Houston Car Accident Lawyer

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You Deserve to be Compensated for Medical Bills and Life-Altering Injuries. We Serve Automobile Accident Victims in Katy and the Greater Houston Area.

In 2018, there were more than 64,000 auto accidents in Houston, resulting in nearly 30,000 known injuries according a report from the Texas Department of Transportation. If you drive in Houston, the odds are you have been or will be involved in an accident. With more than 40 years of experience, the accident lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. have seen it all. We have helped thousands of clients get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and property damage.

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we handle car accidents every day. Our Houston-based  law firm offers a free consultation and we charge no fees unless we make a recovery. We will fight to maximize your recovery while assisting you to obtain the medical care you need to get on with your life. Insurance adjusters work to keep payouts as low as possible without considering your best interest. Don’t let an insurance adjuster victimize you a second time.

What can a car accident attorney do for me?

car wreckHaving an auto accident lawyer on your side can be the difference between winning and losing your case. Additionally, helping can help make your road to recovery easier by:

  • helping you get the medical care you need,
  • cutting through the red tape and filing all available insurance claims,
  • pursuing compensation for all of your losses
  • locating the responsible parties,
  • investigating the causes of the wreck,
  • proving liability,
  • drafting a demand letter,
  • negotiating and maximizing a settlement,
  • negotiating liens, and if necessary;
  •  litigating the case.

Why should I hire a local car accident lawyer?

rear ended vehicle

If you were involved in an auto accident and suffered injuries or property damage, you cannot leave it up to the other party or their insurance company to compensate you. Sadly, many people wait to talk to an automobile accident lawyer until after they have attempted to handle the case on their own with a friendly insurance adjuster who promised they would “take full responsibility.” These same adjusters will often return with an offer that doesn’t even begin to cover your out-of-pocket expenses and may stop returning your emails and calls when you do not sign your rights away.

These tactics cause you to delay in collecting and preserving critical evidence you should have gathered from the start. Even worse, they cause you to delay in getting the medical care you need. The absence of evidence and the delays are then used against you to justify a low-ball offer when it comes time to settle the case. This is why you should get a lawyer involved right away, especially when you have sustained injuries.

 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

First and foremost, if you are involved in an automobile accident you need to assess all injuries and determine if an ambulance is required. Often, individuals experience a rush of adrenaline after a car accident and do not feel their injuries until time has passed. Remaining safe after a car accident is the most important thing, so any injuries sustained should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.

If you can steer it, clear it. That is the rule in Texas. If you can safely move the vehicles out of traffic to a safe area, you should do so. If you cannot do so safely, you can wait for the police to arrive to assist in this process.

Always call the police when an accident occurs. Regardless of the severity, be sure to request an accident report. This helps ensure no facts about the accident can be skewed. There are some habitual bad drivers who use fake insurance information and may change their story after the accident. This is just one step you can take to protect yourself from this kind of negligence.

after a car accidentTake photos of everything involved in the car accident.  One of the great aspect of smart phones if having a quick convenient way to document things at your fingertips. Use your phone to take pictures of the following:

  • The vehicles
  • The defendant
  • The other driver's insurance card and driver's license
  • The police officer's name and badge number
  • License plates
  • Business cards of the tow truck driver, witnesses, etc. 

From property damage to insurance cards, documenting each aspect of the initial accident can help ensure you are fully protected. Storing the information in your phone can be beneficial since little things like cards and written notes can be lost easily in the wake of a car accident. Additionally, you should just down in the notes section of your phone the name, address and phone number of any eyewitnesses.

All police reports associated with car accidents in Texas eventually end up in the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Reporting and Analysis for Safer Highways (C.R.A.S.H.) where you can download them online.  The time it takes to get a report may vary depending upon what city or county department the report comes from, but 7-14 days is the norm unless there are special circumstances. Sometimes, you can obtain a copy of the police accident report sooner by contacting the local department that investigated the collision.

We have created a free one-page checklist that you can keep in your glove box in the event you are involved in a collision. This will help remind you of everything you need to document when the time comes. Download the free Car Accident Checklist now.


We have created a free one-page checklist that you can keep in your glove box in the event you are involved in a collision. This will help remind you of everything you need to document when the time comes. Download the free Car Accident Checklist to keep in your car incase of an accident.

How much does a car accident lawsuit cost?

Contingency Basis

Many injury law firms work on a contingency basis. This means that they will work on your case without charging you anything until you collect a settlement. When a settlement is reached, the law firm will take a percentage of the total settlement as their fee.

Contingency fee rates vary and can be negotiated based on the difficulty of the case. Typical contingency fees fall between 25 and 40 percent of your total claim. Therefore, a settlement of $75,000 with a contingency arrangement of 33.33% will result in a fee of $24,997.50 for the law firm and $50,002.5 to cover your damages.

Some agreements call for a lower contingency rate if the parties settle out of court and a higher fee if the case goes to trial. Make sure you fully understand the contingency arrangement before you settle your case. In some cases, your attorney will argue for increased damages in order to cover your legal fees.

Non-Contingency Fee Agreements

Other fee agreements may charge an hourly rate. This rate generally covers the cost of  time and any administrative staff that assist on your case. Court fees and filings may be charged separately. Depending on the complexity of the case, these arrangements can work out to significantly greater expenses for you, especially if your case involves numerous defendants or goes to trial.

On the other hand, trying to handle your claim without an attorney could wind up costing you more than any other option. As lawyers who handle car accidents we know how the claim and settlement system works. We know how to calculate the true value of your claim and we aren’t intimidated by the insurance companies’ scare tactics. We know how to anticipate future expenses related to your injuries how to get the best possible settlement for your case. We know how to negotiate and when it’s time to take them to court. The expense of representation can be overwhelming, but the expense of going it alone can be devastating.

Do I have a viable car accident claim?

How is the value of an auto accident claim determined in Texas?

There is no exact formula for determining the amount of a car accident settlement in Texas. Each accident has unique circumstances that will impact the amount of a claim. As a “fault” insurance state, the laws in Texas allow an injured person to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. Furthermore, Texas law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. However, the presence of insurance coverage does not mean a person will recover the maximum settlement allowed by the policy. Factors that contribute to a settlement amount include:

  • The severity of a person’s injuries, including scaring, disfigurement, pain, and emotional duress.
  • The cost of necessary medical expenses and predictable future medical expenses
  • The amount of property damage
  • The amount of lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • How much you contributed to the cause of the accident
  • Your
  • ’s ability to present evidence and argue your case!

How much do you get for pain and suffering in a car accident?

Contrary to what some websites try to tell you, there is no set formula that insurance companies use to determine the value of a person’s pain and suffering. In fact, insurance companies do not always offer compensation for pain and suffering. To add insult to injury, sometimes they even offer less than the amount of the medical bills for injuries like whiplash or soft tissue pain.

The amount of pain and suffering you can recover depends largely on the severity of your injuries and how they might impact your life in the future. But it also depends upon how your injuries are presented to the adjuster and/or a jury. Documenting your condition as well as demonstrating that your injuries are likely to be long-lasting versus a temporary condition can increase the amount you receive for pain and suffering. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you present your injuries in the light most favorable to you in order to maximize your recovery.

The Insurance Claims Process

Dealing with the insurance company on your own carries many risks. Insurance adjusters must look out for the best interest of the company’s shareholders and may try to convince you to minimize your injuries and property damage in order to get a quick settlement. Some of the most adversarial adjusters may even try to wait you out by not responding to your phone calls or email.

A knowledgeable professional can help you navigate the claims process effectively and save you time and frustration. However, for minor accidents with minimal injuries, it’s important to know how the claims process works. The infographic below illustrates the cycle of a typical car accident insurance claim.

As you can see from the information on this page there are a number of risks you take by not having a law firm on your side to explain all of the consequences of your actions and the decisions the insurance adjuster may push you to make.

Being in an accident and having to deal with an opposing insurance company for the first time can be both confusing and frustrating. Below is an infographic explaining the typical claims process after an auto collision:

car accident claim infographic

Texas Auto Insurance

Title 7 of the Texas Transportation Code sets minimum coverage amounts for Texas drivers. Under this law, insurance must cover $30,000 for injury to one person in an accident, with a total of $60,000 for two or more people injured. It must also provide $25,000 for damage or destruction of property.

While Texas law requires this level of insurance, there are many circumstances where this insurance would be insufficient. For instance, hospital bills for severe injuries can easily add up to $75,000 or more, or a car accident may cause damage to several vehicles or buildings that exceed the $25,000 minimum. Still other accidents may involve drivers without insurance at all. For this reason, we recommend additional coverage for any driver who can manage it.
Supplemental insurance should include underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage.

It is important to remember that liability insurance only covers the other party’s injuries and property damage. If you are at fault for the accident and are also injured, your liability coverage will not compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, or damage to your car. Supplemental insurance policies include:

  • Collision Insurance – this policy will cover the cost to repair your car if you cause an accident
  • Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist Insurance – this policy covers your injuries and property damage when you are involved in an accident that was caused by a driver without insurance or whose insurance did not cover all of your damages.
  • Comprehensive Insurance – this policy covers the cost to repair or replace your car if it is stolen or damaged by weather, fire, or other incidents not included in collision insurance.
  • Medical Coverage Insurance – this policy will cover medical and/or funeral expenses incurred from an auto accident regardless of fault. If you collect from an insurance claim against the at-fault party, you must reimburse your medical insurance coverage company.

Abuse by Insurance Companies in Texas

Sometimes, even when you or other people involved in the accident have appropriate insurance coverage, you may find the insurance company won’t properly resolve claims. This insurance abuse takes many forms, including:

  • Making slow, late or incorrect payments
  • Denying valid claims
  • Canceling policies or refusing renewals
  • Denying of necessary medical treatment
  • Lying about policy coverage

These tactics are unethical and often illegal. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) sets strict standard for insurance companies that protect consumers and accident victims. If you believe an insurance company has treated you unfairly, you can file a formal complaint with the TDI.

The Secrets of Handling a Car Accident Claim

Before you try to handle a car accident claim on your own, below are some important considerations you should be aware of:

Insurance adjusters typically will not help you find an affordable doctor that will treat you without expecting payment up front. They know that if you have no help, you won't be able to seek the care you need. They also know that delays and gaps in care make juries second guess whether you were really hurt. Thus, stalling your case is in their best interest and saves them money in the long run.

When an adjuster tells you “we take full responsibility,” it does not mean they will pay all of your medical bills and compensate you fairly for other losses from your car accident. Liability is rarely the big fight. Insurance adjusters know that just because their client is liable for causing the accident, doesn’t mean they must pay for all of the medical care you receive.  Texas law only requires them to pay for “reasonable and necessary” medical care that is caused by the collision. If you fail to seek medical care promptly or you seek alternative medicine instead of medical care that conforms with accepted medical care guidelines, defendants can use your actions or omissions against you to convince a jury to not award you all of your bills. Your best course of action is to seek prompt, appropriate care if you have been injured.

Payment of property damage to your vehicle is not an admission of liability for your personal injuries suffered in an accident. Don’t be fooled into thinking an insurance adjuster is going to treat you fair on your personal injury claim just because they promptly paid for the damage to your car. Paying for property damage before denying an injury claim is a common tactic used to try to prevent a jury from ever seeing photos of the property damage. When your case goes to trial, you are typically not even allowed to tell the jury that the insurance company paid for the property damage their insured caused.

Recorded statements can be used against you. Your own company’s insurance adjuster or the other parties involved may use recorded statements to deny your claim or trick you into settling your claim before you know all of the long-term effects associated with your injuries. Do not ever give a recorded without having an attorney who represents you present.

Juries do not get to see the whole picture. In a civil court of law, much of the police report must be marked out so the jury cannot see it. Evidence of the other driver’s insurance coverage is generally not admissible in evidence.

Insurance companies do not have to tell you how much insurance coverage their insured has unless you file a lawsuit and force them to do it. Thus, if your damages are likely to exceed $30,000 (the minimum limits required), you may need to file a lawsuit to find out how much coverage there really is.

You may have an obligation to pay back your health insurance company out of any settlement or judgment. If you have health insurance, the policy usually contains what is known as a “subrogation clause.” In plain language, this means that both you and the car insurance company may have an obligation to reimburse your health insurance company out of your settlement. The insurance adjuster does not have to tell you before you accept a settlement offer that a chunk of that offer must be paid directly by the auto liability insurer to your health insurer, leaving you with little or nothing. See: Do I have to pay my health insurance company back out of my settlement?

When you sign a Release, it is legally binding. When an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement in exchange for signing a release, you are giving up all of your rights specified in the release for injuries you know of now, as well as those you discover in the future. Don’t sign a property damage release until you are sure they have covered all of the damage and you have verified that your bodily injury claim is not incorporated in the release. It is best to have a car accident lawyer review all releases before you sign so that you completely understand what you are giving up.

Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

While we urge you to hire a car wreck lawyer

to deal with the insurance adjuster for you, here are some helpful tips if you choose to deal with them on your own.

  1. Don’t delay. Don’t wait to get medical attention or a quote for car repairs. Long delays can negatively impact your case and make adjusters less likely to take your claim seriously. If you suspect an injury, go to a doctor immediately and get documentation of the costs you incurred and any diagnosis or treatment plans. Get a detailed quote for a reputable auto shop to repair your car.
  2. Get a Free Consultation. Even if you choose not to hire a law firm, the advice you receive during a free consultation can get you started in the right direction and prepare you for the process ahead.
  3. Avoid hostility. This can be trickier than it sounds. If you’re trying to deal with an insurance adjuster, chances are you’re injured, and worried about how to pay medical bills and get your car fixed. You may be unable to work or without insurance coverage to help get you on your feet. Playing polite may seem impossible, but anger and threats will not move your case forward. Even if the adjuster seems rude or callous, try to remain calm and professional.
  4. Be prepared. Insurance adjusters answer to shareholders who want to maximize profits and keep payouts low. The adjuster’s low settlement offer isn’t a personal insult. Be prepared to decline an unfair offer and offer evidence for why a larger settlement is necessary.
  5. Remember that settlements are forever. Once you sign a settlement offer and accept the check, it’s too late to hire a  to get more money. Make sure the settlement covers your current and future damages. If you cannot return to work for some time because of your injury or require ongoing medical treatment, make sure your settlement covers for those expenses.

What damages can my car accident lawyer recover?

Texas personal injury law allows for the recovery of many kinds of damages.  If you have suffered injuries due to an auto collision, you are entitled to assert a claim for the following damages:

  • Lost Wages & Lost Wage Earning Capacity
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Mental Anguish/Emotional Distress
  • Medical Expenses
  • Scarring & Disfigurement

Spouses have the ability to assert claims for the following:

  • Loss of Consortium
  • Loss of Household Services
  • Loss of Spousal Support
  • Loss of Inheritance
  • Wrongful Death

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Accident

When an insurance company refuses to compensate you for valid damages, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The  lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher can guide you through the process of a personal injury lawsuit and get you the compensation you deserve. While most Houston drivers have experience with car accidents, few have had to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you have failed to reach an agreement with the insurance company and believe a lawsuit is the next right step, you need to hire a qualified, experienced car crash lawyer. You do not want to face the insurance company’s legal team in court alone. Once you contact a lawyer, here are the steps involved in a lawsuit:

  • 1.) Filing a Petition
  • 2.) Discovery
  • 3.) Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Arbitration
  • 4.) Personal Injury Trial
    • a. Jury selection
    • b. Opening statement
    • c. Presentation of evidence
    • d. Closing argument
    • e. Verdict

To read more about the lawsuit process, please read “What Happens When I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit? The Litigation Process Explained.”

Houston Traffic Accident Laws

The statutes in chapter 550 of the Texas Transportation Code govern Houston traffic accidents and injuries. They outline the duties of the people involved and the procedures to follow to ensure you can collect any damages owed to you. The most important sections for someone involved in an accident in Texas include:

Sec. 550.021. ACCIDENT INVOLVING PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH. (a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident that results or is reasonably likely to result in injury to or death of a person shall:

(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible;

(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident;

(3) immediately determine whether a person is involved in the accident, and if a person is involved in the accident,
whether that person requires aid; and

(4) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.

Sec. 550.022. ACCIDENT INVOLVING DAMAGE TO VEHICLE. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:

(1) immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary;

(2) immediately return to the scene of the accident if the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of the accident; and

(3) remain at the scene of the accident until the operator complies with the requirements of Section 550.023.

Sec. 550.023. DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID. The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:

(1) give the operator’s name and address, the registration number of the vehicle the operator was driving, and the name of the operator’s motor vehicle liability insurer to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in the collision;

(2) if requested and available, show the operator’s driver’s license to a person described by Subdivision (1); and

(3) provide any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting the person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured person requests the transportation.

Sec. 550.026. IMMEDIATE REPORT OF ACCIDENT. (a) The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the:

(1) local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality;

(2) local police department or the sheriff’s office if the accident occurred not more than 100 feet outside the limits of a municipality; or

(3) sheriff’s office or the nearest office of the department if the accident is not required to be reported under Subdivision (1) or (2).

Additionally, Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code sets a two-year time limit for an injured person to file a lawsuit for personal injuries.

Types of Auto Collisions Handled By Our Law Firm

Not all car accidents are the same. They vary depending upon the vehicle you are operating, the vehicle the other driver is operating, the insurance coverage available or the driver’s mental state and/or degree of intoxication. Not all lawyers for car accidents and injuries are the same either. Dont you want a accident attorney in Houston, with decades of experience handling the tricks adjusters will throw at you? Here are some of the different types of automobile accidents we handle:

Can my car accident attorney still help if I am at fault for the collision?

Many of the car wreck cases that wind up in the court systems are not fighting over who is at fault.  Those cases are often fighting over what injuries were caused by the wreck and what is fair compensation amount. If you think you have a simple case and are contemplating going at it without an attorney for your car accident in order to “save money,” you should read this first:

Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Accident in Texas?

Contrary to popular belief, there is not automatic liability even in a rear-end accident.

What are the top causes of car accidents in Houston?

There are many reasons automobile accidents happen. There can be more than one cause of an automobile collision. Juries are often asked to sort out multiple causes and apportion liability among two or more drivers. Some of the common causes and contributing causes to auto collisions are:

  • Drinking and Driving
  • Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road
  • Distracted Driving
  • Drowsy Driving
  • Changing Lanes When Unsafe to Do So
  • Failure to Stop for a Traffic Control Device
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way
  • Following Too Close
  • Malfunctioning Traffic Signal Lights
  • Speeding
  • Texting While Driving
  • Vehicle Defects
  • Weather Conditions

Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Despite all the technology related to safety engineering in automobiles such as crush factors and airbags, there are many ways people are injured every day in car accidents.  Some of the more common injuries caused by car accidents include:

If you have suffered from any of the above, more information on the effects of those injuries can be found on the related injury page.

Questions to Ask After an Auto Accident

Is everyone OK? This is usually the first question people ask after an accident and it is the most important. Check on the safety of all of the occupants in your car and the other vehicles involved as well.

Should I call the police? Yes. Though it may make more sense to move the vehicles out of the roadway first, you should always contact the police after an accident. Be prepared to show your license, registration and proof of liability insurance, even if you are clearly not the at-fault driver. The police will need this information to complete the accident report.

Does anyone need immediate medical attention? When you call the police, you will need to answer this question first, so they know whether or not to dispatch an ambulance. If you have any doubt at all, it is best to ask for medical assistance than to refuse and find you’re injured after the fact.

Can we move the vehicles out of the roadway? The law requires you to safely move your car out of traffic, if possible. Safely is the key word here. Pushing a car from the center lane on I-10 at 7 a.m. isn’t safe for anyone. Call a tow truck for assistance. Try to document the scene with photos and/or video before you move the cars, if you can do so safely.

Are there any witnesses? If anyone has stopped or witnessed the accident, attempt to get their name and contact information. After the accident has been cleared, check nearby businesses to see if they have security cameras that may have recorded the incident. Even if they do not want to give you access to the video, make note of the business and the position of the camera in case your attorney needs to subpoena the footage.

Should I contact my insurance company? Yes! Even if you do not plan to file a claim, inform your insurance company. We’ve seen it time and again. Two people involved in a minor accident agree there is not enough damage to get police or insurance involved. Days later one finds out that the other tried to make a claim against their insurance. While one person moved on and all but forgot about the fender-bender, the other filed a fraudulent police report and insurance claim and now it’s a case of he said/she said. Always let your insurance company know, even if you don’t plan to file a claim.

Texas Auto Collision Facts

  • In 2018, a person died as a result of a car accident in Texas every 2 hours and 25 minutes.
  • 368 fatal accidents occurred in Harris county in 2018, resulting in 389 fatalities.
  • The City of Houston had 64,126 reported car crashes with 197 fatalities.
  • The City of Katy had 597 reported car crashes with no fatalities and 9 suspected serious injuries.
  • There were 96,151 crashes attributed to distracted driving throughout Texas, 12,027 in Harris County. Bexar County, with 22,585, reported the highest number of crashes due to distracted drivers.
  • Harris County had 3,186 DUI crashes in 2018. These crashes resulted in 121 fatalities.

What Does it Cost to Speak to a Lawyer for my Car Accident?

It costs you NOTHING to speak to our car accident lawyers in Houston, TX

. You need to know the consequences of your actions before you go down the wrong path and do damage to your own case. At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we offer a 100% FREE initial consultation. You can come in and speak with an attorney about your car accident. We will tell you what expect and what to lookout for.  At the end of your car accident consultation, if you decide not to hire us, you do not owe us a dime. If you do decide to hire us, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means our fee is a percentage of the recovery we make on your case. If we do not make a recovery, you do not pay us a dime. Call 1-800-298-0111 to set up your consultation today.

What Clients Say About Us

Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★   “After the accident I was really shaken to my core. Being a senior citizen, I wasn’t sure just what to do. I saw your tv ad and I decided to call. So glad I did and from day one I was treated very well. Especially since I didn’t have the pertinent information I should have gotten from the person who hit me. In spite of it all, your people were able to get all the information needed for my case. i consider that a job well done. I am truly grateful for all your help.” – Veda J., actual client.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

More Information:

If you would like to learn more about how our car

lawyers can assist you, please watch the video below:

Author

Paul Cannon

Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.