Multitasking and Driving—A Dangerous Combination

Accident Rates Go Up as Drivers Lose Focus on the Road

Distracted DrivingIt seems like we all do it at some time—in our hustle and bustle to get more and more done in the few waking hours we have, we engage in multitasking, asking our brains to carry on a number of different functions simultaneously. More and more research, however, points to a single conclusion—our brains are not designed to multitask and trying to do so is almost always counterproductive. Behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, it can be deadly.

Statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that nearly one of every 10 fatalities on American roadways (about 9%) is the result of distracted driving. The most common culprit—a handheld device. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, actions tied to a mobile device—sending a text message, surfing the internet or even just holding a cell phone up to your ear—contribute to about 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents every year.

There are, however, many other ways that you can distract yourself behind the wheel and put yourself and others at risk:

  • Eating or drinking behind the wheel—consuming food or beverages requires that you take at least one hand off the wheel, and often requires that you take your eyes off the road in front of you. Dropping food or spilling a drink can lead to a reflex reaction that puts you (and others) in harm’s way.
  • Attending to grooming—Combing your hair, putting on makeup, tying a tie or just checking your teeth—all put your focus on the rearview mirror and not on the traffic in front of you.
  • Checking your GPS—Whether it’s on your phone or a dedicated GPS, it takes your eyes off the road. Even if it’s just for a second, the consequences can be disastrous.
  • Dealing with unruly children—It may be annoying to have screaming children in the back seat, but you are safer, in most instances, to let your children be a little raucous. If it’s really affecting your driving, pull off the road.

Safely driving a motor vehicle requires that you be free of visual, manual and cognitive distractions. You don’t want to engage in any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off the task at hand.

That applies to anytime you are behind the wheel, even if you’re sitting at a red light or a stop sign. There’s a common misperception that it’s fine to check e-mails, send text messages or look up a song while you’re waiting for the light to change. The reality—it’s every bit as dangerous as multitasking while traveling 70 miles per hour. You can miss a pedestrian crossing in front of you or start moving forward simply because you detected movement, even though the light hasn’t changed.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Family Separation and Criminal Prosecution and Lack of Due Process, Oh My!

Immigration LawRecent images of children caged in holding cells without parents forced the Trump administration to re-think its “Zero Tolerance” policy and family separation policy at the border. The Zero Tolerance policy was implemented in April of 2018 and mandated that all individuals apprehended at the border, including asylum seekers, be prosecuted for the federal criminal offense of illegal entry. As families were apprehended at the border, children were stripped away from their parents. While parents were sent to federal custody to face prosecution, their children were first held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and processed for removal or “deportation” proceedings and then placed under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Under the family separation policy, there was no indication that children would be returned to parents once they served their sentence for the illegal entry. What’s interesting is that once a child is taken into ORR care, the agency must try to reunify the child with a relative or family friend in the United States. This relative or friend ensures ORR that he or she will take the child to all of the removal hearings in immigration court and will care for the child. If the child cannot be reunified, then the child remains in ORR care. The Zero Tolerance and family separation policy created a strange system in which the government took a child away from his parents and then tried to “reunify” the child with someone else.

President Trump, in his June 20, 2018, Executive Order (EO), decided to quit separating children from parents, but there was no guidance as to how to reunify families who were previously separated. Now, if a family is apprehended at the border, the family is detained in a family detention center. This was the prior practice under the Obama administration, which caused a huge expansion in family detention centers in Texas. However, the whole family usually is not kept intact. In practice, what we saw during the Obama administration was that fathers were sent to a male detention center while mothers and children were housed together in family detention. Also, children over the age of eighteen were separated from the family and placed into adult detention.

Once the family is apprehended and detained, the family may qualify for an immigration bond to be released from detention while they await their immigration court dates. The minimum bond is $1,500 and it has no upward limit. Under the Obama Administration and into the Trump Administration, we saw prohibitively high bonds set to keep families detained. The thought was that keeping families detained would have a deterrent effect on border crossings. RAICES, a local Texas non-profit, partnered with other non-profits to provide legal counsel to detained families and also helped families pay their bonds. Setting high bonds and keeping families detained was not a deterrent for border crossers, many of whom flee persecution and violence in their home countries. This caused detention centers to fill and slowly bonds crept downward. Eventually, we saw families be released under detention alternatives such as ankle monitors. Now, thanks to President Trump’s former family separation policy, this issue is in the limelight and RAICES has received millions to continue serving and helping families and children currently held in immigration detention or recently released from immigration detention.

Looking back, studies show that the Zero Tolerance policy on the border is unlikely to have a deterrent effect on unlawful border crossings. Back in 2005, Operation Streamline was launched on the Southwest border of the United States and was in effect until 2014. Much like the Zero Tolerance policy, Operation Streamline mandated, in most cases, the criminal prosecution of all unauthorized border crossers in hopes of deterring unlawful border crossings. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims the program has been effective, citing statistics that show decreases in border apprehensions under the program. Other studies find no evidence that Operation Streamline deterred unauthorized border crossings or was even taken into account by immigrants who planned to cross the border without inspection. Instead, research consistently demonstrates that the social, economic and political conditions in Mexico and Central America are the primary culprits for unlawful border crossings along our Southern border.

Operation Streamline, the current Zero Tolerance policy, and the numerous restrictions Attorney General Sessions has placed on immigration judges also opens the door for severe due process violations. These policies and restrictions limit or even eliminate prosecutorial discretion. This causes resources to be stretched to the max as dockets fill, jails fill, and immigration detention centers fill. Prosecuting all unauthorized border crossers limits the ability of federal prosecutors to focus on serious immigration offenses. In addition, the Sixth Amendment requires that all immigrants facing federal criminal charges receive counsel. The vast majority of immigrants cannot afford counsel, leaving federal public defenders with more work than they can handle. Most immigrants criminally prosecuted for illegal entry (a misdemeanor offense) or illegal reentry (a felony offense) plead guilty. Additionally, under Operation Streamline, judges were forced to hold group hearings as the only means to process the mass influx of cases.

Once an immigrant serves his or her sentence for illegal entry or illegal reentry, he or she is then transferred back to ICE custody for removal proceedings. Now, the question most often asked is “what happens to the children when mom or dad is sent off for federal prosecution?” ICE is only allowed to hold a child for twenty hours before it must transfer the child to ORR care, which leads to family separation. This is why there is a push to reform the law to allow ICE to hold children longer so their parents can face prosecution. The idea is, once prosecution is over and they serve their sentence, the parent will be reunified with the child and housed in detention while the family faces removal proceedings. The problem there is that history and lawsuits show that ICE is underequipped to humanely handle adult detainees, much less child detainees.

Even if a family is not separated and is detained together and then bonds out of detention, the family must now apply for a defense from being removed from the country. Most families apprehended at the border have no relief from removal other than asylum due to violence they faced or suffered in their home countries. Most of the time, such violence is perpetrated by criminal gangs that run rampant in Central America. With the 5th circuit refusing recognize asylum claims based on forced gang recruitment or extortion threats and with Attorney General Session’s recent decision in Matter of A-B-, stating that individuals subject to private acts of violence, including severe domestic violence, are not eligible for asylum, a family released from family detention usually faces an uphill battle to stay in the country.

Grandparents’ Rights – The Times They Are a-Changing

Personal InjuryI have written before about a common misconception about grandparents’ rights, specifically related to a grandparent’s “standing” to file suit related to the custody of or visitation with a minor grandchild. A recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court brings new focus to this issue.

About 10 years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Troxel v. Granville, a case out of the state of Washington, that grandparents had no standing to file suit in a Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship. Standing, the first hurdle you must clear when filing a lawsuit, essentially requires that you have capacity to file suit. As a general rule, it means that you are a party with an interest in the outcome. After standing is established, the court can move on to the merits of the case, rendering a decision based on the best interests of the child.

Before Troxel, many grandparents intervened in cases involving their grandchildren, often when there were concerns about parental substance abuse or other issues related to the health or safety to the child. Even after Troxel, though, I would get daily calls from grandparents who wanted primary conservatorship of their grandchildren. Because of the ruling in Troxel, I would have to tell them that, unless they had actual physical care, custody, and control of their grandchildren (to the exclusion of their children), they would likely not have standing to bring such a lawsuit.

About a week ago, the Texas Supreme Court ruled, in Strickland, 02-11-00501-CV,that a non-parent having actual care, custody or control (even if it is shared with the parent) of a minor child has standing. It is important to understand this does not mean that grandparents or other non-parent petitioners will obtain primary conservatorship. It only means that a grandparent or non-parent may now have the right to initiate or intervene in such a lawsuit.

I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that this has literally turned our world upside down. For all of you who are considering living with your parents for a few months to get on your feet, consider your choice carefully. For those of you who want to bring legal action to obtain primary conservatorship of a grandchild, you need to call a qualified family law practitioner.

While the opinion of the Texas Supreme Court opens a door, it’s important to understand that standing is still fact dependent. Additionally, just because you have standing doesn’t mean you’ll get primary conservatorship. It only means you have the right to be a party to the lawsuit. You’ll still need to demonstrate that granting you conservatorship is in the best interests of the child. For now, though, there is a path for those grandparents and other non-parents who have exercised actual care, custody, and control of a child, to protect their grandchildren.

“But No One Told Me…”

Will, Estate PlanningWouldn’t it be nice if there was a guidebook, a pamphlet, or an online video for all of life’s challenges? You can find a YouTube video for almost anything, but, in some situations, there are so many different opinions that it’s hard to know who to trust. Discussions about marriage, parenting, medicine, and the law engender endless commentary that inevitably leads to confusion.

Every day, I speak to someone who expresses surprise that they were not adequately informed about some important aspect of the law. “BUT NO ONE TOLD ME” that deed records don’t change automatically when a person dies, or that a power of attorney dies with the person who gave it, or that there’s a statute of limitations on admitting a will to probate, or that the law can be vastly different in every state, or that a seemingly simple mistake on a document could cost so much time and money. Sometimes, not knowing the law turns a 400 meter sprint into a 400 meter hurdle. At other times, it disqualifies you from running the race at all.

Ask yourself two questions related to planning for your family and your stuff:

  • Are you asking the right questions?
  • Are you asking the right people?

You may not know the right questions to ask. That’s okay—If you seek advice from knowledgeable people who have your best interests in mind, you won’t have to know all the right questions–they’ll help you ask and answer them. We help lots of folks with their legal questions and we’d like to help you with yours.

Social Security Disability Award Rate Continues to Drop

Social Security DisabilityRecent studies indicate a continuous drop in favorable decisions coming from Social Security administrative law judges. For the fiscal year 2018, of the 423,224 decisions made by administrative law judges, only 43% of the claims were awarded. More than a third— 36% of the claims— were denials, and 21% were dismissed without adjudication. These numbers represent a significant drop from previous years—, in 2013, the award rate was 48%; and just ten years ago, in 2008, 63% of all claims were approved.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney on your side when applying for Social Security disability. A government accounting office report from January of 2018 revealed that claimants with an experienced lawyer were three times more likely to obtain a favorable outcome than those without representation.

A hardworking and experienced Bailey and Galyen attorney can help you avoid costly delays, ensure all paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, gather and file all required medical records, and can even expedite your application process, if you meet certain criteria. We can also provide your doctors with forms and questionnaires specifically designed to summarize the physical and mental limitations your impairments cause and bolster your chances of a favorable outcome.

If you are hurt, injured, or otherwise impaired, and find yourself unable to work please contact us at Bailey and Galyen for a free case evaluation.

Credit Reporting and Bankruptcy

Credit Reporting and BankruptcyMany debtors considering a bankruptcy filing are worried the impact on their credit rating and about how long the bankruptcy filing will affect their credit. The Fair Credit Report Action, Section 605, prohibits credit agencies from including a bankruptcy on a person’s credit report more than 10 years after the bankruptcy was filed. If you’re concerned about the impact of a bankruptcy filing on your creditworthiness, this is good news. Remember, though, that a bankruptcy filing is a public record kept in electronic storage format, and is accessible to potential employers or lenders. You still want to disclose a bankruptcy filing, if asked.

Because Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 petitions will both affect your credit score, one is not necessarily better than the other. Potential creditors typically look at other factors as well, and a Chapter 13 reorganization may be interpreted as a good faith effort to repay your debt, even if it was the only option available. Whether you opt for liquidation under Chapter 7 or reorganization under Chapter 13, you will generally be more attractive to a potential lender when you come out of bankruptcy, as your debt load should be lower.

Determining whether a bankruptcy filing is the best option for you and your family is a difficult balancing act. You’ll have the immediate, but short term, benefit of the protection of the automatic stay, which can take a lot of pressure off you and allow you to get your affairs in order. However, there can be some long-term consequences, particularly with respect to your creditworthiness. That’s one of the reasons you want a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through your decision-making process. If you are considering bankruptcy and concerned about post discharge credit options, do not hesitate to contact the office today for your free initial consultation.

The Difference between Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in Texas

Distinguishing the Criminal Act from the Civil Wrong

Distracted DrivingIt seems like it’s almost impossible to read a newspaper or tune into the news without hearing a report of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, with the terms often used interchangeably. Although sexual harassment can include some form of sexual assault, the two acts are treated differently by the law and have distinctly different consequences. Most importantly, sexual assault is a criminal offense in Texas, whereas sexual harassment is considered a civil wrong.

Criminal vs. Civil Offenses
Before looking at the specific elements of sexual assault and sexual harassment, it’s important to understand how they are treated differently under the laws of Texas. Here are the fundamental differences between criminal acts and civil wrongs:

  • The parties involved—Criminal actions are always prosecuted by the state, on behalf of the people. Civil actions are between two private parties.
  • The source of the law—Criminal wrongs are always defined by statute. Most civil wrongs are established by the common law, handed down in court opinions.
  • The burden of proof—A criminal offense requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof in a civil matter is significantly lower.
  • The potential penalties—A criminal conviction can result in incarceration and/or fines. A civil wrong will never result in incarceration, but will typically involve a monetary award.

Understanding Sexual Assault in Texas
In Texas, sexual assault can take a number of different forms, but generally has two requirements: that the defendant acted knowingly and intentionally; and that the act was committed without the consent of the victim. In Texas, to constitute sexual assault, the non-consensual contact must involve some type of penetration, either of the mouth or of the victim’s private parts.

Sexual Harassment in Texas
Sexual harassment takes two distinct forms—quid pro quo sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile environment based on sex. As a general rule, sexual harassment involves the victimization of a person by someone with perceived or actual authority over the victim, such as a work supervisor or boss.

With quid pro quo (Latin for “this for that”) sexual harassment, there is customarily either a promise of benefits or the threat of sanctions in exchange for sex or sexual favors. In a work environment, a subordinate may be offered a raise, promotion, bonus, better working conditions or access to benefits in exchange for sexual favors or may be denied that same for refusing to engage in sexual acts.

With the creation of a hostile environment based on sex, the victim is exposed to repeated incidents that focus on or emphasize sex. It may involve jokes, e-mails, pictures, stories or other references to sexual content and can also involve the condoning of unwanted touching, fondling or even sexual advances. A hostile environment is considered to exist if the environment created unreasonably affects or interferes with a person’s ability to perform her or his job.

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Are you eligible for mileage reimbursement for attending doctor’s appointments?

Doctor Appointments MileageGoing back and forth to your doctors visit can take time and money for fuel. Especially when you have therapy that meets 3, 4 sometimes 5 times a week! Workers’ Comp. will reimburse you for mileage in some cases, for doctors visits that are further than 30 miles one way.

Having said that, there is a catch. If the Insurance carrier can locate a facility that could’ve provided you the same treatment within that 30 miles they do not have to pay you for the mileage. What this means is, people that live in rural areas would have a better chance of claiming mileage because there’s not many doctors available to you so you have to drive pretty far in order to get to a doctor. If you live in big cities like Dallas or Fort Worth it’s a little bit more difficult since most certainly there are doctors within 30 miles of your residence that “could have” provided you medical treatment. I say “could have,” since “would they” is not the standard.

You would need to file your request for mileage reimbursement on a DWC form 48, and you need to submit it in a way that allows for a confirmation that it was received by the adjuster. The adjuster has 45 days to pay or dispute the request. If you get neither response and it’s after 45 days then they must pay the reimbursement requested. Do know, you have one year from the date of the visit to submit mileage reimbursement requests. The current rate I believe is .54 cents per mile.

As you can see a years worth of driving to your doctor’s appointments can certainly add up! Call us today for a free initial consultation.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DANGEROUS MEDICAL DEVICES AND DRUGS

You are receiving this letter because Bailey & Galyen had or has an attorney client relationship with you or a family member. As such, we want you to know about these dangerous medical devices and drugs that have caused serious injuries and damages: Hernia Mesh Implants, Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters and Xarelto.


hernia mesh implants

HERNIA MESH IMPLANTS

Hernias occur when a hole or weak spot occurs in the muscle or connective tissue that allows an organ, intestine or fatty tissue to come through the body cavity or abdominal wall. Two of the most common hernias occur in the inner groin (“inguinal”) and in the general abdominal or ventral wall (“ventral”). Hernias must be addressed, and ultimately corrected by surgery. The surgery can be laparoscopic where several small incisions that are made allow the surgeon to repair the hernia with surgical tools, or by open repair where an incision is made to perform the repair. Hernia mesh has been used frequently in the incisional repair procedure. While surgical mesh may decrease the high hernia recurrence rate, it has many serious complications. The FDA’s own analysis of hernia mesh medical device adverse event reports and of peer-reviewed, scientific literature found that the most common adverse events following hernia repair with mesh are pain, infection, hernia recurrence, adhesion, bowel obstruction, mesh migration and mesh shrinkage (contraction).

There are two polypropylene mesh “sandwich” products, Ethicon’s Physiomesh and Atrium’s C-QUR. In 2006, Atrium began to market and sell its C-QUR product, and in 2010, Ethicon began to market and sell Physiomesh. The word “sandwich” is used here to describe the polypropylene component being laminated between two layers of poliglecaprone, a bioresorbable polymer used to form an anti-adhesion barrier between the polypropylene and the host tissue. This anti-adhesion barrier increases the risk that the graft will not incorporate into the abdominal wall, causing the graft to fold, buckle and migrate, posing a threat to adjacent organs. It is also known to incite an inflammatory response in the implant’s surrounding soft tissue. That inflammatory response can cause complications that include but are not limited to pain, graft rejection, graft migration, organ damage, adhesions, complex seroma, fistula, sinus tract formation, delayed wound closure, infection, sepsis, and death.

On May 25, 2016, Ethicon sent a worldwide letter to doctors recalling their hernia repair product Physiomesh. On August 9, 2013, the FDA announced a class 2 recall of the C-QUR mesh.


Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters

INFERIOR VENA CAVA (IVC) FILTERS

An IVC FILTER is a small medical device that is inserted into the inferior vena cava, a large blood vessel that brings blood from the lower half of the body into the heart. These filters are a temporary measure to catch blood clots and prevent them from traveling into the lungs.

In recent years, inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have been at the center of controversy and litigation. Reports of defective IVC filters, left in the body too long, have been associated with serious health consequences and even death.

Retrievable IVC filters are designed to remain in the body for a short period of time, and must be removed when the risk of PE diminishes. When not removed in a timely manner, these filters can cause serious health problems, including tilting or the filter moving out of position, migration or movement of the filter in the vena cava, perforation or piercing of the vena cava wall that the filter is attached to that can cause internal bleeding, and fracture or breaking of the legs of the filter allowing the legs to move through the body and affect vital organs and the spine.

These life-threatening complications are usually the result of a defective medical device. Though there are several manufacturers of IVC filters, there are two that have been the center of litigation: Cook Medical and C.R. Bard. Five filters, in particular, have been associated with an increased risk of injury:

  • Cook Celect
  • Cook Gunther Tulip
  • Bard G2 Express
  • Bard G2
  • Bard Recovery

Xarelto (Rivaroxaban)

XARELTO (RIVAROXABAN)

Xarelto is a newer anti-coagulating agent (blood thinner), preventing blood from clotting. Originally researched, developed, and clinically tested by Bayer AG in 2010. Through a joint-venture agreement, Janssen R&D, LLC acquired rights to co-develop Xarelto in the U.S. Janssen also filed and supported NDA process for FDA approval. Janssen holds U.S. marketing rights for Xarelto, and Bayer AG co-promotes Xarelto to US hospitals through its well-established sales force.

Xarelto received its first approval as a prophylaxis in preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgeries on July 1, 2011. A short 4 months later, on November 2, 2011, Xarelto was approved for treatment of DVT and PE, and the reduction in risk for DVT and PE. This approval opened the door to Xarelto’s enormous financial potential for Janssen and Bayer. Since November 4, 2011, Xarelto has been approved for treatment to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular Atrial Fibrillation (or Afib).

Xarelto is prescribed to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in individuals with atrial fibrillation, to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms, and to reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the lungs and legs of individuals following knee or hip replacement surgery. Its advantage over the class of anticoagulant drugs is that it does not require regular blood monitoring, no frequent dosage adjustments, and no known dietary restrictions. However, Xarelto can pose serious and life-threatening uncontrolled bleeding.

Xarelto has been linked to:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Excessive nose bleeds
  • Unexplained bruising
  • GI discomfort
  • Blood in stool and/or urine

Manufacturer Janssen failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks of taking Xarelto. It failed to advise the medical community and its patients that there is no antidote, meaning that once a bleed develops, doctors may have no way to stop the bleed.

If you, a friend or family member had one of these medical devices implanted in them or suffered a serious injury from the dangerous drug, Xarelto, call Bailey & Galyen at 281.549.9555 to discuss your potential product liability claim against the medical device and drug manufacturer. The doctor who implanted the medical device or prescribed the drug is rarely sued in these cases, as these are product defect cases against the manufacturer of the defective and dangerous products.

Sincerely,
Phillip Galyen

Principal Office Bedford, TX

JAMES M. BRIDGE JOINS BAILEY & GALYEN AS CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – APRIL 27, 2018 – The law firm of Bailey & Galyen is pleased to announce that James M. Bridge has rejoined the firm as Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Bridge was previously with Bailey & Galyen from 1998 to 2002, and considers his return a welcome homecoming. He comes to Bailey & Galyen from the firm of Loncar Associates, where he managed various offices, most recently in Tarrant County. James brings a wealth of experience in injury cases, both big and small, as well as unprecedented skill in law office management.

Mr. Bridge is excited to contribute his talents to Bailey & Galyen. He intends to concentrate his efforts on improving efficiencies and exploring opportunities for the firm to grow. He also plans to increase the involvement of the firm and its attorneys in local community activities and other marketing endeavors. Long a rising star in the Texas legal community, Mr. Bridge’s experience and proven track record are a perfect fit for the responsibilities and demands required of the Chief Operating Officer at Bailey & Galyen.

Mr. Bridge is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, and has been practicing personal injury law for two decades. During that time, he has settled cases totaling in excess of $50 million in net fees settled. He is also a certified mediator. He and his wife, Lori, have lived in Fort Worth since 1990.

ABOUT BAILEY & GALYEN
With more than 40 attorneys, Bailey & Galyen is one of the largest consumer law practices in Texas. The firm has neighborhood offices throughout Texas, including Bedford, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Weatherford, and Houston, as well as an office in San Francisco, California. The firm’s areas of practice include criminal defense, family law, immigration, and personal injury. Further information about Bailey & Galyen can be found at thetexasattorney.com.

Contact:
James Bridge
jbridge@galyen.com

As published on: www.cnbc.com

You “May” Be Covered

Personal InjuryUnderstanding What Auto Insurance Actually Covers
You have an auto insurance policy to cover all your vehicles and your agent told you it was “full coverage.” That means that, in the event of an accident, everything will be covered, right? If you’ve actually been in an accident, you probably discovered fairly quickly that that’s not quite the case. So what are the different types of insurance coverage and what can you expect to be handled after an accident? Let’s take a look.

The Different Types of Coverage for Injuries to Others

With any motor vehicle insurance policy, there are a number of different components, offering coverage for different contingencies:

  • Liability coverage—This provision helps defray the costs when you are the at-fault driver in a motor vehicle accident. Payments under a liability policy will go to the victims of the crash, but won’t pay for injuries suffered by anyone in your car.
  • Bodily Injury Liability, or BIL—This type of policy pays only medical expenses for anyone who has been hurt in an accident caused by your carelessness or negligence. The BIL will come with limits—your insurer will pay a maximum to any one claimant and a maximum to all claimants. For example, a 30/100 policy will cover up to $30,000 in losses per person, with a maximum payout of $100,000.
  • Property damage provisions-This clause in an insurance contract provides for payment to cover any property loss by another party in an accident that’s your fault.

The Different Types of Auto Insurance Policies to Cover Your Losses

You can purchase insurance to cover the possibility of incurring physical injury or property damage in a motor vehicle accident:

  • A Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, policy will compensate you and any passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses and lost wages after a car crash
  • A collision policy covers the costs of any repairs to your vehicle that need to be made because of an accident
  • An uninsured/underinsured motorists provision provides you with some monetary benefits if the at-fault driver (of another vehicle) is without insurance or has inadequate policy limits
  • A comprehensive policy addresses the contingency that your vehicle is damaged or stolen other than in a motor vehicle accident

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Memorial Day

Estate PlanningMemorial Day means different things to different people. Some think of it as the beginning of summer, others as just a three day weekend. Some focus on the memory of those who died in military service and others expand it to First Responders and loved ones who have passed away. A day that started out with the decoration of soldiers’ graves after the Civil War has diminished or expanded over the years, depending on your perspective. Remembering is a powerful experience and important to the decisions we make in real time.

Almost every day I speak with someone who is trying to remember. They share what they remember with me or just as often, what they remember being told. Some struggle with their memory or try to cover up their loss of memory because they are embarrassed. Often siblings or cousins remember things differently when a key loved one has died. If the first casualty of war is the truth, the first casualty of death is communication among the survivors. Memorials can communicate powerfully, but just as often produce controversy as those in the future try to interpret their full meaning.

Would you like to be remembered well? Put what you want in writing with the help of a professional experienced in that practice. Prepare for disability and death with documents engineered for that purpose. Don’t leave a legacy of miscommunication and hurt feelings. Make your wishes known. While you’re at it, consider blessing a nonprofit, religious, charitable, or educational effort in your current giving and in your estate plan. Here’s to remembering rightly and being rightly remembered because we walk in gratitude and we prepare for the future.

The Family Code and New Changes Going into Effect

Personal InjuryRecently my wife had to have done dental work done. IT WAS EXPENSIVE! No… seriously… expensive. Fortunately, we have dental insurance. Otherwise, that $3,000 we paid out of pocket may well have been twice as much.

That got me to thinking about the Family Code and the changes that will go into effect in just a few months. Up until now, the Texas Family Code § 154.008 has only required medical insurance and that the parties split the costs of unreimbursed medical expenses. You can’t imagine how many hearings I have had to participate in where the parents argue about whether braces or glasses were medical expenses and had to be reimbursed. Seriously, coming from parents who claimed to be putting their children first, it was depressing.

Starting September 1, 2018 Texas Family Code §§ 154.008, 154.182, 154.183, 154.188, & 154.189 have been modified, and §§ 154.1815, 154.182, 154. 1825 have been enacted to now include medical, dental/orthodontic insurance and expenses to be split between the parents. Additionally, if the case is a Title IV-D case, the Title IV-D agency can administratively adjust the Medical Support Order (154.1827). For those of you whose cases are not Title IV-D, you will need to hire an attorney to modify the child support and medical support provisions of your order. I’m sure prices vary between attorneys, but all it takes is one bill like the one I got this month to easily cover the cost of hiring an attorney to get this language updated for you.

If your child support order or divorce doesn’t already include language requiring the obligor to provide medical AND dental Insurance and to reimburse for those items that are not covered by insurance, give one of the family law attorneys at Bailey & Galyen a call so that we can file a modification on your behalf. It only takes one of these expenses to make it worth it.

The Naturalization Exam

Immigration LawLegal permanent residents in the United States are given the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. This process is labeled as “naturalization.” In order to start the naturalization process, legal permanent residents must apply by sending in the pertinent forms and supporting evidence. Also, applicants are interviewed by USCIS officers, where they will be tested on the four (4) areas listed below:

  • Civics Test
  • Applicants will be asked up to ten (10) questions by the interviewer, out of a list of 100 civics questions. Applicants must answer correctly at minimum six (6) of the 10 questions to pass this portion.

  • English Speaking Test
  • The USCIS Officer determines the applicant’s ability to speak English throughout the duration of the interview.

  • English Reading Test
  • USCIS requires that applicants be able to read in English. Applicants are required to read aloud to the officer one of three sentences correctly.

  • English Writing Test
  • Applicants are required to write one out of three sentences, read by the officer, to prove that they are able to write in the English language.

Naturalization applicants are also asked questions about their application and their background at the interview. If the applicant fails the first exam, they need not worry! Applicants are given another opportunity at the test between 60 and 90 days after the initial interview. Also, there are a couple of exemptions for the English language portions of the naturalization exam:

  • “50/20”
  • If the applicant is over the age of 50 and has lived 20 years in the United States as a legal permanent resident, he/she is exempted from the English language portion.

  • “55/15”
  • Also, if the applicant is over the age of 55 and has lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident for 15 years, he/she is exempted from the English language portion.

Please note that applicants are still required to take the civics portion of the exam. However, those who qualify for the exemption are allowed to have a translator present during the interview and are permitted to take the civics portion in the native language. For those who are over the age of 65 and have been permanent residents for at least 20 years, they are given special consideration for the civics exam.

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