This past Sunday, Texas injury attorney Dina Steele and several friends participated in the Clay Hunt Honor Ride to raise money for the Ride 2 Recovery program, which helps injured veterans. The ride and the organization it supported received national attention from news sources like 60 Minutes and CNN.
The mission of Ride 2 Recovery is “to improve the health and wellness of healing heroes through mental and physical rehabilitation programs that feature cycling as the core activity.” Funds raised through the organization’s “Honor Ride” series, of which the Clay Hunt ride was just one part, go toward supporting outdoor cycling programs and local rides for veterans, as well as to help support the Spinning Recovery Labs at various military and VA hospitals and medical centers throughout the U.S.
The Clay Hunt ride was one of only two Honor Rides this year in which 170 wounded veterans participated, riding along with members of the public who participated in the event. The veteran riders participated in the Clay Hunt ride after completing a 10-day cycling challenge that covered a total of 340 miles. They not only rode with members of the public, but also shared their stories and offered encouragement to cyclists who were just getting started with the sport.
April 14th’s event took place at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards on Rodeo Plaza. Riders had their choice of a short, medium, or long route that toured through the Fort Worth area. Shorter children’s events were also offered to young riders. Attorney Dina Steele and her six-person group, the “Freedom Riders,” logged 25 miles on the course – uphill both ways!
A 20-year-old student who recently went on a stabbing rampage on the campus of Texas’s Lone Star College now faces three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to a recent news article by CNN. Two of the fourteen people injured in the attack remain in critical condition in a local hospital, and many Texas injury attorneys are considering how to best protect the legal rights of the injured.
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the attack took place on the college’s campus in CyFair. Witnesses said there seemed to be no pattern to the attack as it happened, but a great deal of chaos occurred as some people sought cover and others rushed to help the wounded. The sheriff’s office described an initial report that said students had wrestled the attacker to the ground before campus police reached him.
The weapon that was used appeared to be a small, razor-sharp blade, like those used in box cutters, according to witnesses. The campus was locked down for several hours following the attack as rescue workers searched classrooms and buildings looking for anyone injured. Four of the wounded were so severely injured that medical helicopters were called in to transport them to area hospitals.
The campus reopened for classes the next day, making counselors available for meetings with faculty, staff, and students still shaken by the incident. The stabbing comes approximately two months after three people suffered injuries in a shooting incident on Lone Star College’s North Harris campus in Houston, according to the CNN report.
Falls are one of the top causes of injuries among children, as many experienced Texas injury attorneys have seen – but many falls can be prevented. With spring on the way and better weather rolling in, open windows offer a chance for fresh air and sunlight to pour into your house, but they can also pose a serious risk to small children.
Whether children live in your home full-time or merely visit, you can help protect them from falls by observing a few simple safety tips, courtesy of SafeKids.org:
1. Supervise kids.
Small children should be supervised at all times, including when they’re in the presence of open windows. Toddlers and young children are naturally curious, but they do not always understand the risks of falls or other dangers. Keep an eye on kids at all times to help them avoid accidents.
2. Prepare windows.
Installing equipment on windows can help prevent falls. Window guards can prevent children from falling out, and window stops can prevent children from opening windows far enough to fit through.
3. Prepare the area.
Moving furniture away from windows can stop a child from even being able to climb into, and thus fall out of, a window. Even on the first floor, it’s important to guard against falls, because even a first-floor fall can cause serious injuries to a small child. Taking the time to close and lock windows when they’re not in use or children can’t be supervised around them can also help prevent an accident.
Paternity law, which deals with who is recognized as a child’s legal father, is an area fraught not only with specific legal rules, but often with emotional battles as well – as many Texas family law attorneys know. Here are just a few of the basics of paternity laws in Texas.
Texas law presumes that a man is the father of a child if:
- the man is married to the child’s mother when the child is born,
- the child is born within 300 days of the end of the marriage between the man and the child’s mother, or
- during the child’s first two years of life, the man lives with the child, treats the child as his own, and represents to others that he is the father of the child.
However, this presumption can be challenged, or “rebutted.” Ways to show that the presumption should not apply to your particular situation include:
- a filing by the presumed father of a denial of paternity, along with a statement by another man acknowledging his paternity of the child,
- a court determination that the man is not the child’s father, made in a case filed within four years of the child’s birth, or
- a court determination that the man is not the child’s father, that the man did not live with or have intercourse with the child’s mother, and that the man never represented to anyone that he was the child’s father, made in a case filed at any time.
The parents of a child can also file an official acknowledgement of paternity, which can be taken back within 60 days of the date it is signed. Other methods for establishing paternity are also available in Texas.
Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury are two of the most catastrophic claims that any Texas injury lawyer handles on behalf of a client. While these injuries commonly result from serious accidents, they also affect veterans, particularly those who have seen combat. This means that veterans’ hospitals play a key role in developing treatments and technologies to assist patients who have traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
For example, at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston, Texas, medical staff is using robot-assisted walking therapy to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other neurological conditions. The system is designed to help patients who cannot move their legs under their own power get needed exercise and start rebuilding neural pathways that control leg movement. With regular use, some patients have regained sufficient control over their legs to be able to walk with assistance.
The device, known as a Lokomat, attaches to the patient’s legs and moves them in a natural walking pattern. A computer monitors the movement to ensure it mimics natural leg movement, improving range of motion, bone density, circulation, and communication between the brain and the legs.
Robot-assisted walking therapy has been used successfully not only in patients injured by war, but also those who suffer serious injuries in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or workplace incidents. Researchers hope that eventually the technology will become commonplace, improving the chances that an injured person can relearn how to walk or to perform other daily tasks.
If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury that you believe was the result of another person’s negligence, contact us at Steele Law, P.C. for a free consultation today.
The recent Daylight Savings Time has shifted how much time we have in the evenings to get things done because it stays lighter later in the day. However, the DST switch may increase the risk of serious accidents, according to one study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine.
The study examined traffic accident reports on the weekend in which the shift to DST occurred in the spring and on the weekend in which the shift back to standard time occurred in the fall. Researchers found that the number of accidents in the spring stayed roughly the same on Saturday and Sunday, but increased sharply on the Monday after the time change. Researchers believe this increase is due to the fact that many people chose to forgo an hour of sleep on the Sunday the time change occurred, increasing fatigue, which is a known cause of car crashes.
More startling results came from the review of car accidents that occurred in the fall, when clocks were set back one hour to standard time. On this weekend, car accidents rose sharply on Saturday and Sunday, and fell on Monday. These included accidents in which alcohol was a major factor. Researchers believe that the promise of an extra hour may have encouraged many people to stay out later, thus increasing their risk of late-night accidents, which often involve alcohol.
Whether you’re setting your clocks forward in the spring or setting them back in the fall, choosing to get adequate rest and protect yourself is a wise move. If you’re in an accident, an experienced Texas car accident attorney can help you protect your legal rights.
A 20-year-old resident of Corpus Christi, Texas lost his life in a rollover accident recently, according to an article in the Caller.
According to witnesses, the driver was traveling north on Interstate 37 when the vehicle crossed into the median, then veered sharply right, causing it to roll. The car landed on its top. Passersby alerted rescue crews, which responded to the scene but were unable to save the driver’s life. No one else was injured in the crash.
Investigators are still looking into the cause of the accident. The driver was wearing a seat belt, and the roads were clear and dry at the time of the accident, which occurred during the day.
Rollover accidents account for about two percent of all accidents on U.S. roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, they cause as many as 28 percent of deaths and a significant number of injuries, which is why most experienced Texas car accident attorneys have helped a great many clients injured in rollovers.
Rollover Accident Causes
Rollovers can have multiple causes. A defect in vehicle’s steering, tires, or other equipment may lead to a rollover. Road conditions like ice or cracked pavement, or obstacles like animals or other drivers, may trigger a rollover. Driver distraction, sleepiness, or a medical emergency may also cause a rollover.
Most rollovers are single-vehicle accidents. However, just because only one vehicle is involved in a crash doesn’t mean the driver of that vehicle was at fault for the crash. It’s important to review all possible causes of a rollover in order to hold any negligent parties accountable for their actions. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights after a rollover crash.
Too many of the car accident cases an experienced Texas car accident attorney will handle in a year involve one or more drivers who were speeding at the time of the crash. Excessive speed increases the chances that the accident will result in a death.
A study of fatal car crashes involving speeding by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shed some revealing light on the causes and consequences of this unsafe driving practice. Here are just a few conclusions researchers reached based on the data analyzed in the study:
- Exceeding the posted speed limit causes more speeding-related crashes than driving too fast for conditions. About 55 percent of speeding crashes involved drivers going over the speed limit, while 45 percent involved drivers going too fast for conditions.
- Driving too fast for conditions was far more likely to result in a crash that caused injury or death. Injury or death occurred when a crash involved driving too fast for conditions 74 percent of the time, but it occurred when a driver was exceeding the posted speed limit only 26 percent of the time.
- Weather plays a significant role in speeding crashes that involve driving too fast for conditions, but not in speeding crashes that involve driving faster than the posted speed limit. Crashes on wet, icy, or slippery roads were far more likely to involve a driver traveling too fast for the road and weather conditions.
- Speeding crashes of all types are more likely to occur on curves or non-intersection roadways than other types of accidents.
Keep these factors in mind next time you are out on the road to stay as safe as you can. No amount of time saved while speeding is worth the severe losses that could happen in the event of a Lewisville car crash.
Every experienced Texas car accident lawyer has seen at least one case in which a teen’s life was cut short or changed forever due to a car accident death or injury. Teens often lack the driving experience they need to avoid injury in an emergency, putting them at increased risk for harm on the road.
Teens have the highest risk of car accident deaths among all Texas drivers, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Statistics reveal that over half of teen drivers and passengers who lose their lives in Texas car accidents aren’t wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, leading to serious injuries or deaths that can be prevented.
In order to encourage teens to use their seat belts whenever they’re in the vehicle, the TxDOT has launched its “Teen Click It or Ticket” campaign. In February and October, TxDOT will supply high schools with materials that encourage teen drivers to use their seat belts and to require their passengers to do so as well. The campaign also includes a teen-friendly website on seat belt safety, SeatBeltsRock.com.
The campaign also includes public service announcements to remind teens that failing to wear a seat belt has consequences that aren’t limited to death or injury. Texas law requires drivers to wear seat belts and allows them to be fined up to $250 for failing to do so. Teen drivers who are still on the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program may have their licenses suspended if they’re caught driving without a seat belt.
If you’re bitten by a dog in Texas, what legal rights and options do you have?
Texas is one of only a few states that does not have a specific statute that applies to dog bite claims. Instead, Texas uses case law written by courts to handle dog bite lawsuits.
Texas is a “one bite rule” state for dog bites. This means that, in order to hold a dog’s owner responsible for a dog bite injury, the injured person must show that the dog has displayed aggressive tendencies previously and that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s behavior. Without evidence that the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s prior aggressive or attacking behavior, the injured person can’t hold the dog’s owner liable if the dog causes injuries.
The name “one bite rule” comes from the fact that, in many dog bite cases, evidence of a prior bite is used to show the dog has aggressive tendencies. However, the evidence of the dog’s prior aggressive behavior doesn’t have to be evidence of a dog bite. Evidence that the owner knows or should know that the dog has a habit of attacking, pouncing, or acting aggressively may also be enough, even if the dog has never actually bitten anyone before.
To understand exactly how Texas’s dog bite laws apply to your own situation, it’s best to talk to an experienced Texas dog bite injury attorney. This conversation can give you a clear view of your legal rights and options and help you decide what steps to take for yourself and your family.
The Texas Supreme Court recently approved a set of standardized “do it yourself” divorce forms that certain couples may choose to use if they seek an uncontested divorce, meet income requirements, and have no children, according to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News.
The court ordered recently that a standardized divorce form should be made available for public comment. The purpose of the forms is to offer a standardized format, tailored to Texas divorce law, for couples with few assets and no children who wish to divorce as simply as possible. Currently, 48 other U.S. states offer similar forms tailored to their own laws.
The Texas Supreme Court noted a need for such forms in the state of Texas because many couples attempt the divorce process without the help of an attorney. In 2012, 58,000 people filed for divorce in Texas without a lawyer’s representation. While the court warns that this method is not a good idea in all divorce cases – those with significant assets or children especially benefit from an attorney’s help – it is a process that can be handled by some couples.
Opponents of the forms note that couples who use them may not be aware that they’re entitled to certain benefits from a divorcing spouse in some situations, like retirement benefits. And even couples who use the forms might benefit from speaking to an attorney first.
Divorce is a difficult event in the lives of any couple, but the help of an experienced Texas family law attorney can make the process easier and more effective in many ways. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney if you have any questions about your family law situation.
In 2011, the Texas legislature passed a ban on texting while driving, but Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill, considering it an overreach of state power. Now, legislators will reconsider the ban in a new bill introduced at the beginning of the most recent legislative session – a bill that is already gaining bipartisan support despite some opponents’ concerns that it infringes on the rights of Texas drivers.
Distracted driving is responsible for many of the car crash injuries handled by experienced Texas car accident attorneys every year, and texting while driving is one of the worst culprits. Texting distracts the mind while taking the eyes off the road and the hands off the wheel – a deadly combination that has resulted in thousands of lives lost nationwide in the past several years.
Texas is one of only a handful of U.S. states that has not tried to cut down on texting while driving via statute. The proposed ban that is currently before the legislature would not prevent drivers from dialing a number on a cell phone, programming or using a GPS device, or using any kind of voice-operated or hands-free communications technology.
Instead, the proposed ban only limits the option to read or compose a text or e-mail message while driving. Drivers would have to stop the vehicle before performing these tasks on their devices. Texting while driving is already prohibited for Texas drivers under age 18, but the bill currently being considered by the state legislature would expand the ban to include Texas drivers of all ages.
Distracted driving causes many of the Texas car accident cases an experienced Dallas car accident injury attorney may handle every year. Distracted drivers can easily hit other vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians who are also sharing the streets.
However, distraction doesn’t only increase the risk of injury when motorists are the ones affected. Pedestrians who are distracted may also miss key sights or sounds on city streets that may result in a serious accident.
A study by the University of Washington performed last summer examined the behavior of over 1,000 pedestrians as they crossed busy city streets. The study found that at least 30 percent of the pedestrians were visibly distracted at any given time. Listening to music was the most common distraction, but pedestrians were also often seen texting, chatting to other pedestrians, or dealing with children or pets.
Distracted pedestrians were more likely to engage in risky behaviors when crossing the road, researchers found. Three out of every four of the distracted pedestrians failed to look both ways, check the signal, or stay in the crosswalk when crossing the street – all basic safety measures that even small children can learn.
In addition, distracted pedestrians took longer to cross the street than non-distracted pedestrians. A distracted pedestrian caught in a crosswalk when the light changes is at a higher risk for an accident than one who has safely made it to the opposite side.
If walking on city or rural roads is a regular part of your routine, it’s wise to consider what kinds of distractions you may face and how you’ll mitigate them. For instance, you may choose not to listen to music or to check your text messages only when you reach your destination. Both are simple ways to decrease your risk of a serious injury.
During a divorce, emotions run high. It’s tempting at times to avoid ever speaking to your former spouse again. However, if you and your spouse have children, you will probably need to communicate with one another for many years in order to ensure that your children get the love, support, attention, and care they need.
Many experienced family law attorneys recommend a written co-parenting agreement when you and your child’s other parent will share parenting even though you are no longer together. A co-parenting agreement allows you to set up an arrangement that is in the best interests of your child, providing him or her with the stability and security every child needs to thrive.
Because every Texas family is different, every co-parenting agreement is different. Most co-parenting agreements, however, cover these basic topics:
- What schedule the parents will keep so that each can spend time with the child.
- Where and with whom the child will spend holidays and school vacations.
- How the parents will make important decisions that relate to the child, such as where the child will go to school, what religious training the child will receive, and who will make any necessary medical decisions for the child.
- How the parents will handle financial support of the child.
- How the parents will try to solve disputes and/or change the agreement without having to go to court.
It’s important to seek help from a Texas family law attorney if you have any difficulties or questions putting together your parenting plan. That way, you’ll have the support you need to create the best possible plan for your child.
Experienced Texas family law attorneys often find themselves explaining the purposes of the State Attorney General’s Child Support Program or even working with officials in the program itself. The purpose of the Child Support Program is to help locate absent parents, establish paternity, enforce child support orders, and ensure that parents who are responsible for children receive the child support payments the court has ordered.
During a Texas divorce, a couple with minor children may find that it is in the children’s best interests to live primarily with one parent, while the other parent pays child support. The purpose of child support is to help meet the child’s needs by helping to cover the costs of shelter, food, education, and medical care.
Although child support is often fixed by court order, some parents with custody of children need assistance in ensuring the other parent pays in full and on time. The Child Support Program focuses on meeting this need. It does not represent either parent directly, but instead focuses on enforcing child support obligations for the benefit of the child.
Because U.S. law requires states to cooperate with each other on child support matters, the Child Support Program may be able to help enforce a child support order even if the paying parent lives in another state. Depending on the individual situation, the Child Support Program may use several different methods to ensure child support is paid, including wage garnishment, suspending professional licenses, or other means.
The Child Support Program is only one method a parent may use to address support and custody issues. Parents who want to create or modify a child support order should discuss their situation with a Dallas family law lawyer who can help them protect their children’s best interests as well as their own.