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Distracted Drivers, McAllen personal injury lawyer, back-to-school drivers

The Back-to-School Season Means More Distracted Drivers On the Road

By | Auto Accidents, Pedestrian & Traffic Accidents, Personal Injury | No Comments

Area schools are now in session again, which means drivers and pedestrians alike must be more cautious on the road. To help avoid any accidents, here are a few seasonal things to watch out for that you may not have considered:

Driver’s Ed, Student Drivers, and Learning Permits

A new crop of teenagers just turned 15 over the summer, making them eligible for driver’s education classes and the state’s minor restricted driver’s license. New drivers have strict rules, and tend to be cautious, but mistakes can happen. Forgetting to complete a mirror check, glancing down at the speedometer too many times, and reaching out for a drink can all lead to fender-benders and more.

Heavy Pedestrian Traffic

When school is in session, there are certain times of day when there are more cars on the road, and also more pedestrians on the sidewalks. Drivers may become distracted while looking at those who are walking or jogging along, or they may miss seeing them in a crosswalk while completing a turn. Either way, increased pedestrian traffic, especially of children, can lead to an uptick in auto accidents.

College Students and Their Driving Records

College students from different states and countries return to the city each fall, bringing with them their unique sets of driving skills. The result is a mix of defensive and offensive drivers, who will react differently to situations on the road. In addition, these students may not know the city’s 2011 ordinance that established a ban on text messaging while driving.

Wrecks That Interrupt Work Sites

Late summer is still construction season, which means that there are countless workers out and about every day. Construction zones, renovation sites, and businesses with street-side storefronts can all be affected by those on the road. Anyone injured on the job may be eligible for additional compensation, particularly if the site or business’s negligence played a role in the accident. For example, improper signs or barriers can contribute to wrecks, regardless of whether the driver was paying full attention to the road.

If an accident does occur for any of the reasons above, do not hesitate to hire a McAllen personal injury lawyer to navigate the fault and insurance process for you.

How to Find Help When You Need It

Were you involved in an accident involving a distracted driver? Tijerina Legal Group is here to help. Humberto Tijerina III is an expert McAllen personal injury lawyer, with the knowledge and skill to get you the compensation you deserve. For a complimentary consultation, contact our staff online or by calling (956) 972-0141 today.

accident attorney McAllen, what to do in an auto accident

When to Seek Representation in an Auto-Pedestrian Crash

By | Auto Accidents, Pedestrian & Traffic Accidents | No Comments

There have been numerous auto-pedestrian crashes in the area this year, including a fatal one earlier this month. Whether these accidents can be attributed to crosswalk design, visibility concerns, the driver, or the pedestrian, legal issues are sure to arise. Learn more about hiring an accident attorney in McAllen:

Gather Information at the Scene

Immediately following an accident, medical and public safety personnel should be called to the scene. After making sure all parties involved are in a safe place, exchange insurance information. Try to describe what happened to the police and insurance agents without claiming blame or placing it on the other person. Making any additional statements, even in passing to a friend or bystander, could have legal implications.

Begin to Determine Fault

Any time an accident occurs, the persons and authorities involved try to determine fault. However, many legal cases are not as straightforward as they may seem, especially when examined from different angles. For example, a person struck by an automobile may not be at fault. However, the driver may feel that circumstances were beyond his or her control, leaving the question of fault up in the air. If you were involved in an auto-pedestrian crash in any way, it is worth seeking legal representation to make sure your side of the story is heard.

Examine Insurance Coverage

Depending on a person’s individual policy and the outcome of an accident, insurance payouts may be required. Some auto policies cover all injuries to pedestrians, regardless of who is at fault. Other companies supply payments based on judicial decisions. The injuries sustained by a pedestrian may be quite severe or even fatal, so anyone struck by a vehicle should seek justice and full compensation. These types of accidents can also occur with those on skateboards, bicycles, and motorcycles.

When to Seek Expert Assistance

If you have been involved in an auto-pedestrian accident, you may need assistance navigating blame, insurance policies, and police procedures. Humberto Tijerina III, of Tijerina Legal Group, is an expert accident attorney in McAllen with many years of experience. Our staff is responsive and communicative, with a hands-on process that will never leave you in the dark. Whether you are fighting against a large insurance company for compensation or are trapped in a case whose odds are stacked against you, we can help. Contact us today online or by calling (956) 972-0141 for a complimentary consultation.

Personal Injury Attorney McAllen, child safety seats impact during car accident

Child Safety Seats and Their Impact During Accidents

By | Auto Accidents, Personal Injury | No Comments

One of the most successful safety innovations in the auto industry of the 60’s is safety seats designed for children and infants riding in vehicles.

The seats are designed to hold children in place in case of an accident, preventing them from being ejected from the compartment of the passenger seat or thrown into the instrument panel or even other sections of the vehicle.

Safety seats are customized to the anatomy of children and designed for child restraint without the need for force application, which can be harmful to vulnerable parts of the body.

All vehicles now come standard with lap and shoulder belts designed specifically for adults, hence they are unsuitable for young children.

A leading cause of death in the U.S, and particularly McAllen, are motor vehicle injuries. However, most of these deaths can be prevented and this is where child safety seats comes in.

Risk Factors for Teens and Children

Drunk driving, unbelted drivers, failure to use safety seats and incorrect use of restraint systems have been identified by various studies as the main risk factors for children and teens involved in road crashes.

Prevention of Motor Vehicle Deaths and Injuries in Children

  • Education programs, car seat distribution and car seat laws have been put in place to decrease deaths and injuries to child passengers while increasing the use of restraint.
  • The use of booster seats or car seats by children aged at least 7 or 8 years, according to a study, reduced fatalities by 17%.
  • It is also important to know the stages and how to properly buckle children in booster seats, car seats or even seat belts.

Rear-facing car seats are appropriate for children aged 2 years or less, forward-facing car seats for kids aged 2 to 5 years, booster seats for those at least 5 years (some states increased this to 7 or 8 years) and seat belts for adults and older children.

Jury Awards 34.4 million in a Car Seat Trial

Dorel Juvenile Inc., a car seat manufacturer, was ordered by a federal jury to pay the sum of $34.4 million to a family in East Texas for the life-threatening injuries and damages sustained by their child in 2013 during a car crash. The company was sued for negligence and failure to warn users of the impending danger while using its Safety 1st Summit seat in a forward facing car seat for children aged 2 years or less.

Personal Injury Attorney McAllen

We can’t stress enough the importance of using car seats to reduce the risk of personal injury to children in case of an auto accident. If you or members of your family have been hurt in an auto accident, contact a personal injury attorney in McAllen to help make a claim for the injuries or damages incurred. If you found this article helpful, please like or share it.

Auto Accident Attorney McAllen, DUI Accidents in Texas

DUI Accidents and Their Impact on the Community

By | Auto Accidents, Criminal Law / DWI, Truck Accidents | No Comments

Driving under the influence (DUI), is when a person drives after drinking alcohol and still has enough alcohol in their system to impair their abilities or register above the legal limit. The first DUI offense typically results in a 1-year loss of license and enrolling in an outpatient alcohol abuse program mandated by the federal government, or even probation. Multiple DUI offenses lead to prosecution under the Texas law. In a case where a DUI accident results in death, the driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter.

In 2011, according to reports by the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 169 DWI auto accidents in McAllen. The auto crashes resulted in the death of 2 and injury of 154 people. DUI is a major problem in the wider Texas area.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), of all the fatalities in the area, 40% result from driving under the influence of alcohol. Actually, Texas is ranked 4th by MADD for DUI accidents.

Top 4 Effects of DUI on the Community

DUI accidents do not just impact the drunk drivers, but also involve many people in the local community. Passengers in the vehicles involved in DUI crashes get injured in addition to being traumatized emotionally. Other passengers, drivers and pedestrians are also traumatized and injured in auto accidents.

  1. Family and Friends

Auto accidents as a result of DUI impacts the friends and family members of those involved in the accidents emotionally. They have to deal with the severe injuries sustained by their loved ones, or in worst case scenarios, death.

Although the drunk drivers are solely responsible for the accident, their friends or family members might feel guilty for letting them drive under the influence.

  1. The Drunk Driver

The driver responsible for the accident can also feel guilty and emotionally traumatized for causing injuries or even death to other persons. They also face legal problems for breaking the law. Other than losing their licenses, they also risk losing a spouse, job or even custody of children, let alone the costs and fines they have to face.

  1. The Economy

DUI auto accidents also affect the economy of the community, state and nation at large. In 2000, DUI crashes cost the US approximately $114.3 billion, including $63.2 billion in lost quality of life and $51.1 billion in monetary costs.

Over $71.6 billion were paid in bills of DUI crashes, making up 63% of the total costs incurred as a result of accidents. Although punishing offenders, reduced drunk driving, stricter sentencing and educating the youth on dangers of DUI have reduced drunk driving arrests, today more costs are incurred as a result of accidents.

  1. Ruined Lives of Millions

The pain of losing a loved one in an auto crash is one that never goes away. This is something that the friends and families of crash victims put up with for the rest of their lives.

Auto Accident Attorney McAllen

If you or a member of your family has been in a car accident resulting from someone driving under the influence, contact an auto accident attorney in McAllen to help make a claim for the injuries or damages incurred. The Tijerina Legal Group can easily be accessed in your time of need by calling (956) 777-7777.

motorcycle in city traffic, personal injury attorney McAllen, motorcycle accident lawyer

Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents in Texas and How to Prevent Them

By | Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury | No Comments

Motorcycles offer little protection, so motorcyclists need to learn to drive defensively and constantly be aware of their surroundings in order to protect themselves on the road. Unfortunately, no matter how careful motorcyclists are, accidents can and do still occur.

On average, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), a motorcyclist dies in a road accident in Texas every day. Furthermore, the Insurance Information Institute states that in 2013, motorcyclists were more likely (26 times more) to be in fatal crash per vehicle mile than car passengers, and five times more likely to sustain injuries.

What Type of Injuries are the Most Common?

Motorcycle crashes may occur less frequently than car accidents, but there is definitely an argument that the injuries sustained on a motorcycle can be more devastating than in a car, due to the general lack of protection offered. What are the most common types of injuries motorcyclists are at risk of?

  1. Head Injuries

According to TXDOT, in 51.6% of motorcyclist fatalities and in 46.3% of incapacitating injuries, motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. These are particularly concerning, due to the fact that the skull houses one of the most important organs of the body. Head injuries can range from minor concussion to brain damage, and brain damage can be fatal. An injury to the neck can also paralyze and potentially kill as well.

In order to avoid such injuries, a helmet should be warn at all times when on a motorcycle – passengers included. A helmet can mean the difference between life and death.

  1. Leg Injuries

Leg injuries include the feet, knees and hips. Although these injuries are less likely to result in death, they can be permanently disabling. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), some of the most common leg injuries in motorcycle accidents included:

  • Tibia Fractures
  • Pelvic Fractures
  • Hip Dislocations and more.

Not much can be done to protect the lower extremities from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, but wearing protective leather clothing such as long pants and motorcycle boots can help prevent some injuries.

  1. Hand and Wrist Injuries

A report by the NHTSA also stated that these injuries account for approximately 40% of motorcycle injuries. Human instinct causes motorcyclists to try and lessen the impact of their fall by putting their hands out when thrown off their motorcycle. Elbow pads, gloves, and leather jackets can come in handy to help break a fall.

Personal Injury Attorney McAllen

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries. If another party is directly or indirectly responsible for another’s injuries, the injured motorcyclist is going to need a personal injury attorney to help them navigate the legalities of the case. McAllen personal injury lawyer, Tijerina Legal Group P.C. is located in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas and is well-versed in personal injury law related to motorcycle accidents. Contact us for a free consultation and tell us about your situation and the details surrounding your motorcycle injury.

man texting while driving, auto accident attorney McAllen TX

Auto Accidents and Texting While Driving: Is it illegal in Texas?

By | Auto Accidents, Personal Injury | No Comments

A vehicle collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or stationary object such as a tree, is deemed an auto accident. There are a number of factors that can cause or contribute to these accidents including speed and driver skill. However, the most dangerous form of driver distraction is probably texting while driving. As a McAllen personal injury attorney, we see the consequences of distracted driving and have outlined some details below that you should know about texting while driving.

What is Distracted Driving?

An activity that could sidetrack someone’s attention from the main task of driving, such as texting while driving, is distracted driving.

Is Distracted Driving Illegal in Texas?

Technically, Texas does not have a state-wide law prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. However, more than 60 cities in Texas – including Austin, San Antonio, Brownsville, and McAllen – have banned the use of handheld devices while driving.

As a state, Texas prohibits the use of handheld devices in school zones, and also prohibits school bus drivers from using handheld device while driving. The unfortunate part is that this law only applies to a particular group of drivers, even though driving and texting at the same time affects everyone on the road. Other Texas-wide laws regarding distracted driving include:

  • During the first six months of driving, it is illegal for drivers with learners’ permits to use handheld cell phones while driving
  • It is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use wireless communication devices while driving

Potential Fines

Depending on the city, fines for simultaneously driving and texting range anywhere from $200 to $500, and are applicable to the following cell phone ordinances:

  • Ban on driving while texting
  • Ban on using wireless communications devices while driving
  • Ban on manual usage of wireless communication devices and ban on texting while driving

Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it requires the driver’s full attention – manual, visual, and cognitive. It’s considered very dangerous throughout the United States, which is why many States and cities such as Brownsville and McAllen have laws in place against it. If you are a victim of an auto accident caused by another person texting while driving, you already have a strong case.

Contact Tijerina Legal Group P.C. today for a free consultation with an experienced McAllen personal injury attorney.

Personal Injury Case: Settlement Vs. Trial

By | Auto Accidents, Personal Injury | No Comments

Personal Injury Case Trial Court RoomHow do you determine if you have a personal injury case? Under Texas law, there are many categories of personal injury damages that allow an individual or multiple individuals to initiate a lawsuit. For example, wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip or trip and fall, lack of security, work-related injuries, boating accidents, and of course auto accidents. When a person is injured, if another party contributed to that injury in any way — directly or indirectly, they potentially can be held at least partially liable for those injuries. This is the basic premise of a personal injury claim.

Obviously, there are times when it is difficult to tell who or what may have caused an incident that led to injuries. This is when thorough investigation of all the facts of the incident must be done. Skilled personal injury attorneys know how to uncover details and leave no stone unturned. Injury cases are not easy to pursue in most cases. And so an injury attorney must be adapt at finding hidden facts and extracting information from unlikely or unwilling sources.

The first thing that many people ask is, will I need to go to trial? The truth is, in Texas and anywhere in America, the majority of personal injury claims are handled through settlement. Trials are very costly and time-consuming. Both sides of an injury lawsuit are motivated to resolve the case without going to trial. There are advantages and disadvantages of going through the legal trial process.

Sometimes, the plaintiff in the case may question why their injury attorney is pushing for a settlement. Why don’t we take this case to trial? Can’t you potentially get more compensation from a trial? Well, the truth is, trials are risky. Our McAllen, Texas injury firm shares with you here the differences between settlement and trial.

Benefits of Settlement

• It’s less risky than heading to court (you could lose and get zero)
• It’s less expensive (less time on the part of the attorney/law firm)
• It’s less time consuming and can happen faster, whereas trials can drag out over a year or more
• It’s not as hard on the plaintiff and their loved ones – not as emotionally and physically draining as a trial in court
• Get your life back to normal sooner/ Move on sooner

As you can see, a settlement is a sure thing – money in hand. And if a trial outcome is uncertain, your injury attorneys will recommend accepting a reasonable settlement.

It typically takes a year, or longer for a court date to be set for a trial. So if you are holding out for that, it means waiting longer to be compensated for your expenses, which may still be ongoing. Now consider that juries are individuals, with their own thought processes and belief systems. What seems obvious to you, or fair to you, may not be obvious or fair to them. You can choose to go to trial and risk LOSING.

Now, if your case is worth millions and your settlement offer is $650,000, then your injury attorney may decide that the trial is the only way to go.

A skilled injury lawyer evaluates each case

Obviously, your personal injury attorney wants to be successful. He or she wins when you win. So your lawyer will review all the details of your settlement with you and guide you in deciding whether accepting the amount is the right decision. Often, injury attorneys counter the settlement offer with an offer you WOULD accept, when the defendant’s offer is too low.

It pays to ask your injury attorney questions at the beginning of your case, to get their thoughts on potential settlement. Note that sometimes, even the most experienced lawyers sometimes call on outside help, by consulting mediators or facilitators to help resolve a settlement. When all attempts at mediation and settlement fail, then an injury case goes to trial.

Benefits of a Trial

• Possibility of receiving a higher/the highest possible amount for your claim
• A chance to document all details of your claim (for the record)
• The ability to appeal the decision

As you can see, wise legal counsel is critical in any type of wrongful death, auto accident, or injury claim. As McAllen personal injury attorneys, (serving both Mcallen and Brownsville, Texas) we’re experienced at helping the injured seek justice and compensation. The Tijerina Legal Group welcomes all inquiries and offers free case evaluations.

The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

By | Personal Injury | No Comments

Copyright: <a href="http://www.123rf.com/profile_alexskopje">alexskopje / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

A personal injury case is not a quick and simple process. Of course, some cases are more easily handled and settled then other more involved cases. But if you or a loved one has been injured, then it is best to know what to expect, and to understand that you will be involved in the case for quite a while. A personal injury/auto accident case follows certain steps, which we outline below. 

Seek Treatment and Collect Evidence

As soon as you have been injured in any type of incident or car accident, you should seek medical treatment. Your injuries should be evaluated by a professional doctor and the injuries must be recorded. This is to your advantage should you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. It’s also very important that you write down everything you remember about the incident or situation that led to your injury (or your loved one’s injuries). From the beginning, remember that you should always record everything associated with the accident and injuries, and keep records of all medical bills, lost work, medications needed, etc.

Meet with an Attorney – Free Initial Consultation

You may be wondering if you have a case…or, should you simply accept the amount that the insurance company is offering to you? This is exactly the time to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney and take advantage of a free consultation. Your injury attorney will be able to evaluate your accident or situation and determine the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement. He or she will also consider the possibility of your case going to trial in a court of law. 

The attorney will advise you on how the case merits possible financial expenses and results possible trial length in the litigation costs the attorney will advise you on how to proceed bear in mind that any and all evidence that you collected will help the attorney assess your personal injury case to proceed. Bear in mind that any and all evidence that you collected will help the attorney assess your personal injury case.

Initial Court Papers

Once you’ve selected a personal injury attorney to help you, he or she will explain the paperwork that is involved. This initial paperwork officially launches your lawsuit. The first papers filed in a case are called pleadings. There can be even more papers involved with this process, however all cases will – at the minimum – include the documents we name here. You will first have to fill out a Complaint/Petition, which gives a basic premise of what took place at the accident, or it describes the situation that caused the illness or injury.

A document called the Summons and Service of Process will be sent to the defendant. It notifies them that the case is being filed. The defendant then responds to the summons, which is called the Answer. This answer influences how the rest of your case will go, because it requires the defendant to make one of these responses: admit, deny, or having insufficient knowledge to admit or deny.”

The Discovery

The facts brought by the plaintiff and the defendant that are sent to each other are the discovery phase of the case. This is when medical records, personal information, extent of injuries and any long term side effects, and any other related material are exchanged. Written questions and answers from the injured party and witnesses are also placed on record. It is always best to give all information to your injury attorney and not withhold any detail.

Settlement

Despite what you see on television, very few cases actually go to trial. The majority of personal injury claims involve communications back and forth between the plaintiff and defendant, with information being requested and share over many months or even years. And then these cases are settled, with a settlement offer being made from the insurance company to the injured party. Your attorney will advise you whether, in his or her professional opinion, the settlement is fair. Your attorney will either encourage you to accept the settlement or keep fighting to achieve a fair and just amount.

The Trial

In cases where no settlement is offered or the settlement is considered not acceptable, the plaintiff’s attorney will file for court proceedings. Keep in mind that it can take many months, a year or more, before your trial comes in front of a jury. At trial, your attorney will present your case, while the defense will attempt to keep any payout to a minimum. The defendant may deny all responsibility. This is when the experience and abilities of your injury attorney are essential. The trial will go in the following order: jury selection, opening statements by the plaintiff and defendant, plaintiff presentation of facts, defendant presentation of facts, closing statements, jury deliberation, and finally the verdict.

Unfortunately, injuries can be caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Our personal injury law firm in McAllen, Texas sees all types of auto accident cases as well as slip and fall cases and job related injuries. It’s always wise to speak to an injury attorney before speaking with insurance companies. Contact Tijerina Legal Group for a complimentary consultation.

Class Action Lawsuit – Historic Cases and Large Cases

By | News, Personal Injury | No Comments

The definition of a class action suit is as follows:

Class Action Lawsuit – Historic Cases and Large Cases by Tijerina Legal GroupCharges advanced in a court by one or more plaintiffs on behalf of a large group of others who have a common interest.

There have been some class-action cases that changed history. Most people are aware of civil action lawsuits like those covered in the movies Erin Brokovich and A Civil Action. Cases where a group of people – for example, the residents of a small town or workers in a certain plant – are suing a large company demonstrate a civil action that is also a class-action.

There have been Supreme Court decisions that originated as civil lawsuits. In the state of Tennessee versus John Thomas Scopes, a Tennessee law was challenged. This law made it unlawful to deny the divine creation (Adam and Eve) and teach the theory of evolution. This law was called the Butler Act. Scopes was a biology teacher who, encouraged by the American civil liberties Union, agreed to teach evolution to his classes. Many subsequent civil action lawsuits followed and the Butler Act was eventually repealed in Tennessee in 1967.

Another case involved a massive civil settlement of $333 million in 1996. The case was brought by the residents of a California town called Hinkley. Pacific Gas and Electric Company was found to have knowingly dumped wastewater into the ground in this area. This wastewater contained chromium 6 — a known carcinogen. Interestingly, a new class-action was filed in 2011 because it was found that the chromium had been spreading, and in the end, Pacific Gas and Electric Company purchased some of the homes and properties in the town.

Another interesting case that affected US history is the Lois E Jensen versus Eveleth Taconite Company. This lawsuit was brought in 1988 and was the first sexual harassment class action suit in America. Lois Jensen along with 14 other female coworkers employed by the Taconite EVTAC mine in Minnesota presented that they were subjected to intimidation and extreme physical harassment from male coworkers and also supervisors of the mine.

The attorneys with the mining company managed to delay the case for a decade but the day before the jury trial was to take place, they settled and provided monetary damages to the group of women.

An example of a large sum class-action was the Nortel Networks case that was settled in 2006. This class-action lawsuit was brought by investors who held stock in Nortel Networks, which at the time was a major supplier of fiber-optic equipment to new, up-and-coming Internet companies. You may remember the Internet bust – when that happened, sales drastically declined. The company created fake accounting entries that showed equipment sales that were not actually happening. This was uncovered and investors won their lawsuit to the tune of 2.4 billion.

Another big time class-action was settled in 2005 for the amount of $2.5 billion. This one also involved investors. Those who invested in AOL Time Warner stock brought the suit alleging that Time Warner had falsely shown revenue generation. What the company was doing was moving money around between accounts in the form of advertising transactions over a period of four years. They were designed to look like income when in reality it was just money shifting from one area to another. These false earning statements constituted fraud and the investors won their class action lawsuit.

These types of cases are fascinating and we will share more of them in an upcoming article. As your McAllen personal injury attorney, we represent victims of big company negligence and recklessness. Call Tijerina Legal Group to discuss your class action lawsuit.

Source of some case information: InfoLaw

History of the United States Supreme Court – Part 2

By | News, Personal Injury | No Comments

Us Supreme Court History - Tijerina Legal FirmIt is interesting to note that when the Constitution was written, the Supreme Court was created as a compromise – middle ground between states’ rights advocates and Federalists. In the first 10 years of operation, the Supreme Court only decided about 50 cases. How greatly it would be used and needed could only have been a point of slight wonder for the founding fathers. But in the years of 1801-1835, under Chief Justice John Marshall, the Supreme Court would prove to be a major aspect of the United States justice system, as it became more involved, more united, and more productive.

It is doubtful that the original writers of our Constitution would have predicted that the Supreme Court would also become a source of great controversy, attack, and opposition.

During the meetings of the very first Congress for our country, congressmen worked to outline a workable national judiciary that would follow the constitution yet still address their concerns. Again, the Federalists and Anti-federalists made their arguments. The law that emerged from this debate was the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Under this historic act, a three-part judiciary was established:

  1. A Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and five associate justices (and would meet in Washington, DC)
  2. Three circuit courts, each having two justices of the Supreme Court and a district judge; and
  3. Thirteen district courts, each presided over by one district judge.

The middle tier of this new system — the U.S. circuit courts — acted as the principal trial courts in this newly adopted court system. Each justice was assigned to one of three geographical circuits, and attended the appropriate meetings within the districts of that circuit. The term “circuit riding” came about at this time. Judges usually spent more time on their circuit court duties than their district court duties.

As the ratification process of the Constitution was underway, many citizens voiced fears about the power of an independent federal judiciary. These questioners felt it could threaten state courts and restrict some civil liberties. So, the Judiciary Act responded accordingly, to bring these concerned citizens some reassurance. It allowed state courts to exercise concurrent jurisdiction over many federal questions. It also required federal courts to select juries according to the procedures used by the district’s state courts. Lastly, it guaranteed the right to trial in the district where the defendant lived.

At the same time that debates and decisions were underway involving the Judiciary Act, Congress was discussing the Bill of Rights, and this legislation provided still more assurances that the federal courts would respect certain liberties such as trial by jury.

It became clear that the three-tiered court system was being developed and accepted by the U.S. citizens. And so, to this day, we have a multi-tiered federal court structure that operates in conjunction with state courts—an arrangement conceived in 1789 and still in place today.

Tijerina Legal Group is proud of our country’s history and heritage, and takes the upholding of justice very seriously. We serve McAllen, Brownsville, and surrounding areas of Texas. Contact your dedicated McAllen personal injury attorney to speak with someone committed to your legal rights.