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San Antonio Law Blog

Drowsy driving: looking at the risks, the toll

All of our readers have probably, at some point, experienced drowsiness or fatigue while driving. Those who have experienced significant fatigue behind the wheel know that it is a very dangerous state in which to drive, and that it can quickly and easily lead to serious motor vehicle accidents.

The impact of fatigue on driving is significant enough that authorities say it can be compared to alcohol intoxication. The Governors Highway Safety Association provides the following estimates: 18 hours without sleep is like having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%; 21 hours without sleep is like a BAC of 0.08%; and 24 hours without sleep is like a BAC of 0.10%. 

Why driver distraction is becoming a crisis on our roads

Convenience is a high priority for everyone as we all try to fit ever more into each day. Often jobs require that more than one task be completed at the same time to maximize productivity. When this multi-tasking mindset extends to time behind the wheel it increases the number of accidents on our roads.

While cell phones take most of the blame for distracting drivers, texting or playing Pokemon Go! are not the only activities that take a driver's attention away from the task at hand. In a 2015, insurance company survey, drivers admitted to activities from trying to read a book to changing clothes while driving.

It is largely because of this that in 2014 more than 430,000 people suffered injuries in crashes when a driver was distracted. The number killed in these needless crashes topped 3000 across the country. These numbers are only increasing.

Patients: be aware of the risks involved in telemedicine care

In a previous post, we noted that there are certain risks for patients who make use of telehealth or telemedicine care. Proponents of telemedicine say it is a relatively low liability area of practice given that it isn’t going to commonly be used as a way of addressing complicated or high- risk conditions.

There may be some truth to these claims, but it is also true that errors can still occur in the practice of telemedicine. Physicians can still miss diagnoses or misdiagnose. They may still prescribe incorrect medications or make other errors regarding dosage. There may also be additional risk when receiving such services from a physician who doesn’t know the patient’s medical history and who has never seen the patient in person.

Why you need to take marijuana charges seriously

Laws regarding marijuana usage and possession are in a state of flux throughout the US. As many states loosen up their laws, it can be easy to slip into the mindset that if it is okay somewhere else, it is okay here too.

Marijuana is still illegal in Texas and penalties are strict. Even a charge for the possession of a small amount can carry significant consequences that could affect access to college loans, as well as housing and employment options.

Why does Texas lead the nation in fatal truck accidents?

The weight differential between big rigs and passenger vehicles is an obvious cause of serious injuries and death in these cases. Why our state leads the nation in fatal trucking accidents is more nuanced.

Recently, a jury decided that surviving family members of a young truck-accident victim deserved many millions of dollars in damages. The 42-year-old Fredricksburg man was killed near Burnet in February 2015. His minivan crashed into an 18-wheeler that had slid to a stop across State Highway 29 after its driver lost control and hit a guardrail on the icy roadway, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The victim left behind his wife and two daughters as well as his mother.

Bill seeks to expand practice of telemedicine in Texas

As readers may be aware, the growth of telemedicine in the United States is swift and holds promise for increasing access to quality medical care for those with limited access to brick and mortar facilities. Most states have recognized the benefits of telemedicine and taken steps to allow health care providers to offer direct to consumer telehealth care.

Texas is not among those states, much to the dismay of enterprising health care providers in the state. Earlier this week, though, representatives of the health care industry in Texas submitted a bill to the Texas legislature to address issues that have prevented the growth of telemedicine in Texas. 

Accident victims: take your medical and legal needs seriously

The aftermath of any motor vehicle accident has the potential to be completely chaotic. Cars are disabled and debris is scattered across the roadway, which quickly becomes congested with bystanders and rubberneckers. There are other people involved in the accident and witnesses gathering. If a crash is serious, police and ambulance will also be on the scene.

In all this activity, it can be easy to minimize or look past your own seemingly minor injuries in favor of giving police your statement and just getting back home. However, neglecting your own medical needs can have devastating consequences, particularly if you are suffering from a concussion or other type of brain injury.

Bad knee and hip replacements can lead to more surgery, pain

Our bodies are amazing creations. The bones, muscles, nerves and organs work together in harmony to keep us breathing, digesting and moving seamlessly. Sometimes, though, that harmony isn't so perfect. Conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, or serious injuries, can mean that we need to replace one of our original parts with a man-made medical device.

As our population ages, such replacement surgeries are becoming more and more common, particularly involving knees and hips, two of the most often used joints that also bear the majority of our weight. Many people who undergo total knee or hip replacements (or less invasive procedures like hip resurfacing or partial replacements) successfully recover from the surgery and go on to live active lifestyles with much less pain than before.

Can I refuse breath and blood testing during a DWI stop?

Many Texas residents will be celebrating Independence Day this weekend with adult beverages, and if you are one of them, you need to know your rights if you happen to be pulled over and suspected of drunk driving.

Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test in Texas

Generally speaking, you can refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Texas and the police officer does not have a search warrant. Most criminal defense lawyers will advise to always refuse testing unless you are certain that you are under the legal limit to drive (.08).

However, this is a complicated issue, especially on holiday weekends like the Fourth of July (see below).

What are the elements of burglary and criminal trespass in Texas?

When facing burglary charges in the state of Texas, the charged owes it to themselves to become familiar with the criminal law involved. This post provides a brief summary of the elements of the crime of burglary in the Lone Star State, as well as the elements of the related offense of criminal trespass.

Between the two crimes of burglary and criminal trespass, burglary is the more serious offense. In order to prove the crime of burglary, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant entered a private habitation or other building -- without the consent of the owner -- with the intent to commit an assault, theft or felony. The term burglary also encompasses the act of breaking into a coin-operated machine or entering a vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony.

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