At Shefman Law Group, not only are we Austin’s premier motorcycle accident attorneys, we’re also riders ourselves. Because of this, we’re as excited as anyone about all of the great events that tend to land in the early spring. One of our favorite local events is the Thunder on the Colorado festival, which opens up on March 14th and runs through March 16th. Featuring a downtown parade in nearby Smithville as well as a great juried bike show, Thunder on the Colorado is the perfect way to start the major ride season. As members of the local bike community, the motorcycle injury lawyers at Shefman Law Group are excited to start the season right with the rest of our fellow riders.
One of our favorite events associated with Thunder on the Colorado is the fun run that happens every year. Although every biker loves a good fun run ride, we wouldn’t be great motorcycle injury lawyers if we didn’t remind you of a few tips to keep in mind when enjoying the open road. As much as we advocate for safe and open roads for all recreational users of motorcycles and bicycles, we’re sadly aware of the danger posed by motorcycle accidents and motorcycle injuries. Going into Thunder on the Colorado, here’s what you should do in case of a motorcycle crash:
- First and foremost, call 911. Getting adequate help after a motorcycle accident is a must.
- Do not refuse medical treatment, as adrenaline may mask serious injuries.
- Make sure the police take a report and record driver and witness information. We’ve created our very own app to make sure you can record and document any information you may need later on if taking your case to trial.
- Take photos of damaged vehicles, debris in roadway, skid marks, injuries, insurance cards, drivers’ licenses, and street/intersection where crash occurred.
- Do not discuss liability with other driver.
- Maintain articles of clothing damaged or marked by the collision.
- Contact the Shefman Law Group, Austin’s very best personal injury attorneys, to speak with a skilled bike accident lawyer.
As we get into one of the heaviest ride seasons of the year, and start to approach great events like Thunder on the Colorado, it’s important that you keep your safety in mind. We hope you enjoy the open roads of Texas, and make sure to contact Shefman Law Group anytime you’re in need of an effective and determined motorcycle injury attorney.
Attorney Shefman on her Iron 883 Motorcycle
This is meant to be a tool for those folks who choose to represent themselves following a minor crash where they are seeking personal injury or bodily injury losses in the Texas Justice of the Peace Courts in an amount under $10,000. Often folks will choose not to hire an attorney, perhaps liability is clear they just need some help writing a letter to the insurance company. If you are not sure what to include, this sample letter will provide an idea of how to structure your letter and what to include. There are many ways to do this, this is a simple outline that we hope is useful and easy to follow.
REMEMBER, YOU ONLY HAVE TWO YEARS, IN TEXAS, FROM THE DATE OF YOUR CRASH, TO FILE A CLAIM AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL OR CORPORATION THAT HAS HARMED YOU IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN HARMED AS A RESULT OF A MUNICIPALITY OR STATE ENTITY (GOVERNMENT) YOU SHOULD SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL FOR THE LIMITATION ON WHEN YOU CAN BRING A CLAIM.
Sample Demand Letter for Pro Per (Self Representation) where you are seeking $10,000 and under (Justice of the Peace Cases):
This is where you provide a short statement of who you are, your age, your occupation, (a snapshot of who you are in your own words).
Include a picture of yourself. Mention that this is an offer for early resolution of your claim.
Facts Establishing Liability
Write about the crash. Where you were coming from. What the other driver did just before the crash. What you did. How the crash occurred. Be careful not to get too specific about time and distances if you are uncertain and can’t be exact. Discuss the choices the other driver made when they hit you that make the incident the other party’s fault. Liability has either been established –If it has not been established by a police report or admission of party that hit you, then state why they are at fault, for example did they violate your right-of-way? Did they run a red light? Were they talking on the phone?
How do you know they are at fault? List your observations, the other driver, witness or passenger statements? Put all of that information in this section to establish your arguments why the other person is at fault. Whatever evidence you have to support your argument, include it as an attachment and reference it in this section.
If it is a violation of a right-of-way, or a failure to stop at a red light, speeding, inattention of the other driver (driving while distracted), not keeping a safe distance provide the code section for that law and copy that law into your paragraph. For instance, most of these code sections can be found through google, but you can also look directly at this site: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm. Then state, the law “Sec. 545.152. VEHICLE TURNING LEFT. To turn left at an intersection or into an alley or private road or driveway, an operator shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is in the intersection or in such proximity to the intersection as to be an immediate hazard.” When Mr. Defendant Driver made the left hand turn directly into my lane of oncoming traffic, there was no time, reflexive or deliberate to avoid a collision. Therefore, Mr. Defendant Driver is liable for the resulting injuries.
(Include photos of crash or car)
Injuries Related to the Crash
What happened to you, immediate harms, treatment you received, physical losses, emotional losses (harms and losses) things you were unable to do. What were your pain scales 1-10 and list out in table format.
Provide a pain scale of 1-10 for the parts of your body injured immediately following the crash, three days after crash, one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month, etc.
1st Day 3d Day 1 Week 2 Weeks 3 Weeks 1 Month
Head: 3 5 4
For each treatment provider, list the date of treatment, the physician or therapist, then list what the record states in summary. Do this for each treatment date, and for each treatment provider.
Describe how these injuries affected your life and what setbacks, if any, the injuries caused you. List in as much detail with as many descriptor words as you can, what these injuries prevented you from doing and why. For instance, if you hurt your neck and were diagnosed with whiplash perhaps you could not drive for a period of several days. Maybe you are a new dad or mom and you could not lift your child? Describe what you were unable to do as a result of your pain.
These are the financial losses you have as a result of the crash. List every economic loss you have, this will include wages lost, medical costs, co-pays, ambulance bills, repair and replace costs of clothing you may have been wearing that was soiled or property damage. If you broke a watch for instance, provide the receipt and a photo. If you have no receipt or photo look it up on amazon and get the cost to repair and/or replace the watch. For your motorcycle, bike, or other vehicle, send the estimate to repair or replace with photos of the damage.
For medical treatment, provide records for every item listed. Reference the record and bill and attach it to the letter in order it is mentioned in the letter or embed it into the demand with a readable snapsnot.
Treatment provider Cost of treatment
1. seton Hospital $1,100.00
2. CVS Pharmacy $17.00
3. Primary M.D. $135.00
This section is a short recap of what happened, why liability is clear, why you are entitled to payment for reimbursement and also all of the harms and losses you suffered including lost wages, and emotional and physical pain both past and future. List your demand. Some people list demand amounts to include pain and suffering and emotional distress as a multiplier of the amount of bills they have. $1500 X2 or X3. This is a subjective number and only you know the value of your loss. If there is no egregious behavior involved and it is simple crash from simple negligence x 2 or x 3 is maybe a fair number. Remember you want to be reasonable so you can resolve the claim with the insurance company.
If writing the demand is unsuccessful you will have to pursue your claim in small claims or justice of the peace court.
Include as attachments or embedded in your document to be sent to the insurance adjuster for the defendant (not your insurance company) all documentary evidence, photos of your damaged property, your injuries, reports, bills, wage loss letter from your employer or a paycheck stub (insurance company will probably ask for a letter) etc.
Remember, you may want to give yourself time after you feel healed to make sure nothing else comes up as a result of the crash. Once you resolve the claim with the insurance company, you cannot reopen your case and ask for anything else. Your case will be resolved for all times.
THIS IS NOT MEANT AS LEGAL ADVICE OR TO SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY. THIS IS ONLY A SAMPLE PRE-LITIGATION DEMAND LETTER MEANT TO ASSIST THOSE WHO HAVE ELECTED TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE WHERE THE MAXIMUM VALUE OF THE CASE DOES NOT EXCEED (TEN THOUSAND) $10,000.00 DOLLARS
Austin has received a lot of rain lately (for Austin) but we remain in drought conditions. Please be mindful that fires catch easily outdoors in dry winter seasons. Also, the following indoor fire hazards should be dutifully watched with great precaution:
Wood Burning Fire Places v. Gas Fire Places
Living in apartment complexes or duplex situations neighbors are dependent on neighbors to be mindful of these special precautions throughout the holiday seasons. One fire can ruin hundreds of families lives, even cause serious bodily injury and death.
Please check all electrical cords, give space heaters sufficient room and keep them away from flammable surfaces and objects such as curtains and make sure they have proper venitlation. Never use a heater that off gases indoors.
Before using wood burning fireplaces make sure your chimney is clean and won’t cause an unexpected fire in the building due to build up in the chimney.
Before leaving the house or apartment, make sure all holiday lights are turned off.
Make sure all electrical cords have not been chewed on by household pets and there are no exposed wires.
Never burn wood in a non-wood burning fireplace. If you are uncertain, just don’t do it.
The Shefman Law Group PC is pleased to announce Attorney Lenore Shefman has been elected to Bike Texas’ Board of Directors. Ms. Shefman joins the Bike Texas Board for the 2014-2019 term. At present she will be working on both the legal and education committees.
Ms. Shefman is looking forward to continuing the great work of Bike Texas’ staff, prior board and committee members and meeting the challenges of new goals for the coming years. This past weekend Bike Texas worked on creating a strategic plan with Bike Texas Board of Directors, Bike Texas employees, Executive Director Robin Stallings, interested members and consultant Jeremy Grandstaff for the coming year and those details will soon be published, so stay tuned.
We look forward to working with each of the 14 Board Members and Executive Director, Robin Stallings to educate folks about cycling safety, awareness, and creating greater infrastructure and political alliances throughout Texas.
If you have not yet become a member, by joining Bike Texas your dollars are not only traceable, well spent, but dedicated to making each City in Texas more bikeable and bike friendly. Join us and be a part of the change.
Please join today: Bike Texas
Oil Rig workers are not being protected by greedy oil companies. Countless lives are endangered when drilling leads to explosion. Too many incidents like this happen each year in Texas and we have to ask, how long will we accept profits over people?
Oil Rig Explosion
Platforms, drilling fields, and refineries are dangerous working environments. The state and federal government have regulations that big oil companies must follow. There are numerous layers of red tape that allow for infractions to turn into dangerous working conditions creating hazardous environments where lives and limbs can and often are lost.
If you or a loved one work in one of these environments you can report unsafe conditions annonymously and are protected under various whistle blower statutes. Protect your life, protect those whose lives depend on your coming home from the job.
Lenore Shefman, Personal Injury Trial Attorney
Very few non-lawyers know the difference between a personal injury trial lawyer, and an attorney advertising as a personal injury lawyer. Being a personal injury trial lawyer is about understanding what happens when you walk up to the courthouse to present your clients case before a jury of their peers.
Presenting a clients case for jury trial usually begins several years prior to the actual trial. The day the client walks into the doors of your office, every question should be focused on the facts that have been ascertained, their admissibility at trial, the facts needed, how to admit those facts at trial, what witnesses you will need to prove your case, and the best way to present that evidence to your particular jury.
Picking the jury is an art in and of itself. That art begins with knowing the population in the venue where the case is filed, preparing questions that will help you understand the jurors feelings about the issues you can predict you will have based on population demographics. Knowing how to strike jurors for cause (those who show prejudice towards the issues in your case or prejudice towards the class(es) your client belongs to) is also key to making sure your client gets a fair trial.
For instance, trying a case about overspray of pesticides on a small organic garden in Petaluma, California will be heard very differently by a local Sonoma County jury then the same issue, overspray of pesticides on a small organic farm on the Gulf Coast of Texas by a local Galveston County jury.
A great disservice to a client is an attorney not being honest with a client about their abilities at trial. As an attorney, if you have a weakness, such as picking a jury (voir dire) you owe it to your client to get a jury consultant, or ask for help from your peers. If you are great at cross-examining clients but can’t seem to string direct questions together for direct examination, again, attorneys can and should ask for help.
As a plaintiff’s personal injury trial lawyer I have gained incredible trial skills from watching my peers. I have tried cases with great attorneys and I have tried cases with attorneys who were so nervous they could not be heard within two feet of their own voice. Learning from the best attorneys practicing in the same area you practice in is key. Reading the books published by the most skilled attorneys, attending their practice skills seminars and learning more about your own practice to develop your own skills is key to providing clients the greatest chances of success in the outcome of their case.
When meeting with an attorney about representation of you and your personal injury claims make sure they are actually trial attorneys. If an attorney prepares a case to settle, more often than not the settlement offers will be low. Insurance companies know how good your attorney is, how many cases they have tried, and the results they have been able to obtain. You should have the same information as the insurance companies do and the only way to get it is to ask the attorney.
Ultimately, if the case has to be tried, if the attorney trying the case is not a personal injury trial attorney and the case being tried is a personal injury case, the judgment will suffer as a result of the attorney not preparing the case from its very beginnings as if it were going to trial.