Car Accidents in Brownsville, Harlingen & McAllen: What to Do

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Don’t let a car accident also wreck your life. Call The Barrera Law Firm.

Car accidents are never any fun for anyone involved. In addition to being scary, they usually result in damage to vehicles as well as slight to severe personal injury to those involved. When you are involved in a car accident, whether it is your fault or not, there can be much confusion and slight chaos, as you try to determine what to do next. Having a well thought out plan of what to do when an accident occurs can help you to make decisions on the fly, as long as you are not too injured to do so. Here is a basic list of what should be done when a car accident that results in personal injury occurs.

  1. Pull over out of the flow of traffic. When an accident occurs it may take you a minute to orient yourself. If you are able to move your car to the side of the road, out of the flow of traffic, do so immediately. This will help to reduce the risk of another accident occurring. If it is not possible for the car to be moved, then pick up your personal items as best you can and go to the side of the road. It is always possible that during the accident your gas tank may have been punctured, which could lead to an explosion. Moving away from the vehicle is the safest bet, but be sure to take your cell phone, keys and other important belongings.
  2. Call for help. Once you are safely out of the way of further harm, then call either 911 or the police if you have a local number. If you don’t have a cell phone, try to flag down another driver for help. The sooner the accident is reported, the faster officers will show up and get started on your accident report. If you have been injured, be sure and tell the operator so they can send an ambulance as well.
  3. Take out your car accident emergency kit. Many people like to keep a car accident emergency kit in their car’s glove compartment. This kit includes all the numbers you will need in an accident situation, such as the police, ambulance, your doctor and your insurance company. Other items can include a disposable camera for documenting the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles involved. It may also include first-aid supplies, such as bandages and gauze. If you have one of these, take it out with you when you exit the car.
  4. Exchange information with the other driver. Exchange car insurance information with the other driver. The police officer will determine who was at fault in the accident and use it to compile his official report. This information, along with the driver’s insurance information, will be needed when you make your insurance claim. You can never document too much information, as insurance companies often require detailed information in order to pay out on claims.

Steps to Simplifying a Divorce

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Divorce is never easy, but getting a good divorce attorney to assist can save time and heartache
Divorce is never going to be easy, no matter what you do. Despite your best efforts, it is an emotionally trying time that is made more complicated by finances and, if you have children, custody proceedings. While there is nothing you can do to take the pain away from divorce, there are steps you can take to cut down on its complexity:

  1. Find a good lawyer. This may seem like a no brainer, but it has to be said. If you choose to take the first rock-bottom priced lawyer you can find, then chances are you will be getting what you paid for. Look for a family law lawyer that has a good track record with divorces in the courtroom. Do some research, both online and by asking the advice of friends and family, especially those that have recently gone through a divorce. While a divorce lawyer is not cheap, choosing the right one is essential if you want to simplify your divorce, and subsequently your life. A good lawyer will take over your case and help you to avoid making poor decisions that could result in the divorce taking too long, or not ending in a way that is fair to your needs.
  2. Give your spouse back their possessions. Make your divorce easier by not having to decide who gets every single little thing. When your spouse moves out, give him or her back those items that are rightfully theirs. Try to divide up as much of the items in your house as is possible to avoid having to spend long hours debating who gets what. You have to decide what is worth fighting for. If it’s a family heirloom you have sentimental ties to, that’s one thing. But if you find yourself battling over a TV you can easily repurchase in the future, just let it go. It’s not worth the headache.
  3. Get your finances in order. When you sit down to talk to your lawyer, be prepared by giving them a full portfolio of your assets and debts, especially those that you hold jointly with your soon to be ex-spouse. You want to make sure that you are not stuck with debt in your name that should be shared with your ex. Having your finances in order will assist your lawyer in being able to create a plan of action for your divorce. The quicker they are able to figure out a settlement, the sooner you will be able to move on with your life.
  4. Be prepared to give. In the end, fighting over every little detail of a divorce will only prolong the agony. Look over your shared assets and decide what is important to you and what you are willing to give up. Going to the bargaining table with the intent of being able to give up a few possessions in order to make the proceedings simpler is sure to save time and heartache. Remember, possessions are just things, and can always be replaced. Your time, happiness and emotional stability are much more valuable in the long run.

Criminal Law and Your Constitutional Rights

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Our attorneys know your rights. Call The Barrera Law Firm.
One of the areas of law The Barrera Law Firm participates in is criminal law, more appropriately called constitutional law. When one is accused of a crime, when one is called before a court to answer up on a crime, people need to know they have rights, and those rights come from the Constitution and those rights come from under the law themselves. Individuals will often feel the full force and burden of the state or federal government when they are accused of a federal crime. Often, people aren’t even aware they are committing a crime. Sometimes people are inaccurately or inappropriately accused of crimes. Either way, they should immediately seek the assistance of an attorney to fight for their rights, to ensure that all avenues are explored and that the government meets its burden to provide evidence on every allegation they bring forth.

When you hire an attorney you should ensure that attorney cares about your case. You should ensure that attorney will sit down with you and listen to all your needs and concerns, and that the attorney is there for you. An important aspect of choosing an attorney is being able to feel comfortable with communicating to that attorney and feeling like that attorney is comfortable in communicating to you. Through communication you can achieve quite a bit and it is important that an attorney especially cares about you and he cares about your case.

Wrongful Death: What is it and Why Seeking an Attorney is Vital

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If someone you know has died wrongfully, call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation

An area that our law firm services is the area of wrongful death. Wrongful death is the unfortunate occasion where someone dies because of the negligence of another. Whether it happened at work, whether it happened on their way to work or whether it happened in some other unfortunate circumstance, anytime somebody dies because of the negligence of another that is wrongful in Texas, our firm will advise whether there is a wrongful death case that we can assist you with. People, families, individuals who have any relation to the deceased person may be included in the recovery. The estate of that person can make a claim on the insurance company, on the individual themselves, for their actions. They will have to take responsibility for their actions and if possible, answer in the court of law.

The type of damages that are available in wrongful death can be anywhere from punitive damages to economic damages to compensatory damages. Anything that the person should have been entitled to or could have been entitled to may be entered upon this, and if there is gross negligence or acts that are highly reckless the court can also consider additional damages to compensate for as well.

If wrongful death occurs when a person is at work, the area where the person is at work may be liable for damages. It is important to see an attorney regarding what kinds of damages are available to the estate of that deceased person. It is in fact necessary for that person to move immediately in order to preserve any evidence that is associated with wrongful death. Often and occasionally, unfortunately, some evidence can be spoiled or can be not preserved and not available for later action. If you get an attorney involved quickly, that attorney can put that organization on notice and if the court decides that the entity was put on notice then that organization cannot just use the excuse conveniently in court that the evidence isn’t available. The jury may have to assume the worst possible scenario in the absence of that evidence.

Auto Accidents and Legal Representation

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Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation following a car accident.
If you’re in an auto collision and the other person involved in that car wreck does not have insurance your options are not completely exhausted. You have other options available to you. Your own policy may have provisions included in it which will allow you to recover. An insurance contract is an agreement between you and an insurance company. You pay into it every month, or every six months or every year and you are expected to get something in exchange or in return for what you gave them. They, on the other hand, will be responsible for providing you what has been promised. In this case, you will have various things in your policy that may be included such as Personal Injury Protection, Under-insured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist. These aspects protect you when you are in an auto accident. They will provide you money that can be advanced toward hospital expenses or towards other expenses that are associated with the collision.

One thing to keep in mind is that an insurance adjuster is an individual who works for the insurance company. They do not work for you. They represent an insurance company which is a business, and that business is set up to be as profitable as possible. When you are involved in a collision, that insurance adjuster is not looking at your best interests alone. They are looking at the interests of the insurance company. Seeing an attorney is absolutely imperative when you’re in a collision because an attorney will be looking at your best interests and insuring that every possible form of recovery is granted on your end. The best thing to do before making any kind of recorded statement or communicating with an insurance adjuster is call an attorney. Call an attorney to get signed up to represent you so that insurance adjuster will have to go through that attorney who is equally or better matched against that insurance adjuster and their attorneys to represent your best interests.

Very often an insurance adjuster will try and take advantage of an individual’s uninformed position in an auto collision and offer a sum of money, which seems very tempting at the time. They’ll bring you a check, you’ll sign for it, you’ll have money in the bank. However, what happens when you accept that check, well the insurance company has essentially washed their hands of any future medical expenses you may have, or complications associated with your claim or new and relevant information about your claim that may come up about your auto collision that will be more expensive for you. And in doing so, your business is concluded with that insurance company. However, if you inform your attorney and ask them to represent you in your best interest they will ensure that all possibilities are explored and that you get the best possible situation for you, not the insurance company.

Expunge or Non Disclose; What’s the Difference?

In Texas, people sometimes confuse the law on whether they qualify to expunge an arrest record and record of prosecution.  Some people will request an expunction, although they pleaded guilty. If you pleaded guilty, most likely, you do not qualify for an expunction. Pre Trial Diversion Program completions may qualify, depending on what their Pre Trial Diversion Contract says. Also, depending on the method of dismissal, a waiting period may apply to expunge your criminal case as well.  Another important distinction is whether you received a deferred ajudication when you case was dismissed. If you did, and your offense is a Class B Misdemeanor or higher, than you likely do not qualify for an expunction and you would instead have to get an Order of Non Disclosure.

What’s the difference between the two?

The difference is an expunction is an order to destroy all records of arrest and prosecution and a non disclosure basically orders Texas DPS and other governmental agencies to not disclose the record of arrest and prosecution to certain private entities only.

 

For more information, please schedule a free consultation with Attorney Ricardo A. Barrera at (956) 428 2822.

 

Enforcement of Summer Possession in Texas Family Law

The Texas Family Code Standard Possession Order is one of the most misunderstood and controversial areas of visitation in Texas. It is broken down into two very different versions that are based on whether the parents live more than 100 miles from each other, or less than 100 miles from each other.

The Standard Possession Order summer visitation also may change up, depending on whether the parent entitled to summer possession designates dates for visitation prior to April 1st, that are different than the standard dates that begin on June 15 (if you are over 100 miles from where your children reside) and July 1 (if you are less than 100 miles from where your children reside). Also, the custodial parent can designates one weekend in between the 30 days visitation (if less than 100 miles) or the custodial parent may designate two weekends in between the 42 days (if more than 100 miles).

Here are some simple tips in dealing with summer possession:

1) Make sure and notify the other party three different ways, such as email, text, and certified letter of the pick up of the children (even if the court order clearly states it).

2) Keep an agenda over the summer of activities for the children that focus on bonding, developing the children’s education, and having fun.

3) Provide generous electronic access to the other parent, so the children feel comfortable, so long as it at a time that does not interfere with activities.

4) Order education apps or computer programs with lessons and tracking ability to work on the weakest subjects that child has problems with, according to their most recent report cards, You can always ask the teachers for recommendations.

For further information on how one can make sure their visitation rights are enforced, made up, or the other party is penalized for not providing court ordered visitation without a legitimate excuse, call Ricardo A. Barrera with the The Barrera Law Firm, PC at (956)428-2822 for help.

Making a Strong Criminal Defense Strategy

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Help justice fall in your favor. Call The Barrera Law Firm for a free consultation.
Ending up on the wrong end of the law, whether you are guilty of an actual crime or not, is no laughing matter. It is a serious situation that deserves a your utmost attention. Building a strong criminal defense strategy is important as it is all that stands between you and your freedom and heavy fines. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your defense strategy as you want to give yourself plenty of time to prepare so your defense will go smoothly when you finally have your day in court.

  1. Choose your criminal defense team wisely. Always research at least three criminal defense lawyers before you decide on one. Choose one that has had experience with your specific type of situation. You may want to ask friends and family if they have had any experience with criminal defense lawyers. If you know of anyone who has had a case like yours and won, make sure you give their lawyer a try. A criminal defense team that is familiar with your type of case will better your chances of getting a verdict that falls in your favor.
  2. Discuss your defense options. Talk to your lawyer about your defense options. There are generally three versions of events that defendants of criminal defense cases have. The three options are a confession, in which you admit your guilt, a complete denial, in which you deny your part in the crime, and an admit and explain story, in which you admit to part of the story but not all of it.
  3. Disclose any and all details of your case to your criminal defense team. It is important to give your criminal defense team all of the details concerning your story. They need to know if there is any chance of surprise evidence or witnesses coming forward for the prosecutor. When your lawyer knows the whole story, they can prepare your defense around it.
  4. Decide on a strategy and then stick with your story. Once you and your criminal defense team have decided on a defense strategy, you will need to come up with a solid story. Practice your story day and night. Go over every detail until you know it by heart. Its easy to get scared and confused once you get up on the witness stand to be interrogated by the prosecutor. Having your side of the story completely planned and ready to go will help take the edge off so you wont’ appear so nervous to the jury when you are in the hot seat.
  5. Look professional when you show up in court. When you show up in court, make sure you look your best. For men, you should wear either a suit or at least a button down shirt and slacks. Try to cover, or minimize, tattoos and jewelry. Women should look professional as well, in either a pants suit or dress. Looking your best for court shows that you are serious. Since this will be the first impression the jury has of you, make sure it is a good one as they will be deciding your fate.

Divorce: Why You Need Good Representation

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If separation is the solution, call The Barrera Law Firm for a divorce legal consultation
When a marriage has reached a point where the only solution to problems are separation, its time to talk about divorce. When you are married, it is often the case that finances become intertwined. A divorce is the process of legally separating a couple’s finances in a way that is, hopefully, fair to both parties. While in a perfect world people would be able to do this simply between themselves, without the assistance of a lawyer and judge, most of the time the emotions that are a natural part of divorce prevent this from being a possibility. A good family lawyer, specializing in divorce, is a critical part of obtaining a fair settlement from a divorce proceeding.

  1. Calm and clear guidance. A good divorce lawyer will give you calm and clear guidance during your divorce. While your emotional state may prompt you to irrational and hasty decisions, the lawyer, who is emotionally neutral, will be able to guide you to make more productive choices.
  2. They know the way the system works. Going through a divorce is a complex task. There are many laws, statutes, and protocols that must be followed. While this may be your first divorce, it is one of many for a good divorce lawyer. This experience with divorces and having good divorce representation at your side will help you to navigate the waters of the divorce system and steer you clear to the other side with as little trouble as possible.
  3. Better chance of child custody going your way. When a divorce involves children, things can get even trickier. Choose your divorce lawyer very carefully if you will be fighting for custody of your children. Make sure that the lawyer you choose has had good success in the past with child custody suits.
  4. Will act as a mediator between you and your spouse. While you and your spouse may have trouble talking rationally about how to divide up your common estate items, a lawyer has no emotional ties to either of you and can act as a neutral mediator between you and your husband. For this reason, you want to make sure the divorce representation you choose is someone you feel comfortable with and who has a history of getting his clients fair divorce settlement.
  5. Why would you want anything less than great legal representation? A divorce can be one of the most challenging, and life changing, events in your life. Depending on how your divorce is settled, you could end up with, or without, your property, children and financial security. Why wouldn’t you want the best possible divorce representation to guide you during this difficult time? Choosing the least expensive divorce lawyer could end up costing you way more than you bargained for in the end, so do your research and make sure you choose a good one.

Having the best divorce representation possible is vital to getting a fair divorce settlement. With the right lawyer at your side, your divorce will proceed much more smoothly and result in a much quicker, and more amiable, split with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Types of Wills

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The Barrera Law Firm can assist you with creating a will
No one likes to think about what will happen when death comes to them. However, legal planning is necessary so that in this event friends and family members will be able to make sure your wishes are followed. There are several types of wills that can be created, and depending on your financial portfolio and the depth to which you want to control how your estate is treated at the time of your death.

Wills

A will, as defined by Law, is a legal declaration in which a person, or a couple, names those they wish to transfer their property to at the time of their death. Wills can be written by an individual as long as they are over the age of majority and of sound mind. The age of majority is defined as over the age of 18 in America. Sound mind simply means that a person is rational when they create the will, or not clinically defined as insane or incompetent. Typically, however, an attorney is used to create a will. There are several laws that exist, different from state to state, that define rules regarding wills. For example, in community property state, a surviving spouse cannot be left out of a will. Using an attorney to create a will ensures that it is completely legal and that upon your death, your wishes will be carried out just as you dictate.

Living Wills

Living wills are those that a person creates to make known their wishes regarding life support and medical treatments in the case that they are left incapacitated and unable to make their wishes known. If you are involved in an automobile accident that leaves you in a coma and hooked up to life support, if you do not have a living will, your relatives will have to make the decision of whether to leave you hooked up to life support indefinitely or allow you to pass on without it. This can be an emotionally devastating decision for family members to make, and knowing your wishes through a living will makes the decision simpler and ensures your wishes are followed even though you cannot express them physically at the time.

Living Trusts

A living trust is actually a mechanism that is used to hold and distribute a persons assets in order to avoid probate. A probate is a function of wills that involves a third party inventorying and appraising the property, and they paying debts and taxes accrued before distributing what is left over from the estate to the surviving family members. A living trust allows the entire state to be transferred to your surviving family at the time of your death without having to use a probate.

Advanced Planning

Advanced planning is the creation of a course of action, which you set down in legal form, in the case that you become ill and unable to plan for yourself. Some of the areas covered under advanced planning include estate tax planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, planning for disabled or problem beneficiaries and creating a family or charitable legacy.

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