cell-phoneMore good news from our state legislature

Injured or sick people who can’t get off work, away from taking care of children, or don’t have a way to go get to a doctor will be able to see one on their cell phones or computers.
The new law will be signed by the governor in the next week. More information on how this cutting-edge technology will work is here.
Companies headquartered in Texas, including Teladoc, have been fighting the Texas Medical Board for many years to allow us the freedom to have our prescriptions refilled without lengthy trips and waits in doctors offices. Teladoc had won several lawsuits against the board.
Senate Bill 1107 was written by Dr. Charles Schwertner and will allow the board to maintain disciplinary control over doctors and health care providers.Doctors will be required to review a patient’s medical records before talking to them remotely.
Texas is state 50 out of 50 to allow this long overdue practice. This follows on the heels of the legislature’s approval of the texting while driving law, where we were the 46th state to limit this dangerous practice.

How Does This Affect People Hurt In Car Collisions?

Fortunately, most people injured in car wrecks do not sustain major injuries. The majority experience soft tissue injuries or strains and sprains of their necks and backs, sometimes referred to as whiplash. This is especially true in low speed collisions and rear end accidents or when the passengers are in a truck or sports utility vehicle (which more than 50% of Texans are in).

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Thanks to MADD, New Law Passed By Texas Senate Today May Help Stop This Epidemic

A wonderful 62-year-old woman named Wyona Clardy tragically died Saturday morning in Grapevine, two weeks after being crushed by a truck in Keller on Highway 377. Her car (pictured here) was stopped at a red light when it was crashed into by a tow truck driver who was intoxicated and probably stoned. DAR7CKiVoAA52P2-1-225x300-1The 52-year-old drunk driver’s charges will to be upgraded to vehicular manslaughter.

Another drunk driving crash occurred early Saturday morning in south Dallas. A drunk woman ran the red light and crashed into a pickup truck. The intoxicated driver broke both of her legs and the passenger in the pickup truck was critically injured with a brain bleed and multiple fractures.

These collisions follow on the heels of another fatal drunk driving episode that happened earlier in the month. The drunk driver killed a couple when he also ran a red light. And once again, two more families were devastated. Promise Hamilton was just 23 years-old and her boyfriend Luis Angel Solano was 26. Luis was driving Promise to the airport to catch a flight to Paris to study art. Luis was studying aerospace engineering at UT. Two promising young lives were cut short for no reason.

That the driver was driving while intoxicated comes as no surprise to a personal injury lawyer. We unfortunately see these cases often. There are over 3,000 crashes each year in just the two counties that Fort Worth and Dallas are in caused by intoxicated drivers — that’s an astonishing eight each night.

I extend my sincerest condolences to the families and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured victims.

 MADD Helps Get New Ignition Lock Law Passed

A new bill, HB 3016, just passed the Senate today and after being reconciled with the House bill will go to the governor for signature.  The new law permits a first-time drunk driver who has used an ignition interlock successfully for six months, not caused any crashes, and met other conditions to apply to have the DWI taken off his record. That’s a powerful inducement that will undoubtedly increase the use of this highly effective deterrent.

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https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/05/Screen-Shot-2017-05-19-at-10.26.11-AM-300x170.pngIt was another horrifying morning yesterday on our roads and sidewalks in Dallas and in New York City.

A. We still don’t know what sparked yesterday’s road rage incident in Richardson. But we know that a 27-year-old man is dead in yet another senseless act of road rage violence that plagues our country.

While many of us were getting read to go to work or already commuting at 6:30 a.m., two men were seen swerving and speeding along U.S. 75 near Campbell Road. When they both stopped at a red light, the drivers exchanged irate words. Then one driver pulled out a gun and shot the other driver in the head. The man fled the scene and left his victim to die. Police released this photo and have asked for the public’s help in identifying the psycho driver.

B. Also yesterday morning in Dallas at 11 a.m. near I-30 and Jim Miller Road, a fire truck on its way to putting out a burning building was crashed into by a pickup truck driver who couldn’t wait and decided to run the light. Though not technically a road rage episode, the truck then crossed over the median and struck a small car, shoving it into a telephone pole. Two fire fighters and the driver of the car were injured and rushed to the emergency room.

C. And in Times Square170518173809-times-square-incident-0518-overlay-tease-300x168 yesterday also around 11:00 CST, a 26-year-old man drove his car onto the sidewalk, murdered a young woman, and injured 22 other people, four critically. Then the killer tried to run away. Of course.

An ISIS terrorist was initially suspected.

The driver, a Navy veteran, had two prior DWI convictions and was on PCP.

As I often wonder here, what in the world is going on our roads? And how can we stop the madness?

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dreamstime_xs_44085862Today’s Star Telegram editorial wisely observed that “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick should bring the texting-while-driving bill to the floor and let senators vote or explain why not at every victim’s funeral.”

Just a few weeks ago, the House again passed a bill for the fourth straight session that would ban texting while driving throughout the state. Our representatives know that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and voted to do something about it.

I see far too many car wrecks as a personal injury lawyer that are caused when a driver admits he or she didn’t see the car in front was at a complete stop because they were looking down at their cell phones.

We need to stop drivers from texting while driving. But once again, this common sense law appears to be in jeopardy of passing.

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larry_swartzTonight is the 15th annual Ride of Silence here in Fort Worth and Dallas — and all over the world. Cyclists will ride in silence but the message is loud and clear: bicycle riders have the right to share the road with cars and trucks.

The Ride of Silence began in Dallas as a one-time event to commemorate endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz, who was tragically struck and killed by the mirror of a passing bus on May 1, 2003 north of McKinney. The incredible rider pedaled over 25,000 miles in 2002 and had already cycled over 7,600 miles in the first four months of 2003 before he was hit. The sobering first ride at White Rock Lake attracted over 1,000 cyclists with only a week of word-of-mouth publicity.

The heart-breaking event has expanded to educate cyclists and motorists about safe practices. It is shocking that 818 bicycle riders died in the U.S. in 2015, a huge 12% jump over the previous year.

Thousands of bikers throughout the world will simultaneously ride in silence starting at 7 pm. The rides are scheduled in 445 locations in all 50 states and in 48 countries.

Bikers of all skill levels, including kids, can participate and the rides are free and open to the public. Bring your family or just hop on your bike.

Join the Fort Worth and Dallas Rides 

11174937_355092298030149_8086464220780517633_nHere’s what you need to know if you are here in Fort Worth:

Cyclists are meeting at the gazebo on Trinity Park Drive at 6:30 pm.  At 7 pm, participants will remember the bikers who have been injured and killed in traffic accidents in the last year. Our wonderful “bike-crazy mayor” Betsy Price will then share a few words and join us as we depart at 7:15 pm for a leisurely-paced 10-mile ride through downtown Fort Worth, the
Near Southside and the zoo.

In Dallas, cyclists will gather on the west side of White Rock Lake and at the west side of the new Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge downtown.

I am riding in Fort Worth.
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Depositphotos_52856875_m-2015-e1494867547538It seems like there is news of a wrong way crash practically every day in our state, This isn’t your imagination or media hype. Wrong way collisions really do occur almost daily in Texas.

Tragically, 251 people were injured and 102 were killed in wrong way crashes in 2015.

Texas remains consistently in first place for most wrong-way accidents in the nation. Yet another first place trophy we need to retire.

But there is some light at the end of this tunnel. As I reported earlier this year, the Texas Department of Transportation has implemented a special program focused on ending wrong way accidents. The first part of the money is earmarked here for Tarrant County to analyze the best means for stopping drivers from entering highway ramps going in the wrong direction.

The pilot program focuses mainly on I-30 and Highway 360 interchange in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Already, TxDOT has installed high tech tools to prevent drivers from entering the highway in the wrong direction, to alert drivers that do go the wrong way, and to get police on the scene as quickly as possible to stop the driver before he injures somebody. Continue reading

IMG_4564-300x154After a car wreck, you are often rushed by ambulance to an emergency room for immediate treatment.  Before the ambulance arrives or later as you lay in the ER bed, you assume that your Aetna or Blue Cross will pay for all of your bills, right?

No, not necessarily. It’s a complicated system that is extremely anti-patient for these reasons:

  • If your health insurance plan should decide to pay the bills, it usually files a lien and demands full reimbursement from your car wreck settlement or verdict.
  • Your hospital may be out of network,
  • Your Aetna plan may say that it is secondary to the at-fault driver’s primary auto insurance policy and refuse to pay anything, and/or
  • You may not have met your annual deductible or have a large co-pay.

You won’t know this until later. Much later. What happens then?

You are stuck paying for $10,000 and often more of medical bills. You take it for granted that the other driver’s insurance company will reimburse you in full, and still give you plenty of extra money for your lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Good luck if you don’t have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

And to make matters worse, the emergency room department will also generate a separate bill which runs from $500 to $3,000 or more. This may also not get paid for the above reasons.

The hospital will file a lien so they get paid in full — or has the lien reduced by your attorney. Take a look at horrible story in today’s paper about a Good Samaritan who just had a $151,000 hospital lien filed on her after she had to have her legs amputated.

And a new bill has been approved by the Texas Senate that unfortunately allows emergency room physicians to also file a lien for their bills that must be paid from the proceeds and clarifies that any ER admission qualifies for the payment. SB 2066 will further reduce the amount of money an injured person will receive for his damages and I hope it does not get passed by the Texas House of Representatives and signed into law.

But at least there’s a little good news. State lawmakers just passed a bill that gives patients some recourse. The bill does not go as far as I would like but it is a good start to resolving this ludicrous system that hurts Texans. I urge Gov. Abbott to sign SB 507 so it becomes law.

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dreamstime_xs_76135020My heart goes out to the North Side families of a 2-year-old girl who died yesterday and a 3 year-old boy who was killed last week when cars hit them.

The little girl was crossing the street in front of her house west of the Stockyards when a drunk driver hit her Sunday evening.  The man has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

The little boy was chasing his ball not far away in a neighborhood just off of Jacksboro Highway when he was struck. The driver didn’t even have a license. The collision happened in a cul-de-sac, so investigators said speed was not a factor. But even at a slow speed, a vehicle can seriously injure or kill a pedestrian.

In March, an 8-year-old girl on a scooter in front of her house died after being struck in east Fort Worth.

That’s a horrifying statistic: three children killed here in our streets in two months.

There seems to be no end in sight to pedestrian injury cases.

More than 5,000 pedestrians of all ages are struck and killed by vehicles each year. A whopping number of them (550) died in Texas in 2015.

I was just hired to represent a 7-year-old girl who was critically injured when she was hit by a truck in southwest Fort Worth several weeks ago.

And I’m going to court next week to finalize the case of a young girl seriously injured when she was crossing in front of a stopped school bus in north Fort Worth.

Like any personal injury lawyer, I have unfortunately represented many pedestrians and their families who have suffered injuries and deaths. Here are a few things I have learned about these devastating injury cases.

Children Are More Likely to Be Killed By a Car 

Children remain a higher than average percentage of these pedestrian deaths until they are 15 years old. For children ages 5 to 9 years old, getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death.

Why are kids at greater risk of traffic fatalities? A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explained some of the reasons. Continue reading

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgBAAAAJDUwMWUyMGQ3LWE4OTktNDI3MC1iM2RhLTExMmMxMjhlMTFhZQ-e1494284525160Do you ever wonder what you can do personally to stop drunk drivers in Texas? One of the easiest ways is also one of the most effective: urge your local representatives to support DWI bills. They are heavily influenced by the opinions of their constituents. After all, they only have their job because of your vote. So make them work for you.

Three important bills — HB 2089, SB 664 and SB 761— that are scheduled for this legislative session would be incredibly effective deterrents to repeat drunk driving.

The two Texas Senate bills are scheduled for a hearing today so click to take action nowIt will only take you a minute to make your voice heard. The link above connects to a letter drafted by the wonderful advocacy organization and one of my favorite causes, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  Continue reading

HR-2-150x150Apparently local drunk drivers still haven’t gotten the memo that fleeing a car wreck is a bad idea, especially here in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Intoxication is one of the biggest reasons drivers speed off from the scene of a crash. They seem to believe they will not get caught, and if they do, they won’t get a DWI conviction.

Where this assumption might have been true in the past, police now have ever better tools for tracking down and arresting hit-and-run drivers. Cameras and cell phones that produce higher resolution images are everywhere. Law enforcement has better technology and techniques for identifying vehicles through paint splotches and auto parts inevitably left behind at the crash scene.HR4-150x150

And social media spreads the word quickly to witnesses. We just contacted several critical eyewitnesses thanks to photos posted by a local TV station to its website.  Here are two photos of my client’s cars in hit-and-run cases I’ve handled recently.

Yes, some hit-and-run drivers do get away with it. But at least those who are arrested face harsher penalties than drunk drivers.

This was not always the case. In the past, an intoxicated driver who seriously or fatally injured somebody might flee and lay low until he sobered up. If he were subsequently convicted of a hit-and-run, he would get a slap on the wrist.

Texas lawmakers passed a sensible hit-and-run law in 2013 that increase the penalties to do away with the incentive for drunk drivers to take off.
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