Posts in: May

28May 2021

Texas is among several states with zero tolerance laws. This means any person under the age of 21 found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than zero, is charged with a DUI. These zero tolerance laws also apply to those over the age of 21. Texas drivers know that they are considered legally drunk if they drive and they have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. However, it is possible to be arrested for DWI when your BAC is under 0.08 percent, which is often the case with an alcoholic hangover. Situations where an officer could justifiably make a DWI arrest without testing for an over-the-limit BAC level include not using the normal level of mental faculties behind the wheel, on the fence BAC tests and compromised physical faculties, which means a safety first policy is optimal to comply with zero-tolerance protocols.

Mental Faculties

If an officer finds a driver is noticeably impaired, they can arrest that driver no matter what their actual or tested BAC level is. Reckless driving such as tailgating, speeding or speeding through turns are all noticeable indicators of possible impairment. Thus, someone with a hangover could be arrested for displaying any of these reckless driving habits. Their BAC level may not be at the legal limit, but the officer can still rightfully arrest them because of their lack of normal faculties behind the wheel

BAC Tests

From the perspective of Texas law enforcement agents, a lower BAC test of under 0.08 percent to 0.04 percent is questionable. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard and can be pulled over and arrested for an on-the-fence reading of as low as 0.04 percent.

Physical Faculties

Driving home with a hangover may be just as dangerous as driving after too many glasses of alcohol, according to a sobering study. A team of Dutch researchers found that “the magnitude of driving impairment during alcohol hangover is comparable to a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 %, i.e., over the legal limit for driving in many countries.” Analysis of the data showed that with a hangover, drivers showed the same pattern of weaving in and out of their lane as drivers who were over the legal BAC limit.

Safety First

Several factors affect the amount of time it may take the body to eliminate alcohol including alcohol concentration of particular beverages and absorption rate affected by the amount of food in the stomach. Such factors may cause alcohol to linger in the body for a longer period of time than anticipated. When a designated driver is unavailable, drunk individuals may choose to rideshare home only to return the next day to pick up their vehicle and drive it home. Although the scenario may seem safe, there are various alternatives available in order to avoid the potential dangers of driving with a hangover.

  1. Make transportation plans before going out;
  2. Designate a sober driver;
  3. Wait it out or have someone else pick up your vehicle.

Zero Tolerance

These are all situations where you could have been arrested for DWI even though your BAC level was under the legal limit. Do you need help challenging your charges? Get the professional help of The Hadi Law Firm. If you were arrested for DWI and your BAC was under 0.08, contact us and we will help you keep your Texas driver’s license from automatic suspension. Our Houston DWI defense attorney offers free case evaluations. For immediate assistance, give us a call now to address your case.

27May 2021

Every state in the United States has some form of the Move Over Law. Although the stipulations of the law may vary by state, the main goal remains the same: to safeguard emergency personnel and others from collisions when responding to jobs on the side of the road. Understanding and obeying the Move Over Law in Texas are requirements if you wish to avoid fines and penalties. The Texas Move Over/Slow Down law, which went into effect in 2003, requires that drivers move over or slow down when passing vehicles — including police, EMS, fire, TxDOT, or tow trucks – that are stopped on the side of the road with the emergency lights on.

According to Texas law, a driver must:

  • Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or
  • Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or
  • Slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)

Violators can face the following consequences:

  • Up to $200 for not following the law
  • $500 if the violation results in property damage
  • Charge of a Class B misdemeanor that could result in jail time or a fine up to $2,000

As a Texas driver, it’s your duty to obey the Move Over Law. This means you must slow down and/or switch lanes to give certain vehicles plenty of room when on official duty. If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, it’s wise to move over a lane or slow down to enhance the safety of any employees present. Moving over can reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries to roadside workers, who could otherwise lose their lives if drivers aren’t paying enough attention and driving too close to parked vehicles.

Several times in the last several years, DPS and other police agencies in Texas have chosen to crack down on this law, and more crackdowns are planned for the future. First responders risk their lives every day and, like every other worker in Texas, they have the right to the safest possible workplace. This includes police, fire, EMTs, and even tow truck drivers and trash collectors, where high stress is a major part of the job. And when they have to work in traffic, that stress can spike even higher than usual. So while they do their best to keep an eye on the other drivers on the road, there is a lot to worry about, and mistakes can be made.

An update to the law which officially took effect on Sept. 1, 2019 adds utility service vehicles to the list of vehicles for which all other drivers must either move one lane to the left or slow down to a minimum speed when passing. The Texas legislature added these vehicles to the list of vehicles entitled to protection after safety issues were identified during the extensive restoration work needed after Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), in 2017, more than 10,650 warnings and citations were issued to drivers who violated the Move Over/Slow Down law. However, in 2018, DPS issued more than 35,000 warnings and citations just through October of that year. Given the number of vehicle crashes that occur every day across the state, and the number of tickets and warnings that are still being issued due to violation of this law, too many Texans are either unaware of the law or choose to ignore it.

While a Move Over/Slow Down violation can seem minor, it can cause significant repercussions in the event of an accident. If you are involved in a collision and cited for a Move Over/Slow Down violation, it will be particularly challenging to deny liability. If the other party can prove the accident would not have occurred if not for your negligence, then you will most likely be held responsible for the crash. Under Texas’ rule of comparative fault, you cannot recover compensation after an accident if you are found 51% or more at fault.

Many times, factors like weather or traffic may prevent you from being able to safely move a lane away from vehicles parked on the side of the road. This has long posed a problem, as the specifics about what a driver should do in this scenario aren’t directly addressed. If you can prove that you were unable to move over or slow down, it may limit your liability for an accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident that involved the Move Over/Slow Down law in Texas, call the Hadi Law Firm. Our Houston car accident lawyer is here to help and fight for the compensation you deserve. Reach us online to schedule your free consultation.

19May 2021

Thousands of vehicles are damaged each year in traffic accidents. The cost of repairs can sometimes be astronomical. Even after you repair your vehicle the value of your vehicle dramatically drops. The only way to recoup those losses would be through what is known as a diminished value claim.

The term diminished value is any form of monetary value that was lost from your vehicle after an accident even after it has been repaired. The diminished value of a vehicle is the difference between the price of the vehicle after repairs and the price you would sell it if there had been no accident or damages. This value is considered a loss and can be added to the settlement claim.

Even after your car is repaired perfectly it would not hold its original value. In most cases, vehicles that have been in an accident will have some form of diminished value or “depreciated value”.

Insurance claims adjusters will do everything to manipulate, frustrate or stall claimants especially if they know that you still don’t have a personal injury attorney to process your settlement. Diminished value is not something insurance companies account for in their payouts after an accident and will never mention it to their customers. They will usually argue that proper repairs will return full value to the vehicle but the accident itself will always be present in the vehicle’s history which affects the vehicle’s resale value.

The 3 types of diminished value

1. Repair related diminished value
Cost for any flaws related to the substandard quality repair of the vehicle. This includes cosmetic or visual imperfections such as misaligned doors, dings, wrong color match or mechanical repair flaws that fail to bring the vehicle to its standard operation. Some examples of mechanical repair flaws are difficulty in steering, electrical problems and more. The use of generic parts rather than OEM parts also lower the value of the car.

2. Claim related diminished value
Cost for when insurance companies deny you of certain types of repair or parts necessary to restore your vehicle to perfect working condition.

3. Inherent diminished value
Cost for lost value in the resale market due to the accident. Nowadays, it’s easier for people to know the history of the vehicle they are planning to buy just by searching it on the internet. This means, even if it was only minor damage, the resale value can now be easily affected and potential customers would rather opt for cars without any accident history.

According to Texas state law, you are entitled to file an insurance claim for diminished value within 2 years from the date of your loss if you were the not-at-fault party in a car accident. Once you have filed your claim, you will need to prove that your vehicle has lost a specific amount of value. Your insurance company will need to pay for the diminished value of your vehicle.

If you want to know the true market value of your vehicle, you will need a professional automobile appraiser to determine the diminished value for your claim. They are able to take into account the full history of the vehicle and provide you with an expert opinion on the vehicle’s value that you can then present to insurance companies.

To solidify your claim, you must remember to keep receipts, estimates and other documents from the shop that did repairs on your vehicle.

All vehicles are different and the diminished value will also vary depending on the make, model and other factors that influence the calculation of your vehicle’s diminished value such as:

  • Prior accident history
  • The vehicle’s condition before the accident
  • Mileage of the vehicle
  • Age of the vehicle
  • Undamaged value of the vehicle
  • Marketplace demand
Sure, it may seem easy to calculate the diminished value but without legal support, it may be difficult for you to convince the adjusters of your claim compared to having an attorney experienced with car accident claims to properly calculate and battle it out for you.

It’s your right to protect your investment. Contact The Hadi Law firm and we will be glad to assist you with your diminished value claim.