All personal injury cases are unique, but they share one factor: The plaintiff must prove the defendant acted negligently, and that this negligence caused a specific injury. This is what some people like to call “determining someone at fault.”Read More
1. Thirty-One Percent of Fatal Accidents Involve Alcohol
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 31 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in the U.S. involved an alcohol-impaired driver. There were 10,322 fatalities in the U.S. that involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
2. Most Car Accidents Occur Close to Home
The majority of car accidents occur very close to a driver’s place of residence, according to Esurance. While Esurance.com states that most accidents occur within 25 miles of a person’s home, a Progressive Insurance survey of people in accidents in 2001 found that about half were within five miles of home and about a third were within 15 miles from home.
3. Distracted Driving Causes Thousands of Accidents Each Year
Distraction.gov reports that distracted driving causes thousands of accident each year. In fact, in 2017, 3,328 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver. One of the most common types of distracted driving is texting while driving, or using any other type of handheld mobile device.
4. Rollovers among the Most Deadly Accident Types
According to SafeRoads.org, rollover crashes are one of the most dangerous types of accidents because of the high number of occupant ejections and head injuries in rollover crashes. According to the website, rollover accidents only account for three percent of all collisions, yet are responsible for more than 30 percent of all motor vehicle occupant fatalities.
5. Men More Likely to Cause an Accident Than Women
Men have a higher number of car accidents than do women, according to multiple data sources. A report by Howard University that studied car accidents in Washington D.C. from 2015 to 2017 found that men were the drivers in 65 percent of the accidents.
6. Someone Dies in an Accident Every 16 Minutes
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone died in an accident in the United States every 16 minutes in 2017. Ninety-two people died every day.
Were you in an accident? Get legal help at Reyes, Browne, & Reilley
An attorney can be a key aspect of getting a fair settlement following an accident. And a lawyer can help you pursue a lawsuit if an insurance company does not offer a sufficient settlement. At Reyes, Brown & Reilley, our Dallas car accident attorneys can help you. Call us today at 214-526-7900.
The Federal REAL ID Act requires localities verify the “lawful status” of people who are issued a driver’s license or ID card in the US. Several states, including California, Illinois, and Maryland are legalizing, or have legalized, a sort of second-class driver’s license for people who cannot prove legal residency in the U.S. This license certifies drivers but can’t be used for federal purposes like social security applications, or any public benefits. The decision to issue such licenses has been politically contentious from both sides of the immigration reform debate – with immigration rights groups concerned about it being used as an aid in racial profiling, and social conservatives worried about it granting any level of legitimacy to illegal immigrants.
Irrespective of political leanings, issuing some form of driver certification to people who would otherwise be driving without any documentation has some major practical advantages for American citizens, such as, the following:
Training For All Drivers
Every driver on the road is operating a machine which could be fatal if it’s used improperly. Making a pathway for undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license will take untested and untrained drivers off the road and ensure they have the necessary skills to safely operate a vehicle. Cutting down on the number of unlicensed drivers on the road will make the streets safer for everyone and reduce accidents that result from driver error.
It Saves Americans Money
An EAD (Employment Authorization Document), Social Security number, and established residency are necessary to get this special type of driver’s license. Allowing immigrants to get a license when otherwise they could not, gives them a huge incentive to come out of the woodwork and get registered for official work permits and social security numbers. This incentive in turn means that the same people will be paying the taxes that fund the schools, roads, and law enforcement officials that they rely on each day. This fact reduces the tax burden placed on citizens.
More Insured Drivers
Lacking a driver’s license, social security number and other documentation make it both more difficult, more expensive, and much more intimidating to acquire car insurance. Since a large percentage of legal drivers purchase only the minimum coverage required by their state (often liability-only coverage), they’ll find themselves in hot water when they’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Even if you can legally determine they were at fault and are responsible for your injuries, they may not be able to afford your care.
At the end of the day, allowing undocumented residents to acquire a driver’s license will make our roads safer. Encourage undocumented people to become documented, and make the entire system more transparent.
There are basically two types of drivers in the world: there are people who get really upset at the drivers traveling slowly in the left lane, and then there are a lot of drivers who are unaware this is even a problem and don’t realize they are actually more likely to cause a car accident.
The fact of the matter is when drivers hang out in the left lane it makes traffic worse and more dangerous for everybody involved.
If you have relatively slow drivers scattered amongst the left and right lanes, faster drivers have to repeatedly slow down and weave back and forth, changing lanes many times to pass all of them.
If a driver is moving at speeds five miles per hour slower than everyone else and traveling in the left lane, it forces faster drivers to make dangerous moves trying to pass them on the right – which is more likely to cause a car accident in Dallas.
There is a better way for traffic to flow – that is if we only use the left lane for passing.
If all of the slower drivers are in the right lane, a faster driver can pass several at once, then get back over to the right. This cuts down on the total number of lane changes and eliminates the slow downs.
Some people argue that as long as they are going the speed limit they shouldn’t have to move over, but there is evidence that shows slowing down and changing lanes is actually more dangerous than speeding.
Research has shown the strongest predictor of an accident is variance from the average speed of traffic. A car traveling five miles per hour slower than the surrounding traffic has a greater chance of causing an accident than one going five miles per hour faster.
For this reason, every state has some law on record that restricts the use of the left lane.
In 29 states, any car that is moving slower than the surrounding speed of traffic should be in the right lane and in 11 states the laws are stricter where the left lane is only for turning or passing.
Historically police have not paid much attention to slower left lane drivers, but recently there have been campaigns in states such as Washington, Texas and Ohio where police have been issuing tickets to people they spot traveling slowly in the left lane.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
A great example of this is the German Autobahn, which is Germany’s highway network that has long stretches of road without speed limits and has surprisingly low car accident rates.
One reason for the lower accident rate, some researchers think, is that German drivers are more likely to stay in the right lane for traveling and only use the left lane for passing. This shared norm helps keep them safe.
If more people understand how this works, together we can have fewer traffic jams and decrease the accident rate making our Dallas Metroplex roads much safer.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident due to another’s reckless driving, contact the attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley for a free case review today!
Everyone knows the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, but many people aren’t aware of risks of drowsy driving. Considering that nearly 328,000 car accidents can be linked to drowsy driving each year, it’s time to take a closer look at this growing problem and take action.
The Sleep-Deprived Brain
When the heavy blinks and frequent yawns start, most people push through the fatigue in favor of getting to their destination on time. As you begin to understand what happens to your brain when you’re tired, you might reconsider.
Sleep is a necessary biological function that the body cannot do without. The brain reacts by slowing down the messages it sends. Individual neurons that send the message to interpret information and cause the body to react and move in response slow down in an attempt to bring the body to a resting state.
When driving, these effects of this sleep deprivation may look like:
Drifting in and out of the traffic lane
Missing turns or exits
Forgetting the last few miles driven (due to short-term memory loss)
Mood swings, including increased aggression
Slow reaction times
Lack of reasoning skills
Sleep deprivation removes the ability to make the split-second decisions needed to prevent accidents. The brain tries to keep up, but without enough sleep, it falls behind enough to open the door to potential accidents.
Costs That Are Too High
The effects of drowsy driving cannot be ignored considering the serious nature of the kinds of injuries sustained during car accidents. Car accidents easily strain the ligaments and muscles in the neck and back.The force of the accident is often absorbed by the spine causing injuries like whiplash, herniated disks, and compression fractures. Even low-speed accidents can cause life-altering injuries.
Accidents and injuries bring an incredible $109 billion in societal costs. When you take into account the medical and insurance bills, first responder expenses, wages lost over the lifetime of the injured, and potential loss of life, the costs are simply too high.
Making a Change
Many drowsy driving accidents could be avoided by taking action while driving and getting better sleep. If you find yourself nodding off on the road:
Pull over in a safe area like a parking lot or rest area and take a short 15-30 minute nap.
Turn on upbeat music to wake your senses.
Start chewing gum. The combination of your jaw muscles moving and the flavors of the gum can give you an awakening jolt.
Switch drivers and take a nap in the passenger seat.
You can prevent drowsy driving before it starts by getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep:
Check Your Mattress: A lumpy mattress or one that’s too hard or soft can keep you tossing and turning through the night.
Develop a Bedtime Routine: A warm bath, reading a book, or gentle meditation can help your brain shut down for the day by helping establish healthy circadian rhythms.
Cutback on Screen Time: The light from televisions, e-readers, and smartphones can be enough to send your brain the ‘awake’ signal. Try to shut things down an hour before bedtime to allow your brain to adjust.
Eat Right: Avoid stimulants like caffeine for at least four hours before bed. Add sleep-inducing foods to your diet like fish, chickpeas, and bananas which promote the making of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident due to someone driving while drowsy, contact the DFW car wreck attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley for a free case review today!
More than six million car accidents occur in the United States every year. Many of them only involve superficial property damage, but it is still a jarring, emotionally taxing experience to go through.
But what if you suffer an injury? Do you know how to protect yourself and receive the medical attention you need? If you happen to get injured in a crash, the key is to remain calm and follow a few simple steps to ensure your own safety.
Seek Medical Help
In case of an accident, your most important priority should be your own health. Self-diagnosing injuries is a difficult thing to do as well after an accident; when you combine whiplash with the adrenaline and emotional strain that can come from a crash, it can be difficult to even tell what’s hurting. The easiest route is by dialing 911. The operator has access to all the resources you might need and is trained to help you through the situation.
In many accidents, the passengers refuse medical attention. They might believe the injuries they suffered are minor. However, it’s common for injuries suffered in jarring collisions to become more severe in a short time frame. It’s almost a shock to the system – your body isn’t even sure what’s wrong yet.
From a legal perspective, getting medical attention early is an advantage. The earlier your injuries are documented, the better it is for any claims you might need to make.
Take Notes and Photos
If you’re able, taking notes and collecting visual evidence of the collision is extremely helpful. You’ll want photos of the damage to your car, the scene of the collision, as well as the damage to any other vehicles in a collision.
As for information you ought to record, you’ll want names and contact information of all people involved in the collision, the make, model, and year of the vehicles involved, driver’s license and license plate details, and insurance company names and policy numbers for all individuals involved. Getting the name and badge number of the policemen involved is a good idea as well.
Make sure you take note of any medical treatment you receive so that you may receive reimbursement from your insurance company. Keep any receipts or documents that you might receive and store them in a safe place.
File an Insurance Claim
Make sure you let your insurance know what exactly happened and the extent of your injuries. Some insurance companies allow you to file a claim online, but it’s generally easier to call and talk to someone who can guide you through the process – especially after something as emotionally taxing as a car accident. Be as honest as you can and keep your information short and simple.
When in Doubt, Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Ideally, a personal injury lawyer is never even necessary. But when it comes to property damage, insurance, and personal injury, a lot can go wrong.
At the first sign of trouble – or even if you simply want peace of mind – talk to a lawyer. They can provide you with further guidance in protecting your rights and health while also advising you if someone involved in the crash is wronging you. Car accidents are stressful enough; a skilled car accident lawyer can help clarify the details and defend you throughout the process.
No one wants to be in a car accident, but they happen more frequently than you might think. It’s always a jarring experience that can skew a person’s judgement. But by starting with your own health and taking it one step at a time, you can protect your health, your property, and your money.
Alex Briggs is a contributing author for ‘Maggio Thompson Personal Injury Attorneys.
If you suffered serious injuries and sustained a lot of damages in an accident such as a car wreck, winning your personal injury claim can make or break your future. Therefore, it’s of utmost importance to take care when pursuing your claim. Get professional legal advice and follow all legal procedures carefully to avoid wrecking your case.
Below are five ways you can benefit your personal injury case and increase your chances of winning and getting the settlement you need.
#1: Collect Every Shred of Evidence
Without evidence, you have no case. You will need two basic types of evidence — evidence to prove the other party’s fault and evidence to prove the extent and effects of your damages. To make the most of your claim, collect any and all information that may help substantiate your claim. Below are just a few examples.
- Medical, rehabilitation and prescription bills
- Doctors’ notes and prognoses
- Photos and videos of the damages and the accident scene
- Eyewitness contact info
- Injury journal
- Proof of lost wages and lost benefits
- Receipts for every injury-related expense
#2: Follow Your Doctor’s Orders to a T
It’s important to get medical attention, attend all medical appointments and stick to the doctor’s orders. If you fail to do so, the defendant or insurer can use your behavior to prove that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. If the doctor says you can only do light activities and you post pictures on Facebook of you working out, your case could crumble. Stick to your treatment plan.
#3: Be Very Detailed with Your Losses
The more detailed you can be about your injuries and damages, the more likely you are to obtain a full and fair settlement. For example, the degree of pain you deal with on a daily basis, how your family has suffered as result of your injury and your emotional damages are all important (and compensable). Your lawyer can assist in creating a detailed, itemized list of the ways your accident has impacted your life.
#4: Exercise Patience – Don’t Rush to Settle
If you are seriously injured and unable to work, it’s easy to panic about your finances. Insurers know this, and some may try to prey on your financial instability. They might offer you a quick settlement that’s far lower than what your case is worth, hoping you will settle and reduce the payout. It’s ill-advised to sign the first offer that comes your way. Speak to your lawyer about what would be a fair offer and allow your lawyer to negotiate.
#5: Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
As already mentioned, secure legal representation before pursuing a serious personal injury case. Having a credentialed attorney with a successful track record working on your behalf can protect your rights and allow you to exercise them.
When you are injured, your choice of a personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference in your financial recovery. Many lawyers handle personal injuries, but choosing the right one can be difficult. When you are trying to decide who to hire, ask these five questions first.
- What Kind of Personal Injury Experience Do You Have?
Some lawyers may bill themselves as personal injury lawyers, but their practice may also handle family law, estate law, and a handful of other types. If they handle more cases of family or estate law than they handle personal injuries, they might not have enough experience.
Another concern is whether they handle your specific kind of personal injury. For example, a car accident is very different from a slip and fall in a store, for example, and you should be aware of the particular types of personal injury cases they handle and their success rates.
- How Much Are My Injuries Worth?
This is something of a trick question. You should get an answer, but the answer you get should tell you whether to keep the lawyer in the running or cross them off your list immediately.
Any qualified lawyer should be able to give you a ballpark figure for how much you might be able to expect. The key, however, is that it is an estimate and the use of the word “might” or some variation of it. They may also be able to give specific examples of similar cases they have handled and the amounts received.
If they give you a precise figure with a guarantee that you will win that much, you should cross them off your list immediately. No lawyer should make any guarantee about the outcome of your case, and if they do, you do not want to work with them.
- Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Unless the attorney is a one-man operation, with nothing more than a paralegal and a receptionist, chances are there are other attorneys in the firm that handle the same kinds of cases. That means that the person you are meeting with may or may not be the one who handles your case.
If you are comfortable with the person you are meeting, that will likely play a significant role in your decision to hire them. If there is a chance they will not be handling your case, you need to know that before you make the decision. You should also ask to meet whoever would be handling your case so that you can see how you feel about them. If it does not feel right with that person, you may decide not to hire that firm.
- How Much Do You Expect Me to Participate?
You are hiring a lawyer because you are not qualified or equipped to handle your case yourself, so you should expect that your lawyer will take the lead and do most of the work. But they should expect some involvement from you.
What they expect from you can vary, depending on the attorney, of course, but if they tell you that they do not need any input from you, that is a huge red flag. As the client, you are the boss, and your attorney works for you. Your input and involvement are required for a successful outcome.
- Is Going to Trial an Option?
Many personal injury cases are settled out of court. If you and the other party, with the assistance of your attorney, can reach a fair settlement, there is no reason to go to court, but many settlement offers are far too low. Additionally, insurance companies often know which lawyers will settle and which ones will go to trial, and if they know your lawyer will settle, they are much more likely to offer you less.
A good lawyer will prepare for trial in every case. If you are told that preparing for trial is not necessary, or that the lawyer never or almost never goes to trial, you should probably cross them off your list. Having a lawyer that you know will go to trial, if necessary, will make a huge difference in your case’s outcome.
You should also ask any other questions that come to your mind. Hiring a lawyer is an important and complicated decision that requires a lot of information. When you know more information, you can make an educated decision on which lawyer to represent your personal injury case.
Alex is a contributing writer for Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.
Mary of Dallas, Texas, shares her level of satisfaction with our personal injury lawyers while helping her recover from damages stemming from a car wreck in Dallas.
“I’m Mary. I was in an accident. I hurt my knee and my back, but I’m better now. And the law firm here was okay. If you want to use them, they was good to me. I got what I guess I needed. So give them a call.”
Do what Mary did – research reviews before you decide who should fight the insurance company on your injury claim.
If you have been injured in a car or truck wreck, trust Angel Reyes and the skilled DFW personal injury attorneys of Reyes Browne Reilley – call 214-526-7900 so we can get you started on the road to recovery.
Negotiating a personal injury claim with an insurance company is a delicate process. If you make a mistake during the negotiation process with the claims adjuster, you can cause irreversible damage to your claim. This is one of the many reasons working with a personal injury lawyer offers accident victims the best chance at securing a fair settlement.
When discussing your personal injury claim with a claims adjuster or any other insurance company representative, keep these insurance settlement negotiation tips in mind.
Do not agree to give a recorded statement
Unless you have a personal injury lawyer present to advise you, you should not agree to give the at-fault party’s insurance company a recorded statement. Insurance companies train their adjusters in interview taking, and the questions may be framed in a way to elicit a statement from you that may not be in your best interests.
Be honest with the insurance company
Always be honest when talking to and providing information to the insurance company. There are legal requirements that you be honest in your dealing with insurance companies and visa versa.
Do not hand over your medical records too early in the negotiation process
You should not sign any medical releases until you are nearing the end of your treatment. The claims adjuster does not need that information at the start of his or her investigation. Your medical condition may change over time, and you should give the claims adjuster the most complete and accurate picture of your medical condition possible. Once your treatment is almost complete, you can sign the medical releases necessary to obtain copies of your medical records. Then, you can calculate your special damages and pain and suffering demand with greater accuracy. This will help you write an effective demand letter.
Do not discuss any preexisting injuries
You should never discuss any preexisting injuries with the claims adjuster. If you admit that you had an injury prior to your accident, the claims adjuster may deny your claims or offer you a lower settlement by finding that your latest injury is merely an exacerbation of your previous one. Only a doctor can evaluate how your injuries relate to one another. Leave this to the experts.
Do not exaggerate your injuries
Do not exaggerate the nature of your injuries. As you can imagine, claims adjusters hear all kinds of stories from personal injury claimants. They can usually tell when someone is exaggerating the extent of their injuries. Allow the truth to speak for itself. The claims adjuster will be much more likely to trust you and ultimately agree to your settlement demand.
Do not let your guard down
Claims adjusters are trained to engage personal injury claimants in informal discussions. Sometimes, claims adjusters do this so that you’ll let your guard down and they can draw damaging admissions from you. You should be polite to the claims adjuster, but not deferential. Stay on your guard at all times.
Do not think you have to answer every question
When discussing your personal injury claim, you do not have to answer every question the claims adjuster asks. It is much better to decline to answer a question that you don’t know the answer to than to give the claims adjuster inaccurate information. What may seem like a simple mistake can come back to haunt you, or even destroy your personal injury claim. If you need help responding to questions from the claims adjuster, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
Do not use loaded terms
There are certain terms you should avoid using when discussing your personal injury claim with the claims adjuster. One of these is “whiplash,” which is is a red-flag word for most claims adjusters. Although whiplash can be very painful and many people suffer whiplash after car accidents, your claims adjuster may think that you were not actually hurt in your accident and are grasping at straws. Do not discuss whiplash with the claims adjuster until you have been diagnosed by a medical professional.
In your initial discussions with the claims adjuster, you should also avoid using legal terms like “negligence” or “reckless.” These terms have technical definitions that you may not fully understand. For now, stick to the facts of what happened in your accident. Do not editorialize or make conclusions. Save this language for your demand letter, which is the document that lays out your case in persuasive language.
Do not give the claims adjuster unnecessary personal information
You are under no obligation to give the claims adjuster your social security number, and you should consult with a personal injury attorney before you do so. Typically, the claims adjuster does not need to know your social security number to settle your personal injury claim. They will need to know that Medicare and Medicaid do not have any claims related to your personal injury claim. (A letter from Medicare and from Medicaid stating this is usually sufficient).
In addition, you should avoid giving the claims adjuster names or contact information for family members, friends, or colleagues who were not involved in the accident (witnesses to the accident, of course, are fair game). The claims adjuster does not need contact information for non-witnesses to settle your personal injury claim, and may try to speak with these individuals to determine whether you are trustworthy. Remember, you can refuse to answer a claims adjuster’s questions and decline to give him or her information. An attorney can help you understand which requests for information are valid.
Do not assume your claim will settle
You should never assume that your personal injury claim will settle. Claims adjusters deny personal injury claims for a variety of reasons, some valid and others not. If settlement negotiations break down and you cannot secure a fair settlement, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. You may have to repeat anything you say to the claims adjuster on a witness stand, in front of a jury. You should approach your claim as if you may ultimately have to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have been hurt in an accident, hiring an experienced DFW personal injury lawyer at the Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm offers you the best chance of securing compensation for your injuries.