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KempAccidentPic-300x185According to inForney.com, Russell Gattis, 54, of Mabank, was killed by an 18-wheeler while traveling westtbound on highway 175 just north of Kemp city limits.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was unlicensed at the time of the accident and was cited for failing to yield the right of way to Mr. Gattis.

As a result of the accident, the driver of the 18-wheeler, their employer and their insurance company will likely be liable to the Gattis family, and Mr. Gattis’ Estate for his wrongful death. The 18-wheeler negligently pulled in front of the man in an attempt to cross onto Ashley Road which directly caused the accident resulting in Mr. Gattis’ death.

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Recently, inForney.com broke the news that Kaufman County Deputy Constable, Grant Cousins, had pled guilty to perjury stemming from an investigation done by the Texas Rangers involving allegations of sexual assault of a woman that occurred at a gravel pit located in Kaufman county. The allegations stem from an evening when, according to the report, Deputy Cousins had the woman in his patrol car “looking for narcotics locations”. This raises real concerns for the Constable’s office, Kaufman County, and the Kaufman County citizenry (because they could be on the hook for any settlement proceeds the County may have to pay out to settle her claims).

So, if the alleged victim were to sue Kaufman county, what would the lawsuit be about? It will likely be a Section 1983 claim found under federal law. Deputy Cousins is a Deputy Constable and would therefore be considered a “state actor” for purposes of the Statute. There is a lot of interesting case law on this issue, because believe it or not, police officer malfeasance of this sort is not that uncommon, but one case in particular has stood out to me. In Fontana v. Haskins, that case dealt with a woman who had been arrested and was therefore in the custody of the police at the time of the alleged malfeasance. Apparently, officer Haskins made unwanted advances and attempted to touch Fontana inappropriately without her consent.

The Court discussed the case under fourth amendment and fourteenth amendment grounds and whether the federal district court had properly granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendant officer. They concluded that the district court had erred in their ruling and allowed the case to move forward for trial. What is particularly interesting for our purposes is that (1) the Court discussed the behavior as fourteenth amendment violations, i.e. violation of due process, conduct that shocks the conscience. They noted that while sexual misconduct of an officer of an arrested person implicates the fourth amendment, when a police officer commits a sexual offense to a general person, i.e., regular citizen, the court analyzes it under the fourteenth  amendment.

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Crash-on-I-20-300x129Kaufman County is growing and FAST. We are quickly transitioning from rural/agricultural to suburban landscape. What once was pastureland and rolling east Texas landscape is now turning into neighborhood after neighborhood and bustling street to bustling street. Especially the corridor between 175 in Crandall to Highway 80 in Forney and beyond. It seems like if you don’t pass through an area for a month or two the next time you go through a new neighborhood has popped up. Now, that is great for local businesses and the local economy, but such consistently high growth puts a strain on the transportation systems of these once smaller communities to make up for the additional drivers on the roads. This is Texas, afterall. Everyone has to drive because everything is at least a 20 minute drive.

TxDot recently released the 2017 crash statistics which has some positive and negative results for Kaufman county. First, the overall number of crashes is actually down. That’s right. Down. Kaufman county went from 2,008 total crashes in 2016 to 1,897 in 2017. We also saw a flatline in the number of injury accidents and incapacitating injury accidents, when taking into account the high number of new drivers on the roads, that is a positive. There were 177 non-incapactating accidents in 2016, and the number only moved to 179 in 2017 with an increase of only 3 additional injuries overall to 244 from 241. The number of serious accidents went way down from 118 to 78 and there were 108 serious injuries, down from 145 in 2016. That is a testament to the local communities efforts to upgrade the roadways to make them safer for local drivers.

The negative is that the number of fatality accidents are considerably up. In 2017 there were 27 fatality crashes that resulted in the deaths of 31 people. In 2016, there were only 21 fatality accidents resulting in 28 deaths. Overall, not that big of a jump in deaths, but the number of fatality crashes is up by almost a third. That has to be a worry for local communities moving forward as this county continues to grow and prosper under Texas’ strong economy. As jobs and housing continues to come into Kaufman county, we can only expect that this number will continue to rise.

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Courtesy: inforney.com/Amber Helm

According to inForney.com, the three people killed in the Tuesday afternoon crash on I-20 in Terrell involving two 18-wheelers and an SUV have been identified as Benjamin Welch, Linda Welch and Alice Little of Cameron Parrish, LA.

According to the report, the cause of the accident has yet to be determined but one of the 18-wheelers and the SUV became engulfed in flames after the accident occurred.

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Credit: inForney.com

According to inForney.com, two people were injured in a three-vehicle accident involving an 18-wheeler on Wednesday, July 10, 2018. The accident happened a little before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and resulted in at least one person becoming trapped in one of the vehicles.

There was no information regarding fault in the crash. Whoever caused the crash will be liable to the other parties for personal injuries sustained and property damage to vehicles. The important thing for all parties who believe that they were not at fault in the accident is to take pictures of their vehicles, their injuries, get a copy of the police report and contact a local attorney as soon as possible. Multi-vehicle accidents where more than two cars are involved can be difficult to handle and you don’t just want to take the insurance adjuster’s story about who is at-fault. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to fight for your rights and make sure that you get every dollar that you deserve.

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RedneckfourthofjulycoolerTomorrow is the fourth of July, and in honor of our nation’s greatest holiday and the birthday of American freedom, we would like to say “Happy Fourth! Now don’t hurt yourself”.

We’ve all done it. Who can honestly say that they haven’t lit off a bunch of black cats and thrown them at a few of our best buddies? Oh, you can’t say that? Good. You’re smart. Don’t do that because its dangerous. But a lot of us did and I am glad we survived.

Recently, Motherboard released a compilation of the craziest and dumbest fireworks accidents in honor of the fourth of July holiday. There are some crazy accidents on there. Like when a kid lit a firecracker and threw it in a sewer and then stood on the manhole cover. Apparently that kid lived to regret it. Or the time a guy from Brooklyn was smoking a cigar and holding a firecracker at the same time and blew his own finger off. This year, don’t be that guy. Don’t be that kid. Because then websites like Motherboard will write stories about you and make money on advertising. Its embarrassing. Instead, if you want to do something really cool with fireworks, be this guy who flew a drone through a fireworks show. That is awesome. Plus, no one gets hurt.

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When most people think of the Fourth of July, they think of freedom, backyard barbecues and fireworks. As a personal injury lawyer, I cannot help but think about the people who will inevitably be hurt or killed along with the celebrations. I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but once you see the dirty underbelly of the pig, its hard not to think about it when you eat the bacon.

The grizzly truth is that the Fourth of July weekend is typically the deadliest holiday each year. Last year alone, 10 people died in water related accidents in Texas. What is most concerning is that according to IIHS travel statistics, the fourth of July is the deadliest day in America with an average of 118 lives lost each year in motor vehicle accidents. According to the same report, it is the deadliest day for motorcycle riders as well, with an average of 26 lives lost. Alcohol is usually a greater factor during the fourth of July holiday, ranking second only behind New Year, with 42 percent of deadly accidents involving alcohol for Independence day and a whopping 62 percent for the New Year holiday.

To help illustrate, here is a list of the top-10 days with most accidents since 2014 according to IIHS.com:

All deaths Average deaths
per day
July 4 592 118.4
January 1 591 118.2
September 18 552 110.4
August 2 541 108.2
August 27 541 108.2
July 5 539 107.8
October 2 539 107.8
October 8 537 107.4
September 1 535 107
September 2 535 107

Top 10 days with most 
motorcycle crash deaths, 2010-14

All deaths Average deaths
per day
July 4 129 25.8
August 24 120 24
August 8 116 23.2
June 30 112 22.4
July 8 112 22.4
August 27 112 22.4
June 5 111 22.2
August 10 110 22
June 21 109 21.8
July 27 109 21.8

TRAVELING AROUND TEXAS FOR THE FOURTH? BE SAFE!

If you are traveling around our great State this holiday, be safe and watch out for other drivers who seem impaired. Indicators of intoxication, according to NHTSA are:

  1. Turning with wide radius
  2. Straddling center of lane marker
  3. Appearing to be “drunk”
  4. Almost striking object or vehicle
  5. Weaving
  6. Driving on other than designated roadway
  7. Swerving
  8. Speed more than “10″ miles below speed limit
  9. Stopping without cause in Traffic lane
  10. Following too closely
  11. Drifting
  12. Tires on Center or Lane marker
  13. Braking Erratically
  14. Driving into Opposing or Crossing Traffic
  15. Signaling Inconsistent with driving actions
  16. Slow response to traffic signals
  17. Stopping inappropriately (other than in a lane)
  18. Turning abruptly or illegally
  19. Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly
  20. Headlights off

INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT? CALL GUEST AND GRAY TODAY!

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need to call Guest and Gray immediately. Our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to get to work for you. We need to begin working on gathering and protecting evidence, speaking to witnesses and asserting your rights. Whether it be car, motorcycle or 18-Wheeler accident, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Get the medical treatment you need and then make the call to Guest and Gray. You will be glad you did! Be safe this Independence Day and God Bless America!

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gavel1-300x169At Guest and Gray, we know that if you are in an attorney’s office, typically that means something has gone wrong. You have been arrested. Injured in an accident. Marital problems. You have been sued. We understand the stress that is involved in each case and we seek to take that stress away and make your problems OUR problems.

Guest and Gray did not become the largest and highest reviewed law firm in Kaufman and Rockwall counties by mistake or accident. It was through hard work and dedication to our clients. It was done by consistently exceeding our clients expectations for their case. We cannot promise victory. In many cases, regardless of outcome, there is no “victory”, only resolution. Our promise to you is that we will work hard for you in order to obtain the best possible outcome for your situation. That is the only guarantee we can give.

Each case is important because attached to each case is a real person. No matter how many clients or how many cases we have, your case is important to us. Our caring support staff and experienced attorneys will fight hard for you each step of the way.

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Truckaccidents-300x132Guest and Gray Law Firm is made up of locally grown attorneys who love their communities. Two of our lawyers grew up around Rockwall and four grew up in Kaufman and Rockwall counties. We are the largest local law firm with 9 attorneys who are dedicated to serving our fellow Rockwallians who have been severely injured or killed in truck and other commercial vehicle accidents.

Truck accident cases are particularly complex but only because the insurance company for the trucking company makes it that way. When you or a loved one is severely injured, or killed, in an accident, it should not be as hard as it is to make the insurance company or the trucking company pay for the damages that their driver inflicted on you and your family. The sad part is that most of the time it is like pulling teeth.

YOU NEED SOMEONE ON YOUR SIDE

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GuestandGrayLogoGuest and Gray Law Firm is the legal team that local residents turn to when a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an accident. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If a loved one has been killed in an accident in Rockwall or Forney, you need to call the local, trusted law firm of Guest and Gray, P.C.

What is Wrongful Death?

Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code is where the basis of wrongful death and survival actions in Texas are found. Under section 71.002, the statute outlines the basis of bringing a wrongful death lawsuit