Your Emergency Room Rights

Do you know the basic rights you are supposed to be given by most emergency rooms? Any hospital that accepts Medicare from the federal government is required to provide a base level of service to all patients who visit its emergency rooms. This basic level of service includes:

  • An initial examination to determine the nature of your medical emergency.
  • Stabilizing treatment to you if you are in medical distress regardless of your financial or insurance status.
  • You cannot be turned away based on things like age, ethnicity, religion, or past medical history.

There are several ways a hospital can violate these rules. Turning a patient away is a major violation, but a hospital can also be held liable for other things like failing to properly screen its staff for the necessary experience or failing to have enough staff on hand to guarantee a proper level of patient care. And, of course, emergency rooms are still held accountable to standard medical mistakes or negligence on behalf of its staff.
If you or someone you love was turned away from an emergency room or received a substandard level of care we can help. Contact us for a free consultation.

Why You Should Take A Break From Social Media After An Accident

When the modern smartphone debuted almost ten years ago it kicked off a major change in how we communicate. In the past ten years we’ve all gotten used to chronicling our activities, friendships, and may other areas of our lives on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Most of the time, our social media posts are only seen by our friends and maybe a few others, but when legal issues such as personal injury liability come into play, it pays to be very careful about how you use your social media accounts.

The problem is, we’ve gotten so used to sharing our lives on social media that we don’t even consider that someone might use our posts and statements against us. In personal injury cases, it has now become standard practice for law firms and insurance agencies to check into the social media posts of those they are opposing in a lawsuit. There’s a number of things they might be able to use against you to limit or reject your personal injury claim:

Posts that seem to show you are not as injured as you claimed
From time to time you might see the humorous story of somebody who gets caught by posting a photo or video of themselves playing sports or running along a beach just after claiming they were badly injured. It’s great that these kinds of cheaters get caught, but it’s not just the cheaters who the insurance companies and others target. They can just as easily use what you consider a normal, everyday post against you to claim you aren’t as injured as you really are. Photos, videos, and even simple statements about how you are feeling can all too easily be taken out of context in attempt to prove that you too are trying to collect more than you are owed.

Posts that seem to show you were not as emotionally impacted by an accident as you claimed
Just as your photos or videos and statements on social media can be taken out of context to try and show you weren’t really injured, they can also be used against you to try and cast doubt on the emotional effects of an accident or injury. A simple photo showing you unwinding after a long day or smiling at something funny can be twisted into “proof” that your recent accident had little to no impact on you. There’s nothing wrong with finding some joy after a tragedy, but some lawyers or insurance companies will try their best to make a judge or jury think so.

It’s not just your accounts you need to worry about.
So often these days we don’t just show up on our own social media accounts, we also frequently appear in our friends’ feeds and streams. Just because you personally didn’t post something doesn’t mean a lawyer or insurance company won’t check your friends’ accounts. They can use a photo of you or a statement your friend makes about you just as easily as if you’d posted those things yourself.

What’s the solution?
Your first instinct might be to immediately set your social media accounts to private or to delete them altogether, but that might be going a bit overboard. It might even be used against you. A dishonest lawyer might ask if you were just trying to be cautious or if you were trying to hide or destroy evidence.

Instead, the best policy is to simply stay off of social media at least until your personal injury case has been resolved. You might also ask your friends and family to not post about you for that same period of time. True, this can feel a little limiting and like you are hiding out from the world, but playing it safe with your social media usage after an accident can save you a lot of time and energy.

Workplace Safety in the Tyler Area

Wednesday, September 21st the Texas Mutual Insurance Company will be hosting a workplace safety summit, Work Safe, Texas. The goal of the summit is to talk to people about improved workplace safety, ultimately helping to reduce the number of work-related injuries and fatalities in East Texas. A significant number of workplace accidents can be prevented by implementing and following strategic and safe work practices. This is the very reason why Texas Mutual created Work Safe, Texas. This session will focus on workplace safety in construction and the oil & gas industry. Martin Walker Law has long been a proponent of increased safety precautions in the oil & gas industry, and that is why we are taking an interest in this safety summit.
The first session will be Wednesday, September 21st from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM at the Holiday Inn on South Broadway. If you are interested in attending, RSVP at Work Safe, Texas no later than Friday, September 16th. For more details on this workplace safety summit, visit Texas Mutual's Safety Issues in the Tyler Area page.

Swimming Pool Safety

Summer is here. That means it’s time to hit the pools. It also means it is time to think about pool safety.
According to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, June and July have historically been the two worst months for drowning deaths in the state of Texas. Already, some 47 children have drowned this year, and that number is likely to rise into the 70’s before the year’s end. Not many realize it, but drowning is the leading cause of death of children age 4 years and younger.
There are a number of things you can do to help keep swimming pools safe for yourself and others:

  • While at a pool, keep an eye on children at all times. Just because a child has floaties or knows how to swim does not mean they can be left unattended.
  • Before anyone begins swimming, check to make sure the pool has ready to use safety equipment, that the pool’s cover is completely removed, and that the pool’s drains are properly covered.
  • Also make sure that pool water is clean and clear. Some pool chemicals can be dangerous and murky water can be a sign of improper pool maintenance or a broken cleaning system.
  • When swimming at night, check to make sure that the pool is properly lit, and be wary if the pool’s lights do not work as expected since they could pose an electrocution risk if there is a leak or electrical short.
  • Finally, be sure that any pool you swim at or own has proper safety fencing and that its gates automatically close. Never prop a pool gate open for any reason.

At Martin Walker Law, we understand how devastating a drowning accident can be and can answer any legal questions you, or someone you know, might have about swimming pool accidents. You can contact us by phone at (903) 526-1600, by email at, or by visiting our Contact Page.

Tough Times for Oilfield Workers

Tough Times for Oilfield Workers

Times have been tough for the oil industry the last few years. Following the development of new technologies that allowed companies to extract oil from previously unreachable places, the price of that oil has now dropped some 60 – 70%. Suddenly, investments that looked like sure things were leading to massive layoffs and a long string of bankruptcies. In Texas alone, over 84,000 oil workers have lost their jobs since the oil bust in 2015. Additionally, 21 Texas oil companies have filed for bankruptcy in 2016 alone. The number comes to 63 or more since 2015. One can’t help feel for all those that have lost their jobs in the last few years, but there is a second group of oil field workers that we need to be concerned about: The ones still on the job.
As workers get laid off and companies go out of business, those still on the job face the prospects of reduced pay, longer hours, tougher working conditions, and, sometimes, a drive to cut “unnecessary costs” like routine equipment checks or more stringent safety procedures. The problem, of course, is those “unnecessary costs” often are necessary. And when something goes wrong, the company that has already been cutting its costs wherever it can is not usually going to be the first to step up to help.
Unfortunately, all too often, oil companies are set up from the beginning to deflect blame and limit their liability in cases of an accident or mishap. In the worst cases, instead of doing all they can to help, oil companies will try and insulate themselves from blame with teams of lawyers and confusing work agreements. What can an oil field worker, especially one who has already been injured on the job, do against that?
If you’ve been injured as part of an oil field accident, one of the best things you can do is find a law firm in your area who knows the challenges of working in the oil and gas industry. One who will focus on your case and is prepared to take it all the way to trial.
In Tyler Texas, Martin Walker Law is that firm. We have handled numerous oil and gas cases and give each and every case the personalized attention it deserves. If you or a loved one have been injured in an oilfield accident contact us today.

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.