Two killed, dozens injured in tragic Thanksgiving Day pile-up on 1-10

A massive multi-car pile up on Thanksgiving morning left two dead and 80 people injured on 1-10, just southwest of Beaumont, Texas. Law enforcement officers and Texas DPS officials say that heavy morning fog and holiday traffic led to a chain-reaction collision that caused serious injuries and extensive property damage for those involved.

On behalf of the entire Williams Kherkher family, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to those involved. As members of the Houston/Beaumont community, we wish our neighbors a speedy and full recovery. Whenever a serious accident occurs, it is important to think of the individual struggles that families often go through following a serious accident. Physical injury, emotional suffering, and extensive financial costs can linger long after the accident is over.

Unfortunately, individuals who are involved in a serious accident often encounter trouble with their insurance companies following the incident. Valid claims are often denied, or policyholders may find that their insurance company will choose to underestimate the true value of their claim. When the company you entrusted to protect you and your family fails to properly compensate you following a tragic event, it is important to have an experienced law firm on your side.

At Williams Kherkher, we have dedicated our lives to helping individuals who have been harmed by an adverse event, and it is our mission to stand up for those who have been wronged. We have the experience and resources to help individuals fight against large corporations, whether they are giant tobacco companies, big pharmaceutical manufacturers, or major insurance companies. In the aftermath of an accident, you do not need to worry about the costs of bringing a lawsuit against a major insurer. Instead, it is our wish that you focus on the health of you and your family. If you need experienced legal representation following an accident like the Thanksgiving Day pile-up in Beaumont, contact an experienced lawyer of Williams Kherkher to discuss your legal options.

To those who were injured, our thoughts are with you and your families. For the rest of our neighbors in Houston, Beaumont, and beyond, we wish you a safe and happy holiday.

 


Oil Rig Explosion in Gulf Coast

An oil and gas rig operated by Black Elk Energy Co. in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast line, exploded into flames on November 16, 2012. The incident occurred during what the Louisiana governor’s office described as a maintenance operation, and reports indicate that no oil has so far been spilled into the Gulf as a result of the incident.

According to early reports from KHOU-TV, four people who were on the platform at the time of the explosion had to be airlifted off the rig for treatment and two remain missing following the accident. Additionally, some sources have reported that there were two deaths, but the Coast Guard has not been able to confirm this. No further details have been provided at this time, as an investigation of the cause of the accident and extent of damages has yet to be concluded.

It is our sincere hope that those who did suffer injury will make a full recovery. Our thoughts go out to the victims of this incident and their families.


Workers Harmed in Conroe Gas Explosion

Earlier today, an explosion occurred at an Amerigas Cylinder Exchange Facility in Conroe, Texas, which is reported to have caused six or more people to suffer from burns and possibly other injuries, according to Life Flight officials and as reported by ABC 13.

While the  origins of the explosion have yet to be confirmed, officials with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office have confirmed that the explosion occurred at 12:25 p.m. and injured a number of people.

Being involved in an explosion can cause a person to sustain severe and life-threatening injuries. When these accidents are the result of someone’s negligence, victims may be able to pursue compensation for their losses. To learn more, contact the Houston explosion lawyers of Williams Kherkher at (888) 220-0640 to discuss possibly taking legal action.


John Eddie Williams, Jr., Named Baylor University Alumnus of the Year

Baylor University recently awarded the 2012-13 Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Awards–Alumnus of the Year award to Williams Kherkher’s managing partner John Eddie Williams, Jr.

Williams, both an undergraduate and law school graduate from Baylor University,  began his studies at the school in 1972. At Baylor, Williams became both a celebrated athlete and academic as a member of the Baylor football team and as editor-in-chief at the Baylor Law Review. He also achieved high academic success graduating first in his law school class.

As a proud alumnus of Baylor University, Williams is proud to see the University growing to its potential and emerging as a leading school in the state of Texas with both additions to their athletic program and other contributions to their academic programs. If you would like to learn more about Williams’ life at and contributions to Baylor, as well as his work as a Houston personal injury lawyer at Williams Kherkher since graduating, read more here.


Hurricane Sandy and Insurance Claims

Hurricane Sandy, or “Frankenstorm” as some have dubbed it, has barely passed, and already many are estimating that the damages from the storm could cost businesses and homeowners as much as $20 billion. Fortunately, for most of those who have seen their property damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, insurance claims may help to relieve much of the burden posed by these damages. However, getting these claims honored is not always as simple of a process as it should be.

Those who have just been through this disaster deserve to be treated with respect and fairness. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are more concerned with limiting their liability than making sure that their customers get the compensation to which they are entitled. In these circumstances, the assistance of a qualified Hurricane Sandy insurance claims lawyer can be essential to helping those most in need get their due.

At Williams Kherkher, our experienced legal team fights to ensure that all of our clients get the treatment they deserve during difficult times. If you or someone you know has suffered damages from Hurricane Sandy but your insurance company is refusing to give you the compensation you need, we can help. Contact our Hurricane Sandy insurance claims lawyers today at (888) 220-0640 to learn more about what we may be able to do for you.


Texas City Fuel Fire at a BP Refinery

Earlier today, a BP spokesman and officials from Texas City reported that a fire broke out in a residual hydro treater unit at the oil company’s refinery in Texas City.

While no cause has yet been discovered for the fire and the fire was still being dealt with around 2:30 p.m., about an hour after the initial report of the fire, no refinery workers are reported as missing or trapped in the building. At the time of the report, there were also no injuries reported.

Fortunately, the workers at this BP refinery were able to escape physical injury; however, fires and explosions can be devastating accidents in which many people can sustain serious injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered harm in a similar situation or due to a fire that occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, call a Houston personal injury lawyer from Williams Kherkher at (888) 220-0640 to discuss your legal options.


2 Attorneys from Williams Kherkher Selected as Super Lawyers 2013 Rising Stars

The legal team at Williams Kherkher is very proud to announce that two of our own lawyers, Sejal Brahmbhatt and Margret Lecocke, have been selected as Super Lawyers 2013 Rising Stars, a prestigious title awarded only to attorneys who have been recognized as outstanding in their field of practice.

Each year Super Lawyers, an attorney rating system that distinguishes preeminent lawyers in a variety of practice areas based on peer recommendations and a strict ratings system, chooses from a pool of nominated lawyers to select those lawyers who are considered to be the best in their fields. Of all those chosen each year, only about 2.5% of all lawyers in a state receive the title of “Rising Star”.

After being nominated by their peers, the attorneys are run through a rigorous evaluation process based on twelve areas of achievement and peer recognition, such as experience, representative clients, and honors or awards. Based on this, candidates are awarded points, and those with the highest points review and rate other nominees from their own practice area. Finally, those attorneys who have the highest number of points at the end of this process are selected as Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars.

Having not one, but two Super Lawyers 2013 Rising Stars on our team is a high honor, and the team at Williams Kherkher congratulates Brahmbhatt and Lecocke for their accomplishments.


Houston Charities Provide Opportunities for Locals to Get Involved

At Williams Kherkher, we are proud to do our part in giving back to the local community in any way we can, from hosting community blood drives to donating time and resources to the Houston Police Department and Police Officers Union.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in the second annual Houston Walk for Mental Health, which helped to raise money and awareness for Houston-area mental health services. This walk is an incredible event that over 300 people participated in this year, and benefits close to 20 valuable mental health agencies in the Houston area. In addition to taking part in this important event, I became a sustaining member of Houston Public Radio, providing monthly financial assistance to ensure that quality radio programming remains available for all Houston residents. Houston Public Radio relies on listener support to fund operations, providing an incredible opportunity for listeners to connect with and help support this valuable station.


Williams Kherkher Hosts First CLE

On Wednesday, October 12, 2012, Williams Kherkher Law Firm hosted their first CLE. This three hour free Continuing Legal Education seminar included entertaining and educational information on a variety of legal topics. Presentations included Opening Statements: Show the Movie, Forget the Credits, Personal Injury (Jim Hart / Steve Kherkher), Pharmaceutical Update (Margret Lecocke / Sejal Brahmbhatt), Internet for Lawyers (Joe Devine), Ethics (Harry Potter), and Appellate Law (Richard Hogan). Speakers at the event included attorneys with Williams Kherkher Law Firm, other attorneys in the Houston area, and professionals from other related fields.


It’s Your Right-To-Know

You have the right-to-know of any dangerous or hazardous chemicals that you may be working with or around in your current occupation. Being a safe worker involves more than just doing the right thing, watching out for yourself, and being well trained in hazardous response measures. It includes ensuring that your co-workers work safely, watch out for each other, and understand your employer’s hazardous response policies. A great training program will assist in making your place of employment a safer place. A component of that training program may include the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Your understanding of hazardous communications could save your life and the lives of many of your co-workers. The Hazard Communication Standard was designed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure that information about chemical hazards and the associated protective measures were properly disseminated by employers to employees. The standard provides you the right-to-know that hazards and identification of the chemicals that you are exposed to in your workplace. You want to have this information to be able to participate in your employer’s protective programs and to know what steps to take to protect yourself.

You should receive training. Employers must train employees at the time employees are assigned to work with a hazardous chemical. The training program must be a forum for explaining to employees the hazards of the chemicals in their work areas, as well as how to use the information generated in the hazard communication program. Training should be comprehensible and can be in categories of hazards (e.g., acutely toxic agents, carcinogens, sensitizers, etc.) that may be encountered by an employee during the course of their duties. Additional training may be required whenever a new physical or health hazard is introduced into the work, not necessarily a new chemical. The training provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard are not satisfied by an employer just giving an employee a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to read. You should be trained to be aware of work practices, measures used to protect your self and others, emergency procedures, and the personal protective equipment to be used. As an employee you should also know what a Material Safety Data Sheet is, know where they are located, have access to them, and be able to use the information provided to you in the Material Safety Data Sheet – which can save lives.

A Material Safety Data Sheet is a quick reference during hazardous response procedures. Hazard information must be transmitted on a Material Safety Data Sheet and must be distributed to the customer at the time of the first shipment of a potentially hazardous product. Although, Material Safety Data Sheet formats may vary, they are widely used to catalog information on chemicals, chemical compounds, and chemical mixtures. Pursuant to OSHA, a generic Material Safety Data Sheet must have minimum requirements, to include the name, address and telephone number of the responsible party preparing or distributing the Material Safety Data Sheet, who can provide additional information about the product or material. A Material Safety Data Sheet will include information such as physical data (e.g., flash point, boiling point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. It may even include information regarding the safe use of the specific product or material. The intended primary focus of a Material Safety Data Sheet is regarding the hazards of working with specific material in an occupational setting. As a convenience, Material Safety Data Sheets may be maintained on a computer by your employer. However, employees must have access to the computer in their work areas(s) for the employer to be in compliance with the standard.

You should ensure that your workplace has an effective Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Program. There are four (4) minimum components that any Hazard Communication Program should have, to include:

  1. A Written Plan. All workplaces where employees are exposed to hazardous chemicals must have a written plan that describes how the standard will be implemented in that facility;
  2. Use of Labels. All containers of hazardous chemicals must be labeled, tagged, or marked with the identity of the material and appropriate hazard warnings;
  3. Use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to obtain or develop an MSDS for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. Distributors are responsible for ensuring that their customers are provided a copy of theses MSDSs. Employers must have an MSDS for each hazardous chemical they use; and
  4. A Training Component. Each employee who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals when working must be provided information and trained prior to his or her initial assignment to work with a hazardous chemical, and whenever the hazard changes.

Hazard Communication is addressed in specific standards for general industry, shipyards, marine terminals, longshoring, and the construction industry.

If you and your co-workers have a good understanding of the Hazard Communications Standard (HCS), Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), and your employers’ Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) Program – you will save lives.

REMEMBER: Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Section 5(a)(2) requires employers to “comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.”


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