How Do I Know If I Need a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney?

Thursday, April 29, 2021

No one plans on sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI). If the unexpected happens and you or a loved one suffer a brain injury, however, it is critical to prepare for the process ahead. You may need to hire a traumatic brain injury attorney in Dallas if someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused your injury. Seeking the advice of a legal professional can ensure the protection of your rights at a critical time in your life.

What Caused Your Traumatic Brain Injury?

Not every traumatic brain injury gives the victim the right to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, an injured victim will only have grounds to seek financial compensation if another person or party caused or contributed to the injury in question.
Some of the most common accidents that cause traumatic brain injuries and give the victim the right to file a lawsuit are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Ladder falls
  • Sports impacts
  • Physical assaults, abuse or violence
  • Explosions

These types of incidents are often preventable and stem from someone else’s negligence, such as a distracted driver or careless property owner. In personal injury law, negligence is the failure to apply an adequate amount of care based on the circumstances. If you believe someone else’s negligence caused your TBI, you may need an attorney to assist you with the claims process.

Do You Have a Complicated Case?

If you do have grounds to file a lawsuit in Texas, you could be eligible for financial compensation for your past and future medical expenses, physical therapy, medications, surgeries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to obtain a fair amount for a traumatic brain injury – especially a severe TBI that will result in long-term economic and noneconomic damages.
If your traumatic brain injury case involves any of the following complications, it is imperative to hire an attorney to help you navigate the legal process:

  • Long-term or permanent effects from a TBI
  • Ongoing medical care or rehabilitation
  • The inability to work
  • Multiple at-fault parties
  • A liability dispute between insurance companies
  • Lack of adequate insurance coverage
  • Wrongfully denied insurance claim

Obstacles during a brain injury claim can get in the way of your ability to obtain the financial compensation your family needs to pay for necessary medical care. Only a personal injury lawyer will have the knowledge, resources and experience to successfully handle these issues if they arise.

How Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Help?

Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not pay a penny in attorney’s fees unless he or she obtains financial compensation for your damages. This can help you make a decision if you were hesitating based on the cost of an attorney.
If you are not sure whether you need a traumatic brain injury attorney to represent you during a claim, review all of the ways an attorney can help you during a claim. A TBI lawyer can:

  • Connect you to brain injury specialists in Dallas
  • Answer your legal questions
  • Investigate your accident
  • Collect and preserve key evidence
  • Obtain copies of medical records and police reports
  • File an insurance claim on your behalf
  • Negotiate for the compensation you deserve
  • Take your TBI case to trial, if necessary

Most importantly, a traumatic brain injury attorney in Dallas can give you the peace of mind you need to concentrate your attention on healing and recuperating. You can rest assured that your attorney is fighting for justice and maximum financial compensation on your behalf while you focus on medical treatments and rehabilitation.
For more information about how a traumatic brain injury attorney can help you, request a free consultation at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:07 pm

Can I Make a Claim as a Passenger If I’m Injured in a Car Accident?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
If you are riding in someone else’s car when he or she gets into an accident, you have the right to file a claim for financial compensation for your hospital bills and other expenses as a passenger. Since you were not the one driving, you will not have to dispute fault for the crash. One of the driver’s insurance providers will pay for your losses. You may also have the power to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party in San Antonio, Texas.

Who Is Liable for Passenger Injuries?

Texas uses a tort-based insurance system to determine liability for car accidents. Liability is the legal term for legal and financial responsibility for an accident. According to Texas law, the driver or party at fault for causing the wreck is liable for related economic damages. As an injured passenger, you may be able to file a claim against one or more parties for financial compensation:
  • The driver of the vehicle. The simplest step as an injured passenger is filing a claim with the insurance company of the driver of your vehicle. That driver’s bodily injury liability insurance will pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses. Texas law requires all drivers to carry this type of car insurance.
  • The driver of the other vehicle. If the other driver caused the collision, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. However, filing with your driver’s insurance company is generally enough, as the insurer will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurer, if applicable.
  • The passenger’s insurance provider. If an incident occurs where one or both drivers are uninsured or do not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses, you can seek secondary coverage from your own insurance company. If you have personal injury protection insurance, this can help you pay for your medical bills.
  • A third party. If an investigation of the crash finds that a third party caused the car accident, such as a property owner, product manufacturer or the government, that party may be financially responsible for your losses.
In general, filing a claim against the driver’s insurance policy will result in benefits to reimburse you for your related injuries and losses as an injured passenger. If the driver does not have enough insurance to cover your expenses, however, you may need to seek additional benefits from a second or third source.

Potential Challenges During a Passenger Injury Claim

You may not face liability for a car accident as an injured passenger, but you could encounter other challenges when trying to obtain financial compensation. For instance, you may get caught in a liability dispute between the insurance companies of the two drivers. This could draw out the insurance settlement process and force you to wait for reimbursement for your expenses. If there were multiple passengers injured in the crash, you may also run into an issue obtaining enough coverage for your losses. The insurance available must be divided among all injured passengers, up to the policy’s maximum. You could also face a problem such as an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run accident. You might need an attorney’s assistance overcoming these unique challenges in San Antonio.

What to Do as an Injured Passenger

If you get into a car accident as a passenger, make sure someone reports the collision to the police. Check yourself and others involved in the crash for injuries. Then, gather as much information about the car accident as you can while still at the scene. This includes both drivers’ names and insurance information, a description of both vehicles, eyewitness statements, and photographs. Go to a hospital in San Antonio immediately for professional medical care. Then, consult with a car accident attorney for assistance with the claims process.
Posted by at 11:53 am

What Are The Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The brain is an all-important organ that is responsible for controlling voluntary and involuntary bodily functions. Most patients fully recover from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that cause short-term disruptions to the brain’s ability to properly function. Some, however, suffer severe TBIs with long-term effects that last for months, years or life.

What Are The Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury? 1

Loss of Motor Skills

The brain controls the body’s motor system, mostly using the frontal lobes. It sends outputs for coordinating movements through the spinal cord to move specific muscles. If a certain part of the brain gets injured and can no longer function the way it should, this can affect the victim’s motor function and fine motor skills.
Some of the long-term physical effects of a traumatic brain injury may include difficulty walking, standing, jumping, holding heavy items, balancing, coordinating complex movements and writing. Although physical therapy and rehabilitation can help, with severe traumatic brain injuries, the impact on the victim’s motor skills can be permanent.

Sensory Effects

A TBI can impact the sensory and perceptual parts of the brain, leading to long-term changes in hearing, vision and sensation. A severe brain injury can result in hearing problems such as chronic tinnitus, diminished hearing or increased sensitivity to sounds. It can also cause long-term blurred vision, involuntary eye movements and loss of vision. Some patients also note trouble with touch, such as difficulty perceiving temperature and mixing up touch and pressure.

Cognitive Difficulties

Damage to any part of the brain can result in long-term cognitive challenges. Some patients are able to restore their cognitive abilities over time with exercises, treatments and therapies. Others, however, suffer long-lasting cognitive problems, such as:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking or problem-solving
  • Trouble with math or reading
  • Problems with comprehension
  • Lack of attention span
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Problems with motivation
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Impaired empathy towards others

The cognitive effects of a traumatic brain injury can make it difficult or impossible for a victim to return to his or her normal life. The victim may have to receive training for a different type of career, for example, or may struggle in school.

Trouble Communicating

If the part of the brain in charge of speech and language (the left hemisphere) gets injured, it can impact the victim’s ability to articulate ideas and correctly use language to communicate. The victim may also have physical trouble using the tongue and throat, leading to difficulty talking and swallowing. These issues can reduce a victim’s quality of life by blocking the ability to communicate.

Personality or Behavioral Changes

Many patients with serious brain injuries report changes in their moods, personalities and behaviors. This is because the limbic system of the brain governs emotions, thoughts and feelings. Changes to how the brain works after a serious injury can lead to long-term alterations in how the victim acts and behaves. The victim may be more prone to outbursts, anger or irritability after a TBI, for example.

Increased Risk of Certain Medical Conditions

Studies have shown that suffering a brain injury puts a patient at an increased risk of developing certain medical and mental health conditions later in life. Even if the victim appears to have fully recovered physically from the TBI, he or she can remain vulnerable to mental health disorders for decades. These may include:

  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Second-impact syndrome
  • Brain diseases
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

It is not always possible to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Many victims experience long-lasting or chronic effects that significantly interfere with their lives. If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in an accident in Dallas, do not hesitate to contact an attorney for legal advice on how to fight for justice and financial compensation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:02 pm

How Can Texas Crash Reports Help Your Car Accident Claim?

Monday, April 26, 2021
If you get into a car accident in San Antonio, there are a few steps you need to take to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver. One important step is contacting the police so that you can obtain a Texas crash report. The crash report will have key details about your accident that can help you support an insurance claim.

Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident in Texas?

It is recommended that you call 911 to report any car accident to the police in Texas – even a minor collision. However, state law only requires you to report a car accident if it causes injuries, fatalities or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. If you fail to report a serious crash, you could face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or jail time.

Why Crash Reports Are Important

Even if your car accident was minor and you are not required to report it by law, contacting the police can be useful to you as an injured victim. Reporting your collision can provide you with an official document to use during your insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. The crash report can help your car accident claim in a few important ways.

Proving Your Accident Happened

Insurance fraud is common enough that insurance companies are careful about the claims they accept. Some policyholders try to stage car accidents or lie about how they sustained their injuries for insurance coverage. One way to prove that you are being honest about your crash is by providing the insurance company with a crash report from the police. An official crash report drawn up from the scene of your car accident can prove to an insurance company that your car accident took place the way you say it did. If you were involved in a hit-and-run crash, for example, having an accident report can help you prove that you did not cause the property damage yourself. Details from the responding police officer can establish the truth behind your claim.

Documenting Basic Information

You have enough to worry about in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You should have the freedom to focus on your injuries and wellbeing rather than documenting the facts of the crash. If you call the police to respond to the scene of the crash, you benefit from a law enforcement officer recording the basic details about the accident for you. The police report will list information such as the other driver’s name, the names of any eyewitnesses, vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers, and the date, time and location. A car insurance company can use this information to understand the basic facts of the crash before conducting its own investigation.

Providing Evidence of Fault

If the other driver involved in your car accident committed a moving violation, such as speeding or driving under the influence, the police report will document the citation given to the driver by the responding police officer. Although the citation alone is not indisputable evidence of fault, it can help you prove a case against the other driver. A Texas crash report will also include the responding officer’s opinion as to who or what caused the crash. An insurance company will take this opinion into account.

How to Obtain a Copy of Your Crash Report in Texas

If you wish to obtain a copy of your police report for an insurance claim or your own records, contact the police station in the county where your car accident took place. Give them your police report number and your basic information. If the officer has already submitted the paperwork (typically, officers have 10 days to do so), you can pay a small fee to have a copy mailed to you. Filing a crash report can be one of the most important things you do after getting into a car accident in San Antonio, Texas. Reporting your accident puts it on the official record and provides documentation you can use during the insurance claims process. For assistance with a crash report, contact a car accident lawyer near you.
Posted by at 11:51 am

How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents in Dallas

Friday, April 23, 2021

Bustling cities like Dallas are especially dangerous places for pedestrians. Downtown areas have many places where pedestrians and motor vehicles intersect. In these areas, human errors such as distraction and carelessness can lead to deadly pedestrian accidents. As a driver or pedestrian in Dallas, Texas, do certain things to reduce your risk of getting into an accident.

How to Avoid Pedestrian Accidents in Dallas 4

For Drivers

In 2018, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 626 pedestrian fatalities – a 1.79 percent increase from 2017. Many of these fatal collisions took place in metropolitan Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth. Although drivers and pedestrians both share a responsibility to obey the law and prevent collisions, drivers must be especially careful as the party that can cause the most damage.

Slow Down

Reducing your speed can be enough to avoid a pedestrian accident. Traveling at a safe speed allows you to hit the brakes in unexpected roadway situations, such as a child running out front of your car. Always drive at or below the posted speed limit in Dallas. If you are traveling through a residential area or a school zone – or if the weather is dangerous – reduce your speed even more.

Be Alert

Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driver behaviors. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving took 3,142 lives in the U.S. in 2019 alone. Put your phone away, keep your eyes on the road and dedicate 100 percent of your attention to the driving task. This may allow you to react to a pedestrian in time to prevent a crash.

Yield the Right-of-Way

Although pedestrians do not automatically have the right-of-way in Dallas, yield when it is necessary. Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, for instance, and to pedestrians who are crossing the road when you are making a left- or right-hand turn. Even if a pedestrian does not have the right-of-way, you have a responsibility to pay attention, hit the brakes and avoid a collision when possible.

For Pedestrians

As someone who likes to walk or jog around Dallas, it is imperative to be proactive about pedestrian safety. You cannot trust drivers to always obey the law or yield the right-of-way. Take your safety as a pedestrian into your own hands to decrease your risk of getting injured in an accident.

Avoid Danger Zones

Certain parts of Dallas are more dangerous for pedestrians than others. These areas often involve intersections or areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic, such as retail centers. Do your best to avoid danger zones while walking in Dallas, such as:

  • The West End
  • West Northwest Highway near Community Drive
  • Ledbetter Drive at Bonnie View Road
  • Malcolm X Boulevard at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Lovers Lane at Greenville Avenue

Crash statistics have shown that these areas are more prone to pedestrian accidents and deaths than other places in Dallas. Take other routes, when possible, to increase your safety.

Obey Traffic Laws

Do not assume you always have the right-of-way as a pedestrian in Texas. You have the same responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers to obey traffic laws and roadway rules. Do not jaywalk, for example, or step off the curb in front of an oncoming vehicle. Wait your turn to cross and use crosswalks.

Practice Defensive Walking

Defensive walking is a technique where you assume drivers will break the law or won’t see you, rather than assuming the opposite. Defensive walking required staying vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Do not walk while using your cell phone or otherwise distracted. Pay attention to what is happening around you, make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road and verify that it is safe to cross before stepping into the road – even if you have the right-of-way.
If you get injured in a pedestrian accident in Dallas, contact an attorney right away for a free consultation about your legal rights.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:22 pm

10 Mistakes That Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Friday, April 23, 2021
If you suffer a serious injury in San Antonio, you may be overwhelmed by medical bills, physical pain and emotional suffering. It is important, however, to learn as much as you can about the legal process if you wish to obtain fair financial compensation. Otherwise, you could make a common mistake that negatively impacts your claim.

Admitting Fault

It may be in your nature to immediately apologize for an accident while at the scene, such as apologizing to the other driver after a car accident. Saying you are sorry, however, can be construed as an admittance of guilt. Be polite, but do not apologize and do not admit fault for an accident. Doing so could automatically place liability – financial responsibility – with you, even before an investigation is finished.

Not Reporting Your Accident

Do not keep your accident or injuries to yourself. It is important to report the accident to an authority figure immediately so that it is documented on the official record. The authority you should contact will depend on the nature of the accident. After a car crash in San Antonio, for example, you should call the police. After a slip and fall accident, tell a store manager.

Forgetting to Collect Evidence

Although you may have a lot on your mind after suffering an injury, do your best to collect evidence before you leave the scene. Some evidence may not be available if you wait. If you were injured by a property defect, for example, the property owner may repair the hazard before you can return to take photographs. Collect evidence as soon as possible, even if this means asking for help from a friend, family member or personal injury attorney.

Delaying Medical Care

Always go to a doctor or hospital right away after any type of injury. Delaying medical care can allow an insurance company to argue that your injuries were not serious or did not happen the way you say they did. Delaying medical care or ignoring your doctor’s treatment recommendations could also have negative consequences on your health.

Posting on Social Media

Avoid posting anything on social media following an accident. An insurance company can use your social media activity as evidence against you, regardless of your privacy settings. Any photographs, location check-ins, status updates or comments made on other people’s pages could be twisted around and used against you later.

Waiting Too Long to Tell an Insurance Company

Most insurance companies have rules that require injured parties to file claims as soon as possible – typically within 72 hours of the accident. Do not wait too long to file an initial claim, as this could potentially bar you from financial recovery from the insurer.

Believing the Insurance Company Is on Your Side

When communicating with an agent or claims adjuster from an insurance company, do not make the mistake of thinking he or she is on your side. The insurance company will want to save as much money as possible by devaluing your claim. Do not agree to give the insurance company a recorded statement and do not sign anything until speaking to an attorney.

Settling Too Soon

It is normal to want to resolve your case as quickly as possible. Settling too early, however, could mean accepting less than you deserve for your serious injuries. Wait until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement to accept a settlement. Discuss the value of your claim with an attorney before settling, as well.

Missing Your Statute of Limitations

In Texas, a law called a statute of limitations places a deadline on your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, the courts will typically refuse to hear your case, meaning you cannot recover money damages. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years for most cases.

Failing to Seek Help From a Personal Injury Attorney

Do not attempt to handle a personal injury claim alone – especially if you suffered catastrophic or permanent injuries. Work with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio for professional legal assistance with your case. A lawyer can help you with all the stages of a lawsuit for the best possible outcome.
Posted by at 11:41 am

What Are Diminished Value Accident Claims?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

If you get into a car accident, you may qualify for insurance benefits to reimburse you for many different financial damages. Car insurance is meant to make a victim whole again – to put the victim back in the financial state he or she would have been in had the accident not happened. This includes reimbursing you for the diminished value of your vehicle after an accident.

What Are Diminished Value Accident Claims? 6

What Is the Diminished Value of a Vehicle?

No amount of repairs can restore a crashed vehicle to the value it bore before the car accident. There is a stigma against vehicles that have been in accidents, even after they have been repaired. Despite the repairs bringing the vehicle back to like-new condition, the fact that the vehicle has a crash history will bring down its resale value on the market.

How Do You Seek Compensation for Diminished Value?

As the owner of a damaged vehicle, you have the right to seek insurance benefits for diminished value. If you did not cause the car accident, the other driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for the diminished resale value of your vehicle. Otherwise, you may be able to seek this type of compensation from your own insurance provider if you have collision or comprehensive coverage.
Your own insurance company most likely will not want to pay you for the diminished value of your vehicle. Instead, it will only want to pay you for the repairs necessary to restore your car. First-party payments against collision coverage will only pay for diminished values in very limited circumstances. Tell your insurance company that you do not consent to allow them to seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company until you have first been compensated for your diminished value.
If the other driver caused your car accident, notify his or her insurance company that you will be filing a diminished value claim and that you will not accept a settlement until this part of your property claim has been resolved. Follow the insurance company’s instructions for filing your claim and providing proof of your losses. Do not resolve your case, however, until you have spoken to an attorney.

How Does an Insurance Company Calculate a Diminished Value Claim?

Before you can recover compensation for the cost of the diminished value of your vehicle, you must prove that you have lost resale value. The insurance company will request evidence of this loss. You may be able to obtain evidence from a mechanic shop or using an evaluation tool such as Kelley Blue Book to show what your car was worth pre-crash compared to what it is worth now.
For example, if your vehicle would have been able to sell for $10,000 before the car accident, but will now only sell for $6,000, you will need evidence proving the $4,000 difference. Do not forget to combine this with the costs of your vehicle repairs. If it will take $2,000 to restore your vehicle, for instance, your full claim would be for $6,000; the cost of repairs plus the diminished market value of the vehicle.
Insurance companies want to protect their bottom lines by devaluing the claims they receive. You may struggle to negotiate a fair settlement for the diminished value of your vehicle from the insurance company handling your case. The insurer may undervalue the pre-crash resale price of your vehicle in its initial settlement. This is why it is important to speak to an attorney before you sign anything from the insurance company.

Contact an Attorney for Help

You may need to hire a car accident attorney to investigate the facts of your case and help you negotiate for a fair settlement from an insurance company for the diminished value of your vehicle. It often takes an expert to review the case and substantiate a diminished value claim. Hiring a law firm gives you the resources and professionals to successfully investigate and resolve a diminished value case in Dallas.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:51 pm

What Is a Personal Injury Liability Waiver?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
If you get injured due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, that party may be financially responsible for your injuries and related medical bills. If you signed a personal injury liability waiver, however, you may have given up your right to hold someone legally accountable. Learn more about liability waivers – including when they are unenforceable – to find out if you have a claim.

How Do Liability Waivers Work?

A personal injury liability waiver is something you may have to sign before participating in an event or activity that poses foreseeable injury risks. These waivers are designed to protect the creator from liability (legal responsibility) if a participant gets injured – even if the entity was negligent and this is what caused the injuries. Common activities in Texas that require participants to sign personal injury liability waivers include:
  • Amusement parks
  • Bungee jumping
  • Concerts
  • Cruises
  • Daycare centers
  • Equipment rentals
  • Gyms
  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Skydiving
  • Spas
  • Sporting events
  • Tours
  • Trampoline parks
  • Vehicle rentals
In some scenarios, you may be given a written liability waiver that you must fill out and sign before you can participate in an activity. Otherwise, accepting the terms of a liability waiver may be implied when you purchase a ticket. When you buy a cruise ticket, for example, the liability terms you are automatically agreeing to are in fine print on the back. Either way, once you agree to a liability waiver, you may forfeit your right to hold the entity legally responsible for your injuries.

Can You Still File a Lawsuit With a Personal Injury Liability Waiver?

Liability waivers are not infallible. In certain circumstances, it is possible to work around a liability waiver and hold a party accountable for negligence. However, the fact that you signed a personal injury liability waiver will make a lawsuit more difficult. In Texas, a defendant’s attorney may use the assumption of risk defense against you to combat liability for your injuries. This defense states that since you assumed the known risks of an activity, the defendant is not liable for any injuries suffered. You or your personal injury lawyer will have to prove that you are still eligible to file a lawsuit after signing a waiver based on an argument such as:
  • An invalid or unenforceable waiver. An attorney will analyze the liability waiver you signed to search for issues that could make it unenforceable. A liability waiver must contain clear and unambiguous language, for example, and cannot go against public policy.
  • Failure to warn of known risks. If a liability waiver (or the defendant) fails to clearly list the foreseeable injury risks associated with an activity or event, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Gross negligence. Although a liability waiver can protect a defendant from lawsuits brought on the basis of negligence, no waiver can prevent liability for gross negligence, recklessness, intent to harm or a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Other exceptions that could make a liability waiver invalid are if your injuries are from a defective product or due to a misrepresentation of fact. A manufacturing company cannot use a waiver to avoid liability for a defective product that injures a customer. In addition, a defendant misrepresenting the activity could constitute fraud, which will invalidate a liability waiver.

What to Do If You Were Injured After Signing a Liability Waiver

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident after signing a personal injury liability waiver in San Antonio, consult with an attorney for assistance. Hiring an attorney can be crucial for protecting your rights, documenting your injury, and bringing a case against one or more defendants. Your lawyer can help you navigate the unique challenges that may arise during a personal injury case involving a liability waiver or the assumption of risk defense. For more information about personal injury liability waivers in Texas, consult with a lawyer from The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.
Posted by at 11:39 am

7 Hidden Injuries to Watch Out for After a Car Accident

Monday, April 19, 2021

Immediately after a car accident, your adrenaline can act as a pain reliever that masks injury symptoms. You may not notice you are injured until hours later, after the adrenaline has worn off. This is why it is important not to say you are not injured until you have seen a doctor. Look out for symptoms of these seven hidden injuries after a car accident.

7 Hidden Injuries to Watch Out for After a Car Accident 9

Soft-Tissue Injuries

There are hard-tissue and soft-tissue injuries. Hard-tissue injuries are often immediately noticeable, such as broken bones. A victim may not feel a soft-tissue injury, on the other hand, until later. Soft-tissue injuries include muscle strains, sprains, tendon injuries and dislocations. Common symptoms connected to soft-tissue injuries after a car accident include:

  • Pain
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble moving

Soft-tissue injuries often impact the arms, shoulders, elbows and wrists, as well as the knees and legs. The muscles and tendons in the neck and back can also suffer soft-tissue damage in a car accident. These injuries can cause acute and/or chronic pain; however, pain and other symptoms may not be immediate.

Whiplash

Whiplash is the most common type of neck injury associated with motor vehicle accidents. This is a soft-tissue injury that harms the muscles and tendons in the neck due to the rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck in a crash, such as a rear-end collision. The symptoms of whiplash and other neck injuries are often hidden, with pain that is not immediately noticeable. Symptoms can include pain and stiffness in the neck, headaches, tingling, and numbness.

Brain Injuries

If the head or skull strikes an object during a car accident, the impact can be severe enough to make the brain bounce around inside the skull and sustain damage. This is called a traumatic brain injury. Although some brain injuries, such as concussions, show symptoms right away, others affect the victim more slowly. If the brain has slow bleeding or swelling, for example, the victim may not notice any symptoms until the injury has worsened enough to cause more significant damage.

Herniated Disks

A herniated disk describes a ruptured or slipped spinal cord disk. If a car accident causes trauma to the spinal cord, it can rupture the rubbery exterior shell of a spinal cord disk, causing the soft interior to push outward. If it pushes on the nerves surrounding the spinal cord, this injury can cause delayed symptoms such as sharp pains.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A herniated disk is just one of many different types of spinal cord injuries that can arise in an auto accident. Other common back injuries include spinal cord fractures, spinal concussion and nerve damage. Although these injuries can be severe or catastrophic – including paralysis – they may not show immediate signs or symptoms. It may take a few hours or days to notice pain, tingling, or loss of function or sensation related to a spinal cord injury.

Internal Organ Injuries

The internal organs can suffer injuries if an external force pushes against them, such as the pressure of a seat belt. Internal organs that may have hidden injuries after a car accident include the liver, kidney, intestines, lungs and heart. It may take some time for these injuries to present themselves, such as the eventual loss of a bodily function due to organ damage or slow internal bleeding.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Hidden injuries do not only describe physical injuries. They can also refer to mental, emotional or psychological damage connected to an auto accident. Witnessing or experiencing a car crash can cause psychological harm and mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can result in symptoms such as depression, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and phobias. Most people who experience emotional distress notice it in the days or weeks following a traumatic event, not immediately after.
If you get into a car accident in Dallas, wait until you have seen a doctor before discussing whether you are injured with an insurance provider. You may have hidden or delayed injuries.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:58 pm

How Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Truck Accidents

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Most drivers know that they should not drive tired. Yet many do not realize that they are too drowsy to drive until it’s too late. Other drivers, such as truck drivers, may be under tight deadlines and working under pressure from their bosses to keep driving despite fatigue. It is extremely dangerous for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while drowsy – especially when operating a large truck.

Driver Fatigue Can Lead to Truck Accidents

Why Is Truck Driver Fatigue Such a Big Problem?

More and more drivers of all types are guilty of driving while fatigued due to busy schedules and a culture of hyper-productivity. Commercial truck drivers, however, are even more likely to drive tired than passenger vehicle drivers due to a range of risk factors related to their jobs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that 13 percent of commercial drivers were fatigued at the time of their accidents. A truck driver can experience fatigue because of:

  • Strenuous work activities
  • Pressure to meet a deadline
  • Violated hours-of-service regulations
  • A lack of adequate sleep
  • Odd sleeping schedules
  • Overnight drives
  • Driving alone/boredom
  • Caffeine or sugar crashes
  • Health problems such as sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that can interrupt a good night’s sleep with respiratory issues. Truck drivers are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea due to bad health habits, such as sitting sedentary all day, eating unhealthy foods at rest stops and smoking. One study found that 28 percent of truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Many cases are undiagnosed, meaning the driver may not realize that he or she has a higher risk of driving while fatigued due to interrupted sleep.

What Effects Does Fatigue Have on Driving a Large Truck?

Driver fatigue can lead to truck accidents by compromising the driver’s ability to safely and appropriately control a commercial truck. Commercial drivers must receive special training and licenses to operate big rigs. This is because large trucks are more difficult to control than smaller and lighter passenger cars. They require special braking and handling techniques. If a truck driver is fatigued, it can interfere with his or her ability to drive through three main effects:

  • Physical. Fatigue can take a physical toll on a truck driver. It can cause blurred vision, frequent yawning, muscle weakness, lack of coordination and diminished reflexes. Operating a large truck is a very physical activity. If fatigue causes physical problems, the driver may lose control of the truck.
  • Cognitive. Tiredness also has a cognitive impact on a truck driver. Trying to drive through fatigue can come with hazards such as reduced reaction times, impaired judgment, confusion or disorientation, drifting off, daydreaming, or brain fog. Being unable to dedicate 100 percent of the driver’s attention to the road increases the risk of a truck accident.
  • Emotional. A truck driver who is overtired or exhausted may experience emotional changes, such as increased irritation and susceptibility to road rage. A tired truck driver may be more likely to drive aggressively, tailgate, speed or have an emotional breakdown while driving.

The effects of truck driver fatigue are similar to drug or alcohol intoxication. Driving while tired increases the risk of a truck driver behaving carelessly or recklessly behind the wheel, as well as the driver being unable to react quickly enough to prevent a collision. This is why it is important for truck drivers to follow all the rules and take the necessary precautions to avoid fatigue at work.

What Are the FMCSA’s Hours-of-service Regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is the entity in charge of regulating the commercial trucking industry in the United States. In an attempt to mitigate the risks posed by truck driver drowsiness and fatigue, the FMCSA enforces hours-of-service restrictions. These rules dictate how long a truck driver can lawfully drive without taking a rest or meal break. In general, no truck driver can drive past 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty or 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty.

Why Does Truck Driver Fatigue Happen?

Despite having laws in place to try to prevent truck driver fatigue, many truck accidents take place every year that involve tired truck drivers. This is because there are elements unique to the trucking industry that are conducive to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, stress and burnout. Many risk factors inherent to long-haul trucking increase the risk of truck driver fatigue, including:

  • Sleep apnea and other health conditions that interrupt sleep
  • Reversed sleep schedules and overnight drives
  • Having to sleep at strange times and locations
  • Broken hours-of-service regulations
  • Extended hours driving alone
  • Energy crashes from caffeine or sugar
  • Physical or mental exertion at work
  • Unreasonable expectations or pressure from employers.

Sleep apnea is one of the main problems behind truck driver fatigue. This is a condition that can interrupt a good night’s sleep, making a truck driver more tired during waking hours. According to the FMCSA, truck drivers are susceptible to sleep apnea due to risk factors such as being overweight or obese, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, strange sleep patterns, and smoking.

Signs of a Drowsy Truck Driver

As you navigate the roads in Dallas, always keep an eye out for negligent drivers – especially behind the wheel of a dangerous big rig. You may be near a drowsy truck driver if you notice the truck doing any of the following:

  • Weaving in and out of multiple lanes
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Swerving
  • Crossing a highway to make an exit
  • Drifting out of a lane or hitting the rumble strip
  • Driving erratically
  • Stopping and starting
  • Slamming on the brakes
  • Speeding
  • Running a red light or stop sign

Keep a safe distance from the truck if any of these signs are present. Call 911 to report a potential drowsy or intoxicated truck driver. If you can, make note of the trucking company name and truck number so that you can report the driver to the company, as well.

What to Do if a Drowsy Driver Caused Your Truck Accident

If you believe that the truck driver involved in your truck accident in Dallas was fatigued and that this is why the collision took place, consult with an attorney for a professional opinion. A truck accident lawyer in Dallas can carefully investigate your accident and search for signs of truck driver fatigue, such as violated federal regulations or a medical diagnosis of sleep apnea. Then, your lawyer can help you go up against the truck driver and/or trucking company in pursuit of fair financial compensation for your losses.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:20 pm

How Does an Accident Affect a Car Lease?

Saturday, April 17, 2021

If you drive a vehicle that you own, you may understand the basics of what will happen when you file an insurance claim after a car accident. If you were leasing the vehicle that was damaged, however, this can change the claims process. While some actions and processes remain the same, others are different for car accidents involving leased vehicles. Learn what happens after an accident in a leased car to correctly navigate this situation.

Do You Stop Paying the Lease?

No, you do not stop paying your lease after an accident in a leased vehicle. The car accident will not affect the lease. You will still be responsible for paying the value of the vehicle after a collision. If the vehicle needs repairs, you will get this done using the insurance of the at-fault party. Then, you will continue to drive the vehicle and pay for the lease as arranged. If the vehicle was totaled, the company will replace your leased vehicle and you will continue paying under a new leasing agreement.
 

How Does an Accident Affect a Car Lease? 14

Who Pays for Repairs?

The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your collision. The state uses a tort-based car insurance law to determine who pays for a car accident, whether the vehicle is owned or leased. This law states that the person or party at fault for causing the crash is financially responsible for related bills, damage and repairs.
If you cause a car accident in a car that you lease, you are responsible for covering repairs with your own car insurance policy. Most companies require more than the minimum amount of insurance to lease a vehicle. This insurance will pay for vehicle repairs even if you caused the crash. If you total a leased car in an accident, you may need gap insurance to pay the leasing company for the full value of the vehicle.
If another driver causes a car accident and damages or totals your leased vehicle, that driver’s car insurance is responsible for paying for repairs or the pre-crash value of the vehicle. If the other driver’s car insurance does not completely cover the necessary repairs, your own insurance may be used to supplement the benefits available. You may also be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to cover your losses.

What to Do After an Accident in Leased Car

Knowing what to do after a car accident can be even more confusing if you drive a leased vehicle. The insurance claims and recovery process will look different than after a car accident involving two owned vehicles. It is important, however, to take the correct steps and actions to recover both physically and financially. If you can, take the following steps if you are involved in a car accident while driving a leased vehicle in Dallas, Texas:

  1. Pull over close to the scene of the crash and call the police.
  2. If anyone is injured or might be hurt, request emergency medical personnel.
  3. Exchange information with the other driver. Do not admit fault.
  4. Take photographs and gather any other evidence that is available at the scene.
  5. Go to a hospital in Dallas immediately for professional medical care.
  6. Understand your leasing contract and your responsibilities after a collision.
  7. Call your own car insurance company and leasing company to report the accident within the first two days of the crash.
  8. Call the other driver’s insurance company to report the car accident.
  9. Follow your leasing company’s instructions for where to bring your damaged vehicle.
  10. Consult with a car accident attorney for advice before accepting an insurance settlement.

Determining fault, gathering evidence, filing an insurance claim and negotiating for a fair settlement are difficult tasks that can be even more complicated when a car accident involves a leased vehicle. At The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., our car accident lawyers can help you with the claims process after this type of collision. We can explain your legal rights and take over the claims process on your behalf. We will fight for maximum financial compensation after a leased car crash while you focus on healing from your injuries or losses.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:17 pm

Should I Admit Fault for the Car Accident?

Friday, April 16, 2021

Being in a car accident can be inconvenient, confusing and stressful. You may suffer serious injuries as well as expensive property damage. You will also have to deal with the insurance claims process, which can be difficult on its own. Although your first instinct may be to apologize or admit fault for a car accident, this is not a good idea for many reasons.

Should I Admit Fault for the Car Accident? 16

About Car Accident Investigations

Texas is a fault-based insurance state. This means that after a car accident, the party responsible for paying damages is the one who caused the crash. In a no-fault insurance state, on the other hand, all drivers will seek financial compensation from their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the car accident.
If you admit fault immediately after a car accident, this can place 100 percent of financial liability for the wreck with you and your insurance provider, without further investigation. The other driver’s insurance company will make you pay for the accident even if a full investigation would have found evidence of someone else’s fault. The insurance company will not waste time or resources on investigating if you are willing to absorb fault for the accident from the start.
If you do not admit fault, the insurance company will have no choice but to investigate the crash. The insurance company will look at evidence such as the police report and eyewitness statements to piece together how the collision occurred. The insurance company will also send a claims adjuster to visit the scene of the accident and inspect vehicle damage in person. Then, the insurer will determine fault based on its investigation, rather than taking you at your word.

Texas’s Comparative Negligence Law

An important reason not to admit fault for a car accident in Texas is the possibility of shared fault among multiple parties. Although you may think you caused the car accident, there may be factors you are unaware of that also contributed to the crash.
For example, you may have been texting and driving, but the other driver might have run a red light without you noticing. In this scenario, it would be unfair for you to absorb 100 percent of fault for the crash since the other driver also contributed to the collision.
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means even if you were partially to blame for a car accident, if someone else was also at fault, you can share liability and still recover at least a portion of a financial award.
In Texas, you can still recover damages with up to 50 percent of fault for a car accident. The court will reduce your compensatory award by an amount that is equivalent to your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent to blame, however, you will be barred from financial recovery.

How to Speak to an Insurance Company

In the aftermath of a car accident in Texas, you will receive a phone call from someone called an insurance claims adjuster. It is important not to admit fault to the claims adjuster, as he or she will be searching for reasons to deny your claim.
Do not allow the adjuster to pressure you into admitting fault. Do not speculate about fault, either; instead, state the facts of the auto accident as you understand them. Do not offer any additional information besides answering the questions asked. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.

Get Help From an Attorney

Admitting fault for a car accident to the other driver, the responding police officer or an insurance company could end your case before an investigation. This can rob you of the possibility of discovering fault with the other driver or a third party, such as an auto manufacturer or the government, barring you from the financial recovery you deserve.
Rather than admitting fault, contact a car accident attorney in Dallas if you believe you’re partially at fault for a collision.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:38 pm

Can You Claim Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident?

Friday, April 16, 2021
If a driver was careless or reckless and this caused your car accident in San Antonio, Texas, you can file a claim against the driver for financial compensation for your injuries and related expenses, such as medical bills. You may also be able to obtain a monetary recovery for physical pain and emotional suffering, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Is PTSD? What Are the Symptoms?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder associated with surviving or witnessing a traumatic event. While many people associate PTSD with soldiers in combat zones, it can affect anyone who has lived through a traumatic event. This includes survivors of motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms commonly associated with PTSD include:
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety associated with the activity
  • Phobias or avoidance
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability or behavioral changes
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
PTSD related to a car accident could come from the trauma of the crash itself, serious injuries suffered in the car accident or watching a loved one die in an auto accident. Diagnosing PTSD often requires seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist and discussing the symptoms being experienced. PTSD treatments may include therapy, medication or a combination of both.

Claiming Damages for PTSD After a Car Accident

Damages is the legal term for both the losses suffered by a car accident victim as well as the financial compensation available for his or her losses. Claiming damages after a car accident in Texas takes filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver or party. If an insurance claim does not result in adequate compensation, the case may go to trial. However, most car accident claims in Texas are resolved with settlements. Although it is possible to claim damages for PTSD after a car accident, insurance companies make it notoriously difficult to recover compensation for this type of intangible or noneconomic loss. PTSD – along with damages such as physical pain, emotional suffering and mental anguish – are more difficult to value compared to losses that are easily documented, such as medical bills and lost wages. Proving PTSD during an insurance claim or lawsuit often takes evidence such as medical records from a psychiatrist and expert testimony to speak on behalf of what the victim is feeling and experiencing. This is why it is important for a car accident victim to see a mental health professional as soon as possible upon recognizing the signs of PTSD. An official diagnosis of this mental health condition is often necessary before an insurance company or jury will award financial damages for this type of loss. A victim can also improve the odds of obtaining compensation for PTSD by keeping an injury journal to document his or her thoughts, emotions and moods in the days and weeks following a traumatic car accident.

How Are PTSD Damages Calculated?

Another challenge when bringing a claim for PTSD after a car accident is obtaining a fair amount of financial compensation for this type of loss. Insurance companies are notorious for devaluing clients’ claims to save themselves and their investors money. During an insurance claim, a car insurance company may offer less than a victim deserves for emotional suffering and post-traumatic stress disorder without help from an attorney. If the insurance company does not offer an adequate amount, the case may have to go to trial. Before a jury will award pain and suffering damages during a car accident lawsuit, however, the victim must prove that he or she has this condition and that it has negatively impacted his or her life. If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, a car accident attorney in San Antonio can help you increase the odds of a successful damage claim. An attorney can gather evidence to prove your PTSD and the effect it has had on your life. A lawyer can also help you negotiate for maximum financial compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages. Discuss your case with a car accident attorney at the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today for more information.
Posted by at 11:35 am

How a Police Report Can Determine Fault and Liability in a Car Accident

Thursday, April 15, 2021
How a Police Report Can Determine Fault and Liability in a Car Accident 19

If you get into a car accident in Texas, the person at fault for causing the crash will be financially responsible for your medical bills and property repairs. This is how Texas’s fault-based insurance system works. One of the best tools for determining fault and liability for a car accident is a police report.

When Is a Police Report Required?

Whether or not you have to call the police after a car accident depends on the law in your state and the severity of the collision. In Texas, you are legally required to report a car accident to the police if it causes any injuries, fatalities or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. The law requires you to call the police as soon as possible – typically from the scene of the crash.

What Information Is Included on the Police Report?

When the police arrive, the responding officer will create an accident report with all of the most important information about the collision. The officer will conduct a brief investigation by asking those involved questions about what they witnessed and experienced. The officer may also take official photographs of the crash scene.
Typically, a police accident report contains the following information:

  • All of the basic facts about the crash will be documented, such as the date, location and exact time of the collision, as well as the names and information of the parties involved. It will also list the names of any eyewitnesses and a description of both vehicles.
  • If the police officer has an opinion about who or what caused the car accident, the officer may include this on the accident report. While this information is not treated the same way as the facts of the case, an insurance company can take the officer’s opinion about fault into consideration.
  • Many car accidents stem from a driver violating a traffic law, such as speeding or driving drunk. The crash report will include whether one or both drivers received any citations for moving violations and whether the officer believes the broken law contributed to the car accident.

This information can be critical during your car accident insurance claim. It can prove that the car accident took place the way you say it did and that you suffered the losses you are listing on the claim. The insurance company will want to learn as much as it can from the accident report before conducting its own investigation to determine fault.

How Is the Police Report Used During a Claim?

The police report for a car accident can provide information and evidence that helps an insurance company decide the driver or party at fault. Although it is not the only tool used to determine fault, an accident report can influence an insurance company’s decision. The insurance company can use facts and data provided in the report to piece together how and why the car accident happened.
An insurance company may work with crash reconstruction experts to create a diagram of how the collision most likely took place based on facts from the report, such as the time and location of the collision and statements from eyewitnesses. If the report includes information about one of the drivers breaking the law, the insurance provider will also use this to determine fault.
It is important to note that an insurance company will launch its own investigation before determining fault; it will not only look at the information on the police report. The insurance company will assign someone called a claims adjuster to revisit the scene of the car accident, inspect property damage in person and interview those involved to get to the bottom of the cause of the crash.

When to Contact an Attorney

The police report can be an important part of your car accident claim. It can ultimately determine whether or not you receive financial compensation for your injuries. Obtain and review a copy of your police report with help from an attorney in Dallas for more information about how it can impact your case.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:55 am