Alex R. Hernandez Jr. - December 2018

If you know someone who’s been in a traumatic car accident, you know how difficult it can be to help them through it all — you may even feel powerless. As a firm, we’ve represented many people with these health challenges and understand how tough it can be for friends and family to feel like they are playing a role in the recovery process. But we’ve also seen how small gestures and everyday favors can make an incredible difference in a car-accident survivor’s life. Here are a few ways you can make life easier for a recovering friend. RUN ERRANDS Life keeps going, even after serious injuries. In the wake of a car accident, kids still need to be taken to school, groceries still need to be bought, and appointments need to be kept. On top of these everyday needs, your friend should also be going to see their medical doctor and possibly a physical or psychiatric therapist. If driving is difficult or impossible for your recovering friend, being a volunteer driver for any of these needs can relieve a significant amount of stress. LISTEN So often, accident survivors feel alone with their injuries even while they are surrounded by loved ones and well-wishers. This can happen when those around the survivor tell them to “feel better” and to “get well soon” rather than listen to their thoughts and needs. This can be incredibly difficult, but taking the time to just sit and listen to what your friend has to say is one of the most emotionally supportive things you can do. Driving in a Winter Wonderland Stay Safe When It Gets Slick As Alex mentions in this month’s cover, we’re lucky to have relatively mild winters at our home base here in south Texas. That being said, snow and ice aren’t unheard of, even in Houston. When cold weather conditions strike, it can take even the most experienced drivers by surprise, which is why it’s important to be doubly cautious this time of year. So we thought we’d pass along some advice from the Texas Department of Transportation to help keep you safe on the roads this holiday season! DRIVE ONLY WHEN NECESSARY This time of year, it can be tempting to run around visiting every friend and loved one within driving distance. But when conditions drop below freezing, it’s best to take some advice from Frank Loesser’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and stay indoors. The less you are on the roads, the less likely you’ll be in an accident. LEAVE EARLY AND TAKE IT SLOWLY When conditions are slick, the last thing you want to be is in a hurry. Ideally, you should increase your distance from the car in front of you to three car lengths to compensate for sliding. In fact, where emergency and maintenance vehicles, like snow plows, are concerned, Texas law requires drivers to maintain a distance of at least 200 feet. In general, you should be What You Can Do to Help Friend in a Car Wreck?

Shoppers flock to retailers every Black Friday in hopes of securing the best deals on the year’s hottest products. There are many nasty aspects of Black Friday — the long lines, the overzealous shoppers, the limited stock of items — but phony pricing and fake sales shouldn’t be among them. But that’s exactly what happened to folks in Los Angeles during the 2016 holiday season, leading to the biggest Black Friday lawsuit in history. In December of 2016, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, and Kohl’s for a practice called “false reference pricing,” a nefarious tactic whereby retailers lie about the original price of an item to make a discount appear bigger than it actually is. For example, Sears sold a Kenmore washing machine at a “sale price” of $999.99, compared to a “regular price” of $1,179.99. The problem was the so-called sale price was actually the price that product was offered at every day. Therefore, it wasn’t actually on sale. Duping your customers is a bad business practice, but what makes it illegal? Well, California law requires that retailers post a retail price no higher than what the product was sold at within three months prior to the ad. “Families today … are striving to get the very most they can get from an extremely hard-earned holiday shopping dollar,” said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. “They deserve to make an informed decision.” After the suit was brought against them, the retailers all quickly moved to settle, promising to never engage in false reference pricing again. Most retailers offer discounts around the holidays to encourage shoppers to come into their stores or visit their websites. Promotions and sales are great tools in any business’s arsenal, provided they aren’t out to mislead customers. Big-box stores may try to manipulate innocent people, and it’s up to aggrieved customers to hold those corporations accountable. Nearly every year, you’ll read about a class-action lawsuit that develops in response to the shady tactics of businesses eager to secure those holiday shopping dollars. Are there great bargains to be had on Black Friday? Of course. But if something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let retailers trick you into a purchase you wouldn’t make otherwise. FAKE DISCOUNTS AND ANGRY SHOPPERS AMassive Black Friday Lawsuit

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