460xEarly Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.

The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.

Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.

“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.

In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.

This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.

As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.

Why are insurance limits so low?

And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?

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maddSaturday morning’s Walk Like MADD fundraiser at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden was a success.

I joined over 200 people who gathered to remember those who had tragically lost their lives or been injured in crashes caused by intoxicated drivers.  Law enforcement officers were there to show their support for this worthy cause.

My law firm was proud to again be the sponsor of the event. We have supported Mothers Against Drunk Driving for many years.

teens-speeding_0Why do 20% of new teenage drivers cause a car wreck within the first six months of driving?

Their rampant alcohol, drug, and cell phone use and other distractions added to their inexperience make the odds they crash into you rise dramatically.

The National Teen Driver Safety Week ends tomorrow. Its theme of Five to Drive addresses the five major causes of teens causing and getting hurt in accidents:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Being distracted by passengers
  • Not wearing seat belts

Sadly, automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States.A whopping 2,679 teens died and 123,000 were injured in car wrecks just in 2014.

Avoiding these five problems will reduce these tragic statistics dramatically. Continue reading

14572841_10101408880683794_3869634090170748768_nMike Micallef was struck by an SUV near Reata, the excellent restaurant in downtown Fort Worth restaurant that he owns. He  was standing on the sidewalk with coworkers at the corner of Throckmorton and Sixth Streets at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. Suddenly, a car travelling in the wrong direction hit the SUV, which caused it to jump the curb and almost crush the entire group.

Mike averted a disaster by heroically pushing the others out of the way before he was hit. He sustained a fractured skull, a crushed vertebra, and other serious injuries.

In this sweet photo he posted to his Facebook page, you can see the look of relief on his and his daughter’s face. I’ve seen seen that look before in my 36 years as an auto accident lawyer here in Fort Worth. But Mike should not be in the hospital. Continue reading



The Walk Like MADD is an annual event that brings our community together to honor the victims of those who tragically lost their lives in drunk driving collisions.

There are exhibits, tributes, and a 5K (three mile) walk/run to raise money and awareness to end our epidemic of DWI’s.

As a personal injury lawyer, I have to deal with the carnage caused by intoxicated and stoned drivers on a regular basis.

Texas leads the U.S. in the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving — even though we have twelve million fewer people than California.

And the Dallas Fort Worth area is one of the most unsafe places to drive in Texas.

Did you know that just last year, there were over 5,000 collisions caused by intoxicated drivers in the four largest counties in the Metroplex — or a whopping 14 a day?

That’s inexcusable.

Our streets must be made safer.

That’s why Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of my favorite causes and why Berenson Injury Law is the presenting sponsor every year.

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06 November 2011: Quarterback (9) Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys passes the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of the Cowboys 23-13 victory over the Seahawks at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX.


Here we are in the middle of football season and the Cowboys look great. But in yesterday’s impressive win against the Packers, two players were pulled from the game due to concussions.

You will remember that several thousand players successfully sued the NFL for compensation for their brain injuries including our own Tony Dorsett. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer was diagnosed three years ago with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by his football career.

I have to deal with head injuries representing people all over North Texas who have been injured in car and truck wrecks. More than two million people suffer brain injuries each year, many from collisions. Some of these victims develop CTE.

Let me tell you, getting your head crashed into and cortorted, whether by a charging 320 pound player or a 7,000 pound truck, isn’t just a little ding. Continue reading


Insurance companies are businesses, not charities. Their only purpose is to make a profit, which they do by paying less money to automobile accident victims than the premiums they charge to the drivers who caused them. It’s a racquet.

And sometimes their adjusters get overly aggressive, even ruthless. That’s why you need someone on your side protecting you.

Here are some of the ways I see insurance companies trying to cheat my clients:

Demanding recorded statement immediately after the crash

You were just in a car crash. You might have just been released from the ER and are feeling a lot of pain. You are taking medications that can affect your memory, mood, and sleep. You might not be able to work and are naturally worried about your job, income, medical bills, and your wrecked car.  So this is the worst time you should talk to the at-fault driver’s “friendly” insurance adjuster to answer “a few questions.” He or she knows this and often wants to take advantage of your vulnerability.

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START CALFI was honored to again sponsor the Cowtown Marathon’s C.A.L.F. 5K run (3.1 miles) and its first ever 15K run (9.3 miles for adults) at the Will Rogers Complex.

Then I watched many FWISD high school chefs-in-training compete in a spirited cooking competition designed to teach them to prepare healthy meals.

It was fun to be asked to speak to the runners before they dashed off  and to sound the horn to start the race. I have competed in countless races and know how exciting it is to toe the line.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has just announced Road to Zero, a coalition dedicated to eliminating traffic deaths. I support this plan wholeheartedly.

The NHTSA has committed $3 million to support auto safety organizations over the next three years. The coalition of organizations will work together on innovative approaches to saving lives.

A similar program in Sweden reduced deaths from only seven in 100,000 to only three in 100,000 in just 15 years.

Let’s hope we get the same results. Our highways are death traps. Continue reading

IMG_0958The Dallas County School District announced yesterday that is has fired or suspended several hundred bus drivers for violating basic traffic laws. The people paid to safely get children to and from school had racked up 480 traffic citations for failing to stop for red lights or stopped buses just in the last two years.

That’s a startling 10 percent of all Dallas school bus drivers.

Running a red light is inexcusable for any driver, but for a bus driver, it’s outrageous.

Tax Dollars Paid the Traffic Tickets

Not only did the Dallas school bus drivers put children and other motorists at risk and allow these reckless drivers to continue driving for years, but the school district paid $80,000.00 for their traffic tickets. Dallas County citizens got stuck paying these traffic tickets with money that could have used for schoolbooks, lunches or teachers’ salaries. The district didn’t even bother to ask the drivers to reimburse the city or reprimand them for their recklessness.

However if you or I drive around a bus with the stop arm extended we can get hit with a $300 – $1,000 fine. School bus drivers, who should know better than anyone the dangers to children, paid zero.

In response to the investigation, two high-level managers were fired for failing to properly oversee the bus drivers. The Dallas School District also announced a new once-and-done rule in which any bus driver caught passing a bus that has its stop arm extended faces immediate dismissal. Bus drivers will also have to pay back the fines. Finally. Continue reading