Help Keep The Roads Safer This New Year

Help Keep The Roads Safer This New Year

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New Year’s Eve and the early morning hours of New Year’s Day are some of the most risky times to be on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, half of all fatal New Year’s accidents involve drunk drivers and only the far busier Thanksgiving holiday sees more overall deaths each year. January 1st is also the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrians with an average of 22 people being struck and killed each year.
Help make this New Year’s holiday safer, don’t try to drive if you have been drinking. If you do plan to drink, please plan ahead and use a designated driver.


Things To Do If You Are Hit In A Cycling Accident

Things To Do If You Are Hit In A Cycling Accident

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We often think of automotive accidents as one car hitting another, but there is another kind of auto accident that never seems to get as much press: Accidents involving Cyclists. When you do come across a news report of a cyclist getting hit, the story often notes that even though the cyclist was injured or even killed, the car driver was not charged with a crime or they were only charged for a minor traffic violation. How can a crash that results in injuries to or even the death of a bike rider be so easily disregarded? Some, like avid bike rider and New York Times columnist Daniel Duane have even go so far as to ask: “Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?
Why are criminal charges rarely filed against drivers who hit bicycle riders? The two main reasons, Duane says, are a lack of available evidence following most crashes and the tendency for jurors, most of whom drive cars day in and day out, to feel sympathy for a fellow driver who, from their point of view, just made one tragic mistake.
What can you do if you or a loved one is hit in a biking accident? The standard rules of vehicle accidents still apply:

  • Contact the police to document the accident.
  • Exchange information with the driver.
  • Take pictures of any injuries or damage resulting from the accident.
  • Keep records of any doctor or hospital visits you or your loved ones require.
  • If the other party or their insurance company are not cooperating you may need to consider hiring an attorney.

Our team of tough, experienced trial lawyers at Martin Walker Law can help you sort out the difficult issues of property damage, injuries, insurance claims, medical bills, and liability. You can contact us for a free consultation by calling 903-526-1600, by using the Contact page of our website, or by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com.


The Airbag In Your Car May Not Be Safe

The Airbag In Your Car May Not Be Safe

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We rely upon advanced safety features like crumple zones, seat belts, and air bags to protect us in the event of a car crash. But what if one of those safety features was itself a serious danger? It turns out that some driver and passenger airbags used by twelve different U.S. automakers are just that. These airbags, made by Japanese parts manufacture Takata, have been linked to at least eight deaths and dozens of injuries so far.
Even when it is working properly, the deployment of an airbag is not a gentle process. During a crash, a series of chemicals beneath the dash or steering wheel of your car are electronically ignited causing a rapid release of gases that inflate the airbag in time to soften your impact. In vehicles with the affected Takata airbag systems, however, heat, moisture, or other types of damage sometimes causes those explosive chemicals to react more violently than intended. In the worst cases, metal fragments from the airbag assembly were shot towards drivers or passengers much like a bullet out of a gun. In one early airbag related death, trained investigators even initially thought they were looking at a gun related murder and not a manufacturing defect.
Takata first knew of the potential flaws in their airbags as far back as 2004 and did not report any problems or begin recalls until late in 2008. Even then, the company tried to keep car safety officials in the dark by claiming multiple times that various problems in their manufacturing processes had been identified and fixed. But serious problems apparently lingered on since Takata just announced a deal with U.S. regulators that saw the company agree to a $70 million fine. It also agreed to phase out airbag units using the ammonium nitrate propellants it has long declared were safe.
The list of cars affected by these dangerous airbags stretches as far back as the year 2000 to as recently as 2014 and spans twelve U.S. auto manufacturers. Many automakers have announced various recalls—a list can be found on National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s website.
If you think you or a loved one has been injured by one of these defective airbags, the team at Martin Walker Law can help. We have years of experience bringing automotive and product liability cases to trial for our clients in East Texas.  Get a free case evaluation by calling us at 903-526-1600, by emailing us at info@martinwalkerlaw.com, or by using our Contact page.


Mother of Drunk Driving Victim Appeals Case to United States Supreme Court

 

Mother of Drunk Driving Victim Appeals Case to United States Supreme Court

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Martha Chavis, whose 42 year old son Kevin Jones was killed by a drunk driver more than four years ago, is having trouble obtaining justice simply because she lives in the state of Texas. Driver Pedro Rodriguez hit her son's vehicle head on, killing them both, after speeding the wrong way down Interstate 20 the night of August 20th, 2011. Shockingly, the crash happened after Rodrigues had been stopped and released just minutes before by a State Trooper from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“I’m feeling bad right now. I stopped him 40 minutes ago,” the trooper was recorded saying on his patrol car’s dashcam when he learned of the accident after failing to arrest Rodriguez earlier that night. Not only did Rodriguez appear to be drunk in video of the highway stop obtained by Channel 7 KLTV, the trooper let him go even though he had been speeding in excess of 20 mph over the highway limits, without a driver’s license.
Chavis sued after her son’s death, but unfortunately the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, has yet to recognize state-created danger as a cause of action to sue a state actor. Of the eleven federal courts of appeals, only the Fifth Circuit and First Circuit, which covers Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island, have failed to adopt the theory.
Schouten, attorney with Martin Walker law, isn’t giving up, however, and has appealed the Fifth Circuit’s ruling all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Now, the Chavis family waits to see if the Supreme Court will take up their case from among the more than 8,000 cases appealed to the high court each year.
For more information on this case, watch KLTV’s 7 Investigates report.