Concerns that vaping-related lung illness is spreading reached Central Texas on Wednesday. On Sept. 18, the Austin Public Health began investigating a possible vaping-related illness case. The agency announced that it will confirm that the conditions of the illness qualify as a vaping-related illness in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria.

The news in Austin comes two days after California officials confirmed the death of a seventh person linked to the severe vaping lung illness. The Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency in California confirmed the death on September 16, 2019.

Government Response

One day after the news that a Kansas woman became the sixth person in the United States to die from a severe pulmonary disease linked to vaping, the Trump Administration is considering banning all non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market. 

President Trump met with Health and Human Services Secretary and the acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner amid growing concerns about health hazards and the growing use by teens and young adults. An FDA press release announced that the agency is finalizing a compliance policy in the coming weeks. The agency will begin enforcing premarket authorizations for non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating more than 450 cases of life-threatening illness. While many of the hundreds of victims who have fallen ill from the disease were in their teens, 20s or 30s, the latest death was a woman over the age of 50. Doctors say she had a history of health problems. However, doctors say that the vaping illness was the cause of her rapid deterioration.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the latest victim of the vaping lung illness developed full-blown acute respiratory distress syndrome and died. Officials are warning that older people with pre-existing illnesses are likely to have worse clinical outcomes if they develop the vaping-lung illness. 

Hundreds of people across 33 states have fallen ill with a respiratory illness that doctors have linked to vaping. The CDC is now recommending that those who use these devices cease use immediately.  

Growing e-cigarette use among youth

In 2016, the FDA implemented a rule that required all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to file premarket tobacco product applications. According to the FDA, the marketing and sales practices of these devices lead to increased youth accessibility while the products often appealed to younger demographics.

The FDA has issued more than 8,600 warning letters and more than 1,000 civil money penalties fines to online and brick-and-mortar retail stores for selling products to minors. Many of these companies, including JUUL, marketed unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising and other activities directed to youthful consumers. In fact, the FDA notes one instance where the company gave a presentation to youth at a school.

The nicotine in e-cigarettes is just as harmful as that in cigarettes. Nicotine is an addictive substance changes the makeup of the brain and leads to addiction.

What is happening to the people getting sick from vaping?

Patients have reported their symptoms developed over a few days’ time. While others have reported that symptoms appeared or worsened over several weeks. Doctors are reporting that scans of patients’ lungs are the worst they’ve ever seen. Patients have reported symptoms such as: 

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

A Texas family is raising awareness about the dangers of vaping as their teen daughter remains on life support. The mother of 17-year-old Whitney Livingston says her daughter has pneumonia in both lungs. However, an infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms in these cases. Further, patients are not responding to antibiotic treatment alone. 

What is ARDS?

A Texas woman, who began vaping because of the taste, told news stations that doctors diagnosed her with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This condition is a rapidly progressive disease that occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. When the lungs begin to fill up with fluid, it becomes difficult to get air into your lungs. The body becomes unable to carry out the work of breathing and will ultimately lead to respiratory failure. In severe cases, ARDS can lead to a collapsed lung.

What is the cause of the vaping-related illness?

Vaping has been heralded as a safer alternative to cigarette use. However, for years, health researchers and nonprofit organizations have raised alarm about the use of the unregulated ingredients in vaping juices. The prevailing theory is vitamin E, an oily substance that needs to heat to high temperatures to become a vapor but returns to its oily state in the lungs. However, not all cases of severe pulmonary disease are linked to vitamin E. 

Additionally, a slow process to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping devices means that customers may not be getting safe products. In fact, the FDA has pushed back its review of the vaping industry until 2022. 

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Whether or not a product is regulated doesn’t matter. Companies selling products in the United States have a responsibility to ensure that their products do not cause harm. If you or a loved one has suffered injury as a result of a vaping injury, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our firm has more than 40 years of experience representing personal injury victims. Our compassionate attorneys will work hard on your behalf to protect your rights and ensure that you get justice. 

We care. We can help.

Traditionally, baby powder has been a staple in many women’s personal hygiene routines. In fact, women have been using baby powder as a feminine hygiene product for decades. However, it wasn’t until recently that scientists discovered a possible link between baby powder and ovarian cancer. The cancer-causing ingredient? Talc. In its natural form, talc may contain asbestos – a well-known carcinogen.

Talcum powder or baby powder as it is more commonly referred to is made from talc. Talc is a mineral that is made up of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. 

Ovarian cancer and talcum powder

In 2013, a journal from Cancer Prevention Research showed that women have a 20-30 percent greater risk of developing ovarian cancer when using a product with talcum powder around their groin area. 

Research indicates that talcum powder usage can cause inflammation and increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women. When used by women as a part of their hygiene routine, talcum powder particles can travel through the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes, ending up in the ovaries. 

Many women used talcum powder to absorb moisture and cut down on friction that can cause unpleasant chaffing. Women were unknowingly using the powder near their genitals unaware of the potentially dire consequences. 

Talcum powder and minorities

Johnson & Johnson considered increasing its marketing efforts to Hispanic women long after they had acknowledged health concerns. Those efforts came about even though Hispanic women were already purchasing the product in high numbers. In fact, Johnson’s baby powder has a high usage rate among Hispanic at 37.6 percent. 

However, targeting minorities did not stop there, Johnson & Johnson shifted their approach, targeting African American women and overweight women. They went as far as dropping off as many as 100,000 sample bags at churches and beauty salons in predominately Hispanic and Black communities. Black women may make up to 60 percent of baby powder users. 

The company marketed its product as something that will help its consumers stay fresh and dry while avoiding chaffing. 

Ditch the Talcum Powder

As a way of preventing the possibility of being harmed by potential asbestos-containing talcum powder, there are a few ingredients that you can use to make a homemade hygiene powder to replace commercial powder hygiene products:

  • Cornstarch: Found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store, cornstarch is a great natural alternative to talc. The consistency is exactly the same, so it too will help rid you of any moisture. Cornstarch is derived from the endosperm of a corn kernel and is often used to help thicken sauces.
  • Arrowroot starch or tapioca starch: Both of these starches are all-natural alternatives to talc. Arrowroot is derived from several tropical South American plants. Tapioca starch is derived from the crushed-up pulp of the South American cassava plant, a woody shrub.
  • Baking soda: You thought that useful sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, only had 100 uses. Well, there just so happens to be one more: This common pantry item can be used in place of baby powder. Some people even use it as deodorant, applying some to their underarms each morning.

Commercial Alternatives to Talcum Powder

Making homemade products is time-consuming. But if kicking your talcum powder to the curb is on your to-do list, consider some other commercial alternatives: 

Chub Rub Formula by Zone Naturals  

If chaffing is your problem, the Chub Rub stick may just be your answer! Talc-free, of course, can be applied between the thighs or anywhere else chaffing may occur safely. This product is made from organic coconut oil and helps skin glide easier. 

Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder

This dusting powder is made with corn starch and kaolin. This powder will absorb moisture and keep you dry, all while fresh-scented! This product is safe for all-over use and has jasmine and vetiver scents. 

Farmaesthetics – High Cotton Body Dust

High Cotton Body Dust is an herbal dusting powder that can be used to absorb extra moisture without drying the scan. This powder is made from arrowroot and cornstarch. This product can be used for dusting feet and other places of the body. It is gentle enough to be used on babies. 

Ora’s Amazing Herbal Body Powder

This body powder is scent-free, talc-free, and grain-free! This powder is made with a base of kaolin clay powder, which is a light-colored clay that is found in the soil of humid climates. This product is naturally deodorizing and is safe for use on the body.

Gold Bond Ultimate Body Powder

Comfort body powder provides odor protection, comfort, and soothing relief. This product contains aloe and chamomile to keep consumers fresh and order free daily! This product contains cornstarch and can be applied directly to undergarments. 

Talcum powder lawsuits

Thousands of consumers have filed talcum powder lawsuits against the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson. These lawsuits showcase the pharmaceutical company’s failure to adequately warn women of the potential risk of developing ovarian cancer for the use of its popular baby powder.

Although filing a claim with not turn back time, a claim could help alleviate the stress from the piling medical bill and other expenses victims are faced with. Compensation for talcum powder lawsuits includes pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses in the case of a loved one’s death and more. 

If using talcum powder caused you harm, the company that made the product should be held accountable. These manufactures ignorantly put their profits about their consumer’s safety and will only continue to try to protect those profits. 

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If you or someone you know have developed a serious illness after using a product with talc or talcum powder, it may be in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Carlson Law Firm has experience with these types of cases and may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have a team of compassionate attorneys, on-staff nurses and private investigators ready to heavily invest in your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We care, we can help.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We serve clients nationwide.


Four years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a carcinogen. Immediately, Monsanto denied the claim and pointed to several studies. Still, the company’s damage control didn’t stop the thousands of lawsuit that followed the IARC news. It is 2019, and although Monsanto is now owned by Bayer, the company is still struggling to get in front of the image that Roundup—the most popular herbicide in the world—is linked to cancer. 

Bayer-Monsanto is currently battling thousands of lawsuits alleging that its popular herbicide Roundup is linked to cancer. More than 13,000 plaintiffs currently have cases pending against agrochemical company. Each case alleges that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, led to the development of cancer.

The evidence against Monsanto’s popular herbicide, Roundup, is building. This year alone, several studies have shown that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is carcinogenic. In fact, a study out of the University of Washington said the exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of some cancers by more than 40 percent.

The research coming out about the carcinogenesis of glyphosate is a blow to the long-held position of the Environmental Protection Agency and Monsanto that the synthetic chemical compound does not cause cancer in humans.

ATSDR Report Released April 2019

Further aiding plaintiff’s cases against Monsanto is the damning study released by the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in April 2019. The ATSDR is a department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that announced plans to evaluate glyphosate’s health effects on human in February 2015 and publish its results in October of that same year. However, there is evidence that the EPA and Monsanto conspired to kill the study and its release.

More than four years after the CDC announced it plans, it was only at the urging of Congress that the long-awaited study was released in April 2019. The study raised several alarming flags about both the chemical’s carcinogenesis and non-cancerous effects.

The release of the CDC’s Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s findings was a blow to Monsanto’s court defense that its popular herbicide is non-toxic.

Why are there so many lawsuits against Monsanto?

In 2015, the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in human”. Its decision to do so was based on “convincing evidence” that glyphosate led to tumors and cancer in laboratory animals. Particularly, the IARC found that exposure to glyphosate led to

  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • leukemia
  • B-cell lymphoma
  • multiple myeloma

Those most at risk for developing cancer are farm workers and others who use or are in proximity to the substance as part of their jobs. For example, The Carlson Law Firm is currently representing clients who have been exposed through farm work, landscaping garden centers, nurseries, and rental property owners.

2019 Roundup Trials Timeline

Last year, jurors gave $289 million to DeWayne Johnson, a former landscaper diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While a judge later reduced the verdict, Johnson’s injuries were significant enough for an award worth almost $80 million. With that in mind, 2019 hasn’t faired any better for Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup.

January 2019 – Bifurcation

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria bifurcated the first bellwether trials in the multidistrict litigation. This was a win for Bayer-Monsanto whose attorneys asked that the trials be split into two. The first phase of the trials would focus on whether or not Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, caused the plaintiff’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If the jury found this to be the case, then it should award compensatory damages. The second phase, if needed, would address Monsanto’s liability and punitive damages.

Monsanto cited the $289-million ruling in the Johnson case as its reasoning. In fact, the agrochemical company argued that conflicting regulatory findings confused the jury.  

However, critics of the move say that Monsanto asked to split the case into phases in order to quell key information from the plaintiff’s attorneys. A major theme in the attorneys’ arguments is that Monsanto has worked for decades to influence scientific studies that backed the safety of glyphosate—including collusion with the EPA.

Chabria wrote in his decision:

“Although this type of bifurcation is unusual and should be done with caution—both generally and in the context of MDL bellwether trials—it is warranted here. A significant portion of the plaintiffs’ case involves attacks on Monsanto for attempting to influence regulatory agencies and manipulate public opinion regarding glyphosate. These issues are relevant to punitive damages and some liability questions. But when it comes to whether glyphosate caused a plaintiff’s NHL, these issues are mostly a distraction, and a significant one at that.”

March 2019 – Phase One Ruling

Phase one of the bifurcated trials came to a close in mid-March. The second jury dealt Bayer-Monsanto a major blow. The jury concluded that the weedkiller’s active ingredient was a “substantial factor” in causing Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Hardeman used Roundup for 26 years to control weeds and poison oak on his property for 26 years. Doctors diagnosed him with NHL in 2015.

Phase Two Ruling

The second phase began the day after the jury finding that Roundup caused Hardeman’s cancer. But less than two weeks after the trial began, the jury ordered Monsanto to pay more than $80 million in damages to Hardeman. The jury awarded Hardeman for the following:

  • $75 million in punitive damages
  • $5 million for past and future suffering
  • $200,000 for medical bills

The company deliberately failed to warn consumers about the risks. This is why punitive damage awards have been so significant. In addition, the evidence presented shows that Bayer engaged in a decades-long cover-up, putting its profits over people.

What do these trials mean?

Two different juries found the science backing claims that glyphosate is a carcinogen credible. Further, two different juries found that Monsanto worked to conceal the fact that it knew about glyphosate’s probability of being a carcinogen. And two different juries awarded significant punitive damages.

The company’s failure to warn consumers about the risks of using Roundup has put millions of people in danger. Currently, Bayer-Monsanto is facing U.S. lawsuits from more than 13,000 people over cancer claims.

Despite finding from juries and the CDC report, the Environmental Protection Agency reaffirmed its stance at the end of April that the popular weed killer is safe for people. However, the agency notes potential risks to mammals and birds that feed on leaves treated with glyphosate. It has plans to announce ways to reduce drift.

The Pilliods’ $2 Billion Award

On May 14,  in the third consecutive U.S. jury verdict against Bayer, a California jury awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer-Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killer, Roundup, caused their cancer. The ruling became the largest jury verdict against the company over cancer claims to date. The jury awarded $55 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages to California couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod. However, there is likely to be a reduction in punitive damages because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1.

The Pilliods both received non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis. Doctors diagnosed Alva with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 and Alberta in 2015. The couple filed their lawsuit in 2017. Both are currently in remission. But their trial was expedited due to the risk of relapse and potentially shortened life expectancy.

Individually, the jury awarded Alva $18 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion in punitive damages; and Alberta $37 million in compensatory and $1 billion in punitive damages.

In its ruling, the jury found that Round’s design is defective. Further, the jury alleged that the company failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risks and the company acted negligently.

Important Roundup Trial Dates

As we get closer to the end of 2019, rumors of Bayer-Monsanto offering to settle have percolated across headlines. While these claims have been denied by those closest to the Roundup trial, the number of cases against the company has risen to more than 18,000.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

The Carlson Law Firm is currently investigating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases all over the country. We are accepting cases from all 50 states. If you or a loved one used Roundup for work or personal yard maintenance, contact us today. The science that this dangerous chemical is significantly affecting health is on your side. We can help you hold Bayer-Monsanto accountable for its failure to warn you that glyphosate is carcinogenic.

We have a team of attorneys with the experience you deserve. A Carlson Law Firm Roundup lawyer will fight tirelessly for the justice you and your family deserves. We protect the rights of victims nationwide from negligent companies for their injuries. If you received a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis after using Roundup, contact our office for a free consultation.

With hundreds of thousands to millions of car seats in recall every year, it is imperative that parents register car seats to ensure their child’s safety. Historically, around 80 percent of vehicle recalls actually receive repairs. This means millions of families are driving around with a child in a compromised car. This makes ensuring your child’s car seats are safe all the more important.

Every year, the National Child Passenger Week Campaign and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) urge parents to register their car seats and booster seats so they can receive recall notices. By doing this, you give manufacturers the ability to contact you about any and all safety notices.

By completing this simple task, you can ensure that your child is in a car seat that is as safe as it possibly can be. It could mean the difference between life and death.

How do I Register A Car Seat?

In 2017, more than 700,000 individual car sears were recalled, but only 30 percent of recalls ever make it back to the manufacturer. This leaves thousands driving around with unsafe car seats. A study by Safe Kids Worldwide found that only 42 percent of families return the car-seat registration card that comes when you purchase a car seat. It is important to note that registering your children’s car seat will guarantee that you will be notified if a recall is issued.

There are two ways to register a car seat:

Mail in your car seat registration card

Fill out and mail the registration card that came with your car seat. All of your car seat’s information will already be included. No postage is required to send this registration card.

Register online at or on your car seat manufacturer’s website

You can also visit your car seat manufacturer’s website to register your seat. You’ll need to have the model number and date of manufacture found on a label on your car seat handy.

Registering your child’s car seat doesn’t take much effort. But it could keep your child from suffering serious injuries in a car crash.

What To Do In Case Of A Recall

It is important to note that most recalls don’t require you to stop using your child’s car seat right away. Some recalls are for minor issues such as a misprint on a label that would require to stick a new label on your child’s car seat. However, many other recalls are for easily repairable issues.

First, stay calm. Do some research on the issue and find out the specifics of why the manufacturer issued a safety recall for your child’s car seat. This will help you with figuring out exactly what you need to do to fix the problem. The second step to take is to contact the manufacturer. In most cases, the manufacturer will send the necessary part or parts needed to repair your child’s car seat.

If you receive notice of a recall, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and make any repairs necessary. This will ensure your child rides as safely as possible. Recalls are scary when you know your child’s safety is at risk. However, taking prompt action to correct the problem is a parent’s best precaution when it comes to keeping their child safe.

What is the Safety Recall Process?

Contrary to popular belief, recalls are not issued by the government. They are, in fact, issued by the manufacturer at the government’s urging. The NHTSA is the governing body that sets the standards for manufacturers to meet. Also, it is the agency that requires manufacturers to recall unsafe equipment.

The recall process is as follows:

Step 1: Loved ones or individuals who suffer injuries because of a faulty product or defect report the safety defect to the NHTSA.

Step 2: The NHTSA will review complaints upon receiving them. The agency will then analyze to see if an investigation is warranted.

Step 3: If the NHTSA finds credibility in the complaints then it will notify manufacturers of its recall recommendations.

Step 4: A safety recall is issued when the NHTSA finds a company has violated federal safety standards. A recall requires a manufacturer’s action to announce and remedy the defects.

While not all recalls are safety related, most of them are. In some cases, automakers issue voluntary recalls, or the NHTSA imposes a recall by court order. No matter the reason for the safety recall, it is essential that you know exactly what is going on with your child’s car seat. Registering your car seat is the best way to receive up to date on your child’s car seat recall status.

What Else do Parents Need to Know About Car Seats?

Many parents may not know that car seats come with expiration dates. These dates typically range from two to eight years from the date of seat’s manufacturer. This date is critical to keep in mind if you are planning to recycle the seat for subsequent children.

An expiration date isn’t necessarily the date when the car seat can no longer be used. Instead, it’s more like a guideline from the seat manufacturer of the expected “useful life” of the seat. It is important that parents verify the age and expiration date of the car seat.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

There are many laws and regulations in place for how products should work and fulfill expectations. If the product does not work as advertised, but rather, causes injury or even wrongful death, our firm can assist as soon as you contact our office. We have substantial experience with product liability cases, which is the liability of distributors, suppliers, and manufacturers for defective products.

When a consumer is unfortunate enough to be the user of a defective product, great danger could result. Our personal investigators can give you assistance in proving liability.  If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a faulty product, contact The Carlson Law Firm as soon as possible. We are available to you 24/7. We care, we can help.

Find a Product Liability Attorney near me!

The amount of maximum child support under the state’s Child Support Guidelines will increase as of Sept. 1, 2019.

According to the Texas Family Code §154.125, the child support guidelines apply to the paying parent’s monthly net resources up to $7,500.00 as of 2007. However, the state adjusts for inflation every six years. The most recent adjustment changes the paying parent’s situation if their net resources total $9,200. Depending on the paying parent’s monthly net income, it is possible that this change could affect you and your family. More importantly, it could mean that a child support modification may be around the corner.

What is the child support cap?

Child support payments in Texas are based on the paying parent’s income. Very few states actually put a cap on child support payments, but Texas puts a presumptive cap on the amount due each month, based on the net income of the parent paying support. Even with that cap, a court may order the paying parent to pay above that amount. In these cases, the court bases its decision on the income of the parties as well as the proven needs of the child.  

The child support cap provides the custodial parent (or the person receiving child support payments) with a presumption of a minimum amount of child support that will be ordered to be paid for the child. It likewise provides assurance for the non-custodial parent (or the paying parent) to know generally what the highest amount of support he or she will owe for child support. However, this amount can be increased by a court finding that the child’s proven needs are financially higher. For example, if a child is disabled and requires specialized care, the court may order additional support over and above the guideline child support amounts.

Under Texas Family Code §154.123, the court has many factors it can consider in determining the amount of child support that should be ordered above or below the guideline amount, including the following:

  1. the age and needs of the child;
  2. the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
  3. any financial resources available for the support of the child;
  4. the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
  5. the amount of non-paying parent’s financial resources;
  6. childcare expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
  7. whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
  8. the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
  9. the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
  10. whether the paying parent has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
  11. the number of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
  12. provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
  13. special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
  14. the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
  15. positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
  16. debts or debt service assumed by either party;  and
  17. any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.

To determine net income for child support calculations, the court considers the following resources: 

  1. All wage and salary income, as well as other compensation for personal services (including commission, overtime pay, tips and bonuses);
  2. Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
  3. Self-employment income;
  4. Money made from rental properties (after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments); and
  5. All other income including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trusts, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits other than supplemental security income, VA benefits other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, and alimony.

Why is the child support cap increasing?

The last child support cap increase occurred in September 2013. Every six years, the amount automatically adjusts based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

In February 2013, the designated CPI was 681.158 raising the child support from $7,550 to $8,550. As of February this year, the CPI was 733.407 an increase of 52.249 points or a 7.67% increase. These figures raise the new maximum net income from $8,550 to $9,200. This change in maximum income makes the new maximum guideline child support amount for one child $1,840 per month. 

How will the new Texas child support cap affect me?

Ultimately, the way the cap will affect you depends on how much money the parent paying support brings home. For example, if the paying parent’s current take-home pay is less than $8,550, their child support obligation is not subject to change based on this adjustment to the cap. If the paying parent’s monthly net income is $8,550 or more, their child support obligation may be subject to an increase.

If you are currently receiving child support from a parent that earns more than $8,550 per month net income (the previous cap amount), you may want to consider filing for a modification of child support. Our experienced child support attorneys are ready and willing to assist you with this matter.

Does this increase change my support obligation?

The increase does not affect the percentages applied to net income for calculating child support based on the number of children you pay support for. However, it does apply to the percentage established at the new cap amount of $9,200.

My net monthly income is more than $8,550, will my support automatically increase?

No. Your support obligation will not automatically increase; however, when or if you and your child’s other parent return to court for a modification, your child support obligation could increase based on your income.

My ex and I are in a custody dispute, could this affect me?

If you are in the midst of a custody dispute the amount of child support you pay a month may now be higher. Any cases finalized on or after September 1, 2019, would apply this guideline increase for purposes of calculating the amount of child support owed each month.

The Carlson Law Firm can help

There are many factors that are taken into consideration by a court when determining child support calculations. For a clear understanding of how your child support may be affected by state law, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our qualified family law attorneys can help you navigate the complex Texas Family Law Code.

Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation with a qualified member of our legal. We care. We can help.

What To Do After A Car Crash

One minute, everything is fine, and then all of a sudden, the worst has happened. You’ve been in a car crash. What you do next will make all the difference from your medical treatment to the compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and more. Injuries may be severe and emotions high, but it is important to remember that there are a few oh-so-important steps to take immediately following a car crash to ensure your rights are protected.

Car crashes are unexpected, stressful and are bound to happen to every one of us at some point. For this reason, it is essential to prepare for the worst case scenario. 

Tips To Protect Your Rights

After the initial adrenaline rush, take a few deep breaths and grab your Carlson Law Firm Do’s and Don’ts checklist. This short list of critical steps that we’ve compiled will guarantee your safety, protect your rights, and ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses.

Click here to download a printable version of our checklist.

The importance of Car Insurance

An auto insurance policy is a contract between an individual (the insured) and an insurance company. A customer pays the insurance company a premium that is set based on a variety of factors.

In 49 out of 50 U.S. states, car insurance is mandatory. And even in the one state that doesn’t require insurance, drivers must prove that they have the financial means to cover damages from a crash. This is because when you are in a crash, and you are at fault, you are financially responsible for any damage that you cause. Conversely, when someone injures you, you deserve compensation for the injuries their negligent acts led to.

Most state laws require that drivers carry car insurance. Generally, the reason is that when property damage or injuries occur, the damages can be costly. Further, most people don’t have the funds to make a person whole. Not everyone follows the law and when they do, many drivers only carry the minimum state standards. Each state has different minimum standards for liability insurance.

What are the different types of auto insurance?

The auto insurance industry often uses tactics to settle claims for as little as possible. And with a qualified auto crash attorney on your side, you can get the fair settlement that you deserve. But while attorneys can fight for your rights, it’s important that you give them the tools they need to do so. There are a few basic components you need to know in order to ensure you are getting the coverage you need.

Liability coverage

Liability coverage is the most basic insurance that a person can carry. In addition, it is the coverage that is legally required in most U.S. states. Liability insurance only covers the damages of the other party in an accident that you cause.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance proves an extra level of coverage in accidents. It can help pay for damage to your car caused by incidents not related to crashes. For example, comprehensive insurance covers vandalism, certain weather events and accidents with animals.

Collision Insurance

This type of insurance covers damage to your car after an accident involving another vehicle and can help repair or replace a covered vehicle.

What car insurance add-ons do attorneys recommend?

Understanding the limits of your policy is important when you are filling out paperwork to purchase insurance. Any personal injury attorney worth their salt will tell you that there are optional auto insurance add-ons that are in your best interests to purchase. The most important is UM/UIM insurance.  

UM/UIM Insurance is worth the extra cost

Uninsured motorist cover and underinsured motorist coverage are types of optional insurance offered through your auto insurance companies. This insurance is not automatically included in whatever type of insurance you purchase. You must add on UM/UIM insurance to your policy.  UM/UIM insurance covers you and your household family members riding in any car. In addition, it covers non-family members riding in your car as well.

Depending on where you live, UIM is part of UM. However, this is not always the case. It is important that you check with your insurance company to make sure you carry both UM and UIM insurance.

What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance?

Uninsured motorist coverage covers when a driver without insurance hits you. Further, this coverage can cover you if there is a hit and run.

What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance?

An underinsured motorist differs from an uninsured motorist. Underinsured motorists are drivers that carry insurance, but do not have enough to pay for the entirety of your injuries after a crash. For example, if your medical bills and property total $50,000, but the at-fault driver carries the most basic liability insurance coverage of $30,000, then you are vulnerable to needing to cover $20,000 in medical bills and property damage. If you carry UIM insurance, then you can turn to your insurance company to cover the rest of your expenses.

Personal injury protection insurance

Personal injury protection insurance covers certain medical expenses and loss of income resulting from a car crash. Depending on the limits of a policy, personal injury protection could cover as much as 80% of medical and other expenses stemming from a covered accident.

Medical payments coverage

This optional coverage can help pay medical costs related to a covered accident regardless of who is at fault.

After a Car Crash, Consider the Following Steps:

Car Crash Do’s:

Get a dashcam

A dashcam is a camera that is mounted to the dashboard of vehicles and records what the driver sees. If you have a dashcam that was recording at the time of your accident the footage can be very useful.

Dashcam videos may be used in court as evidence to support your personal injury claim. On top of insurance companies working to devalue your claim, we live in a world where people lie to protect themselves. In fact, it is not unheard of for people to go as far as staging as an accident to commit insurance fraud. Cases like these can quickly turn into a game of he-said-she-said.

Dashcams help provide concrete evidence of who was at fault during an accident. Additionally, these devices can help identify the at-fault party in hit and run accidents where there were no witnesses.

Stay at the scene 

Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.

Ensure safety 

After the accident, immediately determine whether anyone is injured. If so, seek medical attention for those seriously injured by calling 911 to get an ambulance on the scene. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. If the vehicles involved are still operational, get them to the shoulder or off the main road. If you have flares or reflective emergency triangles, set them up to warn other cars. Move yourself and others involved away from the vehicle and to a safe place.

Call the police

Whether an accident is just a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself. Make sure you request a copy of the report for yourself along with the name and badge numbers of responding officers.

Gather details 

If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Note the name, contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Take a moment to jot down the details of the scene while still fresh in your mind.

Talk to witnesses

Ask everyone what they saw and if they have ever witnessed a similar accident in the same place. Ask for their contact information so that they can be contacted by your attorney later on.

Take photos

Document the entire crash scene, your and the other driver’s vehicle, plate and insurance card. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. Take pictures of street signs, skid marks and anything else that may affect your claim.

Go to your doctor

Naturally, if you are severely injured then you will need to seek immediate medical attention. But not all injuries rise to the level of needing to seek help in an emergency room. However, paying a visit to the doctor as soon as you get the chance can identify injuries that have yet to present themselves. Additionally, a doctor can recommend you visit a chiropractor or other specialist should your injuries require it.

Contact an attorney 

An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiating the often chaotic and confusing world of personal injury claims and settlements. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.

Car Crash Don’ts:

  1. Do not admit fault: Be courteous, but avoid apologizing to the other driver, no matter who is at fault. Stick to the facts when speaking to others.
  2. Do not post about the crash on social media. Insurance companies have a team of investigators who will look at your social media accounts and dig into your background to find information to deny fault and eventually deny your claim.
  3. Do not speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjusters: Keep in mind that insurance adjusters do not have your best interest in mind. They are trained to settle your claim for the least amount possible, even it means undervaluing your injuries. Anything you say during a phone call with them may be recorded and used against you in the future.
  4. Do not accept a check: Although you do want to report the car crash to your insurance company, don’t take any form of payment without fully understanding the extent of your losses, injuries, and damages. This may not entirely or fairly compensate you for your damages. Don’t sign any waivers provided to you by your insurance company without seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney first.

Why You Need An Attorney After A Car Crash

Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involves personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries. When filing a Personal Injury Claim, one of the first and most important actions to take after a personal injury occurs is to enlist a knowledgeable lawyer who has the tools and resources needed to prove fault and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

It is important to understand that the effects of some injuries suffered in car crashes have the potential of lasting a lifetime, making it critical that you have someone in your corner protecting your rights. Not only is it possible you may be in pain for an on-going period of time if your injuries require physical therapy, multiple surgeries and so forth, but medical bills may pile up. To avoid the added stress of medical debt, it is essential you speak to a qualified personal injury attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights.

Not All Injuries Are Apparent Immediately

There are many instances in which an individual does not realize they have been injured in a car crash. Some injuries may take hours or days to become apparent. An example is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The varied signs and symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision and loss of focus associated with this type of injury make it difficult to recognize. An experienced car crash lawyer will ensure you are receiving the proper medical attention for your injuries.

Why Choose The Carlson Law Firm After A Car Crash

After an injury, you may wonder how you will pay for medical bills or recover lost wages? Are you questioning how the legal process works or where to start? These are questions that our Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyers can answer for you.

At a time when you’re vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead. At The Carlson Law Firm, we can provide a level of representation that has been given recognition with awards and accolades that can be used to your advantage. Contact us for a free evaluation. We care, we can help.

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PrEP is meant to stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. Truvada was officially the first drug for use in preventing HIV-negative people from getting HIV to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012.

Truvada is prescribed to adults and adolescents who are at high risk for contracting HIV through sex or injection drug use.

There are plenty of Truvada misconceptions and questions surrounding the drug. In continuation, we have compiled a list of facts you may not know about the antiretroviral drug.

Not recommended for “all gay men” regardless of misleading headlines

Gay and bisexual men have been disproportionately affected by AIDS since its discovery. Gay men account for 66 percent of new HIV infections despite only making up two percent of the U.S. population. In fact, 55 percent of all AIDS deaths have been gay men.

With that being said, the Centers for Disease Control recommend PrEP to individuals who do not have HIV but who are at “very high risk of getting HIV.” To clarify, this does not simply mean “all gay men.”

You may be at a very high risk of contracting HIV if you:

It is not safe to replace condoms with Truvada

The approval to prescribe Truvada is a controversial topic. Public health officials worry that once on the drug, some people may engage in more risky behaviors due to one of the most popular Truvada misconceptions-they are completely protected from contracting HIV. However, this statement is completely false.

Truvada is not 100 percent effective against HIV and does not protect against other STIs that people are exposed to during intercourse. Above all, this makes it critical to understand that Truvada is by no means a condom replacement. Preventative interventions including condoms remain as relevant as ever. In addition, it is critical to be aware that having an STD can increase a person’s chance of getting exposed to the virus.

Truvada’s negative side effects and serious health risks

Since the epidemic’s beginning researcher’s have been searching for a solution. Although Truvada reduces the risk of contracting HIV, it is important to understand that the drug poses some negative side effects and serious complications.

For example, some of Truvada’s negative side effects include:

Aside from the negative side effects that may result from taking Truvada, more serious complications may arise.

Lactic Acidosis

One of these complications is Lactic Acidosis. This condition is caused by the build-up of lactic acid in the blood. This is a severe but rare condition that should be treated by a doctor right away.

Early signs of lactic acidosis include:

Signs of life-threatening lactic acidosis include

Bone problems

The use of Truvada has also been found to cause a decrease in bone mineral density consequently leading to osteoporosis, thinning of the bones and bone loss.

Osteoporosis is a serious condition because it affects the entire system causing a weakening in the bones. The brittle bones make patients more susceptible to frequent fractures, primarily in the wrists, spine, and hips.

Kidney failure

Problems with the kidneys have been found to be a heightened risk for patients taking Truvada. These risks include:

If you take Truvada and are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is important you seek medical attention immediately. These conditions need to be treated by a medical professional because they have the potential to be fatal.

Inconsistent dosing will reduce Truvada’s effectiveness

Many people do not take their medications as their doctors prescribe. Studies have shown that PrEP is most effective when taken daily. According to a three-year clinical trial of PrEP in HIV-negative men who are sexually active with men, not taking Truvada daily will reduce the drug’s effectiveness.

It is also important to note that it can take 20-30 days for the drug to be considered effective for patients who are starting PrEP treatment.

Truvada can cause drug-resistant HIV infection

Although rare, Prep failure due to transmitted drug resistance is a possibility. How does this happen? Mutations in HIV can make the virus less susceptible to Truvada causing PrEP to fail. Besides, the chances of acquiring the HIV virus increases if a person on PrEP is exposed to another person’s HIV virus that is resistant to the medications in PrEP.

To sum up, although it is not recommended and very dangerous, if you are on PrEP and are not protecting yourself and your partner with condoms, it is important you get tested regularly for STDs and HIV.

The Carlson Law Firm is here to help

We understand how difficult it can be to find out a medication has caused you harm. Pharmaceutical companies whose negligence has caused harm to consumers need to be held accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered from renal disease or bone disease after taking Truvada, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak to a qualified Dangerous Drug Attorney who can evaluate your case and discuss if filing a Truvada Lawsuit is your best course of action. We care, we can help.

For years, researchers have been studying a possible link between breast implants and the development of Breast-Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). While estimates of the risk have varied widely, in recent months, textured breast implants products made by Allergan have been recalled because of their link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Several health organization authorities now recognize the link between textured breast implants and the development of BIA-ALCL. This is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the immune system. In July 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that manufacture Allergan voluntarily recall Natrelle BIOCELL textured breast implants. As a result, the company is pulling the product from the global market.

The FDA has identified a worldwide total of 573 BIA-ALCL cases—including 33 patient deaths.  Further, at least 12 patients who have since passed knew Allergan was the manufacturer of their textured implant at the time of their diagnosis. Textured Allergan implants were identified in one woman after her death. Unfortunately, the manufacturer and/or texture is unknown for the remaining 20 reported BIA-ALCL deaths.

In addition, of the 573 BIA-ALCL cases, 481 were reported to have Allergan implants.

Who is Allergan?

Allergan is a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. According to the Associated Press, the brand accounts for just 5% of the U.S. breast implant market. The July recall does not affect the brand’s smooth implants or other textured implants, sold under the Microcell brand.

The company voluntarily agreed to the FDA’s request to remove breast implant products from the market. In a press release, the company stated:

“Allergan is taking this action as a precaution following notification of recently updated global safety information concerning the uncommon incidence of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

What is Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma(ALCL)?

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a very rare, treatable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer of the cells of the immune system and a known risk from breast implants. It occurs in breast tissue in about 3 in 100 million women. This rare form of cancer affects the cells of the immune system.

In cases where ALCL is linked to breast implants, the cancer is not found on the breast itself, but usually in the capsule of scar tissue that forms around the implant and fluid near the implant. There are even some cases where the ALCL has spread throughout the body.

In 2011, the FDA was the first public health agency in the world to communicate about the risks of BIA-ALCL, warning women that the available information at the time indicated that there is a risk for women with breast implants for developing this disease.

Researchers are still examining the correlation between ALCL and breast implants. For example, researchers have yet to determine whether saline or silicone implants affect the potential risk of developing ALCL. However, as of 2016, the World Health Organization specified BIA-ALCL as a T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants.

How Might Breast Implants Cause Cancer?

Textured implants have a rough surface that may irritate or inflame the tissues around it. Researchers believe there is a possibility that this chronic inflammation plays a role. In fact, studies have revealed markers of chronic inflammation in the scar tissue around the breast implants. This suggests that an immune response to the breast implants may trigger ALCL.

Another possible cause comes from an immune response that increases cancer risk due to the bacteria that surrounds the area around the implant. A study conducted in 2016 focused on the community of bacteria around tumor samples in people with ALCL that was linked to breast implants. The study revealed there was a significant difference from the community of bacteria around samples from people with breast implants who did not develop ALCL.

The symptoms of ALCL may occur years and even decades after undergoing breast implant surgery. Symptoms consist of persistent swelling or pain in the area of the breast implant.

Do Certain Types of Implants Increase the Risk of Developing ALCL?

Researchers have yet to determine whether saline or silicone-filled implants affect the risk of developing BIA-ALCL. However, the FDA’s recall makes it clear that textured implants made with silicone and polyurethane outer shells have the highest risk. It is clear that the body reacts differently to textured implants than to smooth ones.

A plastic surgeon and researcher at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine says that tissue grows into microscopic grooves in the textured implants.

Is BIA-ALCL breast cancer?

No. BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. It is a type of immune system cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to research, in a majority of cases, BIA-ALCL is found mostly in the scar tissue and fluid surrounding the textured implant. However, in rare cases, the disease can spread throughout the body.

Why do women opt for textured breast implants?

Textured implants are less likely to move around inside of the breast. This is because they help develop scar tissue to stick to the implant and protect it from the body’s reaction to a foreign object. Ultimately, the scar tissue prevents the implant from repositioning as is seen in other types of implants.

These types of implants were invented to stabilize the implant in the breast pocket, as well as decrease the incidence of capsular contracture, a condition where the tissue begins to tighten and squeeze the implant.

What actions is the FDA taking?

In the summer of 2019, the FDA requested that the Dublin-based manufacturer Allergan remove its BIOCELL texture implants from the market. In addition, the maker also pulled other products from the shelf that includes the following:

  • Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Breast Implants (previously sold as the McGhan RTV Saline-Filled Mammary Implant) in styles 163, 168, 363 and 468.
  • Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants (previously known as Inamed Silicone-Filled Breast Implants) in styles 110, 115, 120, TRL, TRLP, TRM, TRF, TRX, TCL, TCLP, TCM, TCF,TCX, TSL, TSLP, TSM, TSF, and TSX.
  • Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped sIlicone Filled Breast Implants in styles 410FM, 410FF, 410MM, 410 MF, 420 ML, 410 LL, 410 LM, 410 LF, 410 FX, 410 MX, and 410 LX.

The tissue expanders that have been recalled are:

  • Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
  • Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs

The FDA is continuing to evaluate any new information regarding breast implants. The FDA is not recommending that women with Allergan implants have them removed. However, the agency does recommend seeing a doctor if patients notice symptoms such as pain and swelling.

ALCL Treatment

ALCL is typically curable when detected early on and not often fatal. Surgical removal of the implants and the tissue around it eliminates the disease in many cases. However, some women may need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation.

Factors that increase the risk of breast cancer

Established and probable factors that increase breast cancer risk include the following:

  • Age (older)
  • Age at first childbirth (older)
  • Alcohol
  • Age at first menstrual cycle (younger)
  • Age at menopause (older)
  • Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
  • Being female
  • High blood androgen levels
  • Birth control pills
  • High blood estrogen levels after menopause
  • High bone density
  • Personal family history of cancer
  • Race and ethnicity

Factors that decrease breast cancer risk

  • Physical activity after menopause
  • Breastfeeding
  • Carotenoids (antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables)

In about 90% of breast cancer cases, women find a breast lump themselves. So, check your breasts regularly. If you have implants, pay extra attention to how your new breasts look and feel.

It can be concerning to learn there is an association between breast implants and cancer. While it is important to keep potential risks in perspective, it does not mean those who have breast implants should have them removed. Instead, make sure you schedule routine check-ups with your health care provider. If you notice any signs such as new breast swelling, lumps, pain or changes in breast shape, promptly schedule an appointment to report these symptoms.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

While cancer is a scary topic to think about, the disease and its consequences are something we need to be aware of. Second to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in American women. In fact, U.S. women have a 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer. The Carlson Law firm is a client-first law firm. We have devoted decades of protecting the rights of injured victims. At a time when you’re vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted you need a team that will support you through the often complex that lies ahead.

If you or a loved one had a misdiagnosis or delayed breast cancer diagnosis, we have a medical malpractice team ready to protect you in any way we can. Contact us today to discuss your situation and explore your legal options. We care, we can help.

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Back to school for many parents and guardians means back to bumper to bumper annoyance in the school drop off and pick up line. School handbooks don’t typically come with the dos and don’ts for the school pick up line, but they may have a designated drop off area and staff directing the flow of traffic to get students safely inside. The top priority for the school drop off and pick up lines is ensuring that students are safe. For this reason, remembering to put the needs of others above your own is the best way to ensure your child is safe, other children are safe and other parents don’t hate you.

The pick-up and drop-off lines are the great equalizers. No one is above the system. Forming a line is not complicated and it’s one of the first things we as humans learn to do in none other than school. 

Consider this quick refresher on school drop off and pick up lines etiquette.

Just say no to quick chats

The school pick up line is not a time to catch up with other parents about their summer. It’s also not the best time to talk to your children’s teachers. Let’s face it, a quick chat isn’t necessarily quick for the parent behind you who needs to get to work. 

Put your phone away

Approximately one in six drivers are distracted. This doesn’t change once a person enters into a school zone behind the wheel. The top distractions for drivers include the following:

  • Cell phones
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Reaching into the backseat
  • Grooming
  • Reading

The distraction of your phone can take your eyes off your surroundings for much longer than you may realize. Pick up and drop off lines are a lot of stops and go, in addition to lots of children being around. To avoid any tragedies, put your phone away while dropping off or picking up your most precious cargo.

Prepare ahead of time

There’s no need to fumble around for lunch boxes or sign field trip papers in the drop-off line. Double-check that your child has everything they need for the day before leaving the house. 

Don’t cut the line

Line cutting can often lead to tempers rising which can make for dangerous road rage situations. Avoid this at all costs. Road rage can lead to serious lapses in driving judgment that can endanger the lives and property of everyone around. This also goes for honking your horn, screaming obscenities or posting on social media about another parent.

Don’t try to go around other vehicles

Trying to get around other vehicles that are stopped means you may not see everything up ahead including children. Waiting your turn ensures that you won’t be the cause of a tragic accident.

Don’t speed through the school zone

School zones aren’t just to slow your morning down, the posted limit is to keep the high number of students traveling through the area safe. There is a lot of traffic during pick up and drop-off times and sometimes kids may step off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic. If an unexpected child in the road occurs driving slower gives you more time to react and may save a life.

Stay in your car

While in the morning drop-off line, you want the smoothest transition possible. Staying in your car means that when the car in front of you moves, you move. Keeping the flow of traffic moving will keep the parent drop off and pick up lines from impeding the flow of traffic on public roads feeding into the school.

Avoid double parking

If your child is in a grade level that requires you to park and get out of your vehicle to get your child or take your child into the building, avoid double parking. Even if you are running late, it’s better to circle the block to avoid blocking the flow of traffic and preventing the driver from leaving their space.

Let your kids take the bus

If the bus is an option for your student, let them take the bus. School buses are actually one of the safest commute options for students. Far safer than you taking them. You can avoid the morning traffic and help alleviate some of the traffic for other parents by allowing your child to take the bus. 

Park when you need to

If your child is refusing to get out of the vehicle, the drop-off line isn’t the best place to battle it out. Park, calm your child down and walk them to their destination. 

Patience is a virtue

Even if you do everything right, there is always a chance that another parent is having an off day. If that is the case, take a deep breath and patiently wait your turn. Frustration and raised blood pressure won’t get you where you need to be any faster. In fact, it will likely just set you up to have a bad day and hurt your overall health. 

The Carlson Law Firm — We care. We Can Help.

It’s easy to forget that everyone has a life and a list of things to do for the day. However, taking a deep breath and remembering that it’s important to consider the safety of the pedestrians and motorists around you is the best thing you can to keep your children, other children and the staff at your children’s schools safe. When you are in the drop-off or pick up line, your top priority should be safety. Other people have lives that they’re trying to get to just the same as you. Being polite and considerate of others will not only keep your children safe, but it will also ensure you make it to your destination unharmed. 

If you or a loved one were injured in a school drop off or pick up line accident, contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

Children all over the country are heading back to school. Some students will be walking to school, others will catch a ride from mom, dad or grandma. But nearly 25 million U.S. students will take the bus to school. Luckily, school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation on the roadways. So much so, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that students are almost 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking the bus instead of traveling by car.

However, it’s still important to recognize that children face several dangers on and off the school bus.

Loading and Unloading

The biggest danger a child encounters while riding the bus is not the ride itself, but rather getting on and off the bus safely. Most children injured or killed in school transportation accidents we’re on foot, not the bus, at the time.

Children are most at danger when they are pedestrians walking to or from the school bus. Nearly 20% of school bus drivers have reported that vehicles passed their buses illegally. When a motorist disregards the control arm they are putting children in danger.

School transportation crashes can happen

School buses are the safest form of transportation for school-aged children. In fact, NHTSA reports that of all motor vehicle crashes, school transportation incidents make up only 0.4% of all traffic incidents. 

The majority of these accidents happen in the early morning and during school drop off times. Meaning when children are at their bus stop. Unfortunately, there is an average of 124 school transportation fatalities yearly. Many of the fatalities reported did not involve school-aged children and occurred in rural areas. 

  • 10% of fatalities were school bus occupants.
  • 20% of the fatalities were pedestrians, including bicyclists. 
  • 70% of the fatalities were occupants of other vehicles involved. 

The Danger Zone

There is a danger zone around the outside of every school bus where children are at the most risk of being hit, either by the bus itself or another vehicle. This danger zone extends as far as 30 feet from the front bumper, 10 feet from the left and right sides, and 10 feet behind the rear bumper.

This area is so dangerous because it is extremely hard for the driver to see. If a student drops something in this area they should never try to retrieve it on their own – they must alert the driver. 

Bus Safety Tips

Staying educated on school bus safety is equally as important for children as it is for those that drive past school bus stops and school zones. Some safety tips include:

For Drivers

  • Drive with caution, especially in neighborhoods that have school zones.
  • Obey the school bus laws in your state as well as the “flashing signal light system” that bus drivers use to alert motorists of their pending actions.
  • Be careful backing out of driveways, be mindful of children walking.

For students at the bus stop

  • Students should stay at least 5 large steps away from the bus as it approaches the bus stop. 
  • Students should not cross the street until the bus has come to a complete stop, the control arm is activated, the driver signals you on, and the student looks both ways.
  • Never walk close to the sides of the busses. 
  • Do not talk to strangers.
  • Never bend down to reach an item that has fallen in the danger zone without alerting the bus driver.
  • Do not have strings hanging from jackets or backpacks, they can get stuck in the door of the bus. 

For students on the bus

  • Stay seated. 
  • If there are seat belts make sure they are fastened correctly.
  • Never put your head or limbs out of the window. 
  • Do not play with the emergency exits.
  • Do not block the aisle. If there is an emergency a blocked aisle can increase the danger. 

Bullying on the bus

Sadly, children may face a different type of safety concern once aboard the bus, bullying. Bullying can occur anywhere, including the school bus. Bullying can be especially harmful on the bus because the child isn’t capable of leaving the situation. 

Additionally, bullies may pick the bus as the location to target other students because there is usually only one supervising authority – the bus driver. The bus driver may have a hard time spotting bullying because they are paying attention to the road. 

Having a better understanding of school bus bullying can help prevent harm to students. Signs bullying is occurring on your child’s bus include the following:

  • Fear of either going to school or riding the bus.
  • Trying to miss the bus.
  • Returning from school with ripped clothing or lost/stolen items.
  • Panic attacks on school days before riding the bus. 

Reacting to bullying on the bus

Bullying is a concern for many children considering it affects about 27% of all school-aged children. There are some things children can do if they are being bullied. 

  • If possible, sit close to the bus driver so they are more visible to the driver
  • Switch seats to be further away from the bully
  • Pair up with a neighborhood friend to ride the bus together
  • Tell adults when bullying occurs 

Parents should not hesitate to contact their student’s school if their child is being bullied. Schools are responsible for providing a safe learning environment for their students. 

Texas School Bus Law

Numerous children and teens rely on school transportation to commute to their schools. It is important for others to follow state laws to help ensure the safety of students. Failure to follow laws can result in criminal charges. There are a few things to keep in mind while driving during the school year, including what kind of road you are traveling on. 

  • Two-lane roads: Vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
  • Multi-Lane Paved Across: Most commonly, four-lane roads with a median turning lane. All traffic must stop.
  • Divided Highway, roadways that are divided by a physical barrier. Motorists that are traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop. Vehicles that are traveling in the opposite directions are allowed to proceed with caution, looking out for student pedestrians.

How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

If your child has been injured by a school bus or another motor vehicle. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist.

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