to get you the best result possible.

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