Author: bkwritingsupport

5 Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel

If you’re among the nearly 55 million Americans hitting the road this Thanksgiving holiday, you’re going to experience some crowded roadways. Taking a road trip of more than 50 miles always comes with challenges. Preserving your safety (and that of your passengers) is priority number one.

America’s roadways become more dangerous every year. Americans have a 1 in 63 chance of getting into a car accident.

There are things you can do to minimize the risk. Following these 5 tips for safe Thanksgiving travel can get you to your destination so you can enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.

Eating while behind the wheel can cause you to have a serious accident.

#1 – Avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving contributes to 9 percent of all fatal automobile accidents in the U.S. Another 15 percent of distracted driving crashes cause significant injuries. From eating while driving to talking or texting on your cell phone, turning your attention away from your driving for even a few seconds can have disastrous results.

The longer your travel time before arriving at your destination, the more tempted you can be to multitask behind the wheel. However, it’s not worth the risk to your safety and of others on the roadways.

If you must use your cell phone, pull off the road in a safe place. Never try to eat while driving, even if you think it can save you time on the roadway. Even if you order takeout, pull over and take the time to eat it before getting on your way again.

#2 – Don’t speed

Speeding is the number one factor in a third of all fatal accidents each year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It can be tempting to drive above the recommended speed limit, especially if you are worried about being late for a family gathering or other holiday event.

It’s better to arrive late than not at all, so resist the temptation to go faster than is safe for the road conditions. At a speed of 60 miles per hour, it takes roughly 140 feet to come to a full stop after hitting the brake. Be sure to follow the speed limit and practice following a safe distance from the vehicle in front of yours.

“Drinksgiving” is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is a popular time to drink in the U.S.

#3 – Never drive under the influence

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become known as “Blackout Wednesday” – or “Drinksgiving” – because of its popularity for alcohol consumption. Traveling during this period can increase the likelihood of sharing the roadways with drunk drivers.

If you plan to celebrate Wednesday evening, drink responsibly by not getting behind the wheel of your car. Also, never get into a car with someone who is planning to drive after drinking. Make alternative arrangements like hailing a cab or using a ride share service.

Avoid impaired drivers when possible if you encounter them on the roadways. Note the make and model of their vehicle (and license plate if possible) and call 911 to report them so the police can get them off the roadways.

#4 – Practice some patience

No one likes to get stuck in traffic, especially when traveling for the holidays. The likelihood of experiencing heavy traffic and delays on your journey is high during the Thanksgiving holiday. Practicing some patience can help avoid incidents of road rage.

If you encounter another driver experiencing road rage, call 911 immediately. Never try to engage with the person, especially if their anger seems directed toward you.

Take frequent breaks when driving long distances to prevent drowsiness.

#5 – Take frequent breaks

Traveling long distances can make you tired mentally and physically. Taking frequent breaks can help prevent drowsiness behind the wheel, which leads to 100,000 crashes, 71,00 injuries, and 1,500 fatalities each year on U.S. roadways.

If you’re traveling with a passenger of legal driving age, take turns behind the wheel. Never rely on caffeinated beverages to give you the stamina to keep going if you’re becoming tired. Caffeine provides a temporary energy boost but is not a long-term replacement for proper rest.

Protecting your rights in a traffic accident

If you’re the victim of a careless driver during the Thanksgiving holiday, you have rights. It’s important not to make a mistake after an accident that can limit your ability to sue for fair compensation.

Contacting a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque is one of the first steps you should take to protect your rights after a traffic accident. Never talk to the insurance company for the at-fault driver or agree to any kind of settlement without first speaking to a personal injury attorney.

How to Identify a Civil Rights Violation

We the People. When most residents in the United States hear those words, they immediately think of the preamble to The Constitution of the United States. The opening remarks are powerful for good reason. They proclaim who is adopting the Constitution, why they are adopting it, and what is covered under it.

Looking at it from a legal perspective, those 52 words declare the enactment of the provisions that follow. When those provisions are not followed in this country, it can constitute a civil rights violation.

Knowing your civil rights and whether they’ve been violated can be tricky, especially if you’re an immigrant. In this article, we break down details about your civil rights, how to identify if you’re the victim of a civil rights violation, and where to turn for help.

What are your civil rights?

Before you can know whether your civil rights have been violated, you must understand your rights and how they apply to your daily life. There are 10 categories of civil rights in the U.S. Not every category applies to every person.

civil rights violation police stop
Being stopped by the police can be scary. It also can be a violation of your civil rights in some cases.

Civil rights when stopped by the police

It can be scary to get stopped by the police. Some U.S. residents have reason to feel more terrified than others. Racial bias can play a huge role in traffic stops. The issue has been studied locally and nationally by several organizations, all with similar outcomes.

When you’re stopped by the police in public, you have rights. They include:

  • The right to remain silent (including answering questions about your U.S. citizenship status).
  • The right to refuse a search of yourself or your belongings.
  • The right to a government-appointed attorney if arrested.

Stay calm and never try to resist. State you wish to remain silent and request an attorney if police take you into custody. If your rights are violated, try to get as much information as possible, including the names and badge numbers of the officers and any witness information.

Civil rights for students

In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that student do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech at the schoolhouse gate.” Students have First Amendment rights in school with one caveat: they can’t disrupt the functioning of the school or violate school policies that don’t hinge on the message they are expressing.

Civil rights for students can be a tricky area to navigate. It’s best to consult with a civil rights attorney in Albuquerque if you believe your rights were violated.

civil rights violation protesting
The First Amendment protects your rights to engage in peaceful protest.

Civil rights for protesters

The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protesting. Narrow restrictions, such as requiring permits, can be placed by local government officials and the police without infringing on your rights.

When planning to protest, it’s best to choose a traditional public forum like streets, sidewalks, and parks. You also have the right to speak in front of government buildings and other public spaces if you’re not blocking access. You can take photos if in a public space, including of federal buildings and the police.

If you’re arrested for legally protesting, contact a civil rights attorney immediately.

Civil rights protecting religious freedom

Religious freedom is one of the most misunderstood constitutional rights in the U.S. You can face religious discrimination at work, in school, and even in public housing.

Some of your religious freedom rights in these settings include:

  • Prevention from harassment that creates a hostile work, school, or housing environment.
  • Reasonable accommodations for religious practices.

You can reach out to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if your rights have been violated on the job. For other religious freedom issues, contact a civil rights attorney.

Civil rights protecting against sex discrimination, gender identity, sexual orientation

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prevents employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on sex. Some courts also have ruled Title VII bans discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Because the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet taken up this issue, LGBTQ+ people can face murky interpretations of their rights. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against based on your gender identity or sexual orientation, it’s time to consult with a civil rights attorney in Albuquerque.

civil rights violation voting
You have a right to cast your ballot in the U.S. without the fear of voter intimidation.

Civil rights protecting voters

Voters’ rights have been in the forefront since the 2020 election in the U.S. In an increasingly hostile environment, some voters wonder about their rights and how to enforce them. As a legally-registered voter in the U.S., you have the right to:

  • Access disability-related accommodations (including language assistance) at the polls.
  • Complete your vote if you’re still standing in line when the polls officially close.
  • Exercise your voting rights without voter intimidation efforts.

You can call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-687-8683 if you experience issues at your polling place.

Civil rights for prisoners

Prisoners have the right to be protected against discrimination and abuse while incarcerated. Under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, prison officials have a legal obligation to refrain from using excessive force and protecting prisoners from assault by other prisoners.  

File a grievance if your rights have been violated while in prison. You also can contact a civil rights attorney.

Civil rights protecting race, ethnicity, or national origin

If a company or an individual treats you differently based on your race, ethnicity, or national origin, it’s a civil rights violation in the U.S. Being denied a job or a promotion can be blatant examples of this kind of illegal discrimination. Some other forms – like policies against hiring those with a criminal record – can be more subtle.

In this category, the Constitution:

  • Protects you from housing discrimination, employment discrimination, and denial of service in public places.
  • Prevents the government from treating you differently based on your race, ethnicity, or national origin.

If your rights have been violated, gather as much documentation as you can and consult a civil rights attorney immediately.

civil rights violation disability
Disabled persons have protections under the Constitution and other federal and state laws.

Civil rights for disabled persons

Sadly, people with disabilities in the U.S. face widespread discrimination, exclusion, and segregation. Federal disability rights ensure fairness for disabled persons in housing, the workplace, and other public accommodation situations.

You’re not required to disclose your disability to coworkers or supervisors. Reasonable accommodations must be made on the job and in public for you to access the same services as non-disabled persons.

Filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission is the first step if you’ve experienced civil rights violations in any of these situations. You also can reach out to a civil rights attorney familiar with disability law in New Mexico to further assist.

Civil rights for immigrants

It doesn’t matter what your immigration status is in the U.S. You have guaranteed rights under the U.S. Constitution.

One of the most common issues faced by immigrants – including those legally in the U.S. – is being asked by law enforcement about their citizenship or immigration status. You have a right to remain silent and refuse to discuss your status. You also have the right to refuse consent to a search of your body or your belongings.

If you have immigration status documents, we recommend carrying them with you always. Present them if requested, but only to a U.S. immigration agent.

Contact a civil rights attorney immediately if any of these rights have been violated.

Do only U.S. citizens have civil rights?

Some people are misinformed about who the Constitution covers. They believe you must be a U.S. citizen to enjoy the freedoms and rights outlined within this document. Those assumptions are wrong.

Everyone has basic rights under the U.S. Constitution, including non-citizens. Never let an authority figure try to tell you that you aren’t protected because of your citizenship status.

The U.S. Constitution specifically says under Section 1 Due Process of Law: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

While U.S. citizens may have some rights not afforded to non-citizens – voting, running for certain government offices – all persons living in the U.S. have equal protection under the law.

What is a civil rights violation?

A civil rights violation happens when force, or the threat of force, is used against you to keep you from exercising any of your rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Department of Justice takes seriously all civil rights violations. This federal office protects civil rights through enforcement, education, and coordination. You can file a complaint directly with their offices.

You also have the right to consult with a civil rights attorney in Albuquerque if you want to review the merits of your case before filing.

civil rights violation workplace
Workplace discrimination can be subtle or obvious but it’s always a civil rights violation.

What are some examples of civil rights violations?

Sometimes civil rights violations are blatant, like being physically threatened at your polling place while trying to vote. Others can be more subtle, like being denied a promotion at work based on your gender or race.

Let’s explore two examples of what discrimination can look like at work and in public accommodations.

Example 1: Disability Discrimination

Let’s say you’re a person with a tic disorder. Your disorder causes irregular, repetitive and uncontrollable movements of muscles throughout your body that can happen without warning. You’re enjoying a night out at a restaurant with your friends, when you’re approached by the manager. He explains that he needs to relocate you and your guests to a table in the back of the restaurant because your ticking is upsetting some other patrons.

This can be an uncomfortable situation. It’s also blatant discrimination. In this instance, you have a right to refuse their offer to relocate your table. If they insist or refuse to serve you unless you comply, you have a case for a civil rights violation.

Example 2: Workplace Discrimination

Let’s say you’re a black woman working in a typically male-dominated industry. A supervisory position has just opened within your company, and it’s between you and another employee (who just so happens to be an older white male). You have more experience. He ends up with the promotion.

It’s quite possible this is a case of workplace discrimination based on your gender or your race (or both). Consulting with a civil rights attorney familiar with workplace discrimination laws can help you build a case.

Seeking help with civil rights violations

In addition to the protections afforded to you under the U.S. Constitution, New Mexico also has its own statewide statutes that offer added protection, including the New Mexico Human Rights Act of 1969.

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, reach out to our offices today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our skilled civil rights attorneys can review your case and make recommendations for the best possible outcome.

5 Hidden Injuries from Car Accidents

Hidden injuries from car accidents can cause debilitating symptoms for crash victims. It’s one of the many reasons why you should get checked by a medical practitioner following an auto collision. Self-checks – including medical evaluations by emergency medical technicians at the scene – can miss these hidden injuries.

You may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you’re fine when you have concealed trauma. Those injuries might not become physically obvious for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.

Even after a minor fender-bender, consider visiting a local emergency room or your primary care doctor for a thorough examination. It may seem like an overreaction, but a medical professional familiar with hidden injuries from car accidents is more likely to spot any of these serious conditions.

1 – Internal injuries

Airbags and seatbelts save lives during car accidents. However, they can cause some hidden injuries in the process. These safety devices accomplish the greater task of preserving your life by holding you in your seat. Depending on the force of impact during the collision, the restraint can cause extensive trauma to your internal organs.

The pressure from your seatbelt can cause internal bleeding, which is life-threatening. You may not have any immediate symptoms, so it can be easy to think you’re fine when you’re not.

Some of the warning signs of internal bleeding include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Numbness in the extremities.
  • Severe headache.
  • Weakness on one side of your body.
  • Vision problems.

Get to an emergency room immediately if you have any of these symptoms in the hours or days after a car crash. You could be dealing with a hidden injury.

hidden injuries car accidents neck injury
Whiplash can be a common hidden injury in car accidents. It can take days to surface sometimes.

2 – Neck injuries

Whiplash can be common among car crash victims. During a collision, the force of impact creates a whipping action between your head and neck. Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that might not be immediately detected.

If in the days following a car crash you begin to experience these signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked by a medical practitioner:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Tenderness in your arms, shoulders, or upper back.
  • Loss of range of motion in your neck.

Treatment can include physical therapy and pain management techniques to resolve whiplash sooner.

3 – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While not a physical injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can happen after a car accident. It’s a hidden psychological injury that can sometimes get overlooked.

Depending on the severity of the crash, victims can be left traumatized by what they’ve witnessed. PTSD can be more common in automobile accidents with fatalities.

It can take days or weeks for PTSD to surface. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms after a car crash, it’s time to see a mental health expert:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias

4 – Soft tissue damage

You may not be thinking about your ankles, back, feet, or knees after a car accident, but they can be the location of soft tissue damage that cause pain or mobility issues later. Other places that can experience soft tissue injuries are your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.

It might take a few days for soft tissue damage from a car accident to surface, but when it does, you can experience any of the following symptoms:

  • You can’t bear weight on the injured area.
  • You experience joint instability.
  • You have knots or lumps at the injury site.
  • You have limited range of motion.
  • You have muscle cramps or spasms.
  • You have swelling at the injury site.

Call your doctor right away if any of these signs surface after a car accident. They may prescribe pain management strategies that include medications and physical therapy.

TBI hidden injuries car accidents
TBIs are among hidden injuries from car accidents. TBI can only be detected with a CT scan or MRI.

5 – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Brain injuries can be scary. They also can be common after a serious car crash. Whiplash, which we mentioned earlier, can cause concussions and TBIs that go unnoticed at first. If you lose consciousness during a crash, you should automatically be evaluated for brain injuries.

However, it’s possible to get a concussion or a TBI without losing consciousness. Symptoms of concussion and TBI that signal it’s time to get a medical evaluation include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a concussion and TBI because they share some common symptoms. TBI has lasting cognitive effects that impact daily living. If you start to have any of these symptoms, it could be a warning that you’re suffering from a hidden TBI:

  • A decreased awareness of yourself and others.
  • A failure to follow multiple-step directions.
  • An inability to understand abstract concepts.
  • A shortened attention span.

CT scans and MRIs are the only way to determine if you have hidden brain injuries from a car accident.

How to handle hidden injuries from car accidents

Seeking medical attention right after a car accident can help identify hidden injuries. It also can provide valuable documentation needed if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Car crash victims should consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling hidden injuries from car accidents to ensure their rights are protected.

Avoid These 5 Mistakes After an Accident

No one starts their day off expecting to get into an automobile accident. Most people go to great lengths to avoid it by practicing safe driving techniques behind the wheel. Despite your best laid plans, all it takes is one careless driver to turn an otherwise pleasant outing into a serious crash.

Albuquerque has a lot of busy roadways, including the infamous “Big I” intersection of I-25 and I-40. It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in the country because of the amount of traffic that travels through there each day.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be in an accident anywhere in New Mexico, it’s important not to make these 5 common mistakes as a car crash victim. If you do, it can affect the outcome of a future personal injury lawsuit should you suffer long-term effects from the accident.

mistakes after accident call police
Calling the police ensures you get an accident report that lists the at-fault party.

Mistake #1: Not calling the police

When an accident is serious enough to cause injuries and disrupt the normal flow of traffic, the police must be called to conduct an official report and direct traffic if necessary. Even if you aren’t seriously injured (or don’t think you are at the time), it’s important to still contact the police to come and provide a written report of the accident.

The police can conduct an official investigation and create an accident report that details who was at fault in the accident. Official police reports can be valuable supporting evidence if you later file a personal injury lawsuit in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico.

accident mistakes witness information
Failing to get witnesses’ contact information can hurt your personal injury claim.

Mistake #2: Not getting witness information

Getting the contact information for any witnesses to an accident is another reason to call the police to the scene. Police officers can talk to witnesses and make note of how to find them in the future should they need further information.

Your personal injury attorney can use crash witnesses to pursue a personal injury claim in Albuquerque. Witness statements and testimony can be particularly useful if there is a question about who was at fault. Without witnesses to back up your claims, the at-fault party’s insurance company can create a narrative that puts you fully or partially at fault for the accident.

Mistake #3: Failing to get a crash report

Remember when we said it was a good idea to call the police to the scene of an accident, even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt?  It doesn’t do you much good to have the police investigate and file a report if you forget to get a copy of that report.

Most police departments provide both parties with a summary of the accident report on the scene. At the very least, they’ll give you their card so you can contact them or their department later.

If you’ve forgotten to get a police report for your accident, let your personal injury attorney know right away. They can reach out to the police to review the report and ensure all information contained in it is correct.

Mistake #4: Failing to seek immediate medical attention

Even if you think you’re OK after an accident, it’s important to be checked out by a medical professional. You could have a hidden injury that takes a few days to surface. Among the most common include:

  • Concussions.
  • Herniated disks.
  • Internal bleeding or damage to internal organs.
  • Soft tissue injuries to ankles, elbows, feet, knees, and shoulders.
  • Whiplash.

If you have a serious hidden injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or internal bleeding, those conditions can become life-threatening if misdiagnosed or ignored.

Getting a medical evaluation right after the accident also can help in a personal injury claim. It provides supporting evidence of your physical trauma that can be used by a personal injury attorney to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

car accident victim personal injury attorney call
Calling a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident can help crash victims protect their rights.

Mistake #5: Failing to call a personal injury attorney immediately

Accident victims can sometimes make the mistake of trusting the insurance companies – theirs and the at-fault party’s – of doing the right thing after an accident. Insurance companies sometimes lowball accident victims with settlement offers that require you to sign away your rights to pursue additional compensation later.

Never talk to an insurance company or agree to a settlement without first talking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney serves as your official negotiator and can determine if it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement or push for additional compensation.

How a personal injury attorney can help

Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque can help crash victims avoid these five common mistakes. Bill Russell has represented injured people and their families for years throughout the state of New Mexico. He goes the extra mile to stand up for automobile accident victims, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Book a free case evaluation with Bill and the team at Cameron & Russell Law today to get started.

Injured Playing Sports? You Can Sue.

Cross-country track. Football. Soccer. Tennis. All are among the most popular fall sports with athletes at all competition levels. Playing a fall sport can be a great way to engage in a physical activity for all ages. It’s also a common way to get injured.

Whether you’re playing a team sport in your high school athletics program, or you’re a star in the pro leagues, you can get injured at any time. All it takes is one wrong collision on the football field or a fall during a hurdle event at a track meet to leave you with serious injuries that can affect you for the rest of your life.

No one likes to think about getting hurt playing a sport they love. If the unthinkable happens, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Contacting a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque is an important first step.

fall sports injuries sue
Cheerleaders do some risky stunts. They easily can get hurt.

Where do sports-related injuries happen?

Some sports are more prone than others to provide the perfect atmosphere for sports injuries. Any sport that provides an opportunity for players to collide – football, lacrosse, soccer – are among the highest-risk activities.

Football players accept the risk of serious head and neck injuries every time they go out onto the field. In recent years, the list of former NFL players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has grown. The degenerative brain disease can happen to football players who suffer repeated blows to the head.

Soccer players also are at an increased risk for the kinds of injuries that happen when players crash into one another at top speed on the field. Broken bones, concussions and wrist fractures are among the most common soccer injuries.

Cheerleading is an often-overlooked fall sport that can lead to some devastating injuries. The sport has evolved in recent years to include more than just rooting for the home team from the sidelines. Most cheer teams compete in skills competitions that require risky physical routines that can lead to concussions, broken bones, and other injuries.

What kinds of injuries happen in fall sports?

No matter what kind of fall sport you choose, most share a common list of possible injuries you can experience. Concussions top the list of fall sport injuries, especially for athletes who play football, soccer, and lacrosse. Even cheerleaders who fall while executing flips, lifts, and pyramid mounts can suffer a blow to the head.

Concussions can sometimes take a day or two to become apparent. Watch for these signs and symptoms if you’ve had a collision with another player or hit your head from a fall:

  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Head and eye pain from bright light.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Ringing in the ears.

Fractures also happen while playing fall sports. Maybe you got kicked in the face while covering the net in soccer. Or someone accidentally cracked you with their stick during a particularly physical game of field hockey. Fractures can cause severe and lasting pain and suffering.

Strains and sprains also are common in fall sports. If you twist your ankle during a landing on the way down from an epic catch on the football field, you’re going to end up with a sprain that requires medical attention. Even the most in-shape athletes can experience muscle strain from overuse.

fall sports injuries negligent coaching
Negligent coaching can lead to fall sports injuries that qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

Does assumption of risk affect my lawsuit?  

When you choose to play a fall sport, you assume a certain risk of injury. Called assumption of risk, it can prevent you from suing for some injuries you experience during the normal course of a sporting event. However, there are some exceptions.

Intent to injure

Sometimes athletes get heated during play. Poor sports can engage in dirty plays with injury in mind. If another player intentionally injures you, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to recover the costs of medical treatment and ongoing pain and suffering.

Negligent coaching

Athletic coaches are supposed to guide you during play, providing advice on the best way to play your position. Just like some poor sport players, sometimes coaches put players in dangerous situations because they want to win the game. If this happens, and you become injured, you may have a personal injury case.

Product liability

Fall sports come with all kinds of equipment designed to protect athletes while they play the game. Under New Mexico products liability law, designers and manufacturers of defective products can be held liable for injuries from using their product. For instance, some older football helmets manufacturers have been sued for failing to prevent brain injuries in football players.

Seeking help for fall sports injuries

If you’re unsure whether your fall sports injury falls under assumption of risk, the best way to clarify is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Albuquerque. An attorney well-versed in personal injury law in New Mexico knows what evidence you need to support your case.

For a free consultation with the team at Cameron & Russell, call 505-218-7844 or contact us online.

How to Spot Neglect in Senior Citizens

Elder abuse and neglect sadly are not uncommon in the United States. Roughly 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse or neglect. Sometimes it’s an assisted living facility or nursing home responsible for the mistreatment. Other times, it might be a family member living with the senior citizen carrying out the cruelty.

Regardless of who is responsible for abusing or neglecting a senior citizen, the signs and symptoms that can alert you to a problem are the same. Learning how to spot them, and knowing where to report an issue, can save a senior citizen’s life.

What is elder abuse and neglect?

Elder abuse includes emotional, physical, and sexual harm inflicted on an older adult. It also can involve financial exploitation. Abuse happens where senior citizens live, whether that’s at home with a relative or in an aging care facility run by the state or a private entity.

Neglect happens when the individual charged with an elderly person’s care fails to carry it out. It includes not assisting with daily living tasks like bathing and meals. When a caregiver neglects a senior, it can impact the senior citizen’s health and well-being.

When elderly persons are neglected, they can become depressed and withdrawn.

What are signs of neglect in the elderly?

It can be difficult to spot the early warning signs of neglect in the elderly if you’re not close to the victim. However, neglect tends to manifest itself in the same ways in most older Americans. Once you know the signs, you can spot them in anyone.

If an elderly person’s appearance is unkempt – hair not combed, clothes looking disheveled or unclean – it can be a sign that they’re not receiving proper care in their living environment. Body odor can be another indication of neglect.

When the neglect includes failing to provide adequate nutrition, the elderly person may struggle with maintaining weight and become frail and uncoordinated.

What are signs of physical abuse in the elderly?

Most people think that physical abuse in the elderly is easy to spot, but that’s not always the case. Visible bruises and other injuries can be an indication that someone is physically assaulting an elderly person in their care. However, sometimes abusers go to great lengths to inflict damage in places not easily visible to others.

Other signs of physical abuse in the elderly can include:

  • Emotional changes (becomes more withdrawn).
  • Frequent trips to the emergency room or other healthcare facilities.
  • Hair or tooth loss.
  • Improperly-healing wounds.

If you suspect elder abuse – even in someone you don’t know that well – it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the section below.

Seniors who are emotionally abused may become agitated or nervous around their abuser.

What are signs of emotional trauma in seniors?

Not all abuse reveals itself through physical scars and signs. Verbal abuse can include intentionally inflicting emotional anguish, distress, or pain on another person. Oftentimes, this kind of abuse includes harassment, humiliation, intimidation, and threats.

Sometimes when an older person is abused or neglected in this way, it causes deep emotional trauma that causes a specific set of behaviors in the abused person. Warning signs of emotional trauma include:

  • Agitation.
  • Avoiding eye contact with abuser.
  • Increasing depression.
  • Nervousness around abuser.
  • Reluctance to talk openly.
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Withdrawal from others.

If you suspect a senior citizen has suffered emotional trauma, it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the next section.

Who do you call to report suspected elder abuse?

The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services department handles reports of suspected elder abuse in the state. You can call the Adult Protective Services Statewide Intake toll-free number at 866-654-3219 to speak with a member of the team who can document your concerns and open an investigation.

Any time you believe an elderly person is in immediate, life-threatening danger from an abuser, call 911. A police officer can be dispatched to the scene and take appropriate action.

How do you help abused or neglected senior citizens?

If you have a personal relationship with an elderly person who you suspect is being abused or neglected, you can report the abuse to the correct authorities. Additionally, you can encourage the senior citizen to seek assistance from a New Mexico attorney skilled in elder abuse and neglect cases.

Working with a lawyer can ensure the abused or neglected person receives adequate compensation for their injuries and emotional trauma, especially if they were inflicted by an assisted living facility or nursing home.

How Do You Get Criminal Records Expunged?

More than 70 million Americans have criminal records. That means every 1 in 3 people in this country have either been arrested or convicted of committing a crime. Criminal records show up on routine background checks and include arrests, convictions, and even dismissals.

When you have a criminal record, getting a second chance can be difficult. You may struggle to find employment or a place to live. Volunteering with certain organizations – including those serving children – may be impossible if they require a background check. You might not even be able to volunteer in your child’s school because of your criminal history.

Getting your criminal record expunged is a possible solution. In this article, we’ll discuss the legal definition of criminal expungement in New Mexico and whether you qualify for it.

Criminal records expungement explained

Expungement is a funny sounding word. It’s legal terminology that described the act of erasing or completely removing your criminal record. In New Mexico and other states, there is a legal process that individuals with conviction records must go through to destroy or seal their past histories.

When your criminal record is expunged, it’s not an acknowledgement of forgiveness by the courts. Called a legal pardon, it only can be granted by the governor of New Mexico.  Rather, expungement must be ordered by a state judge or court and only hides the past criminal history from background checks and other searches.

Most expungement proceedings take place at the state level. Each state, including New Mexico, has its own procedures for considering criminal record expungement. It’s highly unusual to see a federal court grant an expungement order.

Limits to criminal expungement

It’s important to note that a criminal expungement order from a state court doesn’t mean all records are removed from public view. Today’s digital information age makes that nearly impossible. Expungement doesn’t eliminate any media coverage of your past crimes. It does nothing to remove items from search engines like Google, which may have cached articles and other public information about an arrest or conviction.

A federal court decision from the Tenth Circuit, Nilson v. Layton City, explains why:

“An expungement order does not privatize criminal activity. While it removes a particular arrest and/or conviction from an individual criminal record, the underlying object of expungement remains public. Court records and police blotters permanently document the expunged incident, and those officials integrally involved retain knowledge of the event. An expunged arrest and/or conviction is never truly removed from the public record and thus is not entitled to privacy protection.”

Not all crimes are eligible for expungement in New Mexico.

Crimes that can be expunged in New Mexico

Only certain crimes in New Mexico are eligible for expungement. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque who has extensive knowledge in expungement laws can help expedite the process.

Criminal convictions that qualify for expungement in New Mexico include:

  • Crimes committed against children.
  • Crimes that caused great bodily harm or death to another person.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Embezzlement.
  • Sex offenses.

There are wait times between a conviction and when you’re eligible to apply for an expungement. As a rule, the more serious the crime, the longer you must wait to request it be cleared from your record. For instance, if you’re convicted of a first-degree felony, you must wait 10 years before asking for an expungement. During the waiting period, you must not commit any other crimes.

If you were arrested and charged with a crime in New Mexico but not convicted, you can apply for an expungement of your arrest record after one year.

It’s difficult – but not impossible – to get an expungement of a conviction than an arrest record. Consult with an experienced attorney to get the best results.

Cost of criminal record expungement in New Mexico

There are filing fees associated with requesting a criminal expungement in New Mexico. While it’s not required to hire an attorney for a criminal records expungement in Albuquerque, it’s highly recommended.

A skilled criminal attorney helps you understand how the process works and can create a compelling case to clear your record. If you choose to work with an attorney, you must pay their legal fees and any costs they incur while pursuing your expungement.

The courts also charge a filing fee – currently $132 – for the expungement paperwork processing. Other electronic fees may apply.

Once your criminal records are expunged, they no longer show up on a criminal background check.

How long it takes to expunge criminal records

There are several steps involved when you ask the courts to expunge your criminal record. Your attorney can walk you through the process to ensure you don’t miss anything.

First, you must get copies of your arrest and conviction records from the police and New Mexico courts. Once you have those records, your attorney can use them to include specifics about your arrest or conviction in the Petition to Expunge.

The remaining steps include:

  • Submitting records of your arrest and sentencing with the petition.
  • Filing the petition in the proper district court (your attorney can help with this).
  • Providing supporting documents for the petition to the district attorney, public safety department, and the arresting law enforcement agency.
  • Preparing your case for court with your attorney.
  • Presenting your case to the courts during a legal hearing.

District courts can take up to 30 days from the date of your hearing to issue an order granting or denying your request. Sometimes courts make the decision on the same day as the hearing.

Help with criminal records expungement in Albuquerque

Handling a criminal records expungement request in Albuquerque can be tricky. Don’t risk a denial of your petition by trying to do it yourself. The experienced criminal attorneys at The Law Offices of Cameron & Russel can help you live a stigma-free life by pursuing a strong case for your expungement. Contact us today at 505-218-7844 to schedule a consultation.

How to Prove a Diminished Value Claim

If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of careless driving, the status of your vehicle may be the least of your immediate concerns. Getting treatment for your injuries and filing a police report are top priorities. However, if your automobile was damaged, you might qualify for a diminished value claim.

Not many New Mexico lawyers specialize in diminished value claims. Victims may not even be aware they need this kind of assistance until it’s too late.

What is a diminished value claim?

A diminished value claim can be filed any time your personal vehicle is damaged because of another driver’s negligence. Diminished value is the difference in your vehicle’s market value before and after an accident.

Most insurance companies in New Mexico use a calculation called the 17c Diminished Value Formula to calculate the diminished value of your vehicle. There are four steps in the process:

  • Determine the value of your car using Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides.
  • Apply a 10 percent cap to that value.
  • Apply a damage multiplier to adjust the value.
  • Apply a mileage multiplier using your car’s current mileage.

Once you have completed all four steps, you’ll have the after-crash value of your vehicle. Insurance companies can do this for you, but you might want to check their figures or have your property damage attorney do so to ensure accuracy.

How does diminished value hurt my personal vehicle?

Not all automobile accidents result in your vehicle being totaled by the insurance company. Sometimes, the damage can be repaired. While it might seem like this is a good thing, it has little known repercussions for accident victims.

It doesn’t matter if the accident was someone else’s fault. Your personal vehicle sustained damage and no longer is in its original factory condition. That means when you go to sell it or trade it in for a newer vehicle, you’ll receive less money for it. This is called repair-related diminished value.

Victims of automobile accidents get a raw deal all the way around. They likely sustained injuries that can impact their future earnings and health. To add insult to injury, they also might be stuck with a vehicle that’s decreased in value.

diminished value claim Carfax
Carfax reports include any repairs made to your car that required filing an accident claim through the insurance company.

What role does Carfax play in proving my claim?

When a vehicle accident is reported to your insurance company, they automatically notify Carfax. If you’re not familiar with Carfax, it’s a commercial web-based service that supplies vehicle history reports to businesses and individuals on used cars and light trucks in the U.S. and Canada.

If you’ve ever bought a used vehicle from a dealership, you’ve probably seen one of the comprehensive reports this service produces. All you need is a vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate number and state to request a Carfax report.

The reports aren’t free, so be prepared to cough up some cash if you want to check the impact of a crash on your vehicle’s market value.

To avoid a report being made to Carfax, the vehicle must be repaired out-of-pocket. If you’re concerned about diminished value, your property damage attorney can make this request of the at-fault party. Other negotiations also can occur to offset the loss in value.

What’s the statute of limitations on diminished value claims?

New Mexico is a diminished value state per statute 66-5-301. You have up to four years from the date of your accident to file a diminished value claim.

Additionally, New Mexico has uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. That means all insurance companies must offer this coverage to accommodate for accidents with uninsured or underinsured vehicles.

How do property damage attorneys prove my case?

Property damage attorneys follow a basic principle when proving your property damage claim. They look for evidence that supports your assertion that another person’s negligence cost you money.

One of the first things your property damage attorney does is request a police report for the accident. Most accident investigators indicate the at-fault party in their reports. Similar documentation also should be available from the insurance claims adjuster.  

Diminished property value can be tricky to prove, so most property damage attorney rely on opinions and testimony from experts in the field to bolster your case.

Should you hire a property damage attorney?

If you’re serious about proving your diminished value case, working with an experienced property damage attorney is essential to your success. While you aren’t required to hire a lawyer, working with one can maximize your chances of getting adequate financial compensation.

Bill Russell possesses extensive knowledge of property damage laws in New Mexico. He’s not afraid to go the extra mile to ensure you receive fair compensation for your accident, including covering the diminished value of your vehicle.

Contact Bill today to schedule your free case evaluation.

5 Tips for Getting a Rental Car

When you’re involved in an automobile accident, getting treatment for your injuries can be your top priority. You may not be thinking about the damage to your personal vehicle (and whether it’s even drivable after the accident).

Even after you get medical attention, your focus may shift to pursuing a personal injury claim if your accident was caused by another driver’s carelessness.

It may take days or even weeks before you realize that you’ve been left without reliable transportation to important appointments. You may qualify for a rental vehicle while the insurance companies sort what to do with your personal automobile. Before you congratulate yourself on a problem solved, keep in mind that finding a rental can be an exercise in frustration because of an ongoing rental car shortage.

What’s causing the rental car shortage?

Getting a rental car can be challenging these days for a variety of reasons. The most prominent cause of the shortage is that during the covid shutdowns, many rental car companies sold off their inventories. They did this for one of two reasons:

  1. No one was traveling and they were taking a loss on maintaining rental cars no one needed.
  2. They sold some of their vehicles to consumers desperate for used automobiles when car dealerships were running low on their own inventories.

Now that pandemic restrictions have eased and people are traveling more, the problem has worsened. Rental agencies haven’t managed to restock their inventories to pre-covid levels, even though demand for their products has soared.

You can increase your odds for rental car success by following the five tips below.

Increasing your odds for rental car success

Your automobile insurance company can provide coverage for a rental vehicle. They can even help you get reimbursement for the rental from the at-fault party. What they can’t do is find you an available rental if none are to be found.

So, what’s a person to do? Here are some tips you can follow to increase your odds for rental car success after an accident.

  1. Don’t wait to request a rental
    The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll have difficulty securing a rental vehicle. If you think your automobile is unsafe to drive after the accident, then start finding a replacement right away. You may need to have a friend or family member make the calls for you if you’re in the hospital recuperating from your injuries.
  2. Disclose the reason for your rental need
    Rental companies sometimes prioritize long-term rentals because they can be more lucrative. The first thing you should do when calling for a rental is to let the agent know your situation. Tell them you were involved in an automobile accident and need a long-term rental while the insurance company sorts what to do with your vehicle. It’s important to mention you were not the at-fault driver in the accident to ensure rental agencies aren’t leery about providing you with a car, truck, or SUV to drive.
  3. Be willing to take what’s available
    Some insurance companies pay for a rental vehicle that’s comparable to yours. However, that doesn’t mean the rental agencies have one available. You may have to agree to take what’s available if you need a rental right away. Otherwise, you could find yourself without reliable transportation. You can always ask the rental agency if it’s possible to upgrade (or downgrade) your rental if one more to your liking becomes available.
  4. Rent from a local
    There are alternatives to traditional vehicle rental agencies. Some car owners rent out their automobiles. Just like an Airbnb or Vrbo property rental, there is a version of this service for automobiles. One of the quickest ways to find people who lend out their vehicles is through a service called Turo. Just plug in the dates you need a car and your preferred model, and the platform generates a list of possibilities.
  5. Rent from a car dealership
    Here’s an option that many people don’t realize exists because it’s a well-kept industry secret. If you’re struggling to find a rental from one of the usual local agencies, you can consider this alternative. Some car dealerships rent out parts of their own fleets. Nissan and Toyota are among the automobile dealers that let you easily rent from them. There’s no guarantee they’ll have anything available, but it never hurts to ask.

Seeking help with car accident property damage New Mexico

Dealing with all the moving parts after an automobile accident can be stressful. Finding a rental car shouldn’t be one of the things added to your anxiety. Reach out to the car accident property damage lawyers in New Mexico who can help sort it all for you.

Contact Cameron & Russell at 505-218-7844 or request your free case evaluation online. We’ll make sure all your needs are covered.

Driverless Trucks Increase the Risk of Crashes

Driverless trucks are part of the push toward automation in the United States. With the truck driver shortage continuing, some companies have developed autonomous trucks that can handle the task without a human behind the wheel. While most people are familiar with other kinds of self-driving vehicles, many may be uncomfortable with the idea of an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor trailer driving itself.

Yet, in the U.S., it’s estimated that 90 percent of all long-haul trucking may soon be done without drivers.  One company, TuSimple, already has an autonomous truck performing depot-to-depot runs in Arizona and Texas. The San Diego-based company said it plans to use driverless trucks to improve safety and efficiency in the trucking industry.

How safe are you on the roadways with self-driving trucks? Considering self-driving cars caused nearly 400 crashes in less than a year in the U.S., it’s understandable that you might be concerned about autonomous trucks.

Drivers who are injured because of autonomous trucking technology have rights. You can speak with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque, who can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Driverless trucks are on the nation’s highways, increasing the risk of truck crashes.

How safe are autonomous trucks?

The answer to this question is still relatively unknown, as most companies pursuing the technology are still testing their autonomous trucks. During the testing phase, a human driver is behind the wheel, ready to take over if there is an issue with the automated system.

Torq Robotics, an autonomous vehicle company in Albuquerque, said that its goal is to reduce trucking accidents by eliminating the human error component. The company has an advisory council that oversees working relationships with fleets and logistics suppliers.

At the moment, self-driving trucks and their testing are limited to the Sun Belt states because the technology doesn’t perform well in bad weather like snowstorms and fog.

What are the risks to other drivers?

Tech companies working to develop and market autonomous trucks claim they have many benefits. What are the risks to other drivers?  One of the biggest downfalls is software failure. Driverless trucks are controlled by complicated software programs designed to replace a human behind the wheel. If that software fails, the truck can malfunction, losing the ability to brake or steer.

Another potential risk is autonomous vehicles can be susceptible to hacking. Cyberattacks could focus on the truck’s software, which controls the navigation system. If an unauthorized person gained control of the program running the truck, they could disable it or cause disruptions that compromise the safety of everyone and everything in the truck’s path.

Lastly, another danger of autonomous trucks is the artificial intelligence that runs them lacks the ability to predict human error on the roadways. So, while a human truck driver might anticipate the car in front of him not using a turn signal correctly, a driverless truck might misinterpret the signs, causing a rear-end collision.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most serious kinds of injuries autonomous trucks can cause if you’re involved in a crash with one.

What kinds of injuries can autonomous trucks cause?

Driverless trucks can cause the same kinds of injuries to other drivers as those experienced when a truck crash happens when a human is in the truck’s cab. Due to the size and weight of most tractor trailers, they can cause significant bodily harm and damage to your property.

The most serious physical injuries you can suffer include brain and head injuries which can leave you permanently disabled or, in a worst-case scenario, dead. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) physically damage the brain. You can suffer from headaches, memory and mood problems, and sleep disturbances after suffering a brain injury.

Some other devastating physical injuries from truck accidents include:

  • Back and neck trauma that can lead to whiplash, bulging discs, and other painful injuries.
  • Broken bones that can cause lifelong pain and suffering.
  • Burns that can be challenging to treat or require plastic surgery.
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds to the face or body that can cause disfigurement.
  • Spinal cord injuries that can leave you with paraplegia or quadriplegia.

It’s not uncommon for wrongful death lawsuits to happen after accidents with trucks. If you or someone you love dies because of a malfunctioning autonomous truck, there is legal recourse.

Can you sue a driverless trucking company?

As with any kind of personal injury because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you can sue a driverless trucking company if you’re involved in a serious crash with one of their trucks. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Cameron & Russell understand the devastation that trucking accidents can cause. They’re here to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

You can request a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 505-218-7844 or requesting a free consultation online.

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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