O’Hare Law Blog

O'Hare Blog

Check out all the latest news and updates from The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare in our blog. From tips about pursuing legal action to news about Personal Injury Cases, we offer a variety of insights about Personal Injury Law. We can help you understand the world of Injury, Wrongful Death and Insurance Law, so be sure to check back frequently to read our posts. Do you have questions about our posts or have you suffered an injury from someone else’s negligence? Contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today to find out how we can help.


Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Eye Opening Facts You Must See to Believe

by Distracted Driving Lawyer in Dallas, Tim O’Hare

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Car accident fatalities are on the rise, up six percent from 2015. Last year, more than 40,000 people were killed in automobile crashes in the U.S. and distracted driving is a major contributor to fatal accidents.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As a personal injury lawyer who has worked with hundreds of clients who have been injured in or lost a loved one in a car accident, I believe it’s never a bad time to remind ourselves of the dangers of distracted driving and recommit to safe driving practices.

One second. That’s all it takes to change your life forever. Whether it’s your cell phone or your dashboard infotainment system — anything that takes your attention off the road poses a threat to your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Every distracted driving death is preventable. Our roads should be getting safer, not more dangerous. But sadly, statistics show the opposite. As we become more dependent on —  even addicted to — technology as a society, we seem to have forgotten basic principles of safety.

Here are some other eye-opening facts you need to know about distracted driving:

  • Sixty-four percent of all traffic accidents in the United States involve cell phone use.
  • About 421,000 people are injured in crashes involving a driver who was in some way distracted.
  • More than 78 percent of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving. One in every four car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving.
  • If you text and drive, you spend 400 percent less time looking at the road compared to drivers who do not text while driving, and you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than you are if driving while not distracted.
  • If you text while driving, it only takes three seconds after you take your eyes off the road for an accident to occur. Reading a text message while driving distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time.
  • The average speed in the U.S. is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text at 55mph means the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or while distracted.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving. Ninety-four percent of teenagers say they understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35 percent of them admitted that they do it anyway.
  • Teen drivers are 400 percent more likely to be in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
  • Ten percent of adults and 20 percent of teenagers admit they have entire conversations by text while driving.
  • A study at The University of Utah found out the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.

Don’t kid yourself into believing it won’t happen to you. The fact is, it could happen to you and, if you continue to text while driving, chances are, it will happen to you. Remember, last year, Texas lawmakers passed new regulations on cellphone use while driving, making texting while driving illegal in the state of Texas.

The National Safety Council is offering a free, 45-minute Distracted Driving Online Course April 15-21. This course is an excellent safety resource for all drivers, but can be especially useful for teenage drivers. If you have young drivers in your home, consider signing them up to take this course. Visit safetyserve.com/ddam to sign up.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas-Ft. Worth distracted driving lawyer.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation

972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /April 11, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

17 Lessons Learned Since Opening The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare

By Texas Christian Injury Lawyer, Tim O’Hare

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Seventeen years ago we first opened the doors at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. With five years of practicing law under my belt, I was ready to branch out on my own, serving clients who had been victims of negligence, drunk driving or malpractice.

Reflecting on the last 17 years, I see the many ways God has blessed my life, my family and my practice during this great adventure. Always looking to learn and improve the way I live my life and the way we do business, I wanted to take some time to share 17 lessons I’ve learned in the last 17 years.

  1. Honor God with your first fruits.
  2. You can never pray too much.
  3. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
  4. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
  5. People care far less about how good you are at something, or how much knowledge or experience you have than they do how well you treat them.
  6. A kind word can put somebody on your side for life, a harsh word can make somebody an enemy for life.
  7. The people who work for you are your best resources; treat them like family, not like business expenses.
  8. Strive for excellence in all you do; but not to the point you drive yourself nuts if mistakes are made.
  9. Care for clients like they’re your own family and they’ll be loyal forever.
  10. Always tell the truth and admit your mistakes.
  11. Your reputation is built over a lifetime; but you can ruin it in a matter of minutes.
  12. Technology is always changing, but how to treat people well never changes.
  13. Don’t spend money you don’t have.
  14. Never keep a balance on a credit card.
  15. Live beneath your means.
  16. Treat everyone you meet with respect regardless of how they feel about you or how low society may rank them on the totem pole.
  17. Businesses succeed or fail based on the level of attention they pay to the details.

If you are a client of ours — past or present — we are truly grateful for you and thank you for entrusting your case into our hands. I am fully aware that we would not be where we are today without first my Lord, my wife and family, our amazing staff and all of our wonderful clients. I look forward to many more years serving our community and representing those who have been victims of injury.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one killed as the result of an accident or another person’s negligence, contact contact Texas Super Lawyer, personal injury attorney Tim O’Hare, today.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation
972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /April 06, 2018 /Blog /0 Comment Read More

Bunnies, Eggs or Jesus. What’s Your Focus this Easter Sunday?

by Texas Christian injury lawyer, Tim O’Hare

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Sunday we will gather with family and friends to celebrate what is arguably the most important holiday/event in the history of the Christian faith. The holiday known as Easter by the world — a celebration of new life and spring — is celebrated as Resurrection Sunday by believers around the world.

It is the day we remember Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Friday we celebrate Good Friday, in remembrance of the day Christ took on the sin of the world and was crucified so every man, woman and child could be free from the guilt of our sin. Upon Jesus, the blameless, spotless lamb, was laid the “iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

But the story didn’t end on Friday. The Bible tells us that after three days, Christ was resurrected from the dead, defeating death and overcoming evil once and for all. Victory is His. And victory is yours, if you believe.

John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Through Christ we have hope that evil doesn’t win. That death does not have the final word. Through Him, we can live forever with Him.

Jesus was the greatest Gift ever given to man. His birth is celebrated on Christmas, and it’s the mercy in His sacrifice we remember on Easter. He paid the penalty of sin that separates us from God. And in His resurrection, he defeated death, overcoming the grave, giving us the opportunity to live eternally in heaven with Him. All you have to do is believe. By believing in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus to cover the gap between you and our perfect God, you too can have eternal life.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’” John 11:25-26

This Easter Sunday, enjoy the eggs, bunnies and baskets — but focus on the reason for the celebration – the sacrifice of Jesus and the victory we are able to claim as believers in Him.

By : Tim O'Hare /March 30, 2018 /Blog /0 Comment Read More

Spring Break Travel Safety Tips from Your Dallas Car Accident Attorney

By Dallas Car Accident Injury Attorney, Tim O’Hare

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Spring break is here for many schools across Texas, and for others, it is just around the corner and that means one thing for Texas families: it’s time for travel. With more people on the roads this month traveling for spring break vacation, the potential for car accidents is high. Don’t let a car accident ruin your spring break holiday. Here are a few spring break travel safety guidelines to help ensure the safety of you and your family.

Check your vehicle fluid levels, battery and fill up with gas before leaving. Proper car maintenance and a full tank of gas can go a long way to ensure you don’t become stranded during your travels.

Gather an emergency supply kit. Be prepared with emergency supplies in case of an accident, breakdown or medical emergency. A basic emergency kit should include a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, tools and bottled water.

Avoid stopping on the shoulder. Many accidents occur when drivers become stranded on the side of the highway. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident, remember your safety is paramount. If possible, pull your car completely off of the road. If you must stop on the shoulder, all vehicle occupants should exit the vehicle on the side opposite oncoming traffic and wait for help as far back from the road as possible. Turn on your hazard lights and set up safety triangles behind and next to your vehicle to warn other drivers.

Recognize “Move Over” laws. Keep your eyes out for other drivers who may be stranded. If you see a vehicle on the side of the road, slow down and move over.

Don’t overload your vehicle. Your car has a specified weight limit. Check the load capacity on your car, which is typically printed on a label inside the driver’s side door, to be sure you aren’t overloading your vehicle with luggage and passengers.

Don’t drive distracted. Drinking and driving, as well as texting while driving are leading causes of accidents nationwide. Drivers who text while driving are four times more likely to be in a car accident. Remember, in Texas, texting while driving is now illegal. Keep your focus on the road and keep your family safe.

Avoid late night driving. Nighttime makes it more difficult to see the road as well as other traffic. Plan your spring break trip to avoid traveling at night.

Drive in the right lane.  Sticking to the right lane can save your life from drunk drivers, and wrong-way drivers alike. Often times drunk drivers drift out of their lane or into oncoming traffic. The further you are to the right of the road, the better your chances of avoiding being side swiped or hit head-on by a drunk driver.

Keep in mind also, if you plan to travel out of the country, that the CDC has issued travel warnings for some destinations. Be sure to check the CDC website for more info about spring break travel safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one killed as the result of a car accident, contact contact Texas Super Lawyer, personal injury attorney Tim O’Hare, today.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation
972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /March 14, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

What are the Age, Height and Weight Requirements for Child Safety Seats in Texas?

By Dallas Car Accident Injury Attorney, Tim O’Hare

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Research suggests that as many as 95 percent of families fail to install their infant’s car seat correctly. Nearly 75 percent f parents face their child’s seat the wrong way, and many older children aren’t using booster seats when doing so is necessary for their safety.

Sadly, a recent study of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by The Journal of Pediatrics indicates that a devastating 43 percent of kids killed in car crashes are either unrestrained or improperly restrained.

Are you doing enough to protect your children? Let’s take a look at Texas laws regarding child safety seats and what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to ensure your child’s safety.

Texas law states that all children under eight years of age, unless taller than 57 inches, are required to be in an appropriate child safety seat system whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Although not required by law, Texas recommends rear-facing seats for all children until they either turn two years old or reach 35 pounds.

All rear-facing seats are prohibited from use in the front seat of a vehicle if there is a passenger airbag. Manually turning the airbag off is the only way a rear-facing seat may safely and legally be used in the front seat. Do not rely on “smart” airbags, as these are designed to deactivate based on the weight of the passenger, but are not designed to accommodate child safety seats.

While these are the laws regarding child safety seats in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety strongly encourages parents and caregivers to follow the new American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines when transporting children in a passenger vehicle. These recommendations are as follows:

Rear-Facing Seats: Rear-facing seats are recommended for infants birth to 35+ pounds and 2+ years old. The AAP recommends rear-facing seats as long as possible, until the child outgrows the rear-facing height and/or weight limit of the seat. Rear-facing seats should be properly installed in the back seat according to instructions in the owner’s manual.

Forward-Facing Seats: When a child outgrows the rear-facing safety seat (minimum 2+ years), they should ride in a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness as long as possible, up to the upper height, weight or age limit of the harness (usually 4+ years and 40 to 80 pounds). Forward-facing seats should be properly installed in the back seat. Never turn a child forward-facing until he or she meets all the age/height/weight requirements set by the safety seat manufacturer.

Booster Seats: Once a child reaches four years of age and 40+ pounds, he or she may ride in a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt until the adult safety belt will fit them properly (usually when the child is 10 to 12 years old). A lap/shoulder belt is required for a booster seat.

Adult Safety Belt: Once the child outgrows his or her booster seat (around 10 to 12 years of age), he or she may use the adult lap/shoulder belt if it fits them properly. The lap portion should sit low over the hips/thighs and the shoulder belt should cross the center of the shoulder and center of the chest.

If you are unsure whether or not your child’s seat is properly installed in your vehicle, schedule an appointment for a free safety seat check-up at one of the 25 Texas Department of Transportation district offices. Many local police stations and fire stations also have staff certified to inspect your child’s safety seat.

Don’t assume your child is safe. If you are unsure, or have never had your child’s seat inspected, don’t wait. It could mean life or death for your child.

If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, contact one of the best personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Tim O’Hare, today.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation
972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

By : Tim O'Hare /March 10, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

Uber, Lyft or Taxi? Who Has You Covered In a Car Accident?

taxi vs rideshare insurance

By Dallas Car Accident Injury Attorney, Tim O’Hare

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Ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber are becoming increasingly popular as a means of transportation over the traditional taxi service. While ridesharing may be more convenient and in some cases, more affordable, should passengers be concerned about safety?

Taxi companies would like for you to believe you are putting yourself at risk calling Lyft or Uber instead of a taxi. They claim that if a passenger riding in a Lyft or Uber vehicle is injured during a car accident, he or she may be left without insurance coverage to cover medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Is that true?

While rideshare drivers carry a personal insurance policy, many insurance policies may deny coverage if the driver was driving “for profit.” But, what Lyft and Uber want you to know is that they carry excess coverage above what the driver carries for him or herself. That means if you are a passenger in the back seat of a rideshare vehicle and are injured in a wreck, the rideshare company’s liability insurance provide coverage for damages, even if your claims are rejected by the driver’s insurance company.

Texas law requires Transportation Network Companies (TNC) to carry minimum liability coverage for drivers of 30/60/25. This means drivers are covered for $30,000 per person for bodily injury in a wreck, up to $60,000 per accident for all injured persons combined and $25,000 in property damage per accident.

According to both Lyft and Uber, the rideshare companies provide up to $1,000,000.000 in coverage (you can read more about Lyft’s policy here and Uber’s policy here.) While taxi cab policies vary from state to state, the minimum amount of injury coverage for a taxi driver is typically between $250,000 and $500,000 — and taxi companies rarely carry more than the minimum required. In Texas, that comes to $30,000 maximum per person injured and $60,000 for all injured persons combined per accident.

If you are injured due to a Lyft or Uber driver’s negligence, you’re likely better off than if you were injured while riding in a taxi cab.

Additionally, both Lyft and Uber also provide up to $1 million in Uninsured Motorist Coverage, so you’re covered if you are injured in an accident where your driver is not he negligent driver. Whether the taxi company carries Uninsured Motorist Coverage is up each state. If the state doesn’t require taxi companies to offer Uninsured Motorist Coverage, and you don’t have your own uninsured motorist coverage, you may be out of luck.

The bottom line: despite advertisements to the contrary by traditional taxi companies, if you are injured in a car accident while riding in a Lyft or Uber car, you are covered.

Tim O’Hare is an experienced Texas Christian injury lawyer who will represent you with integrity and ensure you receive all compensation due you for your injury. If you’ve been injured in a wreck while riding in a taxi cab or rideshare vehicle, contact one of the best personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Tim O’Hare, today.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation
972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /March 01, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

8 Things to Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident

 

car accident attorney

By Dallas Car Accident Injury Attorney, Tim O’Hare

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Did you know a car accident occurs on Texas roadways approximately every 83 seconds? That’s more than 1,040 accidents every day. More than 441,000 accidents occur each year in Texas and sadly, more than 3,000 of those result in fatalities.

Even with preventative measures to reduce the number of fatal car accidents, such as cracking down on drunk driving and distracted driving, the reality is, car accidents happen frequently. Do you know what to do if you are involved in a car accident? Here are eight tips to remember and to teach drivers in your household:

Call 911 — Report any injuries immediately and ask for police to come to the scene. If there are any potential injuries, ask for an ambulance. When a police officer arrives, get the officer’s name, badge number, and city the officer is responding from.

Help anyone who has been injured or who is in distress — If able, get out of your vehicle and attempt to make contact with other individuals involved in the accident. If you are a medical professional, CPR and/or First Aid certified, render aid as needed. Assess injuries and notify 911 immediately.

Don’t admit fault, but tell the truth about what happened — Responding police officers will ask questions as they build their accident report. Be truthful about what happened, but be careful not to admit fault and avoid any settlement discussions. Individuals who are not carrying car insurance or have another reason to avoid legal trouble may attempt to get you to settle by offering cash payment on the scene. Do not accept any settlements on the scene, as you may be liable for the damages to your car later on.

Get a copy/picture of the other driver’s driver license, license plate and insurance card — After an accident, exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies, policy numbers, driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers with any other drivers involved in the accident. Be sure to note the relationship between the individual driving and the owner of the vehicle if their names don’t match.

Take pictures of all vehicles and property involved in the collision —  Use your camera to document any damage to all property and vehicles involved in the accident, as well as the position of cars and scene of the accident.

Ask the police to prepare an accident report – be polite, but insistent, if necessary — A documented report of the accident is an essential piece of evidence both for insurance and in any lawsuit that may arise as a result of the accident. Even if the officer claims a “no fault” accident or suggests a report isn’t needed, insist on a written report from responding law enforcement.

Get medical care, if needed, promptly after the accident — If you have been injured, seek immediate medical attention. If you think you may be injured, do not wait to see a doctor. If able and you would prefer not to ride in an ambulance, drive yourself or have a friend or family member drive you straight from the accident scene to the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility.

Call an attorney before speaking to any insurance company, including your own — Insurance companies are notorious for attempting to skip out on paying accident and injury-related claims. Do not attempt to negotiate with either insurance company yourself. Contact a skilled and experienced lawyer who will represent your best interests. If you have been injured, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better, so do so after you have received medical attention and law enforcement has been notified of the accident.

 

Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident case can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injury or loss before the state’s statute of limitations runs out. In Texas, the statute of limitations in personal injury claims is two years. The clock starts ticking at the time of the car accident (or other incident), and after two years, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit.

Tim O’Hare is an experienced Dallas car accident injury attorney who will represent you with integrity and ensure you receive all compensation due you for your injury. Contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation 
972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /February 16, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

What Role Does Social Media Play in Your Personal Injury Claim?

Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer,  Tim O’Hare

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You’ve been injured in a car accident and have made a personal injury claim for economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. You believe the accident has limited your quality and enjoyment of life and prohibits you from participating in activities you once loved.

One problem. Recent posts you’ve made to your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media platforms suggest otherwise.

Could your social media activity prevent you from winning your personal injury lawsuit? It could. And it has.

Consider, for example, the Canadian case where social media was used as evidence of the plaintiff’s emotional state. Fortini Kourtesis made a personal injury claim against a man who rear-ended her vehicle as she drove to work. She was 18 at the time of the accident and claimed the wreck resulted in her suffering chronic pain and loss of enjoyment of life. She could no longer dance or do other activities with her family she onced loved. The defense raised up a photo of her dancing post-accident and the judge ruled against her, claiming the photo was evidence that she “enjoys life.”

Since its inception, social media has been used as evidence in court cases for everything from personal injury and drunk driving to assault and murder. In fact, it’s almost standard procedure if you’re involved in a lawsuit for the other party to request all of your social media activity from a specified period of time. While some judges may not allow social media activity as evidence, many do. So how can you protect yourself?

First, consider that anything you post on social media after your accident may damage your claim, even if you believe it to be harmless. If you’ve been involved in an accident and are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, temporarily suspend your social media activity on all platforms. At the very least, ensure your accounts are set to private. Ask friends and family members to refrain from posting anything about you, including photos or text, after your accident and request that they also set their profiles to private. If someone does post about your situation, do not respond.

Any post, no matter how small, could be used to counter your claims of physical, emotional or mental suffering after an accident. Be aware of what you post online, and avoid posting any photos or videos of you and/or your vehicle post accident. Scour past posts and remove anything that could hurt your claim or anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to see should your social media accounts be entered as evidence.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident or injured on the job, you want one of Dallas’ best personal injury lawyers on your side. Contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today. Mr. O’Hare has been named one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas by DMagazine for 4 consecutive years. We are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure our clients receive all they are due following an accident or injury.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation

972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

By : Tim O'Hare /February 09, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

It’s Time to Crack Down on “Buzzed” Driving


By Dallas Car Accident Lawyer,  Tim O’Hare

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“Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

It’s a phrase we’ve all seen on billboards, signs and in ads. But if driving “buzzed” is no better than driving drunk, why aren’t lawmakers cracking down?

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is calling on lawmakers to do just that.

Even with current laws, more than 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities occur each year in the U.S. On average, since 1982, one-third of all traffic fatalities are due to alcohol-impaired driving, and sadly, nearly 40 percent of those deaths are victims other than the drunk driver.

In all 50 states, the legal BAC limit for driving after consuming alcohol is 0.08 percent, but the committee that conducted the study found that an individual’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle begins to deteriorate at lower levels of BAC, thereby increasing a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash.

Legal limits in the U.S. currently stand higher than nearly all countries in Europe, Australia and Japan. Studies from countries that have reduced their legal BAC limit to 0.05 percent have found the policy to be effective at reducing drunk driving accidents and fatalities.

The committee calls on lawmakers to reduce the legal limit in the U.S. from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. For a 160-pound man, that would equate to approximately two drinks in the span of an hour. The report also calls on federal and state governments to increase alcohol taxes — citing evidence that higher taxes reduces binge drinking and drunk driving deaths — and take steps to limit or reduce alcohol availability, including restrictions on the days and hours of alcohol sales.

What do you think? Should lawmakers lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold for DWI driving? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!

If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to drunk driving, don’t let the driver get away with it. Contact Dallas’ drunk driving lawyer, Tim O’Hare to go to bat for you and sue the driver who caused you so much pain and loss. We do our part to keep drunk drivers off the road and make them pay when they put the lives of innocent people at risk.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation

972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

By : Tim O'Hare /February 02, 2018 /Blog, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney /0 Comment Read More

Death by Swatting. Should There Be a Federal Law Against Swatting?

By Texas Christian Injury Lawyer,  Tim O’Hare

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On Dec. 28, 2017, 28-year-old Andrew Finch, a resident of Wichita, Kansas, was shot and killed by Wichita police. He was the unarmed, unintended victim of a “swatting” prank.

Swatting, by definition, is making a false police report, usually of a violent crime, with the intention of sending law enforcement to a specific location. According to the FBI, about 400 swatting cases occur annually. And certainly not all end in the death of an innocent victim, but that was not the case in Kansas. There are currently no federal laws on the books about swatting.

It all started in Los Angeles, when 25-year-old gamer, Tyler Barriss, allegedly placed a call to Wichita police reporting a shooting and hostage situation after a dispute over a small wager online in a “Call of Duty” video game tournament. Barriss called 911 claiming to have shot his father and to be holding his wife and young son at gunpoint. He then gave police dispatch an address — that address happened to be that of Andrew Finch, who was not involved in the gaming dispute.

When officers responded to the call, Finch stepped out of his home. No doubt confused and frightened at the situation, he allegedly lowered his arm toward his waistband and was shot by an officer who believed Finch was reaching for a weapon. Finch did not survive.

What is just punishment in swatting cases such as this? Can swatters be charged with murder? Should Barriss be charged in Finch’s death?

This is not Barriss’ first offense. He has a history of calling in false alarms to police, including a case in Canada that resulted in Calgary police surrounding a woman’s apartment with guns drawn. He also served jail time in Los Angeles for calling in two fake bomb threats in 2015. Investigators have connected him to about 20 other alleged swatting and hoax threat incidents.

Swatting cases can be challenging because intent isn’t always clear. While first-degree murder may not apply, arguably, second-degree murder might apply as the suspect willfully acts with indifference and disregard for human life.

In this case, the suspect has been criminally charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer for allegedly placing the hoax call.

Should there be a federal law against swatting? Should Barriss and other swatting suspects be held responsible for deaths that may occur? We want to know what you think. Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!

If you believe you have a case for a personal injury lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney.

Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation

972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020

 

By : Tim O'Hare /January 26, 2018 /Blog /0 Comment Read More
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