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5 Summer Safety Tips for Water

If you’ve been on Facebook recently you might have read about a new product to help prevent tragic drowning deaths. The iSwimband is a Bluetooth enabled device that lets parents and caregivers know if a swimmer has been underwater too long or if a child that’s not supposed to be in the water has fallen in by accident. While this new piece of technology is a great tool, there are many other ways to protect children and others in the water.
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A Whole New World for Cyclist Injured by Disney Heiress

A settlement in the case of Diane Disney Miller, deceased child of Walt Disney, versus a bicyclist has been reached, and we at the Shefman Law Group are celebrating a victory for our client.

Diane Disney Miller crashed her car, a Lexus sedan, into a bicyclist in Marin County, California, in July 2012. She turned from the highway into a car wash without signaling and without looking – a dangerous combination of negligent choices. After being hit by Disney Miller’s vehicle, the victim suffered numerous injuries including a post concussive syndrome, cervical spine fractures, a broken tooth, torn meniscus, road rash, and multiple deep lacerations. The victim, an athlete and ultra-distance bicyclist, has spent over two years recovering from these injuries and is expected to require future surgery for the torn meniscus.
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Summer Bicycle Riding Tips

With the solstice just passed and summer in full swing, we know how quintessentially Austin it is to take an evening ride and perhaps stop for a quick swim. And taking a dip in Barton Springs is so much easier when you can just roll up to the gate and not have to worry about parking!
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Austin B-Cycle Bike Sharing to Expand

If you’ve been around many parts of downtown Austin and surrounding areas you’ve undoubtably seen the bright red B-Cycle bike share bikes. These bikes offer a great alternative to bringing your bike downtown or for a quick alternative jaunt about town without the hassle of parking.

Recently, Austin B-Cycle announced plans to expand 3 locations (4th and Congress, Academy and Congress, and Pfluger Bridge at 2nd) and add four more stations to include areas like South Lamar, Rainey Street and Barton Springs Road. These changes will happen in early June. (more…)

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May 12th Motorcycle Death Highlights Issues With Chase Policies

At Shefman Law Group, we’re reminded daily of the need for better protection for motorcyclists throughout the Austin area. As motorcycle accident attorneys, we fight day in and day out for stricter safety laws, better public awareness, and more transparent political processes surrounding the implementation of preventative measures. Sadly, on May 12, Austin lost another biker to the perils of the open road. Charles Brandon Knowles, a 25-year-old Austinite, was thrown from his bike riding through San Marcos on his way back to Austin. Although this is a story we’re all chillingly familiar with, this incident does have a separate piece to it that is seldom discussed when it comes to motorcycle accidents and injuries; namely, Knowles was being chased by police when the deadly crash occurred. If motorcycle safety is to be a priority for both private citizens and public institutions, we have to ask the question: just what happened in the case of Charles Brandon Knowles, and what could have been done differently to save this young man’s life?

What Does Police Policy Have to Do With Motorcycle Accidents?

An internal police review has been conducted surrounding Knowles death, and thus far the conclusion is that all policies were followed. San Marcos police state that they saw Knowles traveling at a very high speed, and when they attempted to pull him over he simply accelerated on his bike. This in turn led to a high-speed chase, which resulted in Knowles pulling a dangerous turn northbound and eventually led to his ejection. As motorcycle injury lawyers, we understand that police can be a necessary and important aspect of keeping riders safe and implementing measures that protect the larger body politic. Still, we as a community of motorcycle riders and neighbors have to ask whether these chase techniques are always the safest answer.

A Reminder of SXSW Tragedy

When Rashad Owens drove into an unsuspecting crowd of SXSW revelers on March 13th, many local residents were left wondering if the decision to chase Owens into a crowded area was the right one. Similarly, when a motorcyclist is travelling at accelerated speeds and attempts to elude police, is there a way to protect the general public from danger while also taking into account the safety of the motorcyclist? If San Marcos found that police that no policy was broken, and yet we’re still left with a dead young man, we have to consider that maybe there are nuances to the policy that aren’t effective at their current levels. It’s not always easy to see the solution to these problems, but we must continue to seek out ways to end crashes that result in the deaths of motorcyclists.

At Shefman Law Group, we’re in the trenches daily working for victims of motorcycle accidents and injuries. As Austin personal injury lawyers, we have the experience and technical skill to get the maximum compensation for victims of unnecessary motorcycle crashes. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us today for a consultation and start on the path to righting the wrong you’ve been forced to endure.

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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Austin

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month in the US, and here in Austin we’re as focused on the meaning behind this event as anywhere else. At Shefman Law Group, we’re constantly taking on the cause of developing safer roads for motorcyclists, so we’re incredibly invested in the work that Austin and the rest of Texas at large are doing to promote safer circumstances for bikers. We’d like to take a moment to look at the background of Motorcycle Safety Awareness month as well as the reasons why increased visibility is essential for all motorcyclists in the Austin area.

A Bit of Background

Motorcycle Safety Awareness began in response to a statistic most drivers aren’t aware of: May is one of the most dangerous months of the year for motorcycle riders. According to LookLearnLive.org, most motorcycle incidents in Texas occur in the month of May. Whether this is due to the changing weather or some other phenomenon, motorcycle activists began pushing for a nationally recognized safety month as far back as the late 90’s. In 2004, the U.S. Senate officially recognized this grass roots push and designated May Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Since that time, many states, including Texas, officially proclaim Motorcycle Awareness Month once every year.

Why Motorcycle Awareness Month Matters

As Austin motorcycle accident attorneys, we come face to face daily with the reality of bikers’ situations on Texas roads. The fact of the matter is it can be a very dangerous place out there for people on motorcycles.  According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 494 Texans were killed on motorcycles in 2013. At Shefman Law Group, we find this number absolutely unacceptable, especially considering that a number of these deaths tend to be preventable. Motorcyclists are at a disadvantage of the size of their vehicle compared to others on the road, and it takes a community wide effort to look out for the safety of these individuals. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month will certainly not completely wipe away these numbers, but if we rally around its premise we may begin to make a dent in the horrific number of accidents occurring in and around Austin.

What Austin, Texas is Doing About Motorcycle Safety

As motorcycle personal injury lawyers, we pay close attention to the initiatives happening in our home state and town when it comes to motorcycle safety. For the month of May, Texas is pushing forward with two separate media campaigns focused on making our roads safer for bikers. One, titled “Share the Road,” is a broad program focused on general motorcycle awareness. The other campaign, “Look Twice,” is specifically engaged with getting drivers to proactively look for motorcyclists out there on the road. If you’re a resident of Austin, you may also have noticed a campaign aimed at getting more bikers to ride wearing their helmets. These posters were produced by the Texas Department of Transportation, and can be found hanging in various places throughout Texas. Also, you may have noticed that on May 8th, a large gathering of Austin riders rode through town carrying 24 big white flags. This event, put on with the help of Austin Region and CenTex, was another effort at raising the visibility of motorcyclists on the road. Throughout the month of May, be on the lookout for more great events happening in the area, and make sure to spread the word that motorcycle safety is an important concern for all Austinites.

At Shefman Law Group, we look out for the safety and well being of all Austin motorcyclists and bikers. Please take a moment to watch our video on Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month here. If you’ve been involved in an accident and have received injuries because of it, contact the lawyers at Shefman Law Group for a consultation today. You’ve got a bike? We’ve got your back.

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Celebrating Bike to Work Month: A New Map Making It Safer For Austin Cyclists

May is Bike to Work Month, an event that everyone at Shefman Law Group is fully in support of. Not only does Bike to Work Month encourage a practice that is both good for your health as well as the health of your community, it also provides a great opportunity to shed some light on different important aspects of bicycle activism. As Austin bicycle accident injury attorneys, we appreciate the opportunity Bike to Work Month provides for highlighting the need for safer conditions for Austin’s bicycle community.

Lucky for us, MIT has recently introduced a new initiative that is working toward producing safer conditions for cyclists throughout the U.S. In honor of Bike to Work Month, here’s an introduction to this new program, deemed You Are Here, as well as a few reasons why this app could prove life-saving for Austin’s cyclist community.

What is You Are Here?

You Are Here, developed by the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab, is an interactive map service developed to showcase all kinds of information, from locations of coffee shops to the density of concert venues in a unique urban environment. Most importantly for bicycle activists, You Are Here has been developed to show an evolving map of bicycle crashes within a certain city’s limits. If you click here, you’ll be taken to a scatter map showing where every recent bicycle accident and injury has occurred, with more frequent locations  being highlighted by larger location markings. Using data provided by the Texas Department of Transportation, You Are Here has plotted 1,430 bicycle accidents that have occurred since 2009. As bicycle activists and lawyers, it’s easy for everyone at Shefman Law Group to see just how important this kind of information can be for the cycling community.

How Can You Are Here Benefit Bike Riders in Austin?

Aside from being an amazing visual sight, You Are Here has some major practical applications. For one, it allows for expert route planning. Seeing as though it’s Bike to Work Month, it’s hard to imagine a better resource for safely navigating your way around town. It is a sad fact that there are certain locations throughout Austin that are far more dangerous for cyclists, such as the intersection at 6th and Brazos.  Whether due to high-density, poor maintenance or difficult conditions, some intersections in Austin are just flat out more treacherous than others, and You Are Here is a stunning tool for cyclists looking to avoid such debilitating areas. As bicycle accident and injury lawyers, we love You Are Here’s addition to the public safety of Austin cyclists.

As important as evolving tools are for bicycle safety, getting the word out that cyclists are currently forced to live with the possibility of getting injured is equally as important. If nothing else, You Are Here highlights the growing need for more effective legislation and public services for the bicycling community while simultaneously demonstrating just how dangerous it can be for cyclists out on the road. At Shefman Law Group, we’re not just personal injury attorneys, we’re cyclists just like you. If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident and have sustained injuries, contact us today for a thorough consultation.

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Common Slip and Fall Causes, and How To Avoid Them

Shefman Law Group, Austin personal injury attorneys, handles all different kinds of personal injury lawsuits, from motorcycle accident cases to swimming pool injuries. One of the most common types of personal injury suits we see revolves around what is known as slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accident attorneys are all sadly aware of the fact that not only can slip and fall injuries often create distressing situations for our clients, they also tend to be incredibly avoidable. Most slip and fall accidents that are the result of negligence could be prevented with a bit of foresight and care, and as Austin personal injury attorneys we believe in doing everything we can to make the situation safer for our community. Here are a few common slip and fall situations, as well as ways to avoid creating them.

Damage or Change to a Property

 One of the reoccurring themes in slip and fall injury cases is a lack of property owners to properly address a change in their physical property. Whether it’s damage to a floor that creates an obstacle or a remodeling project that isn’t yet completed, failure to properly handle and address dangerous property damage is something that every slip and fall accident lawyer continually sees in cases.  If you are a property owner, you’ll want to not only avoid these types of situations, you’ll also want to always properly document and mark any area that could potentially prove unsafe for guests.

Unsafe Cleaning Practices

 At Shefman Law Group, Austin slip and fall personal injury attorneys, we’re surprised that all property owners are yet to understand the implications of not handling cleaning and maintenance with the utmost care. From recently mopped floors to areas that have been over-polished, maintaining a safe walking surface is a requirement for any space and liability can and will fall on property owners who fail to provide it. In the legal field, we utilize a coefficient of friction measuring system to determine if a floor is too slippery. Although not every property owner can maintain such a precise system, make sure to always err towards a floor that is as safe as possible in order to avoid unnecessary slip and fall accidents.

Failure To Address Weather Conditions

 Even if a property owner stays up to the task of maintaining the general safety of a surface are while also avoiding dangerous cleaning practices, a slip and fall accident can still occur if weather conditions aren’t properly responded to. As slip and fall injury lawyers, we’ve seen countless cases that occur due to rain, snow, and ice, and it is up to a property owner to combat these unsafe walking conditions with effective protocol. Whether it’s salting any and all icy areas or placing rubber mats in needed areas, if you don’t maintain safe surfaces during difficult weather conditions, you may just find yourself getting a call from a slip and fall accident attorney.

Although this is in no way an exhaustive list, it should illustrate just how essential it is for any business or property owner to attentively focus on providing a safe and manageable space for all of their guests. If you’ve been in a slip and fall accident, contact the Austin personal injury attorneys at Shefman Law Group to find out what options might be available for you.

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New Technology That’s Making Motorcycles Safer

At Shefman Law Group, we’re not just exceptional motorcycle accident lawyers, we’re riders just like you. Due to the way in which these two passions intersect, it probably won’t surprise you to find out that motorcycle safety is something we hold near and dear to our heart. Whether it’s practicing safe riding techniques on the road or representing the victim of an Austin motorcycle accident, everyone at our firm is committed to the safety of bikers. To celebrate this, we’ve put together a few emerging trends in motorcycle technology that promise to make riding an even safer practice. Hopefully with these added technologies, we’ll continue to be able to lower the number of motorcycle accidents and injuries that occur throughout our community.

Intelligent Active Motorcycle Suspension

Any experienced rider, whether you’re a motorcycle injury attorney or not, is aware of the problems that setting up your bike’s suspension can cause. There tends to be a tradeoff when making a suspension choice: in order to get a firm ride that’s suitable for cornering on smooth roads, you end up loosing roadholding on a bumpy surface. Making this choice can often result in a safety sacrifice in one or more areas. Lucky for us, the industry is currently finalizing an automated suspension system that recognizes how you’re riding a bike at a given and automatically adjusts the suspension to ensure the safest ride possible, which is great news to a motorcycle accident personal injury attorney.

Adaptive Headlight Technology

As Austin motorcycle accident lawyers, we’re well aware of the dangers posed by taking corners at nighttime. Due to the requirement that all headlights have to have their top half cut off by a suitable reflector to prevent blinding oncoming drivers, when a motorcycle rider leans into a curve the visible area tilts accordingly with the bike. This typically creates a scenario where a biker can’t see what’s in front of them as they turn, creating a scene just wanting for a crash. Luckily, BMW has just developed a headlight system that can tell when you’re leaning into a corner and in turn adjusts its aim accordingly. This technology is a major addition to safety protocols for bike’s, making it a breath of fresh air for anyone interested in the lives and health of motorcycle riders.

Anti-Lock Braking System

Although anti-lock braking systems have been around since at least the early 90’s, we’re finally getting to the point where they are becoming requirements on the road. As Austin motorcycle injury lawyers, we have to say that it is about time. By 2016, all bikes on the road in the European Union will require ABS systems, and we only hope the same type of legislation will eventually make its way to the U.S. An ABS prevents the wheels of a bike from locking during braking situations and adjusts the pressure of the brake fluid in order to keep traction and avoid fall downs. This leads to decreased stopping distance while also assisting in maintaining stability. As experienced motorcycle accident attorneys, we believe that any increase in motorcycle safety and functionality is a step in the right direction, so we encourage everyone to look into the potential benefits of procuring a bike with a developed ABS built in.

At Shefman Law Group, we do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve in a motorcycle accident. If you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact Austin’s Shefman Law Group today. You’ve got a bike? We’ve got your back.

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An Example of Insurance Company Tactics – Tackling Colossus

At Shefman Law Group, home of Austin personal injury motorcycle accident attorneys, we constantly see insurance companies attempting to utilize psychological games to get clients to accept settlements. One thing that differentiates Shefman Law Group from other motorcycle accident lawyers is that we’re experienced personal injury trial attorneys, and we’re always prepared to take your case as far as we have to in order to ensure fair compensation for your injury. When we saw a recent attempt by an insurance company to encourage a victim of injury to settle using a dubious technique we’ve come to recognize, we knew we had to bring attention to it. This is the story of Colossus, and how insurance companies use it to get victims to settle their claims.

What Is Colossus?

Often times when a victim has been involved in a motorcycle crash and has sustained injuries, they will receive a letter from the insurance company that is managing their claim. As motorcycle accident attorneys, we constantly see letters stating something along these lines: “We’re writing you to let you know that among other tools, our computer program Colossus, which is a sophisticated program that calculates claims to an incredibly accurate level, has made a recommendation as to the value of your injury.”

Colossus is a program that came about in the 1990’s, and is used by most major insurance companies. Essentially, it standardizes the claims process in order to expedite settlement while often reducing the payout made for an injury. The letter mentioned above typically goes on to give a litany of reasons why Colossus is as precise as possible, and furthermore why its deliberation is a fair representation of the value of your claim.

Any experienced motorcycle injury lawyer will tell you to take this information with a grain of salt, and there’s a good reason for that. When you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident that has resulted in significant injuries, the insurance company that is handling your claim is in the business of preventing as many losses as possible. Whereas a motorcycle accident attorney such as those found at Austin’s Shefman Law Group will make sure to take your claim as far as it will go, insurance companies are hoping to prolong the process while settling for the smallest amount possible. Referencing the authority of a program like Colossus is meant to discourage you from moving forward with your claim.

How We’re Different

Whereas the insurance companies will be attempting to limit the damages paid out due to negligence or other culpability, the motorcycle accident personal injury lawyers at Shefman Law Group will always take your claim as far as need be to get the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, don’t let the insurance companies bully you around with psychological warfare such as Colossus; instead, call the Shefman Law Group where you’ll find a personal injury attorney that will fight for you. You’ve got a bike? We’ve got your back.

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