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According to a recent study performed by Associated Press, traffic fatalities in drilling states, including Texas, have more than quadrupled since 2004. But wait . . . hasn’t the energy boom positively impacted our country? The increased production of oil and natural gas creates job, lifts local economies, and attracts manufacturers to the United States. However, our nation’s booming economy comes with a price—a spike in traffic facilities. Large trucks and heaving drilling equipment consume the streets of Texas drilling counties, increasing traffic fatalities by 18%.


Continue Reading Calling all Frackcident Victims: The Economic Benefits of Fracking do not Justify your Injuries

Well, this blog has gone neglected for quite a while. Not by choice, but due to my health. A few months ago, I was driving to a continuing education seminar roughly five hours away. I was running late and so I never stopped for a snack or a beverage. Shortly after I arrived at the seminar, I noticed I had developed a minor cough. In the following weeks, that cough turned more serious and culminated in my being hospitalized for a week in critical condition with blood clots that nearly killed me. I am still on blood thinners which affect my energy level, but its time to have enough energy to work on this blog. And what better subject that to discuss the compensability of injuries occurring while driving to and from someplace for work. Yesterday, the Texas Supreme Court addressed this very issue in the case of Leordeanu vs. American Protection Insurance Company, 2010 WL 4910133.


Continue Reading Injuries While Traveling To and From Work

For the attorneys that follow this blog, in a decision that should surprise no one, the Texas Supreme Court refused to review the decision in Texas Mutual Insurance Co. vs. Vista Community Medical Center, LLP. Practitioners will recall that this is the Austin Court of Appeals decision from 2008 that invalidated the stop-loss exception.

Hospitals that treat workers’ compensation patients in Texas are reimbursed under the state’s workers’ compensation in-patient fee schedule.The 1997 fee schedule, which was repealed in 2008, included a stop-loss exception. Under the stop-loss exception, hospitals could be paid more than the fee schedule if they met certain criteria. The dispute between Texas Mutual and Vista centered on those criteria. Texas Mutual argued that the stop-loss exception should be applied to admissions involving charges of more than $40,000 and “unusually extensive services.” Vista countered that the exception applied to all admissions for which they charged more than $40,000.

The stop-loss rule has since been repealed. However, many fee disputes remained outstanding under the old rule.