October 6, 2015

Drunk Driver Crashed Into Police Car Where?


A woman who was DWI plowed into a police cruiser and seriously injured the officer inside early Friday morning. Ironically, she was just only a few blocks away from the national headquarters of one of my favorite groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The Irving police cruiser was blocking westbound traffic at Texas 114 near North O'Connor Road to prevent motorists from entering a road construction zone. But a very drunk Nicole Arreola somehow failed to notice the flashing red and blue squad car lights and the large bright orange alert barrels, an indication as to how impaired the 36-year old Grapevine woman really was. 

The drunk driver plowed into the back of the cruiser, which subsequently slammed into a light pole. The officer was treated at Parkland Hospital for a concussion, an injured shoulder and broken ribs. 

Arreola showed the telltale signs of intoxication, including the smell of alcohol on her breath, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. She at first claimed she wasn't driving, but finally admitted she had polished off five shots before climbing behind the wheel. The woman blew a .144 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), almost twice the legal limit

The drunk driver was charged with intoxication assault, which carries a two to 20-year prison sentence. I hope she gets nailed and that publicity from this crime and her sentence discourage people from driving while intoxicated.

Time to Walk Like MADD 

Bill Berenson Injury Law is again the Presenting Sponsor of the annual Fort Worth Walk Like MADD event. We participate every year in this truly inspirational event that brings the community together to show our support for victims of drunk driving and our desire to end DWI accidents. 

Continue reading "Drunk Driver Crashed Into Police Car Where?" »

October 2, 2015

Top Attorney List In Fort Worth List Announced

2014 Fort Worth Magazine Top Attorney Article

Honored to be Chosen 

Fort Worth Magazine has just revealed its list of Tarrant County's Top Attorneys. Lawyers are nominated and voted upon by their colleagues. I am pleased to have been again included on this list in the Personal Injury -- Plaintiff category.

Career Dedicated to Helping Injury Victims

I am honored that my colleagues recognized my hard work and strong commitment to helping injured people.

I have dedicated my 35-year career to helping automobile accident victims, truck accident victims, and their families recover damages from insurance companies, corporations, and negligent individuals. In 1994 I became certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

I am also an advocate for safer roads and automobiles and am an outspoken proponent of tougher DWI and driver safety laws. 

My goal is to prevent collisions in addition to helping victims of accidents recover the compensation and and benefits they are due.

Continue reading "Top Attorney List In Fort Worth List Announced" »

September 30, 2015

Why Hire a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer?

Texas Board Certified-Logo-tag-R.gif

After your automobile or truck collision, you are in physical pain and concerned about your financial future. Your injuries may keep you from working while medical bills pile up. A permanent disability can lead to lifelong monetary and personal losses. No doubt you want to retain the best lawyer who understands personal injury law. and can get you the best possible result.

Commitment to Justice in Auto Accident Claims

The Supreme Court of Texas authorized the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to certify the top lawyers in the state in 21 areas of practice. The board sets stringent requirements of certified attorneys to "promote the availability, accessibility and quality of the services of attorneys to the public in particular areas of the law and advance the standards of the legal profession."

I began practicing law 35 years ago and immediately felt drawn to personal injury representation. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives by helping them recover after suffering debilitating injuries and became certified as a personal injury trial lawyer in 1992. 

Only approximately one percent (1%) of the attorneys in Texas are board certified in this field and about 8,000 of the 86,000 attorneys in Texas have achieved board certification in any specialty. 

Qualifications for Certification

The application and examination process (the test takes two days) is a rigorous nine month process. 

Continue reading "Why Hire a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer?" »

September 25, 2015

Adopting Fort Worth School 10 Years Ago - Priceless


I visited the students at Rufino Mendoza Elementary School on the North Side of Fort Worth this week to see how the beginning of the school year was going. "My kids" are off to a great start. I was honored when they burst into applause when I walked in.

I volunteered with the Fort Worth Independent School District's Adopt-A-School program because I wanted to give back to my community.  I believe that any student who applies him or herself should have the opportunity to excel. Some of the children I first worked with are now in college or working in good jobs.

Last year I donated seven partial college scholarships to fifth grade students to help them reach their goals. During their step-up ceremony, the students wore ball caps with the logos of their dream colleges. They will get even more money if they continue to exceed, which I'm sure they will.

Continue reading "Adopting Fort Worth School 10 Years Ago - Priceless" »

September 22, 2015

DWI Arrest Gets TCU Athlete Booted From Team

Beck-Connor mug shot.jpg

Too Many College and Pro Athletes Getting Drunk

Redshirt outfielder Conner Beck played on TCU's outstanding team last season, helping the Horned Frogs again reach the College World Series. 

But at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, Beck's world came crashing down when he chose to get drunk and drive. Fort Worth police pulled the athlete over on Park Hill Drive, a few blocks away from campus, and charged him not only with DWI, but with resisting arrest and carrying and unlawful weapon. He blew over a .15 percent blood alcohol concentration -- about two times over the legal limit. This is a class A misdemeanor that could land him up to one year in jail and up to $4000 fine. 

Beck was suspended from the baseball program. A college athlete with everything going for him has let his team and school down and impaired his future. I'm glad no one was injured.

Living and officing in the TCU area since 1980 and being a personal injury attorney representing people injured by drunk drivers, this is a story that piqued my interest.

Continue reading "DWI Arrest Gets TCU Athlete Booted From Team " »

September 21, 2015

How To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance Policy

Understand Your Policy Terms, Premiums and Payouts 

During the past 35 years that I have represented car accident victims, I am often surprised at the level of misinformation circulating about insurance coverage and policyholders' rights. 

Insurance is already difficult enough to understand and adding to the confusion are the fears spread through the Internet and by well-meaning friends. 

Here are some common myths could cost you in higher premiums and unfiled claims:

  • No, your rates will not normally increase if you file a claim on your insurance for an accident that is not your fault.
  • No, you do not have to accept used parts for coverage of repairs following your car crash.
  • No, property that was stolen from your car is not covered by most auto insurance policies, but, the stuff stolen from your car is likely covered by your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy
  • The other driver's company will treat you fairly if you do not have an attorney. No, you are not in good hands with Allstate and State Farm is not a good neighbor. Your insurance company is a business, not a friend.

Continue reading "How To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance Policy" »

September 17, 2015

Massive Fine Against GM For Ignition Defect Fraud Announced

Ignition Switch -- GM, G.M., General Motors

Deferred Prosecution Is Hardly Justice for the Crash Victims

General Motors has reached a $900 million settlement with federal prosecutors on criminal wire fraud charges. The criminal charges stem from the company's willlful coverup of the ignition switch flaw that killed at least 124 people, injured hundreds more, and caused the largest recall in automotive history.

However, the GM deferred prosecution agreement means the company does not have to plead guilty to the charges, which was a bonus for GM officials. And the settlement falls short of the record of $1.2 billion paid by Toyota for concealing the unintended acceleration of its vehicles. 

Individual Employees Go Untouched

No GM employees will face criminal charges for their part in hiding the dangerous ignition switch problems. Instead, the FBI found that "the problems stemmed from a collective failure by the automaker," according to the New York Times

Continue reading "Massive Fine Against GM For Ignition Defect Fraud Announced" »

September 16, 2015

We Don't Need New Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

Lawyer handing motion to the court

Tomorrow's Attempt To Intimidate Plaintiffs, Help Big Businesses and Drive Up Costs

The U.S. House is voting Thursday on the deceptively named Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. LARA purports to prevent the "frivolous lawsuits" that multi-billion dollar corporations  would have you believe are commonplace in our federal courts by imposing mandatory, not discretionary, sanctions.

But in reality, the law is an attempt to close  the doors to parties who have the right to be in court that is afforded by the Constitution in Article III, Section II.

Under the current federal law, if a party violates Rule 11, the judge has the discretion to impose sanctions. In Texas state courts, our comparable Rule 13 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure makes the imposition of sanctions mandatory, but there are restrictions and caveats, and sanctions are rare.

Continue reading "We Don't Need New Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act " »

September 15, 2015

What Caused Fatal School Bus Crash In Houston?

A bus crashed on its way to a Houston high school this morning, tragically killing two of the students and seriously injuring the two other students and the driver who were onboard. The wreck occurred at 7:00 on a busy freeway while the bus was bound for an alternative school for drop-outs.

The crash was horrendous. One driver swerved into the lane of a second motorist who then side-swiped the bus. This caused the bus driver to overcorrect and drive the bus over the side of the overpass to the street below.

My heart goes out to the families of the young girls who perished and to the injured students and driver. But you have to ask how a tragedy like this could happen -- and how it could be prevented from happening in the future.

Most Common Reasons People Crash Their Vehicles

Continue reading "What Caused Fatal School Bus Crash In Houston?" »

September 11, 2015

This Device Could End Drunk Driving Forever

Thumbnail image for Drunk driver holding bottle

New technology may end the driving while intoxicated scourge that takes 10,000 lives and causes 290,000 injuries every year in our country.

Spearheaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is being tested in a pilot program. The agency intends to expand the program once the technology is "seamless, accurate, and precise, and unobtrusive to the sober driver."

DADSS may soon become as ubiquitous a safety feature as seat belts and airbags are today.

Continue reading "This Device Could End Drunk Driving Forever" »

September 9, 2015

Taking A Selfie While Driving - Newest Driving Distraction

A Picture is Worth Just Four Words: Don't Drive While Distracted 

We all love taking pictures of memorable experiences -- amidst a beautiful vista, in front of a priceless piece of artwork, while at a ballgame or during a family gathering. Cameras and phones are now outfitted with the ability to turn the camera on ourselves, giving rise to the selfie generation. But, the selfie trend has now found its way into the most mundane of activities: driving. 

Several recent drivers trying to capture this "picture-worthy" experience have also documented the frightening consequences. The selfie while driving trend joins texting while driving and talking on cell phone while driving on the list of distracted behavior that can contribute to serious crashes.

Jeep Slams into Canoe Caught on Selfie Video

A man was too busy looking at this camera while shooting video to notice the truck in front of him had a canoe dangling out the back. The viral video caught the man slamming into the canoe, which shattered his windshield. Miraculously, nobody appears injured.

Continue reading "Taking A Selfie While Driving - Newest Driving Distraction" »

September 4, 2015

Helping Injured Children Recover Damages In Texas Courts

During the past 35 years, I have represented countless parents in wrecks where their children were unfortunately injured. Until a child reaches the age of 18, he or she cannot receive any money from a verdict or out-of-court settlement. As a result, a guardian ad litem must be appointed by the court to protect the legal interests of the minor.

I help children who have been injured in automobile or truck wrecks recover compensation for their injuries.  In addition, courts have appointed me as a GAL on many occasions to assist in other injury attorneys' cases. 

I take especial care when I represent children who have lost their parents in automobile and truck accidents.  I am working on a tragic case now where the mother was riding on the back of her boyfriend's motorcycle and was killed, leaving three children in two states. One also doesn't have a father so we are trying to make sure his future needs are taken care of. I got the grandparents to graciously agree to forego their share of the insurance policy they were entitled to so that the children will each receive one-third, not one-fifth, of the available funds.

I consider not only whether the dollar amount is fair but the most appropriate means of delivery. For example, I often recommend establishing a structured annuity so the funds grow and are protected until the child reaches adulthood and can responsibly manage her or his own finances. It is a mistake to give an 18 year old all of his money on that date, so payment schedules are critical. Hopefully the student will attend college and have money available for tuition, books, and room and board.

If the motor vehicle crash results in a disability, a special needs trust allows a person with a disability to access the money without jeopardizing his Social Security disability benefits. 

These kids have a right to have ethical, knowledgeable legal representation. They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion during a difficult time and to know that their future is secure.

Continue reading "Helping Injured Children Recover Damages In Texas Courts" »

September 2, 2015

Berenson Injury Law Settles Case Against Dallas Tire Store


Tire Flies Off Truck At Highway Speed

I am pleased that I was just obtained a large settlement for my clients who survived a horrific crash when a wheel of their truck flew off their truck. I settled the case last week, a week before we were ready to take the case to trial.

My clients sent me this kind email:

"We really appreciate the great work you all have provided us with & would definitely recommend you! Again, we really appreciate it!"

Detached Tires Caused Frightening Fort Worth Truck Crash

The crash occurred last year on Interstate 30 in Fort Worth. My clients had driven to East Dallas to purchase four new tires which were on sale. Mr. S____, his wife, and two children were  driving back home at about 65 mph when he noticed the vehicle becoming shaky and unstable. He attempted to pull to the shoulder.

Suddenly, his left rear wheel fell off the truck. Unable to control the vehicle, he crashed into the concrete bridge support of the Green Oaks Road bridge by Ridgmar Mall The wheel bounced across Interstate 30 and hit another automobile.

The violent, unexpected impact threw the family back and forth inside the vehicle. They were fortunate not to hit another truck or vehicle. However, the frightening crash caused serious injuries, including broken bones and other injuries. The family had to rushed to the hospital and were then treated by doctors and physical therapists. Mr. S____'s lost wages were significant.

Continue reading "Berenson Injury Law Settles Case Against Dallas Tire Store" »

August 31, 2015

Will Safety Technology Reduce Number of Crashes in Texas?

Safety Features Lower Risks, But Will Bad Drivers Notice?

Luxury car makers were the first to introduce expensive crash prevention technologies. Unfortunately these life-saving features were too expensive for most drivers. But now this technology has gone mainstream. 

More than half of new vehicle models now come equipped with forward crash prevention systems that alert drivers about an approaching object, such as another vehicle, a guardrail or a curbside. More than a quarter of 2015 models also come with robotic braking systems, which automatically stop a vehicle from hitting an object in its path.

Continue reading "Will Safety Technology Reduce Number of Crashes in Texas?" »

August 28, 2015

Amusing Courtroom Questions And Answers - Friday Fun

Q: Mr. Smith, how old is your son?

A: Thirty-eight.

Q: How long has he lived with you?

A: Forty-five years.