March 2010 Update to Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Paper
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Uninsured Motorists on Wednesday, March 31, 2010
DEADLY CRASH ON I-20 KILLS TWO MEN
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents: Fatality Collisions on Wednesday, March 31, 2010
According to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office, James Funaro, (48) and Derrick Ellis (44) were killed early this morning when their car crashed on Interstate 20 just east of I-35E near near Houston School Road near the city limits of Lancaster. According to police, the crash occurred around 1:40 a.m. Police have said the cause of the crash is under investigation and have not indicated what caused the vehicle they were occupying to lose control, left the road and hit several trees, said Kim Leach, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
Thomas A Herald
Montes Herald Law Group, LLP
1121 Kinwest Parkwest, Suite 100
STATE FARM SUES TEXAS AFTER DISCLOSURE THAT STATE FARM HAS FILED A 2ND REQUEST TO RAISE INSURANCE RATES BY 13%
By Rachel E. Montes posted in In The News on Tuesday, March 30, 2010
State Farm Insurance Company has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Insurance after the Texas Department of Insurance posted two rate hike proposals requested by State Farm over the past eight months. State Farm is seeking to obtain approval to raise its insurance rates its charges by an average increase of 13% on homeowner premiums .
According to a story in the Dallas Morning News, Texas Department of Insurance spokesman Jerry Hagins advised that the Department’s position is that all documents associated with a rate filing are public information, and that the decision to post was partly the result of increases filed so close together.
Thomas A. Herald
Montes Herald Law Group, LLP
1121 Kinwest Parkway, Suite 100
Irving, Texas 75063
19 YEAR OLD DRIVER THAT PLOWED THROUGH FRISCO STARBUCKS ARRESTED FOR BEING INTOXICATED
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents: Drunk Driving on Monday, March 29, 2010
Calvin McGowan, (19), of McKinney, faces driving while intoxicated and hit-and-run charges after plowing a truck through a Starbucks located in the 3500 block of Preston Road, Frisco, Texas. In addition, Richard Evans, (38), a passenger in the truck Calvin McGowan is accused of driving, also faces a public intoxication charge. A Frisco, The Dodge truck had plowed through the front of the coffee shop and ended up almost 20 feet inside the store.
After driving through the Starbuck’s restaurant, the driver failed to stop at the scene and was observed by a police officer on Friday zooming by, dragging a chair and a table and showering sparks all over the road. Fortunately, no one was on the patio or inside the store at the time of the incident and therefore no patrons or employees were physically injured.
McGowan attempted to claim that the officers used excessive force on him. However, Sgt Adam Henderson of the Frisco Police had a different version of the events. Sgt. Henderson reported that the video from the patrol unit shows McGowan lifting his head and hitting it on the ground claiming the officers hit his head, but that the video shows the officer was more than four feet away from McGowan at the time.
In addition to the charges against McGowan and Evans, The Frisco police are also investigating the possibility that McGowan, a minor, was served alcohol at a nearby restaurant. That case will be handled by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). It is a crime for a restaurant to serve a minor alcohol, and in Texas, anyone under the age of 21 is considered a “minor” for purposes of determining whether the person is of legal drinking age. Both the restaurant and the server who serve alcoholic beverages to a minor can be held both criminally and civilly responsible for the incident.
Because McGowan was not of legal drinking age, he can be charged with driving under the influence if he has any detectable amount of alcohol in his blood system because he should have never been served any alcohol at the restaurant. §106.041 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Further, the restaurant and the server also have a legal responsibility to not serve its patrons, even adults, to the point that they become obviously intoxicated because at that point people are considered to have lost control of their physical and mental faculties and become a danger to themselves and to others. §2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and§49.02 of the Texas Penal Code. The most pressing concern at this point for any restaurant is that an intoxicated patron will get behind the wheel of an automobile and drive while intoxicated and either kill or seriously injure themselves or someone else or cause damage to the property of others. This concern needs to be paramount in the mind of the restaurant as well as all of the servers, bartenders and managers. After all, Texas has led the nation over the past few years not only in the number of alcohol related wrecks, but also in the number of deaths and injuries in alcohol-related accidents. See our previous posts in our blog concering Drunk Driving. Visit www.MontesHeraldblog.com
When the TABC investigates a case such as this, it has the power to present evidence at a hearing to determine whether the restaurant should lose its liquor license. As part of those investigations and hearings, the TABC is not limited to focusing on whether a server provided or sold alcohol to a minor, it can also look into whether Mr. Evans was over-served alcohol at the restaurant. In addition, TABC can investigate whether Mr. Evans purchased alcohol for a minor as only certain family members or guardians can purchase or furnish alcohol to a minor. §106.06 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
We hope that you and your friends and family are never forced to deal with the senseless tragedy that a drunk driver can bring. Before you find yourself in that situation, we encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against drunk driving. We encourage people to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and its efforts to stop and to discourage drunk driving. If you have never been involved with MADD, one easy way to get familiar with MADD is to consider participating in the WALK LIKE MADD event being held in Dallas and in Austin on April 24, 2010 or visit their website for other ways to get involved with MADD. We will be at the event, and hope to see you there.
In addition to encouraging people to get involved with organizations such as MADD, we are also attempting to gather a grass roots support for our efforts to get new laws written to further reduce the problem of drunk driving in Texas. We are trying to get support for new laws that will make it easier for bars, restaurants and servers who are trying to be responsible and trying to follow the law to identify people who should not be served alcoholic beverages. Specifically, we want to target people who have been convicted of alcohol or drug related crimes and who are on probation for those offenses because judges in those cases typically issue an order which makes it illegal for those people to purchase or to consume alcoholic beverages while they are on probation. By forcing people who have been convicted of drug or alcohol related offenses to get a new driver’s license or a new identification card that clearly displays information which makes it obvious that it is illegal for that person to purchase or to consume alcoholic beverages, hopefully we can reduce the number of repeat offenders and drunk driving wrecks.
Please visit our FACEBOOK page (search for Montes Herald Law Group) and view our DISCUSSION on DRUNK DRIVING PROPOSAL FOR NEW LEGISLATION for more information on our proposal. If you support this proposal, we need your help. We are trying to get a meeting with legislators next year and to show them that there is already support for this proposal. If you want to show your support for this proposal, the only way we currently have to document that support is for you to leave a comment (even something as short as, “I support this proposal.”) or even a more personal story of why you feel this proposal would help or how you believe it could have helped you.
We understand that there will always be some bars, some restaurants and servers that will openly disregard the law, and that will continue engage in dangerous, illegal behavior such as serving alcoholic beverages to minors knowing the person is underage or by failing to card such minors, or by serving people even far beyond the point that the patron is obviously intoxicated either because they do not care about the law or because they put profits above their legal obligations. However, we believe that there are plenty of restaurants, bars and servers that would comply with this law and make it more difficult for those who have already shown themselves to have a problem with alcohol and drugs to purchase alcohol and to drive drunk.
Rachel E. Montes
Thomas A. Herald
Montes Herald Law Group, LLP
1121 Kinwest Parkway, Suite 100
Irving, Texas 75063
(214) 522-9401 Telephone
Jury Awards $22 Million in Damages to Family of Student Killed By a Driver Who Was Texting While Driving
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents: Drivers Distracted by Text Messaging and Using Cell Phones While Driving on Sunday, March 21, 2010
Megan Small (21) was killed in an automobile collision when the vehicle she driving was struck by another driver that was distracted because he was texting while driving. In addition, Laura Gleffe, another driver involved in the collision was also injured. Megan Small was killed while driving from her home in Houston back Baylor University. The wreck occurred on Highway 6 near Calvert, Texas when. Reed Vestal crossed the center line and hit Small head-on. Gleffe, Small’s lifelong best friend, was following behind her and was run off the road, causing her car to roll. Vestal initially denied having a phone when the wreck occurred, but phone records indicated that he had sent and received 15 text messages and made seven phone calls in the 45 minutes before the wreck, Craft said. In addition, evidence was presented at trial that Vestal has received multiple speeding tickets since receiving his license. “I think the jury understands it is a growing problem [eventhough] Vestal tried to say he didn’t know any better, and he didn’t know it was dangerous.”
Hunter Craft, a lawyer for Small’s family, said “This case isn’t about money,” Craft said of the Nov. 25, 2007 wreck. “This case is about sending a message to everybody and protecting people in the future, and in order for them to be able to accomplish that, we told them they were going to have to make a significant award.” Craft said the Small family’s intention was always to send a message about the dangers of texting while driving, not to collect damages.
A Texas A&M University student has been ordered to pay $22 million in damages after a Robertson County jury found that his texting while driving caused a car accident that killed a Baylor University senior biochemistry major.
Lawyers said the damages awarded to the family of Megan Small, who was 21 when she died, and Laura Gleffe, the driver of another car that was run off the road in the accident, may be the most a jury has handed out in Robertson County.
Approximately one in five drivers admit to texting while driving at least once in the last 30 days. The popularity of texting is unquestionable. About two-thirds of Texas teenagers surveyed said they have talked on a cell phone while driving in the past six months, according to the Transportation Institute. More than half said they had read or sent text messages while driving. A 2007 study said cell phone use was among the primary causes of fatal car crashes among teens. According to CTIA, the number of monthly texting messages reached 110 billion at the end of 2008, a more than 11-fold increase in three years. AAA is asking drivers to go to its website at www.aaafoundation.org/multimedia/headsup.cfm to learn more about its efforts to stop driving while texting.
The Montes Herald Law Group, L.L.P. is a law firm with offices in Irving and Dallas Texas. We are experienced and qualified attorneys who dedicate our practice to the representation of personal injury victims, including victims of car accidents and other cases where people are severely injured through the negligence and reckless conduct of others all across the state of Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Please visit our website at www.MontesHerald.com for more information concerning our law firm and lawyer Rachel Montes and Tom Herald. If you desire a free consultation on a personal injury matter, please call us at (214) 522-9401 or email us at Rachel@MontesHerald.com or Thomas@MontesHerald.com for a free case evaluation.
Plane Crashes Into Lake Lewisville Killing Passenger
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Airplane Crashes on Thursday, March 18, 2010
As a small float plane crashed into Lake Lewisville while landing on the water. The plane, a single-engine plane, a 1983 Maule, is known as a float plane and was capable of landing on water. However, when the plane hit the water, it flipped upside down, killing a female passenger and seriously injuring the pilot. Witnesses said the plane had no obvious problems while they watched it fly around the lake before it crashed.
Crash investigators are looking into to pilot error as a possible cause. The question is whether the pilot mistakenly lowered the landing gear during a water landing. The wheels should never be down for a water landing, experts said, but the wheels on this plane were clearly lowered.
According to Air Crash Record Office (ACRO),
- In 2008, there were 876 reported deaths due to airplane accidents and 147 separate airplane crashes.
- The worst year for airplane crash deaths was 1972, when 3,214 people died in plane crashes.
- The safest year for plane accidents was 2007, when 766 people died in plane accidents.
- Smaller aircraft – planes that carry a handful of people – crash much more often and often lead to serious injury and death.
- Single engine planes, cargo planes, and propeller planes are involved in accidents each day.
- Half of all plane accidents are caused by pilot error. Pilot error can either be based on a pilot making a mechanical mistake while flying or on a pilot making a poor decision based on weather conditions.
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of an airplane, helicopter or other aircraft incident, contact Rachel Montes or Tom Herald at Montes Herald Law Group, LLP (214) 522-9401 or visit our website at www.MontesHerald.com to learn more about our firm and our attorneys. Our law firm is located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas just 5 miles from DFW Airport and only 15 miles from Dallas Love Field. Contact one of our attorneys for a free, no obligation case consultation.