November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


Enjoy Family Dinners and Football Games ... and Try to Stay Clear of Drunk Drivers 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I thoroughly enjoy sharing a meal with my family and enjoying my blessings.On Thursday night, I'll hopefully see my Texas Longhorns win and there are a lot of other great games on this weekend. Go Frogs! 

I will also be very careful about when I drive this weekend. 

I have been a personal injury lawyer for 35 years and I know all too well the statistics and the trends in drinking and driving. I also have heard the stories from my clients about a once-special holiday forever tarnished with the memory of a Thanksgiving weekend DWI accident.

Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday on our nation's roadways. During the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend, 764 families heard the news that their loved ones had been killed in a car wreck. Almost 50,000 more people suffered injuries in auto accidents that same weekend. 

I would be thrilled if we set a new record this weekend. Instead of the deadliest time on the road, let's strive for the safest weekend.  

Here are some ways to make that wish a reality. 

  • If you are hosting a dinner, monitor the alcoholic beverages you serve. A guest can easily reach the legal limit of .08 percent BAC after just a few glasses of wine during the course of a leisurely meal. 
  • If throwing a game-day party, have the numbers of Uber or a taxi service available. 
  • If attending a holiday event, agree who will be the designated driver or arrange for a ride ahead of time. 
  • If possible, stay off the roads during peak drunk driving hours -- from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. 

Me and my staff at Berenson Injury Law wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

I am closing the office at noon to give my staff time to drive to their out of town families or just enjoy being with their families here in Fort Worth.

November 24, 2015

Career Day at Adopted School Meaningful

I spent Friday morning speaking to five classes at Rufino Mendoza Sr. Elementary School, which I adopted 11 years ago. It's always one of my favorite days there.


I always begin by getting the third through fifth graders to select a career from a list that sounds interesting: doctor? lawyer? teacher? artist? We talked about what each person does and why the child might want to work in that field. I stressed that any career requires good grades and many years of education but that it would be worth it.

I told the youngsters that they will have to graduate from high school and then college (and perhaps graduate school. I made them promise that they will. It's an important pledge.

The kids always get excited to see my college diploma and I assured them that they can obtain a diploma too and that anything is possible if they work hard.

I asked them to give their worksheet to their parents and talk to them about their choices and to get advice from them. It's never too early for them to start thinking about their futures.

In a humorous moment, one boy asked me if my career was being a runner (I sometimes mentor children in the after-school running club). I was flattered but explained how attorneys help people resolve their legal problems.

I 'm always urging the students to study hard, be the best they can be, and to dream big. We must motivate and inspire our children. I hope that i have made a difference in at least one child's life over the years.

November 20, 2015

Berenson Law Settles Serious Motorcycle Crash Case

Motorcyclist at red light

Another Reminder Why Riders Should Wear Safety Gear

Motorcyclists may sometimes feel like the conditions are right to ride without wearing a helmet and proper gear.  You may feel safe on a sunny day taking a short ride up the road. 

Don't take the chance. 

Even if you following all of the traffic laws, you can still be the victim of a driver's careless actions. My client experienced this firsthand early this year. Thank goodness he was wearing his helmet and protective clothing when a car slammed into his bike at a red light. 

My client was at a complete stop on his 2013 Harley-Davidson on a Loop 820 service road. Behind him, a 24 year-old driver had been texting and speeding. That driver crashed into my client, sending him hurling into the air and into the rear of the SUV in front of him and onto the concrete pavement.

The weight of his heavy motorcycle and the fall crushed his body. He broke his leg and suffered a fractured foot and torn ACL that required surgery and  extensive rehabilitation. He lost consciousness, his head and face required multiple sutures, and his mental abilities have been diminished. 

Berenson Injury Law succeeded in settling his case with trial looming for a substantial amount which will compensate my client for his damages. They include medical bills, loss of wages, diminished future earning capacity, disfigurement, disability, and pain and suffering. We also slashed his outstanding hospital and medical bills.

With such severe injuries despite wearing safety gear, I believe the accident could have been fatal had my client chosen to skip the gear for this one ride.

Continue reading "Berenson Law Settles Serious Motorcycle Crash Case" »

November 18, 2015

Drunk Driver Killed Young Couple Walking to Dallas Mavs Game


Birthday Celebration Ends in Tragedy

Cedric and Lauren Davis, both 26 years old, had been married for just over a year. Lauren surprised her husband with the perfect birthday gift -- tickets to a Dallas Mavericks game. 

As the young couple walked from a restaurant toward the AAC Friday night, their lives were cut tragically short when the drunk driver (pictured here) ran into them.

Kevin Christman sped through a red light at the intersection of 1900 Moody Street and 2500 Harry Hines Boulevard and T-boned another car. He continued driving straight and slammed into the Davises on the sidewalk.

It was only 7 p.m. It's hard to imagine that someone could be that drunk at that time of the day. But then, it's hard to imagine that any person -- knowing well the tragic consequences -- would drive while intoxicated at any time of the day.

And to add to the tragic timing, that evening, we in North Texas and people all over the world were reeling from the devastating terror attacks in Paris that had just happened. 

Continue reading "Drunk Driver Killed Young Couple Walking to Dallas Mavs Game" »

November 16, 2015

Latest Tech Is Causing More Distracted While Driving Crashes

voice activation -- finger of driver

Voice-Activated Systems Cause Dangerous Hazards

Calling your office, texting your kids, following a Google map, changing a song on the radio - all take our eyes off the road. Clearly these common distractions greatly increase the risks of a car crash. 

So what's the solution? Voice-activated systems are supposed to prevent drivers from taking their hands off the wheel and their minds away from traffic. In theory, they should reduce distracting behavior and reduce auto accidents.

But a new study published by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a car's voice system is actually a huge distraction that is causing more wrecks.

As a Texas personal injury lawyer, I am glad that attention is now being cast to the real dangers of distracted driving. Cell phone use is not the only problem facing drivers. 

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November 10, 2015

Shocking 15-Year Streak on Texas Roads

TxDOT end the streak infographic.jpg

Time to End this Horrible Trend 

If the Dallas Cowboys or the Texas Rangers had a 15-year losing streak, they'd fire the coach, reevaluate their training program or adopt better game-day strategies. These teams would not just shrug and say oh well, that's the way it is, maybe if we do nothing things will miraculously improve.

We shouldn't either when it comes to traffic fatalities. Texas just reached a 15-year losing milestone on Saturday, November 7: One traffic death every day for the past 15 years. 

5,478 auto accident fatalities in 5,478 days is not an acceptable stat. We need to look carefully at what we are doing wrong and what we can do to improve our game.

Consider what factors contribute to this dismal number. First, there were the approximately 1,000 deaths attributed to drunk driving last year in Texas. Close to 500 deaths resulted from distracted driving. About 1,000 people died because they weren't wearing a seat belt. All of these factors are preventable.

Continue reading "Shocking 15-Year Streak on Texas Roads " »

November 9, 2015

As We Walked Like MADD, a Drunk Driver Killed a Little Girl


Arlington Fatal DWI During Fort Worth Walk Like MADD 

Berenson Injury Law was again proud to sponsor the Fort Worth Walk Like MADD Saturday. I was honored to speak to the audience gathered along the Trinity River before we began walking at 9:00 o'clock.

Today we honor those who have been killed or injured by drunk driving. Today we rally to inspire people to help us turn your pain into purpose. A day goes by when we don't hear about another tragedy on our highways.

None of us knew the next heartbreaking collision, that a child was about to be killed by a drunk driver down the road.

At 9:30, a 25-year-old woman crashed into a telephone pole in Arlington so hard that it snapped in half and fell onto the car, injuring all seven occupants, including four children between three and nine years old. 

A five year-old little girl was tragically pronounced dead before we finished the Walk Like MADD

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November 6, 2015

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Snooze, You Lose

drowsy driver asleep at the wheel

Open Your Eyes to the Dangers of Dozing at the Wheel

In a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, 30 percent of those surveyed get less than six hours of sleep each weekday night. Hardly any one sleeps for eight hours.

The list of problems with forgoing sleep is long -- reduced performance, weight gain, poor health, and irritability. But in addition to the physical strain on your body, you also put your life at risk by climbing behind the wheel after a sleepless night.

The National Sleep Foundation launched Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to highlight the dangers of drowsy driving. The annual awareness campaign continues until November 8. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the dangers of driving without adequate sleep and steps you can take to avoid doing so.

Sleepy Driving Stats Are a Wakeup Call

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that drowsy driving causes one of six fatal car crashes and one of eight accidents that requires hospitalization. 

Yet people do it all the time. In fact, AAA reports more than 40 percent of drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while driving at some point. 27 percent admitted feeling so sleepy that [they] had a hard time keeping [their] eyes open while driving during the month before.

These sleepy drivers are often hardworking people who would never dream of driving drunk. For many, the sleeplessness results from putting in too many hours at the office or wanting to spend more time with their families. Unfortunately, sleeplessness often impairs driving more than alcohol.

Continue reading "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Snooze, You Lose" »

November 5, 2015

Trials - Not Arbitrations - Are Essential To The Public

scales of justiceInjured Persons And Victimized Consumers, Beware

The jury trial is fundamental to our American justice system. It is so vital that our Founding Fathers guaranteed the right in the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution. Unbiased peers have no ties to either side and are instructed to base their decisions upon the facts presented during the trial. A fair trial is a truly great and unique concept.

Yet, our trial system is being threatened by the inclusion of arbitration clauses in just about every contract we sign. 

The New York Times has just written an excellent series uncovering the unjust results of forced arbitration. The articles showcase how mandatory contractual arbitration clauses have unfairly skewed justice and led to inequitable results for injured parties and consumers.

The problem, as the NYT shows, is that the right to a trial has been taken away from the people who need it most, those who lack negotiating power.

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November 3, 2015

Drunk Teacher Drives Her Kids into Frisco Pond Halloween Night

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Mugshot Halloween drunk driverHorror Story In North Dallas

Two kids had a Halloween scare of a lifetime when their mom drove their car into a pond. Fortunately, the young children and their mother were able to climb out of the vehicle's windows as it sank and swim to safety. 

Nobody was hurt in the crash. The mother, Gonzales Rodiles, 34, was charged with two felony counts of driving while intoxicated with a child passenger

The crash occurred at around 10 p.m. Ms. Rodiles -- a teacher in a Plano elementary school -- veered off the road and into the pond at the north end of Duck's Landing in Frisco. 

On Friday, I blogged about the dangers of Halloween and drunk driving, but I didn't think we'd reached this unbelievable point where this can happen and no one even acts surprised. We've got to stop DWIs.

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October 30, 2015

Watch Out for Devils -- and Drunk Drivers -- on Halloween

trick-or-treating kids

Trick-or-treating is a blast for kids. They get to dress in cool costumes, ring neighbors' doorbells and receive a free pass to indulge in sweets for the night. Their spooky adventure creates a lifetime of fond memories. 

Sadly, a car accident or an injury can turn a fun Halloween into a nightmare. As parents, we can take important steps to keep our kids safe while trick-or-treating. As motorists, we have the duty to take special precautions Saturday night.

Continue reading "Watch Out for Devils -- and Drunk Drivers -- on Halloween" »

October 28, 2015

How To File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

Thumbnail image for roadside memorial

Auto Accident Injury Lawyer Bill Berenson Explains the Process

After you lose a loved one, the last thing on your mind is filing a lawsuit. However a wrongful death case can help your family through the difficult aftermath of your family member's death and bring justice when the negligent person or company has been held accountable. 

I have been guiding families through this difficult legal, financial and emotional process for the past 35 years. My caring staff and I do whatever we can to lift the burden from your family to make the process of seeking justice as accessible, stress-free, and affordable as possible. 

Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

The surviving spouse, children and parents have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Adopted children can file a claim regarding the death of their adoptive parents, but not their biological parents. Likewise, the adoptive parents have a claim concerning their adoptive child's wrongful death. Siblings do not have the right to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas

If no family member files a claim, the executor of an estate may file a wrongful death claim. Money recovered in the lawsuit goes to the estate and is distributed to the beneficiaries during the probate court process or by agreement. The court determines how the money is divided based upon the injuries each surviving relative suffered as a result of the death.

Continue reading "How To File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas" »

October 26, 2015

Deadly DWI at OSU Claims Lives of At Least Four People


My prayers are with the victims and their families of the homecoming parade crash Saturday morning at Oklahoma State University. 

The celebration just north of DFW turned to tragedy when a woman plowed into the crowd, killing four spectators and injuring more than three dozen others. Some are still in critical condition.

Among those killed was a two-year old child, a life taken too soon by a person police suspect was apparently driving drunk. Appallingly, 11 of the 47 people who were injured were 13 years old and younger.

The others who died include a woman who pushed a 7 year-old child out of the car's path, a hero who gave her life to protect a child. A 65 year-old retired OSU professor and his 65 year-old wife, a 30 year employee of the university, also were fatally struck. A 23 year-old MBA student visiting from Mumbai was also killed in the horrific OSU drunk driving accident

25 year-old Adacia Chambers was arrested for DWI at the scene. She was also charged with four counts of second-degree murder for each victim of the deadly crash. 

This video shows the horrifying scene:

Continue reading "Deadly DWI at OSU Claims Lives of At Least Four People" »

October 23, 2015

Honored By Award From Hispanic Council

United Hispanic Council Amigo Award

United Hispanic Council of Tarrant County's Amigo of The Year 

I was proud to receive this award Saturday night. The theme of Saturday's banquet was Hispanics and Education, The Future of Our Country, and supporting our young people is one of my favorite causes. 

This inspirational event brought together many of local leaders who help promote educational opportunities for Hispanic students. I was presented the award by Rufino Mendoza, Jr., the son of the namesake of the North Side school I adopted 11 years ago. 

The United Hispanic Council of Tarrant County is a nonprofit organization that supports and finances youth programs in our community. This charity makes higher education accessible to students through scholarships and financial aid services. 

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October 21, 2015

Granbury Motorcycle Crash Video Goes Viral

A video of a terrifying motorcycle wreck south of Fort Worth has attracted three million views since it happened Saturday. 

A motorcycle rider's video shows Eric Sanders riding ahead of him on a motorcycle with his girlfriend Debra Simpson riding shotgun. As Sanders approached slow-moving cars, he illegally pulled across the double-line divider to pass. 

Suddenly a car swerved into Sanders and his passenger, sending them into a slide. 

The motorcyclist with the camera pulled up to the driver and demanded, "What were you doing? You hit them!"

Shockingly, the motorist responded, "I don't care!" 

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