My Child was Injured by a Defective Toy –What Can I Do?

Posted on Sunday, December 1st, 2019 at 7:20 am    

There are a lot of foreign made toys and other consumer products that seem to be a good bargain but may be defective and potentially dangerous. We are not talking about well known brands here, even if they are now manufactured out of the U.S., typically in places like China, Vietnam and Mexico. Many consumer goods are made by manufacturers in these countries and may not have the strict quality control standards that western brands may have developed for their goods. That can mean potentially dangerous accidents if there is a defective product.

If you, or one of your children, have been injured by a defective product bought in a department store like Walmart, K Mart or Target, you have the right to sue the distributor of the product, even if the manufacturer is primarily at fault. There are several steps that need to be taken and it is worth talking to an experienced defective product liability attorney before actually filing a complaint or taking legal action. There may have been similar complaints and injuries caused by the same product sold in the same store or in another store of the same company. It is easier to sue the company responsible for distributing or selling the defective product if it is not an isolated incident.

Who is to blame for a defective toy injury?

To succeed in any personal injury claim there must be clear evidence that shows that someone was negligent in providing a product for sale that was potentially dangerous and that the product actually caused an injury. A particular product is usually defective because of a manufacturing error. It may be that all of the same products have the same design fault, in which case the manufacturer is certainly one party that could be sued if it has a base in the U.S.

More often than not, it has been imported by a U.S. importer and the manufacturer would be difficult to sue as it is based overseas and not covered by U.S. consumer laws. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot claim compensation from someone as the importer may potentially be at fault, or the distributor, who must have some links with both the importer and / or the manufacturer. The company selling the item could also be at fault. The importer, distributor and seller all have responsibility for offering a product on the market that is safe to use.

It’s not easy filing a claim for compensation if you, or your child, have been injured by a suspected defective product. You must have evidence that:

  1. a) you read the instructions provided and particularly any warnings;
  2. b) the importer, distributor or seller, knew that there was a defect;
  3. c) the importer, or distributor, had not carried out satisfactory checks on the item before making them available for sale;
  4. d) the defect caused a specific injury;

Example of a recent defective product

There have been many examples of defective products over the years. Some of these cause so severe injuries that they lead to a product recall. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has had a number of complaints recently from parents who had bought a type of pop-up hamper, sold in Walmart. The complaints focused on a design defect of the hamper in which the wires embedded in the fabric of the hamper suddenly sprung up as the hamper’s pop-up release mechanism was activated. Eyes are particularly at risk. One mother lost an eye when she was just unpacking one of the hampers. A boy suffered a serious eye injury as he was trying to stuff some of his clothes into the hamper and some of the wire sprung out of the fabric into his eye.

The CPSC is still assessing the risks from this particular hamper and at the time of writing the product has not yet been recalled.

If you, or your child have been injured by what you have believe is a defective toy or other consumer product, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Fighting a huge corporation like Walmart or Target over a defective product is really hard all on your own, but an experienced attorney will have had considerable experience dealing with the sort of issue. In McAllen, contact the Patino Law Firm at 956-631-3535.

Should Lane Splitting be Made Legal in Texas?

Posted on Saturday, October 26th, 2019 at 3:31 am    

Motorcyclists and motorists don’t always see eye to eye, especially when motorcycle riders slip up between lanes of traffic in congested streets. The practice of lane splitting is something that only motorcyclists and bicyclists are capable of doing and whether it is legal or not, it is certainly a common practice. The question is whether lane splitting is inherently safer for riders. No-one would argue that motorcyclists (and cyclists) are several times more vulnerable in busy traffic than those encased in what riders often call a “cage,” i.e. a conventional vehicle.

Is lane splitting safe?

The primary reason why riders sidle up between lanes and often straddle the lane markings (hence the term ‘lane splitting’)is that it gets them to where they want to go far faster than waiting behind in a queue. There has been some research done, mostly by the University of California, Berkeley that seems to indicate that lane splitting could actually be safer for riders. Part of the reason is that it tends to stop, or at least partially prevent, the danger from rear end collisions. When motorists follow a motorcycle the natural tendency to keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front seems to be lessened, possibly because the driver doesn’t feel at risk as much as they would behind a normal four or more wheeled vehicle.

The same research, conducted and published by the University team, suggested that lane splitting was most safe at speeds of below 50 mph or if at faster speeds as long as there wasn’t more than 15 mph difference between the rider and adjacent drivers.

Additional conclusions were that riders who employed lane splitting tended to employ other safety measures such as not carrying pillion passengers, wearing a better type of crash helmet and traveling at safer speeds.

California has now made lane splitting legal

Perhaps based on the Berkeley research findings, California became the first state to formally legalize lane splitting this year in August. The law not only officially allows motorcyclists to line split, but also prevents other motorists from actively preventing riders from doing so.

As the legislation is so recent, it will presumably take some time before any feedback from the law change in terms of rider injury statistics can be made. There has been some concern voiced that allowing lane splitting is all very well, but it doesn’t help if there are motorists from out of state who are unaware of the rule and don’t provide lane splitters with e same courtesy as Californians. The concern also applies to those motorists who just don’t like the law (and by implication, motorcyclists in general!).

The main answer to those who have raised concerns like this is that every change in traffic rules brings a certain amount of transition and risk and it will just have to wait to see whether other states follow California’s lead and whether the benefits of the legislation show up in crash statistics.

Texas laws on lane splitting

There is no law in Texas that specifically mentions lane splitting, but this doesn’t make the practice legal. Texas Transportation Code § 545.060 states that vehicles that are moving along on a road or highway that is divided into two or more lanes must stick to one lane and only move into another lane when safe to do so. There have been a few attempts at changing the law to make lane splitting legal, the most recently when a bill was introduced in the state Senate in February this year, but none of these attempts have come to anything.

Lane splitting and personal injury liability determination

The status of lane spitting has significance for personal injury claims by motorists if they are injured while riding between lanes of traffic because there is immediate questions raised about who was at fault. If you have been injured while lane splitting, this doesn’t mean that you cannot claim compensation from the driver who might have hit you or injured you. There may have been other reasons why that driver could have been at fault. For example, the driver was distracted because of a cell phone, or was speeding or driving dangerously. Texas personal injury law allows for shared fault as long as the degree of fault by the plaintiff is less than 50%.

If you have been injured as a motorcyclist and want to discuss your liability and whether there is a possibility of pursuing legal action against another road user, your best solution is to make an appointment with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at the Patino Law Office in McAllen. You can contact the office at 956-631-3535.

The Five Most Common Medical Misdiagnoses in Texas

Posted on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 at 12:31 pm    

Medical misdiagnosis is the failure to diagnose a patient’s health condition correctly. It can cause serious complications for the patient if the wrong treatment is prescribed or no treatment is given at all. Someone who has suffered from a medical misdiagnosis may sue the physician for damages, including all necessary additional medical treatment, lost wages, non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages if gross negligence can be proven.

According to some surveys, the percentage of diagnoses that are incorrect has increased. It is calculated that around 1 in 5 diagnoses in Texas is a misdiagnosis. Reasons for misdiagnoses include one or more of the following;

  • a failure to spend enough time examining a patient;
  • a failure to do diagnostic testing or enough diagnostic testing;
  • a failure to review a test results when received;
  • allowing other less qualified or unqualified staff members make an assessment about a patient’s condition.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that physicians have become busier and do not allow sufficient time to examine their patients. The emphasis is on getting through as many patients as possible in a given period of time. One survey suggested that the average amount of time a doctor listens to a patient describing their symptoms was only 11 seconds before interrupting and suggesting a diagnosis or treatment.

Physicians may be reluctant to send off for diagnostic test results if they are concerned that the patient’s health insurance will not cover the testing. Similarly, to cut costs the test results when received may be given to an unqualified staff member to review rather than do the review personally.

The five most common conditions misdiagnosed

Misdiagnosis may be of any health condition, but some misdiagnoses are more common than any other. Five examples are given below.

  1. Depression

Depression may be temporary, and relate to specific ongoing circumstances, e.g. the death of a loved one, or being fired from a job, or chronic. Chronic depression is different as it demands treatment if the patient is to recover. It is the detection of a patient’s chronic depression which is a particularly common misdiagnosis.

  1. Cancer

Cancer misdiagnosis has been reported as twice the average misdiagnosis for other diseases. Physicians may not detect the possibility of cancer unless they are already aware of a causative factor such as family history of a specific cancer or lifestyle factors, e.g. smoking, morbid obesity, etc.

  1. Fibromyalgia

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to other health complaints like arthritis, such as muscle and joint pain. This can easily lead to the wrong diagnosis.

  1. Stroke

Similar to cancer, doctors may be looking for ‘red flag’ indicators such as lifestyle or family history and if not present, dismiss the possibility of stroke, leading to a potentially disastrous misdiagnosis.

  1. Heart disease

Symptoms of heart disease are not always uniform, especially when males and females are compared. It is quite common for doctors to miss detecting heart disease because the classic symptoms, e.g. crushing pain in the chest, are missing.

Caps on medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas

There are no caps on economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, but there are caps on both non-economic damages and punitive damages. Note that while non-economic damages are a typical component of a medical malpractice claim, punitive damages are only awarded in the worst cases of proven medical negligence.

The cap on non-economic damages after a medical misdiagnosis by a single doctor is $250,000. A total of $750,000 is allowed in the event that several parties are sued.

The cap on punitive damages is calculated as twice the economic damages plus $750,000 for non-economic damages. For example, if a medical misdiagnosis results in $500,000 of extra medical treatment and lost income, the total allowable for punitive damages if this can be claimed amounts to $1,750,000 (twice $500,000 plus $750,000).

You will need a determined an dedicated lawyer if contemplating a medical negligence lawsuit

If you have suffered harm from a medical misdiagnosis in or around McAllen, contact the Patino Law Firm for advice on your legal options. You can contact a medical negligence attorney at the Patino Law Firm at 956-631-3535.

Rural Roads the Deadliest in Latest Road Fatality Data

Posted on Monday, August 26th, 2019 at 5:36 am    

Texas is not the deadliest state in the country for traffic accidents. That dubious distinction goes to Mississippi with 23.1 fatalities per 100,000 residents, according to the latest crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the state’s fatality rate has gone up, mirroring an overall 13% rise in fatalities nationwide over the last five years. There were 3,218 traffic related fatalities in Texas in 2017, the latest year available for analysis.

In fact, Texas doesn’t even figure in the top 10 states for traffic fatalities. These are Mississippi (at 23.1 / 100,000 residents as noted above), Wyoming, South Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arkansas, with the latter’s fatality rate standing at 16.4 / 100,000 residents.

Rural roads the deadliest

There is some evidence that one reason these states are particularly dangerous is that many of their roads are rural. Despite the fact that far fewer vehicles use rural roads there are several reasons why they seem to be more accident prone.

These are summarized as being due to:

  • faster average speeds;
  • rougher road surfaces;
  • more potential obstacles;
  • poorer lighting;
  • less effective law enforcement.

Drivers inevitably drive faster when speed limits are higher. Most rural and country roads have higher speed limits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are any safer than many city roads where speed limits are often less than 50 mph. In fact, many rural roads are narrower than urban or suburban roads, often just one lane.

There are more pot holes and other rough surfaces on rural roads compared to city roads that get more regular maintenance. Rough road surfaces are not an excuse for accidents but may contribute to making some accidents just that more potentially deadly.

While there are more pedestrians in cities, they generally understand the dangers of crossing roads and have crosswalks and other places that are designed for them to safely cross. Rural and country roads have a lot more wildlife and domestic animals that may or may not be fenced in. Wild and domestic animals can cause more potential accidents because their presence and actions are much more unpredictable than human pedestrians. Cows and deer don’t know how to use crosswalks, even if there were any for them!

Lighting is either poorer or non-existent on many rural roads, making night time driving on rural roads particularly dangerous compared to night time city driving.

Police departments are stretched thin over what can be huge rural areas to patrol, making drivers less cautious about breaking traffic rules and taking risks when it comes to driving dangerously.

Texas still has a speeding and drink driving problem

Although distracted driving has been much in the news over the last few years with the rise of cell phone and mobile device use, in fact the two most common causes of Texas traffic fatalities are speeding and drink driving. The NHTSA data between 2012 and 2017 shows an overall increase of 10% in fatalities across the state, with speeding the most common cause at 27.1%, DUI at 23.4%, drug taking at 10.4% and distracted driving at 9.9%.

Speeding also remains the nation’s most common cause of traffic fatalities with 9,717deaths due to speeding in 2017. The NHTSA data shows that a quarter of all U.S. traffic accidents are due to speeding.

No excuse for majority of traffic accidents wherever they occur

Whether you drive on mainly rural roads or city roads there is no excuse for being injured by a speeding driver. In fact, the vast majority of traffic accidents are avoidable. No-one has to drive too fast for the conditions, drink before driving, take drugs, fail to yield the right of way at an intersection, run a red light, or answer their cell phone or text a message while driving.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault in or around McAllen, you will need the help of an experienced car accident attorney.  You can rely on the Patino Law Firm in McAllen for expert legal help. Call the Patino Law Firm to arrange an appointment at 956-631-3535.

Sleepy Drivers Under the Spotlight in Texas

Posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 at 5:28 am    

Texas is a big state. That means that there are many drivers out on our highways who drive long distances. Truck driver hours are supposed to be monitored, but that control, limited as it is, doesn’t apply to the vast number of drivers who may decide for one reason or another that they are immune from fatigue. In fact, fatigue, drowsy driving, tiredness, whatever you wish to call it, is a major reason for accidents on Texas highways.

Drowsy driving is not just due to not having enough sleep. It can be caused by:

  • sleep disorders;
  • sudden change in shift work hours;
  • jet lag after a long distance flight;
  • medication;
  • alcohol or drugs.

By far most common is plain old tiredness. A driver is heading home from a vacation, seeing relatives or work and is tempted to keep going rather than heed advice to stay fresh behind the wheel and get some much needed rest, preferably sleep. Having a coffee every now and again might help a little, but doesn’t compensate for real sleep. The sensible long distance driver plans his or her trip in advance and spends a night or two on the way in a motel or hotel. Research has shown that pulling over in a safe place and having a nap can make a real difference on a long trip and is certainly far safer than keeping going.

The statistics behind drowsy driving are frightening

Numerous surveys have been conducted into the incidence of falling asleep at the wheel and drowsy driving. There are also more authoritative statistics, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The suspected cause of every traffic accident across the U.S. is categorized for statistical purposes. It’s hard sometimes to work out just how drowsy driving is involved, as an accident may very well have had contributory factors, even if the major factor is the one that is registered on the NHTSA statistics.

According to the NHTSA, there were 800 deaths in 2013 caused by drowsy driving, but these figures may be grossly underestimated. There may be far more fatal crashes that have been caused at least in part by fatigue, perhaps as many as 6,000 annually. The NHTSA data also revealed that there were 44,000 injuries in that same year (2013) and 72,000 crashes.

Perhaps even more frightening is the data from surveys into the incidence of driving while asleep. There have been numerous surveys which rely on anecdotal accounts. About 4% of people surveyed commonly report having fallen asleep behind the wheel, even if it was only for a few seconds. Those figures are only for the last 30 days! The number increases when drivers are asked whether they fell asleep at any time during the last 12 months. About 20% of drivers have admitted when asked whether they had fallen asleep, even for only very short periods, in the last year. 40% of drivers have admitted that they had fallen asleep at least once in their lifetime of driving.

You can’t stop other drivers from falling asleep

These figures are actually quite concerning. There is plenty of advice for all drivers that implores them not to drive when feeling tired or sleepy. For those who are reading this blog, all it takes is not to get behind the wheel and pretend to be a hero when you are tired or feeling drowsy. But even if you are feeling totally alert, that doesn’t mean you are never going to be hit by a drowsy driver. You can’t control what other drivers do behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving accidents are unfortunately most likely to happen on long stretches of highway between major urban centers and less likely in heavy traffic. That means that if you are hit by a drowsy or tired driver it is likely that the impact was at high speed.

If you, or a loved one, have been hit by a drowsy driver in or around McAllen and have been injured or your car damaged, or both, you have the right to claim compensation from the at-fault driver.

You will need the help of an experienced car accident attorney.  You can rely on the Patino Law Firm in McAllen for expert legal help. Call the Patino Law Firm to arrange an appointment at 956-631-3535.

Monsanto and Bayer AG on the Back Foot Over Roundup Trials

Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 at 3:24 am    

Monsanto is on the defensive after a second trial favored plaintiffs alleging their cancer was caused by long exposure to the weedkiller, Roundup. Monsanto is the manufacturer of the world’s most effective and popular weedkiller, although the company is now owned by giant German agrochemical corporation, Bayer.

The court case in California awarded a 2 billion payout to a couple who had been using the weedkiller for many years. They had alleged that they had both developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because of their prolonged exposure to the chemical. The jury, in making its ruling, agreed that the company had failed in its duty to warn users of Roundup that it could cause cancer. Bayer, who would be liable for paying the couple, not surprisingly claimed that the decision was “excessive and unjustifiable.” Bayer is expected to appeal the decision.

The Pilliod case against Monsanto

Alva and Alberta Pilliod have been using Roundup since 1982 when they bought their first house. They used the weedkiller to keep weeds controlled around their house as well as other properties they bought subsequently. They said that they had used Roundup because they had watched adverts about it on the T.V. They said that if they had known that it was carcinogenic, even potentially carcinogenic, they wouldn’t have used it all.

The Pilliod case is the third to be won against Monsanto. The first, also in California, was won by a Los Angeles man, Dewayne Johnson, who also developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after prolonged exposure to the weedkiller in his job as a school groundsman. Johnson, near death when the court ruled in his favor, eventually got paid $78.5 million.

The second court win against Monsanto was heard in the federal court. Edward Hardeman was awarded $80 million after he alleged that the weedkiller he had been using to control weeds in his garden for many years had caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The main evidence used in these three decisions was a World Health Organization (WHO) report that was issued in 2015 by its International Agency for Research on Cancer. In the report, the WHO reported that in their opinion the active chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, “probably” caused cancer. This link has been the primary evidence not just in these three court cases, but will be the main evidence for thousands of other lawsuits that are now pending against Monsanto. In fact, in the Hardeman case, the 6 man federal jury came to the conclusion that it was not just glyphosate, but the synergistic combination of glyphosate and other ingredients in Roundup that contributed to the development of cancer.

The EPA maintains that Roundup is safe, but not everyone is convinced

The WHO report has been disputed by Monsanto and its parent, Bayer. They point to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose conclusion about Roundup is that it is not dangerous as long as “precautions clearly advertised on the product” are observed. As recently as April this year, the EPA made a statement saying that glyphosate “posed no risk to human health.”

The involvement of the EPA and its association with Monsanto over the years has been brought into question by attorneys and scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity. There have been allegations that Monsanto actually attempted to influence the EPA by “ghostwriting” non-existent research into the hazards of glyphosate, which concluded that the chemical was not carcinogenic. The EPA’s Office of Inspector General, is apparently going to look into the allegations.

Have you been using Roundup on a regular basis in or around McAllen? If you have and you have symptoms that suggest the onset of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you should contact a product liability attorney at the Patino Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your legal options, including filing a lawsuit against Monsanto. You can call the Patino Law Firm to arrange an appointment at 956-631-3535.

What Are the Most Common Medical Malpractice Cases in Texas?

Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019 at 10:18 pm    

When you receive medical care in an office or hospital environment, you expect to receive quality care and help with your ailments. You are going to the doctor’s office or hospital for a reason – the medical professionals that work there are trained to deal with your medical condition(s). Although you should expect to receive the best care all the time, that does not always happen. Negligence can occur in an office or hospital environment, leading to medical malpractice lawsuits filed against specific physicians and medical staff members. There are certain medical malpractice cases that are quite common in the state of Texas.

Improper Diagnosis or Lack of Diagnosis

Improper diagnosis or lack of diagnosis are two of the reasons people often choose to file medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas. When you feel like something is not right, you explain those symptoms to your physician with the hope that he or she will run tests and do anything possible to figure out what is going on. Unfortunately, not all physicians are truly taking the time to listen to their patients. They may think something that is serious is not that big of a deal until it gets much worse and is later diagnosed as a major medical condition. If a physician diagnoses you with something that you do not have and you take medicine or receive treatment for that condition instead of for the condition you truly have, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is the responsibility of your physician to get things right the first time around, even if it means running all kinds of tests.

While an improper diagnosis is frustrating enough, a lack of diagnosis is just as frustrating. If you are going to the hospital or visiting with a physician in the office to explain the symptoms you are experiencing and you do not get a diagnosis but you later find out that there is something wrong with you, it is only right to want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis could cause you to suffer more pain in your life and that is the last thing you should have to do when you are already suffering.

Mistakes Made During Labor and Delivery

Although it is not talked about too often, mistakes can and do happen during the labor and delivery process. There are a lot of things that can quickly start to go wrong. If you are in labor and are having difficulty pushing, the obstetrician or the nurses could make decisions that they feel is in the best interest of the baby, even if it truly is not. Because they are acting quickly, they could make mistakes that cause you or your baby to suffer. For example, the obstetrician could use forceps to try to pull the baby out when you are having trouble pushing, but those forceps could cause injuries to the baby that are life-threatening. When negligence occurs during labor and delivery, you have every right to file a lawsuit against the obstetrician, nurses, and the hospital.

Problems During a Surgical Procedure

The thought of undergoing surgery is scary enough for most people. Anyone who needs to undergo a surgical procedure is going to want to come out of it feeling better instead of feeling worse. However, mistakes are often made in the operating room. A surgeon could make an incision in the wrong place, work on the wrong part of the body, or even unintentionally leave something behind inside the body, such as a surgical tool, cloth, or sponge. While it is not something anyone wants to think about when they need surgery, it is important to be aware of what could potentially happen.

Different medical malpractice lawsuits are filed on a regular basis against doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Some of the most common reasons cases are filed in the state of Texas include improper diagnosis or a lack of diagnosis, mistakes made when a woman is giving birth, and problems that occur during or after a surgical procedure as a result of negligence. Medical professionals and staff members must be held accountable for their negligence. If you have experienced one of these issues or any other medical-related issue with hospital or office staff members, you should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer.

What Should You Do Straight After a Car Crash?

Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 at 1:02 am    

Texas has the dubious distinction of leading the nation when it comes to the number of serious injuries and fatalities from car accidents. The unfortunate reality about serious car crashes is that if you have been immobilized and are incapable of doing anything other than hang on waiting for an ambulance to take you to an emergency room at a hospital, there is very little that you can do following a car crash. If you have been badly hurt in a car crash, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after receiving necessary treatment.

There are plenty of things that you can do, however, if you haven’t been so seriously injured, yet are facing probable expensive medical and car repair bills. The following guidelines may help the nearly quarter of a million Texans who are injured somewhere in the state every year.

  1. Make sure you and anyone else in your car move to a safe place, especially if the accident happened in the middle of a busy highway.
  2. Call 911 as soon as you can. Make a request for medical assistance and police. Be precise as possible about the location of the accident and what assistance will be required. Police officers who attend the scene will ask questions, examine the vehicles involved and complete a crash report. A copy of this report will become the primary evidence you will need if you later decide to file a claim against another driver. If you need immediate medical assistance, talk to EMTs who attend about your injuries and pain so they can make an assessment of your immediate needs.
  3. If you are capable of acting without getting angry or upset, exchange insurance details and license numbers with the other driver, or other drivers, if more than one other was involved in the accident. If you don’t feel able to talk to the other driver, wait until police officers arrive and ask one of them to obtain this information for you.
  4. Don’t discuss the accident or get angry with the other driver(s). It is easy to say something that might be used against you later on if you decide to file a claim against the other driver’s insurer.
  5. Take photos if you can, of any damage done to your vehicle and the position of the vehicles after the accident. Your cell phone will probably have camera app on it.
  6. Take photos of any injuries that are visually obvious on yourself and anyone else in your vehicle. If you have cuts, bruises, or other obvious injuries, take photos of them on a regular basis after the accident until they have healed.
  7. Ask any eye witnesses who were not related to any other driver involved in the accident if they would provide contact details. Eye witness statements can be very valuable when attempting to prove that you were not at fault.
  8. Make sure that you get yourself checked out by a doctor or go to an emergency room depending on your injuries. Do this even if you think that your injuries were minor. Some injuries are not easy to diagnose and may only show up later on, several hours or days after an accident has occurred.
  9. Let your own insurance company know about the accident and the damage to your vehicle and injuries. If you have a copy of the police report, send a copy of this report. Do not consent to an interview at this stage.
  10. Do not discuss the accident with the other driver’s insurer, even if asked politely to answer questions. In particular, be very wary of a potential recorded interview. It is easy, especially in the emotionally charged period after an accident, to say things which could be interpreted by an insurance adjuster as admitting liability or partial liability. In some states, any hint of being partially at fault could mean the loss of any chance of compensation. In many states you need to be at least less than 50% to blame for an accident. You should not admit any fault at all to any person representing the other driver.

If you have been injured in any kind of car accident in or around McAllen and are considering claiming compensation with the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you can rely on the Patino Law Firm in McAllen for expert legal help. You can call the Patino Law Firm to arrange an appointment at 956-631-3535.

The Two Courthouses In McAllen Texas

Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019 at 1:23 pm    

While McAllen is only the 22nd largest city in the state of Texas, it does have the recognition for having two courthouses. This is due to the fact that in addition to their local courthouse for municipal hearings, it is also the home of the Southern Texas Federal Court. Whether you are going to face a trial yourself or will be attending for other reasons, there are some things that you will want to know about the rules and procedures that differ at these two locations.

The federal court is officially known as the United States District and Bankruptcy Court: Southern District of Texas. This is where local federal cases are held. Due to the fact that it is federal court there are a number of rules enforced that are not typically seen in an average courtroom. One of the biggest differences is that you must supply identification in order to be allowed into the courthouse. Clearly this is for safety and security measures to ensure that all present are accounted for.

Another rule that differs from most other courts is that you are not permitted to enter will a cell phone. This is to ensure the confidentiality regarding the cases that are held there. Lawyers are permitted to bring in other devices that may be connected wirelessly, such as laptops, but any type of recording that may be done or use of these devices in the courtroom must be approved by the residing judge before it can occur.

This court is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The holidays observed include all federal holidays. If you have any questions as to whether or not they are open you can call to confirm before you make the trip. It is located at 1703 W. Business Hwy 83 in McAllen, Texas.

The McAllen Municiple Court is much like other courts that you may have experienced in the past. However, one rule that you might not expect is that you are not permitted to bring any purses, briefcases or other types of bags into the courtroom. It is recommended to leave these in your vehicle and simply bring in any documentation that you wish to present in court by hand. While there aren’t stipulations regarding an appropriate manner of dress, it is generally advised that you appear in clothing that is free from holes and is at least business casual. Your appearance is a means of showing respect to the law. It is also important to know that if you have a case in which you desire to appear you can do so in person, but you can also handle your initial appearance by mail or email. This is due to the fact that you will simply be entering a plea and the trial will then be set and communicated to you.

Regardless of your reasons for entering any courthouse it is important to understand what is expected of you. Keep the above information in mind if you ever need to visit either of these locations.

Texas Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Claim

Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 at 4:35 am    

If you suffer any injuries as a result of a car accident, slip and fall, or any other incident, due to another party’s negligent conduct you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against them in a Texas court. However, the claim must be filed within a stipulated period, after which your rights to seek any justice in a courtroom will be deemed to have expired.

When it comes to such cases, you need to start by familiarizing yourself with the Statute of Limitations on injury claims in the state of Texas.

For more about the Texas statute of limitations on injuries, the reason why you need to familiarize yourself with it and any exceptions to the rule, read on below.

What Is A Statute of Limitations? 

A statute of limitations is a rule applied by courts with regard to the timing of the filing of lawsuits. In this case, injury victims have a limited amount of time within which they can bring forth a lawsuit.

A statute of limitations is usually used to protect defendants against having cases brought against them after an extended period. The rule also ensures that the victim files a lawsuit while evidence and witness accounts are still fresh and verifiable.

Texas Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Claim

In the state of Texas, injury victims need to file a lawsuit before a court of justice within two years after the occurrence of the cause of the action. If the victim brings their case in front of a court after the expiry of this period, the defendant is likely going to ask the court to dismiss the case by filing a motion to dismiss.

Regardless of whether you can prove that the defendant is liable, or how substantial your injuries are, you will no longer have the right to claim any damages after this happens as the court is most likely going to dismiss the case.

The expiry of the statute of limitations not only results in the loss of your right to claim damages in a court of law, but also takes away any leverage you might have had in out of court negotiations for compensation. Once the other party discovers that you have no legal right to claim damages in a court of law they are likely to withdraw from the negotiations.

Exceptions To The Rule

Even though the Texas statute of limitations is 2 years, this window may be reduced, delayed or extended depending on the situation. Here are the main exceptions to the general rule:

Delay Under A Legal Disability

According to Texas law, the start of the 2 year countdown is delayed when the victim in question is deemed to have been under a legal disability when the injury causing incident occurred. The legal disability could mean that the victim was of unsound mind or a minor when the incident occurred.

The countdown only starts when the victim’s legal disability is over. This might mean that the victim has become mentally competent or has attained the age of 18.

Delay Due To Defendant’s Absence From The State  

If the defendant, person accused of causing the incident that resulted into the victim’s injuries, leaves the state of Texas after the incident but before a case is filed, their period of absence from the state is not counted towards the 2 year window.

Claims Against The Texas Government  

For any injury claims that involve the Texas state government or any of their officials as liable parties, different rules apply. For starters, you cannot file a case against the government of Texas under such circumstances.

In such a case, the victim needs to file a formal claim with the specific unit of government they deem to be responsible for the incident. The claim must include a detailed description of the incident, injuries sustained and the location of the incident. This claim must be filed in six months.

Get Professional Help As Soon As Possible

As you can see from the above, the Texas statute of limitations on injuries is set at 2 years. However, there are several exceptions to this rule that may warrant the extension, delay or even reduction of this window. Consult a seasoned Texas personal injury attorney if you have any questions about a looming or past deadline, with regard to the state’s injury statute of limitations.