Automobile Insurance Made Easy

The Texas Department of Insurance has a great page entitled Automobile Insurance Made Easy where they describe the 8 automobile insurance basic coverages.   It is important to understand these coverages after an accident;

1.  Liability  (Basic liability coverage meets the state’s financial responsibility requirement.)

2.  Collision (damage to your car)

3.  Comprehensive (physical damage other than collision)

4.  Medical Payments

5.  Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

An insurance company must offer you $2,500 in PIP, but you can buy more. If you don’t want PIP, you must reject it in writing.

6.  Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM UIM)

There are two types of UM UIM coverage:

  • Bodily injury UM/UIM pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability. There is not a deductible with this type.
  • Property damage UM/UIM pays for auto repairs, a rental car, and damage to items in your car.

Insurance companies must offer UM/UIM coverage. If you don’t want it, you must reject it in writing.

7. Towing and Labor

8.  Rental Reimbursement

It may be even more important to understand what the coverages you are receiving when purchasing your automobile insurance.  You do not want to learn after an accident that you would be able to recover you losses if you would have purchased one of the above coverages.  We recommend purchasing coverage beyond the state mandated Liability coverage.  Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverages are both important coverages to have to help protect yourself and your family.  Again, you must reject both of these coverages in writing.  Please have your insurance agent explain all of the coverages in detail, but understand the benefits of Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverage before rejecting them.  If you are involved in a car accident, there is a good chance that you will wish you had not rejected these coverages.

Please also refer to our personal injury blog and our posts, East Texas Auto Accident Lawyer, Truck Accident LawyerMotorcycle Accident LawyerDocumenting Personal Injury Damages and Motor Vehicle Crash, Now What?

I you have been involved in a car accident and need a Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Wage and Hour Law

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act are overseen by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor.  WHD also administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to Federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The federal law commonly known for minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor, recordkeeping, and special minimum wage standards applicable to most private and public employees is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FLSA provides the U.S. Department of Labor with civil and criminal remedies, and also includes provisions for individual employees to file private lawsuits. The 1989 Amendments to FLSA added a provision for civil money penalties (CMP) for repeated or willful minimum wage or overtime violations.

The FLSA does require that employers keep accurate records of hours worked and wages paid to employees.  Fact Sheet #21: Recordkeeping Requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a summary of the FLSA’s record keeping regulations..

For employees who work on contracts with the Federal government,  The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts cover workers on Federal construction contracts, and on construction contracts with State and local governments that are Federally financed or assisted, in whole or in part. Workers on Federal service contracts are covered by McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) , and workers on Federal supply contracts are covered by Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA).

FLSA provides the agency with civil and criminal remedies, and also includes provisions for individual employees to file private lawsuits. The 1989 Amendments to FLSA added a provision for civil money penalties (CMP) for repeated or willful minimum wage or overtime violations.

If receive you notice that you are being investigated by the Department of Labor concerning these matters, we recommend you contact a Labor and Employment lawyer.

You may also find useful information on these posts; Overtime Regulations, Employment Discrimination, Sexual Abuse, Texas Employment and Non Compete Agreements, and EEOC Charge of Discrimination, Defending and Resolving.

Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer

East Texas Attorney, Michelle Jones is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has over 27 years experience helping employers.  If you are an employer in need of a Labor and Employment Lawyer, please do not hesitate to call Michelle at 903-236-4990 or toll-free at 888-236-4878.

EEOC Charge of Discrimination, Defending and Resolving

U.S. EEOCCharge of Discrimination

If you have received a charge of discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website describes  The Charge Handling Process.  You may be asked to provide information.  The EEOC may send you a Request for Information (RFI), request an on-site visitand/ or request witness interviews of your employees.  You may also have the opportunity to submit a Statement of Position.

After completing the investigation, the investigator will

  • Issue a Dismissal and Notice of Rights that tells the charging party s/he has the right to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days from the date of receipt of the letter; or
  • Issue a Letter of Determination stating that there is reason to believe that discrimination occurred and inviting the parties to join the agency in seeking to resolve the charge, through an informal process known as conciliation; and
  • If the Charge is not resolved the EEOC has the authority to file a lawsuit in federal court to enforce violations of its statutes.  The  EEOC may  decide not to litigate and send the charging party  a Notice of Right to Sue allowing the charging party to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days.

It is our recommendation that you retain a lawyer to represent and guide you through the process as soon as you receive the Charge of Discrimination.  If you deal with the Charge seriously and correctly in the beginning, you may be able to get it dismissed or resolved to your satisfaction.  You  should not  ignore  or fail to respond to the EEOC.  Even if it is not dismissed, there may be a way to resolve the Charge without a lawsuit.  Three methods of resolution include mediation, settlement and conciliation.  These methods are described on the EEOC website Resolving a Charge.

An experienced Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer such as Michelle Jones may be able to help you through the process.

Board Certified Labor and Employment Lawyer

East Texas Attorney, Michelle Jones is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has over 23 years experience helping employers.  If you are an employer in need of a Labor and Employment Lawyer, please do not hesitate to call Michelle at 903-236-4990 or toll-free at 888-236-4878.

Crashworthiness – Protect Yourself

Crashworthiness – the degree to which a vehicle will protect its occupants from the effects of an accident. The easiest way to understand “crashworthiness’ is to imagine that you are in the grocery store buying eggs. They are stacked in a basket and you need carry them to the register and then take them home without breaking them. How are you going to do it? You need to put them in a container that will protect them. Thankfully, Joseph Coyle of British, Columbia invented the egg carton. The carton keeps the eggs enclosed, keeps the eggs from contacting each other and absorbs energy and shocks, and doesn’t collapse when stacked. The more crashworthy the carton, the safer the eggs. Thank you Mr. Coyle.

The same principles apply to protecting us. If the automotive and child restraint manufacturers apply these principles in their designs, it can help prevent catastrophic injuries and deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a website dedicated to Vehicle Safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is also “dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from crashes on the nation’s highways” and also publishes vehicle safety information. Another NHTSA website to research is safercar.gov.

What can we do with this information? Since crashworthiness is about preventing injuries and deaths, the time to learn about it is before you or you family members are in a crash. Research the vehicles you drive. Research before you buy new vehicles. Research child restraints before you buy them for your children. Understand how to use them. Always take them time to make sure you and your passengers are buckled, and bucked properly. Even the best seat belts and child restraints can not protect you if you do not use them.

Finally, if you or you loved ones have been seriously injured in a crash and the vehicle failed to protect you please see our post Defective Products. We have handled a number of vehicle crashworthiness lawsuits against the automotive manufacturers, and have hopefully helped make vehicles safer. If you need an experienced Texas attorney, please do not hesitate to give East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was the inspiration for the design of our new offices.    If you have ever built a home or office, you know that one of the most difficult steps is tho decide upon an initial design. We love history and have a great deal of admiration for Thomas Jefferson. Upon having the idea of building an office to reflect Thomas Jefferson, it became and easy choice.

Most everyone knows Jefferson as principal author of the Declaration of Independence and former President of the United States.   Jefferson was a lawyer, spoke five languages and was deeply interested in science, religion and philosophy.  Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, convinced Congress to authorize the funding and building of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase.

Jefferson designed Monticello himself.  Among his other designs are Poplar Forest, his retreat, the Virginia State Capitol and the University of Virgina. Since there were no architecture schools in colonial Virginia,  Jefferson learned architecture from books. His “bible” was Andrea Palladio’s The Four Books of Architecture, which taught him the rules of classical design

For more information concerning Thomas Jefferson and his beautiful home, we recommend visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  If you are designing a new home or office, you may want to look to the past for inspiration.  We are happy we did.

We would also be wise to remember the words of those that founded our country. Great Jefferson Quotes:

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”

“A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.”

Car Accident, Now What?

You have been involved in a car accident.  Now what?

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH from Chapter 11 of the Texas Driver’s Handbook provides:

1. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash (or as close as possible to the scene of the crash) without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If your vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the crash, you must immediately return to the scene of the crash. You must remain at the scene of the crash until you have complied with the following:

a. Give your name and address, the registration number of the vehicle you were driving, and the name of your motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

b. Show your driver license (if requested and available) to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; and

c. Provide any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangement for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

Failure to stop and comply with the above requirements is an offense punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for up to 5 years; confinement in the county jail for up to 1 year; a fine not to exceed $5,000; or both the fine and imprisonment or confinement. (This is for the 1st offense. Second and subsequent offenses have enhanced penalties.)

2. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting ONLY in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person, you must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash or as close as possible to the scene of the crash without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If your vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the crash, you must scene of the crash (or, if the crash occurs on a main lane, ramp, or shoulder, median, or adjacent area and each vehicle involved can be normally and safely driven, each operator shall move their vehicle as soon as possible to a designated crash investigation site, if available, a location on the frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location) until you have complied with the following:

a. Give your name and address, the registration number of the vehicle you were driving, and the name of your motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

b. Show your driver license (if requested and available) to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision; and

c. Provide any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangement for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

3. If you are operating a motor vehicle that collides with and damages an unattended vehicle, you must immediately stop and;

a. Locate the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle and give that person the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle; or

b. Leave in a conspicuous place in (or securely attach in a plainly visible way to) the unattended vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the operator and the owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.

4. If you are operating a motor vehicle that is involved in a crash resulting ONLY in damage to a fixture or landscaping legally on or adjacent to a highway, you must:

a. Take reasonable steps to locate the owner (or person in charge) of the property and to notify them of the crash and of your name and address and the registration number of the vehicle you were driving;

b. If requested and available, you must show your driver license to the owner or person in charge of the property; and

c. If the crash is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and the crash resulted in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more, you must make a written report of the crash and file the report with the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash.

Failure to comply with the above requirements is an offense. If the damage to ALL vehicles is less than $200, this offense is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. If the damage to ALL vehicles is $200 or more, this offense is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for up to 180 days; or both such fine and confinement. (This is for the 1st offense. Second and subsequent offenses have enhanced penalties).

5. If you are operating a vehicle involved in a crash that results in injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven, you must immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the crash to the: local police department if the crash occurred in a municipality; local police department or the sheriff’s office if the crash occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or sheriff’s office or the nearest office of the Texas Department of Public Safety if occurs elsewhere.

6. When you give your name, address, vehicle registration number, and insurance information to anyone who was involved in the crash, if requested and available, you must also show your driver license to the other driver(s) involved in the crash. Be sure to get the same information from the other driver(s). Record the insurance company name and the policy number exactly as shown on the driver’s proof-of-insurance card. Similar company names can cause confusion. If you have the name of the driver’s company, call the Texas Department of Insurance toll-free at 1-800-252-3439 to get the company address and telephone number.

7. Remember, if you are involved in a crash and the crash is not investigated by a law enforcement officer and the crash resulted in death or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more, you must make a written report of the crash and must file the written report with the Texas Department of Transportation not later than the 10th day after the date of the crash. The written report must be on the appropriate form approved by the Department.

8. If you are involved in a hit-and-run crash, report this to a law enforcement agency for investigation. The Texas Department of Insurance advises that uninsured motorist coverage will pay for damage in hit-and-run crashes reported to a law enforcement agency.

AIDING THE INJURED

When calling a doctor or ambulance, state the place of the crash clearly and correctly.  Do not assume that people are not injured simply because they say they are not. Send for skilled help as quickly as possible. Unskilled handling can do more harm than good.

Do not move or lift the victim unless it is absolutely necessary. If victims must be moved get help and try not to change the position in which they were found.

Stop serious bleeding with thick cloth pads, as clean as possible, applied with pressure by hand or by bandaging.

Keep the victim comfortable. If it is hot, cool the victim and provide shade as much as possible. If it is cool, cover the victim with blankets or coats if necessary and if available.

After obtaining health care, you should consider hiring a lawyer.  You will also want to notify your insurance company of the accident.   You should seriously consider hiring a lawyer before giving  statements, allowing anyone to record you or signing anything.

There are also specific laws on what you must do if you are in a car accident.  Please also review  CHAPTER 550. ACCIDENTS AND ACCIDENT REPORTS of the Texas Transportation Code.

If the accident involved a 18 wheeler truck, please see our post Texas Truck Accidents.  Please also see our Negligent Driving post.

Please see our page Hiring a Lawyer for more information. We have experience with car  accidents, and if you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident and need an East Texas  attorney, please do not hesitate to give Longview Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law, a call at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

Naegleria fowleri, the Brain Eating Amoeba

Naegleria fowleri, also known as the Brain Eating Ameoba, is a microscopic ameba that infects people through the nose. The ameba lives in freshwater and soil. If Naegleria fowleri enters the nose it can make its way to the brain and cause a usually fatal infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The initial symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck. Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Infection has information on this infection and should be contacted if it is believed that someone has PAM.  The Texas Department of  State Health Services also has information.

If you or your physician are concerned that someone may have been infected by Naegleria fowleri you should contact the CDC to learn about the latest treatments.  Please see Use of the Novel Therapeutic Agent Miltefosine for the Treatment of Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis: Report of 1 Fatal and 1 Surviving Case  and CDC Offers Hope in Fighting Brain-Eating Ameba for discussions of recent treatment.

Refraining from water-related activities in or with warm, untreated, or poorly treated water will help prevent a Naegleria fowleri infection. Recently, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a warning:

[i]f you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a Neti Pot, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution,” said Louisiana State Epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard. “Tap water is safe for drinking, but not for irrigating your nose.” It’s also important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry

Animal Planet recently produced and aired a documentary concerning the Brain Eating Amoeba.

We have successfully represented the family of a child that was infected with Naegleria fowleri at a summer camp. Shortly thereafter she suffered a horrible death. Although it is claimed that the infection is rare, measures should be taken by camps, guide services, swimming pool operators and others to prevent the infection. Several people, many who are children, are known to die from this risk each year.

According to the CDC, in the 10 years from 2007 to 2016, 40 infections were reported in the U.S.

Thankfully, there have recently been a couple of survivors. Please refer to these CNN stories for details –  Rare recovery: Florida teen survives brain-eating amoeba, and  Kali Hardig, brain-eating amoeba survivor, to begin school next week.

Experienced Naegleria Fowleri Attorney

If one of your loved ones has died from a Naegleria fowleri infection, please do not hesitate to give us a call to see if we can help. We have experience with Naegleria fowleri cases. Your call may help save someone else.  Please contact East Texas Attorney, Chris JonesBoard Certified Personal Injury Trial Law  at 903-236-4990 for a free initial consultation or send us a message at Contact Us.

\\\"website