Smithville Legal Blog

What to consider when choosing a guardian for a minor

Individuals who have young children will ideally choose a guardian for their kids as part of their estate plan. Failing to do so likely means that the courts decide who will raise the children and manage any assets that they received. Furthermore, the confusion caused by not naming a guardian could lead to strained relationships between family members and make it harder for the children to adjust to their new situation.

It is possible for parents to choose a guardian to raise the children and a guardian to manage their assets. In lieu of a guardian of the estate, a trust can be created that will hold money and other items for the kids. It will be managed by a person chosen by the child's parents, and the trustee will act in accordance with whatever instructions are included in the document. The person who is chosen to manage a child's money should be financially literate and someone who is able to stand up to the child.

How negligence is proved in car accident lawsuits

When car accident victims in Texas and around the country take legal action to hold the drivers who injured them financially responsible, the lawsuits involved are usually based on the tort of negligence. In order to prevail in court, they must be able to establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care, failed to meet that duty and they suffered injury, loss or damage as a direct result.

Drivers are expected to do all that they reasonably can to protect the safety of all road users, so establishing that a duty of care existed is rarely a challenge in auto accident lawsuits. Proving that motorists failed to meet this duty may also be straightforward if they violated the law in some way, such as by speeding or drinking before getting behind the wheel. This is why personal injury attorneys may study police reports closely when representing car accident victims.

Speeding the focus of the next CSVA event

Drivers on Texas roads and others should be ready for increased enforcement of speeding laws during the next Operation Safe Driver Week. The event will take place in July 2019, and it is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. According to the president of the CSVA, speeding has accounted for roughly one out of three traffic fatalities over the past several decades. Furthermore, it was a factor in 94% of crashes in 2015.

That was according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA also noted that speeding accounted for 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Drivers who are caught speeding may be issued a citation in an effort to change their behavior on the road. Research has shown that citations do have an impact on how drivers react behind the wheel.

How Americans can protect their digital assets

The average resident in Texas has thousands of dollars' worth of digital assets, and those assets are worth protecting. Many people with ordinary jobs don't think they have anything worth money in the digital sphere, but the reality is that even something as simple as a username and password can be considered a valuable asset. If a password, secret account number or other piece of important information got into the wrong hands, it could cause a major financial loss.

When someone passes away unexpectedly, digital assets can be easily lost. That's why it's important for people to create an estate plan that accounts for everything from social media account information to a list of usernames and passwords. This information should be kept in a secure place where family members or loved ones can find it when needed. This can be on an external hard drive or in some type of password management software. The information should always be up to date.

3 signs of an unhealthy business partnership

When two people start a business together, the experience is often full of big dreams and a lot of excitement. What happens when all that enthusiasm begins to turn sour? A recent survey indicated that 23% of failed businesses go south because the wrong team is running things.

If you and your partner cannot see eye to eye lately, it may be time to consider dissolving the partnership. You should watch for three signs when making a serious decision like this one.

Distraction is a danger to first responders

Texas drivers are aware of laws that require them to yield to emergency vehicles. However, recent research indicates that despite these laws, many drivers become more distracted in the presence of emergency vehicles. This can put first responders, and others, at risk.

While it is understandable that a driver might become nervous around the scene of an accident or when confronted with sirens and flashing lights, there are other factors that often contribute to distraction. In many cases, drivers are using their phones to take photographs or videos of an accident scene. Others share responses to the emergency to social media accounts.

Distracted driving the subject of 2019 Travelers Risk Index

The Travelers Companies has released its 2019 Travelers Risk Index, which gathers some eye-opening data on the factors behind distracted driving. It is the result of a survey involving more than 2,000 consumers and executives. Texas residents should know that texting and sending emails was the most common distraction among drivers. In fact, 44 percent admitted to it. Twenty-three percent said social media use.

Moreover, 13 percent said they would find it hard to break the habit of reading texts and emails while 11 percent expressed a similar sentiment about sending them. Furthermore, 5 percent said it would be hard to break the habit of online shopping behind the wheel.

45 percent of adults found to have incarcerated family member

Almost half of adults in Texas and across the United States have an immediate family member who has been incarcerated. The new study, which is believed to be the most accurate of its kind, was done by researchers at Cornell University. The findings were double what researchers had believed prior to the study. Researchers used a nationally represented study to gather the statistics. More than 4,000 people were included in the study.

Of all adults surveyed, 45 percent had a parent, sibling, grandparent, child or spouse imprisoned for a criminal conviction at some point in their lives. Siblings were found to be the most common family member to be incarcerated. Though approximately 60 percent of those incarcerated were African-American, and 60 percent were lower-income, all segments had significant statistics. An estimated 15 percent of college-educated, white adults had family members who had been in prison at some point, which surprised researchers.

Determining the extent of a car accident

Residents of Texas who are involved in a car accident will want to remain as calm as possible. This is the first step in the process of physically documenting and determining the extent of damages and injuries: an essential process that can help the police with their incident report and victims with their insurance claims.

Before victims begin the documentation, they must tend to any emergencies. If anyone is injured, call 911. If the vehicles are blocking traffic, move them. Ideally, though, the crash scene should be kept as is. That is when victims can start taking photographs of the vehicle damage and physical injuries. Skid marks and damage to objects like light poles and trees should also be photographed.

What to do when you get a low offer after a car accident

Auto accidents happen every day in Texas. Many of these result in substantial injuries. In 2017 alone, 254,853 people sustained injuries due to these collisions. 

All those people likely went to their insurance agencies to get coverage for medical expenses. With so many claims coming in, insurance companies try to pay out as little as possible. They will also use every trick in the book to get out of paying anything. It is vital for anyone involved in a car accident to know when they have a low offer and fight to get more. 

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