a young man driving while checking his phone and looking away from the road ahead

Distracted Driving: A Issue Plaguing Our Roads

Every year, Apple announces the brand new iPhone, and, every year, hundreds of thousands of people buy their first, third, or tenth smartphone. Due to advancements in modern technology, smartphones have quickly become a necessary accessory for people of all ages. In fact, according to Pew Research, it is estimated that approximately 5 billion people own a mobile phone, with half of those being smartphones. That’s quite a statistic! 

As useful and convenient as smartphones are, however, they can still pose a great risk to many, especially when it comes to distracted driving. If you’re facing issues relating to a distracted driving accident, whether you were injured or accused of distracted driving, then the Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings can help. 

The Severity of Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver” every single day in the United States. A distracted driver is someone who performs an activity that detracts the driver’s ability to focus on the road ahead. But what exactly is “distracted driving”? Would looking away from the road ahead to change the radio station be considered distracted driving? 

The Center for Disease Control has pondered this exact thought. According to the CDC, the three main types of “distraction” are visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction is when one stops looking at the road ahead, manual distraction is when one removes his or her hands from the steering wheel, and cognitive distraction is when one lets his or her mind wander while driving. 

Texting While Driving: A Trifecta of Distraction

If you think about it, there are many instances where each kind of distraction can result in an accident. Perhaps the driver dropped a water bottle so he quickly looked down at his feet to see where it went, or maybe the driver had to grab a tissue from the back seat so he removed his hands from the wheel. Before the driver knows it, he’s rear-ended the car in front of him. 

But there’s one example that combines all three methods of distraction and that, of course, is texting while driving. When you text, you need to look at your phone to read the message you’re responding to [visual distraction]. You also need to use your hand (or hands) to type out the message [manual distraction]. And, finally, you need to think about what to respond with before actually typing out the text message itself [cognitive distraction]. It’s no surprise that the most common type of distracted driving is texting while driving.

How the State of New Mexico Deals with Distracted Driving

In 2014, the state of New Mexico passed a new traffic safety law that specifically targets texting while driving. Statute section 66-7-374 which states, “a person shall not read or view a text message or manually type on a handheld mobile communication device for any purpose while driving a motor vehicle, except to summon medical or other emergency help.” If you notice, the law says “for any purpose,” meaning that drivers aren’t allowed to use their phones, be it to look something up online, change map directions, or respond to a text, while driving. The only legal option is to use handsfree methods, be it through Bluetooth or the vehicle’s own speech command settings. 

9 Percent of Fatal Accidents in 2016 Occured Due to Distracted Driving

According to NHTSA, in 2016, nine percent of fatal accidents were reported as distracted-affected crashes. As much as we wish for this number to go down since then, it’s more than likely that the percentage has increased and will continue to increase with each passing year. 

Avoiding Distracted Driving

As we become more and more accustomed to texting and using our phones for nearly everything, the act of texting while driving undoubtedly becomes more commonplace. Thankfully, car manufacturers are now including standard features that make it easier for drivers to use hands-free options while driving. 

The best way to avoid distracted driving is by removing the option for it. Once in your car, before driving, connect your phone to the car’s Bluetooth (if available) then keep your phone in your pants pocket or in your purse. Many newer cars come with Carplay (for iOS users) and Android Auto (for Android users) which provides drivers with an interface in their vehicle’s infotainment units. By connecting your phone to your car’s interface, you won’t have to worry about checking texts or typing responses as the units can read texts out loud and give you the option to respond via voice text. 

Now, not all cars offer these features so it’s always best to play it safe. If you’re driving, don’t think about texting. If you need to use your phone, then pull over to a safe location and park before you use your device. It might sound like too much but it’s always best to play it safe, especially in these situations.

Legal Guidance for Distracted Driving Car Accidents in New Mexico

Let’s say you were part of a car accident and the other driver blames you for what took place. Perhaps the driver says you were on your phone or you were texting but you know, for a fact, that that wasn’t the case. Maybe, to the other driver, it seemed like you were on your phone when in fact you were looking down at the cup holder for a quarter to pay the toll that was coming up. What can you do in this situation? 

Section B of New Mexico Traffic Law 66-7-374 makes it very clear that the cell phone cannot be seized by or forfeited to the police in the event of a distracted driving accident or event. Simply put, the device is “not subject to search by a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop.” So, does this extend to car accidents where one driver is blaming the other for distracted driving? This is where things can get a bit complicated. 

If you’re facing this situation, it’s in your best interest to speak to an experienced car accident attorney who is well versed in New Mexico traffic law. The Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings provides meticulous, detailed legal aid to drivers in the state of New Mexico. Contact us today for more information.

Sources:

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812517

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2019/02/05/smartphone-ownership-is-growing-rapidly-around-the-world-but-not-always-equally/

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2014/chapter-66/article-7/part-4/section-66-7-374

 

a man putting a few dollar bills into his blazer pocket

A Look At The Worst Cases of Fraud & Embezzlement 

When people think of fraud and embezzlement, they often imagine a grandiose scheme to siphon millions of dollars from a massive corporation. In reality, this is very rarely ever the case. In fact, nearly 70% of all fraud and embezzlement charges in the U.S occurred in a small or mid-sized business. In total, it is estimated that businesses lose over $50 billion per year from the practice, which can severely affect smaller businesses. In this article, however, we’ll take a look at some of those rare, grandiose cases of fraud and embezzlement. 

Allen Stanford

One of the largest Ponzi schemes was a result of a man named Allen Stanford and his company, Stanford Financial Group of Companies. He allegedly ran a massive investment scheme that scammed people out of $8 billion. Although he denied any wrongdoing, he was found guilty on myriad charges and was handed a 110-year prison sentence. 

Day-Lee Farms

The Day-Lee Farms embezzlement scandal represents the largest amount embezzled by a single employee in the U.S. Yasuyoshi Kato, an executive at the Japanese meat processing plant, reportedly embezzled more than $60 million from the company over a number of years. He actually did well hiding it from the company, but the IRS eventually got wind of his lavish lifestyle and busted him. He received a 5-year jail sentence and pay $3 million in fines. 

Bernie Madoff 

If the name Bernie Madoff sounds familiar, it may be because he ran the largest embezzlement operation in history. Very basically, Madoff would use the money he earned from new investors to pay the returns of old investors, without actually raising funds in any significant way. In operation, he was a secretive man who closely guarded his financial records, but it’s now clear why. Even in the 90s, people were suspicious of his practices, noting that his supposed trading strategy didn’t add up to the returns he was delivering to investors. Bernie eventually was handed a 150-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay $170 billion in restitution. 

Shane Jennings Knows Embezzlement Law

If you’ve been accused of fraud and/or embezzlement, or believe an employee of yours is committing that crime, call The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings. We can wor with you to get the results you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Close-up Of Person Hand Filling Criminal Background Check Application Form

Expungement: When & How To Clean Your Record

Life for most of us is just a series of mistakes. From messing up on tests to getting in trouble with the law, life has no shortage of situations for us to mess up in. Unfortunately, trouble with the law can keep people from certain opportunities, like getting a new job or moving into a new apartment. Luckily, the law allows for those mistakes to be erased under the right circumstances through a process known as expungement.

In our latest Law Office of W. Shane Jennings blog, we discuss the basics of expungement and chart a possible path for you to clean up your record with our firm!

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of “sealing” the legal record of an arrest, conviction, indictment, acquittal, discharge, or dismissal by order of the court. In effect, this process will effectively erase the arrest or conviction in most cases from the general public. That means that you likely won’t have to mention that conviction or arrest when applying for something that asks for it.

A common misconception about expungement is that it will completely erase the blight off your record as if it never happened. This is not quite true. While you won’t have to say it happened, certain government agencies will still be able to see the record. In addition, the expunged conviction may still be considered as proof of prior conviction if a crime is committed afterward.

An expungement is a great tool for people to move on from their mistakes and capitalize on opportunities. However, as you can probably guess, expungement doesn’t work for all situations and crimes.

Expungement In New Mexico

Expungement in New Mexico has undergone a huge change in 2020. Effective January 1st, 2020, the Criminal Record Expungement Act drastically broadened the expungement powers of the New Mexico court system. Prior to this act, New Mexico had a very narrow expungement allowance, usually for juvenile issues or for victims of human trafficking that commit a crime (which are still part of New Mexico law).

The change in New Mexico’s expungement law is most driven by the idea giving people a chance to move on from arrests and convictions will give them the best chance at rehabilitation, as well as keep the public safe. With this act, New Mexico has one of the broadest expungement powers in the country.

Under this new act, most non-conviction and conviction records are eligible to be expunged given a set period without any additional charges or convictions. The period for non-convictions is one year, while convictions need periods of two to ten years before being eligible for expungement.

Eligibility does not equate to a guaranteed expungement. The judge presiding over your case will take into account several factors before making a final decision. Some of those factors include:

  • Your age, employment history, and criminal history
  • Any reasons to deny raised by the district attorney
  • Specific benefits/consequences of denying expungement
  • Gravity and circumstances of the original conviction

In these cases, having an expert lawyer with plenty of experience can give you the leg up needed to secure the expungement.

Expungement Of Conviction Records

Conviction records, unlike non-conviction records, have more detailed and stringent requirements. Under the new act, the date after the completion of a person’s sentence will start the mandatory waiting period which varies based on the crime. For violations of municipal ordinances, the waiting period is two years. Felonies will need a waiting period of 4 to 10 years, depending on the crime.

The law doesn’t allow the most serious municipal violations and felonies to be expunged, including but not limited to:

  • Crimes involving a child
  • Great bodily harm/death
  • Embezzlement
  • DUI/DWI

Even if your conviction is eligible, though, that does not guarantee that the court will agree to expunge.

If you aren’t sure if your conviction qualifies, be sure to contact our office if you aren’t sure about your specific case.

Expungement Of Non-Conviction Records

Non-conviction records are a little more forgiving, mainly by having a much shorter waiting period. The waiting period for non-conviction records is just one-year, in which there may be no new charges.

Cases in which this section of the act apply are:

  • Nolle prosequis
  • Pre-prosecution referral to diversion
  • Acquittal
  • Conditional discharge (minus deferred imposition of sentence)
  • Other discharge

Just like with conviction records, though, there are some special circumstances in written into the law. If you aren’t sure about your specific case, feel free to contact our office and get more information.

Choose The Law Office Of W. Shane Jennings!

Interested in scrubbing your record in court? Due to New Mexico’s new stance on expungement, many more citizens will be eligible for expungement.

If you would like to get started or want more information on the new act, simply give us a call or visit our office today!

Truck is driving down an empty highway past a mountainous landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents

In the course of your time driving, there are many things that can go wrong. Moving violations and collisions are the most common and obvious dangers on the road. There are many other hazards that need to be considered as well. If you’re driving alongside an 18-wheeler, you run the risk of coming into contact with spilling cargo, causing you to crash and possibly become injured. 

Trucking companies can be held liable for these types of crashes, but fighting that fight on your own can be an uphill battle. The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings is here to help in the event of a crash with a semi-truck. There are a lot of things that go into defending you and how semi-truck accidents are handled, so we’ve provided some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. 

Who oversees the laws for trucking companies?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) oversees all laws and regulations that involve the commercial truck industry. These regulations force OTR carriers to have some sort of commercial insurance coverage. This is to ensure that owner-operators and commercial truck companies have enough insurance protection to be able to pay for any damages if found liable in the event that an accident can occur. 

What are the most common causes of truck accidents?

Distracted driving is one major cause. Truck drivers are most often found to be distracted by using their GPS unit or when by becoming tired. Another major cause is faulty truck maintenance. All commercial trucking companies are required to document all maintenance records in the case that a truck might break down. 

Who can be held responsible for a truck accident?

Semi-truck accidents most often result in personal injury lawsuits against the driver and trucking company. This includes the truck owner(s) if they differ from the actual driver. In some serious injury cases, insurance companies have gone after the actual truck manufacturer for damages.

Why do I need an attorney for my truck accident claim?

You stand a much better chance of obtaining an appropriate settlement after a commercial motor vehicle accident with the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer. A lawyer who represents your interests can level the legal field. 

Protect Your Rights with The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings

 Truck accidents can lead to severe and life-threatening injuries. A car accident can make your world feel as if it’s spinning out of control. The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings is here to provide the guidance to help make it better.  Contact us today to learn about how we can represent you on the road and in all walks of life!

two cars damaged after an accident

Help! I Got In A Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver

Every driver should drive as defensively as possible. This would be realistic in a utopia where no one gets aggravated when someone takes a second too long to start moving after the light turns green. Humans, sadly, are fallible. Perhaps you were running late and you had to drive a bit faster than usual to get to work on time. Or maybe you decided to keep checking your phone for that important email. Next thing you know, you’re in a fender bender, rollover, or anything else in between. Or let’s say you drove to work and remained completely aware of your surroundings, driving at or below the speed limit and signaling whenever you changed lanes.

Accidents Happen, Even to the Safest of Drivers

Even if you drive as safely as possible, you won’t be able to stop another individual from hitting you. Let’s say this happens and you notice your vehicle’s entire rear bumper breaks and falls off; your left rear tire is bent inwards; your headlights are decimated. Simply put, you won’t be able to drive your car any time soon. You’re dazed and a bit frazzled but you’re able to call the cops.

While you wait, you get out of your vehicle and walk over to the person who hit you and attempt to exchange information. The person who hit you is a young man in his early 20s. He has a short, unkempt beard. His hair is tied up in a messy bun, and he’s lighting up a cigarette. You think that at this present moment, you could go for a cigarette as well, but you decide to remain calm and mature.

You ask the young man for his name and insurance information. Up to this point, the situation hadn’t really sunk in yet. Sure, you experienced some shock but, being a realist, you were able to push that away and get to work, so to speak. But when the young man says he doesn’t have insurance, the damaged world you were holding up so valiantly crumbles.

For a few brief moments (which feel like an eternity in your mind) you’re unsure about how to proceed. Then the police sirens bring you back to the present moment. You look at the young man, who is now staring out the passenger window as he exhales the smoke from his cigarette, and your heart sinks a bit deeper as the words “lost cause” repeat over and over in your mind.

Remember, You’re Not Alone!

You walk back towards your half-destroyed car. A police officer comes up and asks you for your information. You provide it but you’re still in a daze. Then, you have a moment of clarity. You recall a blog you read a few weeks ago that remarked the exact situation you find yourself in now. In fact, it all feels a bit eerie. The blog described the exact accident you find yourself in, almost to a T. You take this as a sign and you call the car accident lawyer from said blog. As you explain your situation, your attorney provides a bit of guidance and you schedule a meeting to go over your car accident.

The Legal Ramifications of Driving Uninsured in New Mexico

You see, driving without insurance is illegal in the state of New Mexico (under the NMS 66-5-205 Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act, which states that “all drivers must have a means to guarantee their financial responsibility in case of accidents”). Even though this Act exists as a means to ensure that every single driver in the streets of New Mexico can be held financially responsible for accidents, many drivers still drive uninsured. Violating the Act is categorized as a misdemeanor and can lead to a $300 fine or up to 90 days of jail time in addition to suspension of the vehicle’s registration.

Where to Go Next

Let’s return to the above scenario. Once the police officers speak to the other driver, and they find out he doesn’t have insurance, the officers will immediately confiscate the driver’s license plates. The other driver will be on his own legal quandary now but that doesn’t mean you should be all alone. The other driver should be held responsible for the accident he caused. It is up to your car accident lawyer to guide this unfortunate situation as positively as possible.

Choose W. Shane Jennings as Your Car Accident Lawyer

Attorney W. Shane Jennings has worked with his fair share of car accidents cases, especially those in which one driver (or both!) was uninsured. The road ahead will be arduous but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. With the help of a reputable car accident lawyer, you’ll be back in the driver’s seat in no time.

Give us a call or save our office’s phone number in your phone book today. You never know when you’ll need to call a lawyer; make sure you’re prepared for when the unexpected happens.

three glass soda bottles on a restaurant table

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New Mexico: What You Need to Know

Personal injury cases have been a mainstay in the legal field since its inception. Throughout history, there have been plenty of landmark cases that paved the way to where personal injury law is today. An early case was that of Escola vs. Coca Cola.

In early 1944, waitress Gladys Escola was working in a restaurant in California, putting glass bottles of Coca-Cola away when one of them exploded spontaneously. Back in the 40s, almost every soda was bottled in those thick, “classic” glass bottles. Plastic bottles wouldn’t become the norm until 30 years later. So, when this particular glass bottle of Coca-Cola exploded, Escola suffered a particularly gruesome five-inch cut, which severed blood vessels, nerves, and muscles of her thumb and the palm of her hand. Needless to say, Escola sued Coca-Cola and won.

Personal Injury Law in New Mexico: Protecting the Rights of the Individual

Going up against one of the world’s most recognizable brands may seem daunting, if not downright impossible, but Escola and her litigator Melvin Belli stood up against Coca-Cola and won in what now is known as the landmark personal injury and product liability case of Escola vs. Coca-Cola.

Not every single personal injury case will become a landmark in the realm of litigation but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t defend your rights. If you’re in the state of New Mexico and you’ve suffered through a personal injury, then you should contact attorney W. Shane Jennings. Personal injury laws and rules differ from state to state. For this reason, we’ve outlined what you need to know about personal injury law in the state of New Mexico.

Personal Injury Cases Have a Three Year Statute of Limitations in New Mexico

Personal injury cases in New Mexico have a statute of limitations of three years. This means you must file your court case up to three years after the accident took place. If you fail to file within those three years, you may be unable to file at all. Three years may seem like a long time but before you know it, the statute of limitations will be up and you won’t be able to receive compensation for your injuries. So, as soon as you receive a personal injury, gather all the necessary information and contact your personal injury lawyer. The sooner your lawyer can get to work on your case, the better.

Explaining Comparative Negligence

There is a specific subset of personal injury cases in which both parties (that is, the injured person and the negligent party) can be held responsible for the accident or injury. In the state of New Mexico, a rule known as “comparative negligence” is used in these particular types of cases. Since the injured person played a role in the accident, the damages are reduced.

This isn’t to say that the injured person won’t win any damages, it only means the damages won’t be as grand as they would be if the injured person doesn’t fall under the comparative negligence rule. This is important to point out since many individuals decide not to file a personal injury case because they think they were at fault for the accident. If you find yourself in this situation, then it’s necessary to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can provide guidance.

Contact Your Personal Injury Lawyer, Today

If you’re in Southern New Mexico and you’ve suffered through a personal injury, then contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings. We provide legal aid to people in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, Anthony, Deming, and Lordsburg. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you don’t have to wait before speaking with a reputable personal injury lawyer. Schedule a free consultation today to see where your case can go from here. Our goal is to win you the damages you deserve so you can recover from your personal injury in peace. We’re ready for your call.

letters spelling out the word illegal

A Guide Through the Changing Landscape of New Mexico’s Marijuana Law

As the landscape of our nation’s marijuana law changes, it’s easy to feel confused and uncertain about the future. Let us focus our sights on New Mexico, a recent member of the medical marijuana group (which is currently made up of 32 states and Washington D.C.). New Mexico and 32 other states have removed criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. Furthermore, on April 12, 2018, an ordinance was signed by the mayor of Albuquerque, which decriminalized simple possession of marijuana under city law. The city’s penalty was reduced to a $25 civil fine. But what if you get charged with possession in any other city in New Mexico? If you’re unsure about what path to take, W. Shane Jennings can help.

Medical Marijuana May Be Legal in New Mexico But…

Just because medical marijuana is legal in the state of New Mexico doesn’t mean all possession of marijuana is decriminalized. This all boils down to using marijuana for “nonmedical” purposes. Possessing one ounce or less of marijuana, for instance, can be punishable by fines of up to $100 as well as up to 15 days in jail. Second offenses or convictions of possessing more than one ounce can potentially result in a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time for up to one year. These charges can be terrifying to many people, especially those who weren’t aware of the legal ramifications of marijuana possession. While we wait for the state government to approve more sweeping marijuana possession reform, it’s necessary to seek help for the most pertinent and present matters at hand.

A Drug Crimes Attorney Can Help

Drug possession charges can appear very cut and dry on the surface but you shouldn’t give up and subject yourself to the fines. Instead, team up with a reputable drug crimes attorney who can build a strong defense and remove or lower your charges.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, after all, so it’s up to you and your lawyer to figure out a way to establish your innocence. W. Shane Jennings is known for his meticulous, detail-oriented nature. He will leave no stone unturned on the path towards establishing your innocence. While the state of New Mexico and the entire nation waits for nationwide marijuana decriminalization, it’s necessary to be persistent and headstrong.

If you’re facing drug charges, contact the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings. We’re ready to get to work on your case!

a wrecked Honda CR-V after a car accident

When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents are, undoubtedly, incredibly stressful. Even if it’s a simple fender bender, your car accident will still result in a handful of events you’d rather avoid. Gathering information from the other party can be uncomfortable, for starters. Then the police arrive and you have to detail the events that led to the car accident. If only time travel existed, you could’ve gone back a few seconds in order to avoid the accident entirely! Sadly, there is no time travel in our reality. We have to deal with the outcomes but that doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own.

If your car accident is more complicated than a fender bender, give W. Shane Jennings a call. Continue reading to find out if your particular situation would benefit from legal assistance.

If You Sustained Injuries

If you sustained any injuries from your car accident, you’ll more-than-likely have to contact your insurance agency. As you may very well know, insurance agencies have their very own team of lawyers who will start working on your claim as soon as it’s submitted. You don’t want to end up with less compensation than you deserve, so it’s in your best interest to hire a car accident lawyer in order to even things out. Insurance agencies can actually deny your claim so it’s best to be safe and hire an experienced lawyer who will work tirelessly in order to yield the best results. Personal injuries can be crippling. With the help of a car accident lawyer, you won’t have to worry about recovering.

If You Are At Fault

Even if the car accident was clearly your fault, it’s imperative that you don’t say anything (to the police or to the other party) that may implicate you. Even saying “sorry” can lead you down a difficult and arduous path. You can, however, call a car accident lawyer.

Your lawyer will be on your side and he will build a case that will benefit you. Even if it seems like there’s no way out, W. Shane Jennings will devote his time and attention to your case. He is incredibly meticulous and has found the smallest details that turn entire cases around. Even if you feel as if you’re completely alone, know that W. Shane Jennings is here to help.

If You Are Unsure About What to Do Next

Car accidents are difficult situations. If you’re unsure about what may lie ahead, contact a personal injury lawyer. If you have a potential case on your hands, your lawyer will let you know. Don’t leave it up to chance, contact W. Shane Jennings today.

personal injury lawyer shaking hands with a client

Meeting Your Personal Injury Lawyer for the First Time: How to Prepare

Personal injuries almost always stop you in your tracks. Your whole life comes to a screeching halt because now you have to focus on getting better. Like most accidents, personal injuries are sudden and unexpected but there’s one key detail that differentiates them from the rest: when it comes to personal injuries, someone is almost always at fault.

Whether it be a distracted driver, a poorly built staircase, or an unsafe supermarket, a person or entity will be to blame for the injuries you’ve sustained. Unfortunately, it may be difficult for you to go up against a store chain, for instance, while you’re recovering from your injuries in the hospital. This is where your personal injury lawyer comes into play. Before you meet with your lawyer, it’s in your best interest to prepare accordingly. Below, we will outline a few key steps you should take in order to make sure your case succeeds.

Understanding Personal Injury

Personal injury is synonymous with the term “negligence.” These injuries occur solely because of the negligence of an individual or entity. The following age-old example of a personal injury (which occurs far more often than most business owners care to admit) is the missing “wet floor” sign. After a supermarket employee mops away a spill in aisle 10, she’s supposed to place a “wet floor” sign until the floor dries. Forgetting to do so can cause an individual to slip and fall. This accident may lead to a variety of injuries, from sprains to broken bones. All of this trouble simply because someone forgot to put up a warning sign. This is a simple example of negligence and it occurs all around us, at all times. When negligence leads to an injury, legal action must be taken.

What You Need to Know

When it comes to any legal recourse, it’s always best to contact your lawyer as soon as possible. W. Shane Jennings offers free initial consultations so you can reach out to his office as soon as your injury occurred. He will let you know about all the pertinent information you should have before meeting with him. The goal of a personal injury lawyer is to win damages (monetary compensation awarded after loss or injury) so you can recover in peace without worrying about mounting medical bills or missing wages.

By following these steps, your personal injury case will go as smoothly as possible.

  • Don’t say or sign anything regarding your injury. Avoid speaking to an insurance company or signing anything relating to financial compensation. The first step is to speak to an attorney. Speaking or signing anything else can cause issues in your case.
  • Get medical attention. Have a doctor diagnose your injury/injuries as soon as possible. Give this information to your personal injury lawyer, as well. He will present this information to the insurance company. Don’t wait around for medical attention as this may do more harm than good to your case.
  • Collect all the paperwork that will be necessary in your personal injury case. Gather police reports, medical records, and worker’s compensation forms.

Leave It In the Hands of Your Personal Injury Lawyer

From here on out, it will be your personal injury lawyer’s job to speak with the insurance companies and the negligent party. You will be able to recover in peace while your lawyer works to get you the damages you deserve.

If you or a loved one are suffering from personal injuries, give W. Shane Jennings a call as soon as possible! We’re proud to provide excellent personal injury assistance to individuals in Southern New Mexico.

the scene of a severe car accident

The Four Steps to Keep In Mind After a Car Accident Takes Place

As much as we may wish to be the safest drivers possible, accidents can still happen. Perhaps a brief distraction leads to a fender bender or maybe a glare from the sun caused a miscalculation, resulting in a more severe accident. Regardless of the incident, it’s necessary to follow the right steps in order to avoid making a tricky situation more difficult than it has to be.

If you find yourself in a car accident in New Mexico, then the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings can help. Continue reading to learn more about what you should do in the event of a car accident.

First Step: Check Yourself and Your Passenger(s) For Injuries

Before you get out of your car, you must assess your own well-being. If you’re injured, call 911 if you’re able to. If you can’t physically call emergency services, ask someone nearby to do so. If you have any passengers in your vehicle, check their injuries as well. Although a million thoughts may be rushing through your head, you still need to make sure you’re safe. If you’ve suffered from an injury, you need to prioritize the arrival of emergency personnel.

Second Step: Move to a Safe Location and Call the Police

This step also requires several factors in order to fully understand the right decision to make. If your vehicle is causing a hazard and it can move and it is safe to do so, drive to a shoulder or somewhere away from the main road. If your car cannot move, turn off the engine, turn on the hazard lights and leave it where it is, then get yourself and your passengers to safety. Once you’re in a safe location, contact 911. This is necessary no matter the severity of the accident. Everything from fender benders to rollovers necessitates the intervention of the police. This is because the police officer will fill out an accident report as well as document the scene.

Third Step: Exchange Information With the Other Driver (or Drivers)

This is, understandably so, the most awkward and perhaps heated step of the entire process. Let’s say you rear-ended a vehicle on the freeway and you both pull over to the shoulder. Perhaps the driver you hit is irate and they start yelling at you for hitting their car. As difficult as it may sound, it’s necessary to remain calm and collected in these scenarios. Anything you say can be seen as an admission of guilt on your part. Saying “I’m sorry” or “it’s my fault” may feel like the natural reaction but it may lead to further issues. If possible, just exchange information with the other individual. This information includes the full name and contact information, insurance company and policy number, driver’s license and license plate number, the location of the accident, as well as the color, type, and model of the vehicle.

Fourth Step: Do Your Best To Document the Accident

Almost everyone has a camera on his or her smartphone. Use your camera to your advantage and document the scene of the accident. Make sure to also take pictures of the street (skidmarks) or of the weather or traffic. All of this will come in handy in the future and will more-than-likely facilitate your case. Car accidents are very stressful but they can become more stressful if the other party or the insurance company complicate the situation. This is where a car accident lawyer can help.

If you’re in need of legal assistance following a car accident, the Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings can help. Give us a call as soon as your accident takes place (preferably after the fourth step) so we can get to work on your case!