Daniel Stark Law Blog

Daniel Stark Movie Night!

by Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers | February 22nd, 2017
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BECAUSE HE’S BATMAN!

Once a month Daniel Stark employees get together for a movie night to see a new release at the movies. Naturally, everyone has opinions when it comes to movies, and below are the reviews of The Lego Batman Movie!

Lego Batman is the anticipated follow up to the 2014 smash hit “The Lego Movie.” It follows the Lego Movie’s version of the caped crusader through the City of Gotham as he battles his traditional villains, including some of the little known Batman villains of the past. While Bruce Wayne is the social playboy of Gotham, Batman is secluded and refuses to work closely with anyone. However, when Bruce Wayne accidentally adopts a young Richard Grayson, his world becomes turned upside down, and he starts to learn the value of working with others.

From the opening sequence, Lego Batman’s tone becomes clear. It is a movie that kids will love because the action is fast paced, and for being Lego bricks, the way the action sequences play out are quite entertaining. However, this version of the Warner Bros.’ property is not self-enclosed. There is great humor about the Batman movies of the past (going all the way back to Adam West) and even some humor about the studio itself. This self-referential humor keeps adults in the theater entertained, as well as some well-placed jokes that will probably fly over your kids heads. Not to mention, some sweet tunes written by the Lego Dark Knight himself.

Overall, our employees at Daniel Stark very much enjoyed this movie, most giving it a 4/5 rating, with a couple of 5/5 ratings. With high ratings from our employees, and The Lego Batman Movie currently the second highest rated Batman movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, your friends at Daniel Stark certainly recommend it!

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3 Questions Every Accident Victim Should Ask Themselves

by Cary Graham | February 21st, 2017
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At Daniel Stark, we get a lot of calls every year from Texas accident victims wanting answers to their injury claim questions. Although these conversations begin in different ways, they often end up at the same question: Do I have a case? Although that questions may seem simple, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. There are a number of factors to consider, many of which you can consider before you even give us a call.

Although every case is different, if you can answer the following three questions in the affirmative, then you may have a personal injury case.

  1. Was someone else at fault for your accident? If you were the at-fault party in your accident, you probably don’t have much of a claim against the other driver. However, if the accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence, then you may have an injury claim.
  2. Did you sustain injuries in the accident? It seems obvious that an injury claim would require injuries, but it’s still a key factor to consider when determining whether or not you have a case.
  3. Do you expect you will need medical attention or incur other expenses due to your injuries? The goal of an injury claim is to recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. If you expect to have such expenses, you may have an injury claim.

Although the above three questions are good initial qualifiers for accident victims, we still strongly recommend you speak with a Texas personal injury attorney before making any decisions involving your injury claim. It’s worth a call to be able to take your next steps with confidence.

What You Need to Know About Dog Bites

by Michael Loh | February 15th, 2017
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How many times have you witnessed a young child walk up to a dog and start petting it? The dog is happy, the child is happy, and everyone’s day just got a bit brighter. But that’s not how every interaction ends. Far too common have I seen the results of an encounter with a dog go wrong.

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The Center of Disease Control conducted a study in 2001 and found that dog bites occur every 75 seconds in the United States. This results in over 1,000 people each day needing emergency medical care to treat these injuries. 64.9% of these victims are children under the age of 4. The victims of severe dog attacks often suffer acute damage requiring multiple procedures including reconstructive surgery, tissue expansion, and scar diminishment.

Texas Dog Bite Law

Texas is a one bite rule state. Many people incorrectly assume that the one bite rule means that all dogs get a “free bite.” This is wrong. The rule to recover damages for a dog bite, an injured person must show that: 1) the dog’s owner knew the dog had bitten someone before or had acted aggressively in the past, or 2) the dog’s owner was negligent in controlling the dog or preventing the bite from occurring, and that negligence caused the person’s injuries.

The rule does provide significant protection for dog owners when the dog bites someone for the first time, but allows an alternative method to hold the dog owner responsible. If the owner had knowledge that the dog acted aggressively in the past, the owner can still be held responsible for damage the dog inflicted even if it was the first time the dog bit someone.

Other States

Many other states follow strict liability laws. This means a dog’s owner does not have to be aware the dog was dangerous, nor does the owner have to act negligent when handling the dog to be held liable for any damage. Unfortunately, Texas does not follow this theory of liability.

It is important to remember that all dogs are capable of biting or inflicting injury to a person. Texas does not list a specific breed of dog as dangerous, but insurers often charge higher premiums for Pit bull-type breeds, Boxers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers.

When you see a dog that is unfamiliar to you, be aware that the dog does not know you. You should proceed with caution when approaching any dog for the first time.  If the dog’s owner is present, always ask the owner before making physical contact with the dog.

The At-Fault Driver May Already Have a Lawyer

by Cary Graham | February 14th, 2017
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We’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about the financial implications of a serious car accident. From the medical bills to lost wages, even minor injuries sustained in a crash can result in a huge financial blow to your family. The crux of the dilemma is this: You need a certain amount of money to fully recover from your accident, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be liable for that amount. Getting them to pay you what’s fair, however, can be extremely difficult on your own.

That’s why we recommend calling an attorney immediately following your accident for the reasons above and for another important reason you may not be aware of. The at-fault driver will more than likely have an attorney representing their best interests assigned to them by their insurance company. Many insurance policies come with built-in legal representation in the event you cause an accident. The reason for this is the insurance company wants to pay as little as possible for injury claims against their policyholders. Makes senses. It’s just good business.

However, don’t expect your insurance company to do the same. As the accident victim, your insurance company isn’t necessarily responsible for your injuries, which means they have no skin in the game. If you want legal help in getting compensation for your injuries, you have to go out and get a lawyer yourself. In our opinion, the sooner you do so, the better.

Bait and Switch Life Insurance

by Cary Graham | February 7th, 2017
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Life insurance is never a bad idea. Of course you want shop around for the best rates and benefits, but the idea and motivations behind securing a life insurance policy are always solid. Like all of us, you want to provide for your family while you’re here and when you’re gone, and a life insurance policy enables you to do both. Unfortunately, not all life insurance companies are created equal—a truth many Texas families have found out the hard way.

In recent years, the attorneys at Daniel Stark have been investigating a new form of fraud that is impacting people in our community. It’s called life insurance company fraud, and here’s how it works. You secure a life insurance policy from what you think is a reputable company. You agree to pay a certain amount in premiums every year, which you do without fail. Then one day, you receive a notice that your premiums are going up, leaving you with one of two options. Either you pay the inflated premiums for the exact same policy and benefits, or you cancel the policy, forfeiting any future benefits the policy guaranteed. You ever heard the term “bait and switch?” Well, that’s exactly what this is.

Thankfully there is something you can do about it. Call an attorney for help. At Daniel Stark, we know your rights as a policyholder, and we’ll do everything within our power to make sure the insurance company lives up to their end of the bargain. If you’ve been the victim of life insurance company fraud, don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. You have options, and we’d be happy to help you figure out your next steps.

February Charity of the Month

by Ashley Royal | February 3rd, 2017
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We are honored to announce that our February Charity of the Month is the Youth Connection of Waco!

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The Youth Connection of Waco was established in 1988 and has worked in McLennan County and surrounding communities to help young people overcome obstacle and influence those that are at risk.  All of the programs that the Youth Connection brings are through outlets such as schools, churches and youth groups throughout the community. The program helps preteen through 19 years of age gain life skills and help them reach their goals.  Annually, the Youth Connection hosts the Down on the Bayou, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization.  I am a member of the board of directors for the Youth Connection and work closely with my Executive Director to move things forward and get the Youth Connection out there, so that we can reach more kids. I have been honored to be named the Chair of the 2017 Down on the Bayou fundraiser and I am very excited about it. I am determined to make it the BEST one yet. The Youth Connection means a lot to because of the children we reach. These days teen pregnancy rates are high, kids are not graduating from school and so on. I believe in being a part of this movement where I can stand in the gap. I want to do all we can to make sure youngsters don’t make the same mistakes I did. I believe that I am proof that you can do and be anything you want regardless of where you come from with some guidance and support.  The Youth Connection allows me to mentor, bring more children in from off the streets and be the vessel to the youth that the Lord has called me to be.

4 Types of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

by Cary Graham | January 31st, 2017
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We all want the best for our aging loved ones. It’s a central part of our humanity. We take care of our own and protect those who can’t protect themselves. When we make the decision to place a loved one into an assisted care facility, we do so to ensure they receive the around-the-clock attention they need. And we assume the facility will provide that care with the dignity and respect our aging loved one deserves. Unfortunately, some facilities fail to deliver on their responsibilities, putting our loved ones at risk.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a real problem in Texas, and spotting it as a visitor can be difficult. Whether the signs are too subtle or your loved one feels threatened and therefore remains silent, nursing home neglect often goes undetected for months, even years. In the worst cases, that neglect or abuse can lead to serious injury and even death.

Here are 4 types of abuse or neglect you should look out for when visiting your aging loved one:

Passive or Active Neglect—Malnourishment, chronic physical and/or psychological health problems, dehydration, bed sores, or simply a lack of personal care

Physical Abuse—Physical trauma, restraint trauma, or repeated injuries (mostly unexplained or inconsistently explained).

Psychological Abuse—Uncertainty, depression, anxiety, as well as behavioral signs such as trembling, cowering, evasiveness, and agitation.

Sexual Abuse—Trauma to the genital area, venereal disease, or indicators common to psychological abuse.

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s important that you get them out of the situation as quickly as possible. An experienced Texas nursing home abuse attorney can help you make those arrangements, as well as help you understand your loved one’s rights moving forward.

The one thing you don’t want to do is wait to act. Your loved one’s life might depend on what you do next.

Don’t Forget to Wear Pants

by Cary Graham | January 24th, 2017
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You ever have those dreams where you’re at work, the mall, or somewhere else familiar when you realize you forgot to wear pants? It’s a pretty common dream that is usually a result of your subconscious expressing feelings of anxiety around being unprepared for something. We imagine that’s the same kind of feeling accident victims who choose to go it alone after an accident feel when dealing with the insurance company. Unprepared and vulnerable.

There’s good reason why they do. Trying to settle your own injury claim for the proper amount of money is difficult. It takes years of experience to understand what an injury claim is worth, let alone negotiate with a billion-dollar insurance company for that amount—a reality many accident victims find out too late.

Insurance companies are like most businesses. They are programmed to look out for their own best interests. In the case of your injury claim, their best interests lie in paying you as little as possible for your injuries, not necessarily what your claim is worth. Convincing them otherwise is kind of like trying to explain why you’re not wearing pants in the Food Court to Mall Security. It’s not an easy sale.

That’s why you should consider seeking legal counsel when dealing with any type of injury claim. At Daniel Stark, we offer free consultations so you can get the answers you need without spending one dime of your own money. And if we take your case, you’ll get our No Fee Guarantee®, which states that we work for free unless we win your case.

Helmet Laws and Texas Motorcycle Accidents

by Cary Graham | January 17th, 2017
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It’s winter in Texas, which means we’ll simply throw on a couple extra layers and carry on with our lives. Unlike other states, there’s really not an off-season for motorcyclists in Texas. We ride pretty much year round. Although we may have a stretch of inclement weather here and there, it’s not enough to warrant putting our motorcycles away for months on end. It’s just one of the perks of living in the Lone Star State.

Another perk for some motorcyclists is the fact that there’s no helmet law in Texas for riders over 21. If you’ve completed a motorcycle safety course or have sufficient accident medical benefits, you’re free and clear to ride without any protective headgear. However, we strongly suggest that you do. As a personal injury firm that handles motorcycle crashes, we know firsthand the physical damage that can be done to a rider who isn’t wearing a helmet. Your chances of surviving a serious crash drop dramatically without a DOT-approved helmet, and to us, it’s simply not worth the risk.

At Daniel Stark, we work tirelessly to protect the rights of Texas accident victims, and we fully appreciate your right as a rider to go without a helmet. But it’s important to remember that you also have the right to wear a helmet that could save your life in the event of an accident. As your trusted law firm, we’ll be here for you either way in the event of an accident, and we’ll fight to protect your rights as an accident victim, but we hope we never have to.

The Austin motorcycle accident attorneys at Daniel Stark encourage you to be safe out on the road. Wear a helmet. It might just save your life.

SSD Benefits: One Mistake Can Lead to a Denial

by Cary Graham | January 10th, 2017
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The framework for Social Security Disability (SSD) was signed into law decades ago as an amendment to the revolutionary Social Security Act of 1935. Although our government is an imperfect institution, this was an instance when they got things right. Extending Social Security benefits to the disabled Americans enabled them to establish themselves in a society that often overlooked them. Although SSD benefit checks have never made anyone rich, they have helped hundreds of thousands live healthier, more productive lives in spite of their disabilities.

However, getting SSD benefits isn’t as simple as filling out a form and mailing it in. The application process can be complex and confusing for folks who don’t know how the system works. There are specific requirements that must be met in order to be considered for SSD benefits, and if you fail to properly document just one of those requirements, chances are you’ll be denied. In fact, more than two-thirds of all applications are initially denied. Believe us when we say, there’s nothing more discouraging than receiving that denial notice.

Thankfully, there’s something you can do to greatly increase your chances of securing benefits, and that’s calling a lawyer. An experienced Texas Social Security Disability attorney knows the system and the application process well, and can give you the best chance of securing benefits in your appeal. If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability benefits, a lawyer may be able to help. At Daniel Stark, we’ll be happy to review your application for free and steer you in the right direction for securing benefits.