The best way not to be in a car crash on New Year's Eve is obvious
Saturday was another disastrous day on our area roads. Five people died and many others were injured in five deadly collisions.
- North Fort Worth: an off-duty police officer was tragically killed when a man ran a red light on Boat Club Road and crashed into Euless Police Department Detective Alejandro Cervantes's car. The extremely intoxicated man also seriously injured the officer's wife and two sons, to make this story even more heart-breaking. The drunk driver had already crashed into another vehicle and was fleeing from that collision. He again tried to hit-and-run but was chased down by witnesses. His blood alcohol content was .144%, which is almost two times the legal limit. The bar that sold him the alcohol, Fuzzy's Tacos, is being investigated by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for violating the Dramshop Act that forbids overserving customers. The drunk remains in jail with a $300,000 bond and has been charged with five counts including intoxication manslaughter. It is hard to believe that it was only 1:30 in the afternoon when this exemplary police officer lost his life at the hands of a criminal he would normally have been putting behind bars. Berenson Injury Law made a donation to the family's expenses fund.
Berenson Injury Law donated $5,000 to support Mothers Against Driving's Walk Like MADD in North Texas. The event took place at its national headquarters in Irving. MADD works hard to reduce the number of drunk driving collisions on our roads. Between its hard work and that of aggressive law enforcement, district attorneys and personal injury lawyers, our astronomical injury and fatality rate will continue to drop. This is an urgent problem in North Texas that must be addressed. Mr. Berenson has seen far too many car and truck wrecks that were caused by a drunk or stoned driver and wants to stop them from happening.
“Joe” was driving home from work last July when an SUV rear-ended his pickup truck at a high rate of speed. That driver was intoxicated. Joe was taken to a hospital, x-rayed, and diagnosed with a strain/sprain. Joe was angry and wanted to explore his legal options. He hired us and we went to work.
We learned that the driver’s blood alcohol content was shockingly high .28%. That is three and one-half times the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. Joe’s left shoulder had been causing him a lot of pain. But he had no health insurance or way to pay for a doctor. Joe’s problem was a common one for people who have been in a car accident. Many people don’t have health insurance or if they do, their plan refuses to pay their bills by claiming that:
- the health insurance plan is secondary to the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company or other entity,
- the ambulance, hospital, or doctor was out of network, the service was not necessary, or it was too expensive, or
- vehicle crashes are somehow exempt from reimbursement.
Here's the latest elected official or celebrity to be arrested for driving while intoxicatedWhy do we have so many "car accidents" on our roads -- especially the huge number caused by drunken and drugged drivers? The chance of being injured in a DWI wreck in North Texas is a lot higher than you may realize. In Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties last year, drunk drivers caused over 5,000 crashes which tragically took the lives of 90 people and injured thousands of people. We hear about the Covid-19 pandemic constantly but rarely about the DWI epidemic. But these collisions are so common that it takes someone dying in one - or a famous celebrity arrested - for the news media to mention it. Recently we blogged about how two prominent officials -- a Dallas criminal judge and a high-ranking Fort Worth police officer -- were arrested for driving while intoxicated in the same weekend. In the latest report about a public servant breaking the law, the Mayor of Granbury was arrested for DWI early Sunday morning. Worse, this was his second arrest. Ninnian Hulett, age 68, was pulled over in his highly visible red Corvette. The mayor was reportedly found guilty about seven years ago of evading arrest and later that year, was arrested for causing a DWI wreck in Fort Worth - and one more. EDITED: The mayor resigned on May 6, 2021. That's outrageous. We elect people not just to make laws but obey them, just like the rest of us have to do. We expect our officials, judges, and law enforcement personnel to lead us by exhibiting the highest conduct and setting a good example, especially when innocent drivers can be injured. We can't sit back and allow a DWI to be normal behavior when people naturally ask, "if he can do that, why can't I?" Our office handles many driving while intoxicated collision cases and sees how destructive these usually high-speed crashes can be.
1. Stay home! New Year's Eve is just an excuse for the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages. And with 2020 being such a terrible year, this might make even more people go out and drink even more tonight. They will be celebrating at nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, then drive home and cause a possible fatal DWI accident in Fort Worth.Not to be a party-pooper, but please stay home tonight due to Covid-19 precautions, bad weather, and just plain common sense. Our main goal at Berenson Injury Law is to use the civil justice system to get our clients the best possible compensation for their damages. We also try to change the behavior of negligent drivers so that our highways will be less dangerous. We just filed a lawsuit against a man whose blood alcohol content was an unbelievable 3.5 times the legal limit -- at only about 7:00 p.m. The Fort Worth Star Telegram wrote an excellent article about this tragic case that claimed the life of a man. Publicizing the inevitability of severe criminal punishments and substantial civil judgments can warn others and hold down the chance of another Fort Worth DWI accident like this one. We often write about what people should do after they are involved in a driving while intoxicated collision since they are so common and hurt so many people. Shockingly, 30 Americans lose their lives each day, in a DWI crash. That is one every 50 minutes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. We must stop the madness. Every driving while intoxicated collision is preventable. Tonight is the perfect time to start.
The epidemic of DWIs in DFW is officially out of controlWhen a judge and police officer were disgracefully jailed last week for driving while intoxicated, you know that we have a crisis. How can people paid to enforce the law break it? Committing DWIs in DFW is outrageous for drivers plus being hypocritical when committed by those supposed to protect us from drunk drivers in the first place. So what happened and why do we bring this to your attention? 1. Dallas County criminal district judge Friday night, a judge crashed into a light pole in the 13500 block of Midway Road around 11:00 p.m. She was arrested and taken to the Farmers Branch Police Department jail and released the next day on bond. Criminal judges make life-changing decisions that can imprison people for the rest of their lives. Civil judges determine the amount of damages to be paid to victims of DWIs in DFW who are injured in auto and truck collisions. The judge involved here has served for two years. Before then, she practiced as a criminal defense attorney. She obviously knew better. 2. Fort Worth Police Department lieutenant On Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., a lieutenant was arrested for driving while intoxicated in front of an elementary school. He was spotted asleep behind the wheel of his police cruiser. And for some unexplained reason, there was a child in the back seat. He is a high-ranking and experienced 14-year veteran with the FWPD. He clearly knew better.
3. Firefighter injured in wrong-way crashAs just one of thousands of examples of how serious DWIs in DFW are, early Sunday morning an Irving firefighter suffered a traumatic brain injury when a drunk driver who was going the wrong way on State Highway 183 hit him. Aaron Donohue was working a five-vehicle collision caused by (guess who) a drunk driver in the closed-off westbound lanes. The 23-year-old woman from Arlington had been driving the wrong way for miles on this busy highway. She said that she thought she was headed east towards Dallas. She continued to drive after nearly killing Mr. Donohue. It is truly a miracle that someone - or some people - did not die. This crash has become an unfortunately routine collision in North Texas.
DWIs in DFW epidemic rage onNorth Texas is always at the top of the list for these especially deadly crashes in our state. There were about 5,000 collisions last year in the four counties that make up the heart of the Metroplex. They tragically took the lives of 131 people. Every one of these crashes was 100% preventable. Wrong-way and hit-and-run crashes are often caused by intoxicated drivers. If they are caught, it is common for a personal injury lawyer to investigate and learn they have no liability insurance or any way to pay for the (often enormous) damages they have caused.
What should be doneThe illegal actions of these two are aberrations, since virtually every other judge and police officer is a hard-working, law-abiding professional who does a good job performing their duties. This judge and lieutenant are entitled to a presumptions of innocence and trials. Until then, we call on them to be suspended and even fired. If found guilty, they must be given the maximum punishment. Further, their sentences must be heavily publicized to serve as warnings to others who would violate already thinly-enforced DWI laws. We understand that the pandemic is the #1 problem now. But the DWI crisis existed long before the virus began this winter and will keep surging after we hopefully can bring Covid-19 under control. MADD was started by a mother 40 years ago after her teen-aged daughter was killed in a drunk driving crash and its work is more urgent now than ever. We must take action to prevent the driving public from the never-ending saga of DWIs in DFW. The fact that a district judge and police official think nothing of violating the law is alarming. OK, we already know about the countless celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kevin Hart, and Keanu Reeves, not to mention the high-profile sports figures like Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and Mike Tyson who have been charged with driving while intoxicated. But when the public sees criminal laws being so flagrantly disregarded by the very people who take oaths to uphold them, this obviously sends the wrong message. Trust in government and law enforcement is already badly eroded. Our country is still reeling from protests against the police and officials after one of the most turbulent years in our history. We expect and need the highest standard of conduct from our elected representatives, judges, and police officers. That is why this topic is so important.
We can help youWe are ready and able to investigate motor vehicle collisions, work with medical professionals, develop files, handle insurance claims, get medical bills and lost wages paid, answer all questions, and file lawsuits as necessary against reckless drivers - especially drunk ones. Last week, we filed suit against an extremely drunk driver in Fort Worth who caused a man to die and another to be seriously injured. Many of our clients have been injured by intoxicated (or stoned) drivers. And one woman was crashed into by two drunk driver within the last year. Here is a photograph of her SUV upside down on Interstate 20. We successfully obtained all insurance available from several policies in both of the cases. If you have been injured by any negligent driver, call us at 1-885-801-8585 or chat with us. There is no charge with the first consultation. We will guide you through what can be a complicated process and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Berenson Injury Law has filed a lawsuit against a Fort Worth business executive who was driving while incredibly intoxicated. His blood alcohol content was apparently more than three times the legal limit - at only 7:15 p.m. Our client will have to undergo surgery next week after suffering a great deal of pain for months. This collision also tragically took the life of another man. Berenson Injury Law will fight to get our client just compensation. We also will seek punitive damages to deter the executive and others from driving while intoxicated in North Texas.
Mr. Berenson is also a proud supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and its worthy goal of "No More Victims."
If you have been injured in a car, truck, 18-wheeler, motorcycle, or pedestrian crash caused by the carelessness or recklessness of another driver, contact Berenson Injury Law.
We must stop the driving while intoxicated epidemicThe previous attention to our DWI problem has been buried by the overwhelming number of deaths and injuries caused by COVID-19. However, according to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 24,618 drunk driving crashes last year in our state. Just here in Tarrant and Dallas Counties, DWIs sadly took the lives of 114 residents and injured 2,729 people.
Action we need to takeEvery driving collision is easily preventable. It cannot be dismissed as just a "car accident." It is an intentional crime. It is assault or manslaughter caused by a deadly weapon. While it is can be hard to avoid getting the virus if you are in a grocery store, it is easy to prevent a DWI: don't drink and drive. We strongly believe that intoxicated drivers must be held accountable and more strongly punished. The following actions could reduce the huge DWI problem we have. All drunk drivers need to
- be prosecuted, jailed, and fined,
- be sued in civil courts and forced to pay jury verdicts,
- have ignition locks placed on their vehicles and pass sobriety tests before they are allowed to drive - if they can even drive at all or at least be prevented from driving at night,
- have to undergo counseling,
- pay higher insurance premiums,
- meet the families of the victims and learn the pain and harm they have caused to the survivors,
- be named on web sites so that they will appear in public searches and others will know the crime they committed, and
- be required to perform public service, including cleaning up after car and truck wrecks.
We can help youBill Berenson has successfully received maximum amounts from drunk drivers over the past nearly 40 years from lawsuits and settlements. He recently obtained all available insurance proceeds in this case, including the liability limit for the drunk driver who had been excluded from the vehicle owner's substandard policy. His client received $88,000 from the total paid of $130,000. Our client was very happy with the results and kindly wrote this review on the AVVO legal website:
|Wanted to share my journey with Bill Berenson and staff. My husband was killed by a drunk driver December 7, 2019. I was devastated and not knowing what steps I need to take a friend of mine reached out to informed me of the urgency to find a lawyer. He did the research and referred Bill Berenson attorney injury lawyer to me who had great reviews and 5 stars. After meeting with Mr. Berenson and Mr. Stan I was convinced I did not need to look any further for a lawyer. I felt confident that he and his staff would work hard for me even though nothing would be able to bring my husband back. Mr. Berenson asked me to Trust him to handle my case knowing that I had so much to deal with. Mr. Berenson, Ms. Shannon, Ms. Jessica and Ms. Stan kept me informed every step of the way by calling, emails and text messages. Mr. Berenson displayed so much compassion and work diligently throughout the entire process. He remembered me by sending a beautiful cake for Christmas. I've received many calls from Ms. Shannon asking if there's anything she or the firm could do for me after the case was settled. Allow me to inject the drunk driver had no insurance but Mr. Berenson being the professional lawyer that he is work hard to get them to pay for damages. A special thank you to Mr. Berenson and staff for sticking by my side. If you need an Accident Injury Lawyer I highly recommend Bill Berenson of Fort Worth, TX|
"No Refusal weekends" will now be all year longHere's a fact you rarely hear: Texas is #1 in the U.S. for deaths caused by intoxicated drivers. Any one loss of life is tragic. Our figure of 886 is abysmal. So yesterday's announcement by the Tarrant County District Attorney's office that every weekend will now become a "No Refusal" weekend is certainly good news. Hopefully, the chances of being the victim of a Tarrant County DWI accident will be curtailed starting this Friday night. In the past, only a few weekends each year were designated as No Refusal Weekends, including New Year's Eve, Super Bowl, Labor Day, and several others when it was known there would be more DWIs than usual. But Dallas, San Antonio, and other cities and counties have cracked down on DWIs on every weekend for years. Currently in Tarrant County, if someone is stopped due to a police officer's suspicion that they are driving while intoxicated, they can refuse to undergo a breathalyzer or field sobriety test and be arrested. Texas is an "implied consent" state, meaning that a driver is presumed to have given permission to being tested by being issued a driver's license.A skilled lawyer can have the charges reduced or dismissed. Criminal defense lawyers in Tarrant County stay busy handling over 6,000 DWI charges filed last year. During No Refusal weekends, the officer immediately takes the suspected drunk driver to a police station. A magistrate is waiting to sign a search warrant and a nurse immediately draws blood and/or obtains a breath sample. This speeds up the process, which is critical since the longer it takes, the lower the driver's blood alcohol content becomes. Once the lab confirms that the .08% grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood threshold has been achieved, prosecutors obtain a 90% guilty verdict or plea bargain rate. North Texas is the epicenter of Texas drunk driving - which is saying a lot. If you add up Tarrant (1,534 DWI crashes), Dallas (2,191), Denton (545) and Collin (569) Counties, there were close to 5,000 DWI accidents last year just in these four counties. This is far higher than any other area, including Houston and its surrounding counties. Check out this map: counties with most DWI crashes We have to stop the madness.
How alcohol causes vehicle crashesAlcohol (and drugs) reduces the ability of the brain to function properly. It impairs vision, judgment, hand-eye and muscle coordination, and balance. Alcoholic beverages reduce the ability to perceive moving vehicles and judge their distances and speeds, basic requirements of driving safely. There is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol and the effects on the central nervous system. It is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine. Criminal and civil courts use blood alcohol concentration levels for different purposes. While criminal courts exact punishment in jail sentences, fines, and loss of rights, civil courts enable the victim and their family to receive monetary compensation for their damages.
Why you should be so worried about this problemThe country is facing multiple crises and perhaps, you might think that DWIs are not a big deal or can be overlooked because they won't affect you. But consider these startling facts:
- An American dies every 20 minutes from an alcohol-fueled collision;
- 29 of us lose their lives each day at the hands of a drunk driver;
- About 30 million Americans admit each year to driving while being intoxicated;
- Alcohol-impaired drivers take the wheel over 300,000 times each day, but only 2,800 are estimated (less than 1%);
- The typical drunk driver has already been intoxicated 80 times before they are finally (if ever) arrested;
- One in three Americans will be involved in a DWI accident in their lifetime;
- 54% of children who lose their lives in a alcohol-caused crash were driven by an intoxicated driver, usually their parents; and
- Our country is the third worst in the world for driving while intoxicated.
Finally, Texas has more people who die in all kinds of traffic wrecks (3,615) than California, which has about 10 million more people. How is that possible
Other ways to cut the Tarrant County DWI accident rate
- Increase the number of police on the roads on weekends and nights;
- Establish sobriety checkpoints at known bar areas like West 7th Street in Fort Worth or Uptown in Dallas;
- Arrest and convict more drunk drivers and post these results on social media and in the press;
- Expedite civil lawsuits against these drivers and publicize high verdicts to send a message that drunk driving will not be tolerated;
- Require engine interlocks that cannot be easily evaded by convicted drunk drivers;
- Make car manufacturers install software that detects drunk and stoned driving;
- Lower the blood alcohol limit to .05% (it is 0% in many countries); and
- Increase public funding for DWI prevention programs like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which Mr. Berenson proudly supports.
Mr. Berenson takes on drunk drivers, their insurance companies, their employers, and the bars that overserve themHis law firm is filing a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a man who was horribly killed by a drunk driver last week. He is handling several others including this case and has represented many other victims and their families over the past 40 years. He is unfortunately all too familiar with the devastation and hardship that any car wreck can cause, but knows that a Tarrant County DWI accident can be horrific. Mr. Berenson has advocated for year-round No Refusal weekends and stronger DWI and traffic safety laws for years. He has served for years on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) advisory board of directors for North Texas and supported this worth-while organization whose motto is "no more victims." MADD lobbies state legislatures to enhance drunk driving laws, supports victims and their families, and raises public awareness of this menace. Here are two posts Mr. Berenson has written for MADD's blog: Fort Worth injury attorney helps get drunk driving message out Pandemic has not stopped DWI epidemic If you have any questions about any car, truck, 18-wheeler, motorcycle, or pedestrian crash, please call us at 1-885-8585 or chat with us.
Another Saturday night, another Fort Worth DWI wreckThree people tragically died in a Fort Worth DWI wreck when a drunk driver of a pickup truck speeding the wrong way crashed into their car on NE Loop 820. A father, mother and their 9-year-old daughter from Dallas died at the scene. The pickup truck driver was helicoptered to a hospital in Fort Worth with life-threatening injuries. He has been charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter with bond set at $100,000 per death. A lot of good that will do now. When will the next Fort Worth DWI wreck happen and how can we stop it?
Every Fort Worth DWI wreck is 100% preventable
Why? Because a driver is not legally allowed to drink and drive if their blood alcohol content is more than .08% -- which it usually is. If he or she has to drink, they can have a designated driver or Uber take them home, or better yet, never leave. We are clearly not doing enough to stop these tragedies from happening. Last year 618 people died in Texas in a DWI wreck, with 74 of them here in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. One person would be too many. Texas sadly is #1 in the U.S. in these urgent categories:
- most drunk driving crashes,
- most wrong way crashes, and
- most distracted driving cases.
Wrong-way collisionsAlthough they only represent 3% of motor vehicle collisions, wrong-way crashes are often fatal due to their high speeds and head-on impacts. They are usually caused by an out of control pickup truck drivers crashing into a smaller cars or vehicles. A study by the National Transportation Safety Board found that almost two-thirds were caused by drunk drivers where BAC's were typically over .15% (almost two times the legal limit). We have seen cases as high as .27%. They happen when a driver gets drunk, distracted, or falls asleep at the wheel. The driver enters a highway exit or crosses the median or line separating traffic directions. Texas has an outdated highway safety system and many poorly lit and designed rural highways that add to the problem. These warning signs, for example, are highly ineffective. Much better alternatives and technology are available.
We must continue to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving
MADD can help stop a Fort Worth DWI wreck. Since it was founded by the mother of a teen killed in a alcohol-fueled collision 40 years ago, the fatality rate has been cut in half. This is why Bill Berenson is a top supporter of MADD. He believes it is an effective way to curb drunk driving and make our roads safer. Unfortunately, as the number of drunk drivers has increased 27%, donations and funding to MADD and all nonprofit organizations have greatly diminished.
There are many problems the world now faces and drunk driving may not seem as important in the chaos. But ask anybody who has lost someone or been injured in one and you will find out that there is a huge groundswell of support for tougher criminal and civil enforcement of our drunk driving laws. The Texas legislature meets again for its every other year session in January. It must take a serious look at enhancing our statutes and adding money to police departments and courts. We all want to be able to drive safely and not risk our lives just because a drunk gets behind the wheel and aims his truck at us. For the past 40 years, Berenson Injury Law has specialized in car, truck, tractor-trailer, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian collisions. We have helped many families who lost their loved ones or people who were injured in a Fort Worth DWI wreck like the one that happened here Saturday night.
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