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Friday, June 19, 2020

U.S. Roadways More Lethal During Pandemic

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As communities across Texas and the rest of the United States continue to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, more people are venturing out of their homes and onto the roadways. After being cooped up inside for weeks, a short road trip sounds like a treat. However, recent statistics may make you think again. Despite the reduced numbers of cars on the road during pandemic shutdowns, the traffic fatality rate shot up, according to a report in The Washington Post.

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During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, city streets and interstate highways showed noticeable shifts in traffic volume and patterns as stay-at-home orders began to take effect:

  • Statewide, Texas traffic volume was down almost 30%, and The Dallas Morning News reports that city traffic was about 20% lower during the first week of May 2020 than an average week in late February of the same year.
  • Between March 28 and April 3, Austin experienced a 49% drop in traffic volume, San Antonio saw a 43% decrease, and Fort Worth had a 42% drop.

At the same time, highway authorities have reported an increase in speeding and reckless driving nationwide. So, despite significant shifts in traffic patterns, Texas saw a 6% increase in roadway deaths within the first three months of 2020.

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State police agencies and highway patrol departments believe lighter traffic tempts some to drive faster. Empty highways allow irresponsible drivers to push their vehicles to the limit. Given this increase in speeding and reckless driving behavior, it is no surprise that there has been a death rate increase on Texas roadways.
Speeding is a major factor in many car accidents. Speeding cars require more time to stop. If the driver fails to react in time, a collision can result. The faster the car’s speed, the higher the risk of a driver losing control and causing a rollover accident. In addition, safety features such as airbags may not function as designed during a high-speed crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that speeding contributes to 26% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Need Legal Advice After a Crash? Contact Our Law Firm Now

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin have been fighting to protect the rights of car accident victims throughout Texas for more than 30 years. We believe injury victims deserve to be fairly compensated for their losses. Innocent crash victims should not face the financial consequences of someone else’s negligent or reckless driving.

Every day, we work to hold negligent drivers and insurance companies accountable. The work we do for you after a serious crash can make a powerful difference in your life for years to come.

Our experienced Texas car accident lawyers will provide compassionate, personalized service to help you get your life back on track after a serious crash. Do not give up hope; we can help. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us walk you through your next steps.

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Friday, May 1, 2020

COVID-19 Empties Streets, Making Room for Driver Recklessness

Across Texas and throughout the United States, most people are hunkering down in their homes, practicing social distancing, and only getting in their vehicles for essentials such as running to the grocery store or going to work. The lack of traffic on the roads has some predicting there will be a drop in crash statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic, as fewer vehicles should automatically translate to fewer collisions.

In fact, more than a dozen car insurance companies are offering COVID-19 rebate programs to return a portion of premium payments because they expect customers to drive less — and therefore reduce their risk of accidents — while under stay-at-home orders, the Houston Chronicle recently reported.

Still, it is important to understand that just because the number of accidents may drop with the volume of traffic, the rate of crashes may not follow suit. With the streets almost empty, some drivers are taking the shut-down as a green light to test their fast and furious side.

“Evidence is beginning to emerge that absent traffic jams during the coronavirus crisis, many drivers are getting more reckless. And because speed is the number one predictor of crash severity, the proportion of people dying per collision is on the rise in many communities,” Streets Blog reports.

Understanding the Impact of Speeding

On an open road, it may seem like speeding is no big deal. The truth is: The faster a driver goes, the less time he or she has to react and brake if there’s an emergency or hazard in the road, and the more severe the impact is in a crash.

Automotive Fleet puts the dangers of speeding into perspective:

  • Getting into a crash at 65 mph results in the same force of impact as driving off the top of a 12-story building.
  • When you increase your speed from 25 mph to 35 mph, the force of impact in a crash almost doubles.
  • When you increase your speed from 25 mph to 50 mph, the force of impact in a crash is four times as violent.

Drivers who choose to speed pose a risk to everyone on the road, and they should be held accountable for the damage they cause to innocent victims.

Hurt in a Crash During COVID-19? Get the Legal Advice You Need

Staying safe is on everyone’s mind these days, and no one needs the added stress of figuring out how to cope with injuries after a car accident. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, our attorneys work to take the pressure off you during this difficult time. We can evaluate your case for free over the phone or meet with you in a video conference to explain your legal rights. Our legal team will do all the legwork in your case, including dealing with the insurance companies, so you can focus on your health.

Please call our law firm or contact us online today to get started on your claim. There are no upfront charges, and you only pay us if we win money for you.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

FDA Orders Heartburn Medication Zantac and Generic Versions Pulled from Market

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered drug makers to pull the popular heartburn medication Zantac and other prescription and over-the-counter versions of the drug ranitidine off the market immediately. The FDA warns that the medication contains a “probable” cancer-causing contaminant that poses an unacceptable risk to patients.

Last year, the FDA had warned that the medication was contaminated with low levels of a chemical called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, at the time, the FDA considered the levels of contamination too low to cause harm. After further study, though, the administration determined the contamination levels increase over time, particularly when the medication is stored at higher than room temperature.

“Low levels of NDMA are commonly ingested in the diet, for example NDMA is present in foods and in water. These low levels would not be expected to lead to an increase in the risk of cancer,” the FDA stated. “However, sustained higher levels of exposure may increase the risk of cancer in humans.”

What Should You Do If You Are Taking Zantac?

The FDA is asking consumers who are using the drug to treat heartburn, stomach acid, or ulcers to stop taking it immediately. The agency suggests that consumers who are taking the over-the-counter version of the medication switch to another approved product for their condition. People who are taking a prescription ranitidine should talk with their doctor as soon as possible about alternative medications.

What to Do If You Have Suffered Illness Possibly Related to Zantac Contamination

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or experienced other severe side effects that you believe could be related to Zantac, seek legal advice immediately. If you have leftover medication, save it along with the packaging it came in, as that could be used as evidence in your case. Also save any records, receipts, and other paperwork related to your diagnosis and treatment.

Through a product liability claim, you may be entitled to seek payment for your:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future treatment needs
  • Lost income if you are missing work due to your illness
  • Reduced earning capacity for the future
  • Pain and suffering

Talk to Our Zantac Lawyer About Your Legal Rights

We should be able to trust that the medications we take are safe ─ that they will make us better, not worse. Unfortunately, drug makers don’t always look out for consumers like they should. Medication contamination poses a serious threat to consumers across the United States. Those who are diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses due to this contamination deserve justice.

Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin to speak with a knowledgeable product liability attorney about your case. We will listen to your story and explain your legal options in a free, no-obligation consultation. There are no fees for us to begin work on your claim, and you do not pay us unless we recover money for you.

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Adding Obstacles Could Reduce Left-Turn Crashes Involving Pedestrians

We’ve all seen it. Left-turning drivers cutting diagonally through intersections without any regard for the pedestrians who are trying to cross safely. How could we prevent these types of serious accidents? A new study suggests that “centerline hardening” could be a solution.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study showed that the use of bollards and rubber curbs along the center lines of lanes forced drivers at intersections to take left turns more slowly and at more of a right angle, rather than trying to cut across diagonally. The infrastructure changes introduced in Washington, D.C., prompted a significant reduction in the number of times left-turning drivers suddenly hit the brakes or swerved, as well as reduced the number of instances where pedestrians had to rush to get out of the way of vehicles. Overall, these crash-avoidance maneuvers were reduced by 70 percent with the introduction of the obstacles added to centerlines, the study showed.

“This study suggests that simple infrastructure changes can deliver big benefits,” IIHS Senior Research Transportation Engineer Wen Hu says. “Communities looking for ways to make pedestrians safer should add centerline hardening to their toolbox.”

What Is Centerline Hardening?

The IIHS study defines centerline hardening as “a technique to make intersections safer for pedestrians by encouraging drivers to make left turns at slower speeds. Bollards and rubber curbs are used to block the diagonal path through the intersection.”

Bollards are short posts that are bolted or otherwise secured to the road to provide visual guidance to drivers. They are sturdy but oftentimes flexible to reduce damage in case a vehicle strikes them. Rubber curbs are simply raised curbs placed in the centerline of lanes at intersections as a reminder for drivers to stay in the correct lane when turning.

What the Pedestrian Accident Statistics Show

Across the United States, pedestrian fatalities jumped 53 percent from 2009 to 2018, the IIHS noted. More than half of all crashes involving pedestrians in 2018 happened at intersections. Left-turn accidents in particular accounted for almost a third of all intersection crashes involving pedestrians in 2018.

In the IIHS study, Hu collected data from 10 intersections in Washington, D.C., for two months before and three months after the centerline infrastructure measures were put in place. She compared the data collected against numbers from eight control sites where no centerline safety features were implemented.

The study found that using the centerline hardening infrastructure:

  • Decreased the average left-turn speed by 7 percent
  • Reduced by 36 percent the number of drivers who made the turn at more than 15 mph

Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident? Talk to a Lawyer Now

No matter what safety infrastructure is in place at an intersection, drivers have a duty to watch out for pedestrians. When drivers are speeding or distracted and make a dangerous left-hand turn, hitting an innocent pedestrian, they should be held accountable.

At the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, our pedestrian accident lawyers are here to help crash victims fight for the full compensation they need to recover after devastating accidents. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, and learn how our team can help you get through this difficult time.

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, Represents Car Accident Victims in El Paso, TX

For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, has been standing strong for car accident victims who need an aggressive advocate against deep-pocketed insurance companies. The car accident law firm in El Paso, Texas, has earned a reputation for securing full and fair financial compensation for people who have been seriously hurt or lost a loved one in crashes caused by others’ negligence.

No car accident victim should have to face off against a powerful insurance company after a serious crash. Victims are often facing overwhelming medical expenses, missing time from work, struggling to get their vehicles fixed or replaced, and dealing with ongoing pain. They should not be pressured to settle for less than the full compensation they deserve. That’s where the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin can make a huge difference.

How the Law Firm Helps Car Accident Victims

When you choose an experienced car accident attorney in El Paso, you can trust that legal professional to handle every aspect of your claim for compensation. This includes:

  • Reviewing your case for free, answering all your legal questions, and explaining what to expect moving forward
  • Launching an immediate investigation into your auto accident to collect all the evidence, such as the police accident report, photos, video surveillance footage, witness statements, etc.
  • Working with experts such as accident reconstruction professionals to show exactly what happened and who should be held liable
  • Documenting the full extent of your injuries and related damages, including hiring medical specialists, long-term care experts, economists, and other experts to demonstrate what maximum compensation should be in your claim
  • Managing all communication and negotiations with the insurance companies while working toward a full settlement that covers current and future losses
  • Taking your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement

An injured crash victim should never try to handle a car accident claim without professional legal representation. An insurance adjuster may seem nice and understanding, but that person’s job is to protect the insurance company, not the victim. The insurer’s goal is to minimize or deny claims as much as possible, and they have professionals on their team who deal with these types of claims every day. That is why victims need professional legal representation as well ─ to level the playing field.

Demanding Justice for Car Accident Victims Across El Paso

Accident victims often face far-reaching complications beyond the injuries themselves. For example, many victims cannot return to work right away. They may have trouble getting transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. They may find that they will need additional surgeries and rehabilitative therapy in the months and years to come. Some may be totally disabled and unable to return to the life they once knew.

The dedicated El Paso car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, understand the short-term challenges and long-term damages accident victims can expect. The legal team works to alleviate these burdens by demanding the full financial compensation clients need to move forward with their lives.

To learn more about the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, visit the law firm’s website or contact us today.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

We are Committed to Serving Clients During COVID-19 Pandemic

Our law firm is open and working hard on your cases. We are recommending that meetings be conducted via telephone or FaceTime. New clients’ initial interviews and document can also be accomplished by E-Sign or a phone call.

El Paso, Texas We want to express our concerns on the pandemic currently affecting everyone and everywhere around the world. Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is considered a respiratory illness with cold- and flu-like symptoms.

As the virus continues to spread, we are experiencing moderate chaos in what seems to be a public panic on an issue that grows more intense as time passes. The last thing we want to do as a community is panic in these types of emergencies. We encourage you to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and in good health. 

We all have a duty to keep ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe right now. This means temporarily reshaping the way we live our lives to combat the novel coronavirus. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, we are taking this duty seriously. While our offices remain open, we understand the need for “social distancing,” our lawyers are available to meet with you remotely so we can answer your legal questions and discuss your case without in-person contact.

Coronavirus can be spread through physical contact, coughing, and sneezing. It is important to remember to wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, not with your hands but with a forearm or up shoulder. (We have provided a PDF document from www.aphagetready.com and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with more information on preparing for COVID-19.) It’s important to educate yourself on this matter and listen only to factual information provided by proper communication channels.

El Paso has been through a lot in the past six months or so, but we remain strong. We want to express the importance of personal hygiene during this time and encourage you to make this a priority.

About the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin

Our personal injury attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience fighting to protect the rights of car accident victims in El Paso and across the state of Texas. We don’t just work here – El Paso is our home. Our goal is to stand up for our clients’ rights, demand the full compensation they deserve, and make our community stronger by informing residents and giving back in any way possible.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

More young people are becoming ill due to vaping, and Juul may be to blame

El Paso personal injury lawyer

The number of people (especially adolescents) using e-cigarettes and vaping products has soared across the United States in recent years. Likewise, so has the number of lung illnesses associated with these products.

According to the American Public Health Association, more than eight percent of lifetime e-cigarette users in 2014 started at the age of 14 or younger. That rate has tripled to nearly 30 percent by 2018.

As of December 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of 2,506 hospitalizations across the entire U.S. caused by e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI). Fifty-four deaths were reported across 27 states and the District of Columbia. EVALI symptoms often include fatigue, coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Vaping among El Paso youth

According to the El Paso County Juvenile Probation Department, there were 16 cases of children ages 10-16 caught possessing THC vaping products in 2017. That number rose to 40 cases in 2018, but in 2019, approximately 248 cases were reported. This marks a 1,450 percent increase within the two-year period.

Among the devices and products El Paso youth were caught with, Juul was one of them. Juul is an e-cigarette company based in San Francisco and is one of the biggest players in the vaping market.

The company has recently come under fire for its marketing practices — particularly aimed at young people. A Federal Trade Commission investigation of Juul found that the company paid significantly more on ads targeting young people than on ads aimed at adults over the age of 30.

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accused the company of misleading the public by promoting its products as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. The company was also warned that it could face fines and product seizures. In addition, the FDA investigated the company's use of nicotine salts, which are purported to be safe, allowing for higher consumption.

Juul e-cigarettes and vaping products are convenient for younger people. They often use these products without getting caught. That's because, according to a Time, they're small, easy to hide, and can be mistaken for flash drives. Moreover, they can be used quickly and don't leave behind any detectable odors.

U.S. Surgeon General warns youth

Nicotine and THC are hazardous enough to the health of children and teens. Other substances found in vaping products, however, can lead to serious illness, deaths, and even inhibit brain development in people under age 25. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, these include:

  • Small particles that can be breathed into the lungs
  • A flavorant called diacetyl, which has reportedly caused many lung diseases
  • Volatile organic compounds, which are released as gases and can cause adverse health conditions
  • Tin, nickel, lead, and other heavy metals

It's critical that parents and school faculty get involved in deterring adolescents from using e-cigarette and vaping products. Possession of vaping products result in serious illnesses. It can also land young people in trouble in the state of Texas. If your child has sustained EVALI or any other illness caused by vaping, it's important that you explore your legal options with an experienced attorney.

The legal team at The Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC will investigate and find out if your child's access to vaping products was the result of marketing or illicit sales by a distributor. To find out how we can help you, contact us online. We offer free case evaluations.



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