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.
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  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.

10 Holiday Driving Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year again. There’s turkey, football, family, decorations, and for many of us living in the Rio Grande Valley, travel up north. While the holiday season is a time of cheer and thanksgiving, it’s also important to remember the roads can be dangerous if we are not wary of our own actions and those of other drivers.

At J. Gonzalez Law Firm we want to ensure this holiday season is not only special for you and your family, but also safe. That’s why we have assembled 10 holiday driving safety tips to get you to your destination and back home safely again.

While you should always remember the universal rules of the road – no speeding, texting, or drinking and driving – there are a number of additional tips to make your trip more enjoyable and safe. Please consider the following:

  1. The first rule of the road is to make sure your vehicle is properly operating to take a long trip. You’ll want to check the lights, oil, tires, belts and hoses, brake fluid, antifreeze fluid, and the condition of the battery. Double check to ensure your car is prepared for winter conditions by checking the thermostat, exhaust system, heater, defroster, and carry a windshield scraper for ice or snow removal.
  1. Plan your route in advance and carefully around local weather reports. You can check weather conditions on the National Weather Service Also, allow plenty of time to travel as construction or other road conditions can slow you down. Consider bringing along a paper map in case your GPS system fails to work properly.
  1. Keep an emergency kit in your car. While the McAllen metro area doesn’t experience much cold during the fall and winter seasons, weather conditions can fluctuate throughout the rest of the state and further north. Your emergency kit should include: windshield brush, ice scraper, gloves, blankets, extra clothing, a flashlight, batteries, and water. Also make sure to keep tools and jumper cables in your trunk.
  1. The winter and fall seasons bring about a lot of fog, rain, sleet, ice, and sometimes snow. If you find yourself driving in poor visibility, drive carefully, slowly, and allow some distance between you and other vehicles.
  1. The holiday season is meant to be a time of relaxation, but spending time on the road doesn’t always provide this. Being frustrated can easily lead to bad decisions and risky behavior behind the wheel. You’ll want to drive defensively, but don’t respond to aggressive drivers by driving aggressively yourself. Getting to your destination 5 minutes earlier while breaking traffic laws isn’t worth your safety or the safety of other families this holiday season.
  1. Obey traffic laws as they are meant to keep everyone safe on the road. From speed limits to stop signs, do your family the favor and follow the rules.
  1. Does your car have anti-lock brakes? Be aware of how this can affect your driving on slick roads. If your car does have anti-lock brakes, remember to press and hold the brakes in a skid, as your vehicle’s system will work to automatically restore traction.
  1. Always use seat belts; they are meant for everyone in the vehicle, not just the passengers sitting in the front. Make sure children are properly placed in age-appropriate child-safety seats as well.
  1. Get a good night’s rest the day before departing from your house. Also, make sure to take regular breaks as needed to ensure your safety on the road. Pull over and take a moment to regain some energy before getting back on the road.
  1. While not driving related, it’s still important to remember to secure your home when you leave. Also, do not post on social media sites that you are away, as possible robbers view this as an invitation to an empty house. Ask a relative or neighbor to check on the house.

The attorneys at J. Gonzalez Law Firm want you to enjoy safe traveling this holiday season.

Unfortunately, being 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 up to Rio Grande City, and everywhere in-between.

Safety Tips for Holiday Parties

The holiday season is here, and there are tons of opportunities for cheer, joy, and spending time with friends and family. Of course, this usually means that where there will be plenty of fun, laughter, food, there will also be alcohol. Coupled with the facts that you might be invited to multiple parties in one day and increased holiday shoppers on the road, you’ll want to make sure to keep yourself and your guests safe this season.

This is especially true if you’ll be the one hosting the party this year. Beyond just worrying about the decorations, food, and entertainment for the evening, you’ll also want to take into account a holiday party safety plan to ensure your guests all get home safely to their loved ones.

At J. Gonzalez Law Firm, our attorneys want to make sure that if your party involves alcohol, everyone gets to enjoy themselves in a responsible manner. Of course this means that as a host, you’ll need to be diligent and keep an eye out for anyone who appears to be drinking too much. It’s also important to take into account weather conditions, and while the McAllen metro area doesn’t receive snow, a rainy evening can make the roads slippery and lead to a tragic accident.

With a bit of precaution, you can make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday season. Consider utilizing the following safety tips for your holiday party:

  1. Have a designated driver. This is one of the simplest things to do and can easily be prepared beforehand if you’re willing to ask a friend or two who usually don’t consume alcohol. This is also the most effective way to keep friends and family members safe on the roads this holiday season. Consider giving your designated driver a token of appreciation for their kind gesture.
  2. Have cab numbers on hand. If having a designated driver doesn’t seem like a viable option, then consider collecting the phone numbers of local taxi companies online, and have them readily available for whenever a guest is ready to leave. People are more willing to call a cab when it is easy for them to do so. If you’re concerned a certain guest may not be too willing to call, then make the choice for them. They’ll be thankful for getting home safely to their family.
  3. Don’t forget about non-alcoholic drinks. While many of your guests may enjoy a holiday party with an alcoholic drink, don’t forget to offer non-alcoholic beverages as an option as well. Infrequent drinkers left with no option may choose an alcoholic drink and may be more susceptible to buzzed or drunk driving because of their lower tolerance.
  4. Offer food with wine. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause a person to become intoxicated much faster and leave your party. Serving food will encourage guests to drink more moderately and will help to slow down the effects of alcohol in their system.
  5. Invite guests to stay at your place if need be. If you have room available to guests, consider inviting them to stay the night, to keep intoxicated friends off the road. The best way to avoid drunk driving is to not drive at all.
  6. Hire a bartender for the party. If your party budget allows for a bartender, then consider hiring one for the evening. A paid server can keep on eye on a guest who has had too much to drink and cut them off if necessary. Yes, a holiday party is all about fun and festivity, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  7. Intervene if necessary. Don’t be afraid to step in and take control of a situation – especially as the host. Call a cab on someone’s behalf, take away their keys, or call the police for assistance. While you don’t want to dampen anyone’s holiday spirit, social hosts laws in various states can make you responsible for damages and injuries caused by an intoxicated guests. Plus, a angry guest is infinitely better than a lost life.
  8. Encourage guests to stay off the road between midnight and 3AM. Research from the US Department of Transportation indicates that this is when drunk driving accidents are more likely to occur.

Stay safe on the road this holiday season.

The winter holidays are some of the best days of the year because we get to enjoy the company of friends and family. However, it’s just as important to keep them safe and get them back home to their loved ones.

But even the safest drivers are sometimes involved in car accidents. If you or a loved one have unfortunately been involved in a auto accident in McAllen, or anywhere else in the Rio Grande Valley, don’t hesitate to contact J. Gonzalez Law Firm at (956) 630-6700. We’ll fight to get the compensation you deserve.


Beaumont Mother Files Lawsuit After Children Suffer Injury in Car Accident

Driving safely should be a concern for all motorists, especially those with children. It comes as second nature for most parents to always be on the lookout for their little ones. Oftentimes, however, there are forces beyond our control that can put those that we love most in harm’s way. This was the unfortunate circumstance for a Beaumont mother whose children were injured following a car accident with a driver she claims was at fault.

We understand how important your loved ones are to you. Get in touch with us in McAllen to get started on your case if negligence played a role in your accident.

Alleged Negligence

The mother filed a lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on behalf of her three children whom she claims were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver. According to the plaintiff, in early December of 2015, she was traveling eastbound on Blanchette Street when the defendant ran a red light while traveling northbound on Fourth Street.

The defendant struck the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing injuries to the three children in their necks, backs and bodies in general. The lawsuit is requesting monetary damages between $200,000 and $1 million along with medical expenses incurred in the past and those expected in the future.

Get the Legal Help You Need

The J. Gonzalez Law Firm takes pride in serving those who have been dealt serious injuries due to negligence caused by another party. If you believe your car accident was caused due to someone’s irresponsibility, know that we’re here to provide the legal help you need. Visit our personal injury lawyer in McAllen to get your case started.

Lawsuit Filed After Driver Runs Red Light and Causes Accident

Traffic lights are obviously meant to keep us safe on the road. With large amounts of traffic in cities increasing each year, the importance of traffic lights and signs increases with it. However, there are certain times when drivers fail to adhere to traffic rules and cause accidents.

Thousands of drivers are injured in car accident-related incidents each year, leaving them with medical bills that can take serious tolls on their financial well-being. This was the unfortunate case with a woman in Beaumont who is suing a driver who ran a red light and struck her, allegedly leaving her with severe injuries.

Dealing with Injuries

The woman filed the lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court in early January after claiming to have suffered severe injuries following a car accident caused by a traffic violation. The lawsuit states that in November of 2015, a man ran a red light and struck her vehicle.

The lawsuit lists the defendant as failing to control his speed or maintain proper awareness, failing to safely operate his vehicle and failing to yield the right-of-way to the plaintiff.

The woman is claiming the lawsuit stems from her suffering mental anguish, physical pain, lost wages, physical impairment, property damages and medical bills. She is also seeking costs for the lawsuit.

We Can Help

Dealing with injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence is a burden that can take a heavy toll on anyone. Our personal injury lawyer in McAllen is ready to hear your story and build a case using all available evidence. Contact the J. Gonzalez Law Firm for more information on our services.

Daingerfield Woman Files Lawsuit After Collision with Tractor-Trailer

Driving unsafely in poor weather is almost always a recipe for disaster. One of the most common weather conditions resulting in car accidents is fog. Visibility is severely limited and it’s difficult to react quickly when a hazard suddenly appears on the road before you. A Daingerfield woman was the unfortunate victim of a collision with a tractor-trailer due to thick foggy weather.

A negligent accident caused by poor weather can be financially difficult to deal with. Our firm can help you get through the process.

Poor Weather

The victim in the accident filed a complaint in early January 2016 with the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas against the tractor driver and the company employing him.

The lawsuit states that in December of 2014, the driver of the tractor collided with the victim’s vehicle, an accident allegedly due to the defendant driving at an unsafe speed in foggy weather on U.S. Highway 259. Failure to keep a proper lookout was also listed as a cause.

The victim claims that she suffered bodily harm in the wreck along with damages affecting her ability to work. The extent of her injuries and other factors were not available. She is seeking damages and a jury trial.

At Your Side

Being the victim of an accident caused by poor weather can be difficult to deal with and recover from. Fortunately, the personal injury lawyer of the J. Gonzalez Law Firm is familiar with these sorts of cases. Get in touch with us in McAllen to get started on processing your claim if you or someone you love was the victim of a negligent car accident.

Car Accident Involving City of Galveston Employee Leads to Lawsuit

Driving is one of the greatest luxuries imaginable. We always expect other drivers to take precautions when operating their vehicles, so it comes as a surprise to many whenever a car accident occurs. It can even be nerve-racking if the other person was responsible.

In late December, two Galveston residents filed a lawsuit against the city after one of its employees collided with their vehicle in early 2014.

Dealing with a car accident can be an overwhelming burden. Get in touch with us to see what we can do for you.

The Collision

The lawsuit was filed with the Galveston County 56th District Court and alleges that the city employee was responsible for a car accident that occurred in January of 2014.

According to court documents, the two residents were driving behind the employee who was operating a sweeper. He then allegedly reversed, causing a collision. The lawsuit also claims the worker was on the clock at the time and that he reversed without safety.

Although there weren’t many details concerning vehicle damage or possible injuries, the plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages for the accident along with a jury trial.

Here When You Need Us

Car accidents can leave countless physical and emotional injuries. Hospital bills, car repairs and even funeral expenses can leave you and your family devastated on emotional and financial levels. Know that if you’ve been the victim of negligence, our McAllen personal injury lawyer is here to help. Stop by our office to get started on your case.

Holiday Accidents: Being Cautious of Fireworks and Drunk Drivers

The New Year can bring many great blessings and opportunities; however, the possibility of danger can also arise with the chaos of the holiday. Many personal injuries, such as burns from firework accidents and drunk driving crashes, occur during this period.

If you find yourself in this situation, we can help get the compensation you deserve.

Accidents and Injuries

Many people are under the impression that accidents only happen with recklessness. However, statistics from the 2014 Fireworks Report from the CPSC for Global Research show there were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with sparklers and another 100 with bottle rockets.

Sparklers and bottle rockets are easier to use, yet pose just as much danger as larger explosives. Another alarming statistic from the report stated that children ages five to nine years had the highest estimated rate of fireworks-related injuries. 54% of the emergency department-treated injuries were burns.

There are a few precautions that can prevent accidents from happening:

  • Keep a watering hose or bucket of water nearby
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area
  • Always have an adult supervise firework activities
  • Never allow children under 12 to ignite fireworks alone
  • Stay clear after igniting a firework
  • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited
  • Never point or throw fireworks at others
  • Never ignite fireworks in enclosed containers

Drunk Driving Report

Perhaps more dangerous than explosives is drunk drivers on the road. The most alarming statistic comes from Life Tips Organization who reported, “One person is killed every half-hour due to drunk driving, and alcohol is a factor in almost half of all traffic fatalities.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the past 10 years, 41% of deaths that occurred around New Year’s were due to alcohol-impaired drivers. 830 lives were lost in 2015 alone.

Take a cab home, call an Uber driver, leave your car wherever you are and get a ride, designate a sober driver or drink and stay home.

Call Our Attorney

If you’ve experienced an unfortunate firework accident or have been the victim of a drunk driving car crash, contact our McAllen personal injury lawyer today to begin the necessary steps for your case.

November Report Details Car Crashes and Fatalities in Texas

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, from 2012 to 2015, the number of motor accidents involving injuries and fatalities rose. The council reported that numbers began rising dramatically in 2012 when Texas highway speed limits were increased. Researchers have also suggested that the increase in accidents could be due to the rise in the economy. The most reported accidents have been caused by speeding, negligence and distracted drivers.

Always drive cautiously during heavy road traffic times. If anything should happen, our attorney is ready to hear your story.

Holiday Chaos

The holidays are some of the busiest traffic times of the year. The average number of traffic deaths during the New Year weekend over six years of noted research showed to be 18.2% greater than the average number of traffic deaths compared to off-holiday periods. Basically, the more people on the road, the riskier it becomes to get around, so playing it extra safe is advised.

Drunk Drivers and the Holidays

A study conducted by AAA stated an alleged 27, 900 Americans will be seriously injured and another 250 probable deaths will occur during the end-of-year holiday travel period. That is an alarming number of accidents. With so many people hitting the road, it’s easy to see the types of dangers while traveling.

During holidays like New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, we are more likely to encounter drunk drivers on the road. During the New Year’s period between 2007 and 2011, an estimated 42% of traffic fatalities were the result of drinking and driving.

Use Caution to Avoid a Holiday Tragedy

Despite the posted speed limit, drivers should slow down and use caution in various road situations. If road signs indicate a certain speed limit, we as drivers should always be cautious of our surroundings and dictate when to drive the posted speed and when to slow down. Always be aware of your surroundings and recognize when someone is driving unsafely.

Be Safe this Holiday Season

If you suspect a texting driver, drunk driver or witness someone driving recklessly, report their behavior to police and try to avoid any close encounters. There are a number of unfortunate accidents that can happen throughout the year, so take extra precaution to protect yourself and those you love during the merriest of times. Get in touch with us to explore your options if you’ve been the victim of negligence.