Posted on Monday, May 15th, 2017 at 11:47 am
If you have had a bad accident and were injured, you may be considering the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the person who you think was to blame for the accident. It may not be an individual person. It may be a group of people, a store owner, a business, a government agency or even a combination of several parties who you believe were to blame for your accident and injuries.
One of the big stumbling blocks in successfully suing those at fault for your injuries is the lack of supporting evidence. Let’s face it, if you were seriously injured, the chances are that you were in no shape to run around taking pictures and interviewing witnesses after the accident, even though that would make it easier to claim compensation further down the track.
Maybe a video camera captured what happened when you had your accident
But what if you knew or suspected that there was a surveillance camera nearby and perhaps, just perhaps, that camera was taking video footage at the time you had your accident? It may have been a traffic camera at an intersection, a security camera at a parking lot, a gas station or outside a restaurant. It may have been a personal video cam that a driver had mounted on their car or a police officer’s dash cam. It may be a long shot, but isn’t it worth finding out whether you could get really useful evidence from one of these sources?
An attorney’s help makes sourcing video footage easier
The answer is yes! The reality may be a lot harder for a number of reasons which will be explained below. The best suggestion is never to try and seek video camera evidence all by yourself. You will almost certainly have a much better chance of securing valuable evidence if you contact a personal injury attorney such as one at the Patino Law Office in McAllen. Personal injury lawyers can sub-poena the agency or organization that controls the video camera if it is thought that past footage might have evidence which supports your claim.
Usually, the easiest video footage can be obtained from the owner of a private security camera, such as one in a supermarket, shopping mall, gas station etc. The owners may not have any obligation to release video records, but if the request is made respectfully enough, it is most likely to be granted. You may be allowed to look back through the video records by yourself or this privilege may be granted to your attorney.
Check the Texas database for traffic cameras
It’s not so easy to get permission if the camera was a traffic camera such as one that might be used at a McAllen intersection or red light. However, your attorney may be able to secure the footage with a sub-poena. Most states, including Texas, have a database which is available to the public which you can use to determine whether there was a traffic camera in the vicinity of your accident. This is potentially much more relevant to a traffic accident.
Similarly, a police officer’s dash cam may have useful evidence if you know the officer’s name, number and police station.
The least likely is a personal video camera which just happened to be rolling at the time of the accident. This is an outside chance but is more likely with a vehicle accident. You are unlikely to be able to secure a chance of obtaining evidence unless you know of any potential witnesses who were present at the time of your accident.
Make sure you act as soon as you can
Whatever the source of potentially useful video footage, the important thing to bear in mind is that you must act as soon as you possibly can. It will be much harder to find evidence n any kind of video camera the further it was recorded back in time. Old records may even be erased or recorded over. Again, an attorney can handle this line of inquiry even if your injuries prevent you from doing much yourself.
Posted on Friday, April 14th, 2017 at 6:28 am
A proposal to install speed limiters on the nation’s trucks in order to save lives and reduce the number of serious injuries due to truck crashes hangs in the balance. It awaits a decision by the incoming Trump administration, which has vowed to limit federal regulation.
The proposal follows on from the results of a study into the link between the speed of large trucks and the number of serious accidents. It might seem obvious that the faster trucks travel on our highways, the more accidents there are going to be, but the study went further than that. The study took place in 2012 by the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech University Transportation Institute. It focused on data from 15,000 truck accidents, 20 different trucking companies and nearly 140,000 individual tractor-trailers. The research definitively suggested that lower speeds meant fewer serious accidents, fewer fatalities and overall better safety conditions.
The research findings seem hardly surprising, but trucking fleets and individual drivers are under pressure to get their loads delivered as fast and as efficiently as possible, so may question at what speeds do the safety advantages really kick in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzed the data and proposed that limiters were installed on the nation’s truck fleet, limiting the speeds of tractor-trailers and other trucks over 26,001 pounds to 68 mph. Other speed limits proposed were 60 mph and 65 mph. A speed limiter does what the name suggests. It means that trucks would not be able to drive their vehicles beyond the cut off speed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has suggested that the speed limit proposal would have another advantage, unrelated to safety. It has been estimated that speed limiters would save $1.1 billion in annual fuel costs.
2012 was five years ago, but the NHTSA proposal has had to go through a period of open public comment. That closed at the end of 2016 with no decision made yet. Of course, it may be that the new Trump administration has other things on its mind, so it may still be some time before any decision is made one way or another.
Truck accident statistics
There are around 15.5 million trucks on U.S. roads at any one time. These trucks are a vital part of the U.S. economy and without them life as we know it would come to a grinding halt. 13% of these trucks are 18 wheelers, also known as big rigs or tractor-trailers. Big trucks in particular are also the cause of many of the worst accidents and the highest number of serious injuries and fatalities. The sheer difference in size and weight between an 18 wheeler and the average car or small vehicle means that a collision between one and the other results in the occupants of the smaller vehicle coming off worse.
Truck accidents result in costly medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as emotional trauma for the crash victims, their family and friends.
Every year in the U.S. there are 500,000 accidents involving large trucks. 130,000 injuries are caused as a result of these accidents and 5,000 fatalities.
In Texas, the accident rate from truck crashes is in line with the rest of the country in terms of millions of miles driven. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that there were 284 fatalities in 2010 and 2,339 serious injuries as a result of truck accidents. The Texas truck fatality rate is estimated to be about 1.3 fatalities for every 100 million miles of travel. There were 15,676 big rig accidents in the year quoted above alone.
Whatever the decision made about speed limiters, it doesn’t affect the fact that truck accidents are a fact of life on Texas roads. It doesn’t matter how safe you are as a driver, it’s possible to be hit by a large truck at any time. If this is what has happened to you or a member of your family and you have been injured, you should contact one of our experienced truck accident attorneys at the Patino Law Firm in McAllen, Texas.
The sooner you instigate a personal injury claim against the driver at fault or the trucking firm the easier it will be to negotiate a fair and sensible compensation payment to help you pay for medical bills and lost earnings. You can contact the Patino Law Firm at 1-956-631-3535. There are no legal fees involved unless we win your claim on your behalf!
Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 at 4:40 am
A detailed investigation into nursing home abuse by CNN has revealed as many cases of abuse in Texas as any other state. The investigation specifically targeted sexual abuse of elderly or disabled residents of nursing homes in several U.S. states and has revealed a horrifying state of affairs. In many cases, the accounts of abuse are thought to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the underlying real story of abuse that exists right across the country.
Many cases of abuse labeled as “unsubstantiated”, then ignored
CNN’s investigators found time and time again that when residents or their families brought an incident to the notice of the residential care managers that their concerns were in many cases labeled as “unsubstantiated.”
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or residential home anywhere within the McAllen region, and suspect that she or he has been a victim of any type of abuse, physical, psychological, emotional or sexual you should first bring the matter to the management or supervisors at the home or center. If you don’t think you are getting full cooperation or satisfactory action from them, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced nursing home negligence attorney in McAllen.
The attorney will make sure that a full and thorough independent investigation is carried out and that action is taken where necessary. This may involve;
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against any care worker, or the institution itself who is found to be responsible for harm against your elderly loved one;
- Removing your elder from the institution if necessary and placing him or her with a better provider.
Testimony of victims usually judged too unreliable to be investigated properly
Most of the cases that the CNN investigation looked at showed just how hard it can be to bring systematic offenders of nursing home abuse – and the places that they worked at- to justice. One of the reasons for this was that the victims were often Alzheimer’s sufferers, in wheelchairs and could not fight back against their abusers or were known to be suffering from mental problems and their testimony was usually rejected as being “unreliable.”
Example of sexual abuse in a Texas nursing home
One harrowing case from Texas serves to illustrate exactly what is happening all over the U.S. A Texas nursing home resident was raped by a male nurse working at the home three times. In the third incident, the victim managed to spit semen that had been ejaculated by force into her mouth, into her bra. She kept the evidence there for three weeks before revealing it when she gave an account of the attacks to investigators.
The nurse in this case was arrested initially after an investigation by state authorities. The DNA of the semen was identified as belonging to the nurse, but the case was eventually dismissed because prosecutors could not obtain a testimony from the victim. The forensic lab had reported that there was only a 1 in 1000 trillion percent chance that the semen belonged to anyone else!
In many cases, victims of abuse in nursing homes are terrified of their assailants and are afraid to speak out about the attacks in case they are not believed and they are then attacked even more ferociously in revenge.
The companies, corporations or in many cases mom and pop businesses that are responsible for providing residential care facilities for over a million elderly Americans rarely attract quality staff as they do not generally pay any more than $11 to $12 an hour. There are also usually very few supervisors on duty during night shifts when many of the abuse cases take place.
In some cases, even when a home has been found to be responsible for nursing home abuse and fined or punished by canceling federal reimbursements, the fines are soon canceled or reduced and the reimbursements reinstated because of a facility’s perceived financial status.
Nursing home abuse attorney ready to provide legal assistance in McAllen
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or residential care home in the McAllen area and suspect that all is not right at the home the sooner this is brought to notice, the better. Call the Patino Law Firm in McAllen at (956) 631-3535 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.
Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 at 4:01 am
Few people in Texas, especially those with college age kids, will forget the tragedy that unfolded on the I-35 in Oklahoma in September 2014. That’s when the Champion bus carrying the North Central Texas College lady’s softball team was sideswiped by a truck, killing 4 of the 15 young women in the team.
The convoluted story that has unfolded after the crash has taken a new twist. The attorney for the families that have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the bus company citing defects in the bus has now called for the entire fleet of buses to be recalled. The attorney, Todd Tracy, has used an independent expert to assess the safety record of the buses and has stated that the review findings are so disturbing that the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) should urgently address the matter.
The story so far
The crash happened on the I-35 in Oklahoma as the bus was bringing the team home to Gainesville back from a match at Bethany, Oklahoma. The bus was sideswiped by a 2013 Peterbilt semitrailer that had been traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the median. The truck kept moving after the impact then disappeared in woodland on the side of the highway. The bus rolled right over and was badly damaged on the driver side of the vehicle. The driver himself, the team coach escaped more or less uninjured.
The investigation into the crash found that the driver, 53 year old Russel Staley, was initially to blame. He was found to be driving while impaired with synthetic cannabis and was also alleged to have had a history of drug abuse. He was eventually charged with four counts of manslaughter.
Staley commits suicide
The driver of the 18 wheeler that hit the bus carrying the NCTC softball team was found dead in March this year and it was assumed that he had committed suicide after a shotgun wound was found to his head at his home in Saginaw, Texas.
Families File Product Liability Lawsuit Against Champion Buses
Three of the four families involved in the tragedy have filed a lawsuit against Champion Bus Inc. The lawsuit was filed on Feb.1st this year. The lawsuit states that the bus involved was not “crashworthy.” Its construction meant all the difference between probable survival of the four girls killed in the crash and their death.
The attorney representing the families said that an examination of the bus’s construction showed that it was a mixture of “cardboard, foam and one and a half inch quarter tubing”. Mr. Tracy said that the side of the bus “peeled away because of its poorly made construction” and the passengers on that side of the bus were ejected as the bus rolled.
The families involved in the lawsuit had a chance to see the bus involved, a mid-sized bus and made several comments after the viewing. One mother, Misty Woodlee, said that it seemed “unbelievable” that anyone could be safe in such a poorly constructed bus. The father of another of the four girls, Keith Pelton, said that his daughter would never have been in the bus if he had known how it had been constructed.
Champion released a statement following the filing of the lawsuit reiterating what they had said earlier. The statement said that the NTSB had “fully investigated” the crash and had found no safety defects whatsoever and that the bus complied with all regulations.
Attorney issues call for inspection of Champion bus fleet following independent review
Following a 200 page report released by an independent safety expert, Todd Tracy, representing the families in the Feb 1st lawsuit, has called for the recall of all Champion buses built after 1998. The report states that 80% of all welds on the bus involved in the crash were not up to American Standard Welding Specifications. According to Tracy that meant that the welds on the bus were “defective”.
The report will be used as an important part of the evidence that will be available to back up the authenticity of the lawsuit.
Product liability lawsuits in McAllen Texas
If you live in the McAllen and believe that a product that you have bought was defective and has caused an injury of some sort to you or a member of your family you may have the right to sue the manufacturer or the distributor of the product. It is best to contact a product liability attorney as soon as you can to discuss your legal options.
Call a McAllen personal injury attorney at the Patino Law Firm as soon as you can on 956-631-3535 to discuss your situation and work out a legal solution that compensates you fairly for your loss.