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motorcycle-picture In 2017, James Burton, an author for Worldatlas rated Texas as the third highest state, with a number of 443,856 registered motorcyclists. Many of these motorists choose to drive a motorcycle because of the purchase price compared to a four-door vehicle, affordable fuel costs, and the enjoyment of riding along on the motorcycle-friendly roads. The unfortunate factor of motorcycles, like unlike four-door cars, is they are more susceptible to experience a more serious vehicle accident. Motorists tend to use more speed on the roads to bypass traffic. Some motorists like to test their skills on the road, such as doing tricks while riding or zipping through lanes on the highway underestimating vehicles getting in their way. For example, earlier this summer a motorcycle driver died after a collision. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the motorcycle driver drove across three lanes colliding with another vehicle, and lastly, he hit a concrete barrier.

These accidents have the potential to be fatal because motorcycles lack the exterior steel frame, seat belts, and air bags. Since the motorist does not have these protections, they are more likely to experience serious injuries compared to the other driver involved. Some common injuries include extensive head/brain injuries, broken bones, burn marks from the pavement, and soft tissue injuries.

Regardless of the bias against motorcycles, they are not bad vehicles to invest in. However, there are some precautionary measures the riders should take into consideration as they are maneuvering through the roads, such as:

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teen-driver-picture August is the time of year children return to school. Many teenagers work all summer long to meet the requirements to receive a Texas driver’s license, so they can drive to school on their own. Although these young individuals might have met all of the requirements, they still lack the experience to maneuver through the fast pace of Texas roads. According to the Texas Department Transportation’s statistics, there were 211,803 car crashes of teen drivers who were younger than the age of 21 in 2017. 42,890 of those drivers were in accidents due to distractions, such as eating, drinking and/or focusing their attention to backseat passengers. 2,075 of those car crashes were a result of the teenager texting while driving. These statistics can be alarming for parents who know their teenagers are driving daily on busy highways and roads.

One way to reduce these horrifying statistics is to encourage parents to continuously remind their teen of safe driving tips; such as:

1. Millennials and Generation Z are the two generations who use cell phones. These two generations will not leave their destination without their phone on hand. However, cell phones are not entirely wrong, especially when parents need to get in touch with their child for specific reasons or emergency use. The problem with cell phone use is when the driver chooses to extend its use in the car by always choosing which song to play or responding to a message. It is encouraged for drivers to turn off their notifications on their phone. If the child has an iPhone turn the “Do Not Disturb” option on. This option silences calls, text messages, and notifications until the user turns it off.

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multi-car-collision-picture- Who’s at fault in a multiple vehicle collision?

Multiple vehicle car accidents can be one of the most dangerous collisions an individual can experience. These types of collisions can cause severe injuries to the parties involved. Some of the most common causes of multiple car accidents come from distracted drivers. Distracted drivers consist of people using their cell phone while driving, eating, or focusing their attention to the backseat passengers. Speeding is another well-known cause. People who are in a rush to get to another location tend to accelerate their speed as they drive reducing their ability to stop in time for traffic. Another common cause is weather. Inclement weather, such as fog or heavy rain cause drivers to have poor visibility on the roads. When an accident occurs due to one of these common causes the parties involved immediately question who’s at fault for the collision.

The question of who’s at fault is not always easily answered. In these situations, the parties involved tend to point the finger at each other. When liability is disputed, there are various factors to be taken into consideration.

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comparative-negligence-picture-I was hit in a car accident, but the other driver wants to blame me. Who’s at fault?

In the busy state of Texas, people are constantly going their own directions to get where they need to be. Many are in a rush to get to work, drop the kids off at school/day care, or arrive at an appointment on time. The craziness of everyone’s schedules can lead the driver to be negligent in some way, such as answering a phone call on their cell phone, or eating on the go. Along with many other common causes, these distractions can be one of the reasons why two drivers may be at fault for their collision. For example, a police officer gave one driver a ticket for speeding and gave a ticket to the other driver for reckless driving. This type of situation evolves into a comparative fault issue.

Depending on how the accident happened, it can become difficult to determine who caused the accident, which is how these cases can involve a Texas doctrine called comparative negligence. Section 33.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code refers to this concept as proportionate responsibility. When one party (plaintiff) brings a personal injury claim against another party (defendant), the jury will determine the percentage of negligence (if any) of each party based on the evidence presented to them.

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Bicycle-Accident-picture I may have a bicycle accident claim, what can I do?

Bicycle accidents happen frequently in the all areas of Texas, urban and rural, especially during the fall, spring, and summer. People participate in cycling either causally with their family and friends or competitively. Regardless of how people enjoy this activity, they are still obligated to follow the rules and regulations of the road set forth in Texas state law. Motorists often do not pay attention to cyclists who are riding small, unprotected, light-weight bicycles. This inattention to cyclists often result in accidents. Some common bicycle accidents occur when a motorist fails to stop at a red light or stop sign; or swerves into a cyclist’s lane, or simply ignores the presence of the cyclist and strikes them while passing. Clearly when a motorized vehicle comes in contact with a cyclist, there is potential for property and personal injury damages to the cyclist.

When an accident like this occurs, the cyclist may be unsure if they are able to maintain a claim against the careless person who may have caused the accident. Nevertheless, it is important to collect as much evidence as one can while at the scene of the accident, such as taking photos of the vehicle and bicycle involved, the accident scene, and the injuries caused from the accident. Also, it is helpful to get a police report, contact information of any witnesses and the parties involved. If the cyclist sustained is injured, it is recommended that they get medical treatment as soon as possible.

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Pre-litigation-process-picture- Pre-litigation Process

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is constantly busy with traffic. Unfortunately, traffic contributes to automobile accidents whether the traffic is stop-and-go or an individual not paying attention to their surroundings. Once an individual is hit by another vehicle, he or she may be concerned with their bodily pain or they are worried about the property damage. Either one of those concerns is suitable enough to seek an attorney to determine how to address those concerns. The hired attorney or law firm will begin the case in pre-litigation.

Pre-litigation starts with a law firm sending a letter of representation to the insurance company. This letter informs the insurance company you are filing a claim against the person or company who caused the accident. The letter will include the attorney’s contact information, a brief summarization of the facts of the case, and the injuries the individual suffered as a result of the accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, the attorney’s office will advise the individual to see a doctor to receive medical treatment for their suffered injuries. If the doctor determines the individual’s injuries are more extensive than the care the doctor can provide, the doctor may refer the person to a specialist. The attorney’s office will gather all of the medical bills to calculate the total cost of treatment and other costs that were incurred due to the accident. For example, some of the other costs could be lost wages, the total cost of out-of-pocket medical expenses, and pain and suffering. All of these costs will be exhibited on a summary of expense sheet created by the attorney’s office. The is formally known as a demand letter.

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dram-shop-picture-Can I sue a bar or other liquored licensed vendor after an alcohol-related accident?

The term “Dramshop” refers to a shop typically known as a bar, tavern or restaurant to sell alcohol sold by the dram, which is a small unit of liquid. Wright v. Moffit 437 A.2d 554. The legislature enacted the Dram Shop Act to prevent bars, restaurants, clubs and other licensed vendors to not sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated individuals who could potentially harm others or themselves. Dram shop liability lawsuits are known in most states. The purpose of this law is to allow individuals to sue not only the person who caused the accident but the alcohol provider, for example, a bar, to prove that they were negligent in selling alcohol to an obvious intoxicated customer.

An individual who wishes to pursue this type of claim should be aware that there is absolutely no guarantee that the court will find the establishment liable to pay damages. The person needs to recognize that filing a claim against the establishment could be another source of recovery for the plaintiff. The complexity of Dram shop cases can be too challenging for one to handle on their own. To pursue a Dram shop case, the plaintiff will have to prove standard negligence and that it was apparent to the provider of the alcohol that the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated and presented a clear danger to himself and others. Washington v. Liem. The Act does not provide a definition of what “clear danger” is. An example would be an individual exceeded their limit of alcohol at a bar, an employee leads the intoxicated person to a room to sleep it off, and two hours later the employee escorts the intoxicated individual out of the bar. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, two hours of rest does not relieve the individual from their intoxication, especially if he or she leaves the bar driving a car, so it can be argued that the individual still presented a clear danger to himself and others. To prove the latter can be challenging because the establishment can easily claim they did not believe it was apparent the individual was heavily intoxicated.

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What can I do if I have a case where the other party did not preserve evidence?

The legal definition of this type of situation is called “spoliation of evidence”. This means that a party in a case destroyed or did not properly preserve evidence. A party may have done this because they knew that the evidence would not be in their favor. For example, a minor child suffered a severe ankle injury at a trampoline park. Since the trampoline park knew or could have anticipated that there would be a lawsuit filed against them, the managers of the facility may have destroyed or failed to properly care for relevant evidence, such as videotapes, program files, data files, emails or images.

In Texas Courts, a person cannot bring a tort claim solely based on this conduct. However, Texas cases have addressed how spoliation can be dealt with and the accessible remedies the injured party can pursue. To have access to those remedies, the trial court must determine if the alleged spoliator breached their duty to preserve the evidence. The key case that set the foundation for this approach is Brookshire Brothers v. Aldridge. This case involved a slip and fall scenario at a grocery store. The plaintiff claimed that the store did not preserve certain parts of the videotape that showed what happened after the fall. The Court ruled that there is a two-part test to prove spoliation of evidence.

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What happens to the insurance company when I win a summary judgement

A summary judgement is a motion used by my office in car accident cases and other liability claims to reduce the fact issues for a jury. Typically there are two issues for every liability claim. The fact question regarding negligence and the fact question regarding damages. Liability is the common issue that I can resolve for my client’s case by summary judgement to increase the likelihood that we will win in trial and by extension, the likelihood that the case will settle at mediation without the expense and risk of trial. From a policy standpoint, a case that is before a Tarrant or Dallas County jury will take less time to try the case and the time a jury must spend to listen to evidence and render a decision.

Below please find a sample of this motion I use in court.

Please call my office at (817) 332 1522 if you have any questions regarding your car accident, on the job injury and other liability claim. My practice includes Tarrant County, Dallas county and any state court in Texas.

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