Can I Receive Compensation for a Whiplash Injury?

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck, including the muscles and tendons. This injury acquired its name from the motion of the neck that most often causes whiplash: the head and neck rapidly whipping backward and forward in an accident such as a car crash. If you suffered a whiplash injury in Dallas, Texas, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the person or party who caused your accident.

Can I Receive Compensation for a Whiplash Injury? 1

Do You Have Grounds for a Claim in Texas?

Obtaining financial compensation for an accident-related injury such as whiplash in Texas requires proof that one or more parties are responsible for causing your injury. The civil justice system in Texas works by making victims whole again through monetary damages, but only if those victims’ injuries were caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness.
To have grounds to hold someone financially responsible for your whiplash injury in Texas, you or your personal injury lawyer will need proof establishing four main elements:

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  2. The defendant did not meet his or her duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of your whiplash injury.
  4. You suffered compensable damages as a result.

A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner according to what a prudent person would do in the same or similar circumstances. Some of the most common accidents that cause whiplash injuries in Dallas are car and truck accidents, sports incidents, physical assaults, and amusement park rides.
If you have proof that someone else caused your accident and whiplash injury through an act of carelessness, such as a drunk driver, that person or party may owe you compensation. An attorney can help you gather evidence that proves the defendant is liable, such as a police report, expert testimony or medical records. Then, your lawyer can help you fight for maximum compensation.

Types of Damages Available for Whiplash

Filing a whiplash injury lawsuit in Dallas, Texas could allow you to receive insurance benefits or a judgment award for several past and future losses associated with your injury. If your lawyer succeeds in proving the defendant as more likely to be at fault than not at fault (based on a preponderance of the evidence), you could receive compensation for many different damages. These may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Disability costs and ongoing medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Property repairs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost quality of life
  • Inconvenience
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Punitive damages

A personal injury lawyer can help you create a full and comprehensive list of all of your damages, including future medical needs due to pain, debilitation, loss of motion, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, nerve damage and other common symptoms associated with whiplash. Your lawyer can then take over settlement demands and negotiations with the insurer on your behalf.

What Is the Average Settlement for a Whiplash Injury?

The value of your whiplash injury claim in Dallas will depend on the extent of the damage done to your neck or back in the accident. In general, a more severe physical injury will result in a higher compensatory award for the injured victim. Severe injuries require more medical care and time taken off of work. They also cause greater pain and suffering. All of these factors will increase an insurance settlement or judgment award in Texas.
There is no average settlement value you can use to determine the worth of your case. You will need to speak to a personal injury attorney in Dallas for a personalized estimate of your case’s value. Some accident victims receive $10,000 or less for whiplash injuries, while others receive more for severe soft-tissue damage.
If you recently suffered a whiplash injury in any type of accident, contact an attorney for a free case review. You could be eligible for financial compensation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:27 pm

What Are the Top Reasons for Insurance Denials?

Monday, March 29, 2021

If you were injured in an accident in Dallas, Texas, you may not expect to encounter any problems during the insurance claims process. Unfortunately, most insurance companies wish to undervalue your claim or deny benefits altogether. This can lead to an insurance company denying your claim for a variety of different reasons – some valid, others not.

What Are the Top Reasons for Insurance Denials? 3

Broken Rules or Requirements

Insurance companies have strict rules when it comes to filing claims. For a valid claim in Texas, you must obey the insurance company’s filing requirements. A common mistake is missing the deadline to file. Most insurance companies require claimants to report their accidents as soon as possible. Some place specific deadlines on filing, such as 72 hours after an accident. If you wait too long to file or skip another required step, this may provide a reason for the insurance company to deny coverage.

Liability Dispute

If the insurance company that receives your claim does not believe its policyholder is responsible for your accident, it may give this as the reason for the insurance denial. In your initial settlement demand letter, you must explain why you believe the insurance company is liable for your damages, including any relevant personal injury statutes. If you fail to do this, the insurance company may initially deny your claim by refuting liability. It is up to you or your attorney to respond with an explanation of why you believe the insurer is liable.

Comparative Fault

Part of a liability dispute may be the insurance company arguing that you caused or contributed to your own injuries. This is the defense of comparative negligence. In Texas, comparative negligence does not fully bar you from financial recovery. Even if the insurance company has proof you contributed to the accident, you could still recover partial compensation. The insurance company may have the right, however, to reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault.

Failure to Receive Medical Care

It is very important to receive medical care immediately after an accident in Dallas. If you wait to go to the hospital, an insurance company may state that you failed to mitigate your losses and base a denial of benefits on this fact. Failing to see a doctor will also result in no officially diagnosed injury. Be sure to fully list all of your symptoms to your doctor, including any pain and suffering you are experiencing. Your medical records must indicate your losses clearly to be eligible for insurance coverage.

Pre-Existing Injuries

Insurance companies often use pre-existing injuries to try to avoid paying clients. However, a pre-existing injury alone should not bar you from insurance coverage in Texas. Insurance companies must take plaintiffs as they are at the time of their accidents – even if this means with pre-existing injuries or health conditions. If an insurance company gains access to your full medical records in tries to deny your claim based on a pre-existing injury alone, a lawyer can help you argue your eligibility for benefits.

Insurance Bad Faith

Some insurance denials do not come with a reason. These are wrongful denials, as insurance companies have a legal obligation to explain why they reject claims. Your lawyer can help you contact an insurance company to request a reason for the denial.
If the insurance company gives a reason that does not apply to your case, this could be evidence of insurance bad faith. Bad faith is an insurer intentionally mishandling your claim. If you are the victim of insurance bad faith, a lawyer can represent you during a lawsuit against the insurance company itself.
If an insurance company recently denied your personal injury claim, consult with an attorney in Dallas for legal advice. An attorney can review your case and let you know if you are the victim of wrongful insurance denial. If so, your attorney can help you take action to appeal the denial.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:33 pm

How Vicarious Liability Works Under Texas Law

Friday, March 26, 2021

Personal injury law is a complicated system with many confusing doctrines you may have to navigate if you are an injured accident victim in Texas. One of the many legal doctrines that may apply to your personal injury case is the rule of vicarious liability. Learn about this complex area of law in Texas with help from an attorney.

How Vicarious Liability Works Under Texas Law 5

What Is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability stems from the Latin phrase, “respondeat superior,” which translates to “let the master answer.” In personal injury law, the doctrine of vicarious liability has the power to hold certain parties – masters – legally responsible for the actions, behaviors and misconduct of their agents.
Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine in which a third party can be held liable for the injuries or harm caused to a victim by another party. This rule states that in certain situations, a defendant who was not physically present at the time of an accident (a third party) may bear liability for a victim’s injuries.

Texas’s Vicarious Liability Laws

Vicarious liability is not a legal concept that is applicable in every personal injury case in Texas. It will only play a role in cases involving third parties that bear legal responsibility for the actions of the defendant. The three parties that fall under the umbrella of vicarious liability the most often in personal injury law are employers, parents or legal guardians, and alcohol vendors.
In the employer/employee relationship, vicarious liability will apply when an employee causes an injury while acting within the scope of his or her employment. If an employee is negligent while on duty, and this causes an injury or death, the employer will most likely bear vicarious liability for the victim’s damages in Texas. If a delivery driver was operating under the influence, for example, and caused a car accident, the company will most likely be vicariously liable.
In the parent/child relationship, the vicarious liability doctrine will apply when a child under the age of majority (18 years old in Texas) causes an injury. In this scenario, the child’s parent or legal guardian can absorb legal responsibility for the accident through the vicarious liability rule. It would be the parents’ responsibility to pay for the losses caused by the minor in this case.
In an injury case involving an intoxicated individual, the vendor or supplier of the alcohol could bear vicarious liability. Texas’s dram shop law holds alcohol providers vicariously responsible for accidents caused by overserving patrons. If a bar or restaurant served alcohol to someone who was already obviously intoxicated or under the age of 21, for example, that establishment could bear vicarious liability for an accident caused by the intoxicated person.

How Might Vicarious Liability Affect Your Case?

It is important to learn whether the vicarious liability doctrine applies to your personal injury case. Understanding how this rule works and whether it applies to your case could help you pursue maximum financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you suffered a catastrophic injury with expensive related damages, the defendant directly involved in your case may not have enough liability insurance to fully pay for your medical expenses, property repairs and other losses. A vicariously liable third party, however, may have better coverage.
Identifying multiple parties in your personal injury case can improve your chances of receiving an adequate settlement award for your serious injuries. Vicarious liability gives you an additional source of financial recovery as an injured victim. Fortunately, Texas’s vicarious liability laws are extremely favorable to injured accident victims.
In Texas, injured victims can often hold employers, parents and many other entities vicariously responsible for injuries suffered in car accidents, dog attacks, falls, workplace accidents, medical malpractice and more. To find out if your personal injury case involves the doctrine of vicarious liability in Texas, consult with an attorney in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:42 am

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Wrongful death is a terrible tragedy that occurs due to negligence, default or intent to harm another person. If you recently lost a beloved family member in any type of incident in Dallas, such as a car accident or physical assault, a wrongful death claim could result in financial compensation to help you pay the bills. Find out how long it may take your family’s wrongful death claim to settle in Texas.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Claim? 8

No Average Settlement Timeline Is Accurate Per Client

It is important to realize that no two wrongful death claims are exactly alike in Texas. Some resolve in a matter of just a few months, while others take multiple years to finally end in payment for surviving family members. Searching for average settlement timelines for wrongful death claims, therefore, will not give you an answer that is accurate for your particular case. Instead, each case is unique and requires careful evaluation by a wrongful death attorney for an accurate timeline.

Factors That Can Impact a Wrongful Death Settlement Timeline

The main factor that will determine whether you will resolve your wrongful death claim in a matter of months or years is whether it settles or goes to trial. The average insurance settlement takes three or four months from the time the family submits an insurance claim to the family receiving a settlement check.
If an insurance settlement is not possible or in your family’s best interest, however, your case may require a full-blown trial to resolve. A trial in Dallas can take a year or longer to complete depending on how many cases the courthouse has to hear. In a busy county with a congested courthouse, your family might not receive a court date for a long time.
In addition to whether or not you achieve an insurance settlement, several other factors could also affect your recovery timeline. Your wrongful death case may take longer to resolve if:

  • Fault is complicated, such as in a hit-and-run auto accident.
  • The insurance company is refuting fault or arguing someone else’s shared negligence.
  • The defendant is simultaneously facing criminal charges, such as homicide or manslaughter.
  • Your case is worth a significant amount of money, making an insurance company want to delay payout.
  • The insurance company is treating your wrongful death claim in bad faith.

Although it may be difficult, you must exercise patience during the legal process after the wrongful death of a loved one. There are ways your family can pay the bills in the meantime, such as through your own insurance company, a workers’ compensation claim or insurance subrogation. A lawyer can help your family front the costs of a lawsuit while you wait for your case to resolve. Waiting can be worthwhile if accepting a quick settlement will not provide the compensation your family deserves.

Why It Is Dangerous to Rush a Settlement

Insurance companies put their profits and bottom lines over client payouts. Reducing and rejecting insurance benefits as often as possible is how insurance companies remain profitable. It is important to keep this in mind during wrongful death settlement negotiations – especially since you cannot renegotiate a settlement amount once accepted.
The first settlement offered to your family may drastically underestimate the past and future losses connected to your loved one’s death. It is up to you to negotiate with the insurer until you are certain the offer is fair, even if this extends your timeline. While it may be tempting to rush into a fast settlement and finish your wrongful death claim, waiting could make a significant difference.
Although no amount of money can ever make up for the loss of your loved one, a fair and full settlement or judgment award could allow your family the financial stability you need during this difficult time. Consult with a wrongful death attorney in Dallas for more information.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:14 pm

Should I Rely on Client Reviews or Google Reviews in Picking an Injury Lawyer?

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

In your hunt for a Dallas personal injury lawyer to represent you after an accident, take your time narrowing down your options. Not all plaintiff’s attorneys are created equal. It is critical to find the right attorney for you and your case if you wish to optimize your results. This means referencing testimonials and online reviews in your decision-making process but also relying on other sources of information.

Should I Rely on Client Reviews or Google Reviews in Picking an Injury Lawyer? 10

The Importance of Lawyer Reviews and Ratings

In the modern age, most people do not make important decisions without doing some online research first. Online research is an efficient way to go through the process of elimination when making a choice based on the experiences of others. The legal profession is no exception. The internet contains valuable information about personal injury attorneys, including online reviews and ratings of the law firm.
Client and online reviews can help you learn what to expect from a personal injury law firm in Dallas, Texas. They can help you find an attorney with a positive reputation in your community who has been praised by many past clients. This can give you greater peace of mind about the attorney’s ability to properly and effectively handle your claim.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you discover negative reviews about a law firm, this can warn you to look elsewhere for representation. Although one or two negative testimonials may not mean much, multiple poor reviews or a low Google/Yelp rating could point to deeper issues within the law firm. Using online reviews can be an easy way to supplement your search and narrow down your choices.

Online Reviews Are Not Enough

When searching for the right lawyer, look at client testimonials on the law firm’s website. Search for more than just reviews on the lawyer’s website, however, as the lawyer will most likely filter out any negative comments on his or her own site. Use unbiased third-party rating sites as well.
Look for Yelp reviews of the law firm, Google+ reviews, Avvo ratings, FindLaw ratings and ratings from the Better Business Bureau. You may also wish to reference reputable legal organizations that store information about law offices and their attorneys, such as Martindale Hubbell or the Texas State Bar Association’s website.
The presence of positive online reviews can help solidify that you are making the right choice in hiring the attorney. Client and Google reviews should be just two factors to consider on a long list of others, however; not the sole basis of your decision when hiring a personal injury attorney. There is much more to finding the right attorney than online reviews.

Qualities to Look For in Your Attorney

Finding the ideal personal injury attorney for you is about much more than just reading good reviews posted online. You should schedule a free consultation to meet with the attorney and discuss your case in person. That way, you can get a feel for the attorney and how he or she operates. While positive reviews are a good indicator that the personal injury attorney and law firm are high-quality and reliable, you should look for many other qualities before you make your final decision:

  • Referrals from friends or family members
  • Experience in your practice area
  • Knowledge of the law
  • Trial experience before juries
  • Positive case results in and out of the courtroom
  • Friendly, trustworthy and personable attorneys
  • A willingness to listen
  • Great communication skills
  • A passion for the job
  • Affordable fees

The most important qualities in your personal injury lawyer are largely up to you. You should feel comfortable and confident in the attorney you hire to represent you in Dallas. Interviewing the lawyer yourself can give you a better idea of the law firm’s principles and values to see if they match your own. You have the freedom to conduct online research, read reviews, schedule consultations with multiple options and ask questions before deciding on the right personal injury lawyer for you.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:50 pm

Can I Get Punitive Damages After a Car Accident in San Antonio?

Monday, March 22, 2021
Damages are the financial compensation you can receive for your economic and noneconomic losses after an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, such as a car accident in San Antonio. There are two main types of damages available: compensatory and punitive. Most car accident claims result in compensatory damages; punitive damages are much more rare.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Compensatory damages make a victim whole again by restoring him or her to the state he or she would have been in had the accident never happened. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish a defendant for his or her wrongful actions. The goal of punitive damages is to dissuade the defendant and others from committing the same type of wrongdoing in the future. They act as a warning against similar negligence in the community.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded in a Car Accident Case?

Although most successful personal injury claims will result in compensatory damages for a victim’s tangible and/or intangible losses, not all claims will result in punitive damages. The laws regarding punitive damages differ from state to state. These damages are not available in some states. In Texas, punitive damages are only awarded by a judge in special cases to punish the defendant for gross negligence, fraud or malice. If a defendant is guilty of egregious wrongdoing, severe carelessness, a wanton disregard for the safety of others or a malicious intent to harm, the injured victim may receive punitive damages to penalize the defendant. To recover punitive damages, a plaintiff in Texas must specifically request these damages and prove the severe nature of the defendant’s tort. The plaintiff may need a lawyer’s assistance with this burden of proof.

What Types of Car Accident Cases Are Most Likely to Receive Punitive Damages?

A judge will award punitive damages on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not a victim receives this type of award depends on the unique factors of the case. For a car accident case in San Antonio to result in punitive damages, the defendant must be guilty of extreme negligence or recklessness. Common examples of car accident cases that may receive punitive damages in Texas are:
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Road rage or aggressive driving
  • Excessive speeding or racing
  • Driving while distracted
  • Hit-and-run accident
  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license
  • A bus driver texting and driving
  • A manufacturer concealing known auto defects
A plaintiff’s eligibility for punitive damages in San Antonio will depend on the specific situation. Punitive damages will depend on factors such as the defendant’s actions in causing the accident, how much the defendant’s tort affects the sense of justice in the community and the defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages.

Texas’ Punitive Damages Cap

Like many states, Texas has a cap on punitive damages available in a personal injury case. There is a limit to how much you can receive in punitive damages as a plaintiff during a car accident lawsuit in San Antonio. A jury in Texas cannot order a defendant to pay more than $200,000 in punitive damages if you did not receive an award in economic damages. If you did receive an economic award, the punitive damage cap increases to twice the amount of your economic damages plus an equal amount in noneconomic damages, up to a maximum of $750,000.

When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio

If you believe the person or party who caused your car accident in San Antonio is guilty of extreme negligence, malice or a wanton carelessness for the safety of others, consult with a car accident lawyer for assistance with your claim. A lawyer can help you request punitive damages and prove your eligibility for this type of compensation using evidence such as eyewitness statements, a police report and any citations given to the driver. The best way to secure the compensation you deserve, including a punitive damage award, is by hiring a lawyer to represent you.
Posted by at 6:02 pm

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Monday, March 22, 2021

Suffering an injury in an accident in Dallas, Texas can be confusing and overwhelming. You may not know how to protect your rights or whom to trust during the claims process. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be the best way to handle legal matters after an accident. Not all claims, however, require legal representation. Determine whether or not you need to hire a Dallas personal injury lawyer by asking yourself the following questions.

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer? 12

How Serious Are Your Injuries?

The severity of your injuries is one of the main determining factors in whether you need legal representation. If your accident only gave you minor injuries and losses, you can most likely handle the claims process successfully on your own. Many personal injury lawyers in Dallas do not accept claims that are not worth enough money to justify spending the time and resources on representing the client.
If you or a loved one has serious, catastrophic or disabling injuries, however, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to make sure you attain fair results. An insurance company is more likely to treat you unfairly if you have serious injuries and expensive damages, in an attempt to save money on your payout. An attorney can represent you during insurance settlement negotiations to argue for an amount that adequately makes up for your past and future losses.

Do You Need Help Determining or Proving Fault?

Issues determining fault can also make it necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer in Dallas. If you are in a car accident involving multiple drivers, for example, and are not sure who is to blame, you may need an attorney to investigate the crash on your behalf. You might also benefit from hiring a lawyer if the parties involved in your case are disputing liability. A personal injury law firm will have the resources and investigators to determine the cause of your accident.
A lawyer can also help you gather evidence to prove the defendant is at fault. It is your burden as the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit to prove the defendant more likely than not caused your accident and injury. If you are struggling to meet this burden of proof, contact an attorney for assistance. An attorney can help you collect clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fault to build a stronger personal injury claim.

Does Your Case Involve Multiple Defendants?

If you believe more than one party caused or contributed to your accident, you may benefit from hiring an attorney to help you, as the claims process becomes more complicated with multiple defendants. Two or more parties may share liability for your accident and may therefore be financially responsible. An attorney can help you hold multiple parties accountable.

Has the Insurance Company Denied Your Claim?

You may need to hire personal injury lawyer in Dallas if you are encountering bad-faith tactics from the insurance company. Bad faith means the insurance provider is not handling your claim fairly. For example, the insurer may have wrongfully denied your claim or unfairly delayed its investigation. Hiring a lawyer will force an insurance company to take you seriously as a claimant. Your lawyer will take care of negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf while you focus on healing.

How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

If you believe hiring a personal injury lawyer is in your best interest during a claim in Dallas, do your research to find the right legal representative for you. Schedule free consultations with more than one personal injury lawyer in Dallas. Ask the attorney how much his or her fees are and whether you have to pay anything upfront. Ask about courtroom experience, as well. Find an attorney that is local to Dallas and has experience handling cases in your practice area. Hiring the right attorney can make an enormous difference to your case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:07 pm

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition

Friday, March 19, 2021

The average personal injury case in Texas involves many complicated legal processes that you may not have encountered before as a plaintiff. One is the deposition. Depositions take place during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit, after filing a claim and prior to a trial. Learn what to expect if you have to attend a deposition in a personal injury case, as well as how to protect your rights during one.

What to Expect in a Personal Injury Deposition 14

What Is the Purpose of a Deposition?

A deposition is a meeting where an attorney from one side of a personal injury case asks the other side questions. If you attend a deposition as a personal injury plaintiff, the defendant’s attorney will ask you questions about the circumstances of your case to gather more information. The purpose of the deposition is to keep the justice system fair and efficient by establishing certain facts to be true between both parties. Depositions eliminate the need to rehash these facts on the stand.

What Happens During a Deposition?

The deposition is your first opportunity to share your story and put it on the record. During a personal injury deposition, you will be referred to as the deponent. You will attend your deposition at a predetermined time and place, usually an attorney’s office instead of a courtroom. You will be sworn in, meaning you are under oath to tell the truth under penalty of perjury while you are being deposed. You will then be asked many questions about yourself, your accident, your injuries and your health.

Do You Have to Attend a Deposition?

Yes, if you are called upon to attend a deposition, you lawfully must go to the meeting. Your participation is mandatory once you have received a notice of deposition. If you wish your case to proceed, you must attend the deposition and answer the questions asked. You have the ability to work with the other side of the case, however, to set a time and date that works for you.

Who Is Present at a Personal Injury Deposition?

The people who attend a deposition in a personal injury case are typically the deponent, the deponent’s attorney, the other party’s attorney and a stenographer (court reporter). The stenographer’s job is to record everything said and done during a deposition. That way, the attorney can use a transcript of the deposition for reference during a trial.

What Types of Questions Are Asked at a Deposition?

The questions asked during a deposition will depend on the specific personal injury case. One goal of a deposition is to obtain as much information from the deponent as possible about the accident and injury. The questions asked can touch on a variety of subjects. They often include:

  • What is your name, address, job history, etc.?
  • Have you ever testified in a case before?
  • How did you prepare for this deposition?
  • How did the accident happen?
  • Who was involved in the accident?
  • Did you go to a hospital right away?
  • What is your specific injury diagnosis?
  • How has your life changed after the injury?

You do not have to know the answer to every question asked during a deposition. You are allowed to say, “I don’t know,” “Can you repeat the question?,” “Can you rephrase?” or “Can I have a break?” If you do know an answer, however, you must tell the truth to the best of your ability.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

A personal injury deposition can be daunting as a plaintiff. If you hire an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney to represent you, he or she can guide you through the legal process to give you greater peace of mind. Your attorney can attend the deposition with you, giving you advice as to what to say and do. Your attorney can also help you prepare for the deposition ahead of time, so you avoid misspeaking. Learn more about personal injury depositions by contacting a lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:16 am

What Happens If Someone Else Is Driving My Car & Gets in an Accident in Texas?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
You may not think twice before letting a friend or family member borrow your car. If that person gets into an accident while driving your vehicle, however, it is you who must deal with the insurance process. Find out what to expect from your insurance company if you were not the one driving your car in an accident.

Insurance Covers the Car, Not the Driver

It is a common misconception that the auto insurance a driver pays for covers the driver. In reality, auto insurance covers the car. This means no matter who was driving your vehicle, your car insurance company has to pay for damages. Unfortunately, this can mean paying a large deductible and dealing with an increase in your insurance premium – even if you were not the driver involved in the accident.

First-Party vs. Third-Party Insurance Claim

In Texas, the car insurance of the party at fault for causing the collision is financially responsible for damages. If your friend was at fault for causing the crash, therefore, your auto insurance company will pay for victims’ medical bills and property repairs. You will need to file a first-party insurance claim with your own insurance provider for coverage. How much your insurance company pays for the accident will depend on your policy. If you only have the minimum required amount of liability insurance in Texas, your insurance carrier most likely will not pay to repair the damage to your own vehicle. The minimum required amounts of automobile insurance only pay for the damages of others in a crash. You must have an additional form of coverage, such as collision or comprehensive insurance, for coverage for your own car. If you do not have this insurance, the insurer of the person you let use your car should pay for your losses. If the person you let borrow your car was not at fault for the accident, you will seek financial compensation from the auto insurance carrier of the at-fault party. You will file what is called a third-party insurance claim against the other driver’s carrier in pursuit of compensation for medical bills and vehicle repairs. In this scenario, your own insurance premiums should not increase, as your company did not pay for the damages.

Primary and Secondary Insurance Coverage

A car accident when someone else is driving your car may involve both primary and secondary insurance. Primary insurance coverage is your insurance policy as the vehicle’s owner. Secondary insurance is the automobile policy of the person who was driving your car. As the owner of the vehicle, your insurance policy will provide the primary (first) coverage for related losses. If you do not have enough insurance to cover 100% of the damages, the driver’s liability insurance will provide secondary coverage. For example, if the victim of the car accident suffered $35,000 in medical expenses but your auto insurance policy only covers up to $30,000, the person who was driving your vehicle will cover the remaining $5,000 through his or her auto insurance policy. Primary and secondary auto insurance work together on cases involving a vehicle owned by one party but driven by another to fully cover a victim’s losses.

Potential Challenges With Your Claim

For the most part, your auto insurance company will cover someone else driving your car. If, however, the person driving your car did not have your permission to do so, such as in an incident of theft, your insurance may not cover the driver. Coverage would come from the at-fault driver’s insurer instead. If you are guilty of negligent entrustment, you could also encounter challenges. If you knowingly allowed an intoxicated individual or unlicensed driver to drive your car, for example, someone injured in a subsequent accident may be able to hold you personally responsible for the collision as well as seek damages from the at-fault driver’s insurer. Due to the complexity of these types of cases, it is wise to consult with a  San Antonio car accident attorney to discuss your rights. An attorney can help you navigate the insurance claims process in San Antonio.
Posted by at 5:59 pm

Emotional Distress Damages in a Dallas Personal Injury Case

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Almost all serious accidents cause some degree of emotional distress to victims and their family members. Living through or witnessing a traumatic incident, such as a car crash or dog attack, can lead to significant emotional, mental and psychological harm.
In Texas, the civil justice system allows injured accident victims to pursue financial compensation for their emotional distress in addition to economic losses, such as medical expenses. You may need professional legal assistance from a Dallas personal injury lawyer, however, to prove this type of loss.

Emotional Distress Damages in a Dallas Personal Injury Case 16

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a type of damage award that falls under the broader umbrella of pain and suffering damages. It is a noneconomic damage rather than an economic damage. This means it is an intangible loss the victim suffered in the accident rather than a tangible loss.
Examples of economic damages are lost wages, medical expenses, property repairs and court costs. Examples of noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological trauma, inconvenience, humiliation, lost quality of life, loss of services, loss of consortium, and grief.
In Texas, an accident victim may qualify for compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages, depending on the circumstances. To receive compensation, however, the victim has the burden of proving these losses.

Common Evidence of Emotional Distress

The burden of proof in a personal injury case is a preponderance of the evidence. This means before a judge or jury will award you financial compensation for any losses, including emotional distress, you or your attorney must prove the defendant is more likely than not responsible for your accident and that you suffered compensable losses as a result.
Proving a personal injury case requires clear and convincing evidence that what you are claiming, including any losses listed, is more likely to be true than not true. Although each case is unique, common sources of evidence used to prove emotional distress in personal injury law are:

  • The victim’s medical and therapy records
  • An official medical diagnosis, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Medications prescribed for mental health conditions
  • Statements from the victim or his or her friends and family members
  • Expert testimony from doctors and/or psychologists
  • The victim’s injury journal
  • Photographs of scarring or disfigurement

It is critical to document your emotional distress as much as possible after a serious accident in Dallas. Do your part to build a claim to emotional damages by going to a hospital immediately, telling your doctor about any emotional symptoms you’re experiencing, seeing a professional psychologist for any mental or psychological trauma, and keeping an injury diary to describe how your injuries affect you.
All of these actions can help you build a claim to emotional distress damages. It is also important to note that a pre-existing mental health condition does not prohibit you from seeking compensation for accident-related emotional distress.

What Is an Emotional Distress Claim Worth in Texas?

If you succeed in proving emotional distress during a personal injury claim in Dallas, you could receive an insurance settlement or judgment award for this loss as well as others related to the accident. A pain and suffering award could significantly increase the final value of your award, as it is up to a jury to determine how much you deserve based on the extent of your physical and emotional injuries. The value of your claim will depend on the severity of your losses.
How much you receive for emotional distress may also depend on Texas’s damage cap. If you file a medical malpractice claim, there is a statewide damage cap of $500,000 total per health care facility and $250,000 total for an individual physician. Your noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice claim cannot exceed $750,000 total. If you are seeking compensation for emotional distress from any other type of accident, however, Texas does not have a damage cap.
For more information about proving emotional distress and obtaining maximum compensation, speak to a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:43 pm

5 Things You Should Know About a Free Lawyer Consultation

Monday, March 15, 2021

If you get injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer in Dallas can serve as an important source of information about your legal rights. If you choose to hire an attorney, you can focus on healing while your lawyer handles the claim. Before you retain an attorney, attend a free consultation to get to know him or her and make sure the attorney is the right fit for you and your case. Here are five things you should know about the free lawyer consultation before you make the call.

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A Lawyer Has Your Best Interests in Mind

Talking to a lawyer is not the same as talking to an insurance claims adjuster about your personal injury case. An insurance company will want to diminish your payout as much as possible to save itself money and boost profitability. A personal injury lawyer, on the other hand, will share your goal of maximizing the financial payout for your medical bills and other losses.
Your success is your attorney’s success – especially if the lawyer operates on a contingency fee basis, where he or she does not get paid unless you do. During a free legal consultation, therefore, you can trust the advice the attorney gives you to be in your best interests. You do not need to worry about the attorney trying to take advantage of you or using any information you provide against you later.

Prepare Questions for the Lawyer to Answer

One of the main goals of a free lawyer consultation is to get answers to all of your legal questions. Before your free consultation, prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney. This can help you get the most out of your meeting. Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Do I have grounds for a personal injury case?
  • How much is my case worth?
  • How long will my case take to settle?
  • What is your experience with this type of case?
  • What is your law firm’s success rate?
  • Are you the attorney who will be working on my case?
  • How much are your fees?

The lawyer will ask you questions, too. Be prepared to answer questions about your accident and injury, as well as details about your personal life, such as what you do for work. Be honest with the attorney, as this is the only way he or she can truly protect your rights.

The More Information You Have, the Better

If you can, bring facts, photographs and documents related to your accident with you to the free consultation. The more information you bring with you to the case review, the better the understanding the lawyer will have about your case. Bring documents such as a copy of your police report, medical records and photographs with you, if possible. This can help the personal injury lawyer more accurately assess your claim.

What You Say to the Lawyer Is Confidential

Do not worry about the personal injury lawyer disclosing any information you give him or her to third parties, including an insurance company, the other party involved in your case or the police. Plaintiff’s attorneys are bound by law to maintain client confidentiality, even during free initial consultations. This means the lawyer is not legally permitted to disclose anything said during the consultation to a third party (with rare exceptions).

You Are Not Obligated to Hire the Lawyer

Finally, recognize that attending a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer does not obligate you to hire that lawyer. The initial case review should simply be an opportunity to get your questions answered and get to know the attorney. The law firm should not force you to sign anything or retain the attorney at this meeting. You should be free to continue searching for the right lawyer for you after the consultation, if desired.
If you are ready to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Dallas, Texas, contact the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. 24/7 at (214) 609-1580 to request yours.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:44 pm

Negligence Per Se in a Personal Injury Case

Friday, March 12, 2021

Most personal injury cases in Texas rely on the plaintiff’s ability to prove someone else caused his or her injuries through an act of carelessness, officially referred to as negligence. Understanding the doctrine of negligence, as well as related doctrines such as negligence per se, can be difficult as the injured party in a lawsuit. You may require assistance from a personal injury lawyer in Dallas.

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What Is Standard Negligence?

The legal doctrine of negligence describes a person or party failing to adhere to the accepted duty of care for a situation, resulting in injury or harm to another person. Standard negligence may or may not be intentional. A defendant in Texas could still be liable for a plaintiff’s injuries even if he or she accidentally or unintentionally breached the duty of care.
Standard negligence also does not necessarily describe a broken law. A person can be guilty of negligence without being guilty of a crime. For example, a defendant may be liable for wrongful death but not guilty of homicide for accidentally causing a fatal injury rather than committing a premeditated attack. Negligence per se, however, specifically refers to a defendant’s violation of a law.

What Is Negligence Per Se?

Negligence per se is a concept a plaintiff may be able to use to prove his or her personal injury case in Dallas, Texas if the defendant broke a law. This doctrine argues that a defendant is liable for an underlying accident because he or she violated a law.
If a plaintiff can use the negligence per se doctrine in a personal injury case, he or she does not need to prove the defendant’s breach of the duty of care. Instead, it is enough to prove the defendant broke a law in Texas and that this caused the accident in question.
For example, if a defendant is convicted of driving while intoxicated in Texas, this could allow an injured accident victim to use the negligence per se doctrine to show that exceeding the blood alcohol content limit for drivers makes the defendant automatically liable for the crash. Successfully using this doctrine removes the burden to prove the defendant’s conduct was careless or negligent.

Elements of Negligence Per Se

In Texas, a victim can typically bring a negligence per se case against a defendant as a distinct claim. Otherwise, the victim may need to file a standard negligence cause of action in the civil court, then ask the court to accept the argument of negligence per se during litigation. Either way, it is up to the accident victim to prove negligence per se.
Proving this legal doctrine in a personal injury case in Dallas requires the plaintiff or his or her attorney to establish three main elements:

  1. The defendant broke a law. Proof of this could come in the form of a traffic ticket issued to a driver in a car accident case or a criminal conviction against a defendant.
  2. The purpose of the law that was broken was to prevent the type of injury or accident that ended up harming the plaintiff.
  3. The plaintiff is part of the class of people the law was intended to protect. This class is typically the public at large but may be more specific.

Although a negligence per se argument does not require a plaintiff to prove a breach of the duty of care, these cases can still be complex and difficult to navigate. Understanding whether or not you can lawfully use the negligence per se doctrine for your personal injury lawsuit in Dallas may require an in-depth consultation with an attorney. An attorney can help you with every stage of a lawsuit, including the burden of proof based on the legal doctrine used.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:28 pm

What Is the Average Settlement for Whiplash in San Antonio?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Whiplash is a common injury suffered in auto accidents in San Antonio, Texas. Whiplash describes soft-tissue damage to the muscles or tendons in the neck. If you have whiplash from a San Antonio car crash or another accident, you may be curious about how much you could receive in an insurance settlement or jury verdict for your medical bills and losses. The answer to this question depends on your situation.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury most commonly caused by car accidents. However, it can also be caused by falls, sports and other incidents, such as physical assault. It occurs when something jerks the head and neck rapidly backward and forward, whipping the neck around hard enough to stretch, tear or damage the soft tissues. Whiplash can cause many painful and debilitating symptoms, including:
  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness or lost range of motion
  • Shooting pains, tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Back pain or tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble sleeping
Medical care for a whiplash injury may involve pain medications and physical therapy. A victim with whiplash might be unable to return to work right away. If the victim was not at fault for the incident that caused the injury, he or she could be eligible for financial compensation for these losses from the negligent party.

Settlement Amounts Vary Significantly

It is not possible to estimate the value of your whiplash injury settlement based on average award amounts in prior cases. Insurance companies and courts in Texas do not assign damages based on average settlements. Instead, every personal injury settlement or jury verdict for whiplash is unique and tailored to the victim’s needs and losses. Some injured accident victims can receive $10,000 or less for their whiplash injuries. Others might receive around $5,000. Still other crash victims could receive substantially more than $10,000 if they have significant injuries, such as a serious spinal cord injury. The factors that go into determining a whiplash settlement amount include the level of the injury, the victim’s prognosis, how long he or she will need medical care, health, age, income, and more.

Types of Damages Available

Although there is no average settlement for whiplash in San Antonio, you can get an idea of how much your claim might be worth with help from an attorney. An attorney can estimate the value of your case based on the compensable losses you suffered in the accident. A defendant may be financially responsible for many of your past and future damages:
  • Health care bills
  • Long-term treatments such as physical therapy
  • Medications or medical devices
  • Lost wages and capacity to earn
  • Property repairs
  • Disability-related expenses
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
A personal injury lawyer in San Antonio can help you list all of the damages you and your family have suffered as a result of a defendant’s negligence or recklessness. Then, your lawyer can help you pursue maximum financial compensation for these losses. Although most whiplash cases settle, a lawyer will have the power to go to trial against a defendant, if necessary.

Negotiate Your Settlement With Help From a Whiplash Attorney in San Antonio

If you suffered a whiplash injury in an accident in San Antonio that significantly interferes with your life, consult with an attorney for assistance with the claims process. An attorney will have the knowledge, resources and legal tactics to successfully negotiate or litigate your injury claim. Handling your case without an attorney may expose you to insurance bad-faith tactics. Your lawyer will fight for maximum compensation on your behalf, as he or she will want to optimize your award. An insurance company, on the other hand, will want to devalue your whiplash claim. An insurance company may wrongfully deny your claim, for example, or underestimate your future medical needs. If you hire a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio to represent you, he or she can negotiate for just compensation. This will increase the odds of receiving a fair settlement offer. A lawyer can demand the financial outcome you need to finally move forward from a whiplash injury.
Posted by at 5:40 pm

How to Write a Successful Settlement Demand Letter

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

If you get injured in any type of accident, including a car accident or slip and fall, recovering the compensation you deserve can be a challenge. One of the first steps in pursuing financial recovery is submitting an effective settlement demand letter to the correct insurance carrier. Your demand letter should be concise, compelling and convincing for the best possible results.

How to Write a Successful Settlement Demand Letter 24

What Is a Settlement Demand Letter?

A settlement demand letter is one of the most important pieces of communication between you and the insurance company receiving your claim. This might be your own insurance company if you caused the accident or were injured by an uninsured party, or it might be someone else’s insurance carrier if that person caused your injury. Either way, do not underestimate the importance of the settlement demand letter.
As the name implies, the main point of the demand letter is to list your demands. In most personal injury cases, the victim’s request is an amount of financial compensation the victim is demanding in return for dropping the lawsuit against the defendant and releasing him or her from further liability. Your demand letter is the key to obtaining the best possible outcome for your personal injury claim in Dallas.

Parts of a Settlement Demand Letter

A settlement demand letter is brief and concise; typically, no longer than one page. It contains many important facts and information about the case at hand. The main parts of an insurance demand letter are the introduction, description of the accident, settlement demand figure and closing statements.
A strong personal injury demand letter includes:

  • The defendant’s name and address
  • Your name and contact information
  • A brief description of the accident
  • Why you believe the insurance company is liable
  • The extent of your injuries and your official diagnosis
  • A description of the medical treatments you require
  • Details of any income lost
  • A description of your pain and suffering
  • An amount you’re demanding in damages to settle the claim
  • One sentence stating that your attorney can go to trial, if necessary

Although you can find templates for writing settlement demand letters online, the best way to draft a personal injury demand letter that fully protects your rights and leads to a fair settlement is by working with an attorney. A personal injury lawyer in Dallas, Texas will have the experience and resources to craft the strongest possible demand letter. This will maximize your odds of obtaining positive results.

Tips for Writing a Strong Settlement Demand Letter

If you do wish to write the settlement demand letter on your own, take your time and make sure it is as strongly written as possible for the insurance company to take you seriously. Keep your language clear, concise and grammatically correct. Avoid long narrations about your accident or injuries. Simply state the facts of your case.
Do not admit any fault for the accident in your demand letter. Make sure you include all vital and necessary information. It is important to demand a fair amount for the type and extent of your losses. You may need assistance from a personal injury lawyer to accurately calculate your past and future damages.
Start with a higher figure than you would be satisfied accepting from the insurance company. The insurer expects you to negotiate back and forth until you reach a compromise. Aiming high will ensure you do not end up settling for a counteroffer that is too low. Don’t demand an amount that is too high, however, as an adjuster will see through this tactic and may offer an outrageously low settlement in response. Your demand letter must strike a careful balance.
For assistance drafting a successful settlement demand letter in Dallas, Texas, consult with a personal injury lawyer from the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:40 am

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle?

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

It is normal to feel impatient when it comes to resolving your personal injury lawsuit and receiving a settlement or judgment award. An accident in Dallas may give you painful, debilitating and expensive injuries that require immediate financial attention. Although no average settlement timeline exists, you can get an idea of how long your lawsuit will take to settle by learning the basics.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take to Settle? 27

Insurance Settlement vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit

Your personal injury lawsuit could take a few weeks to settle, or it could take a few years. The truth is that no one knows exactly how long it will take for you to obtain financial compensation from a personal injury claim. That being said, it may be possible to get a rough idea of what timeframe to expect based on the unique facts of your case.
One of the main factors that affect how long it will take to resolve a personal injury case is whether it settles at the insurance stage or has to go to trial. The vast majority of personal injury cases settle. An insurance settlement is much faster than a trial. It may take as little as three months or less for you to recover via settlement.
If an insurance company refuses to offer a settlement that adequately covers your injuries and losses, however, your case may need to go to trial for a fair outcome. The timeline of a personal injury trial is unpredictable, as it can depend on factors such as the congestion of the courthouse and how long it takes to select a jury. Expect a personal injury trial to take one year or longer to complete from beginning to end.

Common Factors That Can Add Time to a Personal Injury Settlement

When trying to determine the length of time it will take to receive a personal injury settlement in Texas, take a look at the factors specific to your case that may add to your timeline. Many different factors could make a personal injury claim more complicated, leading to a longer amount of time spent on claim negotiations.
Common factors that can add time to a personal injury settlement in Texas include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How long your injuries take to heal
  • Your date of maximum medical improvement
  • Liability disputes
  • How long it takes to negotiate back and forth with an insurer
  • Insurance bad-faith tactics, such as delaying an investigation
  • Whether one party appeals the verdict
  • If you make a mistake when filing your claim

A personal injury lawsuit has three stages. The first is prelitigation, where your attorney and the defendant will negotiate to try to resolve the claim. If your case ends here, expect a shorter timeline of just a few weeks or months. The second stage is litigation, where your lawyer will file a lawsuit with the court. The third stage is an injury trial. If your case reaches this stage, expect a longer timeline of 12 months or more.

Do Not Rush Into a Quick Personal Injury Settlement

You may wish to resolve your personal injury lawsuit as quickly and expediently as possible, especially if your injuries lead to missed days at work or expensive medical care. It is critical, however, not to rush into a fast settlement.
Insurance companies often use tactics to protect their own profits, including pressuring claimants to quickly accept inadequate settlements. Settling your case too early could result in accepting an award that far undervalues your claim. This can make it more difficult to move forward if you require ongoing medical treatments, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.
Rather than rushing into a fast settlement, use a personal injury attorney in Dallas to help you negotiate for the amount you deserve. It can be worth adding time to your lawsuit to obtain fair compensation for a serious injury. If you are curious about how long your injury case will take to settle, consult with an attorney today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:45 pm