Auto Accident

How the Time Of the Day Affects Drivers and Crashes

In the world we live in today, driving is an unavoidable necessity. The vast majority of American workers still drive themselves to work, even if the number of eligible drivers who have their license has decreased in recent years.

Many activities – whether for work or enjoyment in our personal lives – still require that we drive to them. Even those using public transportation still find themselves in a vehicle on a regular basis.

At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we know that in any given city, whether in Rio Grande City, McAllen, Brownsville, or any other area throughout the nation, the traffic conditions change continuously on any given day. But not all parts of the day are created equal when it comes to planning your route and different challenges can arise depending on the time of day we find ourselves out on the road.

It’s important to recognize that certain times of the day are just flat-out more dangerous for drivers and your faithful auto accident attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm want to make sure you are informed and aware so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

Not All Hours of the Day are a Hazard

Fortunately, there are times during the day when you can feel more at ease on the road, even if they are not the most particularly enjoyable times. The safest time actually happens to be at 8 a.m., which oddly enough, is also one of the busiest.

Even with a high number of drivers usually out in the early mornings, there are still a number of reasons why this time of the day is one of the safest for commuters. To begin with, the sun has typically already risen by this point in the morning, providing drivers with a better field of vision. Secondly, drivers usually aren’t driving as fast to get to work as they are when headed home.

Afternoon Rush Hour is Not as Forgiving

The morning traffic jam might serve to keep you safe but don’t expect the same security on your drive home from work. The afternoon block, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., is more dangerous mostly because of the rush to get home.

This eagerness can lead many drivers to take risks in order to cut the time it takes to get their after-work destination. During winter, the added factor of an early sunset and/or reduced daylight compounds the risks for everyone on the road.

Regardless of how many times you have driven home on a particular route, it is never a good idea to let your focus slip. Keep an eye out for drivers making risky lane changes and other dangerous maneuvers, and keep your eyes off your phone and other electronic devices – even the radio.

Night is the Most Dangerous

The most obvious thing that makes driving at night more dangerous than the rest of the day is the lack of lighting on the streets as we drive. Compounded with deficiencies in vision, and the fatigue that many people may experience after a long day at work, the dim conditions require that we drive with extra attention and awareness.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 37% of people interviewed admitted to falling asleep while driving. Nearly 1 out of every 7 of these drivers had it happen at least once a month. Whether the cause is because of the shift they work or sleeping difficulties, these numbers are surprisingly (and dangerously) high and not likely to change in the near future.

Of all night hours, the hours from midnight to 4 a.m. are by far the most dangerous. This is because the number of impaired drivers is most high at this time, as most establishments that offer alcoholic beverages close at 2 a.m.

Even though drunk driving has fallen by over 30% in the last ten years, the incidences of drivers under the influence of another drug have risen. In particular, there has been a spike in prevalence among drivers who had used marijuana in that same time period. Perhaps most troubling is that many states are lagging behind in passing legislative reforms to deal with this change.

Regardless of what time of the day or night you are driving, J. Gonzalez Law Firm wants you to remain diligent and safe on the road.  

Whenever we find ourselves on the road, it is our responsibility to drive safely to protect not only ourselves and the passengers we have with us, but all the other drivers who share the road with us. There is never an acceptable moment to take time off from public safety.

Even with the best information and awareness, however, people will still go out and operate a vehicle recklessly. When they injure others, the J. Gonzalez Law Firm is here to get the victims of those accidents the compensation and justice they deserve.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash, contact us today at (956) 630-6700. Our team of auto accident lawyers in Rio Grande City, McAllen, and Brownsville have the experience needed to get your life back on track after an accident.

Texting Leads to Tragedy in Texas

On March 29 2017, the lives of 13 families were changed forever.

Jack D. Young, 20, was driving a truck that collided with a van carrying a church group of senior citizens. The driver of the pickup truck was seen driving erratically before his vehicle swerved into the southbound lane and crashed into the church minibus head on, claiming the lives of 13 passengers, and severely injuring another.

Young claimed to have been texting before the tragic accident.

Trying to Prevent a Crash

A number of 911 calls were made prior to the accident reporting an “erratic driver,” officials said. Constable Nathan Johnson stated that the first call was made in Real County by another motorist who had seen the pickup driving dangerously while traveling north on Highway 83.

Several other calls were made as he traveled through the region but county officers were unable to locate the vehicle.

Another call was made to the Uvalde 911 department by Jody Kuchler, a 55-year-old self-employed welder, who followed behind the truck for at least 15 minutes and even managed to capture video of the truck swerving recklessly from lane to lane.

Kuchler, when sharing his account with the San Antonio Express New, said that the driver of the pickup truck “kept going off the road and into oncoming traffic and he just kept doing that.”

Kuchler called into the sheriff’s offices of both Uvalde and Real counties in hopes that law enforcement would be able to stop the driver before he hit somebody.

The next call to emergency officials occurred at 12:20 PM to report a crash between the minibus and the pickup.

In the Aftermath

Authorities say the bus was traveling southbound after having left Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leaky, carrying members from the First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. The wreck occurred along a patch of highway where the road curves and the speed limit is 65 MPH.

Kuchler was a witness of the accident and immediately jumped into action after seeing the deadly crash by checking on both the passengers of the bus, and Young, who was driving the truck. Kuchler told the AP that he was able to speak with Young, who said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed on April 4th that 20-year-old Young was released from University Hospital.

Authorities have stated that the crash remains “under investigation,” and National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Jennifer Morrison commented that the investigation could take up to a year to complete.

Cellphone records, airbag deployment data, and video have all been collected by federal investigators to help better understand the cause of the deadly crash.

The Need for Texting Ordinances

Although numerous cities across the state of Texas have ordinances set in place that make texting while driving illegal, the state has no major legislation to dissuade dangerous driving caused by cellphone use.

The Texas Legislature approved a statewide ban in 2011 that was unfortunately vetoed by then-Gov. Rick Perry who criticized the law as government attempting to micromanage adults.

However, renewed hope in implementing a much need statewide texting ordinance has been found in House Bill 62, which was recently passed by the Texas House, but needs to make its way through the Senate floor next.

The House approved the measure by a wide margin of 114–32 votes.

The House last week approved the measure and sent it to the Senate with a 114–32 vote.

J. Gonzalez Law Firm is here for your when tragedy strikes.

Our hearts go out to those affected by this horrific event. With the sudden loss of a loved one comes many unanswered questions. The attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm can help you get the answers you deserve.

There is nothing that can ever replace a loved one, but receiving justice can shield families from the financial struggles caused by an untimely death. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or affected by the loss of life because of the negligence of another driver, contact our offices immediately at (956) 630-6700.

  1. Gonzalez Law Firm is here for you.

The Six Most Common Car Crash Injuries

most common car crash

The Six Most Common Car Crash Injuries

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 2 million people are injured or disabled in car crashes throughout the United States annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has this number at more than 3 million, but regardless of the count, the astounding number of injuries that result from car accidents is abysmal and drivers should take every precaution into account before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle.

Numerous studies have shown that a person’s location within the car during the time of the accident has a direct effect on the type of injury sustained and its severity. Understandably, the closer someone is seated to the point of impact, the greater the likelihood of a more severe injury.

Aside from the passenger’s location within a vehicle, there are other factors that affect injury, including:

  • Whether or not seat belts were worn
  • The angle from which the car was hit (i.e. rear, side, or front)
  • The direction the occupant was facing at the time of the accident (i.e. was the person’s head or burn turned in certain direction)
  • The speed at which the crash occurred
  • Whether or not airbags deployed

As every car collision is unique in its own right, and the type of injury incurred also varies. Generally speaking, injuries typically fall into two broad categories known as impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries are the result of a person’s body hitting some interior portion of the car. Penetrating injuries are usually cuts and scrapes caused by glass or loose objects flying within the car.

While some injuries may not require any medical attention, more serious one’s can cause permanent damage and even result in some physical (or emotional) disability.

Six common car crash injuries include:

Head Injuries

Head injuries vary from simple muscle strains to severe concussions. An unexpected stop or change in direction in a vehicle usually results in the head moving suddenly and violently. If the impact was not very forceful, occupants may just experience a slight muscle strain around the neck and back, but if the head comes into contact with an object within the car, such as the steering wheel, a concussion or lacerations can occur.

Concussions occur when the brain is severely shaken within the skull. In a mild case, rest may be sufficient to allow healing, but in more serious impacts, surgery may be required to alleviate internal bleeding and pressure. If you experience symptoms like disorientation, vomiting, and severe headaches after an accident, it is vital that you seek hospitalization immediately.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries occur when the body’s connective tissue is damaged, and usually results in “whiplash”, or injury to the neck and back. When the muscle, ligaments, and tendons in your body are unnaturally stretched because of a sudden movement or stop caused by an accident, the force can result in neck pain, upper back pain, mid-back and lower-back muscle sprains, and even serious spinal injuries.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries after a car accident are common and usually occur because of the position of the steering wheel or as a result of the seat belt tightening. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person might simply experience severe bruising or abrasions caused by the high level of force against the shoulder harness or seat belt.

Severe injuries can include fractures to the rib or sternum, injuries to internal organs, internal bleeding, torn cartilage, muscles, tendons or ligaments.

While seat belts certainly save lives, they do cause accidental injuries at times. If you feel any pain in your chest area, regardless of its intensity, it is in your own best interest to seek medical attention immediately. Failing to do so can make the injury worse, and in some cases, fatal.

Scrapes and Cuts

Car collisions can cause the glass on your windows to break or send loose objects hurtling through the air. Eyeglasses and ceramic items can easily cut your skin or cause other relatively minor injuries that may not require much medical treatment. Airbags deploying can also lead to lacerations that may require stitches.

Broken Bones

Serious injuries, such as broken bones, commonly occur in high velocity car accidents or roll overs. Broken bones can be especially dangerous as they may have caused internal damage that is difficult to perceive by EMT paramedics.

Common broken bone injuries include:

  • Spinal injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Broken legs
  • Broken arms
  • Broken ribs
  • Hip fractures
  • Broken and fractured wrists

Individuals suffering from broken bones require immediate emergency care that may result in multiple surgeries, extensive rehabilitation, and which may take a very long time to heal.

Emotional Injuries

A very serious and severe accident doesn’t just cause physical damages to the victims, but emotional problems as well. Financial burdens my results from steep medical bills and rehabilitation costs, causing emotional pain and suffering, such as depression. This is especially true in car accident survivor has seen their life drastically change because of serious and chronic injury.

Injured in an auto accident? You don’t have to be alone.

At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we know how scary it can be to get into a car accident and get injured. We know how tough it can be when medical bills and car damages can put your life on hold. Let the attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm fight for your rights for compensation and the due process you deserve.

Our personal injury lawyers in McAllen, Brownsville, and Rio Grande City will be there to help you get your life back in order.

Contact us today at (956) 630-6700 to get the process started on building your case.


Working to Eliminate Distracted Driving

In today’s world, the constant stream of information and distraction available to us through our cell phones and electronic devices can make it hard to unplug. The overall effect this has on people can be debated, but the fact remains that there is one time that not being able to put down our phones is always dangerous –  when we are on the road.

Driving a vehicle, of any size, requires our complete and undivided attention, whether here in the McAllen area or anywhere across Texas.

Here at J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we understand and see firsthand the damage that distracted drivers can cause on the road. That is why it is our goal to ensure that everyone is aware of the facts about cell phone use and driving.

As lawyers in the Rio Grande Valley, we also want to see that those affected by distracted driving are taken care of, and that those who harm others answer for their negligence.

Help is on the Way

This year House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31, identical bills banning texting while driving, are again being moved through the state legislature. These bills propose that drivers caught texting can be charged with a misdemeanor. First time fines would range from $25 to $99, with repeat offenses carrying potential fines up to $200.

At the forefront of this effort are Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland. This latest push represents the fifth and fourth time, respectively, that each of them has filed legislation to enact this ban.

There have been efforts here in Texas, as far back as 2011, to pass legislation that would place a complete ban on texting while driving. According to Dallas News, that year the proposed bill was able to pass both house of the Texas congress, but ultimately met its end on the desk of former Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry addressed the legislation by stating that the bill was “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults”.

Fortunately, the sentiments of the former governor represent a growing minority. Even though Texas is one of only four states without a total ban, there are already a number of partial bans in effect.

Texting while driving in a school zone is already completely prohibited statewide. In addition, if a driver is under 18 or a bus driver is carrying minors, neither are allowed to use a cell phone under any circumstance.

Ninety-five counties have a ban of some type in place and the website Big Country states that 90 cities across the state have outlawed it entirely.

The Specifics of Being Ahead of the Curve

The best news for local drivers is that McAllen is one of those 90 cities that has already taken it upon itself to ban this dangerous driving habit. An ordinance banning texting while driving and addressing other related activities was passed back in 2011.

According to a report in The Monitor, the ordinance prohibits a driver from sending or reading a text message on their phone. Surfing the internet is also not allowed, but you can still make a phone call while driving with no penalty.

The ordinance was originally proposed by city commissioner Jim Darling, in response to the 8,000 crashes that annually occur in the city of McAllen.

All commissioners who were present at the time voted for the ordinance. Both Mayor Richard Cortez and Police Chief Victor Rodriguez supported their vote.  Rodriguez particularly liked how the new ordinance sent a clear message regarding phone use while driving, making clear what was and was not legal.

While the new ban was in line with certain other trends that were happening across the country, the McAllen measures went further in also forbidding “viewing or accessing other data that uses commonly recognized communications protocol”.

This would extend the ban to various apps whose primary function is messaging, as well as common forms of social media.

The J. Gonzalez Law Firm recognizes the measures that have already been put in place right here in the city of McAllen to protect everyone on the road from distracted drivers. We know that the majority of drivers will follow these safety guidelines.

However, our jobs as personal injury lawyers are to step in when someone becomes negligent of these rules and injures somebody else.

If you’ve been hurt by a distracted driver, contact us today at 956-630-6700. We are here to make sure that you and your family have the legal support you need to find the justice and financial compensation you deserve after you’ve been injured in a car accident.

Our lawyers have the experience you need to help you get back on your feet. We will not stop until you have the justice you deserve; let us succeed for you and your family.

The Potential Dangers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs)

As drivers, we are required to share the road with many types of vehicles that are different from the passenger vehicles that the majority of us operate. Few, if any, grab our attention like eighteen wheelers and other large commercial vehicles that drive alongside us every day.

None present as many potential dangers to drivers either.

There are two types of commercial vehicles, Class A and Class B, which are classified by weight. Any vehicles weighing over 26,001 pounds requires either a Class B or a Class A license to drive it. If it has an attached trailer that weighs over 10,000 pounds, then the driver needs a Class A license. Class B vehicles include dump trucks, garbage trucks, passenger buses, and other such vehicles.  

There are a number of reasons why driving alongside eighteen wheelers, in particular, can be so perilous:

  • According to the Truckers Report, the total weight that one of these vehicles can haul is 80,000 lbs. There are certain overweight and oversize permits that allow the gross weight to be even higher.  
  • They are, on average, over 13 feet high, 70-80 feet long, and around 20 feet wide.
  • It takes semis almost 40% longer than a passenger vehicle to come to a complete stop.
  • When bobtailing, or driving without an attached trailer, handling can be significantly different and more difficult for a driver, especially on slick roads.

For a quick comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs around 5,000 pounds. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passenger vehicles are also in danger of underriding trucks in collisions due to the higher ground clearance of semis.

Here at the J. Gonzalez Law Firm we are well acquainted with the volume of car wrecks that involve CMVs. In December of 2016 alone, the Accident Data Center reported there were 81 reports of fatality crashes involving commercial motor vehicle (semis) in the U.S.  

The Texas Department of Transportation, in their 2015 report, documented over 700 crashes involving commercial vehicles in Hidalgo and Cameron counties combined. There were also 16 instances of personal injury resulting in incapacitation and the total number of potential injuries was over 400.

Beyond being lawyers in the Rio Grande Valley, we are also citizens of Texas, and it is our job to know that this is not just a local problem. The total number of car wrecks involving commercial vehicles in 2015 was over 34,000 statewide.  

The number of car wrecks was larger in urban areas than rural areas. Bexar and Harris counties reported the largest number of car wrecks.  

These counties have San Antonio and Houston, respectively, as their county seats. These are cities that residents of the Rio Grande Valley visit regularly for travel or to see family. It is important to be aware of commercial vehicles when traveling out of town, especially on roads you may not be familiar with and in areas with higher instances of car wrecks involving these larger vehicles.

Being informed and vigilant is the best offense we have against misfortune on the road. However, there is always the possibility that circumstances arise that are beyond our control. Don’t let a car wreck become a tragedy.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident contact the offices of J. Gonzalez Law Firm today at (956) 630-6700.

Our team of personal injury lawyers will make sure you are able to take of any medical bills and car expenses. We will get you back on your feet and on the road. Let us put our energy and experience to work, so we can succeed for you.

2017 Resolutions to Become a Safer Driver

mcallen car accident attorney

2017 is officially here and your attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm want to ensure that you have as safe a year as possible.

Because the vast majority of us spend quite a bit of time in our cars – traveling to work, for vacation, visiting family, business trips, etc. – it’s exceedingly important that we practice safe driving techniques. While it’s easy to become a little over confident behind the wheel because of years of experience, we should strive to avoid dangerous driving behaviors that can put us and fellow drivers at risk.

With more drivers on the road, now more than ever, we have to drive a bit more defensively and courteously to reduce injuries and deaths caused by car accidents. If you want to make 2017 a great year to remember, then consider making one of the following resolutions to become a safer driver.

Be a safer driver in 2017. #JGonzalez #seatbelt #nodistractions #dontdrink #wearhelmet #speedlimit… Click To Tweet
  1. Stop using your cell phone when you get behind the wheel. 69% of drivers aged 18 to 64 in the U.S. have admitted to using their cell phone while driving. There’s also evidence that suggests texting while driving increases the probability of an accident 23 times. Are you willing to risk your life and those of other drivers just to answer a text? Turn your phone off while driving to avoid the temptation of texting or answering your phone. There are also apps that block text messages from coming in while the vehicle is in motion. It really is better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Follow the rules and drive the speed limit. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & Highway Loss Data Institute, speeding was a factor in 27 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in 2015. Speeding greatly increases the chance of injury, even in single car accidents. In addition, speeding greatly affects your ability to stop in time for pedestrians that may make a sudden movement onto the street. Driving the speed limit means better control of your vehicle and more time to make safer judgements.
  3. Click it or ticket. Buckling up is the safest way to drive and prevent serious injury, or even death, in the event of a car crash. Make it a habit to click it regardless of how far you are driving – even a short trip around the block means you need your seatbelt on. Also, always make sure your passengers are buckled in as well. In numerous states across the nation, including Texas, drivers (and even passengers) caught without a seatbelt are fined up to $250 plus court fees.
  4. Never drink and drive. In 2014, there were nearly 10,000 fatalities caused by drunk driving car crashes. This accounted for 31% of all traffic fatalities for the year. If you’re planning on drinking, then make sure to have a designated driver. Even one drink can affect your ability to properly handle a motor vehicle. Don’t put your life at risk by getting behind the wheel after a few alcoholic beverages.
One drunk driving crash every 51 minutes. #safety #safedrivers #dontdrink #dontdrive #thinktwice… Click To Tweet
  1. Always put your child in the proper car seat. Each year thousands of children are killed and injured in crashes. Proper use of child car seats helps keep our precious cargo safe in the event of a wreck. Make sure your child is in an appropriately sized car seat and remember that children under the age of 8 should always be secured in one. Also, children under 12 should always sit in the back seat.
  2. Protect pedestrians and bicyclists. Drivers are not the only people on our roadways. It’s important to keep an eye out for pedestrians, as well as bicyclists, and yield to them when needed. Be especially aware of your surroundings at crosswalks, in school zones, in parking lots, and while turning.
  3. Take better care of your car. Failing to properly take care of your car can lead to a sudden breakdown as you travel along a busy highway. It’s important that you regularly perform tire checks and keep up with routine maintenance to keep your car working in optimal condition. This also means keeping gas at a suitable level. Getting stranded can put you in serious danger and it’s not good for your car.
  4. If you ride a motorcycle, wear a helmet. Helmets are the most important safety gear that you can wear while riding a motorcycle. In the event of a crash, a helmet can protect your brain, your head, your face, and your life. While it may not completely protect your body, helmets have been shown to be 69% effective at reducing head injuries.
  5. Teach your teen driver good driving skills. You’ll want to enforce sufficient rules on your teen driver in order to keep them protected. Also remind them to wear their seat belts, avoid cell phone use, limit passengers, and to avoid erratic behavior when behind the wheel.
  6. Is 2017 the year you purchase a new car? Keep safety in mind. When shopping for a new car, you’ll likely be looking at price, fuel economy, and luxury amenities. It’s also a good idea to consider cars that perform well in crash tests and have car safety technologies. Consider cars that perform well on test programs done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Gonzalez Law Firm urges you to be a safer driver this new year.

It is the responsibility of every driver on the road (including ourselves) to take the necessary steps in ensuring our safety and that of our fellow drivers. Good driving habits to implement this upcoming year should include putting away cell phones, avoiding distractions and multitasking, driving safely below the speed limit, and never drinking and driving.

Our choices can get us home safely or turn us into another statistic.

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to follow the rules designed to protect us. If you’ve been injured in a car accident by a negligent driver, then contact the offices of J. Gonzalez Law Firm today at (956) 630-6700.

Your Social Media Post Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

With over 1.5 billion users on Facebook, 400 million viewers on Instagram, and 320 million people on Twitter, it’s safe to say that social media is a way of life for many people.

While you may be tempted to post every detail about your day on the Internet, it may not always be in your best interest to do so. This is especially true if you’ve been in a car accident and are going through a personal injury lawsuit.

Sharing details about a recent auto accident or posting any discriminating pictures in the ensuing days can really hurt your accident claim outcome. At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we work diligently to ensure the best outcome for those we are fortunate enough to represent. That’s why we want to offer you some tips on how to avoid being a victim to your own social media activities.

Defense attorneys and insurance companies can use your social media posts against you, with even the most innocent of pictures or words becoming a topic of discussion during your case.

Before you share anything online, think it through. #JGonzalez #RGV #Car #Wrecks #online #Post… Click To Tweet

Do You Really Need to Post?

It is the job of the defense attorney and insurance investigator to find holes in your story. Even a simple update can be skewed to make it seem as if you are the at-fault party. You’ll want to avoid posting details about the accident or any injuries that you received directly as a result of the car crash. Posting any information about the incident that suggests you were being negligent, distracted, inattentive, or drunk while the accident took place, can severely weaken your case.

While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the primary sources of online profiles, you’ll want to completely avoid mentioning anything on any platform including LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, or even commenting and blogging. Filing a car accident lawsuit in which you claim personal injury, but then posting a picture of yourself at the gym is going to damage to your argument. Posting any verbiage that suggest disregard for the law or safety will also prove to be detrimental to your case.

Protect Yourself: Tips for Safe Social Media Activity

In reality, the best thing you can do is simply avoid using any social media throughout the duration of your case. Placing yourself in a position where you can air out grievances isn’t the best idea at this point. Plus, friends and families may ask you about the situation and you may be tempted to discuss the accident, your injuries, or the case itself, which can jeopardize your chance of getting compensation.

While you should avoid using social media, if you decide to maintain your profiles, then consider the following tips for protecting yourself:

  • Check your security settings to ensure you have the most privacy available. While this doesn’t mean 100% legal protection against defense lawyers, it will limit who can see your information.
  • Make any posts brief and factual.
  • Don’t post photos or videos and ask your friends and family to avoid tagging you at any events, locations, or in any pictures.
  • Do not talk about the case or make any frustrated comments.
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know.
  • Look over ALL your online profiles and remove content that can be misconstrued.
  • Do not post about the other parties involved in the case.
  • Google yourself as a precaution. Do an image and web search for your name (in quotes) and see what you find. Try to get anything bad removed.
  • Stay away from chat rooms, message boards, and blogs.
  • If you post something you think might be misinterpreted, don’t delete it, just make it private and then tell your lawyer about it.
Be smart & think before you post. Once it’s online, it’s there forever. #thinktwice #dontpost… Click To Tweet

Your team at J. Gonzalez Law Firm reminds you to be smart about your social media use.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need the right team to help guide you through to a successful outcome. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm fight hard to effectively represent clients. Contact us today at (956) 630-6700 for a free case evaluation.

Distracted Driving During the Holiday Season

While the holiday season can be a time of great joy and celebration, we also the run the risk of being overwhelmed and distracted because of all the commotion – especially when it comes to shopping.

Distracted driving during the holiday season can lead to serious injury, regardless if it’s a “minor” fender bender at a local shopping center. While common sense may try to tell us that a parking lot accident at a lower speed can’t do much damage, the truth is that an unexpected wreck can lead to whiplash, head trauma, or spinal injury.

This is especially relevant to pedestrians; with the average car weighing over 4,000 pounds, being hit by a moving vehicle can cause tremendous harm, or even death.

At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we want to remind all of our local McAllen metro, and Greater Rio Grande Valley residents, to remain vigilant while behind the wheel, and even while walking around local malls or shopping centers.

Let’s make sure to keep the holidays safe for everyone by remembering our responsibilities behind the wheel.


Parking lot accidents can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important to recognize this behavior in your own actions, or in the drivers around you as you walk to and from your car.

  • Drivers can be distracted and overwhelmed by all the action taking place at a shopping center.
  • There are more pedestrians and drivers in the parking lot during the holiday season which means higher risks for an accident.
  • Drivers can become impatient because of all their holiday responsibilities including shopping, attending family gatherings, work gatherings, etc.
  • Gifts piled up in the back of a car, or a Christmas tree placed on top of a vehicle can mean an obstructed view for the driver.
  • Fatigued driving can occur because of all the traveling that takes place during the holiday season.
  • Decorations and lights in a parking lot may obstruct parking lot areas.


Just because parking lot accidents happen more frequently during the holiday season doesn’t mean that you can’t correct certain driving behaviors to prevent these types of crashes. Consider the following tips:

  • Consider shopping during off hours. Understandably, you might be busy with a variety of things to do during the holiday season, including work, which means you might only have the weekends to get things out of the way. However, if at all possible, shop during off hours such as weekday evenings. The weekends are notoriously busy, but if need be, go in the early morning before the noon-time rush. Plus, you might be flustered trying to shop on the busiest days of the week, which can lead to bad driving behavior.
  • Slow down when driving in a parking lot. This may be common sense, but it’s a vital tip to remember. Slow down in the parking lot, especially around pedestrians. Driving too fast greatly increases your chances of causing an accident and you can severely injure a pedestrian that may inadvertently walk out from behind a car. You are not the only one that needs to get things done, so be courteous while driving and consider others on the road.
  • Don’t obstruct your own view. Keep you visibility high by avoiding over packing your car. Piling up your gifts so that you can’t see out your back windows can lead to accidents; you won’t be able to see pedestrians crossing behind you. If you have purchased a large item, consider using a delivery service to get it to your house. You might also want to consider purchasing yourself a gift and getting a rearview camera so you can always see clearly behind you.
  • Back into parking spaces so the front of your vehicle points out into the lanes. AAA recommends reversing into parking spaces so that you have much better visibility when driving out of a parking space. This will definitely help you see pedestrians easier, just be cautious when maneuvering into the parking space.
  • Eliminate any distractions that may tempt you to take your eyes of the road. You’ll need to leave your distractions at home, or at the very least, turn them off while driving. Glancing at a cell phone or mobile device for only a few seconds can spell tragedy for a pedestrian. As a pedestrian, keep an eye out for drivers that appear to be on their phones and be aware of your surroundings. It’s important while driving or walking in a busy parking lot to think defensively.


If you’ve been injured in a parking lot accident because of somebody else’s negligence, let J. Gonzalez Law Firm offer you a free case evaluation. Our personal injury lawyers serve the entire McAllen metro area and will help you to get the justice you deserve. Contact us at (956) 630-6700.


Don’t Wreck the Holidays

car crash collision in winter

The fall holiday season can be a wonderful time for many of us; we get to enjoy the company of loved ones and indulge in delicious holiday cooking. However, get togethers often include alcoholic drinks, and a day of celebration can quickly turn into a moment of tragedy.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds us, “Don’t Wreck the Holidays”. Don’t make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a “couple” of drinks.

Your local Rio Grande Valley legal team at J. Gonzalez Law Firm wants to make sure that you and your family thoroughly enjoy the holidays, so we suggest the following steps to keep you and your family safe throughout the season:

  • Determine, prior to heading out for a celebration, who the designated driver will be.
  • Be a responsible designated driver and do not have even one drink.
  • If a designated driver is not possible, then use public transportation, a cab, or a service like Uber.

Car Wrecks Statistically Increase During the Holiday Season

During the holidays, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes, with 40% of traffic fatalities involving a driver impaired by alcohol. Days to be extra vigilant while behind the wheel include:

Blackout Wednesday

The four-day Thanksgiving holiday period sees the most overall fatal car crashes, accounting for more than 400 deaths each year. One of the biggest drinking days of the year is known as Blackout Wednesday. The combination of closed businesses, college students spending some extra time home, and a higher than usual number of people on the road as they travel to spend time with family members, makes Blackout Wednesday one of the most deadliest days for traffic accidents.

Christmas Eve & Day

As Christmas Day tends to be more about spending time with family and friends, there usually isn’t a major statistical increase in the number of drinking and driving related traffic accidents. More people are staying put and less people are out on the roads. However, Christmas Eve does see a 33% increase in DUI-related traffic stops usually as a result of drinking that takes place at holiday parties.

New Year’s Eve

Sadly, the holiday that represents a fresh start and new life also sees the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, with more than 42% of traffic accidents on this day happening as a result of drinking and driving. There’s also a 155% jump in violations for DUI offenders on New Year’s Eve.

The reasons behind the surge in alcohol-related accidents vary and include an increase in teens who are out of school and who are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and create problems on the road. There’s also the general celebratory theme of the winter holidays, and people who usually don’t drink may be more likely to engage in alcohol consumption, then drive without recognizing their low tolerance has affected them heavily.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction states that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day  1,200 people will be killed and 25,000 will be injured in traffic accidents caused by alcohol.

J. Gonzalez Law Firm wants you to play it safe and be extra careful during the holiday season.

The fall and winter holidays are some of the best days of the year because we get to relax and enjoy some well-deserved time off with our loved ones. That’s why we want you to share this information with friends and family to ensure you stay safe during these busy days.

However, if you or a loved one is unfortunately involved in any sort of car accident during the holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact us at 956-630-6700 to get the justice you deserve.

Dealing with a Hit and Run Accident

When it comes to sharing the road with other drivers, one can never be too careful. Many drivers are friendly while behind the wheel and considerate of others, while other motorists may drive aggressively and have a difficult time remaining aware of the needs of the other drivers.

Because of negligent behavior, accidents have essentially become a norm, and they occur whether one is complying to state laws or not.

For this reason, it is important to know the measures you should take if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident.

If you’ve had to deal with the unfortunate consequences of a hit-and-run accident, do not hesitate to contact the J. Gonzalez Law Firm to get the legal representation you need to fight for justice.

What to do if you’ve been hit, but the person at fault is nowhere to be found.

Hit-and-run accidents are very common among traffic accidents. However, many motorists are often unsure about what exactly it is they should do or who to refer to in a situation of this nature.

The best thing to do is stay calm.

It is probably easier said than done, but remaining calm is a powerful asset, as it will help you to stay focused and gather as much information as possible of the scene and your surroundings. Pay attention to the car at fault and try your best to get as many details as possible, especially his or her license plates.

Obtaining this information will assist in tracking the individual down to his or her physical address. If there are other witnesses at the scene, try to obtain their contact info so that they can aid in giving testimony on your behalf if needed.

Nevertheless, do not forget to call an officer to report your accident, and if you feel that you were hurt, get medical attention right away.

Notify your insurance company immediately.

Because Texas is a comparative fault state, the negligent driver who is responsible for the accident is required to pay for your damages. Law firms can help to locate the responsible party and insurance companies can force the liable driver to pay their entire policy limit because they fled the scene.  

However, it’s important to recognize that if the responsible party cannot be found, then insurance companies cannot pursue proper damages. This is why it is vital that you purchase insurance coverage that covers:

  • Uninsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection
  • Medical payments
  • Collision
  • Rental
  • Towing

As many who are involved in hit-and-run accidents do not have liability insurance, it is highly recommended that drivers also have uninsured motorists benefits. This doubles as underinsured motorist coverage if the at-fault driver’s coverage limits are not sufficient to pay for all the damages.

The aftermath of fleeing the scene of an accident.

Texas laws require every motorist involved in a traffic collision stop to exchange insurance and contact information. When people fail to comply to these regulations, the accident is labeled as a hit-and-run.

People decide to flee the scene for various reasons including:

  • Fear of being detained
  • Driving under the influence
  • A previous criminal record
  • Not having an insurance policy at all

Individuals who flee the scene of an accident often fail to understand that there are major penalties for this type of behavior. If caught, individuals can be charged with a misdemeanor, be imprisoned, have their licensed suspended, and deal with the cancellation of their insurance policy.  

Hit-and-run accidents are increasing on a yearly basis and those most affected are pedestrians. Researchers have found that those responsible for these fatal accidents are usually younger drivers, people under the influence, or motorists with no insurance.

It is highly advisable that pedestrians remain diligent and alert while they walk along the roadways, and keep a close eye on the events occurring around them.

Contact J. Gonzalez Law Firm

If you have had to deal with the unfortunate crisis of a hit and run accident, you’ll need an experienced Texas injury attorney on your side. You’ll need the J. Gonzalez Law Firm.

Our legal team of veteran lawyers know how stressful being in hit-and-run accident can be so we work hard and quick to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact us here for a legal team that is with you every step of the way.