Friday, November 22, 2013

Woman Trampled by Police Horse during Houston Parade Found Liable for Her Injuries

A personal injury case stemming from an incident that occurred four years ago finally reached a resolution through the decision of a jury this week. Kirste Reimers suffered multiple injuries to her mouth and face during the 2009 Houston Pride parade when she was trampled by a police horse. While Reimers insisted she was along the curb and the police officer riding the horse, Patrick Hernandez, should have taken more steps to stop his horse or warn her of the impending collision, the jury seated in a Harris County courtroom thought otherwise.

Reimers was found to be ninety-five percent liable for the injuries she sustained, as the city’s assertion that she was out in the middle of the street and ignored repeated warnings was accepted. This despite the fact that Officer Hernandez’s statements were inconsistent between the time of the original incident and the trial and the much watched amateur video showing a woman standing in the middle of the street was determined during an internal investigation not to be depicting Reimers. As such, Reimers will not be awarded any damages even though she had $21,000 in medical bills.

You never know when an injury is going to occur. It could be walking through a grocery store aisle with a spill that has not been properly marked off and cleaned. Maybe you twist your knee as you make your way across a parking lot that has not been salted following a snowstorm or that ends with an unmarked curb. While these examples might sound silly or frivolous, the pain that you experience and the loss of enjoyment of life you endure as you recover are serious matters.

There is no guarantee that a jury is going to find in your favor. That’s the nature of human involvement in the process. But, you can be sure that if you ask Bertolino LLP to represent you in your personal injury matter, you will not find more aggressive and dedicated counsel. We will work diligently to settle your case with the money you deserve before the suit ever reaches trial. And, if it does, we will be by your side every step of the way until a resolution that meets your needs is reached. Please call us today and let us help you.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Zimmerman Arrested Again Following Another Domestic Disturbance Call

There is no shortage of legal and ethical and social analysis of the fatal confrontation that took place between George Zimmerman and seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida nearly two years ago, so that controversial evening and the legal proceedings that followed will not be recounted here. However, whether or not you count yourself among ones who believe the claim of self-defense and agree with the not guilty verdict or you think that Zimmerman acted outside of the law and should have been found liable for Martin’s death, there should be little disagreement on the fact that George Zimmerman has not found his experiences in the courtroom enough to keep him from further encounters with the law.

In addition to several traffic stops that have resulted in fines and warnings, Zimmerman’s more serious issues involve his estranged wife Shellie. In September, shortly after Shellie filed divorce papers, police were called to a domestic disturbance. No charges were ever filed due to lack of evidence. Then again, just this week, Zimmerman was arrested when officers responded to another disturbance call involving his new girlfriend. Zimmerman was booked at the Seminole County jail and details are just now emerging.

You always deserve to feel safe in your home and protected from violence at the hands of those who supposedly love you.  Unfortunately, all too often this is not the case. Twenty-five percent of all women have been victims of domestic violence, and the number may be larger as it is estimated that only a quarter of all incidents are reported to police. And sadly, as many as 12 million children in the United States are witnesses to domestic violence every year. 

If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, do not suffer in silence for another day. Bertolino LLP can provide counsel on obtaining legal protection from the court and we will do so with the sensitivity that we know such a situation requires. Please call our Austin, Houston or San Antonio office today. We are ready to help.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Child Day Care Facilities Must Be Monitored with the Highest of Standards

In many families, the decision for one parent to stay at home with the children at all times is not feasible. Instead, for those leading single parent homes and two-parent homes in which both incomes are necessary and/or both choose to work, selecting a child care center is one of the most important and emotional decisions to be made.

I am a parent to two girls so I am very aware that parents want their children to be nurtured and safe and happy. You want your son or daughter to be watched by someone you can trust and who will do everything possible to keep your child from harm. So with disturbing stories like the one recently coming out of Pearland, Texas, parents understandably can wonder about the facility that cares for their own kids. 

Tad Jeremy Costin has been criminally charged with four counts of aggravated assault of a child following an investigation into child pornography by Liberty County authorities. Sadly, there are hundreds of computer images of Costin engaged in sexual acts with young children, so police believe more charges will follow. And there is now the newly released detail that Costin’s ex-girlfriend, Julia Lack, who has also recently been charged, ran an in-home overnight babysitting service, leaving people to wonder if Costin used this home as a place to commit his crimes. Investigators are asking anyone who may have used this day care to come forward as the search for more victims continues.

If you run a day care service, you want your establishment to be above reproach. You hire professionals with excellent credentials and references. You create rooms that are welcoming and safe. Still, parents may need more before they feel good about leaving their precious kids with you. And they deserve that. No mother or father ever should have to receive a phone call stating that their child may have been abused while in the care of others.

You want to make sure that your day care’s license is solid. If there are any questions about your legal standing in the community, we can help. If there have been any complaints made about one of your employees or your facility in general, you need to take these seriously. We will be by your side through the entire process. Bertolino LLP has attorneys who specialize in issues surrounding licensure of various professionals, including day care workers. Please call our Austin, Houston or San Antonio office today if you think we may be of service to you.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Texas Dentist Sentenced to Jail for Insurance Fraud

Health insurance is in the news more than a little these days. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” finally taking place, there are questions about which doctors will take part in the coverage, how employers will handle the requirement to provide health care for their workers and why some people are being dropped from their plans when the language coming from the White House seemed to indicate this would not be happening. And then there’s the website, which has been the focus of both daily press briefings and Saturday Night Live sketches. While this post is not passing judgments on the merits or drawbacks of the health care plan, there should be little dispute over stating that the rollout has come with some concerns.

While Americans try to navigate this new system and provide the security of health coverage for their families, they at least want to hope that they can trust their doctors to act within the scope of the law. However, Dr. Terrence Ewing Syler of southeast Texas broke that trust and now he is going to prison.

Dr. Syler pleaded guilty to health care fraud, as he has been submitting claims to Medicaid, which is government health insurance, since 2007 for procedures he never performed. He now will serve 22 months behind bars and has been ordered to pay $835,000 in restitution and fines.

It is unfortunate when poor decisions of a few individuals in a profession cast doubt on the work of others who have always acted within the boundaries of the law. I wonder if the former patients of Dr. Syler now will look with skepticism, whether with any merit or not, on the next person who handles their dental care.

If you have been unfairly accused of wrongdoing in your professional practice, perhaps because one of your peers has made news for wrongdoing and others assume the same of you, Bertolino LLP can help. We have attorneys who specialize in dental license defense as well as the defense of other licensed professions. We will fight aggressively to protect your reputation and livelihood. Don’t take any filed complaints lightly, even if you know there is no truth to them . . . call us today.