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SUMMER DRIVING TIPS


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, August is the most dangerous month for driving, with Saturdays ranking as the most dangerous days to get behind the wheel. Even the time of day plays a huge role when it comes to evaluating fatal crashes, as 49% of these accidents happen at night.

Memorial Day through Labor Day has been called 'The 100 Deadliest Days' for teen drivers! #JGO… Click To Tweet

Your team at J. Gonzalez Law Firm wants to remind you that driving is a huge responsibility, and that it absolutely vital that we regard our safety, that of our passengers, and that of others drivers with the utmost diligence, especially during these summer months.

Consider the following summer driving tips:

FOCUS ON DRIVING SAFELY

  • Always buckle up. Regardless of the duration of your trip, buckling up is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe inside a vehicle. You can also influence your passengers when you lead by example. Instill the importance of safety belts into your children and teens so that they always buckle up, even when they aren’t in a family vehicle.
  • Refrain from using electronic devices while driving. Don’t text or talk on your phone while driving. Not only has texting while driving become illegal in Texas, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Thousands of fatal crashes related to driving while utilizing electronic devices have occurred in the past few years.
  • Avoid DUIs, DWIs, and their expensive consequences. If you know you’ll be drinking, your best move will always be to have a designated driver. The essential cognitive abilities and motor skills needed to operate a vehicle safely are all reduced with the intake of alcoholic substances. Remember to drive sober and drug-free at all times.
#BuckleUp. #DriveSober #DontText. Stay safe behind the wheel this summer. Click To Tweet

PRACTICE YOUR DEFENSIVE DRIVING SKILLS

  • Driving defensively by no means refers to driving aggressively. According to the standards set by Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, defensive driving skills include:
    • Driving to save lives
    • Driving to save time
    • Driving to save money

    Always be aware of other drivers around you and what they’re doing, and expect the unexpected.

  • Avoid the blind spots of others. This is a very important tip to follow during summertime road trips when you may encounter larger trucks. Always keep a safe distance from them. Most large commercial trucks (semi-trucks) have decals on the back of their containers that read “IF YOU CAN’T SEE MY MIRRORS, I CAN’T SEE YOU”. These vehicles create very large blind spots for their drivers and thus these warnings are placed as a safety precaution to all other drivers on the road.

PLAN AHEAD

When planning a summer road trip, don’t forget to calculate enough time for stops. It is highly recommended to set aside time to make multiple stops during road trips, especially on long road trips. For instance, when the time comes that you begin to get hungry, the best thing to do is to pull over to eat something. It really only takes a few minutes and you avoid dangerous distractions and driving behaviors. Rest stops are also on the road for a very good reason, so take advantage of them when you need to make phone calls and send text messages.

Stay safe this summer with these driving tips from J. Gonzalez Law Firm.

While these driving tips can help to keep you protected, others may not be driving with the same convictions and interests in keeping you safe.

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 has the experience needed to get your life back on track after an accident.

Texas Becomes 47th State to Pass Ban Against Texting While Driving


With summer well under way for most people, plans are being made for the activities, vacations, and road trips everyone has been waiting for. That means that more drivers are going to be out on the road than before, something that should remind all of us to be more vigilant as we combine our travels with everyday commute.

The J. Gonzalez law firm knows that there are many things that can distract someone when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle, some avoidable and others not. Perhaps the easiest one to both avoid and fall victim to is distracted driving, particularly the temptation to text while driving.

A New Law

Last year there were nearly 110,000 car accidents involving distracted driving. More than 3,000 suffered severe injuries and over 400 were killed in these accidents. At the time, there were already measures in many cities across the state to prevent texting while driving but there wasn’t a statewide ban against the potentially deadly habit.

On June 6th, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a ban against this form of distracted driving into law, insuring that it will be illegal to do so. A first offense could result in a fine of up to $99, which every additional offense costing a driver up to $200.

This comes as a major victory for safety advocates who had been working for a decade to see a statewide prohibition that could limit the potential damage of unfocused drivers.

Lawmakers were able to pass a ban against texting while driving back in 2011, but that was eventually vetoed when it came to the desk of former Gov. Rick Perry.

A March church bus crash, in which 13 people lost their lives, was one of the main factors that pushed this issue back into the public eye and the ban into effect. The driver of the truck, who had also taken prescription drugs, hit the bus while he was checking his phone to see if he had received a text.

When the law goes into effect on September 1st later this year, it will remove Texas from a dwindling list of states that have yet to pass a ban against texting while driving. Now only three states, Arizona, Missouri, and Montana, remain to follow the rest of the country in this endeavor.

The Outlook

The law only addresses the use of a phone to send and receive messages when someone is driving. Other uses for cell phones, like navigation and music, are not a violation under the new legislation.

Abbott also stated that he hope in sessions later in the year, July and August, he hopes that lawmakers will pass a law that will remove local bans against using mobile devices for things other than texting. The goal behind this is to prevent a confusing body of legislations and regulations for everyone to sort through.

Even with this plan in mind, there is still some skepticism amongst legislative officials. The way the ban is currently structured might lead to enforcement difficulties, leaving police officers in the tough position of trying to decide whether a driver is using their phone for something illegal or not.

A driver could be engaging in other forms of distracted driving, like posting to a social media website or checking their email, and be pulled over by the police. Under the new state law, there would be no penalty but plenty of chances for confusion to arise.

There will always be some issues with such a widespread change but the vision behind it, protecting drivers both from others and themselves, has everyone’s best interests in mind. Checking a text message is not worth someone being seriously injured or losing their life.

Sadly, there are always drivers who put other things before the safety of those they share the road with. If you or someone you know has been the victim of distracted driving, call the J. Gonzalez law firm today at 956-630-6700.

Our experienced team of attorneys will make it their mission to get you and your family the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Don’t let a careless driver get away with the pain they’ve caused; contact us today and let us go to work for you.

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.

Spring into action on the roads this season


Spring is here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are clear from dangerous road conditions.

During the winter, we know that icy roads can cause imminent danger and that there is a high risk of having an accident when the road is extremely slippery. Yet, many of us might forget that spring can bring driving conditions that are just as hazardous.

Spring time brings torrential storms and rain, and with it, wet and treacherous roads that are full of all sorts of debris. While drivers may feel confident and safe behind the wheel, it’s important to always remain diligent and refrain from being over confident. This is especially important as the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) noted that Texas saw “torrential local downpours and historical flooding events” in the spring of 2016.
At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we want you to be as safe as possible when traveling on the road, whether it be alone or with loved ones. Continue reading for some useful tips and information on how you can keep yourself and your passengers safe this spring.

Water isn’t always a lifesaver.

For many of us, driving in the rain can be a challenge, and especially frightening when it is pouring down to the point of little to zero visibility. It also brings high risks of flooding, which is extremely dangerous to be driving in.

Yet, with the right tips, you can feel at ease on the road as you travel towards your destination.

  1. Check your tires on a regular basis to make sure they are not worn out and have plenty of tread. Tread that is worn out offers less grip and a higher potential to slip during heavy rainfall. Replace tires as needed and save yourself from a potential accident.
  2. If traveling under treacherous weather, pull over and seek shelter or find a safe place to park – it is better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Pouring rain can lead to hazardous conditions such as flooding, so in the event of a flood watch/warning, take caution and stay off the roads. According to the National Weather Service, in the year 2015 Texas, had one of the highest fatality rates due to flooding while driving.
  4. Replace your windshield wipers and make sure they are functioning as they should be. It is recommended that they are replaced every year.

Click to Tweet – Stay safe on roads, pull over and seek shelter during bad weather #jgonzalez #cares #safety #weather

Caution: Road Work Ahead

Spring time is usually the startup of many construction projects. Barrels, cones, blockades and many other types of hazards, can be difficult to maneuver around, especially in areas of high traffic. Consider the following safety tips to keep your, your passengers, and construction workers safe:

 

  1. Stay aware and keep an eye out for construction zones. There are usually precautionary signs that work is being done ahead such as orange signage, barrels, cones and construction workers flagging down traffic.
  2. Speed limits change in areas of construction, make sure to keep a close eye out on how fast you should be going. Traffic fines usually double up in such areas. Speeding in construction zones can cause unwanted accidents that can leave not only you and your loved ones hurt, but others as well.
  3. Watch out for uneven pavement, during construction, roads can be left rough and slanted. Always keep your hands on the wheel and drive at safe speeds.
  4. Keep your distance between vehicles, don’t tailgate as drivers can break suddenly, at any given moments.

 

Share the Road.

With warmer weather comes more individuals taking out their motorcycles and bicycles to enjoy the beautiful sun and blooming flowers. It is imperative to keep those around you in mind and to stay aware of their presence.

  1. Pay close attention to bike lanes. If there are bicyclists in the lanes, give them the extra space they need to avoid any accidents.
  2. Keep your distance from motorcyclists; same safety rules apply to them while on the roads.
  3. Signaling for cyclists is important. Keep a close eye and respect the rules of the road, we all want to have a safe experience while driving.

 

Keeping these driving tips in mind can help you and others avoid any potentially dangerous accidents from occurring.

J. Gonzalez Law Firm cares about you and your loved one’s well-being. If you or someone close to you has been involved in any type of car accident, contact us for a free consultation at 956-630-6700.

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.

 

10 Safe Driving Tips For Spring Break


Spring break is just around the corner here in the Rio Grande Valley, and for the new few weeks (and sometimes months), traffic in the area is going to increase. There’s going to be college students rushing down to South Padre Island, families heading out for road trips to visit friends and families, and your everyday drivers trying to get work and back home safely. If you’re traveling into North Texas and further out, you can expect the highways to be filled with thousands of people all heading out to enjoy the much-needed relief that spring break brings.

Unfortunately, spring break can also be one of the most dangerous times on the road because of drunk drivers and vacationers generally in a rush to get to where they want to be. In 2015, a study published in Economic Inquiry found that fatal traffic accidents jumpered nearly 10% during the spring break holiday season. The majority of those who perished in fatal car crashes were under the age of 25 and were on holiday.

Here at J. Gonzalez Law Firm, we want to make sure you thoroughly enjoy this spring break—safely. While you can’t control the actions of others on the road, you can be a safer driver yourself by following these ten safety tips:

  1. Never drink and drive. In 2015, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) cited over 10,000 alcohol-related accidents. With hundreds of additional motorist on the roads, drinking and driving not only endangers your life, but places dozens of other innocent lives at risk. If you know you’ll be drinking while on vacation, do not drive. Instead, have a designated driver, call a cab, or use one of many other companies such as Uber or Lyft. Keep spring break 2017 safe by staying off the road if you’ve been drinking.
  1. Know your route. During spring break, you may be traveling with your family to a new area that you’ve never been to before. Before you hit the road, make sure to study your map, program your GPS, and have a travel plan in place. Knowing your route will help to keep you focused behind the wheel instead of engaging with a map or GPS. Once you’ve arrived, make sure to map out your destinations as well. Know which parts of town you want to stay around, where you want to avoid, and get a  good understanding of how to get back to your hotel from tourist areas.

This also includes planning ahead if you are going out for a night on the town with friends. Decide who the designated driver is going to be and make a plan for how you all will get there and back.

  1. Check your car. If you’re planning on taking a lengthy trip with friends or family, inspect your car to make sure it’s safe for the long haul. Tires should be properly inflated, fluids at their proper levels, oil changed, brakes working, windshield wipers working effectively, and of course, a full tank of gas. The last thing you need (or want) on a long road trip is to have some mechanical malfunction that could have been prevented with a quick inspection. Take precautions early so you don’t have to deal with issues later on.
  1. Take a break from spring break driving. Yes, spring break is an exciting time because it gives many of us a much needed respite from work and school. However, we shouldn’t be in such a rush that we get behind the wheel tired and unfocused. Research from NHSTA shows at drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 crashes every year. If you’re tired, stop as needed and take a rest. Getting to your destination quickly is never as important as getting there safely.
  1. Driving with friends? Rotate drivers. If you have a long drive, and you have some additional passengers who can drive, then consider rotating as needed. Do this periodically, even if you aren’t feeling too tired, as this will provide everyone a break to re-energize. With a group of friends, you don’t have to worry so much about drowsy driving, so long as you’re rotating.
  2. Don’t allow anyone else to drink and drive. Drinking and driving doesn’t mean only being responsible for your own actions—you also have to make it your responsibility to keep intoxicated friends off the roads as well. If you notice that a friend has had too much to drink, offer to give them a ride, or find them one. Keep everyone safe on the road by keeping an eye out for potential hazards.
  1. Keep an eye out for poor road conditions. Winter usually causes some road destruction and spring can bring heavy showers that further deteriorate these conditions. Potholes can be a major issue as well as construction, so keep an eye for poor road conditions. Roads can also bring with them frequent speed limit adjustments, so pay attention to road signs, especially in work zones.
  1. Break up your trip. If you don’t have multiple drivers to help you on your trip, consider breaking up your travel plans into small pieces, rather than one exceedingly long non-stop drive. Plan stops and pick a halfway point where you can rest overnight. Remember that you aren’t the only one on the road—breaking up the trip can help to prevent driving problems caused by drowsiness.
  1. Keep an emergency road kit in your car. You should always have a road kit in your car in case of an emergency. Some of the best items to include are:
  • Jumper cables
  • Fix-A-Flat
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Cellphone car charger
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Reflective warning triangles
  • Flares
  • Warm blanket

Keeping these items in your trunk is a safe bet just in case you need them.

  1. Finally made it to your destination?

Once you’ve finally made it to your destination, you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind, but now is the time to remain vigilant. Keep these tips in mind when you get to your vacation spot:

  • Use public transportation as often as possible. Instead of driving around everywhere, leave your car and hop on a bus or tax a taxi to get to wherever you need to go. Leaving your car behind will keep you from driving while intoxicated.
  • Get picked up if you’ve had too much to drink. Don’t be afraid to call a friend or family member if you have a couple of drinks. It’s better to get home safely and pick your car up in the morning than risk a car accident.
  • Stay the night at a friend’s if you’ve been drinking. It’s a better idea to stay safe where you are than get a DUI or into a serious accident.
  • If you completely want to eliminate getting behind the wheel, host the party. You won’t have to worry about driving while intoxicated—just remember to keep your friends safe as well and make sure no one drives drunk.

The J. Gonzalez Law Firm want you to safely enjoy spring break.

Unfortunately, just because you’re the safest driver on the road doesn’t mean everyone else is following the same rules. If you or a loved one have had to suffer through a catastrophic car wreck, then look no further than J. Gonzalez Law Firm for legal representation to get you the justice your situation warrants.

Our attorneys are here for you every step of the way. Contact us at (956) 630-6700 for a free case evaluation. We service the entire Rio Grande Valley, from Brownsville to McAllen and on over to Rio Grande City, and everywhere in between.

 

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.

Texas Has the Worst Drivers


Everything may be bigger in Texas, but that also means more careless drivers. According to a recent study conducted by CarInsuranceComparison.com, Texas and Louisiana tied for the title of having the worst drivers in the country.

The study ranked drivers in categories like failure to obey basic traffic laws, speeding, reckless driving, and driving while intoxicated. The website utilized information published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that focused on fatal car crashes in the United States and their causes.

The states were ranked according to a number of categories and then totaled, with the worst states receiving the lowest scores. The five specific categories from which the data was drawn included:

  • Fatalities rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • Percentages of fatal crashes that involved traffic signals, failure to wear seatbelts, and drivers with an invalid driver’s license
  • Percentage of fatalities caused by speeding
  • Percentage of fatal crashes that were alcohol-related
  • Careless driving which included pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 population

A number one ranking we don’t need.

An analysis of these data points found that Texas had actually slipped places in comparison to the year prior – moving from 4th in 2015 to 1st in 2016. Additionally, the state ranked 3rd for drunk driving, 9th for speeding, and 9th for fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

It’s also important to note that Texas ranked in the (worst) top 15 in every category that was scored.

Transportation officials in Texas mentioned on Nov. 4th that at least one person had died on a state road everyday for the last 16 years. This number stands at over 55,000 deaths and so officials have urged motorist to drive safely, buckle seat belts, focus on the road ahead while driving, and never to drink and drive.

The numbers analyzed by Car Insurance Comparison coincide with a recent trend that has seen traffic-related fatalities increase after decades of decline. 2015 saw over 35,000 traffic accident fatalities, a 7.2% increase from the previous year.

Careless driving is a predictor of bad drivers.

Care Insurance Comparison found that of the 20 worst states, 16 of those were ranked in the worst half of careless driving. The majority of careless driving was committed by distracted drivers – individuals who place their attention on other activities rather on the road.

Unfortunately, the most common reason for distracted driving was cell phone use. In point of fact, a staggering 64% of all car accidents involved cell phone usage. Varying studies have also shown that individuals who were texting and driving were 6 times more likely to get involved in an accident than a drunk driver. As numerous statistics have begun to demonstrate, it is to the detriment of drivers and others on the road that we get behind the wheel while fully engaged with our cell phones.

J. 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 to ensure 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 though, 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.

Our firm takes pride in providing clients with the experience, determination, and efficiency to get their life back on track after medical bills and car damage. Let us succeed for you.