Hugh Howerton, Houston Personal Injury Lawyer

Hugh Howerton, Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Houston personal injury lawyer Hugh Howerton specializes vehicle accidents and offshore maritime injury cases. Voted TOP 100 Texas trial lawyers.
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Houston personal injury lawyer Hugh Howerton is a trial lawyer specializing in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases

Houston personal injury lawyer Hugh Howerton is a trial lawyer specializing in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases

Mission: Helping people rebuild their lives after a serious injury

Operating as usual

Hugh Howerton, Houston Personal Injury Lawyer's cover photo
11/12/2018

Hugh Howerton, Houston Personal Injury Lawyer's cover photo

How To Escape From A Helicopter After A CrashOne of the greatest risks of dying for offshore workers is the helicopter r...
10/18/2018
How to Survive A Helicopter Crash

How To Escape From A Helicopter After A Crash

One of the greatest risks of dying for offshore workers is the helicopter ride. Helicopter crashes make up nearly 39% of all offshore rig deaths. But you got to get to work so learn to protect yourself.

If you were lucky enough to get to take a class at helicopter escape school I hope you payed attention. The skills you learned can literally save your life. This information is taken from articles I found on the internet. Don’t just trust me. Do your own research and if possible, take a real two-day class called Dunker Training.

HOW TO ESCAPE 101

1. Identify your exit path
2. Push out the panel
3. Grab the exit pathway with one hand while opening the buckle of your seat belt with the other.
4. Pull yourself free

IT SHOULD TAKE ABOUT 20 SECONDS AFTER CRASH FOR YOU TO EXIT

If everything goes smooth it should take you about 20 seconds to exit. As soon as the crash happens you NEED TO MOVE. It may be dark, you maybe upside down and scared BUT YOU NEED TO MOVE. The helicopter might be sinking.

WHICH SEAT TO PICK
Pick the seat right next to the emergency exit

WHEN YOU GET IN THE HELICOPTER LOOK FOR EXITS AND EXIT HANDLES

The exit is your way out of the helicopter before you drown. Look for the exit closest too you. Then look for all the exits. Remember the exit closest to you might be jammed in the crash so you need to know how to find all the exits with your eyes closed. Next look for the exit handles. When you take your seat use one of your body parts as a landmark to find the exits and exit handles. It can be your hip or knee. Now, pay attention to the angle of your arm as you move towards the handle from our hip. Is it straight out or at an angle? Can you find the handle or latch with your eyes closed?

PREPARING TO CRASH

Avoid Panic
It’s going to be scary. Don’t freak out. Two or three seconds of panic can kill, but one or two seconds of thinking can save you. Expect water to go up your nose if you flip upside down.

HOW TO BRACE FOR IMPACT

You have to memorize this drill

1. Tighten the straps of your 4-point harness
2. Cross your arms to grip a shoulder-belt in each hand
3. Leave a pocket between your arms to tuck your head.
4. Do Not tuck your legs under the seat. Keep them flat on the floor. In a crash it can break your legs or trap them under the broken seat

A helicopter crash will slam you back and forth so you can hurt your neck, knees, back, feet and arms. But with a good brace you can take a lot of impact

5. Keep Your Thumbs Free

When you grab the shoulder harness keep your thumbs pointed up and free. Do not lock them around the shoulder straps. A violent impact will dislocate your thumbs and getting out alive likely requires you to use your thumbs

IMPACT!!!!

RIGHT AFTER THE CRASH

At impact there’s an instant of panic. You want to fight for air and grab something. Calm down. Count to 3-4

KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED

A real crash could happen at night, or the cabin could be murky with floating debris, or leaking fuel and hydraulic fluid which can blind you.

Emergency lights are no guarantee of clear vision either: Those, along with a curtain of bubbles from the sinking aircraft, can obscure the exits.

DON’T RELEASE YOUR SEAT BELT TOO EARLY

If you freak out and release your seat belt too early you will float free in the helicopter. This can make you lose track or where your exits are.

It’s best if you keep your eyes closed underwater,” “If they’re open, you just get bad information which can cause you to make the wrong choice

HOW TO GET OUT

Use one hand to locate the frame of the exit window
Use one hand to release the seat belt
Push the door out of the way
Leave hand over hand

Sounds simple right? It’s not. Once the crash happens you need to find out where you are in the wreckage. Your first immediate reference point will be the location of your own butt. Has the crash changed the structure and shape of where you are sitting in relation to the exit door? Can you reach it?

Now you will need to move your reference point from your butt to establish a new reference point. This will be your hand nearest to exit you just found. Grab with this reference hand onto whatever may be there — the door frame, the remaining seat structure next to you, — and do not let go of it with that hand.

This reference hand has now become your pointer hand to survival!

Once you have this reference-hand escape route established, with your free hand, and only your free hand (do not let go of your reference hand), release your seatbelt.

You now have your escape route from this helicopter marked with your reference hand.

Due to fire or possibly in coming rushing water, do you have the time to assist others, or do you need to exit immediately?

If you decide to do so and assist others, still do not let go of your reference hand until you are half-way out of the aircraft.

WHAT IF YOUR CLOSEST EXIT WINDOW IS JAMMED

Unbuckle your seat belt
Cross to the opposite side of the cabin and find an exit
Never let go of all reference points
Move crabwise. Move seat to seat with your feet on the deck if you can.

USE YOUR HELMET TO FIND WHICH WAY IS UP
Your helmet has a foam lining. Their buoyancy will lead you up

GET FREE OF THE HELICOPTER
Once you are free of the wreckage, due to the possibilities of a post-crash explosion, fire, or rolling, you should move clear to your safety zone. This is a safe distance away from the crash site, and there make decisions on what will be needed to be done next.
Stay safe out there!
I hope you never need me.

Specialized—and terrifying—training helps passengers prepare for the worst.

10/10/2018

#1 CAUSE OF OFFSHORE OIL & GAS WORKER FATALITIES

Hi to everyone working offshore. Hope you're staying safe.

The government keeps records on the cause of deaths among offshore oil and gas workers. Between 2003-2010 there were a total of 128 deaths.

Can you guess the number one cause of offshore worker deaths? It was not from falls. It was not from fire or explosions.

It was the helicopter ride.

Over 50% of all fatalities were caused by “transportation events. Helicopter crashes made up 38.3% of all fatalities. Water vehicle accidents made up 12.5% of all deaths.

Here is the full list

Transportation events (All involved helicopters) 65
(50.8%)

Aircraft events* 49 (38.3%)

Water vehicle events 16 (12.5%)

Contact with objects and equipment 21 (16.4%)

Fires and explosions 17 (13.3%)

Exposure to harmful substances/environments 16 (12.5%)

Other event types 9
(7.0%)

Total 128 (100%)

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

CAUSES OF HELICOPTER CRASHES

Between 1983-2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recorded a total of 178 helicopter crashes related to oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

There was an average of 6.6 crashes per year. The crashes resulted in a total of 139 fatalities, including 41 pilots.
#1 Mechanical failure was the most common reason
#2 Bad weather led to 29 crashes (16%),
#3 Pilot error was cited by the NTSB in 83 crashes (47%).
#4 After crashes or emergency landings on water, 15 helicopters sank when flotation devices were not activated automatically or by pilots.

MECHANICAL FAILURE

The main reason for helicopters crashing was loss of engine power. This happened in 31% of fatal crashes and 71% of nonfatal crashes

The second most common failure involved the tail rotor or the tail rotor driveshaft, occurring in 23% of cases of mechanical failure.


The third most common factor was the helicopter or one of its rotors striking something on the landing platform (19 cases, 11%). Most commonly, the tail rotor struck a safety fence on approach or takeoff.

The fourth most common factor was loss of control of the aircraft by These crashes occurred under a variety of circumstances, and often involved the pilot’s inattention or poor decision-making.

PILOT ERROR

Poor decision-making was the most prevalent pilot error (39%) and included such decisions to visually fly when instruments were called for.

Pilots also neglected to check the weather, choosing to start a helicopter in wind gusts exceeding the capability of the helicopter or making a downwind or crosswind approach in high or gusting wind conditions.

The second most prevalent category of pilot error (22%) was that the pilot misjudged altitude or clearance from an object. There were 14 cases (17%) that involved the pilot applying the wrong control input such as failing to maintain proper rotor speed, or making abrupt inputs with the cyclic or collective, leading to loss of control.

Improper preflight checks by the pilot were involved in 12 cases; in 8 of these cases the pilot failed to ensure that all tie-downs had been released prior to takeoff.

Anyway, there you have it.

Stay safe out there!

10/03/2018

Secrets Oil Companies Don’t Tell You About Offshore Accident Lawsuits.

10/02/2018

Secrets About Offshore Worker Accidents That Oil Companies Don't Tell You

Hi, this is Hugh Howerton. I’ve been an injury lawyer representing workers for 30 years. I laugh at lawyer ads. “I’m the best” or I’m the toughest” or “I’m a Pit Bull” Huh?

Many like to brag about themselves. Who cares?

Here’s the FIRST SECRET

It’s not smooth-talking lawyers that convince an oil company to pay a big settlement. It’s one thing.

It’s the FACTS of the case.

If the facts prove the oil company at fault for the accident AND the injury is serious THEN the oil company gets motivated to settle the case ... BUT

Here’s the SECOND SECRET

If you get hurt offshore, the oil company will not want to offer you a fair settlement. They are in the business of making money not being fair.

The less money they have to pay you the more money they make. Period.

Your case to them is just an expense.

THE LAWYER

The lawyer works for you. Some forget that. It’s not about them. It’s about you.

Uncovering the facts of how an accident happened, who was at fault and how it could have prevented is the lawyers first job.

If they don’t know how to do that then you got stuck with the wrong lawyer.

The second job of your lawyer is to uncover the facts of how every way possible your injury has affected your life and will affect your life in the future. That will take some hard work to do it right.

Your lawyer must press HARD to uncover all these facts as fast as they can.
The faster the better. You can’t get the risk management department interested in settling with you until you show the facts that convinces them it’s better to settle than take the risk of a jury trial

When an oil company is shown the bad facts against them and how serious the injury is ….that’s when they start thinking about writing a big settlement check.

HOW THE LAW WORKS

If I represent a widow or a seriously injured worker I try to get a lawsuit filed as soon as possible. By doing so, I got more legal tools available to me to help my client.

There are documents, statements, accident investigation reports and e-mails the oil company must give me after a lawsuit is filed which they can keep from me before a lawsuit is filed. I can subpoena witnesses once a lawsuit is filed.

I don’t wait around hoping the oil company will throw so settlement my client’s way. You can only negotiate later through a position of strength.

The filing of a lawsuit also sets the case for trial. That’s the date that gets the oil company’s attention. Trial day is Judgment day and Judgment day is scary and motivating…even for oil companies.

After the lawsuit, the first thing to be done is each side will send the other a set of questions to answer and a list of documents to turn over. Looking through thousands of pages of documents is no fun BUT paper trails can prove many things.

After that depositions are taken. That’s where a witness is asked questions by both sides. There is a court reporter that takes down everything that is said and usually the whole thing is videotaped. The witnesses can include people who saw the accident, corporate representative that are responsible for safety, doctors and expert witnesses

After the depositions are all done the case goes to mediation. That is where both sides go to a neutral lawyer’s office to try to get the case settled. The mediator is not a judge so they don’t have the power to force you to take a settlement or force the oil company to pay money they don’t want to pay.

Actually, it is a boring, crazy and sometimes good way to settle your case. Basically, the two sides go to separate offices at the mediator’s place. Then the mediator goes back and forth between the two rooms relaying offers of settlement until they reach a number everyone can agree. If they don’t reach an agreement then everyone just packs up and goes home.

You think they would come up with a better way but that is how it’s done.

Here’s the THIRD SECRET

The longer you tell them NO to their settlement offers the better chance they will pay you more in the end. Not always, but my experience has shown that to be true. Good lawyers know this.

This means both you and your lawyer are going to have to have some guts and balls.

It’s not going to be easy saying no. It’s going to be scary.

The oil company may offer you a little settlement at the very beginning, then a little more at mediation, then likely the most money just as you start the trial.

It’s the fear that a jury will be really pissed off at the oil company and do something crazy that makes big oil write big settlement checks.

See no one really know what a particular jury will do. You can guess what they should do but you never really know.

It’s this fear of the unknown that motivates everyone to settle a case. About 95% of all injury and wrongful death cases do settle.

Anyway, there you have it.

Stay safe out there!
I hope you never need me. I’ll be here for you if you do

Hugh Howerton
(877) 984-9848

09/13/2018
static.nhtsa.gov

Hey 2015 Chevy, GMC and Cadillac pickup & SUV Owners

GM is recalling nearly 1 million vehicles for steering problems.

Go get your free repair at the dealer.

The problem may cause difficulty steering the vehicle, especially at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash,

GM dealers will update the power steering module software, free of charge for owners of the affected vehicles.

STATE FARM PAYS $250 MILLION DOLLARS TO SETTLE LAWSUIT IT CLAIMS IS "WITHOUT MERIT"DO YOU BELIEVE THEM?
09/11/2018
Behind $250 million State Farm settlement, a wild tale of dark...

STATE FARM PAYS $250 MILLION DOLLARS TO SETTLE LAWSUIT IT CLAIMS IS "WITHOUT MERIT"

DO YOU BELIEVE THEM?

The biggest difference between a John Grisham novel and the allegations in a racketeering class action State Farm settled Tuesday for $250 million is that Grisham would have had the insurance company buy off a state Supreme Court candidate with a briefcase full of cash.

11/01/2017

C’MON Astros! You can win the World Series!

10/31/2017

Go Astros!!

Well between depositions and the usual paper war we are still trying to find this pup's owner. Not having any luck but m...
10/19/2017

Well between depositions and the usual paper war we are still trying to find this pup's owner. Not having any luck but my better half is getting very attached to him. He's with me while she is at work. Guess he is settling in as well.

10/11/2017

Well after two weeks dog sitting a lost Husky we were able to find his true owner! I will miss that Pup but so happy we could get him back to his family.

10/05/2017

My prayers to those harmed in Las Vegas, Houston, Puerto Rico, Mexico City, Florida Keys, Barbuda, Virgin Islands, St Croix, St John.

09/11/2017

I remember the innocent and brave lost on this day.

08/31/2017

Through the misery our city is seeing I have witnessed so many acts of kindness by fellow Houstonians. Heroes that never make the news. From rescuing stranded people by boats, helping friends and strangers in need to giving of their money, time and energy.

Yes, there are bad people but there are so many more good.

I know you know this sucker punch will take months if not years for us Houstonians to recover. I urge you to give and keep giving.

Add to my hero list cause I know you have seen them out there.
Jim Gubera
Cristina Rose at Kroger
Perry & Harriett Zivley
Stephanie Howerton
Jay First & Sue Chin
Tineke Berends & Nienke Sexton
Alistair & Cara Cullen
Bobby Rivers
Juan Aguilar
Jill at Kroger
All the people I don't know but saw helping

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(713) 984-9848

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Hugh Howerton is a personal injury lawyer who specializes in vehicle accidents, offshore maritime accidents and product liability. Voted one of the TOP 100 Texas trial lawyers Hugh is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. Hugh has been an accident lawyer since 1987 and is proud to serve the people of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

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