Six Solid Steps to Remember if You Are Struck by an Uninsured Driver

It is illegal to drive without liability insurance in the state of Texas. Despite this, 1 out of 8 people drives without car insurance. If by chance you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you could be left without the ability to make a claim if you don’t have the right protection. This is especially true if it is a hit-and-run accident.

When you have been injured in a car wreck in Brownsville caused by an uninsured driver, you need a dedicated personal injury lawyer, like those at the Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez, to represent you in court. Consider the following six steps if you have been hit and injured by an uninsured driver.

@Texas_DPS stats: about 25% of the 17 million licensed #Texas #drivers do not have #Insurance. Click To Tweet

1. Make sure You Have The Right Insurance Protection

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage are the two most important insurance provisions to purchase in order to protect yourself and your passengers from an uninsured motorist. Don’t wait until a car accident happens to consider having these crucial pieces of coverage in your insurance plan.

These policy provisions can help pay for bodily injury expenses including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. They also cover property damage such as auto repairs, rental car fees, and damage to valuables inside the car. As medical costs continue to increase, and with millions of uninsured drivers in the state of Texas, we strongly recommend adding this to your insurance coverage.

#PersonalInjuryProtection can protect you against #uninsured #RGVdrivers Click To Tweet

2. Call the Police

This is standard procedure when it comes to any accident. Calling the police will allow the proper authorities to create an Accident Report which will provide your insurer important details about the accident including:

  • The at-fault party
  • Where the accident happened
  • How the vehicles were damaged
  • The type of injuries that were sustained
  • Who has insurance
  • Citations or arrest that were made

Make sure to obtain the officer(s) names, case number, and card(s).

3. Seek Out Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

The body can sustain anywhere from the slightest to the most severe injuries in a car accident. At times the adrenaline and shock of the incident may leave you feeling “OK” after the accident but neglecting medical attention is a bad idea.

Even if you do not have any visible injuries, you still could have sustained internal injuries, that if left untreated, could result in permanent injury or even death. At times, serious injuries do not begin to affect the body until the days following an accident. It is highly recommended that you visit a doctor for an examination within 76 hours of the accident. Anything longer than that and insurance companies can infer that your injury occurred after the accident and not as a result of it.

4. Acquire Information From the Other Driver

Ask the driver for their current car insurance information. In case they don’t have insurance, ask if they have an older or expired insurance card. Just because their insurance has expired doesn’t necessarily mean that they are uninsured.

5. Give Your Insurance Company a Call

It is in your best interest to give your insurance company a call immediately after an accident to file a claim and to review your current insurance plan. When dealing with an at-fault, uninsured or underinsured driver, it is critical to know what options you have.

When you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company helps cover your expenses from an accident. With an underinsured motorist coverage, you are protected when the at-fault driver’s liability limits are too low to cover the damages of the vehicle or any medical expenses.

Keep in mind that the Texas Insurance Code has mandated that all insurance companies that are doing business within the Texan border offer these protections. These protections may cover the policyholder, the family members that reside within the same household, any passengers within the insured vehicle, and anyone driving the insured vehicle with the owner’s permission.

Insurance Research Council est. drivers have a 14% chance of being in an #accident with a #uninsured driver. Click To Tweet

6. Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer!

Even with UM/UIM or PIP coverage, your insurance company may attempt to deny your claim. When this happens, you will need to seek the qualified guidance of a capable lawyer who is familiar with uninsured motorist law in Texas. It can be difficult to recover the coverage owed to you without the legal representation to help fight for you.

The Brownsville personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Ignacio G. Martinez have the dedication, experience, and ability to fight for your rights when you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver.

Don’t let an uninsured driver or a bad faith insurance company stop you from obtaining the recovery that is due to you. Contact us at (956) 542-2426 today.

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Case

With over 2 billion monthly users on Facebook alone, many people are living their lives online. Sharing intimate details of their day with family and friends. While it may be tempting (and seem harmless) to update friends and family about your car accident case on social media, you should think twice before clicking that “Post” button.

Posting details about a personal injury case or car wreck on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can actually harm your case. Your Brownsville personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez would like to remind you to remain cautious during the lawsuit process and avoid sharing information online.

Because we are truly grateful to represent all of our clients, and in order to provide the best outcome for your case, we would like to offer you this valuable information on how to avoid falling victim to your own social media activities.

Posting about your car accident on #SocialMedia can ruin your chances at compensation. #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

What Not To Do On Social Media

Defense attorneys and insurance companies often use the plaintiff’s social media posts against them. Emotional rants and tirades, or even innocent remarks or pictures, can be used against you in the court of law.

It is the job of the defense team to seek out this information to try and discredit you. Even the simplest post about your car accident can be twisted to make it seem like you were at fault.

A few key actions to avoid include:

  • Avoid posting information about the injuries sustained during the car accident.
  • Do not post any details of the car accident at all.
  • Avoid posting any information that paints you in a negligent, distracted, inattentive, or negative light after the accident has taken place.
  • Ask friends and family to avoid mentioning your case online.
  • If possible, suspend your accounts.

Pictures are not immune to the court system either. Just like commenting or posting, pictures can hurt your case, sometimes even more so than a textual post.

For example, if you are claiming you were involved in a car accident that caused any sort of physical injury, avoid posting pictures of you working out. Although you may have recovered between the time of the accident and when the picture was taken, the defense team can easily conclude that you are faking your injury.

Finally, keep in mind that even though the most popular forms of social media include Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you should still avoid commenting on platforms like personal blogs, forums, or other such website communities.

Simply put – avoid posting anything about your car accident or personal injury case.

What You Should Do When It Comes To Social Media

The best thing that you can do is to completely stop using social media throughout the duration of your case. Although it may seem like an unrealistic request, it can really aid your legal team when fighting for the compensation you deserve.

However, if social media is something that you absolutely need, these tips can help lower the risk of your content being used in a court of law. While it won’t provide 100% protection from the prying eyes of defense attorneys, it will limit what can be used against you.

  1. Check and recheck your privacy settings. Ensure that only your friends can view your timeline and your photo albums.
  2. Make your posts brief, and most importantly, factual.
  3. Ask your friends and family to avoid tagging you at any locations, events, or in pictures.
  4. Refrain from posting, commenting, speaking, or venting about the car accident or the case.
  5. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know.
  6. Comb through your profile and remove any content that could be misconstrued.
  7. Refrain from posting about the other parties involved in your personal injury case.
  8. Google your full name within quotations to see if any information pops up. If you can, remove that information.
  9. Avoid chat rooms, blogs, and message boards.
  10. If you manage to post something you think that could be misinterpreted, don’t delete it. Mark it as private and inform your lawyer about it.
The only guaranteed protection from defense lawyers is to refrain from social media use. #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

Trust the dedicated and experienced Brownsville personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez to provide you the legal guidance you deserve.

The Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez wants to remind you to remain vigilant on what you post to your social media accounts. What you post can potentially break your personal injury case.

Our experienced Brownsville personal injury attorneys can help to recover the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Contact us today at (956) 542-2264 to find out more about our comprehensive legal services.

5 Things To Consider When You Are Out And About On The Holidays

The fall and winter holiday season is a great time for families. But even as we have fun at all the festivities, it is absolutely important that drivers remain vigilant. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 919 fatal car crashes happened on Texas roads between October through December of last year.

The Brownsville lawyers here at the Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez want you and your children to be safe during your travels this holidays. Lessen the risk of an accident during this time of celebration with these 5 tips to consider when you are out and about during the holidays.

1. During Halloween, Always Keep Your Eyes On The Road

Trick-or-treating around Brownsville generally starts at about 4:30 p.m. and can last until as late as 10 p.m. in many areas. Remember to remain sharp and aware during these peak hours.

Keep an eye out when you enter or exit driveways, parking lots, and alleyways. Eager children can run into the street, popping out from between cars or buildings without hesitation or awareness of their actions.

The same goes for parents walking with their children through the streets. Never leave your child unattended and do not allow them to run as they may accidentally run into the path of an oncoming car.

Nearly 400 kids age 15 and under are hit by cars and killed each yr. #BeSafe #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

2. Reduce Distractions

Turn off that phone, turn down the volume on the radio, and avoid eating or searching for an item while driving. Distracted driving is something to remain vigilant against in terms of safety.

Our Brownsville car accident lawyers have seen plenty of individuals get into accidents and suffer severe injuries – or worse – because of distracted driving. From taking a selfie to texting and driving, it’s never a good time to drive while distracted.

This is especially true during the holiday season when more people are on the road. Drive safely for yourself and others.

More than 3,300 deaths every yr are attributed to distracted driving. #DriveSafe #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

3. Ensure Your Children Are Properly Seated And Strapped In

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at any given time, more than 70 percent of young automobile passengers are exposed to potentially fatal consequences because they are not properly seated.

Buying the wrong car seat or improper installation are easy fixes that can be corrected to ensure your children are safe from harm should you be involved in an accident. When it comes to car seats always follow these tips:

  • Make sure that the car seat is secure and doesn’t move.
  • Ensure that the tether straps align with the anchors on the car.
  • Don’t forget to adjust the car-seat harness when your child is wearing heavier clothing. Do not loosen the straps thinking that your child will be more comfortable, but at the same time, make sure that they aren’t too tight. Snug is the key.
  • Remember to change the harness settings when you flip the car seat from the backward position to the facing forward position. When infants are facing backward, the harness straps should rest at or below their shoulders. When facing forward, the straps should be at or above shoulder level.
  • Don’t turn the car seat forward too soon. A child should be at least one year old and weigh over 20 pounds.
  • Use booster seats for older children!
Only 20% of kids between 4 and 8 ride in booster seats. #HolidsySafety #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

4. Get Plenty Of Rest The Night Before A Long Trip

For many families, the holiday season means traveling and long road trips. An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study on acute sleep deprivation and crash risks found that the estimated rate of crashes associated with driving after only 4 to 5 hours of sleep compared with 7 or more is similar to the U.S. government’s estimates of the risk associated with driving drunk.

But even if you do get enough sleep the night before, don’t forget to take a rest when driving for long periods of time. Pull over and stretch your legs out. Get a breath of fresh air. Not only will this renew your vigor a little bit but it can also mitigate the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

5. Think Before You Drink

In 2015, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes. That’s one person killed every 51 minutes.

Also, take into consideration that DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of the New Year.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all times during the year when adults are likely to enjoy celebrations with friends and family. If you are going to a party where adult beverages are going to be served, be sure that you either:

  • Commit to not drinking
  • Get a trusted designated driver
  • Call a cab
  • Stay at the site of the party if it is a home of a friend or family member

Texting and Driving: What You Need To Know About Texas House Bill 62

At least nine people are killed every day—with thousands more injured—in car accidents where the driver is distracted.

In 2015, alone, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving accidents.That’s over 3,000 daily work commutes, road trips, and other family outings that ended in tragedy.

One of the main distractions that can be attributed to these statistics is texting and driving.

In order to address this growing epidemic, Texas legislators recently passed House Bill 62. This bill bans texting while driving statewide in an attempt to curb distracted driving car accidents from occurring on Texas roads.

The Brownsville lawyers at Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez want to protect drivers and those who have been injured in car accidents. We believe it is our duty to keep you informed about new traffic laws and to provide sound advice to prevent future accidents.

In 2015, 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. #CDC #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet

How Texas HB 62 Works

Although it may seem as a task that is hard to enforce, police have been directed to pull drivers over that are in the wrong.

Defining what “in the wrong” means can be a little challenging but police officers will have some guidelines to follow.

Mainly, police will target drivers whose heads are down as if reading a message or those who are swerving.

The law also prohibits school bus drivers from texting and driving completely, while discouraging hands-free device usage as well. The same applies to teenage drivers younger than 18 years of age.

Those caught not following HB 62 face costly consequences.

What Are The Consequences?

The bill seeks to punish those that are convicted of texting and driving by charging up to $99 for first-time offenders.

Repeat offenders can be charged up to $200 in penalties.

If by chance there is a car accident that results in the death or serious bodily injury of someone, this can lead to a Class A Misdemeanor charge with a fine up to $4,000 and jail time not to exceed one year, on top of any other charges that may be applicable.

This law came into effect on September 1, however, it wasn’t the first piece of texting and driving legislation that existed in the state of Texas.

#BreakingTheBank: 1st-time offenders can be fined up to $99. Repeat offenders up to $200 Click To Tweet

Local Ordinances Helps Enforce Hands-Free Practices

Many cities around Texas have adopted and implemented ordinances that mimic the new law before it came into effect.

Austin, and even smaller cities like San Benito, have been hands-free zones for some time now, with fines up to $500 if caught and convicted.

Within San Antonio city limits, citizens cannot hold the phone while behind the wheel. They may, however, use their hand to answer and disconnect calls but may not hold the phone while talking.

However, this new bill preempts any local ordinances or laws and Texans pulled over cannot be fined twice for the same crime.

At 55MPH, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds is long enough to cover a football field. #CD Click To Tweet

Exceptions To The Rule

The state law doesn’t completely forbid the handling of cell phones:

  • Calling 911 – The law allows cell phone users to make calls to emergency services like 911 to report car accidents.
  • Using GPS or Music Apps – In most cities it is still legal to use GPS or music apps, even dialing numbers, but drivers can still be pulled over if the officer suspects them of texting.
  • At a Stop Light – The law also makes it clear that while it doesn’t support reading, writing, or sending text messages while cell phone users are driving, it is not a violation to look at your phone if you are at a stop light. At that time, you aren’t “operating a vehicle,” but caution still must be taken. Messaging on your phone at a red light can cause car accidents as some drivers may not notice the light turning green. As soon as you begin to move, however, the cell phone must be out of your hands, or police can still pull you over. It also depends if your city ordinance, if it has one, allows you to handle a phone at a stop light.

The sad truth, however, is that mistakes and accidents happen every day. When they do, you can count on the Brownsville lawyers of the Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez to represent you in court.

#Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related #fatal #crashes. #CDC Click To Tweet

Have You Or A Loved One Suffered A Car Accident Resulting From Someone Texting And Driving? Call The Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez At (956) 542-2264 Today!

The Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez in Brownsville, Texas excels in representing those who cannot speak for themselves. We provide legal services for victims of accidents and personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence – like texting and driving.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car accident caused by a driver that was texting and driving, contact us today at (956) 542-2264.

Avoid Car Accidents with These 5 Crucial Back to School Driving Tips

The summer is drawing close to an end and a brand new school year is on the horizon.

A brand new opportunity awaits our children. They’ll be learning plenty of new things and making new friends. But if you aren’t careful, it can all be taken away in a flash.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 2014 saw 663 vehicle crashes occur within school zones across Texas, with 21 leading to serious injury – though fortunately – no fatalities.

Out of the 663 crashes, 107 occurred during August and September of the same year.

At the Law Office of Attorney Ignacio G. Martinez, we don’t want you or your family to become another statistic. With these helpful tips provided by our Brownsville personal injury lawyers, you can help make the back to school experience safe and pleasant for everyone involved.

According to @TxDOT 107 crashes occurred in a school zone in Aug & Sept 2014 #txdot #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet
  1. Keep Your Eyes on the Road

You may have grown a little overconfident on your drive to work. It’s very easy to become lazy about driving safety when you remember every turn, stop sign, and traffic light by heart.

But with school coming back in, those same roads are going to change once again. The roads will now be filled with children walking to school and waiting at their bus stop.

Taking your eyes off the road for just one second to view a text, change the radio station, or look for an item can be a mistake ending in tragedy.

Drivers, you should always have your eyes on the road, especially near school zones where children and teenagers alike may run out into the road unexpectedly.

  1. Put Your Cell Phone Away

School zones prohibit the use or handling of cell phones. Violators can be met with fines from $200 up to $500 in school zones where signs are posted.

It’s also important to talk your teenaged children about their responsibilities when driving. Teens make up the largest percentage of distracted drivers and will frequently talk on the phone while driving or text while behind the wheel.

Remind young drivers in your family to:

  • Keep their eyes on the road when driving at all times.
  • Avoid packing their cars with passengers. The more individuals in the car, the more likely they will become distracted.
  • Never look at or text on their cellphones while driving.
  • Never search for items or groom themselves while driving.
In #Texas cell phone use in a #school zone can cost violators $200 to $500 in fees #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet
  1. Mind the Speed Limit

Following the speed limit at all times is crucial but especially around school zones.

School zones are reduced to a minimum of 15 miles per hours to 35 mph at max, allowing the driver an ample amount of time to stop immediately if children have to cross the road unexpectedly.

And it may not be enough to adhere to school zone speed limits only in the morning. Children take recesses, lunches, and physical education throughout the day and participate in afterschool sports programs up until rush hour.

Speed limit signs will indicate if class is in session and if you need to slow down.

#Texas school zones, speed limits can be reduced between 15 to 35 mph. #txdot #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet
  1. Don’t Pass Other Vehicles in a School Zone

Patience is a virtue when dropping off your children and sometimes it can save lives.

School drop off points get congested rather quickly. As most are two-lane roads, if you grow impatient and try to pass a vehicle that is stopped, you may be placing others in harm’s way.

Your rush to get to where you are trying to go can mean a fatal injury for children who are being dropped off or who are crossing the street.

With a little patience and willingness to wait your turn to leave campus, you are ensuring the safety of all the children and pedestrians walking on school property.

#NationalSafeRoutes&School states more #children are hit by #cars near #schools than at any other location #LawOfficeofMartinez Click To Tweet
  1. Watch Out for Buses on the Road

Always pay attention to what buses are doing.

If you see it flash its lights and unfold its stop sign, then STOP. Do not pass a school bus that has its stop sign out.

The bus driver is asking you to come to a full stop because the bus has arrived at a particular drop-off spot, stopped at a railroad track – which it is required by law to do – or stayed behind to let oncoming traffic know that children will be crossing the road.

This applies to both directions of traffic.

However, if a median or physical barrier exists, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop.

These procedures were created in an effort to maximize effective road communication and minimize car accidents and fatalities. Failure to adhere to this law can result in a fine up to $1250.

Have you been involved in a car accident near a school? The Law Offices of Ignacio G. Martinez would like to represent you.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident near a school zone, contact the Law Offices of Ignacio G. Martinez today at (956) 542-2264.

Our team at the Martinez law firm in Brownsville will fight for you and your child. We help you take the best course of action in the aftermath of a car accident.

3 Items You Should Always Carry In Your Vehicle

Have you been injured in a car accident? The Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez provides legal services to those who have been involved in a car wreck and have suffered personal injuries at the hands of a negligent driver.

Because accidents happen, our experienced law team aims to share valuable information with members of the local community in case they are involved in one. Having the appropriate documentation in your car at the time of the accident is very important in trying to prove your case.

If there comes a time when you’re asked for these documents by an officer, you don’t want to be caught without them. While it’s easy to lose track of documents over time, any responsible driver should have these 3 items in their car always:

The 3 Most Important Items to Keep in Your Car

  1. Driver’s License. An essential form of ID, your license should be with you at all times. Your license should be carried in your wallet or purse anytime you leave the house, whether you’re driving or not. In the state of Texas, replacing a lost or stolen driver’s license can take around two weeks so be sure you obtain a provisional license in the meantime if you find yourself in this situation.
  2. You should #always carry your driver’s #license on you #LawOfficeofMartinez #Tip Click To Tweet
  3. Vehicle Registration. This document serves to establish a link between a vehicle and the owner or user of the vehicle. All registered vehicles have a vehicle registration plate and vehicle registration certificate. In the case of a traffic violation, the vehicle registration will aid in identifying a connection between the driver and the car. Presenting an expired vehicle registration may result in a hefty citation, so make sure to renew your documentation with your local motor vehicle agency in a timely manner.
  4. Proof of Insurance. In the state of Texas, as in most states, failure to provide proof of insurance can also result in a traffic ticket. You’ll need to have auto insurance before you can drive a registered vehicle. Car insurance is the most valuable protection you will have when dealing with a car accident. If the person responsible for the accident is without insurance, depending on your policy, your insurance provider may be able to cover the damages.
You #always need insurance for your #car #DontDriveWithoutIt Click To Tweet

Documents You Should Leave At Home

There are some documents related to your vehicle you should keep at home in a safe and secure area. This guarantees you will have easy access to them and that you don’t lose track of them when you need them most.

  • Vehicle Title. Proof of vehicle ownership is an essential document, particularly when dealing with title transfers. A vehicle title will provide official proof of ownership. Replacing this title can be time-consuming, so keep it in a file at home with other secure documents.
  • Insurance Premium Payments. In the case of a car accident, your attorney will need proof that your auto insurance policy premiums are up-to-date and paid in full. Keep statements or bills from your insurance provider to help prove that your policy is active.
Documents to #keep at #home include vehicle title & insurance payment statements Click To Tweet

If you or loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Firm of Ignacio G. Martinez today at (956) 542-2264.

The Texas-Mexico attorneys from the Law Office of Ignacio G. Martinez are here to defend you when you have been hurt in a car accident.

Our lawyers in Brownsville can help you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today at (956) 542-2264 to schedule a consultation.