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Drunk Driver Convicted on Intoxicated Manslaughter Charges

A drunken driver in El Paso has been convicted of multiple intoxicated manslaughter charges over the deaths of two people last year. According to SF Gate, the driver was also convicted of two counts of assault for the injuries that two other people suffered during the same accident.

The 23-year-old man has been in jail since the wreck occurred last December. At the time of his arrest, the driver was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .25, which is in excess of three times the legal amount, according to the reports.

The crash was disastrous. According to testimony from the driver himself, he was racing another vehicle at the time of the crash. He lost control of his own vehicle, went through a wall and crashed into an office building, where the car he was driving caught fire.

These types of accidents occur all too frequently and, as this case demonstrates, they sometimes end up with people losing their lives. While this driver will be facing up to 20 years in prison on each manslaughter count and up to 10 years in prison on each assault count, this really doesn’t do much for the families of the people who lost someone in the accident or for the people who were injured.

Other Legal Options

When police and prosecutors take on a criminal case, their job is to make certain that the person that they are prosecuting faces the legal consequences of their crimes. The prosecutors do not deal with helping the victims to recover from the effects of those crimes. That task falls to a lawyer.

A Houston personal injury attorney can help you if you have been injured by a drunken driver and need financial compensation, in addition to wanting the person to pay for the criminal aspects of their crime. There are some instances when filing a lawsuit may not be worth it but, because of how personal injury attorneys work, they will let you know.

If you sit down to talk to a personal injury attorney, they’ll let you know whether or not they think it’s worth it for you to pursue your case. These attorneys don’t make money on a case unless it wins, so they have no motivation to try to get you to pursue a lawsuit that they know is going to lose. If a lawsuit loses, the attorney loses all of the time and effort they put into the claim, as they don’t get paid.

In instances such as the above, a Houston personal injury attorney may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible for the death of your loved one. This is an option that is designed to help the survivors financially.

 

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Fourteen Perish in Truck Wreck

ABC News is reporting that 14 people were killed and 9 people were injured when a pickup truck ran off of a highway and ran into trees near Corpus Christi. According to the report, there were 23 people in the truck at the time of the crash. Some of the people in the pickup were illegal immigrants.

The accident occurred on US 59. The truck was near Goliad, loaded down with its 23 passengers and veered off of the highway. One of the Texas Department of Public Safety representatives quoted in the article said it was the most people he had ever seen in any passenger vehicle in his 38 year career.

According to the report, 11 people needed to be airlifted to nearby hospitals and the dead included at least two young girls and one young boy.

Negligent Actions

Unless the vehicle’s specification states otherwise, a vehicle can carry as many people as there are seatbelts in that vehicle. Beyond that, the vehicle is overloaded. There are incidents every year where people cram far too many passengers into a passenger car or truck and end up getting into a crash. This creates a situation where the consequences of the crash can be much worse than it would be if everybody were provided with a seat belt and proper seating.

In this incident, you can see one of the worst possible cases of negligence in that people were riding in the back of the truck. This is never safe. Riding in the back of a pickup truck means that you have no safety restraint system and no seating. If the vehicle rolls over or crashes into something, you’re going to get ejected from the vehicle and that may mean serious injuries or death.

What Can You Do?

If you were the victim of someone who was negligent in handling their vehicle, you may be able to sue them for compensation in court. The case such as the one listed above has features that may not make it ideal for filing a lawsuit. Many of the passengers were illegal immigrants, of course, which means that there is an entirely separate side to the situation.

Some people, however, end up riding with someone who overloads their vehicle or who otherwise creates a hazard that causes people in that vehicle to be injured or killed. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may want to speak to a personal injury attorney about the matter right away. If it turns out that they believe that the driver was negligent, they may encourage you to go ahead and file a lawsuit to get compensated for your pain and suffering, your injuries, or the death of a loved one.

 

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Hit and Run Driver Injures Woman

According to reports in KLTV, a Longview woman was struck by a hit-and-run driver who ended up causing her injuries that required a trip to the hospital. The report details that the woman was suffering from back and neck injuries.

The driver of the vehicle struck her from behind. He did get out of his vehicle and make certain that she was okay, according to reports, and then left the scene, claiming that he was going to find assistance. The man never came back and police are currently looking for the driver of the vehicle. Rear end collisions and hit and run accidents are both all too common in Texas and leave many people injured every year.

How to Handle a Crash

If you’re involved in an auto accident and are not severely injured, there are some things that you can do to prevent these types of situations from developing. First, make certain that you immediately ask for identification and insurance information. Take note of the driver’s license plate. Provided you have this information, police should be able to quickly track down anybody who tries to flee the scene of an accident.

Responsible drivers who want to handle things legally will usually want to exchange insurance information right away. After all, if they are a responsible driver who pays their car insurance, they want to make certain that they get any money the insurance company owes them for the car crash as soon as possible. If someone hesitates about getting insurance information or they try to distract you from asking for it by acting angry or claiming that they don’t have the insurance information on them, that is a warning sign. These are the cases where you want to make certain that you get a good description of their vehicle, their license plate number, if possible, and that you remember what they look like and what they were wearing. All of this information can make it easier for police to find them.

The one boundary you do not want to cross in the event of such an accident, however, is trying to detain the person on your own. Not only do you not have the legal authority to do so, it can be downright dangerous. You may be looking at an expensive repair bill due to the accident, but the person who hit you may well be looking at jail time or they may already have a criminal record that means that they’re going away for a very long time when the police arrive. Don’t take actions that will lead to you finding this out the hard way.

If you have been struck by a hit-and-run driver, talk to a Houston personal injury lawyer. They are experts at handling these types of cases.

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Unsafe Lane Change Causes Wreck

A woman in Corpus Christi will be charged for making an unsafe lane change and for not having a driver’s license after she caused a wreck, according to KZTV10. The accident occurred in the evening. The woman attempted to make a lane change but, when she saw that there was another car in the lane that she was attempting to enter, she tried to correct. She ended up overcorrecting, according to the report, and causing a wreck that backed up traffic for some time.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Unsafe lane changes are very common on freeways, highways and smaller, city roads throughout Texas. They also frequently cause accidents. Drivers who do not check to make sure that the lane they’re trying to enter is clear before starting their change frequently end up causing accidents when they sideswipe other vehicles or when, as the case above shows, they have to go back into their lane quickly and end up causing a wreck because of overcorrecting. In some situations, this can be construed as negligence and the parties that they injure and whose property they destroy may be able to sue.

Watch Out

There are some things that you can do to protect yourself from these types of drivers, but it’s impossible to be entirely safe. These drivers tend to use their mirrors to check lanes but do not make head checks before they switch over. This means that, if you’re in their blind spot, they’re not going to see you and they may come directly over into your lane.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you don’t linger in someone’s blind spot. On most vehicles, this is an area directly behind the driver’s side mirrors-or passenger’s side, it’s the same on both sides-where the mirrors do not show you and where the driver cannot see you by simply turning their head to the side. Blind-spot mirrors can help to eliminate this hazard on your own vehicle, but you still need to turn your head to check alongside you before you make a lane change.

It’s also a good idea to keep two seconds of distance between you and the car in front of you, unless you’re moving to pass. This way, if they do come over in your lane or cut you off otherwise, you’ll have enough time to change directions or to stop. To figure out the distance, wait for them to pass a landmark or a highway line and then count the amount of time it takes you to reach that same landmark. It should be at least two seconds.

If someone wrecks your vehicle or harms you because of making a negligent lane change, talk to a Houston personal injury attorney. They may be able to help you.

 

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Suing the IRS and Identity Theft

The IRS is, without a doubt, one of the most intimidating government agencies of all. When most people think about the IRS, they logically think about paying their taxes and, in some cases, getting a refund. Some people have had their identity stolen and, among the financial damages done to them due to that identity theft has been having their tax refunds taken away. People who have attempted to reclaim these tax refunds from the IRS have had, according to a report in TBO.com, better luck getting that money through a lawsuit than have people who have attempted to go at it on their own.

Not Being Heard

One man profiled in the article was the victim of identity theft and, because of that, never received his 2010 refund. In the article, he claims that an IRS worker was assigned to handle his case but that he never got his phone calls returned and that his call – according to the agent’s voicemail – would be returned within 60 days. What follows is a typical story of bureaucratic sloth. Each time the man called he had to reiterate his entire story, as he was never able to get the same person.

After learning in a news article that another victim of such a situation had successfully sued the IRS and gotten his refund very quickly after having filed the lawsuit, he decided to do the same. The article does go on to say that the IRS has worked very hard to get these cases dismissed but also notes that people who have filed them have gotten their returns rather quickly after having done so.

Lawyers and Bureaucracy

Denied Social Security benefits, problems with the IRS and other bureaucratic nightmares are all reasons that some people end up hiring a lawyer. Sometimes, these lawyers end up successfully suing for money that’s owed and, in other cases, simply having a lawyer handle the matter speeds things along, for whatever reason. Don’t expect the agency that was holding back your money to admit that they were dragging their feet, but you can certainly take comfort in the fact that having a lawyer may help you to get the money at all.

One of the things that lawyers excel at is understanding bureaucracies, the rules that apply to them and how to use those rules against the bureaucracy itself. Most of the time, when you go up against a government bureaucracy, to use an analogy, you’re fighting an uphill battle against a taller and stronger opponent. You’re just not going to win on your own. If you’re having trouble with the government, an insurance company or any other bureaucracy that’s not giving you the money you’re owed, have a Houston attorney take a look at the situation and they may be able to help you.

 

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Making Sense of Medical Malpractice

Here in Texas, there is a constant stream of news regarding medical malpractice. The fact is that medical malpractice is a real thing and, unfortunately, it’s also a fact that there is a lot of information out there that is designed to make you feel guilty or like you’re running a scam if you sue a doctor for malpractice. The following information may help you to sort through it all and to understand your rights if a doctor breeches their duty to you.

The News

Texas has caps on medical malpractice. This is a very political issue and, outside of the dichotomy that the media likes to hammer on, there are many interests involved in this law. Take a look at the news and you’ll see conflicting information being pumped out all over. Some stories say the caps have done nothing and other stories say it has made Texas safe for doctors again.

Make sure you keep in mind that suing a doctor for malpractice is sometimes the only way that the victims of the doctors and their families are ever going to get enough money to pay for the fallout. There are a lot of stories about people abusing the system. There are also many cases, both in the past an ongoing, where people were given the wrong operation, the wrong medication, where a deadly condition was missed because of negligent diagnoses and where patients were otherwise wronged.

If you were the victim of malpractice, you need to talk to a lawyer, not to political operatives, media pundits or advocates for any type of law. You need someone to represent your interests, not someone who represents insurance companies or doctors who would rather that they have the safety of knowing that even the most egregious acts of malpractice aren’t going to get them in enough trouble for them to really worry about it.

Why Attorneys Matter

When you’re the victim of malpractice, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. You may be dismissed outright by the doctor or medical facility responsible or you might be offered a settlement, which amounts to money that’s basically given so that you’ll be quiet and go away. The attorneys for the healthcare provider’s insurance company can make you feel like you’ll never get any more money than they’re offering; it’s their job.

A Houston medical malpractice attorney will represent you and only you. If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, don’t go it alone, don’t take a settlement without consulting an attorney and don’t feel guilty. The only ones who should feel guilty are the doctor or healthcare facility who wronged you.

 

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Avoiding Drunk Driver Wrecks

College is back in session, the nights are longer and you’ll find that the roads on weekend nights are oftentimes full of people who have had a few too many to be behind the wheel. It’s easy to rage against the dangers of drunk driving and the people who drive drunk themselves, but it’s more important that you have the types of driving survival skills that will help you to avoid being injured or worse by these drivers. For personal injury attorneys, far too many of their drunken driving claims involve a wrongful death. Here are some survival tips.

Don’t Get In

If you have a friend or someone else you’re with who is too drunk to be driving, do not get into the car with them. There are all kinds of videos that show people dissuading their friends from drunk driving-even some showing them punching the driver out, which is assault, no matter how noble the intentions-but, sometimes, the only thing you can do is not get into the car. There’s always an uncomfortable choice that someone has to make when their friend gets behind the wheel drunk. It does feel awful to call a friend in but, remember, your friend may well kill someone if they’re out there driving while intoxicated.

Watch for the Signs

Drunk drivers tend to make some very characteristic mistakes when they’re on the road. Their driving also tends to be sloppy in a very distinctive way. Be wary if you see a car doing any of the following:

· Swerving across lanes
· Making jerky, high-speed turns
· Braking or slowing in the road for no apparent reason
· Running stoplights or lingering at green lights
· Making sudden stops and suddenly taking off
· Driving out of a drinking establishment parking lot sloppily

These are the types of things that make patrol officers turn on their lights and pull a car over. Watch out for them and stay well clear of drivers who are showing these signs of intoxication. You cannot predict what they’re going to do, so it’s best to treat them as threats right from the start. You’ll also want to be careful around taverns and other drinking establishments that have parking lots that exit onto busy streets. Drunk drivers do not estimate speed, distance or judge whether they have enough time to get out into traffic very well.

If you’re injured by a drunk driver or if you lose a loved one due to their negligence, contact an attorney. They may be able to help you by filing a lawsuit against that driver and winning you compensation. That compensation may be enough to cover your medical and property loss expenses and consulting with an attorney is usually free.

 

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Lawsuit Filed over Colorado Theater Shooting

Cinemark USA, headquartered in Plano, Texas, has been named in a lawsuit filed by some of the victims of the July 20, 2012 shootings that took place at one of their theaters in Aurora, Colorado. These shootings were big news, with 12 people having lost their lives and 58 other people having been injured by a shooter who managed to get into the theater with weaponry. The shooting took place during what was slated to be the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie.

Cinemark has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed and that it would be unfair for the company to have been expected to have foreseen the shooting. While this particular case is obviously going to be a high-profile one due to the circumstances and the already infamous shootings, it does speak to the question of a premise owner’s liability when they do not provide adequate security in certain situations.

Dangerous Places

Most of the time, if you read about premise liability lawsuits, they have to do with things like slip and fall injuries on dangerous flooring, people being injured by products left out in the middle of a high-traffic area and so forth. Security, however, is another area where premise owners are sometimes held liable for injuries and deaths that are suffered at their establishment.

One example of this that has happened many times involves concerts. There have been concerts where people have been trampled to death due to crowds getting out of hand and where people have been burned to death due to pyrotechnics misfiring and creating fire hazards.

Some establishments have a need for security that should be obvious to any reasonable person. For example, bars typically have bouncers because it is a given that some people are going to become violent or aggressive after having had too much to drink and, therefore, the bar provides for its patron’s safety by having qualified security people on hand to deal with the situation.

Premise liability lawsuits can be very complex and require a good lawyer to argue successfully. There are certain situations where you will want to consider speaking to an attorney about filing such a lawsuit in cases where the premise owner’s liability is not as obvious as it would be if you had slipped and fell on their floor and injured yourself.

Talking to an Attorney

A qualified personal injury attorney is the only person who can really give you advice on whether or not you should file a lawsuit for premise liability. If you were injured or somebody in your family died, however, because a property owner was negligent in providing adequate security for an event, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

 

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Negligent Physicians not Being Sanctioned: Report

Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy organization, has conducted a study revealing that 459 physicians working in Texas who have been sanctioned by hospitals and other healthcare providers have not been disciplined by the state medical board. According to a report in KXAN, a letter was sent to Governor Rick Perry detailing the results of the finding. The study was conducted by analyzing 21 years of data collected in the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Not Following Standards

The report details that the state medical board does not receive all of the funding generated by fees and fines. In fact, according to the report, even though $30 million are collected annually, the board only receives one third of that amount.

The report also details that there are open cases that date back as far as 2005. In total, the report found that 454 cases had been open for one year or more. The KXAN report goes on to detail that some of the disciplinary actions taken by healthcare facilities were for rather egregious infractions. They include sexual misconduct, endangering the lives of patients, negligence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse and insurance fraud, among other infractions.

Some of the malpractice claims that these physicians faced included failure to treat, failure to diagnose, performing unnecessary procedures and even wrongful death. With the state authority charged with overseeing doctors receiving only a third of the funding that it collects, many of these cases remain open and unresolved. Of course, that also means that any disciplinary actions that the state could take against these physicians are not being taken and that they may well continue to represent a threat to their patients.

Medical Malpractice

Fixing a broken regulatory system is a political task, but medical malpractice is a legal issue. Whenever a physician takes you on as a patient, they have an obligation to provide you with competent care, accurate diagnosis and to adhere to certain ethical guidelines. When they do not, one of your options for rectifying the situation is seeking compensation via a lawsuit. Texas does have limitations on how much you can be awarded in a medical malpractice claim, but a skillful Houston medical malpractice attorney can ensure that you maximize your chances of winning your claim.

Filing a Claim

The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is speaking with an attorney. If you’re not sure whether or not you do have a viable claim, an attorney can give you guidance in this matter. Because most medical malpractice attorneys work on contingency, they’ll have no interest in taking a claim that they don’t think is going to win. If they take your claim, you can be certain that they believe it is valid and that it could win in front of a jury.

 

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It’s Fair Season; Be Careful

Late summer and early autumn mean that county fairs will be popping up all over Texas. With those fairs, of course, come plenty of thrilling rides where children test their ability to endure frightening roller coasters and other amusements and where adults see if the intervening years between the present and their childhood have given them stronger stomachs. Before you get on one of these rides, however, realize that they can be dangerous and that there have been cases of people being grievously injured and killed on amusement park rides.

Avoiding Negligence

If you or a family member has come to any harm on an amusement park ride, a Houston personal injury attorney may be able to help you. Any Houston personal injury attorney, however, would very much prefer that you exercise a bit of common sense and that you are aware of any risks that you’re taking when you get on these rides. Your children may be a little bit disappointed by you putting safety before a momentary thrill on an amusement park ride, but make sure you do take the following into account.

Be wary of ride operators who let children slide when the safety guidelines for the ride demand that they be taller or bigger than they currently are. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, a three-year-old ended up losing his life after a safety restraint failed to keep him in his seat. In this particular case, the family did receive a settlement, but the amusement park continues to operate.

When you’re taking a look at a ride, take note of how safe it appears. You may not possess the type of engineering skills that are required to design and maintain an amusement park ride, but you should follow your instincts in this matter. If it seems like the ride isn’t stable, like it hasn’t been well maintained or the people operating the ride have very little regard for the people getting on it, you may just want to skip it and find something else amusing for your family to do at the fair.

If you do take a ride, make sure you instruct your children to stay seated or positioned however else is recommended by the ride operator throughout the entire ride. People have fallen off of rides before and ended up losing their lives. There are cases where this is not the fault of the ride operator, but is, instead, the fault of somebody who did not follow the safety guidelines. Make certain that you do and make certain that your children do.

If an irresponsible ride operator ends up causing you or someone in your family injury, make certain that you talk to a personal injury attorney about the matter. The operator may well owe you compensation.

 

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