What to Do After a Hit-and-Run in San Antonio?

Friday, February 26, 2021
A hit-and-run accident is an especially devastating type of collision due to the delay in emergency aid to a victim. When a driver commits a hit-and-run, he or she does not stop to call the police. This can increase the possibility of serious and fatal injuries by the time the police arrive. If you get in a hit-and-run accident in San Antonio, take the following steps to protect your rights as much as possible.

Call the Police

Always call the police from the scene of a hit-and-run accident. Even if the accident did not cause injuries or more than $1,000 in property damage, you must call the police to report the crime. In Texas, fleeing the scene of a car accident without stopping is against the law. This crime can result in a criminal conviction, fines and jail time for the offender. One of the most important reasons to call 911 from the scene, however, is for professional assistance identifying the at-fault driver. To recover compensation from someone else’s insurance provider, you will need to identify the liable party. The police can launch a full investigation into your hit-and-run accident to try to identify the defendant. Be sure to give the police officer a detailed summary of what you remember while the memory is still fresh in your mind. The police can take official photographs of the crash scene and visit surrounding businesses to request video surveillance footage on your behalf. Write down your police report number before leaving the scene.

Speak to Eyewitnesses

If you can, obtain the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the car accident. Eyewitnesses may have seen critical details that can help the police catch the culprit, such as the make, model or color of the vehicle that struck you. If anyone saw a partial or full license plate number, this can be especially helpful in tracking down the hit-and-run driver. If your injuries are too serious to stay and speak to eyewitnesses yourself, the police can do so for you.

Get Medical Attention

Do not delay in getting medical care for your injuries. Prompt medical care can be critical for a full physical recovery after a serious car accident. Going to a hospital immediately can also demonstrate to an insurance company that you did your best to mitigate your injuries. It can also establish proof that your injuries occurred from an auto accident, as you are claiming they did. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep copies of all relevant medical records and bills.

File a Car Accident Claim With Your Own Insurer

Under Texas’s fault insurance law, the driver who caused your car accident should lawfully pay for your injuries and losses. Unfortunately, after a hit-and-run accident, you may not know the identity of the at-fault driver. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance through your own provider, this will cover your losses instead. Your own auto insurance provider will pay for a hit-and-run accident with uninsured motorist insurance as if the at-fault driver had remained at the scene of the crash but did not have car insurance. If you do not have this type of insurance (it is an optional, not required, type of insurance in Texas), you will need collision or comprehensive insurance to obtain the necessary coverage.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in San Antonio

If you’ve been injured in a hit-and-run car accident, do not assume you have no legal options for financial recovery. Your own insurance provider may cover the costs of the collision for you. You may also be able to hold a third party at least partially responsible, depending on the circumstances of your crash. Consult with a car accident attorney in San Antonio for legal assistance with this complicated type of claim. An attorney can review your legal options with you in detail.
Posted by at 5:41 pm

What Is a “No Contact” Motorcycle Accident?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Although most motor vehicle accidents in Texas involve two or more vehicles colliding, this is not always the case. A motorcycle may crash without ever coming into contact with another vehicle – yet the driver of the other car may still be to blame. This is what is called a no-contact motorcycle accident. It is often a difficult type of personal injury case to pursue in terms of liability.

How Do No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

Like all types of motorcycle accidents, no-contact motorcycle accidents often come down to driver negligence. A driver is negligent if he or she does not use the appropriate level of care behind the wheel, such as failing to pay attention to the road and notice nearby motorcyclists. Drivers can cause no-contact motorcycle accidents in Dallas through many acts of negligence:

  • Merging or changing lanes on top of a motorcyclist
  • Drifting into the same lane as a motorcyclist
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
  • Turning in front of an oncoming motorcyclist
  • Running a red light at an intersection
  • Making an unsafe passing maneuver
  • Speeding and/or tailgating a motorcyclist, threatening a rear-end collision
  • Other negligent or reckless acts

A no-contact motorcycle accident can cause serious injuries to the motorcyclist, including broken bones and traumatic brain damage. It is critical for an injured motorcyclist to review his or her legal options with a personal injury lawyer after a no-contact motorcycle accident, as a lawyer can help the victim pursue financial recovery for medical costs and other expenses.

What Is a “No Contact” Motorcycle Accident? 1

Who Is Liable for a No-Contact Motorcycle Accident?

Although you may assume your insurance company will pay for your medical bills and property damage if another driver’s vehicle never came in contact with your motorcycle, this is often not the case. If a driver breaks a traffic law or otherwise drives without using the proper amount of care, and this forced you to react to avoid a collision by jerking the handlebars, running off the road or laying your motorcycle down, the driver of the motor vehicle (the phantom driver) is liable for the wreck, even if the two vehicles never touched.
After a no-contact motorcycle accident, remain at the scene and get the other driver’s information. Do not admit any fault for the accident, even if the other driver tries to blame you since his or her vehicle never actually touched your motorcycle. Remain calm and call the police to obtain an official police report. Go to a hospital in Dallas immediately. Then, call the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file a claim.

What If the Phantom Driver Does Not Stop?

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to hold someone else responsible for a no-contact motorcycle accident in Dallas, as many drivers do not notice when they cause these accidents. If the negligent driver never noticed you in his or her blind spot, for example, the driver might not have seen you react to a dangerous situation and run off the side of the road. The driver may continue driving, leaving no information for you to hold the driver financially responsible.
If the phantom driver fails to stop after you crash, call the police. The police can help you gather any available evidence, such as surveillance footage of the accident from nearby businesses or signed statements from eyewitnesses. The information collected during an investigation may be enough to identify and locate the at-fault driver. If this is possible, that driver’s auto insurance company will be liable for your financial damages.
If, however, the police cannot identify the phantom driver, you may need to rely on your own auto insurance policy for coverage. Your insurance company should pay for your medical bills and motorcycle damage if you have uninsured motorist coverage, as well as collision or comprehensive insurance. It may also be possible to hold a third party liable, such as the government entity that designed the roadway or intersection.
Consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after a no-contact crash for legal assistance with this complicated type of claim.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:46 pm

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Families pursue wrongful death claims for many important reasons, such as justice, closure and holding a wrongdoer accountable. A wrongful death lawsuit in Dallas can also provide financial compensation to surviving family members, enabling them to pay related debts and have greater financial stability in the future. If a claim succeeds, the family can receive a wrongful death settlement from the insurance carrier of the at-fault party.

What Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Include?

Holding a person or entity financially responsible for causing a fatal injury in Texas can lead to a settlement check that covers many economic and noneconomic damages. Surviving family members and the estate can recover financial compensation for losses such as:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial costs
  • Medical bills from the decedent’s final injury
  • Loss of the loved one’s financial support
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Property damage caused by the accident
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • The family’s mental anguish
  • Loss of the loved one’s love, companionship and guidance
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out? 4

The value of a wrongful death settlement or judgment award will depend on the unique circumstances of the case. A deceased person’s age at the time of death, average income, the insurance coverage available, the number of dependents and many other factors can impact a settlement amount.

Lump-Sum vs. Structured Settlement

There are two types of settlements: a lump sum payment and a structured settlement. A lump sum means the full amount of the settlement is paid out at once, giving the deceased person’s estate or beneficiaries a single lump-sum payment. The family can use the money right away to pay for funeral and burial costs, as well as medical bills and legal fees.
With a structured settlement, the deceased person’s estate receives the settlement a portion at a time over several weeks. Ongoing payments given to surviving family members can provide continuous support for a longer length of time after the loved one’s death. However, a structured settlement could make it more difficult to pay large bills upfront.

How Long Does it Take to Receive a Wrongful Death Settlement Check?

The answer to this question depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. Some wrongful death settlements are achieved in only a matter of months if there are no complications. Others take a year or longer if they go to trial. Your timeline will depend on the complexity of the wrongful death case, as well as if you encounter any challenges that add time to the settlement.

Who Receives the Money?

Once an insurance company releases a settlement check, the money will go to surviving loved ones, according to Texas law. A settlement will be distributed among beneficiaries according to the family’s wishes or the laws of intestate succession. In general, parties that can make a claim to wrongful death settlement include a surviving spouse, children and parents. The deceased person’s estate may also receive part of a settlement to pay off any remaining debts.

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on a Wrongful Death Settlement?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a family typically does not have to pay taxes on a wrongful death settlement. Since settlements arise from physical injuries or illnesses, they are nontaxable. However, if the settlement includes a portion for medical bills that you deducted on your taxes in a previous year, a portion for emotional distress or a portion for punitive damages, your family may have to pay taxes on that portion.

How a Lawyer Can Help With a Wrongful Death Settlement

It is important to work with an attorney for a wrongful death settlement. With rare exceptions, once you accept a settlement and decide how you wish to receive it, you cannot change the terms of the agreement. A lawyer can make sure you receive a fair amount and choose the best payout type for your situation. A lawyer can also help you organize your settlement for tax purposes. Learn more about wrongful death settlements by consulting with an attorney.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:21 am

Who Pays for Injuries in a Bicycle Accident?

Monday, February 22, 2021
Bicycle accidents in San Antonio can be devastating for bicyclists. Bikers do not have the protections offered to motor vehicle drivers in an accident, such as seat belts and airbags. A bicyclist could suffer bone fractures, muscle and soft-tissue injuries, lacerations, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or internal organ damage in an accident. If you get injured in a bicycle accident in Texas, it is important to understand who may be legally responsible for paying for your injuries. This could be a few different parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident. A bicycle accident attorney in San Antonio can help you determine fault.

The At-Fault Driver

Texas is a fault-based insurance state. This means in a bicycle accident claim, the party that caused the collision is financially responsible for damages. The driver or party guilty of breaching a duty of care (acting in a way that is careless) and causing the bicycle accident will have to pay for losses through his or her auto insurance carrier. Every driver in Texas must carry at least:
  • $30,000 per person in medical or bodily injury insurance,
  • $60,000 per auto accident in bodily injury liability insurance, and
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Liability insurance will pay for an injured bicyclist’s medical bills, property damage and other losses if the motor vehicle driver caused the accident. Under Texas’s tort-based system, however, it is the injured party’s responsibility to prove the driver’s fault. Proof of fault is often necessary before a driver’s insurance company will pay an injured cyclist a settlement. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, you would not need to prove fault to obtain compensation as an injured victim; you would receive a settlement from your insurance provider, regardless of fault. The downside of a no-fault system is that less financial compensation is typically available in a first-party claim compared to a third-party claim.

The Injured Bicyclist

Even with Texas’s fault-based law, you may need to seek financial compensation from your own insurance provider as the victim of a bicycle accident in San Antonio in certain situations. If you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident, for example, you would turn to your own insurance carrier for compensation through uninsured motorist coverage. This would also be the case if the driver did remain at the scene but was illegally driving without insurance. You may also need to rely on your own insurance company for coverage if you were partially at fault for the accident. Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning you could still be eligible for some compensation from the other driver. However, your insurer may need to pay for a fraction of your costs based on your amount of fault. In general, your auto insurance policy will only cover your losses if you have medical pay or comprehensive insurance.

A Third Party

There is the possibility of a third party, meaning neither you nor the driver who struck you, being financially responsible for your injuries. This could be the case if a road or bicycle defect contributed to the accident. If the road had a pothole you had to go around on your bike, for instance, the government entity in charge of roadway maintenance could be liable for a related bicycle accident. If a bicycle defect caused your accident, the manufacturer of the bicycle could be liable through Texas’s product liability laws.

When to Speak to a Bicycle Accident Attorney in San Antonio

Before you can financially recover from a bicycle accident in San Antonio, you or your lawyer will need to prove another party’s fault as more likely to be true than not true. This requires enough evidence to convince an insurance company, judge or jury that your bicycle accident would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligence. A personal injury lawyer in San Antonio can help you meet your burden of proof during a bicycle accident injury claim, as well as help you understand who will pay for your injuries and related losses. It is especially important to talk to an attorney if the bicycle accident gave you severe or catastrophic injuries. A lawyer can help you demand fair compensation from the correct party or parties.
Posted by at 5:24 pm

Who Is Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident?

Monday, February 22, 2021

Not all car accidents in Dallas involve more than one driver. If you were the only driver in your recent auto accident, you may assume you are automatically at fault and must use your own insurance to pay for losses. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, however, this may not be the case. You may not have to pay for your own financial damages if one or more parties contributed to the single-vehicle accident.

Who Is Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident? 6

Accidents Due to Vehicle Defects

Some single-vehicle car accidents in Texas are traced back to faulty vehicle parts. If a part on your car malfunctioned or broke down while you were driving, and this is what caused your accident, you may have grounds for an auto defect claim against the manufacturing company. Common examples of faulty parts include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Headlights
  • Electrical systems
  • Airbags
  • Steering columns

An auto manufacturer has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of its products. If it fails to fulfill this responsibility, leading to a design, manufacturing or marketing defect in one of its vehicles, it will be strictly liable for related auto accidents and injuries. Have an auto defect attorney investigate your single-vehicle accident for signs of a faulty product to find out if the automaker is liable.

Accidents Due to Road Defects

Even if you were the only driver involved in your car accident, you could have grounds to bring a claim against the city or state government if a road defect caused the crash. A road defect can describe any dangerous problem with the roadway that could foreseeably cause a car accident, such as a pothole, debris, construction zone, loose gravel, uneven shoulder, missing guardrail, obscured road sign or broken traffic light.
If the government agency in charge of maintaining the road where your single-vehicle car accident occurred should have done more to prevent your crash, such as respond more promptly to road maintenance requests, the agency could be liable for your losses. Note that a claim against the government must be brought within six months or less in Texas, depending on your county. This is significantly shorter than the typical statute of limitations in Texas of two years.

No-Contact Accidents

Even if your vehicles did not technically collide, another driver may be liable for your car accident if his or her carelessness caused you to run off the road or lose control of your vehicle. This is called a no-contact crash. If, for example, another driver almost merged on top of you, causing you to jerk the steering wheel, lose control of your vehicle and crash, the other driver may be financially responsible for the accident even your vehicles did not touch.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain financial compensation for a no-contact crash if the other driver does not realize he or she caused an accident and keeps driving. You may be able to obtain license plate numbers or partial plate numbers from eyewitnesses, however, or footage of the crash as evidence. Always call the police to help you gather what information is available after a no-contact single-vehicle car accident.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

You may or may not have grounds to hold someone else financially responsible for your single-vehicle car accident. If another individual or entity should have prevented your crash, that party may be liable for your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages and other damages.
A car accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with the claims process after a single-vehicle crash. Your lawyer can investigate the crash, determine fault, and help you understand your rights. Then, your lawyer can take over complicated legal processes on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. Consulting with an attorney can help you determine whether or not you have to pay for your accident out of pocket.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:25 pm

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Changing Lanes?

Friday, February 19, 2021

If you get into a car accident in Texas, you must determine fault before you can file an insurance claim. This is the rule according to Texas’s fault-based insurance law, which holds the party at fault for a car accident responsible for injuries and losses. Determining fault, however, is not always easy. This is especially true after a car accident changing lanes.

Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident Changing Lanes? 8

A Driver Breaking Texas’s Lane-Change Law

If a driver breaks a law and causes an accident, he or she is liable. Texas Revised Statutes Section 545.060 states that on a road laned for traffic, a driver must keep to a single lane as much as is practical. A driver may only move from his or her lane when the driver can conduct the maneuver safely. Determining whether a lane change is safe or not requires a few basic driver tasks:

  • Checking to see if there is enough room in the destination lane to allow the lane change.
  • Using a turn signal to demonstrate the intent to switch lanes or merge.
  • If merging, yielding the right-of-way to existing traffic.
  • Using an appropriate speed to change lanes – not too fast or too slow.
  • Maintaining a safe following distance from other vehicles.
  • Checking the rearview and side mirrors, as well as blind spots, for cars.
  • Making the lane change slowly and carefully.

If a driver in Dallas breaks any of these rules, that driver is at fault for a resultant lane-change accident. If you get into this type of car accident, it is important to call the police to the scene of the accident so the officer can ticket the other driver for a moving violation. A traffic ticket can serve as evidence against the driver during your insurance claim.

A Distracted Driver

Distracted driving is a common cause of lane-change accidents in Texas. A distracted driver cannot pay enough attention to his or her surroundings to safely execute a merge or lane change. The driver may not notice a vehicle in his or her blind spot, for example, or may not recognize another driver moving into the same lane at the same time.
If a driver is distracted enough by using a cell phone, texting and driving, eating or drinking, changing a radio station, looking at a GPS, reading a billboard, daydreaming, or other activities while driving, he or she may be unable to make sure it is safe to change lanes. In this scenario, the distracted driver would be liable for a related auto accident.

Both Drivers

A lane-change accident case can get complicated if two drivers move into the same lane at the same time. In another scenario, when only one driver changes lanes, liability will go to that driver, as it is his or her responsibility to change lanes safely. If both drivers make the lane change simultaneously, however, fault is not as easy to determine.
Fault may be allocated to both drivers if they share the blame for the collision. In Texas, a modified comparative negligence law presides over cases where the plaintiff and defendant share fault for an accident. In this situation, you could still recover compensation even if you were partially at fault, as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the accident. However, the courts will reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance

Navigating Texas’s liability laws can be difficult in any type of car accident case. If you were in an accident changing lanes, however, the legal process can be even more complicated. Consult with a car accident attorney in Dallas for assistance with this type of claim. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your crash, gather proof the other driver is at fault and help you proceed with an insurance claim. A lawyer will make sure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:49 pm

Who’s Liable in a Ridesharing Accident in San Antonio?

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Ridesharing quickly took over the transportation industry as the most popular method of hired travel, especially among the younger generation. Currently, the top two rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, serve over 121 million users monthly. Yet ridesharing is not always the safest method of travel. Every year, hundreds of ridesharing vehicles are involved in automobile accidents.

Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents in San Antonio

Ridesharing works by allowing users to request and schedule drivers to pick them up on demand at a certain location. Drivers connect to users and vice versa through an app on a smartphone. This is one of the hazards related to ridesharing: drivers have to constantly look at and interact with their cell phones while behind the wheel. Like standard auto accidents, ridesharing accidents in San Antonio can occur for many reasons:
  • Distracted driving
  • Inattention
  • Texting and driving
  • Eating and drinking
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Running a red light
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Tailgating
Since Texas is a fault-based car insurance state, you or your attorney will need to determine fault before you file an insurance claim. You will file your claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault party. In a typical auto accident, this is most likely the other driver. However, fault is more difficult to determine in a ridesharing accident.

Liability for an Uber or Lyft Accident in San Antonio

In a ridesharing accident case, you may be able to hold the individual driver financially responsible for your injuries and losses. Unlike other transportation services, such as using a taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees of the ridesharing companies. Instead, they are independent contractors. Generally speaking, this protects Uber and Lyft from vicarious liability for the mistakes and negligence of their drivers, meaning you will seek benefits from the driver’s private insurance carrier instead. In certain scenarios, however, you can file your claim directly with the insurance provider of the rideshare company. This might be the case if the individual driver does not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses.

Insurance Coverage Available

Both Uber and Lyft maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover victims’ injuries when their drivers cause car accidents. The exact amount of coverage available depends on the phase of the ride:
  • Phase One. The driver is signed into the ridesharing app and searching for riders. If the driver causes a collision in this phase, the ridesharing company will provide up to $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $100,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
  • Phase Two. The ridesharing driver has accepted a ride and is on his or her way to pick up a passenger. In this scenario, both Uber and Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage.
  • Phase Three. The driver has picked up the user and the passenger is in the vehicle at the time of the accident. As in Phase Two, the company will provide up to $1 million in this scenario, as well as possible uninsured motorist coverage.
Keep in mind that your own insurance company may also offer compensation for your losses as secondary insurance to the at-fault party’s coverage. Finally, if another driver caused your crash, that driver’s auto insurance will also be available to cover your damages. As the victim of a ridesharing accident, therefore, you may have many outlets for financial recovery.

When to Contact a Ridesharing Accident Attorney in San Antonio

If you are injured in an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, consult with a ridesharing accident attorney right away. An attorney can help you navigate your way through this complicated type of claim, holding the at-fault driver or ridesharing company financially responsible for your past and future losses. With an attorney as your legal advocate, you can rest assured the settlement you accept from Uber or Lyft is adequate for your injuries. Learn more about your accident by consulting with a lawyer today.
Posted by at 5:23 pm

What Is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The civil justice system works by allowing an injured accident victim to become whole again through financial compensation from the at-fault party. If a victim succeeds in proving a defendant is liable, he or she will receive a personal injury settlement or judgment award for related losses. Understanding the components that make up the average personal injury settlement could help you learn what to expect during your injury case in Dallas.

What Is Included in a Personal Injury Settlement? 10

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Reached?

First, understand what it takes to obtain a personal injury settlement in Texas. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning you or your personal injury lawyer will need enough evidence against the defendant to prove he or she is more likely than not responsible for your accident and injury.
Most cases in Texas settle without having to go to trial. Settling means your lawyer and the defendant’s insurance company have agreed on a resolution. With a settlement, you will receive a check from the insurer directly. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, however, your lawyer may need to take your case to trial to seek a judgment award instead.

3 Types of Damages

If your lawyer succeeds in proving the defendant is at fault for your injuries, you could receive a settlement that pays for both past and future losses. In Texas, there are three possible types of financial damages available in a personal injury case:

  1. The tangible and specific losses related to an accident.
  2. The intangible or general losses related to an accident.
  3. An additional award to punish the defendant for egregious acts.

Economic and noneconomic damages are common in personal injury law. Punitive damages are relatively rare, although they are possible in a case involving a defendant who behaved with gross negligence, a wanton disregard for the safety of others, maliciousness or intent to harm.

Parts of a Personal Injury Settlement

Economic and noneconomic damages are both compensatory damages, meaning they are meant to compensate a plaintiff for his or her losses. Compensatory damages are further broken down into many specific types of losses that are unique to the individual and case:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Long-term treatment
  • Property damage
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress or anguish
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Legal fees
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death damages, if applicable

The losses you and your family can claim during a personal injury case in Dallas depend on the particular ways the accident and injury impacted you. You or your personal injury lawyer will need to provide proof of these losses before an insurance company will pay you., such as medical bills, pay stubs, receipts, repair estimates or expert testimony.

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated?

The value of your personal injury settlement is directly related to the severity of your accident and injury. However, many different factors can impact the final value of a settlement in Dallas. No two cases are alike, and no average settlement exists. The easiest way to estimate the value of your case is by consulting with a personal injury attorney.
To estimate your economic damages, your lawyer will add up all of the expenses related to your accident. Then, your lawyer will calculate future foreseeable economic damages based on your existing costs and projected recovery time. Next, your lawyer will estimate your noneconomic damages. These are more difficult to calculate, however, as they are awarded according to a jury’s discretion.
In general, a victim with a serious injury, such as long-term disfigurement or disability, will have a personal injury case that is worth more than someone with a minor injury in Texas. Recovery amounts are unique and can be difficult to predict. For more information about your particular personal injury case, contact an attorney in Dallas.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:04 pm

What Is the Difference Between Ordinary Negligence and Gross Negligence?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
One of the most common words you will hear during a personal injury claim in San Antonio is “negligence.” A party’s negligence in Texas allows you to seek financial damages from that person for causing you harm. There is a difference, however, between ordinary negligence and gross negligence. While both can make you eligible for compensation, one may result in the defendant having to pay more.

4 Elements of Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence refers to a party’s failure to use a reasonable degree of care, resulting in injury or harm to another person. Reasonable care describes what an ordinary person would do in the same or similar circumstances. If a driver was speeding in wet weather, for example, and caused a car accident, that driver is guilty of negligence. Ordinary negligence consists of four key elements:
  1. The defendant had a responsibility to treat the plaintiff with a reasonable amount of care. In personal injury law, this responsibility is referred to as the duty of care.
  2. The defendant’s actions – or failure to act – made the defendant breach his or her duty of care to the plaintiff.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and/or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
  4. The plaintiff suffered losses because of the defendant’s actions, such as injuries, hospital bills, property damage and lost wages.
In a case arguing ordinary negligence, a plaintiff does not have to prove the defendant was reckless or knew his or her actions could potentially cause an injury. It is enough for an ordinary negligence claim to show that the defendant breached a duty of care, even if this breach was accidental or unintentional. A claim based on gross negligence, however, is different.

What Is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is a more severe departure from the duty of care. Rather than a careless mistake or inattention, gross negligence is a willful or wanton disregard of the requirement to use reasonable care. Like ordinary negligence, it is not necessary to prove the defendant’s intent to harm for a gross negligence claim. However, a claim based on gross negligence must show the defendant’s conduct was willful, likely to cause foreseeable harm and done with an extreme disregard for the safety of others. An example illustrating the difference between ordinary and gross negligence is if a driver isn’t paying attention and fails to notice he or she is exceeding the speed limit by a few miles per hour, he or she is negligent. If, however, the driver knowingly drives at an excessive speed in an area with a lot of pedestrians because he or she is late, the driver is grossly negligent.

Why Is the Difference Relevant to Your Personal Injury Case?

The difference between ordinary and gross negligence is important to understand as the plaintiff in a personal injury case due to the financial compensation that may be available. Although both types of negligence can cause serious injuries, gross negligence is more likely to lead to severe or catastrophic injuries. These injuries will, in general, be worth more in damages than minor injuries:
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Ongoing treatments, such as rehabilitation and therapy
  • Permanent disability costs
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Lost wages and future capacity to earn
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Lost quality or enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death benefits
In addition to greater compensation available for a more serious injury, gross negligence could also increase the amount of your award through punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a relatively uncommon type of award. Rather than making a victim whole again after an accident, punitive damages punish a defendant for especially egregious acts. In Texas, punitive damages may be available if a defendant exhibited behaviors that were grossly negligent, reckless, wanton, willful, malicious or intentional. Punitive damages are meant to penalize a defendant and deter him or her from making the same mistake in the future. For more information about ordinary vs. gross negligence and how it may apply to your case, consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio.
Posted by at 5:22 pm

What Is a Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

If you get injured due to someone else’s carelessness, recklessness or intent to harm, Texas law gives you the right to bring a personal injury suit against that party. Before the law will side in your favor and grant a financial award for your injuries and losses, however, you or your Dallas personal injury lawyer must meet the required burden of proof.

What Is a Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim? 12

Understanding the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case

In personal injury law, a burden of proof is the legal term for the amount of evidence necessary to prove the defendant committed the act in question and is therefore legally responsible for the damages claimed. The burden of proof in civil law is different than in criminal law. In criminal law, the burden of proof is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil law, it is proof based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Preponderance of the evidence means “more likely than not.” The injured party, or plaintiff, in a personal injury claim has the burden to convince a jury that his or her argument is more likely than not to be true. In other words, the plaintiff’s version of events must be deemed at least 51% true for him or her to obtain financial compensation from a defendant. Although this is a lesser burden of proof than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, it can still be a difficult bar for a plaintiff to meet without assistance from an attorney.

Elements of Proof Necessary for a Negligence Claim

Fulfilling the required burden of proof in a personal injury case in Texas typically requires clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s negligence. Negligence is a legal theory that describes a degree of substandard care a reasonable and prudent party would not use in the same circumstances.
A defendant may be found liable for a plaintiff’s injuries on the grounds of negligence if the plaintiff can prove four elements as most likely to be true:

  1. The defendant owed him or her a specific duty of care. A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner.
  2. The defendant breached his or her duty of care. The defendant committed a careless or reckless act.
  3. The defendant’s action or omission caused the plaintiff’s injury. There is a causal link between the defendant’s mistake and the injury in question.
  4. The plaintiff suffered compensable losses related to the defendant’s negligence. Losses include lost wages, medical expenses and emotional distress.

Although negligence is the most common basis for personal injury cases in Dallas, it is also possible to hold a defendant liable for an accident based on other legal theories, such as strict liability or breach of warranty. A personal injury attorney can help you understand the grounds for your particular case. Then, your attorney can collect evidence on your behalf to use in support of your claim.

Evidence Used in a Personal Injury Case

One of the most important aspects of the burden of proof in a personal injury claim is evidence. Holding someone accountable for your losses in Texas requires clear and convincing evidence of that person’s fault. Your attorney will need to present enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant is at least 51% responsible for causing your accident and the injuries you are claiming. Evidence can come in many forms, including:

  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Hospital bills
  • Pay stubs
  • Expert testimony

It is extremely important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident that injures you in Dallas. A lawyer can immediately go to work on preserving key evidence for your case, such as cell phone records or video surveillance footage. Then, your lawyer can hire experts such as investigators and crash reconstruction specialists to help you establish the defendant is at fault. A lawyer can help you with the burden of proof from the very beginning of a personal injury case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:02 pm

What’s the Difference Between Recklessness and Negligence?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
If someone gets injured in an accident in Texas, that person may have the right to file a lawsuit for financial compensation through the civil justice system. The right to hold someone else accountable for the injury may exist if that person was negligent, reckless or malicious in causing the injury in question. If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Antonio, learn the difference between recklessness and negligence to better understand the grounds for your claim.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims in Texas. In personal injury law, negligence is when someone unintentionally or carelessly causes someone else injury or harm. Cases involving auto accidents, dangerous premises, workplace accidents and most other accidents are generally founded on the legal theory of negligence. Proving a defendant’s negligence during an injury case requires evidence that the following four elements are more likely than not to be true:
  1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner to avoid injury to others.
  2. The defendant breached a duty of care. The defendant committed an act or omission that went against his or her duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s mistake.
  4. The plaintiff suffered compensable losses. The accident gave the plaintiff real, specific damages, such as medical bills or property damage.
In a case based on negligence, it does not matter whether or not the defendant realized he or she was breaching a duty of care. If the defendant acted in a way that a reasonable and prudent person would not have in the same circumstances, the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injury. To base a case on recklessness, however, the defendant must have acted or behaved in a manner that would foreseeably cause injury.

What Is Recklessness?

Recklessness is a more serious type of tort than negligence. Under Texas law, it describes a situation in which a person knows the risks that will foreseeably arise from his or her actions but commits the act or omission anyway, regardless of the consequences to others. In other words, the reckless party had a wanton disregard for the safety of others. A reckless person has substantially departed from what a reasonable, law-abiding person would do in the same situation. For example, if a driver had 10 alcoholic beverages and then got behind the wheel, this driver has exhibited a reckless disregard for how his or her actions might injure others.

How Does the Difference Impact Your Personal Injury Case?

Negligence is an unknowing departure from the duty of care, while recklessness is a knowing, willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. The difference between these two types of torts can be important to distinguish during your personal injury case in Texas. Although both are acceptable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, recklessness could result in punitive damages. Punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages, are not meant to make up for a victim’s financial losses. Instead, they are awarded to punish a defendant and deter others from making the same mistake. Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. Instead, a judge reserves them for cases in which a defendant was grossly negligent, reckless or malicious in causing the victim’s harm. If you have a case based on recklessness, you may be eligible for punitive damages.

Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for Help

If you or a family member has suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio right away. An attorney can help you identify the grounds for your case, collect evidence against the defendant and pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
Posted by at 5:18 pm

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in San Antonio

Monday, February 15, 2021
If you get injured in an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall, you may be eligible for financial benefits from one or more parties. The person or entity at fault for causing your accident may be financially responsible for your related damages, including medical bills and property repairs. Learn how to file a personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, as well as when to hire an attorney for assistance.

When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio

Before you begin the legal process, you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio. A personal injury lawyer will have the information and resources to help you fully protect your legal rights as a plaintiff. You may need to hire a lawyer to represent you during a claim, especially if you have severe or catastrophic personal injuries. With a life-changing injury, it is more likely that an insurance company will try to take advantage of you and devalue your claim. An attorney can help you file your lawsuit and obtain maximum financial compensation for your losses. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you can discuss your case with a lawyer without any financial risk.

Understand the Statute of Limitations

Next, learn your deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas (known in legalese as the statute of limitations). The statute of limitations is two years for most personal injury cases in Texas. If you wait longer than two years after your accident to bring a claim to damages, expect the courts to deny your case. It is important to act quickly in the aftermath of an accident to make sure you file within the required window, as well as while important evidence is still available.

Gather Information and Evidence

Start building your personal injury claim in San Antonio by collecting as much information, evidence and documentation about your accident and injury as possible:
  • Write down the at-fault party’s name, contact information and insurance carrier.
  • Call the hospital where you sought treatment to obtain copies of your relevant medical records.
  • If you were in an auto accident and called the police, contact the local police department for a copy of your police report.
  • Gather any photographs and videos of your accident.
  • If you have signed statements from eyewitnesses, put this in your case folder as well.
Having all the information and evidence organized in a single place can make it easier to file a lawsuit.

Find Out Where to File Your Lawsuit in San Antonio

You will file your personal injury claim with the civil courthouse in the county where your accident took place, in most cases. If this is Bexar County, you will go to the Civil District Court. If you estimate your case is worth less than $10,000, including court costs, you will file with the Bexar County Small Claims Court instead. Filing a lawsuit requires filling out the claims forms given to you by the courthouse clerk completely, in as much detail as possible. On your claims form, you will need to include the defendant’s name and contact information, a brief description of your accident and why you believe the defendant is responsible, a list of the damages for which you are seeking compensation, and the amount of money you are demanding from the defendant’s insurance company to resolve your claim. You will need to pay the filing fee when you submit the paperwork. This fee is typically $200.

Negotiate on Your Own or With Help From an Attorney

Once you file your personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, the defendant will have a chance to respond to your petition. If the defendant does not deny or refute fault, you will most likely receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. Before accepting the offer, bring it to an attorney for review. If the offer is not adequate for your injuries and losses, an attorney can help you negotiate back and forth for a better amount. In the rare incident that your case cannot settle, your lawyer can represent you at trial in Bexar County instead. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the results you deserve.
Posted by at 5:10 pm

What Is the Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case?

Friday, February 12, 2021

It is normal to feel impatient about settling your personal injury case. Your accident may have caused expensive property damage and medical bills, as well as the inability to work. You may not wish to wait several months or longer to resolve your case. It may not be in your best interest, however, to rush into a fast settlement that does not adequately pay for your losses. Learn more about how long it may take to successfully settle your case.

What Is the Average Time to Settle a Personal Injury Case? 14

How Long Do Most Cases Take to Settle?

It is difficult to determine how long your personal injury case will take based on average settlement timelines. Every client is unique, with timelines varying significantly on a case-by-case basis. How long it takes one client’s case to settle may not be an accurate indication of how long your case will take.
In general, however, a personal injury insurance claim may take around three to four months. This is the average timeline if the insurance claim does not encounter any issues or complications that delay the process. Insurance companies in Texas have 15 days to respond to a claim filed. Then, they have 15 days from the time they receive all forms and information from you to accept or reject the claim.
If your personal injury case requires a trial, expect a longer claims process. Although this is uncommon, some cases require trials if the insurance company is wrongfully denying payment or refusing to offer a reasonable settlement. If your case goes to trial in Texas, anticipate your settlement taking one year or longer to achieve.

Factors That Could Extend Your Timeline

Average personal injury settlement times are not typically accurate when seeking information about how long a case may take to resolve. The best way to obtain an accurate timeline is by consulting with a personal injury lawyer in Dallas. A lawyer will look at the unique factors of your case to determine if there are things that could cause delays.
Factors that may impact how long it takes to settle include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How long it will take to reach your point of maximum medical improvement
  • The overall value of your claim
  • Problems or challenges with your case
  • Multiple defendants
  • Your comparative fault for the injury
  • Insurance bad-faith tactics, such as unfairly delaying an investigation

On average, a personal injury case with complications such as catastrophic injuries, a long recovery time, high-value losses or a liability dispute will take longer than a simpler case to settle. It is important, however, to recognize when a delay in the settlement could ultimately benefit you by providing a better payout for your injuries and losses.

Do Not Rush Into a Settlement

One of the most common mistakes made by injured parties in Texas is to rush the claims process. It is common to want to settle as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your life. Rushing into a settlement that does not adequately pay for your past and future losses, however, is something you cannot take back. It is typically not possible to reopen a closed case, even if you discover that you need additional medical treatments.
Insurance companies expect clients to negotiate back and forth with them before settling, not accept the very first offer. Thus, the first offer is typically lower than the true value of the claim. Rather than accepting the very first settlement offer in an attempt to quickly resolve your case, take it to a personal injury lawyer for review. A lawyer can analyze the facts of your case, give a professional opinion on whether or not you should settle, and help you with negotiations – all while making the legal process as fast and efficient as possible.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:04 pm

Texas Good Samaritan Law

Thursday, February 11, 2021
The first people at the scene of an accident – often those who witnessed the accident – are in a unique position to help victims. They can check for injuries, call an ambulance and keep victims calm while they wait for help. Like many states, Texas has a law in place protecting those who render aid at the scene of emergencies. It is called the Good Samaritan Law.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

Texas’s Good Samaritan Law (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 74.151) protects people who offer aid at the scene of emergencies from liability for any unintentional damages their interventions cause. These people are referred to as Good Samaritans, as a reference to a parable in the Bible about someone helping a stranger in need. If a Good Samaritan stops at the scene of an accident and renders medical aid in good faith, that person is protected from any liability for related damages in Texas. The Good Samaritan Law is in place to encourage people who witness accidents to step forward and render assistance without fear of being sued later by a victim for accidentally making things worse. If, for example, a Good Samaritan pulls someone out of a burning vehicle and this action exacerbates a spinal cord injury, causing permanent paralysis, the Good Samaritan will not be liable for unintentionally causing the injury under Texas law.

Who Does the Good Samaritan Law Protect?

As long as a Good Samaritan renders emergency medical care in a good faith attempt to help the victim of an accident, he or she is protected from liability under the Texas Good Samaritan Act. This law states that any person who administers emergency care in good faith is not liable for any related civil damages suffered during the emergency. According to the statute, the act also protects any person who uses an automated external defibrillator to administer emergency care, as well as someone who acts as a volunteer first responder. The act does not, however, apply to anyone who intervenes at the scene of an emergency for compensation or remuneration, as well as anyone who was at the scene with the purpose of soliciting business. The Good Samaritan Law in Texas also does not protect anyone who is licensed to provide emergency medical care, such as an EMT or a doctor in an emergency room. The law holds these professionals to a higher standard of care than an average civilian with no professional medical training. The professional must be more careful to prevent any foreseeable harm to the victim in an emergency and may be liable for any damages inflicted by substandard care.

What If the Good Samaritan Is Negligent?

The Texas Good Samaritan Act also has an exception if the person rendering emergency aid is the same person whose negligent act or omission caused the original accident. In this situation, the person who caused the accident will not be protected from liability for the victim’s injuries, property damage and other losses. Finally, one of the most important exceptions to the Good Samaritan Law is if the person who renders aid is willfully or wantonly negligent. If the person does not render aid in a good faith attempt to help the victim, such as by knowingly doing something that could harm the victim, he or she could be liable for related damages. The Good Samaritan must act in a way that is not intentionally negligent or reckless to benefit from legal protection. For the most part, however, the Texas Good Samaritan Law protects the average person who renders medical aid in an emergency.

What to Do After Witnessing an Accident

If you are the first person to the scene of an accident, do not be afraid to step in and help. Try not to move an injured person unless it is necessary for his or her safety. Instead, call the police and stay with the victim to offer your support while you wait for paramedics to arrive. Then, offer your services to the victim as an eyewitness, if possible. You could save a life by rendering aid in an emergency, as well as help a victim recover through a personal injury lawsuit.
Posted by at 5:09 pm