It  was another incredibly dangerous weekend on our North Texas roads. Intoxicated and hit-and-run drivers killed or injured innocent drivers in Dallas- Fort Worth. These were just the crashes reported in the newspapers:

  • At 9:35 p.m. on Friday, a Ford Focus hit a Kia Sportage, sending it over a guardrail and down a hill. The Kia driver was ejected from his car and died on the scene. The Focus driver was later determined to be under the influence of drugs and was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
  • A hit-and-run in Richardson just before 11 p.m. on Friday night left a motorcyclist with a broken arm. The northbound driver was changing lanes near Prestonwood Drive when they hit the motorcyclist. Police have no leads on the driver.
  • Early Saturday morning an Arlington police officer was treated for injuries after being involved in a crash with a suspected drunk driver. The officer was working to re-open lanes of I-30 after overnight construction.
  • Note that this is only one of the 10 DWI arrests made in Arlington Saturday night. This compares to a typical weekend night of four to six driving while intoxicated arrests, still a ridiculous number.
  • At 9 p.m. Saturday in Dallas, a man died after his speeding SUV spun out of control and careened into a ditch, ejecting him from the car. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol presumably played a role in the crash.
  • A collision on Berry Street in Fort Worth early Sunday morning tragically killed a woman and left a child critically injured.
  • Early Sunday morning, a wrong-way driver killed a man on I-30 in Grand Prairie. At around 5 a.m. a woman driving east in the westbound lane struck another car, killing its driver on the scene and shutting down I-30 for nearly five hours. The woman is in critical condition and police suspect alcohol was involved.
  • Note that this accident is the second fatal accident in January in Grand Prairie.

These are just a few of the hundreds of accidents across North Texas in January.

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Photo-in-front-of-windowOn January 27, 1982 I opened my own law practice after several years working for a large Fort Worth firm.

It’s hard to believe it’s been that long but the time as flown as I’ve devoted myself fighting for the rights of injured people, especially those who have been hurt in collisions with tractor trailers or intoxicated drivers.

My firm has occupied the same office in the River Plaza Tower on University Drive. Here’s a photo showing the beautiful view overlooking the Trinity River, Fort Worth Zoo, and downtown that I never get tired of. Good thing since the office has become my second home!

I decided to specialize in personal injury law knowing that it would be difficult and require a lot of work. I became board certified in personal injury trial law 23 years ago. I had practiced other areas of law but enjoyed taking on big insurance companies. I relished solving the myriad legal, medical, insurance, and financial problems that are caused by being in an automobile or truck collision.

In the last 35 years, I’ve represented thousands of victims, including several in high profile lawsuits like the Affluenza Teen case. I’ve devoted myself to every client, whether catastrophically injured or one suffering from a cervical or lumbar spine sprain, Each client is important and gets the same professional attention.

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Statewide Prohibition To Finally Be Enacted By Legislature?Texting-while-driving-Arlington-lawyer-300x194

Two veteran Texas lawmakers are again introducing legislation to ban texting while driving statewide.

What should be a no-brainer bill has never been signed into law, even though it was passed in two different sessions before being vetoed by the governor.

State Representative Tom Craddick, a Republican from Midland, and State Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat from Laredo, have each filed new bills in the state legislature that is meeting in Austin that would ban texting while driving.

Mr. Craddick believes that Governor Greg Abbott wants to see all cities in Texas enforcing a unified law and may not veto the law this time. The former Speaker of the House is passionate about this attempt: “I am committed to giving our Texas drivers safer roads; I am determined to be a voice for the distracted driving victims and families of victims; and I am extremely motivated to enact legislation that will prevent any loss of life.”

Mr. Craddick points to the almost 500 Texans who died last year due to drivers texting and explains other reasons why texting should be outlawed here.

Texas is one of only four states without a full texting ban, although we recognize how lethal it is by banning new drivers under the age of 18, all school bus drivers, and all drivers near schools from doing so.

As a result of the lack of state action, almost 100 cities have had to pass their own municipal ordinances banning texting while driving. It’s impossible to know as you drive around from one city to the next where it’s legal and where it’s not, so here’s a list that will help you.

Six North Texas cities that ban texting: 

  • Arlington
  • Denton
  • Farmers Branch
  • Grand Prairie
  • Rowlett
  • White Settlement
  • Stephenville and Maypearl (further south of DFW)

Seven North Texas cities that require hands-free devices:

  • Argyle
  • Bedford
  • Denton
  • Hurst
  • Little Elm
  • Midlothian
  • Watauga

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wrong-way-for-blogI’ve posted about the surge in North Texas wrong-way crashes and the catastrophic nature of these collisions, which took the lives of 102 people and injured 251 people in 2015 in our state.  And I’ve pointed out that little, if anything, was being done to prevent these usually horrific head-on collisions.

So once again at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning in Southlake, another presumably drunk driver speeding the wrong way crashed into a SUV. He or she tragically killed its two occupants and seriously injured a third person. Here’s a photo of the scene at State Highway 114 near Kimball Avenue courtesy of My prayers go out to the families.

But a wreck exactly like this one at the exact same location happened a few years ago, also killing two people. And far too many others have happened in North Texas.

So it’s great news that Texas is finally implementing a solution. The Department of Transportation is installing high-tech signs on 24 ramps here in Tarrant County and other cities across Texas. Sensors detect a vehicle travelling the wrong way which triggers flashing LED lights. Hopefully the driver will realize his mistake and and pull over.

The sensors will also alert the central command center, which will send messages streaming across boards to warn other drivers of the oncoming peril they face.

Further, the sen immediately notify police in the area so they can try to stop the driver before he crashes into somebody.

This photo shows what this would look like to you as you would be seeing as you drove towards the oncoming vehicle.

One of the most frightening aspects of a wrong-way collision is that other drivers don’t see it coming. Even the most careful driver does not expect to see a car coming straight toward her on a highway at 60 or 70 MPH. By the time she sees the vehicle, the combined speeds of the two cars often makes an evasive response impossible.

The first priority is getting the driver’s attention. The current big red signs that say “Wrong Way” often escape the notice of tired, confused and especially drunk drivers. The new signs will be hard to miss. If the driver doesn’t see the flashing lights, other drivers will at least now know to beware and police will know to swing into action.

In addition, TxDOT will implement a plan it announced last year to install “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs at eye level. The idea is that drivers are not looking up or around, but straight ahead at the road, so the signs should be low enough to catch their attention. Another good idea.

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Berenson Injury Law is proud to announce that attorney Bill Berenson has been honored as being one of the three best injury lawyers in Fort Worth for the fourth year in a row.

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EC-300x169I was prompted to post about Ethan Couch after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one of my favorite organizations, just emailed a list of its national accomplishments in 2016. Its top one was in our infamous case, where MADD helped convince a judge to give Couch the maximum sentence. Unfortunately, it was less than two years in jail, far less than the 20 years originally requested by prosecutors.

And it was in January one year ago when the “affluenza teen” was extradited to Fort Worth after fleeing to Mexico after he violated his generous probated sentence by drinking alcohol.

You’ll probably remember that the barely 16-year-old got extremely drunk at midnight in June of 2013 and sped down a dark residential road in Burleson in a huge pickup truck. Then Couch plowed into four people standing next to a disabled vehicle, killing them. He also maimed a young man riding in the bed of his pickup truck, whom I represented in the first lawsuit filed against Couch and his father’s company.

The case made international news after a defense psychologist said Couch suffered from “affluenza” and his spoiled upbringing should spare him from punishment. Then the judge gave Couch a probated 10 year sentence and several months at a rehab facility.

What happens next?

Couch will be released from jail next year and will be on probation through 2014. He will continue to be banned from drinking alcohol, using drugs, or driving and faces 20 years in jail if he violates the terms which judging by his past behavior, appears likely.

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Takata’s defect has killed 11 people and injured over 100 othersdreamstime_xs_7781316-300x205

Capping an extraordinary week for corporate crime busting, on Friday Takata plead guilty to fraud charges and agreed to pay a whopping $1 billion fine. And three Takata executives were criminally charged for their part in the deadly cover-up. The indictment accuses the three executives of falsifying test data that resulted in at least 11 deaths — two of whom were Texans — and over 100 injuries, many serious.

Takata airbags in 42 million vehicles sold in the U.S. from 2002 have exploded and sent deadly medal shards shooting into the car’s interior and into the driver’s or passenger’s face, neck, or chest.

Furthermore, on Wednesday six VW executives were indicted and the German company was fined a staggering $4.3 billion for lying about its emission ratings. This brings the total cost it will have to pay, including lawsuit settlements to consumers, to an astonishing $20 billion, the largest amount in history.

After eight years of coddling giant companies, the Obama Administration is certainly going out with a bang.

Since 2004, three enormous corporations  in particular — General Motors, Trinity Industries, and Takata — had been producing deadly vehicles or highway guardrails. And company executives knew about the defects and covered up damning evidence, even though they could have recalled their products and saved dozens of lives.

What had been the cost? Not that much. While they were fined millions of dollars and a huge verdict was taken against Trinity Industries, they continued to make excessive profits. G.M. raked in a whopping $43 billion and earned almost $3 billion — just in its most recent quarter — yet fought tooth and nail to avoid paying its victims.

All in all, the consequences for knowingly creating seriously dangerous vehicles and roadside barriers were relatively minor. Until last week.

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Photo courtesy of TMZ Sportse Won’t Need Injury Lawyer. But Will You If You Are Crashed Into?

The Cowboys just need to win two games to play in Super Bowl LI in Houston. But this Sunday’s game against the Packers and the following week’s against either Seattle or Atlanta will be tough.

That’s why we all got nervous when we heard that the rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott had wrecked his truck Wednesday morning. The star running back was involved in a very minor rear-end collision near the Cowboy’s Frisco practice facility at Dallas Parkway and Gaylord Parkway.

The vehicles showed little if any damage, as you can see. Both were driven from the scene, an ambulance was not called, and no one reported any injuries.

Of course, Elliott is in incredible physical shape, has played football almost his whole life, and is used to his body getting slammed into. As he tweeted afterwards: “I’ve been in bigger collisions. Lol.”

What About The Rest Of Us?

However the other 99.99% of the world isn’t used to being collided into and isn’t in the same kind of physical condition. Getting hit by a car or truck weighing 3,000 to 6,000 pounds sometimes at a speed of up to 70 MPH isn’t going to hurt as much if you’re the top running back in the NFL.

We all have to get into our cars and trucks and drive around our spread-out North Texas area each day and our chances of being in an automobile accident are better than you might think. There were a whopping 80,000 crashes in Dallas and Tarrant Counties in 2015, or 221 a day.

Nobody ever thinks they’re going to be in a collision or get hurt. Until they are. That’s when they call a personal injury lawyer for help.

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Image from WFAA


People who call for an Uber and get into a Honda van are sometimes making a tragic mistake.

A 24-year-old college student from University Park is now a quadriplegic due to a horrific crash in Dallas a year ago.

Sarah Milburn was home from a break from Oklahoma State University. She was about to graduate and start a new job and her future was bright. After celebrating with friends in Uptown, instead of driving, they sensibly called Uber. Sarah buckled her seat belt, even though she sat in the third row of the Honda Odyssey.

She thought that she had done the right thing. But she couldn’t possibly know that Uber had failed to vet its driver. Or that the van she sat in was defectively designed. Or that she would nearly die.

The Uber driver, Anan Yusufzai, sped through a red light at the busy intersection of McKinney and Fitzhugh Avenues and was T-boned by a Ford 150 pickup truck. The van flipped upside down and Sarah dangled precariously upside down. She was cut out and rushed to the ICU at Baylor University Medical Center. Tragically, the crash broke broke her spinal cord.  Continue reading Texas-Based Lawsuits Attempt Uphill Battle

Texting from behind the wheel has reached epidemic proportions, with 53% of drivers admitting to this dangerous practice in a recent poll.

Don’t think this is a problem? More than 35,000 drivers died in 2015 in collisions, a huge 10 1/2 percent rise over the year before. And the alarming 2016 number is predicted to be 14% higher by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Still don’t think this affects you? The chances of dying in a crash in the U.S. are 1.3% — the highest rate in the industrialized world. By comparison, this rate is over six times that in Norway and Sweden, which have snowy/icy road conditions much of the year.

We know that rampant cell phone use is often responsible for automobile “accidents” in America. Many countries ban texting while driving and fine offenders heavily.

So what about holding the companies and carriers creating this epidemic accountable? Just like other corporations, should Apple, Samsung, AT&T and Verizon be held responsible for the damages caused by their products and services?

This is the argument at least two families have made to achieve justice after losing loved ones in distracted driving accidents. Families of these victims have filed products liability lawsuits against Apple claiming the corporation was negligent in selling a product it knew would be used while driving and cause injury to others.

Two women killed and young boy paralyzed by texting driver

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