Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

Monthly Charity Winner – Bearden Productions

by Richard Atkinson | December 6th, 2016

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Being able to take part in the performing arts is something every child should have the opportunity to do. At Bearden Productions that is not just a saying, it is the entire goal of the organization. This month’s charity has a goal of making quality performing arts programs and classes easily accessible and affordable for the entire community. Since its inception in 2014, Bearden Productions offers normally expensive classes in dance, acting, and even cooking at little or no cost. It offers families on a budget the opportunity to send their kids to a constructive and fun environment.

Our monthly charity giving is one of our favorite things to do. Each month employees nominate and vote on a charity in the community they would like to help. Throughout the month employees “donate” by buying snacks and drinks that the firm subsidizes. All the proceeds from the snacks are then matched by the firm. We are honored to have such great employees that not only pick out wonderful organizations, but also help by donating all month long.

Soiree Best Lawyers

by Richard Atkinson | December 6th, 2016

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For a second consecutive year, we are proud to announce Mike Rainwater, Denise Hoggard, and John Rainwater have been named to the 2016 Soiree Best Lawyer list.  Mike Rainwater was listed for his work in personal injury, Arkansas Bar President Denise Hoggard for her work in labor law, and John Rainwater for his work in bankruptcy law.

The lawyers are selected by two-component voting system consisting of votes from readers of Arkansas Business and Little Rock Soiree as well as a peer-review voting system. Votes are tabulated and the top voted are listed in each of the 19 categories. It is always reaffirming when our attorneys make these important lists. It consistently shows our peers and clients think highly of our firm and the legal work we provide to the community.

The Dangers of Benzene

by Richard Atkinson | December 6th, 2016

Benzene is one of the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States, and is classified as a Class A carcinogen by the EPA. It’s a colorless and sweet smelling chemical that evaporates quickly when exposed to air. Used in oil refineries, chemical plants and rubber factories, exposure to the chemical is linked to blood disorders like leukemia.

Benzene exposure is essentially unavoidable in everyday life. It’s in the air around gas stations, it’s a contaminant in tobacco smoke, it’s in motor vehicle exhaust, and it’s emitted from many industrial factories and even leaks from underground waste sites. In low levels, it’s not dangerous, but for those frequently exposed to high levels of benzene, there can be harmful consequences.

Symptoms of Exposure to Benzene

The most common exposure is inhalation, since benzene is found in outdoor and indoor air. People working in industries that use benzene have the highest exposure rate and are the most likely to develop a benzene-related illness. Look for these signs of exposure to high levels of benzene:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • At very high levels of exposure, death can occur

If someone is exposed to benzene regularly for a year or more, benzene can have harmful effects on the bone marrow and decrease red blood cell counts. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that long-term exposure to benzene can lead to deadly blood disorders like:

  • Myelogenous leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Benzene Lawsuits

Someone who has experienced an illness from benzene exposure might be entitled to compensation from benzene manufacturers or their employer for failing to warn of the dangers of the chemical. Consult with an Arkansas benzene Lawyer to determine if you have a lawsuit.

Common Bankruptcy Questions

by April Kersten | December 5th, 2016

As a Rainwater, Holt & Sexton bankruptcy attorney I have been able to help many people through the bankruptcy process. I have also realized there are a lot of questions that most people have up front. Here are a few of those questions:

Do I need Chapter 7 or 13 Protection?

Bankruptcy is designed to give an individual a fresh start. If you have creditors harassing you, threats of repossession or lawsuits, or just can’t find a way to get all the bills paid each month, we would encourage you to come in for a bankruptcy consultation. An individual can file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case – both types will protect an individual from garnishment and harassment upon filing.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a great option if you need to shed unsecured debts such a credit cards or broken phone contracts. A Chapter 7 is designed to get rid of the unsecured debts weighing you down so you can focus on home or vehicle payments. It is generally important in a Chapter 7 to be current on car or house payments in order to keep the collateral.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will immediately protect a client from garnishment, foreclosure or even repossession by setting up a payment arrangement. If you have gotten behind on your car, a Chapter 13 will give you the chance to restart your payments fresh. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also allow you to catch up a mortgage while still getting rid of your credit card or medical debts.

Does BK ruin my credit for good?

Filing bankruptcy can be an intimidating but necessary thing. If you are worried about how a bankruptcy will affect your credit score, it is important to discuss that with a bankruptcy attorney before deciding to file. The impact a bankruptcy has on your credit depends on several factors. If you have really great credit before you file bankruptcy- your score will take a large hit. However, if delinquent accounts, lawsuits, or high debt to asset ratio, have already dragged your score down the impact will be much smaller. For many clients, delinquent accounts and repossessions have already eaten a hole in their credit scores and a bankruptcy may be the only way to clear these out in order to rebuild. Bankruptcy will allow these old, delinquent accounts to come off a person’s credit giving them a fresh chance to rebuild. A bankruptcy will be a mark on your credit history for up to ten years. However, once you have completed your bankruptcy you can begin to put good history on your credit to rebuild you score. We have had some clients begin this process within 12 months of completing bankruptcy.

Do I have to include all my debt in my bankruptcy filing?

A bankruptcy is designed to incorporate the big picture on an individual’s financial situation. So every debt a client has must be treated in some way during their bankruptcy. This may mean that a client will keep paying their mortgage themselves because they are current but get rid of all their credit cards when they file. It can mean that a client’s car and credit cards are working into a payment plan to pay off the vehicle over time and give a small percentage to their unsecured debts. The bottom line is that each debt must receive treatment in the bankruptcy whether it is repayment or discharge.

Can I file Bankruptcy for just me and not my spouse?

A bankruptcy can be designed as a joint filing to take marital debt together or as an individual filing. An individual is not required to file with their spouse at any time. However, we strongly encourage clients to review all their debts before making a decision as joint debts often require a joint filing to ensure the debts are discharged. If a couple is co-signed on a vehicle together, one spouse’s bankruptcy filing can affect the other. So we encourage clients to review all their debts and discuss with one of our bankruptcy attorney’s if filing joint or individually would serve their family best.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, call a Rainwater, Holt & Sexton bankruptcy attorney today.

When the Whistle Blows Without You

by Cary Graham | December 5th, 2016

As an Arkansas worker, your number one priority is providing for your family. That requires you to be on the job and healthy every time that whistle blows, but it only takes a moment for all that to change. A workplace injury does more than sideline you for a given amount of time; it jeopardizes your financial security and that of your family as well. And workers’ compensation may not be enough.

Workers’ comp claims are paid by insurance companies. It’s similar to other types of insurance in the fact that your employer pays the insurance company premiums in order to provide their injured employees with benefits in the event of an accident. However, the insurance company has every motivation to pay you as little as possible for that workers’ comp claim, which could leave you with a massive debt if the money doesn’t cover all your medical bills.

But your injury isn’t only going to cost you medically. You also need compensation for lost wages and other expenses you’re bound to incur. Getting that money on your own can be difficult, which is why you should call an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney immediately. Our workers’ compensation team will work to maximize your workers’ comp claim. Don’t try to go it alone. Contact us today.

What to Do If You Have An Infection From An Endoscope

by Richard Atkinson | December 3rd, 2016

An endoscope is a small video camera that can enter a patient’s body to screen for diseases or treat existing conditions, and over 19 million people undergo an endoscopic procedure every year. One type of endoscope, a duodenoscope, has been connected with spreading a dangerous, and sometimes deadly antibiotic-resistant infection.

If you have an infection from an endoscope, you should be treated immediately and carefully monitored. Upon recovery, you should know that you could be entitled to compensation.

Symptoms of a Superbug Infection

 The infection spread by the duodenoscope is classified as a superbug. A superbug infection carries the same symptoms as a regular infection, however, treating a superbug infection is very difficult because it’s resistant to antibiotics and typically appears in people who are already ill. Doctors typically use older antibiotics or a combination of drugs to treat the infection.

Any unusual signs following an endoscopic procedure should be carefully monitored and considered serious. The below signs could signal a very serious infection:

  • Severe urinary tract infection
  • Septic shock
  • High fever
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Sepsis

Endoscope Infection Lawsuits

Upon returning to health, you may qualify for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Affected patients have filed lawsuits against makers of duodenoscopes, including Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm, for a faulty product design. An Arkansas endoscope infection lawyer can offer legal guidance and explain what options are available to you.

I Was Exposed to Asbestos, What Should I Do Now?

by Richard Atkinson | December 1st, 2016

Asbestos exposure is very dangerous, claiming the lives of 10,000 Americans every year. If you were exposed to asbestos in the past or recently, take proper precautions to watch for developing symptoms of mesothelioma or asbestosis.

 What is Asbestos?

 Asbestos is a material used as a fire retardant in a variety of products like roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceilings, cement compounds and automotive parts. Industrial mining of asbestos began in the late 1800s, and the material soared in use during World War II in a variety of military products.

By the 1970s, it was clear asbestos had dangerous health effects, at which point hundreds of thousands of people were already exposed to it. The use of asbestos declined sharply after the late 1970s, however, 30 million pounds of the product are still used each year in the United States.

When asbestos is disturbed, tiny particles are released into the air. When inhaled, the tiny fibers can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for years causing mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other lung problems like asbestosis.

Are You Showing Symptoms?

If you are showing symptoms of an asbestos-related disease, go to an asbestos specialist immediately. If there isn’t an asbestos specialist in your area, see a thoracic oncologist, which is a doctor that specializes in cancers of the chest.

Symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory complications
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Fever
  • Pleural effusions
  • Anemia
  • Muscle weakness

If you don’t show symptoms of an asbestos-related disease, but have been exposed to asbestos, be sure to schedule regular checkups with your physician and always discuss your exposure and any tests that might be needed for diseases. Keep note if you start to develop any of the above symptoms, and schedule an appointment with your doctor if you exhibit any of them.

Little Rock Asbestos Attorney

 Asbestos claims now number in the millions and class action lawsuits have been surfacing since the 1960s. If you live in Arkansas and have been exposed to asbestos, contact a Little Rock Asbestos Attorney to understand your legal rights in an asbestos claim.

Talc and Ovarian Cancer – What You Need to Know

by Richard Atkinson | November 29th, 2016

Johnson & Johnson first began marketing and selling talcum powder in 1892 to midwives and women who just gave birth. The product quickly grew in popularity, and became an additive in all kinds of toiletry and cosmetic products. Its reach is so great, that even today it is associated with the smell of babies.

For decades, women used the product to dust their genitals and undergarments to deter odor, and the powder was also used in condoms and diaphragms. Beginning in 2009, over a hundred years after the product hit the market, Johnson and Johnson became involved in class-action lawsuits over a connection between talc and ovarian cancer. Lawsuits accuse Johnson and Johnson of negligence, conspiracy and failure to warn of the dangers of the product.

Connection Between Talc and Cancer

Because talc is not an actual medical drug, adequate reports and studies have not been kept or required by the FDA, making it difficult to fully confirm the association between talc and ovarian cancer. In addition, cancer is innately difficult to study, because it’s influenced by many different factors, and it’s ethically unrealistic to expose women to a product that many cause cancer in a study.

However, according to the New York Times, there have been at least 10 small studies that have shown an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the use of talc powder by women long-term around their genitals. And in 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder as a possible carcinogen if used in the female genital area.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

The first woman to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson was a 49-year-old who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder on her genitals everyday for 30 years. That was in 2009 and since then, thousands of additional women with ovarian cancer have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson. In February 2016, two families were awarded multimillion-dollar jury awards with a combined total of $127 million.

If you or a loved one has developed ovarian cancer and believe it might be linked to the use of talcum powder, Arkansas personal injury lawyers can advise you on the next steps to pursue compensation.

The Necessities for Accident Victims Haven’t Changed

by Cary Graham | November 28th, 2016

We talk a lot about getting our clients what they deserve from the insurance company. But what does that mean? The short answer: it’s always changing while staying the same. Confusing? Well, let’s clear it up.

We’ve been in this business for more than 30 years. During that time, the price of a loaf of bread has gone from $0.50 to more than $2.00. A pound of hamburger was $0.99 and is now well over $4.50. Just because the cost of these essentials has gone up doesn’t mean we no longer need them.

The same is true for accident victims. Every car accident victim in Alabama deserves medical treatment, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. That hasn’t changed over the years. What has changed is the cost of each of those essentials. Whereas an accident victim may have deserved $50,000 for their injury claim 30 years ago, now they may deserve well over $1,000,000.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you deserve the same essentials the first accident victims we helped 30 years ago deserved, and we’ll fight to get you maximum compensation for each of those essentials. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys today for a free consultation, and we’ll start working on your behalf immediately.

What To Do If You Have an IVC Filter

by Richard Atkinson | November 24th, 2016

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters are used in people recovering from accidents or surgery to catch blood clots before they reach the lungs. The small, cage-like device is inserted into the largest vein that takes blood to the heart and lungs. While doctors use IVC filters with the best intentions, the metal device can cause serious issues like perforating veins and organs, migrating from its location, and breaking.

Who Needs an IVC Filter?

IVC filters are inserted into people who have been in a serious accident or have had major surgery and are thus at a greater risk for blood clots during recovery. They’re used in patients who can’t take blood thinners, like people who have just undergone a major surgery and are at risk for uncontrolled bleeding. The filters are inserted via a catheter into the inferior vena cava vein. Retrievable devices are removed the same way.

There are two types of IVC filters: permanent and retrievable. Retrievable filters are used for short-term protection, for example, when someone is recovering from surgery. Retrievable IVC filters are intended to be removed when the threat of a pulmonary embolism has passed.

Unfortunately, retrievable filters are the type that is most associated with risks. After concern that retrievable devices were being left in patients too long, the FDA updated their recommendations in 2014 that the device is removed between the 29th and 54th day after implantation in patients in which the threat of pulmonary embolism has subsided.

Complications from IVC Filters

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration* announced a safety alert after receiving 921 reports involving complications with IVC filters between 2005 and . Thirty-five percent of the adverse events reported involved device migration. Other complications included damage to veins, failure to stop blood clots and breakage.

If you have an IVC filter, make sure you talk to your doctor about what type you have received. Discuss the benefits and risks, and the FDA recommendation for removing retrievable devices after 54 days.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by an IVC filter, you could qualify for compensation. Talk to an Arkansas IVC filter lawyer to find out your legal options.

 

*http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm221676.htm

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