Bailey & Galyen Announcement

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Bailey & Galyen is proud and excited to announce that Dana Manry has passed the exam to become Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of Texas. The State Bar recognizes Board Certification as “a mark of excellence and a distinguishing accomplishment” that “sets [attorneys] apart as being an attorney with the highest, public commitment to excellence in their area of law.” There are about 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice in Texas, but only 825 attorneys are Board Certified in Family Law. In addition to being licensed for a minimum of five years, Board Certified attorneys must demonstrate a substantial involvement in their area of specialty; meet specified continuing legal education requirements; satisfy a peer review of competence, ethics and professionalism; and pass a difficult 6-hour written examination. They must also be re-certified every five years. Bailey & Galyen is one of the largest consumer law practices in … [Read more...]

Changes to How SSA Examines Mental Disabilities

Changes to How SSA Examines Mental Disabilities

As of January 17, 2017, SSA is updating their criteria for determining whether or not someone is disabled due to a mental or emotional impairment. The new criteria have more specific examples and are better defined, helping claimants get statements from their treating doctors in order to help their claims. The new areas are: Understanding, remembering, or applying information; Examples: Following oral instructions, identifying problems and solving them, using reason and judgment, learning new work activities. Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; Examples: working at an appropriate and consistent pace, ignoring distractions, sustaining ordinary routines and regular attendance and working a full day without extra breaks or rest periods, initiating and performing tasks you know how to do. Interacting with others; and Examples: cooperating with others, asking for help when needed, understanding and responding to social cues, handling conflicts, responding to … [Read more...]

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION INSURANCE (PIP)

PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION INSURANCE (“PIP”): USE IT OR LOSE IT Texas law affords its motorists the option of obtaining what is referred to as “Personal Injury Protection” in connection with their automobile liability coverage. Texas’ Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) statute requires that any automobile liability policy provide to a covered insured, members of the insured’s household, and any authorized operator or passenger, including a guest occupant, up to $2,500 per person for payment of certain expenses resulting from an automobile accident. Most Texas drivers have such coverage on their policies. But despite this fact, surprising numbers of these drivers do not take advantage of this coverage when they are injured. PIP coverage applies to bodily injury resulting from a “motor vehicle accident.” A “motor vehicle accident” is a situation in which (1) one or more vehicles are involved with another vehicle, an object, or a person; (2) the vehicle is being used, including exit … [Read more...]

Expunctions and Non-Disclosures in Texas

When a person is arrested, a public record is made of that arrest. If the person is later charged with an offense, that record is also public, as is the status of that case and whether it is pending, probated or dismissed. Because the legislature recognized that these records create problems for people trying to get a job, rent an apartment or do other necessary tasks, and because it recognized that the government can make mistakes just as individuals can, Texas law allows narrow ways for people to clear their records after a period of time. Expunctions are the ideal means to remove matters from the public record. All records of an expunged case are destroyed and by law the person obtaining the expunction is allowed to say that no arrest or charge ever occurred. However, expunctions are available only to those who qualify. With only a few exceptions, if a criminal charge results in conviction, there is no method to remove that charge from a person’s record unless the charge is … [Read more...]

How will bankruptcy affect my most valuable assets?

These are the most common questions I am asked during an initial client consultation: Will I lose my home if I file for bankruptcy? What about my car? My IRA, or 401K? The good news is, for most prospective bankruptcy debtors filing bankruptcy with Texas, rather than Federal, the answer is generally no, subject to certain conditions. Texas is a debtor-friendly state and, with regard to your creditors, you couldn’t have a better state to call home. In Texas, your homestead and your retirement funds are generally exempt from the reach of creditors, and you will not normally sacrifice these assets in a bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy, you are generally allowed to keep your home – if, of course, you are presently or can reasonably become current on your mortgage payments. If you have a home mortgage, you are allowed to reaffirm your mortgage obligations. Similarly, you are also allowed to reaffirm any financing obligation you have as to your vehicle. As for your retirement funds, … [Read more...]

Can I Sue My Employer For My Work Related injury?

Are there lump sum settlements under Texas Workers' Comp laws? Can I sue a subscribing employer for pain & suffering or future lost wages? The simple answer is NO. The Work Comp laws here in Texas took a drastic change in 1991. Any injuries sustained prior to that fall under the "old law." Currently (since 1991), there are no lump sum settlements, you can't sell your right to future medicals for money settlements, nor can you sue your employer for pain & suffering or future lost wages. If your employer subscribes to a Work Comp Insurance plan, they are strictly liable regardless of who's fault it is. Even if you caused the injury, or it was due to the company’s negligence…you can’t sue your employer in most cases. I say in most cases, because there are several exceptions to this, as with all things. A common example of where you could actually sue, is if there is a 3rd party involved. Meaning someone other than your employer caused your injury while you were working, as in a motor … [Read more...]

Immigration Fees on Most Forms Have Increased

Fees for immigration forms increased by an average of 21 percent on December 23, 2016. Some forms have stayed the same but most saw significant increases. The increase was necessary because Congress did not give additional funds. The increase is to cover the costs associated with the Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate, the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program (other than what user fees cover), and the Office of Citizenship. There is a new three-level fee for naturalization applications. The standard fee will increase from $595 to $640 (not including the biometrics fee). A reduced fee of $320 will be charged to naturalization applicants with family income greater than 150 percent but not more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. No fee will be charged to certain applicants with military service or with approved fee waivers. The fee for an Application for Certificate of Citizenship will increase from $600 to $1,170. The … [Read more...]

Does living together mean you’re married?

In Texas, the short answer is “maybe.”   The concept of an informal marriage, sometimes referred as Common Law marriage, does exist in Texas. According to current law, (which may undergo a major re-write in this upcoming session of the Legislature) the marriage of a “man and woman” can be proved by evidence showing certain conditions have been satisfied as follows: the man and woman agreed to be married, and after the agreement, lived together in Texas as husband and wife; and represented themselves to others that they were married. If all three elements are present at the same time, there is a presumption that the couple is married, and under Texas law, that means the rules regarding community property apply to the income and property acquired by the couple. The couple remains “common law” married until a divorce is filed and finalized. Note that the current law specifically states a common law marriage is between a “man” and “woman.” The law also makes a reference to … [Read more...]

PEACE ON EARTH?

As we find ourselves in the middle of another holiday season I have renewed my annual Christmas requests, World Peace and a red bicycle. I can’t offer you anything in this brief article that will deliver “peace on earth and good will to mankind”, but doing some planning might give you a better shot at it. Sitting down with an experienced estate planning attorney may enhance your peace of mind. The right questions and good answers from someone who is both knowledgeable and listens to your concerns can take a load off your mind and protect your family from the chaos of failure to plan. Having a simple estate plan doesn’t ward off death or disability, but it can take some of the stress out of the aftermath. About the aftermath; your planning will allocate estate assets (your stuff) according to your wishes and not according to a flow chart produced by the legislature or a power play by your relatives. Naming a trusted person to make sure your wishes are carried out avoids lots … [Read more...]

Texas Jury Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay More than $1 Billion

Pinnacle Hip Implants Found to Be Defective On December 1, 2016, a federal jury in Dallas returned a verdict against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, holding that the company's Pinnacle hip implant was negligently designed, that the company knew of risks associated with the product, and that the company failed to adequately warn consumers of those risks. The jury awarded six plaintiffs damages in excess of $1 billion—$32 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson had rejected a $1.8 million dollar settlement offer before trial. The plaintiffs, who are California residents, say they suffered serious injury after receiving the DePuy product, including bone erosion and tissue death. They allege that Johnson & Johnson and DePuy falsely advertised that the Pinnacle hip implant, with its metal-on-metal design, was more durable and had a greater life than competing products that use plastic or … [Read more...]