Do I Need an Independent Medical Exam After an Accident in Dallas?

Monday, May 31, 2021

Settling an accident claim in Texas requires many different steps and actions on your part as an injured victim. One of these requirements may be an independent medical exam, or IME. An IME is a medical examination that is separate from the one conducted by your primary care physician or an emergency room after an accident. It is performed by a physician that is supposed to be neutral, to provide the insurance company with an unbiased medical opinion about your condition.

Do I Need an Independent Medical Exam After an Accident in Dallas? 1

What Is an Independent Medical Exam?

The independent medical exam is conducted by a physician who is certified as an independent medical examiner. The alleged purpose of the IME is to give the insurance company an impartial medical opinion on your condition. It serves to confirm the validity of the injury claimed and to prevent insurance fraud. The real goal, however, is often to refute a client’s medical claims and save the insurance company money.
The insurance company will typically provide a list of doctors in Dallas to choose from for an IME, or may give you the name of one specific independent medical examiner to visit. Although the IME is supposed to be performed by an unbiased third-party physician, there are often underlying business connections between the doctor and the insurance company.
For this reason, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas if an insurance company makes a request for an independent medical exam. The request is only valid in cases where there is good cause for the IME, such as disputes over the victim’s medical condition. A lawyer can check the validity of the request and advise you on how to respond.

Do You Have to Submit to an Independent Medical Exam?

In general, you must submit to an independent medical exam if one is requested by an insurance company. Read the language of your insurance policy to see if you agreed to submit to an IME as part of your contract. If so, the only way to refuse an IME is to show proof that admitting to one would be an undue burden, such as taking you out of work or giving you hefty travel costs. A lawyer may also be able to get you out of an IME if the circumstances of your case do not warrant one.

What to Expect During an IME

During an independent medical exam, the doctor will ask you how your injury took place, as well as obtain information about your relevant medical history. The doctor will also ask about your current course of treatment. Then, you may be subjected to physical exams and tests, such as x-rays. The insurance company will pay for the IME. You may be required to submit to more than one independent medical exam, at the cost of the insurance company, if the results of the initial appointment are inconclusive.
Do not fear the independent medical exam. It is very similar to a typical doctor’s appointment, with a focus on the injuries and treatments related to the accident involved in your insurance claim. With a lawyer in your corner, you will know exactly what to expect. Your lawyer can provide guidance and frame your legal strategy so that the results of an IME will affect your injury claim as little as possible.
The outcome of an independent medical exam may be disputed in court, depending on the circumstances. IMEs are rarely objective and may be based on kickbacks the doctor receives from the insurance company. Your lawyer can investigate the validity of your IME, as well as help you move forward with an injury claim for the best possible results. For more information about independent medical exams, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:02 pm

What Compensation Can I Recover for a No-Injury Car Accident?

Monday, May 31, 2021
In Texas, if another driver causes your car accident, his or her car insurance company will have to pay for your losses. This includes your medical bills, property repairs, pain and suffering, and lost wages from missed work. If you do not have any injuries from the collision, you could still be eligible for financial compensation for your other losses.

Vehicle Repairs or Replacement

Every driver in Texas must purchase at least $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. This type of auto insurance will pay for the repairs your vehicle requires, up to the policy’s maximum. If the car accident totaled your vehicle, meaning the cost of repairs is more than the total value of the car, the other driver’s insurance company will be responsible for reimbursing you for the full pre-crash market value of the vehicle. The other driver’s insurance will also pay if you had to rent a car while yours was in the shop.

Lost Wages

If the car accident took you out of work, such as for a medical evaluation or to deal with your wrecked car, you can list lost wages as part of your claim. List the amount you would have received at your job had the car accident not interfered with your ability to work. Although your lost wages may not be as significant as they would be if you had been injured, you can still report missed earnings, employment benefits or opportunities. You can also seek financial compensation for any sick days or vacation days you had to use because of the car accident.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is a broad damage category that encompasses many different types of noneconomic or intangible losses. These include mental anguish, emotional distress, and physical pain and suffering you endured because of the car accident. It can also include lost quality of life, lost enjoyment of life and psychiatric issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you may also be eligible for compensation for your grief and loss of consortium. Even if you were not physically injured, if the car accident caused any noneconomic damage, the other driver may owe you compensation.

Who Is Responsible?

The person or party responsible for paying for your losses during a no-injury car accident claim depends on many factors, including the laws in your state and the cause of the crash. Texas is a fault state, meaning the insurance system holds the driver or party at fault for causing the crash financially responsible for related losses. It will be up to you or your car accident lawyer to determine and prove fault during your car accident claim. Most car accident cases in San Antonio name another driver as the at-fault party or defendant. The other driver could be responsible for paying for your related bills if he or she was careless, reckless or distracted and this caused the collision. The defendant could also be the manufacturer of your vehicle if a part defect caused the crash, or the government if a roadway hazard was to blame. A lawyer can help you determine and prove fault for your collision.

How Much Is Your Case Worth?

Although the value of your car accident case will be reduced if you have no physical injuries, the law may still entitle you to financial compensation for the losses you did suffer. The value of your case will depend on factors such as the value of your vehicle, the extent of your damage, your income level, the number of days you had to take off of work and the car insurance that is available. For an accurate evaluation of the value of your car accident case, contact an attorney in San Antonio for a free consultation. An attorney will provide an in-depth evaluation to estimate the worth of your no-injury claim. Then, if your case would benefit from legal representation, a lawyer can help you fight for fair financial compensation from an insurance company.
Posted by at 1:28 pm

Most Common Back Injuries From Car Accidents in San Antonio

Friday, May 28, 2021
A car accident can have serious physical repercussions on the occupants of the vehicle. The mechanics of a car crash can injure vital parts of the body, such as the brain and spinal cord. A back or spine injury from a car accident can cause many symptoms that interfere with a victim’s quality of life. If you or a loved one suffers any type of back injury in a San Antonio car accident, consult with a spinal cord injury attorney for legal help.

Herniated or Slipped Disk

Spinal cord disks are round, rubbery disks that sit between the vertebrae of the spine. They have tough exteriors and soft, jelly-like interiors. They act as shock absorbers to protect the bones of the spine. In a car accident, a victim can suffer a slipped disk, meaning a disk has moved from its correct place in the spine. A ruptured disk is an injury where the exterior of the disk ruptures and the interior leaks out. Discogenic pain is another type of spinal disk injury that can occur in an auto accident. This refers to shooting pains that can occur at random. These pains may occur in a single damaged disk or radiate throughout the body (sciatica). Common associated symptoms include pain in the arms or legs, numbness or tingling, and general weakness in the limbs.

Facet Joint Injury

Facet joints in the spinal cord are what connect each vertebra in the spine. These joints are where nerve roots pass to connect the spinal cord to other parts of the body. They are also responsible for the bending and flexing movements of the spine. If a facet joint sustains an injury in a car accident, it can lead to significant pain and discomfort. Facet joint injuries can lead to painful muscle spasms, with no known cure. Therapeutic massage may help manage facet joint pain.


The neck is an extension of the spinal cord. It contains the top seven vertebrae of the spine (the cervical spine). The most common neck injury suffered in car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that can refer to stretching, straining or tearing of the muscles in the neck. It can lead to pain that radiates down the shoulders and arms, as well as headaches and loss of mobility. Most victims make full recoveries from whiplash, but it may take several weeks to heal.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain in any part of the body that is consistent, meaning it persists for long periods of time. Chronic back pain can be debilitating, getting in the way of the victim’s ability to perform daily activities, work, play with children and enjoy life. Chronic back pain can result from nerve damage in a car accident. It may be possible to manage pain with medication and other treatments.

Spinal Fractures

A fracture is a cracked or broken bone. A spinal fracture refers to a broken vertebra. This injury can occur in a car accident if the back or spine impacts something, such as the steering column or the force of a seat belt. It can also be a type of crush-related injury, which can cause spinal compression. A spinal fracture can lead to chronic back pain, mobility problems, misalignment and permanent injuries, such as paralysis.

Paralysis (Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia and Paraplegia)

Paralysis is the loss of feeling and function below the point of injury on a spinal cord. It is an irreversible condition with no known cure. There are different types of paralysis according to the parts of the body affected. Tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia) refers to paralysis in all four limbs and the trunk, often caused by injuries to the top part of the spine. Paraplegia is paralysis in only the lower half of the body. These injuries can be complete or incomplete, depending on whether or not the victim retains any mobility or sensation below the point of injury.
Posted by at 1:25 pm

What Information Should Be Exchanged After a Car Accident in Texas?

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Being involved in a car accident can be alarming and confusing. It can be easy to forget what information you need to exchange with the other driver in the adrenaline of the moment. It is important to exchange certain information, however, to abide by Texas’ state law as well as to protect your right to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs. In the aftermath of a car accident in Dallas, do your best to exchange the following information.

What Information Should Be Exchanged After a Car Accident in Texas? 3

Names and Contact Information

Texas Transportation Code Section 550.023 states that after striking another motorist or an unattended vehicle, you have a legal obligation to give your name and address to the owner of the other vehicle. You will exchange this information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash, or else you will leave your own information in a note affixed in a conspicuous place on an unattended vehicle after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner. The note should also include a brief description of the accident.

Driver’s Licenses

If requested and available, both drivers should show their driver’s licenses to the other party. You may take a photograph of the other driver’s license, if desired, or write down the driver’s license number. If the other driver does not have a driver’s license or it is not available, call the police to report the infraction, as driving without a license is a traffic violation in Texas. If the other driver does not request to see your license, you do not have to show it.

Vehicle Information

Exchange information about your vehicle with the other driver, as well. This includes a description of the make, model, year and color of the car, as well as the registration number and vehicle identification number (VIN), typically found on the dash of the car or the inside of the driver’s side door. You may also wish to write down the vehicle’s license plate numbers.

Insurance Information

Finally, exchange insurance information with the operator of the other vehicle and anyone else injured in the crash. This includes the name of your motor vehicle liability insurance provider, as well as your policy number. Ask for the other driver’s insurance information before you leave the scene. If you discover that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, report it to the police.

The Duty to Render Aid

You also have a duty to render aid to anyone injured in the car accident. This means to provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the car accident, including calling an ambulance or transporting the person to a hospital for medical treatment, if necessary.
If you leave the scene of a car accident that causes any injuries, deaths or property damage without fulfilling your responsibilities as a driver, you have committed the crime of a hit-and-run. In Texas, this crime can result in expensive fines, jail time and a misdemeanor conviction.

What Else Should You Do After a Car Accident in Dallas?

In Texas, the law requires you to report a car accident to the police if it causes more than $1,000 worth of vehicle damage or any injuries or deaths. Call the police immediately, while still at the scene of the crash. Check yourself and others for injuries. Then, take photographs and videos of the crash scene. Capture close-up shots of any property damage, as well as wide-lens shots of the entire accident scene.
Go directly to a hospital in Dallas after leaving the scene of the crash. Prompt medical care can help you recover from your injuries, as well as show an insurance company that you did your best to mitigate your losses. When you are ready, call your car insurance company to file a report of the crash. Then, contact a car accident attorney in Dallas for a free consultation about your legal rights. You may be eligible for financial compensation from the other driver.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:55 am

What Is an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case?

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

In a car accident case in Texas, it is up to you (or your attorney) as the injured victim to establish someone else’s fault based on evidence. There are many forms of evidence, including documentation and photographs. One of the most compelling types of evidence, however, is testimony from an expert witness.

What Is an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case? 5

What Is an Expert Witness? Who Qualifies as an Expert?

An expert witness is someone brought into a car accident or personal injury case to testify using special knowledge of a relevant subject. In an injury claim, for example, a medical expert witness may be necessary to explain the nature of the victim’s injuries to a jury, and how they will most likely impact the victim.
An expert witness is someone with the experience, training and education to be an expert on the subject at hand. Thus, his or her testimony is accepted as an accurate account. There are many different types of expert witnesses who may be called upon to testify in a car accident case, including:

  • Physicians and medical professionals
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists
  • Psychologists or psychiatrists
  • Car accident reconstructionists
  • Highway safety experts
  • Engineers
  • Economists and financial experts
  • Accountants and forensic accountants

The parameters of who qualifies as an expert witness depend on state and federal rules of evidence. According to federal law, an expert witness is someone qualified to speak on a specialized subject due to his or her knowledge, education, skill, training or on-the-job experience. It is typically someone who currently has a career or is a teacher in the field.

What Is the Role of an Expert Witness in a Car Accident Case?

When hired to testify during a car accident case, an expert witness explains complex matters that the average person would not know to the jury, such as the mechanics of an injury or what happens inside of the cab of a vehicle in a motor vehicle accident. An expert witness will give his or her professional opinion on a matter pertaining to the injury claim, such as the medical probability of the victim making a full recovery or an opinion as to what caused the crash.
An expert can help establish the facts of a car accident case and explain key concepts to a jury in a way that a layperson can understand. Testimony from an expert can provide a logical explanation of who or what caused the car accident, as well as prove your injuries and losses. Whether or not you need to hire an expert witness for your car accident case in Dallas depends on the specific details.

Do You Need an Expert Witness?

A car accident attorney can review your case to determine whether or not it would benefit from testimony from an expert witness. If so, the attorney and law firm will have connections to qualified expert witnesses in Texas who can testify on your behalf. Car accident cases that typically need expert witnesses are those with significant or catastrophic injuries, where the victim has a lot at stake. A minor car accident claim, on the other hand, may not justify the resources spent on hiring an expert witness.

How Much Does an Expert Witness Cost?

Expert witnesses often charge high fees to pay for their time and energy. The exact amount it takes to hire an expert witness depends on the individual expert and the amount of work he or she is expected to perform on your case. Most experts work for an hourly rate. The average hourly fee for a medical expert is $500 per hour. Nonmedical experts typically charge about $250 per hour. There are often different rates for paperwork and reviews compared to testifying in court.
For more information about expert witnesses, and to find out if your car accident case could benefit from hiring one, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:54 pm

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement After a Demand Letter Is Sent?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A settlement is a check an insurance company gives you to pay for your injuries and losses after an accident, such as a car accident.

By accepting the check, you agree to end the lawsuit and relinquish your right to hold the defendant further liable for the same accident or injury.

Although each case is unique, most follow similar timelines. These timelines can give you an idea of what to expect from your situation.

However, any factors unique to your case can impact how long it will take to get a settlement after you send your demand letter.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement After a Demand Letter Is Sent? 8

What Is the Demand Letter?

The sooner you send your demand letter, the sooner you can initiate the insurance claims process.

The demand letter is the initial letter you or your lawyer send to the insurance company in charge of your claim.

It is the first attempt to resolve a dispute by requesting a specific amount of money to settle the case.

A lawyer can help you draft a succinct and effective demand letter that accurately estimates the value of your claim.

Texas Requirements for How Soon Insurance Companies Must Respond to Claims

If you are reading this, you are probably wondering, How long does it take to get a settlement after a demand letter is sent? There are state laws in place to increase the efficiency of the insurance system and demand letter response time.

These laws include deadlines all insurance companies in Texas must comply with when handling and responding to submitted claims. In Texas, an insurance company must acknowledge a claim within 15 days of its receipt.

This means you will receive an initial letter or email from the insurance company stating that it received your claim or demand letter within two weeks.

Then, the insurance company has the right to request information, documentation and evidence from you to inform its investigation.

You and your attorney can submit all the necessary paperwork together to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Then, the insurance company has 15 days from the date it receives all of the necessary paperwork to decide whether to accept or reject the claim.

Once an insurance company decides to accept a claim and offer financial benefits, it must mail a settlement check within five business days.

Thus, for the most part, an insurance company in Texas must pay out a claim it accepts within 35 days. However, this timeline can be extended if the insurance company needs more time to conduct its investigation.

In this case, the insurance company may request 45 days to investigate, if it has sufficient grounds to do so, pushing out the personal injury demand letter response time.

Factors That Could Lengthen the Timeline

There is no set timeline that applies to every insurance claim; it varies on a case-by-case basis. Some claims are paid out within one to three months, while others take six months or longer to resolve.

Other cases can take years if they have to go to trial. Factors that can make a settlement take longer include:

  • A liability dispute
  • Multiple defendants
  • The comparative negligence defense
  • Mistakes made on the paperwork
  • Missing information
  • The insurance company handling many claims at once
  • Lengthy settlement negotiations
  • Insurance company bad faith
  • A wrongfully denied claim
  • Your case going to court

The length of time it takes for your insurance claim to settle depends on many different factors that are unique to your case.

It may be possible to speed up your timeline, however, with help from a personal injury lawyer in Dallas.

How Long Does It Take to Negotiate a Settlement?

The settlement negotiation process starts when you file your claim with the other party’s insurance company.

After that, it can take weeks or months of discussion before both parties agree on a settlement number. The length of time a settlement takes usually depends on how complicated your case is.

If, after multiple rounds of negotiations, you and the insurance company have not reached an agreement, your attorney might suggest filing a lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit may prompt the insurer to finally offer a satisfactory settlement. Unfortunately, if the insurance company does not make an offer and opts instead to go to trial, you will likely have to wait longer for a settlement.

This is because trial dates are often set for six to eight months after parties file a complaint. Keep in mind that even if you file a lawsuit, you can still settle before the trial starts.

What Is the Next Step After a Demand Letter?

Generally, you can expect to receive a settlement check three to six weeks after you sign a settlement release.

If you are working with a lawyer, once you sign the release, the insurance company will process it and issue your lawyer a check.

After your lawyer receives the check, they will deposit it into an escrow account. Once the settlement check clears, your lawyer will use it to pay any money you owe.

For example, a payment might be made to your health insurance company if they paid for medical treatments related to the accident.

After your lawyer pays those expenses, they will deduct their fees based on what you agreed to in the contract you signed when you hired them.

Your lawyer may also deduct other costs, like court and expert witness fees. Once all fees and costs are paid, your lawyer will write you a check and send it to your address, at which time you will be free to deposit it in your bank account.

How to Speed Up Your Settlement

A personal injury lawyer has all the tools, resources and experience to make your insurance claim proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Your lawyer could shorten your timeline by communicating with the insurance company on your behalf. This will prevent common mistakes, such as missing information on the paperwork.

Your lawyer will also ensure that you do not rush into a fast settlement that devalues your injuries and losses.

Hiring a lawyer can shorten a settlement timeline while protecting your legal rights.

Contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

If you suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence, the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Our experienced personal injury team is not afraid to go to court to pursue your maximum compensation and will use aggressive legal strategies to protect your rights.

We offer one-on-one attention and will take the time to get to know you and the details of your unique case.

Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free case evaluation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:52 pm

Determining Fault in a Rear-End Collision

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
A rear-end collision is a common type of car accident in San Antonio. It describes the front of one vehicle striking the rear-end of another vehicle. A rear-end collision can be a low-speed crash, such as in congested traffic, or a high-speed crash, such as in a distracted or drowsy driving accident. Although most people assume the rear driver is to blame for a rear-end collision, fault is not automatic. It may take an in-depth investigation to determine fault.

Typical Rear-End Collision

A typical rear-end collision describes a crash involving only two vehicles: the rear driver (Driver B) and the front driver (Driver A). In this type of crash, Driver B is often – but not always – to blame. All drivers have a responsibility to keep a proper lookout and maintain a safe following distance. Following too closely (tailgating) or failing to pay attention to the road could lead to Driver B striking the rear of Driver A’s vehicle. In this scenario, Driver B will most likely be liable for the damage.

Brake Check Accident

There are situations in which Driver A, the front driver, could be responsible for a rear-end collision in Texas. If the front driver caused or contributed to the crash by brake checking, for example, he or she could be at fault. Brake checking means to slam abruptly on the brakes without reason. If brake checking causes a rear-end car accident, Driver A could be liable. Driver A could also bear liability for a rear-end collision if he or she had a brake light or taillight out and this contributed to the crash. Lack of proper vehicle maintenance could cause a crash by failing to warn Driver B that Driver A is stopping. Although it is still Driver B’s responsibility to keep a proper lookout and hit the brakes before impact, Driver A could absorb partial liability if a broken taillight contributed to the wreck. Finally, Driver A could be responsible for a rear-end car accident caused by a sudden or unsafe lane change. Lane-change accidents are some of the most common types of vehicle collisions in Texas. If Driver A abruptly cuts off Driver B with a dangerous lane change and Driver B could not stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision, Driver A could be liable.

Chain-Reaction Crash

A chain-reaction crash is a collision involving more than two cars. It describes a chain of multiple rear-end collisions: Driver C => Driver B => Driver A. It can be more difficult to determine fault for a chain-reaction accident, as there are more than two drivers involved. In general, the driver who initiated the chain-reaction accident with the first rear-end collision will be responsible for the crash. Without this driver’s mistake, the subsequent rear-end accidents would not have occurred. In the example above, the liable driver would most likely be Driver C, if Driver C struck Driver B, who was then pushed into Driver A. Other drivers may also bear liability, however, depending on the circumstances.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

A car accident attorney will have experience handling many different types of rear-end collision cases in San Antonio. This will give the attorney knowledge and information about how and why these car accidents take place. An attorney will also have the resources to thoroughly investigate the crash and reconstruct it to determine fault. Finally, an attorney can help you prove another driver’s liability for a rear-end collision in San Antonio through evidence such as expert testimony and eyewitness statements. For more information about how a car accident lawyer can help you with a rear-end collision case, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert today.
Posted by at 1:26 pm

How to Obtain Your Medical Records After an Injury

Monday, May 24, 2021

If you get injured in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation through the rules of personal injury law. An insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit in Dallas, Texas requires you to show proof of your injuries to receive financial benefits. One type of evidence that may be useful is your medical records. If you are handling your claim on your own, you will need to gather these records yourself. Otherwise, your attorney can collect them for you.

How to Obtain Your Medical Records After an Injury 11

Why Do You Need Your Medical Records?

Whether you were injured in a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or a workplace accident, you will have to provide proof of your injuries if you wish to obtain financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses. An insurance company will ask for proof and evidence to support your case before it will send a settlement check.
Many different types of medical records and documents can help you prove your injury case in Texas, including:

  • Your medical history
  • Admitting charts and nurses’ notes
  • X-ray, MRI and CT scan images
  • Test results
  • Diagnosis and prognosis reports
  • Consultations or referrals
  • Your treatment plan
  • Prescriptions for medications
  • A letter from your doctor
  • Itemized bills from the hospital

These medical documents can help you prove that you sustained a diagnosable injury, that the injury is connected to your accident, that you are following your doctor’s treatment plan and that you have medical expenses related to the accident.

Do Not Sign a Medical Authorization Form

When you call an insurance company to file a claim, the insurance claims adjuster may send you a document known as the Medical Authorization Release Form. The insurance company wants you to sign this form to grant it access to your medical records. Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects your privacy as a patient, the insurance company cannot access your medical records unless you sign this release form.
It is critical not to sign this form, however, until you have brought it to a personal injury attorney for review. Most release forms request access to the client’s full medical history, not just the medical records related to the injury claimed. The insurance company’s goal is to gain full access to the client’s medical records to search for a reason to deny or diminish coverage, such as a pre-existing injury or condition. Rather than signing this release form, provide your own medical records to the insurance company instead.

Contact Your Health Care Provider

HIPAA gives you the right to access and obtain copies of your own medical records. Obtaining these documents generally takes a phone call to the hospital or doctor’s office where you received care for the injuries for which you are seeking financial compensation. This may include an emergency room in Dallas, a specialist, a primary care physician or a surgical center.
Give your doctor your identifying information so he or she can track down the correct documents. Explain that you need copies of your medical records for your most recent injury. HIPAA allows doctors and medical offices to charge a reasonable fee for copies of patient records. Once you pay the fee, the office will mail or email you copies of your records. Make additional copies of these copies for your own records. Then, submit the first set of copies to the insurance company to proceed with a claim.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney for Assistance

You do not have to obtain your medical records or collect other evidence to support your personal injury case on your own. You have the right to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you during a lawsuit. If you authorize the release of your medical records to an attorney, he or she can contact hospitals and doctors on your behalf to obtain the necessary medical records. Then, your attorney can use these records and other types of evidence to help you fight for maximum financial compensation for your losses.
For more information about how an attorney can help, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 9:10 am

San Antonio Bicycle Traffic Laws

Friday, May 21, 2021
The City of San Antonio is full of bicycle enthusiasts who use these vehicles for work, recreation and a regular means of transportation. Unfortunately, San Antonio is not the safest city for bicyclists, due largely to distracted drivers and confusion regarding bicycle traffic laws. In 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 68 pedalcyclist fatalities throughout the state. You may be able to stay safe as a bicyclist and avoid accidents by knowing and obeying San Antonio’s related laws.

Are Bicycles Vehicles in Texas?

Yes, bicycles are classified as vehicles under Texas State law. This means bicyclists have all of the same rights, responsibilities and duties that apply to motor vehicle operators. As a bicyclist, you must obey all traffic laws, regulations, signs and signals. Failing to do so could lead to a ticket or fine for a traffic violation.

Do You Have to Obey Traffic Laws on a Bicycle in San Antonio?

Yes, you must obey all traffic laws and roadway rules while riding a bicycle in San Antonio, unless a law does not apply to a bicycle due to its nature. This includes following traffic control signals, obeying stop signs, yielding the right-of-way (when applicable), following speed limits and traveling in the same direction as the rest of traffic. There is also a Safe Passing Ordinance in San Antonio that requires motor vehicle operators to stay at least three feet and commercial truck drivers to stay at least six feet away from bicyclists while following or passing. Breaking basic roadway rules is a common mistake that can lead to preventable collisions.

Where Can You Ride a Bicycle in San Antonio?

You should ride your bicycle on the road or a bicycle lane in San Antonio, not a sidewalk. You have as much right to the road as motor vehicle operators in Texas. If you are moving slower than the traffic around you, you must ride as near as you can to the right-hand side of the road unless you are passing another vehicle, turning left or a road hazard makes it unsafe to do so. If a bicycle lane is available, you must use the bicycle lane rather than riding in the road. While riding your bike, you may ride two abreast with another bicyclist. You cannot carry a passenger on your bicycle unless you have a bike that is designed for more than one person. You also cannot carry an object that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle. It is against the law to attach a skateboard, roller skates or another such object to the bicyclist or bicycle.

Do You Have to Wear a Helmet While Riding a Bicycle in San Antonio?

No law in San Antonio or Texas requires you to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. Texas does not have a universal helmet law for bicyclists, but certain municipalities require them. Although you legally do not have to use a helmet, it is strongly encouraged. Studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a head injury by 85 percent.

What Is the Required Bicycle Equipment in Texas?

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 551.104, all bikes in the state must be equipped with adequate brakes, as well as a front headlight and rear reflector if the bicyclist plans on riding at nighttime. In addition, San Antonio’s Bike Light Ordinance requires a front white light and a rear red reflector or light, both visible from at least 500 feet. Breaking this municipal law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $200 fine.

Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bike in San Antonio?

No, you cannot get a driving under the influence (DUI) charge for operating a bicycle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. However, you could receive charges for public intoxication. If you cause or contribute to an accident while driving under the influence, you could also face civil liability for the collision – meaning you will be financially responsible for injuries or property damage. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident in San Antonio, contact a bicycle accident attorney for help as soon as possible.
Posted by at 1:11 pm

How to Deal With an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

An insurance claims adjuster is someone who either works for the insurance company or is hired from an outside company to analyze a claim. It is the professional in charge of investigating the claim, looking at the evidence, and recommending to the insurance company to accept or reject benefits. Dealing with an insurance adjuster correctly after a car accident is critical. Knowing how to do so can help you maximize your financial recovery.

How to Deal With an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident 13

Prepare for Your Conversation

You can return a claims adjuster’s call at your convenience. Give yourself time to prepare for the conversation. Take time to gather the basic facts of the crash so that you are better able to answer the adjuster’s questions. Call the adjuster back after you have processed the accident and can discuss it calmly. Be polite to the adjuster and either record the conversation or take notes.

Don’t Assume the Adjuster Is on Your Side

The claims adjuster has one goal: to save the insurance company money. The adjuster does not want you to recover maximum financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs. Instead, the adjuster wants to find reasons to diminish benefits or deny your claim. It is imperative to understand this during negotiations with the insurance adjuster, and not to assume that the adjuster is on your side.

Decline to Give a Recorded Statement

The adjuster will contact you soon after your accident – sometimes the same day as the accident. This is intentional; the claims adjuster hopes to catch you before you fully understand the facts of the crash, so he or she can obtain a recorded statement from you and use it against you later to portray you as an unreliable witness.
Politely decline to give the adjuster a recorded statement. No law in Texas requires you to give one. Do not believe the adjuster when he or she says the insurance company cannot continue processing your claim without it. Explain to the adjuster that you plan on submitting a written statement later, after consulting with your attorney.

Do Not Admit Fault

Never say that you caused the auto accident during a conversation with an insurance adjuster. Your admittance of fault, even in part, could be enough to bar you from financial recovery. Even if you believe your actions caused or contributed to the car accident, refrain from saying this to the insurance adjuster. Instead, wait for the insurance company’s investigation to determine fault. The other driver – or a third party – may be more to blame than you realize.

Keep Your Answers Short and Simple

Be honest, but do not give away more information in your answers to the insurance adjuster’s questions than is necessary. Keep your answers short and simple rather than going into long, narrative descriptions. Do not speculate about the car accident. Stick only to the facts of the crash as you understand them to be true. If you don’t know the answer to a question, politely say that you do not know.

Don’t Rush Into a Fast Settlement

Do not make any binding decisions while on the phone with the claims adjuster – especially when it comes to accepting a settlement. If the insurance company accepts your claim and you are offered a settlement, bring your case to a car accident lawyer for a review before making a decision. The initial settlement is often not adequate for the extent of a claimant’s injuries and losses. Once you accept, you cannot reopen your case or renegotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is critical to speak to an attorney before settling your claim.

Hire an Attorney to Advocate on Your Behalf

You do not have to deal with an insurance claims adjuster on your own. Hire a car accident lawyer in Dallas for a professional advocate who can stand by your side throughout the claims process. Your lawyer can handle conversations with a claims adjuster, protect your rights and fight for maximum recovery while you focus on healing.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:24 pm

San Antonio E-Scooter Laws

Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Electric scooters, or e-scooters, have taken over the streets of Texas. They are rentable to the public for a low amount of money from companies such as Bird and Lime. San Antonio has hundreds of dockless e-scooters available for rent every day. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not as safe as many people assume. A lack of awareness of e-scooter laws in Texas contributes to many harmful e-scooter accidents.

Definition of an E-Scooter

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 551.351, a motor-assisted scooter is a self-propelled device with at least two wheels, a gas or electric motor capable of making the device travel up to 15 miles per hour, and a braking system capable of stopping the device. It also has a deck that allows a person to sit or stand while operating the vehicle and can be propelled by human power alone. An e-scooter is not the same as an electric bicycle, moped or motorcycle in the eyes of the law in Texas. Motor-assisted scooters have their own rules and regulations.

Age Limits for Riding

In Texas, a rider must be 16 years or older to ride an e-scooter. Most e-scooter companies require riders to have valid driver’s licenses and upload photographs of these licenses before they can rent the device. However, many users get around this requirement by having someone older, such as a parent or guardian, rent the e-scooter for them. This is a dangerous practice that can increase the risk of accidents.

Helmet Requirements

Helmets are strongly encouraged while riding e-scooters in San Antonio, but they are not a legal requirement. This is similar to Texas’ bicycle helmet stance, which is that all riders, regardless of age, may operate bicycles without wearing helmets. The only exception is if a city or municipality has a law requiring bike helmets. San Antonio does not have such a law for operating dockless e-scooters. The city strongly encourages helmets, however, as they can drastically reduce the risk of serious and fatal head injuries.

Riding Rules in San Antonio

The e-scooter laws that are broken the most often, and that lead to the most traffic accidents, are riding rules. Riding rules give e-scooter operators guidelines they must follow for safe and prudent vehicle operation. They dictate what a rider can and cannot do while interacting with other roadway users, such as motorists and pedestrians. Some of the most important state and citywide e-scooter laws in San Antonio are:
  • Riders must obey all state and city roadway rules.
  • E-scooters must ride in the street or bicycle lanes.
  • Riding a scooter in the street is only legal on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
  • No e-scooters on sidewalks.
  • No e-scooters in Alamo Plaza, the Riverwalk, La Villita, Main Plaza, Market Square, or city parks and trails in San Antonio.
  • Only one person per e-scooter.
  • Riders must grant pedestrians the right-of-way.
  • Riders cannot use cell phones while operating e-scooters.
  • Riders should not park e-scooters in the middle of sidewalks, in bicycle lanes, in the street or in the way of pedestrians.
Following these rules can reduce the risk of e-scooter accidents. Riders should also use tactics such as wearing brightly colored clothing for maximum visibility, riding in the same direction as traffic, maintaining a safe speed for conditions, using hand signals to turn and never riding on highways. Paying attention to the road and riding prudently can also decrease the odds of an accident.

Injured in an E-Scooter Accident? Get Help

If you get injured in an e-scooter accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the other party’s insurance provider. One or more parties may be financially responsible for your medical bills and other losses. Protect your legal rights by contacting an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand and exercise your rights during insurance claim negotiations or an injury trial. An attorney can also use proven legal strategies to fight for maximum financial recovery on your behalf.
Posted by at 1:09 pm

Should You Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company?

Monday, May 17, 2021

When an insurance company processes a claim, it assigns someone called an insurance claims adjuster to evaluate the merits of the claim and investigate the accident. Part of the investigative process is to try to obtain a recorded statement from the claimant over the phone. It is critical not to give a recorded statement to an insurance company, however. This is one of many tactics the insurance adjuster may use to try to take advantage of you.

Should You Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company? 15

What Is the Insurance Company’s Reason for Requesting a Recorded Statement?

An insurance adjuster’s goal is to save the insurance company money by convincing clients to settle for as little as possible. Insurance adjusters have years of training and experience in talking to clients. One strategy commonly used to gain information the insurance company can twist around to use against a client is requesting a recorded statement early on.
Insurance companies know that accident victims are often hurt, in pain, disoriented, confused and upset immediately following their accidents. It is no coincidence that this is when an insurance claims adjuster chooses to contact a victim. In asking for a recorded statement early on, the claims adjuster hopes to catch the victim in a time when he or she is vulnerable and does not fully understand the facts of the case.
Later, after an investigation obtains more information about the accident, the insurance company can try to use your recorded statement to show that the information you gave does not match the facts of the case. If you didn’t think you were injured when you gave your statement, for example, but later discovered hidden injuries, the insurance company could use your statement to argue that the accident did not injure you, or that you are an unreliable witness.

Do You Have to Give a Recorded Statement?

No, you do not have to give a recorded statement – nor should you. Insurance laws in Texas do not require you to consent to give the insurance claims adjuster a recorded statement about the accident. Do not give in to pressure from the claims adjuster, such as the adjuster saying that he or she cannot process your claim unless you consent to give a recorded statement. This is not true. If the adjuster seems friendly and persuasive, remind yourself that this is his or her job, and that the adjuster does not have your best interests in mind.

What to Do Instead of Giving a Recorded Statement

If you get asked by an insurance adjuster to give a recorded statement during an auto accident case or a different type of personal injury insurance claim, politely answer the request by saying that you do not consent to the adjuster recording you and that you will submit a written statement at a later date instead after you have consulted with an attorney.
You have the legal right to postpone this part of your claim until after you have seen a doctor, spoken to a lawyer and better understand your rights. You also have the right to hire a car accident attorney to handle conversations with the claims adjuster for you. An attorney will know exactly what to say and what not to say to protect your right to recover.

How Can a Lawyer Help With the Recorded Statement?

If you consult with a personal injury lawyer instead of agreeing to give the insurance company a recorded statement, you benefit from receiving advice from someone you can trust. Unlike an insurance company, your lawyer will want to maximize your financial compensation. A lawyer can help you with every aspect of your injury claim, including answering the insurance adjuster’s questions on your behalf and helping you submit a written statement that adequately protects your legal rights.
For more information about how a lawyer can help you with the insurance process, including providing a recorded insurance statement, contact an attorney at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert for a free consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:56 pm