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If I’m Doing Something Illegal but Get Injured, Can I Still Make a Claim?

Friday, January 8, 2016

The answer to the question is that it depends, particularly in the case of a pedestrian accident. For instance, if you’re jaywalking because you really didn’t want to go to the crosswalk to get back to the office and a speeding vehicle hits you, the query shifts from “if someone is liable” to “how much is someone liable.” Depending on the type of illegal activity and the circumstances, you may or may not be able to make a claim.

Jaywalking and Drunk Driving

As a pedestrian, you typically have the right of way on the road. However, you’re responsible, under Texas law, for following the rules of the road. You can’t step out into traffic just because you want to; you need to cross at a crosswalk if one is available. Let’s say you jaywalk in a busy part of town because everyone else does it, too, except this time a drunk driver hits you in the process. You suffer catastrophic injury, and the driver walks away with barely a scratch. You were both doing something technically illegal, but the vehicle operator was acting far more dangerously.

Under Texas’s comparative fault laws, the court will assign a percentage of the blame to each party. The amount of compensation you can receive as a result of the accident is based on that percentage of fault. However, when the amount of fault meets or exceeds 50%, that individual cannot claim any damages after the accident. So, if you were 20% responsible for the accident but the drunk driver was 80% responsible, he or she could not collect any damages. 20% of your compensation would be taken away.

Trespassing

In very limited circumstances, you could still make a claim if you’re doing something illegal and get injured. Trespassing provides a good example of when you might be able to make a claim. Generally, a property owner isn’t responsible for anything you do to injure yourself on his or her property. However, if that property owner had a serious safety hazard on the property, the property wasn’t properly marked as private, and you suffered a severe injury as a result, you might be able to hold the owner liable for your injuries.

Similarly, if the property owner shot you as you were obeying his or her request to leave, you might be able to hold that person accountable. Technically, you were engaged in an illegal activity, but unless you were actively trying to cause harm or continued to engage in the illegal activity after confrontation, the property owner does not have a right to injure or kill you.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Situation

There are very limited circumstances in which you can file and successfully win a claim if you were engaged in an illegal activity at the time, but it’s not unheard of. Many factors will come into play, including whether the other party was also engaged in an illegal activity, if someone owed you a reasonable duty of care, or if you should have reasonably known you were engaged in an illegal activity.

The only way to determine for sure if pursuing a civil claim against the individual who injured you is right is to sit down with an attorney to review your case. Federal, state, and local laws may all play a role in each case determination, and only an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney can offer the advice you need to make an informed decision about pursuing a case. For more information regarding any injury claims, regardless of whether you were engaged in an illegal activity at the time, contact our Dallas office today.

Posted by admin at 11:54 pm

How People Fake Accidents: Common Schemes and Repercussions

Friday, December 18, 2015

Some people will do anything to get some extra cash in their pockets, even if they have to cheat to do it. Fake accidents aren’t just morally reprehensible and unethical; they’re illegal. When people fake accidents, they take time, money, and support from people who truly suffer due to legitimate accidents. From staged car accidents to slip and fall injuries, here are some of the most common schemes and the consequences perpetrators face if caught.

Staged Car Accidents

Some people purposefully brake erratically in front of a vehicle to encourage a rear end collision. Others plan more elaborate accidents to target unsuspecting and innocent victims. Many staged accidents feature injuries an x-ray or medical evaluation can’t confirm or deny, such as chronic or severe pain. They have lots of witnesses around to support their claims, and if no video surveillance caught the scene on camera, they may have a good shot at getting away with the “accident.”

Fake Work Incidents

Not every employer in Texas has to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but those who do may find themselves vulnerable to injury schemes. Workers who’ve suffered an injury elsewhere may hide the injury and then stage an incident at work to get the insurance money. Others may exaggerate the effects of an incident or make up injuries a medical practitioner can’t disprove. Some will start the scam after a legitimate accident, pretending to have a disability to earn more time off.

Provoked Dog Bite Accidents

While the media plays up the danger of certain breeds, any dog will bite and cause damage if provoked. Some people may torment a canine to the point of an attack and then try to hold the owner accountable. If an individual knows a pooch has bitten or shown documented aggressive behavior in the past, he or she can easily bypass the one bite rule and take the owner to court. The dog will likely be put down in the process.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Anytime you’re on someone else’s property as a guest or customer, the owner is reasonably obligated to provide a safe environment. Some individuals try to take advantage of noticeable shortcomings at an establishment or create unsafe conditions. If there aren’t any cameras and the perpetrators make it look like something the owner should have known about, insurance will likely have to cover the damages or alleged injuries.

Repercussions for Accident Fraud

Accident fraud, also known as insurance fraud, sometimes goes unpunished, and the people who pay for insurance are the ones who lose. However, if the insurance company or the alleged defendant (person who “caused” the accident) can prove the perpetrator lied or staged an accident, he or she may face fines, prison time, and a permanent criminal record. It also hurts people legitimately seeking reparation by forcing insurance companies to pursue extensive investigation in every claim that has suspicious characteristics, such as a vague incident description, symptoms like chronic pain, or exaggerated claims.

Furthermore, the people who were essentially framed for the accident may have to face lingering repercussions in their businesses or when paying for any damage done to their properties during the process. Some people targeted in fake accident schemes choose to take legal action against the perpetrators in the form of an injury claim to cover the costs of injuries and property damage they had to shoulder as a result of the scheme.

Contact

If one of these schemes has affected you, you can hold the perpetrator accountable. Contact our Dallas personal injury lawyers today to learn more, and we can walk you through your legal options in light of a fake accident assertion.

Posted by admin at 11:22 pm

Dallas Crosswalk Accident Lawyer

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crosswalks should be safe places for pedestrians. They should allow pedestrians to cross the street without worrying about oncoming cars. Unfortunately, crosswalks in most cities – including Dallas – are not safe at all. Instead, they are the locations of catastrophic and deadly vehicle-pedestrian collisions. In 2018 alone, the National Center for Health Statistics recorded an estimated 7,680 pedestrian deaths. About 25% of these pedestrian traffic deaths occurred at intersections. 

 If you or a loved one has been in a crosswalk accident in Dallas, please contact the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert for a free legal consultation. Our pedestrian accident lawyers may be able to help you demand fair compensation from the at-fault party. This could be a driver or the government agency that designed the unsafe crosswalk depending on the circumstances of your accident. Call (214) 200-4878 to schedule your case review in Dallas today.

Why Choose Our Dallas Crosswalk Accident Lawyer?

  • Our Dallas personal injury lawyer believe in the importance of dedicating personal attention to each case we accept. Our clients benefit from one-on-one care and customized legal services.
  • We fight hard to protect the rights of the injured in Dallas. If this means taking defendants to trial for maximum compensation, we can do so in Dallas County.
  • We have one of the only attorneys in Texas (one of less than 2%) who are Board-Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law.
  • We will not charge clients during Dallas crosswalk accident claims unless we succeed in securing them compensation. We are a contingency-fee based personal injury law firm. 

dallas crosswalk accident lawyer

 What Makes Crosswalks in Dallas So Dangerous?

While crosswalks aren’t taken seriously in a lot of cities, in Dallas and much of the Dallas Fort Worth area we do take them seriously – but in the wrong way.

Many of the crosswalks in Dallas are nearly invisible to drivers and pedestrians, whether due to design or due to lack of maintenance. The brown/gray brick patterns on black asphalt just doesn’t cut it for pedestrian safety. And even when a more visible pattern is used, many cities in North Texas do not spend the resources to re-paint the crosswalk patterns until the paint is severely faded. In the end, a lot of money is spent on the design and upkeep of our crosswalks in Dallas and surrounding cities, yet no significant changes in design have been made in the last twenty years to make intersection crossings more visible.

While many people complain that Dallas is not pedestrian walkable because of sprawl and suburban style urban design with little sidewalk connection between areas, this is only part of the problem. The cities in north Texas need to start valuing neighborhoods which are already walkable by supporting pedestrian comfort and safe with better crosswalk design.

A better design currently exists for crosswalks that has been proven a safer alternative to designs used in Dallas. Dallas should install install continental crosswalks throughout the city.  The “continental” uses two-foot-widestripes which are more visible to approaching drivers. Paired with a limit (stop) line set back five feet from the crosswalk, continental markings better delineate pedestrian space and discourage vehicles entering the crosswalk.

Additionally, cities in North Texas have slowly started replacing signal lights at crosswalks with “countdown” lights for pedestrians. These signal lights show a countdown timer while the pedestrian “walk” figure is displayed so that that pedestrians crossing the street know exactly when they must be out of the roadway.

How Do Crosswalk Accidents Occur?

 Crosswalk accidents occur for two main reasons: dangerous street designs and human error. If you hire a lawyer from the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, we can investigate your pedestrian accident case to determine its cause. We can look for signs of an unreasonably dangerous crosswalk design, such as the issues in Dallas listed above. If we find evidence that the City of Dallas reasonably should have done more to ensure the safety of its crosswalks, the city government could be liable for your injuries. Otherwise, the defendant could be a negligent driver. Negligent drivers cause many deadly pedestrian accidents in Dallas.

  • Distracted driving
  • Cellphone use behind the wheel
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Ignoring traffic signs
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians
  • Running red lights
  • Making unsafe left-hand turns
  • Making illegal U-turns

As a pedestrian, you may be able to prevent an accident by being aware of your surroundings. Always be on the lookout for a driver who is negligent, reckless or breaking roadway rules. Do not assume it is safe to enter a crosswalk until you have looked both ways – even if you have the right-of-way. Do not walk while distracted, especially by a cellphone. If you notice hazards in the design or maintenance of a crosswalk in Dallas, report it to the city. A record of maintenance requests could help an injured pedestrian build a claim against the city for a dangerous crosswalk in the future. It could also pressure the city to repair its crosswalks for greater pedestrian protection.

Why You Need a Crosswalk Accident Lawyer in Dallas

 Your crosswalk accident case may seem simple or straightforward in the beginning. For example, a distracted or negligent driver struck you and should owe you financial compensation under Texas’ fault-based insurance laws. A pedestrian accident case can quickly become complicated, however – especially since most insurance companies will try their hardest to avoid paying claimants. It is important to protect your rights as an injured pedestrian by hiring an attorney in Dallas to take over your case.

 A crosswalk accident lawyer can help you stand up to insurance companies that may try to downplay your injuries or undervalue your claim. Your lawyer can handle negotiations in a way that will demand maximum recovery for your losses. A lawyer can also help you with things such as finding the right doctor and collecting evidence of the defendant’s negligence. When you hire an attorney to take care of legal processes for you, you can focus on healing from your serious injuries while a professional fights for positive case results. At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, we can help pedestrians with all types of injuries from traffic accidents.

Types of Injuries in accidents involving pedestrians

Pedestrians have no protection from injury in a collision with a motor vehicle, and the injuries they suffer are often serious, catastrophic or even fatal. Common injuries include:

In the unfortunate event of an Dallas crosswalk accident between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, pedestrians will suffer severe bodily injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Dallas or other Texas city,  Board Certified Attorney Aaron A. Herbert can help. The personal injury dallas crosswalk accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert have helped injured pedestrians or surviving family members hold negligent parties accountable for recklessness or wrongdoing. Please do not wait to contact us if you or someone you care about has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Texas. There is a specific amount of time in which you can take legal action and you do not want to forfeit your rights by waiting too long to speak with a lawyer. Contact Us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 7:30 pm

Dallas Pedestrian Accidents – Child Pedestrian Injuries

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dallas Child Pedestrian Injury Attorney

Child pedestrian injuries and deaths due to motor vehicle related incidents nationwide average 20,000 incidents each year.  The majority of child pedestrian injuries and deaths occur at non-intersection locations.

When a child suffers an injury or is killed in an auto accident, parents and other family members are often left with many unanswered questions. It is understandable to feel overwhelmed, but help is available to get you through this. If the crash was the result of negligence, such as a distracted driver, a dangerous roadway, or a faulty vehicle part, the injured child or the family members of the deceased child have a legitimate claim for damages.

The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert’s personal injury attorneys and staff are sympathetic to and resourceful for those affected by a serious car collision involving a child. For years, we have fought to protect the rights of our clients, assisting them in their pursuit of justice for compensation. We offer a free, no obligation consultation with a board certified personal injury attorney. We will listen to what happened, we will explain all of your legal rights and we will fight to protect those rights. There is no fee or case expenses unless we recover in your case.

While these accidents are tragic and most often the fault of careless drivers and not the fault of the child or child’s parents, the following are tips can at least help reduce the risk of being hit by a careless driver.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY TIPS

Teach Kids How to Walk Safely

  • Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  • Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Take Action Against Distraction

  • Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with teenagers.
  • Pull headphones down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
  • Be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
  • If kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk.

Types of Injuries in accidents involving pedestrians

Pedestrians have no protection from injury in a collision with a motor vehicle, and the injuries they suffer are often serious, catastrophic or even fatal. Common injuries include:

In the unfortunate event of an accident between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, pedestrians will suffer severe bodily injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Dallas or other Texas city,  Board Certified Attorney Aaron A. Herbert can help. The personal injury accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert have helped injured pedestrians or surviving family members hold negligent parties accountable for recklessness or wrongdoing. Please do not wait to contact us if you or someone you care about has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Texas. There is a specific amount of time in which you can take legal action and you do not want to forfeit your rights by waiting too long to speak with a lawyer. Contact Us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:37 am

Dallas Pedestrian Accidents

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dallas Pedestrian Accidents

Every year in the Dallas Fort-Worth area and throughout the State thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. In fact, over the past few years in North Texas  alone, hundreds of pedestrians have been seriously injured or killed as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle.

Pedestrian knock down accidents are usually the fault of the drivers of motor vehicles. Among the more common causes are drivers who speed, run traffic signals or fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians, particularly those within a crosswalk when making a turn. More recently, inattentive or distracted driving has been identified as the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. This is often seen with cell phone use and texting or simply a driver not paying attention.

Laws exist in Texas whose goal is to protect pedestrians from being the victims of motor vehicle accidents. Often, the key to the successful resolution of these claims is having an attorney familiar with the various sections of the Texas State Vehicle and Traffic Laws.   It is imperative that an attorney be familiar with the insurance laws applicable to a given accident to insure that the victim receives the fullest recovery allowable under the law. There are also laws that proscribe the time limits within which a person injured in an automobile accident must take certain steps to protect their legal rights or forever be prevented from proper and adequate compensation.

As mentioned previously, pedestrian accidents often result in serious injuries. In many accidents, a pedestrian sustains what is commonly known as a “bumper fracture.” This occurs when a car bumper hits the pedestrian’s pelvis and legs shattering his or her bones. Another common injury involving pedestrians occurs when a pedestrian is “scooped” off the ground by the front of a car and smashed onto the hood and the windshield causing traumatic brain injury. Further compounding this injury is the natural reaction of the driver to step on the brake. This results in the pedestrian being thrown to the ground, causing further injury to the brain as well as spinal and pelvic injuries.

The following are but a few examples of pedestrian accidents that occurred in the Dallas Fort-Worth area in 2015:

Lewisville, Texas – On September 9, 2015 two elementary school-aged kids, a boy and a girl were struck by a car. It happened in the 800 block of S. Valley Parkway, outside the Sun Valley Aquatic Center. Both children are conscious.  The girl was airlifted to the hospital.  The boy was taken by ambulance. Each were in serious condition but talking to first responders and expected to recover.

Dallas, Texas – On April 5, 2015 a 20-year-old Southlake college student was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in Dallas. The accident happened near the DART rail station in the 5500 block of Mockingbird Lane, near North Central Expressway. Paul Robert Miltenberger, a sophomore at the University of Missouri, was not in a designated cross-walk area, according to police, when he was hit and killed on Mockingbird Lane. Dallas police are looking for the driver of the black Dodge Charger who hit Miltenberger and never stopped to render aid.

Dallas, Texas – On January 23, 2015 a shuttle bus driver crashed into two hospital employees walking to work Friday Morning. Police say 61-year-old Randal Dygert, a registered nurse, died from his injuries. Dygert and a female employee at Parkland Hospital were crossing Harry Hines at Medical District around 7 am when they were hit. Police say the shuttle bus, operated by the private company ‘Buses By Bill’, was in route to drop a patient off when the vehicle struck the pedestrians. Authorities say the bus dragged the man about 50 yards before coming to a stop. Hospital workers say the intersection can be very dangerous, “ like New York down here”.

The personal injury attorneys at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, including Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Aaron Herbert, have helped thousands of individuals and families suffering serious injuries or death as a result of a pedestrian being struck by a car, truck, bus or other motor vehicle. We retain experts such as  accountants, financial analysts and economists because every personal injury case has its own set of associated costs, including pain and suffering, lost wages, the cost of care and many other monetary costs. In order to accurately assess what these costs will be for the remainder of a victim’s life, we use financial professionals to derive fair resolutions for injury victims. Additionally where necessary we retain the best accident reconstruction engineers in the field. It is also often necessary to retain a biomechanical engineer where the cause of the injury is challenged.

Types of Injuries in accidents involving pedestrians

Pedestrians have no protection from injury in a collision with a motor vehicle, and the injuries they suffer are often serious, catastrophic or even fatal. Common injuries include:

In the unfortunate event of an accident between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, pedestrians will suffer severe bodily injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Dallas or other Texas city,  Board Certified Attorney Aaron A. Herbert can help. The personal injury accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert have helped injured pedestrians or surviving family members hold negligent parties accountable for recklessness or wrongdoing. Please do not wait to contact us if you or someone you care about has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Texas. There is a specific amount of time in which you can take legal action and you do not want to forfeit your rights by waiting too long to speak with a lawyer. Contact Us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 8:40 am

Dallas Pedestrian Accidents – Seniors face Higher Risk of Injury or Death

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dallas Pedestrian Injury Attorney

Statistics are clear – senior citizens face a higher risk as pedestrians than other age groups.

Approximately 25% of all pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the United States involve senior citizens.  Going back as far as 1975, No change has been seen in regards to senior citizens fatalities in pedestrian vs. auto accidents, despite a decrease in fatalities reported in regards to younger age groups.  The oldest members of our community continue to have the highest injury and death rates of all pedestrians.

North Texas has one of the fastest growing “pre-senior” population (age 55-64) in the nation and also ranks high in senior (age 65+) population growth. Over the next several decades, the 65+ population is expected to continue to grow rapidly both in number and as a share of the population.

A growing senior population brings new opportunities and challenges.

As we age, the majority of us share a common goal: to live independently and safely in our own homes and engaged in our communities for as long as possible. But without an effort to determine and change the root causes of the number of older citizens injured in Dallas Pedestrian Accidents, there will likely be even more serious injuries and deaths as the number and percentage of senior citizens increases.

Physical limitations may play a role in the this skewed statistic. Senior citizens should by all means keep up physical activity such as walking as the health and emotional benefits outweigh the risks of an auto vs pedestrian accident. Some elderly Americans have limited vision and hearing and thus may be less alert to the traffic around them.  Limitations in peripheral vision may prevent elderly ones from seeing oncoming traffic.  Additionally, overall vision changes due to the aging process may make it difficult to  judge traffic distance and speed. Pre-existing spinal and neck issues can cause some senior citizens to become permanently stooped over or without the ability to turn or lift their neck/head  to properly see traffic conditions around them.  Additionally, some seniors may have smaller physical frames making them less visible to motorists.

Drivers are often fail to take a pedestrian’s age and abilities into account.

While the driver of a motor vehicle is required in most cases to yield to pedestrians in Texas, some either just don’t see the pedestrian until it is too late, or even try to drive around the pedestrian. Texas drivers that attempt to drive around a senior citizen or time when they can safely pass, often inadequately take into consideration that elderly pedestrian may be slower in crossing a street and drivers may fail to react accordingly when slowing or braking. When a senior citizen is facing a three thousand pound (or greater) motor vehicle barreling towards them, they are often physically unable to move to get out of the way in the same manner in which a younger individual could. What is worse, while the injuries caused to an pedestrian hit by a motor vehicle are nearly always life threatening, senior citizens have the greatest difficulty surviving those injuries, take far longer to recover, and are more likely to face injuries that limit their mobility for the remainder of their lives.

Senior Citizen Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths can be prevented.

The following are examples of ways to significantly lessen the likelihood of a pedestrian being hit by a car:

  • Make eye contact as much as possible with drivers.
  • Avoid trusting the system. Many kind drivers who wave us on may lead us to ‘expect’ such behavior from all drivers. Don’t!
  • Use marked crossings if possible when crossing streets.
  • Carry a flashlight if walking in the early morning or dusk and/or use a headlamp.
  • Avoid wearing black and other dark colors.
  • Wear reflective clothing such as a reflective vest.
  • If possible, exercise or walk in places set aside for this purpose.
  • If walking on streets, use sidewalks as much as possible.
  • Elderly ones of short stature may wish to carry a lightweight, small, reflective orange flag to help makes them ‘visible’ when crossing in front of high vehicles such as buses and SUV’s.
  • When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • If walking for health, get a buddy. Two people are more visible than one!

The pedestrians increased ‘vulnerability’ requires motorists exercise great caution.  Yet, inattentive and careless motorists on the roadways are the primary cause of accidents involving elderly pedestrians.  Negligence and gross negligence remain the root of  senior citizen and pedestrian collisions.  If you find that you are a senior who was hit by a car, don’t allow the insurance company to bully you into feeling like the accident was your fault.

Types of Injuries in accidents involving pedestrians

Pedestrians have no protection from injury in a collision with a motor vehicle, and the injuries they suffer are often serious, catastrophic or even fatal. Common injuries include:

In the unfortunate event of an accident between a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, pedestrians will suffer severe bodily injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Dallas or other Texas city,  Board Certified Attorney Aaron A. Herbert can help. The personal injury accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert have helped injured pedestrians or surviving family members hold negligent parties accountable for recklessness or wrongdoing. Please do not wait to contact us if you or someone you care about has been involved in a pedestrian accident in Texas. There is a specific amount of time in which you can take legal action and you do not want to forfeit your rights by waiting too long to speak with a lawyer. Contact Us today for a free, confidential consultation.

 

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:03 pm