The Facts About Topamax

Mother and babyAre you a woman took Topamax (also known as Topiramate) during pregnancy? And was your child born with health problems? If the answer is “yes” to both these questions, then you may have grounds to sue.

Topamax is a medication that doctors use to treat epilepsy, seizures and migraines and is part of a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. On March 4, 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released data suggesting that babies born to women who took Topamax during their first trimester have an increased risk of birth defects.

Unfortunately, many women who took the drug while pregnant were not warned about the potential defects that Topamax could cause. Some of the most common risks associated with this medication for unborn children include:

  • cleft palate
  • cleft lip
  • hypospadias (a condition in males in which the urethra opens on the under surface of the penis)

If you have a child who was born with any of these birth defects and you were taking Topamax while pregnant, you may be eligible to receive compensation for:

  • your child’s pain and suffering
  • medical bills
  • long-term therapy/rehabilitation bills
  • emotional trauma

If you believe that you-and your child experienced the negative effects of Topomax, we will fight to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation now!

A Whistleblower’s Short Guide to Reporting Pharma Fraud

Are you a drug rep that feels that your company is doing something wrong?

Are you a doctor that is worried about how a “motivated” drug rep may be putting you in a bad position with the law?

Whether you are a medical provider, a sales rep, or executive for a pharmaceutical company or lab, you must be aware that the government can seek you out for criminal and/or civil penalties if you participate in any scheme as outlined below.

Examples of Pharma Fraud Schemes

Kickbacks: Giving medical providers money, gifts, lavish entertainment, “consulting fees”, “grants” or other benefits to change a person’s prescription to the sales rep’s product or “to gain their business” when the drugs are paid for by government programs.

Off-label marketing: Promoting drugs to doctors that are billed to the government for ailments that the drugs are not approved to treat, unless the claims are backed up by real studies that are not meant to mislead.

Selling Free samples: Encouraging medical providers to bill the government for free samples and those samples clearly indicate that they are not to be sold.

Price Fixing: A general scheme of inflating prices of drugs so that more money is billed to the government.

Why be a Whistleblower?

You may be both rewarded through monetary compensation and shielded from criminal and civil penalties if you do the right thing. Federal and state law rewards and encourages individuals to blow the whistle on any scheme meant to defraud government programs such as MEDICARE, MEDICAID, and TRICARE.

Call The Barrera Law Firm at 956 428 2822 for a free and confidential consultation to answer all of your legal questions.

How to Know When You Have a Personal Injury Case

personal injury attorney brownsville mcallen harlingen
Don’t let an accident impede your life. Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free personal injury consultation.

One of the most frequent questions a personal injury attorney gets is “do I have a case?”

This is actually not an easy question to answer because a potential case requires investigation into how the incident occurred, whether negligent person/company as insurance and whether your injuries and damages are significant enough to present your case in a court of law.

Here are the three elements that comprise a personal injury case:

Fault/liability

In order to pursue a personal injury case, you need to prove that the person/company involved in causing your injuries was at fault or negligent. To establish this, we need to look at the factors surrounding the incident. For example, if your injuries came about as a result of a car crash, we will need to find witnesses to the accident to confirm that you were driving safely and/or had the right of way. If those witnesses cannot provide this information or say that you were yourself negligent, then your case will be difficult to argue.

Insurance coverage

Even if the party that injured you does not have insurance, you may still sue to obtain a judgment against them and then try to collect that judgment through a collection proceeding. Things are much easier if that party has insurance because the insurance company will usually try to settle your case first. If they are not successful, they will pay the judgment after a jury has rendered a verdict in your favor.

Damages/injury

The last major component to a personal injury case is the actual damage inflicted. If you wish to pursue your claim, it is imperative that she seek medical attention immediately after the incident to determine the nature and extent of any possible injury.  Waiting too to go see a doctor will more than likely cause your case to be negatively impacted. This is because a jury and/or an insurance company may not feel that you were not injured in the first place and are simply seeking extra compensation.

The attorney at the Barrera Law Firm will sit down with you and go over the details of your case point by point to determine whether or not you have a viable personal injury case. If you do, we will aggressively defend your rights in court and get you the settlement you deserve. Don’t wait any longer: call 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

6 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

Have you recently been injured in an accident that came about as a result of someone else’s negligence or poor judgment?  Then chances are that you’ve probably found yourself bombarded by advice from well-meaning–but misinformed–friends and family members on how to proceed with a personal injury claim.

Those around you may think they know what they are talking about because they or someone they know have been injured. They may even be acquainted with an attorney who practices personal injury law. But the bottom line is that you should never rely on the advice of individuals who are not legally qualified to discuss your situation, especially since every personal injury case is different.

Following are some of the most common myths you may hear about personal injury claims, the legal process surrounding them and the attorneys who handle them:

Myth #1 :  An insurance company will always make a reasonable settlement offer if you submit a reasonable settlement demand.

What you consider a reasonable settlement may be quite different from what an insurance company believes is so. Remember, an insurance company is ultimately looking out for its own financial best interests, not yours.

Myth #2:  If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement or sign a medical records authorization form, you have no choice because the company will not settle your claim until you do.

You do have a choice.  Your can consult an attorney before taking any action, particularly if it involves giving video or audio-recorded statements regarding the accident or signing any documents put forward to you.

Myth #3:  The insurance company for the person at fault in your case will pay your medical bills and lost earnings as you incur them.

If you are injured and require medical attention, you will need to make arrangements to take care of any bills. If you have health insurance, you can allow your provider to pay for your expenses. Most health insurance carriers have what’s called “subrogation” language in their policies, which  means that they will be reimbursed for any expenses they pay if you obtain a recovery from the party that is responsible for your injuries.  If necessary, a personal injury attorney can provide your medical insurers a letter of protection that offers assurances they will be paid their fees out of any compensation that is awarded.

Myth #4:  All attorneys who handle accident or injury cases have equal, ability experience and resources to deal with your case.

Never assume that all attorneys are the same. When seeking legal assistance, do some research on the lawyers you are considering.   You can learn more about them by visiting their websites and calling their offices for references. You can also call the Texas Bar Association to make sure they have a good record.

Myth #5:  All attorneys charge the same fee to handle personal injury cases.

This is false. Attorneys set their own fees and it’s up to you to find out what those charges are when you do your research.

Myth #6:  If you know someone who has received a settlement or judgment for an accident claim involving similar injuries, you can expect to get the same amount of money as that individual.

Individual insurance companies do use damages formulas to compute compensation packages.  However, the amount awarded to individuals will vary.  This is in part because the nature and extent of the injuries sustained will be different in every case. Insurance companies also have to figure in the percentage of fault to the compensation total. So if a company determines that you were not at fault, then a value of 0% gets assigned. But they determine you were partially at fault, then some other value (such as 10%, 25%, 50% etc.) gets factored in. The final figure that emerges is the amount you can expect to receive.

If you have been injured in an accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek qualified legal assistance immediately. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm understand the needs of accident victims like you. Don’t let hearsay guide your actions. Let us examine the particulars of  your case and help you claim the settlement you deserve.

Photo credit: graur razvan ionut

DWI and DUI in Texas

It’s never a good idea at any time to drive under the influence of alcohol. But if you or someone you love has, then you need to know what to expect if you get arrested in Texas for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or, if you are a minor, driving under the influence (DUI).

DWI indicates that a driver:

  • cannot safely operate a vehicle due to impairment by either drugs or alcohol;
  • is intoxicated to a level that’s above established DWI standards, as determined by a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test.

In Texas–which is a zero-tolerance state–you can be charged with DWI even if your blood alcohol level falls below the accepted maximum of .08%.  A first offense for a DWI is a class B misdemeanor. However, if you are arrested with a blood alcohol of .12% or higher, you may face felony charges, particularly if you have been convicted of a DWI in the last 10 years or caused an accident with injuries.

If you are under the age of 21, then getting caught for drinking and driving can result in a DUI charge. For a 1st DUI offense, possible penalties may include a 60-day license suspension, a fine of up to $500, community service and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol awareness program.

If you are under 18, similar penalties apply but a parent or guardian must accompany you at all of your court appearances. If the blood alcohol exceeds the maximum .08%, a court may decide to fine you up to $2000 and impose a one-year license suspension as well as a 180-day jail sentence.

The best advice is not to drink and drive at any time. But if you do and get arrested, then you should seek immediate legal assistance. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm are experts in Texas criminal law and can  aggressively defend your rights. We’re there to stand by you when you need us most!

Photo credit: Suat Eman

Wrong-Way Crashes in Texas

Wrong-way crashes are the most dangerous because they involve head-on collisions. In Texas, the number of these kinds of accidents has hit all new highs. A recent CBS DFW online article reveals that in 2011, “[t]he Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT) [found] there were 329 wrong-way crashes statewide…[and that] more than half [took place] in Dallas County.”

A  TDOT study conducted in 2010 showed that alcohol was the common denominator in  nearly all of these crashes. According to one TDOT official, about three-quarters of all the drivers involved in wrong-way crashes were under the influence.

The human toll these kinds of accidents take lingers long after the event itself. One woman named Gwen Edwards who lost her son Louis in a wrong-way crash a year a half ago on Interstate 35 still reports her feelings as, “Anger, yes. I still have a lot…[l]osing a child is a lot different than losing a mother, father, sister or brother.” Louis was just 22 years old and was the only one who perished.

Edwards is still grieving for her son. She has since “turned to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for help and says that more needs to be done to protect drivers on the road.” In her view, “[t]he drunk driving laws keep the drivers safer than [they do] the victim. The laws need to be stiffer.”

This coming September, TDOT will begin to research countermeasures against wrong-way driving. “The main goals will be to identify what methods are most successful in getting the attention of impaired drivers, and finding out which countermeasures are most effective and properly orienting the wrong-way driver for alerting them to the fact they’re going the wrong way.”

These countermeasures won’t help you if you’ve recently been in a car accident, particularly one involving a drunk driver and/or wrong-way driving. At the  Barrera Law Firm, we are ready to fight for your rights in a legal system that too often seems to overlook the pain and suffering of car crashes victims. Let us help you get the settlement you deserve: contact us today!

Protecting the Smallest Car Passengers

Protect your and your child's rightsNobody needs to tell you that children are especially vulnerable when they are riding in automobiles.  But did you know that according to data the National Health and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected in 2008,  motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of three to 14?

Unfortunately, the numbers haven’t improved.  So in 2011, the agency updated their child restraint guidelines to curb this trend.  The new guidelines say that manufacturers need to categorize child restraints “by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies.”

They also say that parents should make their child restraint choices based upon a child’s height and weight to ensure the best possible fit.  The guidelines further advise that mothers and fathers keep their children in each restraint type before “graduating” them to the next type of seat. The worst thing parents can do is move a child into a new safety device before that child is ready.

While choosing the proper restraint for a child is essential, it’s equally important that parents are careful about how they put their children in the device they’re using. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  “one study found that 72% of 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.”

The Mayo Clinic has observed six mistakes that well-meaning parents often make when putting or securing their children in automobiles. They include:

  •  using child car seats as cribs
  •  being unaware of the potential risks a used child seat may have (it may have been recalled by the manufacturer, for example)
  • placing the child car seat in the wrong position or spot in the car
  • moving a child to a booster seat too soon
  • moving a child to regular safety belts too soon
  • dressing a child in bulky clothing or outerwear that can interfere with the degree of protection harness straps can offer

Your children are dependent on you and the decisions you make. If your child gets injured or worse despite the precautions you take and as a result of another person’s negligence behind the wheel, then you need to act quickly to protect your child’s rights as well as your own. The Barrera Law Firm specializes in car accident, personal injury and wrongful death suits and our attorneys have proven track records of success. When you and your child need expert legal defense, count on us.

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why You Need a Good Auto Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car wrecks are all too common. And if you’re suffering from an injury that you sustained as a result of one, then you need to act quickly to safeguard your health and property. Locating effective legal representation is one of the first, most important steps you can take to help you defend your rights.

Some people believe that it’s best to represent themselves in court. However, the fact of the matter is that doing so is as stressful as it is seldom successful. This is because insurance companies and their defense teams are looking to make sure you get the lowest amount of money for your accident claim and will use whatever tactics necessary to make this happen. When you hire the right attorney, you may be able to recover as much as double or even triple the amount of money than would be possible otherwise.

And experienced auto accident lawyer will carefully review the facts of surrounding your accident to determine how best to move forward. That professional will then attempt to seek damages for all personal injury claims including:

  • brain injuries
  • burns
  • whiplash
  • amputation
  • wrongful death

Such an attorney will also seek reparation for any emotional distress and mental anguish you may have suffered–or may continue to be suffering–as a result of the accident. If you did not cause the car wreck, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for such things as medical bills, loss of earnings and property damage.

The legal professionals at the Barrera Law Firm will carefully scrutinize all aspects of your case including the nature and extent of your injuries to establish the full scope of your accident injury expenses.  Since our number one priority is protecting your rights, you can be assured that we will fight aggressively for you in the courtroom and be available to you whenever you need us.   Contact us today and let us make the law work for you!

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