July 30, 2015

What To Do After a Car or Truck Crash

Thumbnail image for Driver making phone call after an accident

A  wreck may cause you to lose consciousness and will certainly leave you stunned. But how you respond in the minutes following the crash and the days ahead can improve recovery of your health and greatly assist your legal claim. 

Knowing ahead of time what steps you should take will help you act decisively, obtain important medical treatment, and preserve your rights to compensation.

During my 35 years of personal injury practice, I have handled hundreds of auto accident claims. And the Boy Scouts taught me to expect the unexpected and to be prepared. To help you, I'd like to share some useful tips on taking action following an automobile or truck accident:

1. Stay at the scene of the crash, taking steps to remain safe

Texas law requires you to remain at the scene of a car crash that results in property damage or personal injuries. If the accident is minor, move the vehicles out of traffic. Remain in your car with your seat belt fastened and your hazard lights on. 

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July 29, 2015

Bill Berenson Injury Law To Sponsor 2015 Walk Like MADD


My firm is honored to again be the Title Sponsor of the Fort Worth Walk and Dash Like MADD. 

I just had the pleasure of meeting with Jason Derscheid, the Executive Director for North Texas, to discuss the event. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of my favorite causes. 

This is MADD's 35th year (and mine as a personal injury lawyer). Seeing the devastation caused by drunk drivers has made me a proud supporter of this great cause.

The event on October 24th will raise the public's awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. The 5K walk and run will begin in an exciting new location on Panther Island, cross the bridge, and meander through our pretty Trinity Park. 

If you haven't participated in one of MADD's events before, they are moving experiences.

And here's a thought to cool you off: think how good the lower temps will feel that morning! 

Bill Berenson Injury Law Will Match Your Entrance Fee 

The walk/run is an opportunity for you to show your support for victims of drunk driving and to advocate for stricter DWI laws and stronger education of teens about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving. 

In addition to individual registrations, many families, companies, school groups and friends register as teams in honor of loved ones.


Berenson Injury Law will match your entrance fee with a donation of the same amount to MADD. 

Please send us an email or call us at 817-885-8000 or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 to let us know you registered for the Walk Like MADD event. You can register here.

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July 27, 2015

Fatal Collision Shows Huge Dangers of Glamorous Limousine

A pre-wedding celebration turned into tragedy when a drunk driver broadsided a limousine two weekends ago. Four women were killed and four women and the truck driver were seriously injured in the horrific accident. 

Limousines Are Stripped of Safety Features

Limos are the embodiment of success and glamour but they have serious safety flaws. A stretch limo is created by cutting a car in half and then adding side, floor and roof panels between the two ends. In the process, the manufacturer removes life-saving safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, meaning limo passengers have little protection if the vehicle is involved in an accident. And the fact that most (if not all) passengers aren't seat belted just adds to the danger.

Auto manufacturers are not permitted to sell vehicles that don't meet rigorous safety standards, but limo companies are somehow exempt under federal laws.

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July 24, 2015

Where Are Worst - But Least Punished - Drivers in US?

Police officer pulls over driver

Look Around -- and Pray

Financial website WalletHub has just ranked Texas as the state with the most lenient enforcement of speeding and reckless driving laws. Our lack of enforcement is particularly frightening considering we have the country's third worst drivers. 

To establish each state's degree of enforcement, the authors of the study awarded points for various factors, including speeding ticket fines, jail sentences for reckless driving and insurance premium increases for traffic citations. The states with the highest scores had the strictest enforcement. It shows in the never-ending mayhem on our roads that we take for granted. But it doesn't have to be this way. In Colorado, you'll spend 10 days in jail for reckless driving, but here, a police report may not even be written, and you won't be charged unless someone is killed.

How Can Texas Improve?

Texas lawmakers need to pass stricter statutes that hold drivers more accountable for their dangerous conduct. Current penalties amount to a slap on the wrist for potentially fatal driving habits. For example, a reckless driver does not face jail time or driver's license suspension and may only be fined $200 for a first or second offense. There is no amount above the speed limit at which a Texas driver is automatically charged with reckless driving and there are no additional penalties for aggressive driving. Also, Texas does not use cameras to clock and cite speeding drivers. And we're moving backwards as legislators have voted out red-light cameras. 

Continue reading "Where Are Worst - But Least Punished - Drivers in US?" »

July 22, 2015

Wrong Way Crash on I-45 Claims Three Lives, Including Child's

Reason for Head-On Collision Undetermined 

A driver travelling north in the southbound lane of Interstate 45 caused a tragic head-on collision that killed three people on Monday morning. The accident occurred at 11:00 about 50 miles southeast of Dallas near Corsicana.

78 year-old James Edward Warren was driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck when he collided head-on with a black Nissan Pathfinder SUV. The impact knocked the SUV onto its side and two other cars hit the vehicle.

Two adults and six children were riding in the SUV and police say none were wearing seat belts and one child was thrown from the vehicle. Warren and the driver of the SUV both died instantly. A 14 year-old child died at the crash scene. Six other people were airlifted to Dallas hospitals for treatment of their injuries. 

Crash investigators don't yet know why Mr. Warren was driving the wrong way on I-45, but say alcohol does not appear to be a factor. What does that leave then as the cause?

Continue reading "Wrong Way Crash on I-45 Claims Three Lives, Including Child's" »

July 21, 2015

Wrong, Dallas News, Texas SHOULD Ban Texting While Driving

Texting driver

Crash Evidence Indicates Stronger Enforcement Would Save Lives

An article in The Dallas Morning News on Sunday argued that crash data collected from cities and states with bans in place does not definitely prove that stronger laws would reduce the numbers of texting while driving related collisions. The journalist stopped short of suggesting state legislators reject passage of an anti-texting bill, but lamely wrote that texting-related accident statistics "raised more questions than they answered." 

Earlier this year, the law he refers to that would have banned texting while driving sailed through the Texas House with wide support and was widely predicted to pass the Senate. However, the bill was blocked from reaching the Senate floor -- not that Governor Abbott would have signed the law, as Governor Perry previously refused to do. Therefore, Texas remains one of only four states in the country that allows this dangerous practice. About 40 Texas cities have enacted their own anti-texting laws on the books, creating a confusing patchwork of ordinances that changes from one town to the next. But Texas safety officials know this is a problem and prohibit drivers from texting in school zones and teens from texting and driving at all. The system cries out for uniform regulations, like every state's requiring seat belts and prohibiting drunk driving. 

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July 17, 2015

New Injury Settlements Announced; More 5 Star Client Reviews

We at the Berenson Law Firm have been working extra hard to get our clients the maximum compensation they deserve. In the last few weeks, we have successfully resolved these three $100,000.00-plus cases.

1. Tractor Trailer Hits SUV on I-35

My client was driving to work when an 18 wheeler hit his vehicle, forcing him into the concrete barrier. My expert downloaded the tractor trailer's black box which showed that the truck driver was driving 12 miles an hour over the speed limit in a construction zone. This hard working man, a Navy veteran, had to have shoulder surgery and suffered other injuries. We fought to successfully resolve his case at a mediation before trial.G Mays.jpg Our client was very pleased and graciously wrote this review:

Did an AWESOME job with our case. He worked hard to obtain all the facts and information needed to help our family to get back to normal. He is a true fighter for his clients and dedicated. He is definitely a force of nature when it comes to his clients. I would highly recommended this guy to anyone. His entire team was amazing!

2. Car runs light and hits SUV in Fort Worth

A photographer was turning left at a light when a teenager crashed into her. Three years later, she underwent surgery to her lumbar spine. I took the teen's deposition and began with "the collision is your fault, isn't it?" Answer: "Yes." His lawyer (too late): "Objection."
I made the insurance company pay the large liability limits of the driver's father and then substantially reduced my client's medical bills. I have demanded that her company pay her entire underinsured motorist policy and will file suit if it doesn't.DSC07183 (Large).jpg

My client very nicely wrote this review after I won an important hearing for her:

Very Happy
I was in a wreck several years ago and after my attorney did nothing and then dropped my case I called Mr. Berenson. He took my case very last minute and did a wonderful job. I called him after calling several other attorneys 4 days before I was due in court. I would not recommend anyone have to do it this way, it was very stressful. He agreed to represent me, communicated with me well and kept me very informed. I look forward to continuing to work with him to resolve my case and would highly recommend him to anyone who asked me for a Personal Injury Attorney in the Fort Worth area.

Continue reading "New Injury Settlements Announced; More 5 Star Client Reviews " »

July 15, 2015

How Can Rental Car Companies Get Away With This?

U. S. Senate Considering Bill To Stop Them From Renting Or Selling Recalled Vehicles

The Senate is holding hearings on a law that would close the loophole on rental company recall obligations. Currently, they can legally rent or sell recalled vehicles without notifying the consumer about a defect that can cause the driver to crash. The new law would hold rental companies to the same standards as car dealers and prohibit them from putting vehicles out on the road ntil the defect is repaired. Why are these companies exempt?

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015 was introduced by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Claire McCaskill, and Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson and has the support of auto manufacturers, rental companies, insurance companies and consumer safety organizations. 

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July 13, 2015

Cable Barriers To Be Installed On I-35 In Oklahoma - Too Late

Cable barrier

Deadly Crash Prompts Transportation Department to Take Action 

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation approved installation of cable barriers along the stretch of I-35 where four members of the North Central Texas College girl's softball team were killed last September. A seven mile long cable will separate the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 35, stretching from mile marker 44 at Arbuckle Mountains to just south of Turner Falls. 

The decision was made in response to the fatal head-on collision between a tractor-trailer and the van that was transporting the women back to the NCTC campus after a game. Four women were killed and 12 others were seriously injured in the accident. The truck driver responsible for the horrific accident only suffered minor injuries. 

The deadly tractor-trailer accident occurred when the distracted truck driver crossed the 92-foot wide center median from the northbound lane into the southbound lane and hit the van head on. The force of the impact sheared the side of the van and knocked it onto its side. The 18-wheeler came to rest about 300 feet off the highway. 

The truck driver has been charged with four counts of first-degree manslaughter in late June. A marijuana pipe and prescription medications were reportedly discovered in his semi cab during the accident investigation. 

Continue reading "Cable Barriers To Be Installed On I-35 In Oklahoma - Too Late" »

July 10, 2015

Motorcycle Helmets Should Be Required In Texas


A couple on a motorcycle crashed when the tire on their 2008 Harley Davidson blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the bike. In this motorcycle accident last Thursday at 8:50 p.m. on Interstate 35 near Waco, the passenger, 34-year old Crystal Shaw, was killed in the wreck. Neither driver nor passenger were wearing a helmet. I am currently working on a court case with the exact same facts, and three children will have to grow up without a mother. This "devil may care" attitude while riding these incredibly dangerous machines makes me angry.

Texas Motorcycle Laws Don't Make Sense

Texas motorcycle laws require riders who are under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. However a rider who is older than 21 and who has completed a rider training program or who is covered by motorcycle accident medical insurance does not have to wear a helmet. 

These laws assume that riders can fully protect themselves against an accident, which is far from the case. Riders can take precautions that substantially reduce the chance of having an accident, but some matters are out of their control. Training won't stop a motorist from swerving into the path of a motorcyclist, cracked pavement from knocking the bike off balance or a defective motorcycle part from malfunctioning. I've handled too many of these cases.

Continue reading "Motorcycle Helmets Should Be Required In Texas " »

July 9, 2015

How To Choose Best Fort Worth Injury Lawyer - Client Reviews

I am a big believer in going online and doing some research when I need to make a purchase. Finding out how other consumers have liked a service or product is far more informative than reading slick promotional material, tv ads, or pay per clicks at the top of a search page.

Thank you to my wonderful clients for voluntarily writing gracious online reviews, the ones below in the last week.

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"I must say I couldn't be more impressed by Bill Berenson and his team. Very thankful that a friend referred me to him during this extremely stressful chaotic time in my life, I honestly was at my wit's end with everything happening at once. They handled everything smoothly, very friendly, professionally, and you can definitely feel they care and have your best intrest at heart. I would gladly refer this law firm to anyone going through the crazyness that needs guidance in that right direction and that will fight for you and everything you deserve in this difficult time. I promise you will absolutely NOT be disappointed!!" - Lindsey Peters

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"I hired Mr. Berenson after I was rear ended. My car was a complete total loss. I went into meet with Mr. Berenson after reading so many great reviews from here. I am very thankful I did so. From day one I was taken care of. The team he has did everything from getting me doctors appointments to giving me weekly calls to make sure everything was okay. I always felt comfortable to call his office. He worked hard and got me a great settlement. If you have been in a car accident, I would defiantly give him a call first, you wont regret it." - Daniel Cejas

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"I was in a car accident in Nov. 2013. It was the other person's fault. So I was dealing with their insurance company. I have never dealt with anything like this before, seeing that this was my first car accident. I didn't think that I would need to get an attorney, thinking that the insurance company would be fair. NOT!!!! So, about 11 months have passed and I was getting nowhere. At this point , I knew that I needed help. So, I googled" The Top Car Accident Attorneys In Fort Worth" I was researching several attorneys and came across Mr. Berenson and decided to give him a call. His sense of humor was great. I decided to make an appointment with him and after that, they got to work. Mr. Berenson and his team are gladiators and will fight to the death for their clients. They went far and beyond my expectations. I am very grateful and would highly recommend this team for your battle. They are Superior!!!!!!!!!" - Tammy Lindsey

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"I was hit from behind by a semi truck back in January. Mr. Berenson and his team were prompt and on point the whole way. He always returned my phone calls and emails with in about a day and went out of his way to make sure the process was as easy as it could be for my wife and I." - Phillip Kara

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"I had a motorist pull out in front of me while driving which resulted in my motorcycle accident in November. I ended up with broken several bones in one leg and totaling my bike. The team from William K. Berenson Law Firm were absolutely fantastic! As I was now without any mode of transportation and unable to walk, a representative was sent out to meet with me so we could go over what had happened. Any time after the initial consultation, if I needed to contact the firm I was met by a wonderful staff that was always willing to help. They were very expedient with handling any paperwork or contacting me with any new information. I would recommend this firm to anyone in need of great representation" - Joshua Martinez

July 8, 2015

Talk and Text -- and Crash

talk text crash campaign logoUrges Drivers to Put Down Their Phones

The Texas Department of Transportation launched its Talk, Text and Crash Campaign last week to urge drivers to put away their phones while behind the wheel. The TxDOT safety campaign is designed to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving. The title says it all, putting talking and texting side-by-side with crashing, since they are so often closely related. However -- although talking and texting are the focal points -- the program warns against all types of distractions while driving, including:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Grooming
  • Reading
  • Using a navigation system
  • Changing the song on the radio or electronic device
  • Viewing a video

Distracted-Driving Stats Speak for Themselves

The statistics remain shocking even though I represent victims of distracted driving accidents daily. Last year, 100,917 distracted-driving accidents occurred in Texas, resulting in 483 deaths and more than 3,000 severe injuries. The number of distracted driving-related accidents increased in 2014 by six percent from the prior year. Sadly, the death toll from distracted driving crashes was highest in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket. At a time when these young people were excited about the future, they lost their lives because of one text or phone call that couldn't wait.

But not just young people engage in this dangerous behavior. The Texas Transportation Institute said that almost 45 percent of Texas drivers admitted to cell phone use while driving, despite the fact that 83 percent of them agreed that talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel is dangerous. In other words, drivers understood the risk, but chose to ignore it.

Continue reading "Talk and Text -- and Crash " »

July 6, 2015

Flooded Vehicles Are a Serious Safety Risk

water-damaged car in flooded street

Many Water-Damaged Cars Remain on the Market

Texas experienced record rainfall last May. At least 35 people died and numerous others were injured as a result of flooding conditions in our region. Hundreds of drivers were involved in accidents or were swept away in flash floods on Texas's treacherous roadways. Standing water presented one of the biggest problems for drivers who found their vehicles submerged when they attempted to drive through seemingly shallow water.

Unsafe conditions still linger more than a month after the waters' receded, that of water-damaged cars. Vehicles are built to withstand heavy rain, but not to become fully submerged in water. The water can cause substantial damage to the electrical, mechanical and computerized components that affect steering, brakes, airbags and other vital functions of the car. Small, hidden components are often affected by water, so a car that looks O.K. might actually be in serious risk of an accident.

The industry-funded antifraud group National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that between 7,000 and 10,000 insured cars in Texas sustained water damages up until early June. Although these vehicles are supposed to be taken off the roads, many are not. In fact, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners issued a consumer alert about thousands of submerged vehicles that were abandoned in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that may still be on the market today.

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July 2, 2015

Texas Steps Up DWI Enforcement for Fourth of July Weekend

Don't Drink and Drive on 4th of July

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced plans to put more law enforcement officers on duty during this July 4th weekend. You may already have noticed more officers patrolling high-risk locations, such as the Fort Worth Stockyards and the Dallas Deep Ellum. The increased DWI patrol began on June 26 and runs through July 7. 

On the day we celebrate our freedom, hundreds of drunk drivers will be in jail, which is better than them being out on the road. 

Increased Enforcement Results in High Rate of DWI Arrests

In 2014, DPS troopers arrested more than 1,050 drunk drivers during the stepped-up Fourth of July holiday enforcement period. In addition to DWI arrests, DPS troopers also issued more than 15,000 speeding tickets and more than 2,500 citations for failure to use a seat belt or child car seat. 

Although DWI fatalities increase during the holiday weekend, alcohol and driving is always a deadly combination. In 2014, more than 1,000 people died on Texas roadways in accidents involving a drunk driver, accounting for 29 percent of the year's traffic accident deaths.

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July 1, 2015

Federal Discovery Rules About To Change

Rules of Civil Procedure

Effect on Injured Clients' Claims in Texas Courts 

The U.S. Supreme Court has made several landmark decisions during this session that have been widely analyzed. The high court has also approved several significant changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that of course got little, if any, attention in the press. 

Although most personal injury claims are brought in Texas state courts, Texas typically adopt the federal rules. So expect the changes to FRCP to also influence changes to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedures (TRCP), possibly as early as next year.

New Discovery Rules 

Discovery rule changes that have been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court include:

  • Eliminating the discovery of information that could lead to admissible evidence
  • Relying more heavily on a proportionality test that weighs costs with benefits and what's at stake
  • Putting burden on party that objects to production of evidence to state whether documents are being withheld
  • Changing rules governing preservation and destruction of electronically stored information
  • Reducing time for serving summons and enter scheduling orders

Continue reading "Federal Discovery Rules About To Change " »