Friday, September 9, 2011

Woman Dies After Inhaling Toxic Fumes at Ga. McDonald's

An 80-year-old woman died after inhaling toxic fumes believed to have originated from a mixture of chemicals used to clean the bathroom at a McDonald's in Pooler, Georgia, investigators said. Anne Felton, who was found unconscious in the restroom of McDonald's on Wednesday, died at a local hospital on Thursday. An autopsy is being performed to identify the chemicals that the woman inhaled.

Eight other people, including three firefighters attempting to rescue victims, were hospitalized after breathing in the toxic fumes. One woman remains hospitalized. All other victims were treated and released.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into the cause of the contamination.

For more information on wrongful death lawsuits, contact Caruso Law Offices, P.C. at 505-883-5000.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Much is Pain and Suffering Worth in Albuquerque, New Mexico?

One of the most common questions I'm asked by clients is, "How much is my pain and suffering worth under New Mexico law?" 

By:  Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)
My response is always that I quantify pain and suffering using the facts of each case. I have been an attorney for 31 years.  During that time I have exclusively handled personal injury and wrongful death claims.  I worked as an insurance company attorney for a part of that time.  So, I will give you my own analysis. 

The purpose of compensation for pain and suffering is to compensate you for what you have been thru because of the accident that caused your injuries. 

This not only includes the physical pain, but also includes the psychological effects, the stress, the time at the physician's office, the effect on your lifestyle and hobbies, and basically how the accident has affected you as a person. 

The amount of the medical bills does not always dictate the amount of pain and suffering. 

Clearly, victims with broken ribs or bones have less medical bills but have much higher pain and suffering than soft tissue cases.  Soft tissue cases usually have higher medical bills, because treatment is more intensive, while broken bones can usually be casted and left without alot of follow up care. Also, not much can be done to treat broken ribs.
Based on my experience of almost 30 years of handling personal injury cases, I believe that the pain and suffering for soft tissue cases are worth about 3 times the reasonable and necessary medical bills.  In addition, there should be compensation for  lost earnings,  future medicals and permanent impairment.  I believe that broken bone cases are worth about 7  times the medical bills. 

Arbitrators in Albuquerque have been typically awarding 3 times the medical bills in court mandated arbitrations in Bernalillo County.  Juries are much more inpradictable.

 It is extremely important that injured patients communicate to their health care providers all of their pain and  suffering and carefully describe how the injuries have affected them.  If they don't communicate pain and suffering to their health care providers, they will have a much more difficult time getting 3 times the reasonable and necessary medical bills. 
Health care providers won't fabricate complaints and symptoms of pain and suffering, so if there are no complaints by the injured patient they will have nothing documented by the health care provider. Picture it this way.  You need to give the doctor the ammunition for your gun.  They need you to feed them the information so they can document your complaints. 

It is more difficult for men to communicate pain and suffering to their doctor.

The reason is that most men find it more difficult to complain about their pain.  Men are macho, and it may be considered a sign of weakness to complain of pain.  Nevertheless, men must report the pain to their doctor to get full value for their pain and suffering.
Insurance company adjusters and their attorneys, judges, arbitrators and jurors will carefully read the medical records written by the health care provider.  If no pain and suffering is mentioned, don't expect a large amount of  pain and suffering.


A personal diary of how the injuries have affected you is also helpful. 

The diary can track specific instances an dates of pain and suffering.  The diary should include names of people who witnessed the discomfort and the degree of discomfort.  The diary can also be read by the decision maker in determining how the injuries affected your daily life.
 Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury and wrongful death claims.    Caruso Law Offices has two locations in Albuquerque to serve its clients--Northeast Heights and Westside. Mr. Caruso will also meet you at your home, work or hospital on weekends and after-hours.

For a FREE consultation you can contact Mark Caruso at the Northeast Heights Office (Montgomery & Carlisle) at 505-883-5000 or his Westside Office (Coors NW and I-40) at 505-369-1361.

Your consultation will be with Mark Caruso, not a legal assistant or paralegal.  He will give you a confidential and honest evaluation of your claim, discuss medical treatment and explain Caruso Law Offices'    discounted 29% contingency attorney fee on all pesonal injury and wrongful death claims.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "Personality" of the Albuquerque Insurance Claims Office

How will the insurance adjuster evaluate my injuries from a New Mexico car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident or collision?  Former insurance company attorney Mark Caruso gives you their secrets.

By: Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)
        As a former insurance company attorney I got to learn the personality of the various insurance companies.  Yes, that's right....personality.  When I talk about their personality, I mean their attitude, character and likeability.  Some insurance companies are, quite frankly, easier to deal with than other insurance companies.  Some insurance companies just don't care if you file a lawsuit against their insured.  Other insurance companies will do whatever it takes to settle the case.

          Here are some examples, as they apply to Albuquerque.

          Progressive Insurance is one of the only insurance companies with adjusters based in New Mexico with claims adjusters that are actually New Mexico residents.  These adjusters are easy to talk to, understand New Mexico culture and really show an interest in trying to be fair to fellow New Mexicans in the valuation of cases.  Progressive adjusters will often meet with our lawyers and our clients to get a real feel for the client and their claim.  The handling of claims is more personalized, and there is a good liklihood that the claim will settle without a lawsuit.

          Allstate, on the other hand, is now completely based in Dallas, Texas. There is no  claims office in New Mexico.   Their claims adjuster's attitude is, well, no better way to describe it but "Texan".  The adjusters know little about New Mexico, and they never pronounce  our Spanish names the right way.  It often seems like the client is only a "claim number" rather than an actual person. They tend to make very low offers of settlment, don't want to personalize the claim and really appear not to care if the lawyer needs to file a lawsuit against their insured.  That's why most claims against Allstate require a lawsuit to get the client the full value of their claim.

         There are dozens of insurance companies selling insurance in New Mexico.  State Farm, Farmers, Geico, Progressive, USAA, Fred Loya, Young America, Nevada General, Hartford and AAA are among the largest.  Each has its own personality and attitude when evaluating cases.

         Caruso Law Offices, PC has been handling car accident cases against these insurance companies and others since 1987.  Understanding their personalities is extremely important in knowing how to get our clients the most money possible.  Each claims adjuster has their own likes and dislikes, and each has a certain way they like to evaluate their cases.  Some insurance companies pay extra when a Medical Doctor is involved in the case, and others substantially increase the amount when there is an ambulance. The differences are endless.

         Attorney  Mark Caruso used to work for the insurance companies before he began working for victims of personal injuries.  As a former insurance company attorney he knows the ins and outs of the insurance claims business.  That's why doctors, other attorneys, body shops and even insurance agents refer to Mark Caruso to handle their car accident claims. 

         If you have an auto accident call attorney Mark Caruso for a free consultation.  You will meet with an attorney, not a legal secretary.  We have two offices to serve you...Our Northeast Heights main office is located at 4302 Carlisle NE (Montgomery & Carlisle)  phone is 505-883-5000.   Our West Side satellite office is located at 2929 Coors NW  Suite 310, (Coors & I-40) phone is 505-369-1361.  

          We look forward to hearing from you. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Study: Mobile Devices in Albuquerque, New Mexico Create Biggest Driver Distractions

Cell phones are major cause of auto and truck accidents in Albuquerque.  Don't talk or text while you are driving.

By Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)
A recently released study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that cell phones and other mobile devices cause nearly 25 percent of U.S. car crashes each year. The GHSA, a nonprofit group that focuses on improved traffic safety, evaluated more than 350 scientific papers on distracted driving that have been published since 2000.

The study found that drivers are distracted nearly 50 percent of the time while operating a vehicle and that the use of a cell phone or other mobile device while driving caused a significant increase in the risk of crashing.

In 2009, there were almost 5,500 deaths and 500,000 injuries that resulted from distracted driving crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 
The GHSA suggested state safety measures, such as a complete ban on cell phone use for novice drivers and a texting ban for all drivers.

For more information on auto accident cases, contact Caruso Law Offices, P.C. at 505-883-5000 or see our website at

Lawsuit: GM Concealed Defect in 2007-2008 Impalas

A Pennsylvania woman is suing General Motors Co., claiming the U.S. auto manufacturer should be forced to repair a rear-end defect it concealed from owners of more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impalas.

The lawsuit claims defective rear-wheel spindle rods on the 2007-2008 models of Chevrolet Impala vehicles may cause the tires to prematurely wear out.

In 2008, GM instructed dealers to replace the rear spindle rods on 24,000 Impalas that had been sold to police departments throughout the nation.

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, alleges GM should also be compelled to repair Impalas that were purchased by over 400,000 consumers during the same time period.

Donna Trusky, who filed the lawsuit, purchased an Impala in February 2008, but had to replace the tires after only 6,000 miles. The dealer that paid to replace Trusky's rear tires failed to mention the potential problem with the rear spindle rods. The rear tires had to be replaced again when the vehicle had only 24,000 miles. The suit claims GM concealed the existence of the defect from all class members, particularly those who took their Impala vehicles to dealers for repairs.

For more information on defective products cases, contact Caruso Law Offices, P.C. at 505-883-5000 or contact us at

Friday, June 10, 2011

Albuquerque Insurance Claims Adjusters Get Tougher on Claim Evaluations--New Mexico

Albuquerque insurance adjusters get tough on personal injury claims.

By Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

Insurance Claims Adjusters who routinely handle personal injury claims from car accidents are getting tougher in paying claims.  The result may be the opposite of what the claims adjusters intended.  More and more personal injury claimants are hiring attorneys to represent them.  The claim costs the insurance company more money the moment a claimant gets an attorney.  Getting tougher on personal injury claim evaluations will cost the insurance company more money in the long run.

"A greater percentage of claimants are getting attorneys to represent them in their personal injury claims, and this is costing insurance companies more money in the long run," says Albuquerque attorney Mark J. Caruso.  Caruso is among a growing number of attorneys who only handle personal injury claims.  As a former insurance company attorney, Caruso knows both sides of the claim. "I used to represent insurance companies, but now I only represent claimants against insurance companies."

Clients who have successfully used Caruso as their attorney note that it was advantageous to have an attorney who knew the strategies of the insurance adjusters and their attorneys.  Attorneys who have battled Caruso in cases note that he knows the ins and outs of the personal injury claim, and he is extremely knowledgeable and prepared for battle. He is licensed in both California and New Mexico and has been practicing law for 28 years.

Caruso has two offices in Albuquerque, but travels statewide representing claimants.  His Albuquerque offices are located in the Northeast Heights near Montgomery and Carlisle and in the Northwest near I-40 and Coors.  He can be contacted at 505-883-5000 or toll free at 800-657-9292.  The website is