What Is the Difference Between a Contingency and a Non-Contingency Personal Injury Attorney?

Friday, February 15, 2019

When you are hiring a Dallas personal injury attorney, it can be difficult to wade through legal terms so you can ensure you find the attorney that is right for you. One term you may have noticed is contingency, as well as its opposite, non-contingency. How do these terms apply to your case?

What Is a Contingency Case?

Attorneys may work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not have to pay up front for the attorney’s time. Instead, you will enter into a contingency fee arrangement, in which the attorney will agree that no upfront fee is necessary and you will agree to give the attorney a certain percentage of any settlement or judgment. If the case is unsuccessful and you do not win, you do not owe the attorney a fee.
Overall, contingency cases can allow access to attorney services for clients who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Clients can pay with a portion of the results of the case, while the attorney assumes some risk that they will not win the case. However, some attorneys decline certain cases they feel may not prove worth the risk.
Some attorneys work on a contingency basis regarding the fees for the time spent on the case, but will require the client to pay for other related expenses. Expenses may include filing fees, expert testimony fees, or medical expenses. This partial contingency basis may still allow for greater access to attorney services for some clients.
Often, attorneys in the personal injury, workers’ compensation, property damage, and class action lawsuit areas will work on a contingency basis. Such cases have the potential for significant settlements, making the attorney’s time well spent for a percentage of the settlement.
Many people feel that working on a contingency basis provides an attorney with extra incentive to pursue a fair settlement amount for the client. However, a good attorney will work hard for a client regardless of compensation style.

What Is a Non-Contingency Case?

Most attorneys take cases primarily on a non-contingency basis. The client hires the attorney to act as their legal advocate for the purposes of the case. The client pays the attorney outright, either on an hourly basis or a flat fee to provide representation.
Often, attorneys who work on a non-contingency basis will charge clients a retainer, essentially a deposit that guarantees a certain number of hours of the attorney’s time working on the case. If the case exceeds that number of hours, the attorney will charge additional fees. Attorneys often charge other fees, such as filing fees and expert fees in addition to the hourly rate.
Attorneys working on family law, real estate, criminal or bankruptcy and other business cases typically charge a retainer and work on a non-contingency basis. These cases do not involve awards or settlements the client can draw from to pay attorney fees. However, if you win your case, the opposing side may pay court costs and attorney fees for you.

How Much Do Attorneys Cost?

Contingency fees typically comprise about one-third of the settlement amount. Also, keep in mind that filing fees, discovery costs, and overhead fees typically cost hundreds of dollars each. Expert witness fees can reach several thousands of dollars or as much as your attorney himself. Non-contingency attorney fees can begin at $250 per hour. All of these fees depend on your individual case – particularly its complexities and the degree of risk to the attorney – as well as the specifics of the fees in your area.
Always consult with an attorney to get an idea of how he or she would handle the fees related to your case. The consultation phase is crucial so that you can understand how fees will be determined.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:24 pm

What If You Are the Passenger in a Rideshare Accident?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

With companies like Lyft and Uber giving taxicab companies a run for their money in the Dallas area, the options for catching an easily accessible, affordable ride are more numerous than ever. Rideshare drivers, however, are just as susceptible to accidents as the rest of us; some would even argue rideshare drivers are more prone to distracted driving due to their constant use of the rideshare app.
What happens if you are the passenger in a rideshare accident? What are your responsibilities, and next steps?

Some Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Just as with any other driver, rideshare drivers experience a few common causes of accidents.

  • Drunk driving, whether on the part of your driver or another driver
  • Weather-related incidents involving slippery roads or poor visibility
  • Damaged or defective street signs or traffic signals
  • Roadways in poor condition due to construction or wear
  • Reckless driving such as turning too quickly, tailgating, or rushing through intersections, either on the part of your driver or someone else
  • Road rage, whether your driver or another driver
  • Speeding on the part of your driver or someone else
  • Defective or malfunctioning vehicle
  • Drowsy driving by your driver or someone else
  • Distracted driving by your driver or someone else

Many rideshare experts are particularly concerned about distracted driving due to unruly passengers as well as the very nature of ridesharing. Drivers must access their company’s platform to accept requests and navigate to their stop. However, use of this platform should not occur while the vehicle is in motion. Notify the rideshare company if you notice this or any of the above behaviors.

What You Should Do After a Rideshare Accident

If an accident occurs while you are a passenger, follow this checklist to ensure your safety as well as any potential compensation for your injuries.

  • If he or she has not already done so, ask the driver to move the vehicle to the side of the road or away from the flow of traffic. This ensures that you and the driver will remain safe throughout the next steps.
  • Call the local authorities. Even if the accident seems minor, a police report will document the events of the accident and establish that you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle at that time. Stay at the scene of the accident until authorities release you.
  • Obtain insurance information for all parties involved.
  • Report the accident to the rideshare company. Most companies allow you to do so within the app in which you requested the ride. Often, the company will contact you for more information.
  • Seek treatment for your injuries. Even if your injuries seem minor, it is important to have them documented as well as to screen for hidden injuries not apparent at the time of the crash. Retain all medical bills and doctor’s statements.
  • File an insurance claim.

Who Is Liable for My Injuries?

Depending on who is at fault for the accident, a number of insurance companies could be liable for your injuries. If a third-party driver with insurance caused your accident, that driver’s insurance company would compensate you for your injuries. However, if the third-party driver did not carry insurance the rideshare company’s uninsured motorist policy would likely provide coverage.
Rideshare drivers are responsible for providing their own, state-minimum liability and PIP insurance, meant to cover passengers and other parties involved in accidents. Rideshare companies maintain their own insurance, usually in effect while the rideshare driver has a passenger onboard. However, rideshare companies are notorious for maintaining that their drivers are not employees, merely contractors that use the platform. Still, most Dallas personal injury attorneys recommend filing a claim directly with the company first.
Consult with a Dallas rideshare accident attorney to determine your next steps. An attorney with experience in the area will be well versed in handling negotiations between the multiple insurance companies that often become involved in rideshare accidents.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:47 am

Top 25 Contributing Factors for Texas Car Accidents

Monday, February 4, 2019

Many of us have seen over a hundred reports of severe car crashes in the news or in person on the road. On average, according to The Association for Safe International Road Travel, the United States reports about 37,000 fatal traffic accidents per year with an additional 2.3 million traffic accidents that resulted in a serious or life changing injury.

Car Accident Statistics of Texas

In Texas, one of the largest states in the U.S. with a staggering population of over 29 million, The Department of Transportation reported that a substantial traffic accident had occurred every 59 seconds in the year 2017. On top of that, a traffic related fatality had occurred every 2 hours and 21 minutes. According to the NHTSA, a total of 3,711 fatal car accidents had occurred in the state of Texas alone in 2017. For that year, Texas held the highest count of statewide crash fatalities.

Top 25 Contributing Factors for Texas Car Accidents 2

Why So Many Car Accidents?

What causes the millions of traffic accidents the United States experiences every day? What are the contributing factors or behaviors that cause fatal or severe traffic accidents almost every minute in the state of Texas?
We researched The Department of Transportation’s traffic reports of the contributing factors of car accidents in Texas. From the data, we were able to see the top 25 contributing factors for all traffic collisions in the year 2017. We’ve also included the data for car accidents that resulted in death.

Top 25 Contributing Factors to All Car Accidents and Fatal Accidents in Texas

Driver BehaviorFatal CrashesTotal Crashes

Speed (Over the Limit)500139131
river Inattention29489037
Failed To Drive In Single Lane60537488
Not Applicable13033917
Failed To Yield Right Of Way – Left Turn12031986
Failed To Yield Right Of Way – Stop Sign11426790
Followed Too Closely1624963
Unsafe Speed43723793
Faulty Evasive Action24923123
Failed To Yield Right Of Way Private Drive3718637
Under The Influence – Alcohol54413847
Distraction In Vehicle7012660
Turned When Unsafe5510639
Fatigued Or Asleep1609704
Had Been Drinking2089049
Failed To Yield Right Of Way – Open Intersection128406
Wrong Lane66323
Failed To Pass Left Safely163719
Turned Improperly – Wide Right33580
Impaired Visibility443476
Under Influence – Drug2273108
Failed To Yield At Sign82936
Failed To Stop At Proper Place12829

The data shows us that the top 3 contributing factors with the highest totals were:

  • Speeding over the limit (139,131)
  • Driver’s inattention (89,037)
  • Failure to drive in a single lane (37,488)

According to the department’s data represented in the table, Speeding over the limit was the most prominent cause for general traffic related accidents. It’s also one of the top 3 causes traffic fatalities in 2017, with failure of driving in a single lane as the number 1 factor of car accident deaths in Texas.
We noticed that other speed related factors had showed up in the top 25 table with “unsafe speed” totaling 23,793 accidents
Looking closer at the contributing factors of fatal crashes, the 3 highest contributing factors of accidents resulting in deaths were:

Top 25 Contributing Factors for Texas Car Accidents 4
  • Failure to drive in a single lane (605)
  • DUI – alcohol (544)
  • Speeding over the limit (500)

What is “Failure to Maintain in a Single Lane?”

To define this behavior of fatal traffic accidents, failure to maintain in a single lane (FTMSL) is a common highway offense where a driver fails to keep the vehicle inside of the lines of the lane divider or edge line.
Not referring to vehicles safely making a lane change, FTMSL refers to drivers who veer or drift out of their lane either because they are distracted, intoxicated or driving negligently. Drifting into another lane can lead to severe side swiping accidents especially when driving on the freeway at a fast speed surrounded by other vehicles. FTMSL combined with other factors such as speeding or distracted driving can lead to devastating consequences and severe punishment in the state of Texas.

What if I’m a Victim of an Accident?

The Department of Transportation says a traffic related accident occurs almost every minute in the state of Texas. If you have unfortunately experienced a car accident due to the negligence of other drivers and suffering from the damages, it’s best that you seek immediate help from an expert in traffic law.
A certified Dallas car accident lawyer will be able to help victims of traffic accidents find the right compensation for medical fees, roadside services, lost wages, pain and suffering or any serious life changing outcomes. There is help out there no matter how severe the damages are. Learn more by contacting your local injury law firm and speaking with a representative who can assess your needs.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 9:50 am