Summer is almost at an end, and school has started back up, leaving many of us trying to get in one last trip by ground and air.
Typically, personal injuries involving transportation accidents are focused on those that involve pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, or automobiles; however, despite the relative safety of air flights, accidents while aboard a plane do occur.
The most serious injuries during flights are due to
rapid deceleration brought on by pilot error
Federal Aviation Administration regulation violations
structural or design problems of the aircraft
negligence of flight service station employees
negligence of federal air traffic controllers
negligence of other personal aboard or preparing the plane for flight such as ground controllers or flight attendants.
Any of these causes entitle the injured party compensation to recover for any losses sustained while on the commercial airline, which is recognized as a common carrier or public transportation service.
The cause of the accident is important as it helps direct which way an attorney will proceed, such as negligence or product liability.
Some of the most common liable parties include the owners or operators, pilot, manufacturers, maintenance suppliers, and in some instances the federal government entities that failed to meet their regulatory responsibilities can be held accountable as well.
Damages against any party found liable for the accident, or injury, are similar to that of any other personal injury lawsuit. As with any personal injury service, there can be both punitive and compensatory damages which include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Should I Speak with an Attorney if I have Been Injured In-Flight?
Yes! If you have sustained any injuries during a flight, you should consult an experienced DFW personal injury attorney to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. An attorney at Reyes Browne Reilly will be able to explain the value of your case and help you navigate through the complex laws that govern airlines and aviation accidents.
The TSA expects an estimated 65 – 70 million travelers this Spring Break. The week-long escape from school and work has become a tradition for some, and almost a rite of passage for college students. It’s no surprise that as the number of spring breakers rise, so do the numbers of injuries and arrests. While the worst most may suffer on Spring Break is a sunburn and a hangover, for others the damage can be far more severe.
The death toll in traffic accidents at spring break destinations spikes 9.1% higher among drivers under 25. The CDC also warns that someone is killed every 31 minutes in a drunk driving accident during normal times; during spring break, those numbers increase by as much as 23%. Binge drinking and Spring Break, unfortunately, seem to go hand-in-hand. A study by the American College of Health reports the average male will consume 18 drinks a day and the average female 10 drinks during this vacation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, during Spring Break 11% drink to the point of blacking out or passing out. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new study by researchers at the University of Miami found car-crash fatalities increase significantly at popular spring break destinations during the spring break season, from the end of February through early April .
The study, “Fast Times During Spring Breaks: Are Traffic Fatalities Another Consequence?” published in the journal Economic Inquiry, found the news is bad for everyone, including residents and other visitors of spring break hot spots, not just for the students who travel there for a weeklong break.
Examining fatal wrecks at 14 spring break destinations in seven states, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, the study found:
Weekly death tolls in the 14 counties studied jumped 9.1 percent during spring break.
16 more traffic fatalities annually in the 14 counties.
Car-crash deaths involving out-of-state motorists were significantly higher than for in-state drivers.
Fatal wrecks involving drivers under 30 years of age were more likely than deadly crashes connected with older motorists.
Even though spring break is usually filled with heavy drinking, no significant statistical difference could be found between fatal crashes involving impaired drivers and deadly wrecks involving non-impaired drivers.
Underscoring the spring break effect was the fact that the fatal accidents in the spring break hotspots disproportionately involved out-of-state drivers and no comparable increase in fatal accidents was reported in non-spring break counties during the same period.
Being vigilant is the best way to prevent a spring break car accident. Taking extra time to allow for travel issues on the road and making sure each person has an equal opportunity to get rest before taking over the wheel is the best way to avoid distracted or drowsy driving, too.
When visiting a new place, make sure that alternative travel plans have been made if you plan to be drinking. Having a designated driver is always an important plan, but relying on cabs or public transportation by booking it into your schedule in advance can help you avoid a drinking and driving situation. Check out all options before traveling so you know who to call when the time comes.
If out with other people who have been drinking and don’t realize how much they have consumed, have a plan for acquiring other transportation to help them. Never let a friend drink and drive. Overlooking your limit or allowing a friend to get behind the wheel could have serious consequences like major injuries or fatalities.
Any one injured in a car accident caused by the fault of another driver may have a legal right to seek compensation from that at-fault driver’s insurance company. It’s a good idea to have a knowledgeable Dallas Texas car accident attorney review the specifics of the accident and explain your legal options.
DALLAS – D CEO Magazine, of D Magazine, has awarded the 2017 Outstanding Latino Business (small business) award to noted attorney Angel Reyes, founder of the Dallas-based Reyes Browne Reilley law firm.
For the second straight year, D CEO is honored to present the Latino Business Awards, a partnership between D CEO magazine and the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos. The awards recognize outstanding Latino leaders and companies and organizations in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“This sort of recognition is very important, not just to me but to our entire firm,” Reyes said. “It says that we are a thriving business, that we’re part of the larger business community, and that we haven’t forgotten our roots.”
Reyes formally accepted the award at The Latino Business Award reception on Aug. 31, at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.
Among Reyes, other finalists in the category were Al Coker, of Al Coker & Associates LLC, and Guadalupe Mora, of Mora and Associates.
In addition to his successful law firm, Reyes is involved in numerous civic activities. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the board of directors member for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and Dallas Trial Lawyers Association.
Reyes earned his Masters in Business Administration from the Rawls School of Business at Texas Tech University after earning his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas.
Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas-based trial law firm that handles business litigation matters and life-altering personal injury cases.
For more information, contact Jason Hartline at (972) 503-4867, email@example.com or visit www.reyeslaw.com.
National Bike Month is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and has been celebrated across the country since 1956. The third week in May is designated Bike to Work Week and the third Friday of May is Bike to Work Day.
As part of National Bike Month, the Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm is encouraging to give biking a try, but more important, strongly encouraging motorists to watch for bicycles and educating motorists on the dangers of distracted driving and its effect on cyclist injuries and fatalities.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines, all bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
In addition to your helmet, our friends at Folding Bike Zone recommend wearing/having all of the correct safety equipment:
Horn/Bell – This is especially important for road cyclists as there may be pedestrians, other cyclists or motorbikes in the way at certain points in your journey; and it’s much easier to use your horn or bell to warn them than shouting at them, right?
Lights+reflectors – Lights and reflectors are the main things which drivers will be able to see while they’re on the road. No matter where you are going make sure you have reflectors on the front and back of your bicycle and a headlight if you are riding at night
Signal properly and clearly – If you’re preparing to turn a corner make sure you show all of the drivers around you by using the proper signals. If not how were they mean to know that you’re about to turn? If you don’t know the proper signals, a quick Google search could save your life.
Cycle in a straight line – This one is pretty obvious, but don’t be going on the road and all over the place while cycling. Try to stay on the same path and nearby drivers will know where you’re heading and avoid that area.
Stay in the right-hand lane – If the road is wide enough then make sure you are cycling in the right side of the lane, this is just a general cycling road rule. Also, try to stay in single file with other riders to make it easier for the driver to get past you. If the road isn’t wide enough then you’re allowed to cycle in the middle for increased visibility.
Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators and are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals and lane markings. Cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic when cycling in the street.
Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists. Be courteous and allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road, look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space, and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, each year about two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths are bicyclists. In a majority of bicyclist deaths, the most serious injuries are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet. Moreover, a staggering 494,000 people were required to go to an emergency room as a result of bicycle-related injuries in 2013.
If you’ve been in a wreck on your bike with a motor vehicle, your first priority is to seek the medical attention you need. If you were hurt in an accident and have the opportunity to make a claim against the other driver, seeking medical treatment will help you win your claim.
After you’ve seen your doctor and started treatment for your injuries, next will be to determine who is at fault for the accident. Whomever caused the wreck is also responsible for paying for the damages and injuries the wreck caused.
Texas has a modified comparative fault rule, meaning that fault can be split up between the two parties; however, if a cyclist is hurt in an accident with a motor vehicle and the cyclist was partially at-fault, the cyclist can still recover compensation from the driver’s insurance company. The only stipulation is that the driver has to be more responsible for the accident.
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a bicycle accident in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, please call the skilled car accident attorneys in Dallas at the Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm for a free consultation on your potential case.
A Washington state measure to ban holding a phone while driving passed in the House a day after a similar measure passed in the Senate.
House Bill 1371 received a 52-45 vote in the Democratic-controlled House Tuesday.
Democratic Rep. Jessyn Farrell, the sponsor of the bill, said the measure is about safety and updating the current law “so that police officers can enforce this.”
Currently people are guilty of an infraction if they hold a phone to their ear while driving, or are caught text messaging.
Under the bill, drivers would be banned from holding any hand-held devices while driving including phones, tablets and other electronic devices, even while stopped in traffic. It would also double the fine, which is currently $136 if caught texting or holding a phone to the ear while driving for second and subsequent offenses within five years.
“We have an epidemic of using smartphones in our cars,” Farrell said. “We love our phones and can’t put them down while driving… You can still use that phone, but just don’t hold it in your hand.”
The new measure would allow the use of a finger to activate or deactivate a function of a device, such as using Siri on the iPhone, and the use of a built-in touch screen control panel within a vehicle to control basic functions like the radio or air conditioning.
Republican Rep. Morgan Irwin spoke in opposition to the bill because he said it creates a “class issue.” Irwin said he was concerned that some people, such as him, who might not have a car with a built-in touch screen and would be limited by this bill.
“We can have a car with a computer in its dash and use it all you want to, but if you can’t afford that car or you just have normal car then the only way to get directions to where you are going is to use that cellphone,” Irwin said.
Republican Rep. Dave Hayes also opposed the bill. He said he prefers to broaden the measure to include other forms of distracted driving such as eating while driving, petting a dog in the back seat or putting on makeup. He said his main concern was that the bill only focuses on cellphones.
Exceptions to this new measure would include contacting emergency services, operating amateur radio stations and two-way or citizens band radio services and while operating tow trucks and other emergency vehicles.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures 14 states currently ban any hand-held cellphone use while driving in a car; however, 37 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by beginner or teen drivers, including Washington. Forty-six states prohibit texting messaging for all drivers.
EverQuote fielded a national online survey to 2,300 licensed American drivers on their driving habits June 18–22, 2016. The survey found drivers are unaware of how often they are actually using their phone behind the wheel and have clear misconceptions about what it takes to be a safe driver. When the survey responses were paired with actual driving data from our safe-driving app, EverDrive, the discrepancies between perceptions and reality become even more surprising.
The survey was divided 52% female and 48% male. The survey was split by age as follows: 18–24 16%, 25–34 23%, 35–44 19%, 45–54 18%, 55–64 15%, 65+ 9%. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.2%.
We have summarized the major findings in the following EverQuote Distracted Driving Report:
1. The Impulse to Text Back Is Real and Dangerous
Americans feel the need to answer texts fast. In fact, 55% respond to text messages right away or within 5 minutes.
The majority of adults (83.9%) feel the need to answer text messages within an hour or less, while only 16.1% feel the need to respond after an hour or more.
Males and females generally feel the same way, and age has a slight influence in how quickly Americans feel the need to respond—with aging adults more likely to take longer to feel the need to reply than younger age groups.
2. Most Americans Think They’re Safe Drivers
Over 96% of respondents believe that they are safe drivers behind the wheel.
Slightly more male than female participants consider themselves unsafe drivers and age did not appear to be a major influence on responses.
3. Americans See Themselves as Safe, but Not Other Drivers
Americans overwhelmingly feel that they are safe drivers themselves, but they don’t see other motorists on the road in the same light.
Over 96% think they are safe drivers, but 37% think less than half of other drivers on the road are safe.
86% of Americans feel neutral or disagree that the majority of drivers are safe behind the wheel (11% strongly disagree).
Younger adults tend to agree that drivers are unsafe more often than older age groups do.
4. Divided On App Prevention
Americans are divided on whether or not they’d let a mobile app control their phone use—52.4% of Americans would let an app prevent them from using their cell phones behind the wheel, and 47.6% say no way.
As Americans age, they are more likely to allow an app to prevent phone use while driving.
Older males, 65+, were more likely to say yes than the same-age females, whereas females aged 35-44 were 15% more likely to say yes than same-age males.
5. Americans Say They’re Safe Drivers, but Are They?
Though Americans overwhelmingly consider themselves safe drivers (96%), the majority of them admit to using their phones while driving in the past 30 days—61% have used their cell phones on some drives, most drives or every drive.
6% every drive
10% most drives
45% some drives
While 56% report using their phone on at least some drives, 96% of drivers used their phones according to EverDrive data.
American drivers spend .4 miles on the phone distracted for every 11 miles driven. That equals 114 billion distracted miles, and 4.5 millions trips Americans could take around the world without looking up from their phones.
6. Speeding Isn’t Everything Over the Limit
Even though speeding 10 MPH over the limit can increase crash risk by up to 9.1%, over one-half of all driving time is spent at least 10 MPH over the legal limit.
The majority (42%) consider drivers to be speeding on the highway only if they’re 10-14 MPH over the speed limit. A scary 19% don’t see drivers as speeding until they’re 15-19 MPH over the limit.
10% believe 20 MPH over the limit isn’t speeding.
7. Americans Feel States Should Do More
61% of adults believe that their state does not do enough to prevent phone use behind the wheel. Of these adults, 55% admit to some phone use while driving in the past 30 days, and 12% admit to using their phone on most or all drives.
Americans appear to know that using their phones while driving is dangerous and believe their state does not do enough to stop them from the bad habit—however, only a little over half (52%) are willing to allow a mobile app prevent them from that use.
For drivers that don’t care about the state, 30% admit to phone use on most or all drives.
8. Alcohol Is Still the Scariest Danger
The majority of Americans (55%) feel that seeing other drivers drinking alcohol behind the wheel is the scariest action, followed by phone use and speeding. However, the majority admit to using their phone and only see speeding as driving 10-14 MPH over the limit.
20% see drivers using their phones as the scariest action to see another driver doing.
Only 2.6% view interacting with passengers as the scariest, even though 57% of distracted driving accidents are caused by passenger interactions.
76% of phone users are scared of having an accident while using the phone behind the wheel.
9. Americans Know the Dangers of Distracted Driving
The majority of Americans recognize the danger of using their phones and are afraid of getting into a car accident due to distracted driving. The fear of being bad role models or getting caught by authorities is minimal.
55% are afraid of getting into an accident
10. Americans Speak Up About Dangers
The majority of people (60%) state that they do ask a driver to stop using their phone if they’re feeling unsafe.
Females responded “yes” approximately 10% more than males.
Younger age groups have asked driver to stop phone use more often than older Americans.
11. Americans Think They’re Safer Than Self-Driving Cars
Despite the fact that experts predict self-driving cars will reduce crashes by 90%, 81% of adults still would feel safer driving themselves.
That perception may arise from the fact that the majority of Americans consider themselves safe drivers, despite the reality their behavior: how often they use their phones while driving and at what point they consider themselves speeding.
Females feel they are safer driving themselves than in a self-driving car slightly more than males feel and this belief increases with age for both genders.
Only 19% of drivers feel they would be safer in a self-driving car.
A recent article in USA Today featured the states in the US where you are most likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Montana topped the list, followed by North Dakota and Mississippi. Other states making the top ten most dangerous are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina and South Dakota. Rounding out the list was Tennessee. Texas had the most motor vehicle fatalities but did not make the top ten due to the fact that it is more populous thus the rate of deaths per 100,000 residents was lower. The study was based on data provided by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration.
In analyzing the data on motor vehicle fatalities, rural highways were one category that was highlighted. It seems as if states with the most rural highways also had the highest rates of deaths per 100,000 of their residents. In Montana, the leader in motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 residents, more than 69% of its vehicle miles driven were on rural highways and over 98% of the traffic deaths happened in rural areas. However, clouding up the statistic is the fact that of the 101 motor vehicle deaths that occurred on rural highways, 90% had alcohol in their blood. In addition, only 74% of Montana drivers wear a seatbelt as opposed to the national average of 87%. So questions remain. Do rural highways cause fatal traffic accidents? Or is the fact that more drivers in some states don’t wear their seatbelt?
Perhaps a better question to ask is what state leads the nation in fatalities where the driver had alcohol in his/her blood. The following are the top ten states in terms of highway fatalities followed by the percentage of those fatalities where alcohol was being used by the driver.
North Dakota – 87%
West Virginia – 95%
Oklahoma – 91%
Alabama – 74%
National Average – 72%
Most of the states with the greatest rate of motor vehicle fatalities also had above the national average rates of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities. Perhaps people from Montana, North Dakota, and Mississippi drink more, or perhaps their state police do less to enforce the DUI laws on the books in their state. Regardless, it appears more than obvious that alcohol consumption and not wide open highways or the lack of seat belt usage is the major contributor to each state’s higher motor vehicle fatality rates.
Arbitration clauses are becoming an effective tool for employers and certain litigation-prone professions like medical doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and automobile manufacturers to bypass the legal system. The vast majority of people who sign an employment contract, service agreement, or purchase contract have no idea that they are signing away their right to take the company or person to court should a dispute arise.
People who are injured in accidents, suffer medical malpractice, or are sexually harassed or otherwise wrongfully terminated from their job are shocked when they file legitimate civil claims suing their doctors, employers and manufacturing companies and have their cases thrown out of court, not being heard by a judge that cites the arbitration clause present in the contract.
The NY Times lists several cases where legitimate civil claims were forced into the arbitration process instead of being heard by a judge in court:
A 94-year old women who died of a festering head wound was forced into arbitration rather than a malpractice lawsuit.
A women in Alabama who sustained injuries when the brakes failed on her car was barred from suing Honda.
A women who sued her obstetrician for negligence when her baby was born with serious deformities had her case thrown out of court and forced into arbitration instead.
And the list of abuses in arbitration continues from there.
Arbitration officials can be a lawyers and not a judges.
There is nothing prohibiting the lawyer from having pre-existing or on-going relationships with the defendant.
The appeals process is non-existent.
Witnesses can be paid for their testimony by companies.
Employees can be threatened with termination for not testifying in favor of the company.
And the cost of arbitration can be prohibitively expensive. The Times article cites arbitration cases running as much as $150,000 for a six-hour session and if that wasn’t enough to discourage one from pursuing their case, the arbitration hearings are often held in the offices of the lawyer that represents the defendant!
Arbitration is fast becoming an alternative justice system and is denying people many of the rights that the legal system affords them. Lawyers feel that there is an alarming and growing trend for the current legal system to be bypassed in favor of arbitration. What’s to prevent every company from shielding themselves from their legal responsibilities by adding a simple arbitration clause to all their employment contracts and purchase agreements?
Arbitration clauses in employment contracts are an increasingly powerful tool, forcing an alternative system of justice upon people when they believe they have been damaged by the negligence of others. Doctors, hospitals, drug treatment centers and other lawsuit-prone professions and businesses are increasingly forcing their patients and customers to sign documents restricting their right to sue them in a public court of law should a dispute arise, or an injury or a wrongful death occur. Instead, arbitration clauses contained in legally binding contracts signed by patients and customers are forcing them to settle their dispute by arbitration. The twist is that in addition to signing away their first amendment rights to a fair and speedy trial, these “arbitration hearings” sometimes resemble more of a tribunal of religious elders than a judge and jury of one’s piers. Arbitrators are relying on their interpretation of Bible Scriptures and not Federal or State Laws to determine a persons guilt or innocence. And time and time again it’s the religious organization that comes out the winner.
The family of a young man who died of an apparent drug overdose after being sentenced to attend Teen Challenge, a drug treatment program was thwarted in their attempt to collect damages from their son’s wrongful death. When the family tried to sue the Christian-based center, they were refused their day in court by a judge who upheld the binding arbitration contract that they signed prior to their son entering treatment.
A Florida man tried to sue the Church of Scientology accusing the organization of bilking him of thousands of dollars. A judge in the state upheld the binding arbitration agreement that he and all Scientologists sign prior to entering the religious group and forced him to take his case before a panel of Scientologists, instead of going to court.
When a new administrator was hired, 12-year principal and teacher Pamela Prescott was fired from Northlake Christian School in Covington without explanation she filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the school district and was awarded $157,000 in lost income and damages. As a result of losing the arbitration hearing, the Christian School filed a law suit in Federal Court to repeal the verdict. After four years of appealing court decisions the school district eventually gave up when the State’s Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
All three of these organizations, medical, religious, educational are sponsored by religious organization who have, in the case of a dispute, found a way around the traditional justice system and replaced it with a self-serving literal interpretation of the Bible. They illustrate how important it is to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney review your employment agreement or any other contract that you are being asked to sign when you are about to enter into a relationship with a faith-based business.
The state of Texas requires all drivers to purchase some form automobile insurance to help keep themselves and other drivers safe in the event of an accident. However, most people don’t understand what different types of auto insurance mean, what they cover, and how to figure out what kind of plan to purchase. Thankfully, the people at the insurance information institute put together this handy infographic to help drivers figure out what their plan really means, and what level of insurance is right for them.