Auto Accidents and Legal Representation

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Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation following a car accident.
If you’re in an auto collision and the other person involved in that car wreck does not have insurance your options are not completely exhausted. You have other options available to you. Your own policy may have provisions included in it which will allow you to recover. An insurance contract is an agreement between you and an insurance company. You pay into it every month, or every six months or every year and you are expected to get something in exchange or in return for what you gave them. They, on the other hand, will be responsible for providing you what has been promised. In this case, you will have various things in your policy that may be included such as Personal Injury Protection, Under-insured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist. These aspects protect you when you are in an auto accident. They will provide you money that can be advanced toward hospital expenses or towards other expenses that are associated with the collision.

One thing to keep in mind is that an insurance adjuster is an individual who works for the insurance company. They do not work for you. They represent an insurance company which is a business, and that business is set up to be as profitable as possible. When you are involved in a collision, that insurance adjuster is not looking at your best interests alone. They are looking at the interests of the insurance company. Seeing an attorney is absolutely imperative when you’re in a collision because an attorney will be looking at your best interests and insuring that every possible form of recovery is granted on your end. The best thing to do before making any kind of recorded statement or communicating with an insurance adjuster is call an attorney. Call an attorney to get signed up to represent you so that insurance adjuster will have to go through that attorney who is equally or better matched against that insurance adjuster and their attorneys to represent your best interests.

Very often an insurance adjuster will try and take advantage of an individual’s uninformed position in an auto collision and offer a sum of money, which seems very tempting at the time. They’ll bring you a check, you’ll sign for it, you’ll have money in the bank. However, what happens when you accept that check, well the insurance company has essentially washed their hands of any future medical expenses you may have, or complications associated with your claim or new and relevant information about your claim that may come up about your auto collision that will be more expensive for you. And in doing so, your business is concluded with that insurance company. However, if you inform your attorney and ask them to represent you in your best interest they will ensure that all possibilities are explored and that you get the best possible situation for you, not the insurance company.

18-Wheeler Accidents: What You Need to Know

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If you're in an auto accident with an 18-wheeler, call The Barrera Law Firm
As more and more goods and services are shuttled on our country’s many highways by big 18-wheeler trucks, the more chances there are for accidents to occur. While most big rig drivers operate well within safety regulations, when cars and trucks are speeding down the highway at 65 mph or more, the risk of accidents does increase, as does the danger of them causing more damage to the victims involved. If you are involved in an accident with an 18 wheeler, then there are some things you need to know:

  1. Determine who was at fault in the accident. Accidents can happen so fast, and in the confusion it can be difficult to determine who was at fault. When the officer shows up at the scene of the accident to make an official report, be sure you give them the full story, including all the details you can remember. If you know that the 18 wheeler caused the accident, provide a clear reason behind your logic and make sure it gets into the official accident report, as this will be used later to determine your insurance settlement.
  2. Get your injuries assessed by a medical professional. If you have been injured, go immediately to a hospital to have your injuries assessed by a professional. If you cannot drive yourself, go with an ambulance. Make sure you are get a complete report from your doctor as to the injuries you sustained from the accident. You will need this later on when you file with the insurance company of the 18 wheeler to have your medical bills paid.
  3. Obtain a copy of the official accident report from the police department. You also need to obtain a copy of the official accident report from the police department. You can either go down to the courthouse yourself to obtain your official copy or you can allow your 18-wheeler accident lawyer do it for you. This will be used to determine who was at fault for the accident. If it was determined the 18 wheeler was at fault, you will be able to file a claim with their insurance company for your medical bills, property damage and personal injury.
  4. Get an 18 wheeler accident attorney. Using an 18-wheeler accident attorney will get your claim settled in a more timely manner. The laws regarding accidents with 18 wheelers are different than those regarding regular auto accidents. Lawyers who have special training and expertise in 18-wheeler accidents are better suited for taking on this type of claim. In order to get the full settlement you deserve, it takes a little work, and if you are feeling poorly due to your injuries fro the accident, you simply may not be up for the task. Let an 18-wheeler accident attorney do it for you, it is their job after all.

Being in an accident with an 18-wheeler is never a good time. By getting a good lawyer and getting your claims filed right away, you can get it taken care of as soon as possible so you will be free to move on with your life.

Car Accidents in Brownsville, Harlingen & McAllen: What to Do

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Don’t let a car accident also wreck your life. Call The Barrera Law Firm.

Car accidents are never any fun for anyone involved. In addition to being scary, they usually result in damage to vehicles as well as slight to severe personal injury to those involved. When you are involved in a car accident, whether it is your fault or not, there can be much confusion and slight chaos, as you try to determine what to do next. Having a well thought out plan of what to do when an accident occurs can help you to make decisions on the fly, as long as you are not too injured to do so. Here is a basic list of what should be done when a car accident that results in personal injury occurs.

  1. Pull over out of the flow of traffic. When an accident occurs it may take you a minute to orient yourself. If you are able to move your car to the side of the road, out of the flow of traffic, do so immediately. This will help to reduce the risk of another accident occurring. If it is not possible for the car to be moved, then pick up your personal items as best you can and go to the side of the road. It is always possible that during the accident your gas tank may have been punctured, which could lead to an explosion. Moving away from the vehicle is the safest bet, but be sure to take your cell phone, keys and other important belongings.
  2. Call for help. Once you are safely out of the way of further harm, then call either 911 or the police if you have a local number. If you don’t have a cell phone, try to flag down another driver for help. The sooner the accident is reported, the faster officers will show up and get started on your accident report. If you have been injured, be sure and tell the operator so they can send an ambulance as well.
  3. Take out your car accident emergency kit. Many people like to keep a car accident emergency kit in their car’s glove compartment. This kit includes all the numbers you will need in an accident situation, such as the police, ambulance, your doctor and your insurance company. Other items can include a disposable camera for documenting the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles involved. It may also include first-aid supplies, such as bandages and gauze. If you have one of these, take it out with you when you exit the car.
  4. Exchange information with the other driver. Exchange car insurance information with the other driver. The police officer will determine who was at fault in the accident and use it to compile his official report. This information, along with the driver’s insurance information, will be needed when you make your insurance claim. You can never document too much information, as insurance companies often require detailed information in order to pay out on claims.

Winter Automobile Safety

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South Texas doesn't see much snow or ice, but wet roads are common. Know what to do in a car accident, including contacting a good attorney.
Winter is just around the corner and colder weather means wet and possibly icy driving conditions. If you haven’t done so already, you should prepare your car accordingly. As Injuryboaord.com reminds us, “spending the extra time and effort to get your vehicle properly prepared for winter conditions will save you money—and could prevent you from [getting injured] in an accident.”

Here are some precautions that you can take to help you get through the season safely:

  • Make sure that battery and radiator fluid levels are where they should be. Depending on where you live, it would also be wise to check “the protection temperature of the antifreeze in your system, brakes, hoses, and belts.”
  • Inspect your front, rear and hazard lights: all should be operational.
  • Change your windshield wipers as necessary. Winter blades are a must for windshields that collect large amounts of ice during colder weather.
  • Check that your “heater, defroster and rear window defroster are working properly.”
  • If you don’t carry emergency equipment, put together a special kit to keep in your car. That kit should include “jumper cables, a snow/ice scraper, a flashlight, a fresh supply of extra batteries, flares, blankets” and a charger for your cell phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Keep your tank at least half full throughout the winter. Doing so “will reduce condensation in your tank and make your vehicle easier to start when cold.”
  • If ice and/or snow accumulate on your vehicle, clean everything off to maximize driving visibility. Too many winter accidents are the result of poor driver visibility.

It would also be to your benefit to check road and weather conditions before starting on your journey. That way, you’ll know what to expect and what potentially to avoid.

If you do find yourself in an accident, seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer, especially if injuries and/or damages are involved.

Steering Clear of Collisions

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More and more cars are on the roads each day...but there are many ways to avoid accidents.
If you want to stay safe on the roadway, here’s a hot tip from MSN.com: avoid driving near or around sporty, high-performance vehicles like the Scion tC, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, the Honda Civic Si and the Subaru Impreza WRX. These cars and others like them probably belong to drivers who lack “maturity and good judgment.”

According to statistics compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), the Scion tC and cars like it typically appeal to young people, who are themselves “most likely to be involved in a crash.” The HLDI bases its findings on “a monthly flow of claims data from 30 insurance companies that represent about 80% of privately owned and insured vehicles.”

Each vehicle model receives a ranking “that is relative to the average for all vehicles.” On its most current list, the Scion tC has 65% more insurance claims than other vehicles. The figures for Chevrolet Cobalt SS the Honda Civic Si and the Subaru Impreza WRX are, respectively, 61%, 59% and 54%.

The HLDI creates its list based upon claims alone. However, MSN.com reports that “several factors can put a car high on the list, including the vehicle’s performance characteristics, the age and experience level of the typical driver, and where and how the vehicle is usually operated.”

Vehicle color also seems to play a role in collision statistics. Research by the Monash University Accident Research Center (MUARC) in Australia found that “vehicles painted black or 12% more likely to be involved in a crash than vehicles painted white” and that” silver cars were in 10% more accidents than my cars.” Environmental factors such as low light and visibility were cited as probable reasons for these results.

So the next time you’re out driving, it may well be to your advantage to not only watch out for what other cars are doing, but also stay aware of vehicle models and colors—every little bit helps to avoid dangerous and costly accidents.

Car Accidents: How to Stay Safe on the Road

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Living in Brownsville, Harlingen or McAllen means using navigation systems and cell phones, but be smart when driving.
Living in the Brownsville, Harlingen and McAllen Texas region means living with car accidents. You can’t control what other drivers do on the road. But you can take precautions to ensure that you and your passengers stay safe when traveling in your vehicle.

The first thing you should do is to wear your seatbelt. According to Mother Nature Network (MNN) online, seatbelts not only keep vehicle occupants inside a car during a collision, they also “protect the brain and spinal cord and help the body slow down after impact, reducing injuries.”

If you are traveling with small children, make sure that they are properly buckled into car seats that are “appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight.” Infants and children under should always ride “in a rear-facing car seat.” All children under 12 should remain in the backseat, even after they have grown out of harnesses and booster seats.

It may be tempting to multitask or text while driving, but you should avoid doing either at all costs. MNN online recommends that you do such things as “setting your vehicle’s route, selecting music and making cell phone calls before you drive.” If any children who are with you start fighting, pull over to the side of the road: don’t try to settle their disputes while you’re also trying to drive.

Pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists may also be sharing the road with you and are not as visible as motor vehicles. Watch out for pedestrians crossing the roadway, “give cyclists at least half a car’s width when passing” and “ never pass a motorcycle to close as a blast of air from the car can cause a motorcycle to lost stability.”

Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security: when you’re behind the wheel of the car, you need to make sure you stay protected and maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times.

Be Safe on Labor Day

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Remember, it's a holiday, so be safe, and enjoy the time off from work.
With the upcoming Labor Day weekend, The Barrera Law Firm wishes everyone a fun, but most important, a very safe holiday.

Car accidents occur often over long weekends like Labor Day, simply because more cars are on the roads, but also because there are, unfortunately, some unsafe or impaired drivers.

The National Safety Council released their annual report which cites statistics related to Labor Day traffic accidents as well as some tips that will make traveling around on Labor Day safer and more enjoyable.

Read the full article here.

The Council estimates 400 traffic fatalities will occur over the holiday weekend and another 38,800 medically consulted injuries will be sustained from motor vehicle collisions. For the past six years, the Labor Day weekend has averaged 14.6 percent more traffic fatalities than similar non-holiday periods.

The Council also estimates 142 people may survive the holiday weekend because they will have worn safety belts, while another 102 lives would have been saved if all had worn safety belts. Because Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest and deadliest times on U.S. roadways, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will enforce a National Impaired Driving Crackdown from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5. During this time, law enforcement officials will focus their attention on impaired drivers.

So keep in mind is that with the increased traffic many areas are increasing police patrols and increasing citations of speeders and impaired drivers. So stay within the legal speed limit, celebrate appropriately but responsibly and keep an eye out for emergency vehicles.

Truck Accidents and You

Car versus truck
The car usually loses against a truck

If you’ve been in a crash that involved a truck, then you know firsthand just how devastating it can be.

When an automobile and truck collide, it’s the car that usually loses. That’s why you need to seek the assistance of an attorney who understands the ins and outs of truck accident cases. If you don’t, you could end up not receiving fair compensation for your pain and suffering.
You should know that truck drivers work long hours and are often under pressure by their employer to complete their tasks by any means necessary.  This sometimes results in employees taking dangerous shortcuts that amount to negligence.   For example, drivers are required to perform rigorous pre-trip inspections.  And while on the road, they must also perform or have:
  • periodic brake checks,
  • a trailer load that is properly secured, and
  • adequate rest and sleep times.
These rules apply to drivers of all types of trucks such as:
  • tanker trucks (including those carrying hazardous materials),
  • freight liners (such as UPS, U-Haul and Mayflower trucks),
  • slow-moving trucks (such as bulldozers, wide-load convoys and farm equipment),
  • shuttle and tour buses, and
  • almost all other 18-wheeler, big-rig, flatbed and tractor-trailer combinations.
At the Barrera Law Firm, we make it our business to conduct thorough investigations that will help us defend you or someone you love in court.  Don’t let a truck accident destroy your life: contact us for a free consultation today!

6 Tips to Avoid Car Accidents During the Summer Driving Season

Car accidentNow that the summer holiday season is finally here, more and more people are taking to their cars. And it should be a busy summer as gas prices have dropped for once.  So with more drivers on American roadways, it means more potential for accidents–something you want to avoid at all costs.

To prevent being involved in an accident, here are some tips to help you stay safe while driving this summer:

  • Expand your capacity to look ahead – Rather than always looking directly in front of your vehicle, try looking  further down the road.  This will help see troublesome situations early so you can take steps to remain safe.
  • Size up the whole scene – Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, bicyclists, construction/construction workers, traffic congestion, erratic drivers and changing road conditions.  Don’t be in a hurry if you can help.  Just enjoy the drive.
  • Keep your eyes moving – Avoid staring at any object for longer than two seconds and check your mirrors every 3-5 seconds.
  • Signal your intentions early – Use your turn signals, horn and lights when appropriate. By giving advance notice of what you’re planning to do, you’ll help encourage other drivers to make correct driving decisions.
  • Plan an escape route – Always stay one step ahead of the game and allow yourself enough time, space and visibility to stop or maneuver smoothly.  Don’t get involved with tailgating.  Leave lots of room between you and the car in front.
  • Take decisive action – By following the preceding tips, you’ll know exactly what to do when a traffic emergency arises and you’ll have the time and space to do it safely.

Sometimes, though, accidents still happen. If you do find yourself in this situation, then the first thing you need to do is contact the attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm.  We specialize in both car accident and personal injury law and will defend your rights. Don’t let an unexpected wreck wreak havoc in your life.  Contact us today!

4 Truths from Fiction in Auto Accident Injury Lawsuits

Car accidentWhen it comes to auto accident law, it’s sometimes very difficult to separate truth from fiction. A big part of the problem comes from the fact that we live in world oversaturated by unfiltered information.  And that can lead to a lot of confusion, especially for those individuals who really are accident victims and don’t know where to turn.

Here are some of the more prevalent of those fictions and some truths you need to know if you’ve been involved in an auto accident:

1. Auto injury laws are the same in every state.

TRUTH:  Auto injury laws vary from state to state. For example, some states including Texas require that you purchase liability insurance while others do not. And where some states have no-fault laws, others (like Texas) follow the tort system where one driver is deemed to be at fault when an accident occurs.

2. Big settlements are easy if you have severe injuries.

TRUTH: Unfortunately, auto accident attorneys see courts throw out plenty of  cases where victims who had serious, life-altering injuries received no compensation.  And because the recession caused huge losses for many insurance companies, many auto insurance defense teams are becoming more aggressive about challenging injuries. Every case is different and a good attorney will never guarantee you a specific award.

3. If you hold out long enough, your insurance company will settle for a higher amount.

TRUTH: Many factors can affect an insurance company’s reimbursement offer.

These include:

  • internal company protocol;
  • the reputation of the victim’s attorney; and
  • the track record of the assigned judge.

By discussing your unique set of circumstances with a qualified auto accident lawyer, you can get a better understanding of the viability of your case.

4. Any personal injury lawyer can handle your case.

 TRUTH: The car accident laws in each state are subject to constant change.  This makes it difficult for attorneys who are personal injury lawsuit generalists to keep up with the latest developments in auto accident law. That’s why it’s crucial to the success of your case to select a lawyer who specializes in car, truck and motorcycle accidents.

Good legal advice will help you avoid the devastating loss of your medical benefits and ability to receive the best compensation for your pain and suffering.  At the Barrera Law Firm, you’ll find attorneys with up-to-date knowledge about Texas auto accident laws who will fight for your rights in court and get you the settlement you deserve. Don’t compromise your future.  Contact us today!

Photo credit: Bill Longshaw
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