Proving Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity in a Personal Injury Case

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

One of the many ways an accident can interfere with your life is by taking you out of work. Your injury may temporarily make you unable to perform the necessary tasks of your job, or you might have suffered a disability that will take you out of work for the foreseeable future. Either way, you could be eligible for financial compensation for your losses of income – past, present and future.

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages during a personal injury claim specifically refer to the past or present losses of income you are experiencing due to the inability to go to work. Lost wages can cover missed shifts at work, bonuses, special projects, commission, tips, promotions, vacation time, medical leave, retirement benefits and other employment benefits lost while you are in the hospital or recuperating. If you had to miss work for a surgery, physical therapy or rehabilitation, for example, this financial loss would be categorized as lost wages.
Lost wages can also refer to the difference between what you used to make and what you are able to make now while you heal from an injury. If you cannot return to your old job until you recover, but your employer finds you a different job that is part-time or has you working in a lesser capacity, you could be eligible for the difference between your old paychecks and what you make now.

What Is Loss of Earning Capacity?

Loss of earning capacity, on the other hand, refers to the future foreseeable losses of income that you will suffer due to a long-term or permanent injury. It describes the loss of your ability to earn a living wage in the future – either partially or entirely – due to your injury or disability.
If you suffered a reduced ability to earn a living or cannot earn a living at all, you are eligible for this type of damage award. For example, if you suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury that puts you out of work for the rest of your life, you could seek financial compensation for the income and employment benefits that you are not able to earn in the future.
While the amount of financial compensation you can receive for lost wages is calculated based on your exact income and benefits lost, loss of earning capacity is predicted based on factors such as the severity of your injury, how long it will take you out of work, your age, your overall health and your income level. The amount may also be adjusted for inflation.

How to Prove Both Types of Losses

As the plaintiff in a personal injury claim in Texas, it is your responsibility to prove lost wages and lost capacity to earn before you can recover financial compensation for these damages. You or your personal injury lawyer have the burden to prove your losses based on a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to establish your losses as more likely to be true than not true.
Evidence that you may be able to use to prove past and future losses of income include:

  • Pay stubs
  • Employment documents
  • Benefits information
  • Letter from your employer
  • Tax documents
  • Business documents
  • Customer invoices
  • Letter from your doctor about your future disability
  • Medical records
  • Photographs and videos
  • Testimony from experts

In general, it is more difficult to prove loss of earning capacity than lost wages. While lost wages refer to income already lost when a lawsuit is filed, loss of earning capacity refers to losses that will occur after the lawsuit is filed. Proving this type of financial loss requires predicting what you likely would have made had the accident not occurred. An experienced attorney can help you establish lost wages and lost capacity to earn during your injury claim in Dallas.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 9:52 am

When Is It Best to Take a Settlement vs. Going to Trial?

Monday, June 28, 2021

There are two main ways to resolve a personal injury case in Texas: a settlement or a trial. Settlements are more common and generally more popular, as they are faster and cheaper than injury trials. Certain circumstances, however, require injury trials. Both legal options have potential advantages and disadvantages. Determining which is the best for you generally requires discussing the pros and cons of each route with a personal injury attorney in Dallas.

Pros and Cons of Settling Your Personal Injury Case

A settlement is a legally binding agreement made between you (the plaintiff) and the other side of the case (the defendant). Most often, a settlement is made between the plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s insurance company. A settlement is an out-of-court agreement that typically happens through one-on-one meetings with the parties involved. These meetings often take the form of mediation or arbitration – meetings before third-party moderators that help facilitate compromises.
The pros of settling an injury claim include:

  • It is faster than going to trial.
  • It costs less in court costs and attorney’s fees.
  • It is generally less stressful than a full-blown trial.
  • You can stay in control of the outcome of your case.
  • You can keep your settlement private.

The number one con of a settlement vs. a personal injury trial is that it typically results in less money given to the plaintiff. As a general rule, personal injury settlements are worth less than judgment awards. In addition, once you reach a settlement, it is permanent. With only a few exceptions, you cannot reopen your case or renegotiate for a different amount. With a personal injury trial, however, you can appeal a jury’s decision.

Pros and Cons of Going to Trial

Going to trial means to state your case before a judge and jury. You and your personal injury lawyer will go to court and give an opening statement, provide evidence and testimony from witnesses, and give a closing statement during your trial. The defendant’s side will also have the chance to state their case. Then, a judge or a panel of 12 jurors will determine whether you met the burden of proof.
The burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant more likely than not caused your injury. If you did meet your burden of proof, you will be given a judgment award. If not, the defendant won’t be found liable for your damages. Some of the pros and cons to consider with a personal injury trial are:

  • Pro: the possibility of a greater financial award.
  • Con: more time and money spent on the legal process.
  • Pro: the ability to appeal a lost trial.
  • Con: a trial is part of public record.
  • Pro: a trial can give you a greater sense of justice and closure.
  • Con: you have no control over the outcome of your case.

With a trial, prepare for a longer and more in-depth legal process; a trial can take a year or longer to finish, while the average settlement takes only a few months. However, a trial can come with advantages such as greater financial compensation. You could be eligible for pain and suffering damages with a trial, for instance, as well as punitive damages.

Which Is the Right Choice for You?

There are many pros and cons to consider with both legal options. The best way to choose the option that is best for you is by consulting with a personal injury attorney in Dallas. An attorney can review the benefits and drawbacks of a settlement vs. a trial in relation to your particular case. Then, your attorney will recommend which route is best for you according to the specific facts of your case and your unique goals. With a lawyer by your side, you can rest assured you are making the right choice.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:33 pm

Is Social Media Content Admissible in Court?

Friday, June 25, 2021

In the digital age, social media platforms have become a popular way to communicate with friends and family and document daily activities. If you are one of the millions of people who are regularly active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or another social media platform, it is important to realize how your social media activity could affect your injury claim after an accident.

Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Court

You might not think twice before posting about your accident, injury or personal injury claim to your social media accounts. You may assume it is for social purposes only and cannot be used for official legal proceedings, or that your privacy settings keep your profile safe from prying eyes. These are common misconceptions.
Regardless of your privacy settings, a defense attorney can access your social media accounts if there is a valid reason to do so. In fact, social media sites are becoming a more common focus during evidence discovery. An attorney or investigator can access everything you post, including photographs, comments that you write on other people’s profiles, private messages and location check-ins. The defense attorney or insurance company that you are going up against may be able to use this information against you during a personal injury case.
An insurance company will look for any reason to deny benefits or reduce your payout while gathering evidence from your social media accounts. Mainly, the insurer will look for posts that paint you as an unreliable witness, such as photographs of you enjoying yourself with your friends after you file a claim for pain and suffering, or participating in physical activities after claiming a debilitating injury. This is why it is important to be conscious of what you post – or don’t post anything at all.

Social Media Tips After an Accident

Almost anything you post on social media after an accident could be twisted around and used against you by the defense. Social media content can be admitted to the courts as evidence if it is relevant to civil litigation. The best way to protect yourself is with no social media activity at all. If you must remain on social media, use the following tips to help protect your legal rights:

  • Do not talk about the accident in any capacity on a social media site. Do not post photographs of your wrecked car after a car accident, for example, or admit fault for the crash.
  • Do not update your social media accounts with your activities after an accident. This includes photographs, videos and location check-ins.
  • Tell your friends and family members not to tag you in any posts until your personal injury claim has been resolved.
  • Do not think you can hide things that you have already posted by deleting them. Investigators can gain access to deleted social media data, in some cases. Deleting possible evidence could also lead to penalties for the obstruction of justice.

Any social media activity before the resolution of your case can be used against you. The best way to avoid negatively impacting your right to recover is by avoiding social media altogether. Temporarily disable or delete your account until your claim is completed, if possible. If you receive a request for your social media content, bring the request to an attorney before complying.
This type of request must be reasonable in the eyes of the law for a valid claim to your social media content. Your attorney can make sure that the request is relevant and lawful. Then, your attorney can help you submit the correct social media content while still protecting your rights. For more information about social media and civil law, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 12:17 pm

What is Mobbing?

Thursday, June 24, 2021
As residents of a populous metropolitan area, San Antonio citizens face a variety of threats and dangers in day-to-day life. Among those threats is mobbing, a form of group bullying focused on harassing or treating a victim badly with the intent to demean and inflict psychological harm. Mobbing comes in several forms and can happen in school, at work, and online.

Elements of Mobbing

To classify as mobbing, two or more people acting as “bullies” must be involved. This group works together to collectively inflict a relentless assault of psychological and/or physical terror on a helpless target through a tirade of threats, insults, and offensive remarks. Victims of mobbing are typically people who differ from the norm in a social setting, either based on their religious beliefs, race, disability, or other traits. Thus, people engaged in mobbing are often practicing discrimination. Mobbing can involve:
  • Intimidation
  • Threats of harm or embarrassment
  • Blackmailing
  • Intense peer pressure
  • Offensive conduct
  • Harassment
By-standers and victims alike have reported recent incidents of mobbing on the internet, on social media, and in chat rooms. Cyberspace mobbing is especially dangerous to vulnerable children and teenagers and can lead to depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and even suicide. Another example is mobbing in the workplace. When a group of employees wants a person to leave the company or job, either through voluntary or forced termination, it can trigger people to engage in mobbing. The workplace bullies inflict public ridicule and humiliation upon the fellow employee, creating an uncomfortable and sometimes volatile work environment for the victim. In some cases, a manager can support or participate in the mobbing, which creates a further strained working relationship for the target. Targets of workplace bullies can suffer long-term emotional scarring. Financial damage is also a risk if victims are forced to take off work or quit a job to avoid the bullying attacks. Workplace mobbing has far-reaching effects that can result in damage to the victim’s career and professional reputation through loss of business opportunities and promotions.

Dangers of Mobbing

Mobbing has the same negative consequences as ordinary bullying but can be exponentially worse, depending on the number of bullies involved in the mob. Mobbing can have various effects on the victim, but psychological and emotional damage is most common. A victim can suffer extreme fear about going to school or work, which can trigger feelings of illness or nausea. Victims may also experience nightmares and a fear of social settings. Mobbing can make a victim feel less-than, injuring self-confidence and leading to feelings of self-loathing or shame. The severe emotional trauma mobbing can inflict on a victim can last for years after the incident and often requires therapy or professional counseling to help overcome the damage. A victim can also suffer physical damages if the mob becomes physically violent.

Can I File a Claim for Mobbing?

Mobbing often involves damaging and harmful conduct, inflicting long-lasting pain on the victims. In many cases, an employer or school official can dispel a mob if a victim reports what’s happening. In some cases, however, this is not enough to remedy the victim’s damages, especially in cases of actual injury or loss. Filing a claim against the perpetrators of mobbing can help a victim obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. If you were or are the victim of mobbing, an attorney can help you file a legal claim against the group of bullies. You have rights in a mobbing situation, especially if the incident stems from discrimination. If you need to attend a meeting with an official to discuss the mobbing incident, an attorney can stand by your side and give you advice.
Posted by at 10:06 pm

What Is Double Indemnity in a Personal Injury Case?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Double indemnity is a type of clause often found in life insurance policies. It is a provision that allows a claimant to recover additional money – generally, a double payout – in the event of an accidental death. Unfortunately, insurance companies often prevent clients from receiving the financial recovery they deserve through double indemnity clauses, such as by making it hard to prove that a death was accidental. You may need help with double indemnity from a personal injury lawyer.

What Is Double Indemnity?

Double indemnity refers to a life insurance policy provision that allows claimants to receive larger payouts if the insured individual died as a result of an accident or unintentional injuries. In most cases, double indemnity allows for double or even triple payouts. A death may be classified as accidental for insurance purposes if it stems from any of the following circumstances:

  • Act of violence/homicide
  • Car or truck accident
  • Choking or suffocation
  • Defective product or machinery incident
  • Drowning
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip and fall accident
  • Workplace incident

Obtaining benefits through a double indemnity clause generally requires proof that the death was accidental. This may take evidence such as a police report, a coroner’s report, expert witness testimony and medical records. You and your family may also have to go up against the insurance company with a lawsuit to obtain the financial compensation you deserve through a double indemnity clause.

What Issues Might You Encounter With a Double Indemnity Clause?

It is important to realize that the insurance company receiving your claim does not want to maximize your payout. It wants to pay you as little as possible to protect its own profits. The insurance company can come up with many reasons to deny a double indemnity clause. One of the most common excuses is that the death was not accidental. It may be up to you or your personal injury attorney to prove that it was accidental and that you qualify for double indemnity under the insurance policy.
Another excuse insurance companies often give is that the death qualifies as a policy exception. Read the fine print of your life insurance policy to understand the exceptions to your double indemnity clause. Common exceptions are deaths caused by suicide, the decedent’s own negligence or intoxication, natural causes, and murder by one of the beneficiaries listed on the policy.
Finally, your double indemnity clause may be denied if the insurance company is guilty of bad faith. Insurance bad faith is the rejection of benefits or diminishment of a client’s payout without a valid reason. An insurance company may be guilty of bad faith if it knowingly or intentionally mishandles your claim to protect its own profits. If you suspect insurance bad faith, contact an attorney for assistance with a separate bad-faith claim.

How to Handle Your Life Insurance Claim

If you are filing a claim to recover benefits under a double indemnity clause, be careful what you say to the representative in charge. Remember, the insurance company does not have your family’s best interests in mind. Before you accept a life insurance settlement, bring the offer to a personal injury lawyer to confirm that it is a fair and full amount. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company for a fair payout or appeal a denied claim, if applicable.
If your loved one recently passed away under unexpected or preventable circumstances, consult with a wrongful death attorney about your family’s legal rights. An attorney can guide you through a double indemnity clause in your loved one’s life insurance policy and/or represent you during a wrongful death lawsuit in Dallas. An attorney can also help you with an insurance bad-faith claim if your double indemnity clause is wrongfully denied. Learn more today by contacting The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:59 pm

What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury?

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

If you file a claim for an injury you suffered in a preventable accident in Texas, you may encounter one or both terms – personal injury and bodily injury. Although sometimes used interchangeably, these phrases have different meanings on a legal level. Understanding the difference can help you make more sense of your injury claim.

What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury? 1

Legal Difference Between Personal Injury and Bodily Injury

Bodily injury is more commonly used in criminal cases than civil cases. Texas’ assault law, for example, defines this crime as intentionally or recklessly causing a bodily injury to another person. It is more common to see the phrase personal injury in civil law. Personal injury is the phrase used to describe physical and nonphysical injuries from the negligence or recklessness of another party. Negligence in personal injury law is any careless act or omission that causes injury to another person.

What Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?

There is another difference between bodily injury and personal injury from an insurance standpoint. They describe two different types of automobile insurance, found in two different types of insurance systems. There are fault and no-fault insurance system states. Fault states require all drivers to purchase bodily injury liability insurance.
Texas is a fault-based insurance state. In Texas, all motor vehicle operators must purchase at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person and $60,000 per accident. Bodily injury liability insurance will pay for victims’ medical bills and property damage after a car accident. The at-fault driver will use his or her bodily injury insurance to pay for victims’ losses.

What Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?

In no-fault states, on the other hand, all drivers pay for their own losses, regardless of fault. They pay for medical bills using a type of first-party insurance known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Personal injury protection insurance pays for medical bills and related expenses regardless of who is at fault.
Texas has an option to purchase add-on personal injury protection insurance; however, unlike bodily injury liability insurance, PIP insurance is not mandatory. If you do elect to purchase PIP coverage, this can help you pay for your own medical bills and other expenses after a car accident if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.

The Implications of Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury

Depending on the laws in your state and the circumstances of your accident, you may encounter one or both legal terms. The main thing to know is that Texas is a fault state, so you are more likely to deal with bodily injury liability insurance than personal injury protection. If you wish to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party, you will have what is called a personal injury claim. If the other party is accused of a crime, there may be mentions of your bodily injuries.
During your personal injury claim, you will have to prove the losses you are claiming. If you are claiming physical injuries, for example, you may have to use medical records and photographs as evidence. If you are claiming lost wages, you would use evidence such as pay stubs and a letter from your employer. The same evidence may also apply to a bodily injury insurance claim in a no-fault state. Note, however, that you would not have to prove the defendant’s negligence in a no-fault state.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

Navigating your injury claim in Texas is easier with help from a Dallas personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can help you better understand the legal difference between bodily injury and personal injury, as well as calculate both accurately. If you are eligible for one or both types of insurance coverage, your lawyer can pursue maximum financial compensation on your behalf.
For more information about how an attorney can help with your claim, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:32 pm

What’s the Average Payout for Soft-Tissue Injuries?

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Soft-tissue injuries are common and soft tissue injury compensation amounts can vary in accidents throughout Texas. Soft-tissue injuries are not as obvious or easy to prove as hard injuries, such as broken bones. Proving your soft-tissue injury and obtaining a fair payout may take assistance from a personal injury lawyer in Dallas to improve your chances of a soft tissue injury settlement.

Average Settlement for soft tissue injury car accident

What Are Soft-Tissue Injuries?

The soft tissues lie within the body’s muscular system. Soft tissues include the muscles, tendons and ligaments. A soft-tissue injury describes any damage, tears, inflammation or irritation of the soft tissues. Soft-tissue injuries can stem from trauma, stress or repetitive use. They can cause pain, swelling, discomfort and immobility.
Common examples of soft-tissue injuries are:

  • Bursitis
  • Contusions (bruising)
  • Ligament injuries
  • Muscle sprains or strains
  • Pulled muscles
  • Stress or repetitive motion injuries
  • Tendon injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Whiplash

Soft-tissue injuries are especially common in the back, wrist, ankle, hamstring, calf and elbow. They can stem from sports, exercise, overexertion at work, car accidents, falls and other incidents. The severity of the soft-tissue injury, as well as treatment options, depend on the exact injury. Most soft-tissue injuries heal completely in a matter of weeks or months. Treatment options include rest, ice, physical therapy, rehabilitation and pain medications. The average settlement for a  soft tissue injury car accident can vary but we will get into that.

What is the Average Settlement for Soft Tissue Injury Car Accident?

What is the average settlement for a soft tissue injury car accident? This is difficult because there is no average payout for a soft-tissue injury but let us explain. You cannot gauge how much you might receive for a soft-tissue injury by looking at other victims’ injury claims. Every case is unique. The value of your claim will depend on factors that are unique only to you, such as your exact injury diagnosis, your prognosis for recovery, how long it will take you to heal, your amount of pain and suffering, your age and overall health, and more.

In general, your soft-tissue injury claim will be worth more if it is classified as a moderate to severe injury rather than a minor injury. If you have a Grade 3 soft-tissue injury with a complete tear, for example, you will have a significantly longer recovery time than a Grade 1 soft-tissue injury. This will consequently result in an injury claim that is worth more money, as you will have greater losses in medical care, rehabilitation and lost wages. Severe soft-tissue injuries also come with a higher degree of pain and suffering.

You may be able to increase the value of your soft-tissue injury claim by mitigating your damages. Seek medical attention immediately after your accident and request copies of all hospital statements. Gathering as much medical evidence as possible can help you build a stronger claim. Follow your doctor’s advice to avoid allegations that you worsened your injuries, which could reduce your financial award. Finally, take time off of work to heal rather than pushing through the pain to return too early.

How Can You Prove Soft-Tissue Injuries?

If you wish to file a lawsuit for a soft-tissue injury in Texas, you must prove that your injury exists. Proving a soft-tissue injury is a challenge, as these injuries are not outwardly obvious. Unlike a hard injury, there is no x-ray or CT scan that can prove a soft-tissue injury. In addition, insurance companies often examine soft-tissue injury claims more closely due to a higher likelihood of insurance fraud.

You may need an attorney to help you prove your soft-tissue injury. An attorney can help you gather evidence and documentation, including medical records, testimony from medical experts and a letter from your physician. Your attorney may also recommend you keep an injury journal to document exactly how you feel in the aftermath of an accident. Your ability to prove a soft-tissue injury can determine whether you receive insurance coverage.

For more information about how to prove a soft-tissue injury claim and tips on maximizing your financial recovery, contact an attorney at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:25 am

Should I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Alone or Hire a Lawyer?

Monday, June 21, 2021

If you get injured in an accident in Dallas, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, the personal injury claims process can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can vastly improve your legal experience and the outcome of your case. Not all personal injury claims require legal representation, however. Find out when you might need an attorney and when you can handle your claim alone.

Should I Handle My Personal Injury Claim Alone or Hire a Lawyer? 4

How Do Insurance Companies Handle Claims?

If you wish to handle your own claim, you must at least know what you’re getting into. The insurance company that you will be up against does not have your best interests in mind. The insurance company’s number one goal is to increase its profits. Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, the insurance company will try its best to diminish your payout or deny benefits altogether. This can make it difficult to obtain a fair and full amount for your injuries and losses.
When going up against an insurance claims adjuster (the professional assigned to review your claim), do not admit any fault for the accident and do not agree to give a recorded statement. The recorded statement is a tactic used to take advantage of you by using your own words against you later. Politely explain that you will submit a written statement to the insurer instead at a later date. If you are offered a settlement, make sure it adequately pays for your present and future medical care, losses of income, property repairs, and other damages before accepting.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

Some personal injury claims are simple or not worth enough money to need attorneys. It may be easy for you to bring a claim against someone else’s insurance company and receive fair compensation for minor injuries, for example. In this case, you can most likely successfully handle the claims process alone and save money on an attorney. If, however, your injury claim has complicating factors, you may need to hire a lawyer to properly handle your case.
Complicating factors can include:

  • Severe or catastrophic injuries
  • Permanently disabling injuries
  • Wrongful death
  • Complicated legal elements
  • Liability dispute or multiple defendants
  • The comparative negligence defense
  • Underpaid claim
  • Delayed investigation or payout
  • No response from the insurance company
  • A wrongfully denied insurance claim

If your accident caused minor or no injuries, the defendant is not arguing fault, you receive an adequate settlement offer or the maximum amount available, you are comfortable researching the laws in your state on your own, and you can negotiate effectively with an insurance claims adjuster, you may not need to hire a personal injury attorney. If you encounter any issues during your claim, however, or wish to ensure the protection of your legal rights, hiring a lawyer is the right choice.

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

The number one reason injured accident victims choose to navigate their claims alone is concern over the cost of hiring an attorney. Many personal injury lawyers, however, operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay the lawyer anything upfront to handle your claim. Instead, you will only pay if and when the attorney obtains financial compensation for your injuries on your behalf.
If your lawyer does win your case, he or she will deduct attorney’s fees as a percentage of the overall settlement or judgment award won. That way, you never have to afford your personal injury attorney out of pocket. You can always schedule a free consultation to find out if the lawyer is worth the cost. Lawyers are honest with their legal opinions on whether clients need professional legal help, as they will not waste their time or resources on claims that are simple enough to be handled alone. Learn more about your unique case today by contacting The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by mockingbird at 12:47 pm

Can You Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver in Texas?

Friday, June 18, 2021

If you engage in an activity with known injury risks, you will most likely be asked to sign a liability waiver. Signing means that you accept the risks associated with the activity and that you are releasing the person or party from financial responsibility (liability) should something go wrong and you suffer an injury. Signing a liability waiver, however, does not necessarily mean you are not allowed to sue.

Can You Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver in Texas? 7

What Is a Liability Waiver? Should You Sign One?

A liability waiver is a common type of legal document used by individuals and businesses to prevent them from having to pay for medical bills, legal fees and property repairs if an activity injures a participant. You often do not have a choice except to sign a liability waiver if you wish to participate in a risky activity, such as going to the gym or attending a baseball game. Common places where you may have to sign a liability waiver include:

  • Amusement parks
  • ATV tours
  • Cruise ships
  • Daycare centers
  • Gyms
  • Ridesharing companies
  • Sightseeing tours
  • Sports stadiums and fields

Most liability waivers state that the party that created the waiver is protected from financial responsibility even if that party is negligent. In personal injury law, negligence is the careless failure to adhere to the anticipated standards of care, resulting in injury or harm to another person. In other words, a negligent party breaches a duty of care and causes harm.

Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. If you signed a liability waiver, however, you may have signed away the right to file a lawsuit based on negligence. This does not mean that you do not have any legal options. You may still have the right to bring a lawsuit against a negligent or reckless party in certain circumstances.

What Makes a Liability Waiver Legally Enforceable?

The first question to ask when determining if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit after signing a liability waiver is whether the waiver is valid. If the waiver is not valid, it is not legally enforceable. In Texas, a liability waiver must meet certain requirements for the courts to uphold it:

  • A written document that has the participant’s signature (or a parent’s signature if the participant is under the age of 18)
  • A waiver of liability that is express and conspicuous, meaning that it is not hidden in a longer contract
  • Language that is clear, concise and unambiguous
  • A precise list of the risks or hazards that are known to be involved in the activity
  • Wording that does not violate public policy

If you are not sure whether or not the liability waiver you signed in Dallas is legally valid, print out a copy and bring it to an attorney. If the attorney finds something wrong with the document, it may be void, giving you the right to file a lawsuit for a recent injury.

Is it Still Possible to Sue With a Liability Waiver?

The answer to this question depends on the unique elements of the case. It is possible that the liability waiver contains an issue that makes it invalid on a legal level. It is also possible that the defendant’s actions go beyond simple negligence and into gross negligence, recklessness or the malicious intent to harm. In this scenario, a liability waiver will not protect the individual or entity from liability for his or her wrongful acts.

There are ways to work around a liability waiver in Texas, especially if the individual or business that attempted to avoid liability made a mistake that put you at undue risk of serious bodily injury. Find out if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in Dallas despite signing a liability waiver by bringing your case to an attorney for a review. A personal injury attorney can read the language of the contract you signed and let you know if you can still file a lawsuit.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:06 pm

Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The actions you take before and during your personal injury claim in Texas have the power to either harm or help your ability to recover financial compensation. Many claimants make mistakes that are extremely damaging to their claims, even to the point of getting the claim denied. Avoid these top seven mistakes to enhance your ability to achieve the case outcome you deserve.

Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim 9

Admitting Any Degree of Fault

After an accident, it is many victims’ first reaction to apologize or admit fault. You may say you are sorry to the other driver involved in a car crash in Dallas, for example, to be polite and avoid a dispute. It is critical, however, to keep your legal rights in mind in the aftermath of an accident by not admitting any degree of fault.
Do not admit fault to the other people involved in the accident, to the police or to an insurance company during the processing of your claim. Do not apologize, either, as this could be misconstrued as you accepting blame for the accident. Admitting fault can bar you from financial recovery even before an insurance company investigates the cause of the accident.

Delaying Medical Treatment

One of the first things an insurance company looks for is whether the injured victim sought medical care right away or delayed treatment. A delay in going to a doctor or hospital after an accident in Dallas could give the insurance company a reason to blame you for the current extent of your injuries. The insurance company may argue, for instance, that you could have mitigated your damages by going to a hospital right away. It is important to go to a hospital immediately and to follow your doctor’s advice.

Going on Social Media

Do your best to resist the urge to post about your accident or injuries on any social media platform. This includes Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. The other person involved in your case, known as the defendant, can use anything you post to social media as evidence against you. The defendant’s attorney can access the information on your social media profiles regardless of your privacy settings. Watch who you speak to in general after an accident, as anyone other than your spouse can be compelled to testify against you.

Trusting the Insurance Company

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the insurance company in charge of your claim wants to maximize your financial recovery. It is the opposite; insurance companies want to minimize clients’ payouts to maximize their profits. When discussing your case with an insurance company or claims adjuster, be careful what you say. Don’t admit fault, give your permission to record a statement or accept a fast settlement.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

It is normal to want to resolve your injury claim as quickly as possible. Accepting the very first offer made by an insurance company, however, could mean failing to receive the financial support you need to pay for your ongoing medical needs and other necessary expenses. The first offer is often too low, as the insurance company expects the client to negotiate with a counteroffer. Before saying yes to a settlement, bring the offer to an attorney for review.

Handling a Complicated Claim Alone

If you have a complicated injury claim, such as one involving catastrophic injuries or a liability dispute, hire an attorney to assist you. Handling a difficult claim alone can mean making mistakes that are detrimental to your financial recovery. Hiring an attorney, on the other hand, can ensure that you fully protect your legal rights during the claims process.

Allowing Your Deadline to Pass

Do not wait to seek an attorney’s advice about your recent accident in Dallas. All personal injury lawsuits in Texas must be filed within two years of the accident. The courts very rarely accept claims that are filed past this deadline. Act quickly to ensure the full protection of your legal rights.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:16 am

How Do You Calculate Loss of Enjoyment of Life in a Personal Injury Case?

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A serious accident can affect your life in many ways. The physical and emotional trauma you suffer in an accident can interfere with every aspect of your life, including your ability to enjoy the things that you used to. If an accident in Dallas caused a loss of enjoyment or quality of life, such as by interfering with your ability to play with your children or engage in favorite hobbies, you may be eligible for financial compensation for this loss in a personal injury case.

How Do You Calculate Loss of Enjoyment of Life in a Personal Injury Case? 12

What Is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

In personal injury law, loss of enjoyment of life refers to a diminishment of your enjoyment of daily tasks, experiences or hobbies due to your accident or the related injuries that you suffered. If you sustained a permanent disability in a car accident in Dallas, for example, and can no longer do your job, perform household services, participate in favorite activities or spend quality time with your family, you may qualify for financial compensation for lost enjoyment of life.

How Is This Loss Calculated?

Calculating a noneconomic loss such as lost enjoyment of life can be difficult, as you do not have hard evidence to rely on for a numerical amount, such as medical bills. Rather than using bills and receipts, an insurance company, judge or jury will analyze factors that are unique to you to calculate an appropriate amount of financial damages for the loss of your enjoyment of life.
Several of these factors include:

  • The gravity of your injuries
  • How your injuries will impact you in the foreseeable future
  • If you have permanent scarring, disfigurement or disability
  • The nature of the activity that you can no longer enjoy
  • Your age and overall health
  • Your educational background and work history
  • Where you live

Financial compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life is included under the damage category of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering in Texas is calculated by analyzing how significantly the injury impacted the victim and will continue to alter the victim’s life. A jury can use a few different calculation methods – or no method at all – to determine a fair amount in financial compensation for pain and suffering.

How Can You Prove Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

Before you can receive financial compensation for reduced enjoyment or quality of life, you or your personal injury lawyer in Dallas must prove your inability to do certain things that you could do prior to the accident. You must show that these activities are now not possible or less enjoyable for you due to pain, immobility, emotional distress, or other factors that stem from your accident or injury.
Some ways in which you may be able to prove lost enjoyment of life include:

  • Using your medical records to prove the severe or catastrophic nature of your injury, scars, disfigurement or disability.
  • Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist about your feelings and requesting copies of these medical records.
  • Obtaining an official medical diagnosis for a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Keeping an injury journal where you document how the accident has negatively impacted your life.
  • Asking your friends and loved ones to give statements attesting to the fact that you can no longer enjoy your favorite hobbies and activities.
  • Taking the stand yourself to answer questions about what your life was like before the accident vs. what it is like now.
  • Hiring subject-matter experts to testify on your behalf, including doctors and mental health professionals.

You do not have to prove your injury claim on your own. You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you during your case. An attorney will have the knowledge and experience you need to prove intangible losses such as lost enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. From gathering statements from witnesses to hiring experts, your lawyer can take many steps to strengthen your claim of loss of enjoyment of life.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:10 pm

Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Knowing what to do after witnessing a car accident can be confusing. But in an accident’s aftermath, identifying several important “dos and don’ts” will help you keep calm, cool, and collected.

While the way you respond to seeing a car accident will depend on the crash’s severity and whether anyone has suffered injuries, the following are helpful guidelines to keep in mind. 

What to do When You Witness an Accident

Car Accident Witness Responsibilities

Here are five steps to take following an accident.

One— Make Sure You Are in a Safe Place

If you are a pedestrian, you must stay in pedestrian areas like sidewalks. Even medians and shoulders can be dangerous if traffic continues to pass by.

If you are a driver, pull your vehicle to the side of the road, at least 100 feet from the scene, and ensure rescue vehicles have room to navigate.

Turn on your flashers or distribute hazard markers and stay a safe distance from the scene unless you are rendering aid to victims.

If you are a driver and the accident is severe enough that the airbags deploy and the vehicle sustains substantial damage, cautiously exit the car to ascertain if you are injured and whether you can move your vehicle.

If your car engine generates smoke, odd smells, or fluids, leave the car and step away to a safe location.

Two—Call 911

If you are the first to the scene and are not sure if someone else has already called the police, dial 911 and report the accident.

Even if you are unsure of the extent of the injuries of the parties involved, if vehicle damage has taken place, the police will make a report. Give as much detail as you can regarding your location and the nature of the accident.

Three— Check on the Victims

When an eyewitness to an auto accident, if it’s safe to approach the accident scene, check on the crash victims to make sure they are okay.

Offer to help if you are able. But unless the vehicle is in danger of catching fire, do not move an injured person. Moving an injured victim can accidentally make their injuries worse.

Instead, provide comfort by reassuring injury victims that medical help is on the way.

If you were in a car accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel okay. Some injuries take a while to present, and your peace of mind is worth making the trip to the doctor’s office.

If a driver, witness, police officer, or insurance adjuster tries to ask how you feel after the accident, do not answer before receiving a professional diagnosis. Instead, just say you’re unsure.

Four— Give a Statement and Provide Your Contact Information

As an eyewitness to an accident, you are in a unique position to help those involved by describing what you saw.

While the law does not obligate you to stay at the scene or give a statement, telling the police or the drivers involved in the crash what you saw could help clear up questions of liability and fault. Do not be nervous about giving a statement.

Simply describe what you saw. If you are willing to give your name, contact information, and a statement about the accident, injured victims may be able to use this during a personal injury claim to help them prove liability.

The information you have about the accident could be critical for investigators to piece together what happened.

Five—Cooperate with the Police

If you have chosen to stop and witnessed the accident itself, provide every detail you can to the police. Stay on the scene until your statement is complete and the police have released you to continue traveling.

Other Important Dos and Don’ts When You Witness an Accident

Aside from the five steps covered above, the following advice will help you protect your rights.

Things You Should Not Do at an Accident Scene

  • DON’T feel like you must stop. The law does not require you to stop at the scene of an accident. However, most people feel it is the right thing to do. If you are one of the first people to the scene of an accident, your assistance could be imperative for victims.
  • DON’T rush into the scene. Sometimes, your assistance will be helpful, but make sure you are not in danger of injury yourself due to broken glass and sharp metal. If you choose to enter the scene and render aid to victims, do so cautiously.
  • DON’T offer medical assistance unless necessary. Unless it is an emergency or a person’s well-being depends on it, Iit is best to wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. You may accidentally make things worse for the victim if you move him or her the incorrect way. It often takes only a matter of minutes for EMTs to arrive, and most first aid situations can wait.
  • DON’T fear liability. In the event that the help has not arrived and someone is in urgent need of first aid you know you can handle, Texas has Good Samaritan laws in place. As long as you are rendering emergency aid in good faith, you are not likely to be liable for civil damages.
  • DON’T allow a driver to leave the scene without exchanging information. You do not need to physically restrain a driver – see the above note about keeping yourself safe – but it is good practice to jot down identifying characteristics and license plate numbers. If an at-fault driver attempts to leave the scene, you can remind them of the consequences of doing so and record their vehicle and license plate description.
  • DON’T speculate about fault if you are not sure who caused the accident. If you do decide to give a statement to someone at the scene of the accident, stick only to the facts as you know them. If you do not have the answer to a question, say so. Do not feel pressured to answer every question asked. Do not make guesses as to what happened or who is to blame. Answer the questions asked honestly and as completely as possible.
  • DON’T ignore a subpoena. A subpoena is a judge-issued document ordering you to appear in court. If an attorney needs you to testify about what you witnessed, he or she may subpoena you as a witness. Do not ignore a court subpoena. This is against the law and could lead to you being held in contempt of court. If this happens, you may face penalties such as fines and even jail time for ignoring the court’s requests.

Things You Should Do at an Accident Scene

  • DO offer other forms of assistance. Perhaps victims could use a kind word, a cell phone to call relatives or insurance companies, or a paper and pen to exchange information. Offer what you feel you would need if in the shoes of the victims.
  • DO pay special attention if it was a hit-and-run accident. If the accident you witnessed was a hit-and-run, your input as a witness can be even more vital. You might have seen something that enables police officers to find the culprit, such as the make or model of the at-fault driver’s vehicle, or a partial license plate number. Write down everything you can remember as soon as possible, while it is still fresh in your mind. Stay at the scene to speak to the police about what you saw. Offering your assistance to a hit-and-run victim by calling 911 and requesting an ambulance could also be important since the other driver did not stick around to do so.
  • DO exercise caution. Accident scenes are often tense situations. Property damage has occurred, and tempers and emotions can run high. While the presence of a witness may help keep emotions in check, be careful when inserting yourself into the situation. Keep your own safety in mind, primarily.
  • DO prepare to go to trial, if necessary. Agreeing to give a statement as an eyewitness could mean going to court if the accident victim’s case ends up at trial. While this is unlikely, prepare for this as a possibility if you give victims or the police your contact information. Witness testimony can be invaluable during a car accident case.
  • DO ask for help from an attorney. Staying and helping out at the scene of an accident in Texas is an honorable and brave thing to do. Do not be afraid to intervene and render assistance to those in need. If you end up getting involved in a personal injury lawsuit, turn to a lawyer for help with the legal process.

To Learn More, Speak To A Dallas Car Accident Attorney

Overall, many people choose to stop and help when they witness a car accident.

Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure you are doing what you can for the victims and police while keeping yourself safe from harm.

You are not necessarily a medical professional, a mechanic, or a police officer, but Good Samaritans can provide some help and may even save a life.

Just remember your own limitations and leave the tough work to the emergency personnel. To learn more speak to a Dallas car accident lawyer.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:26 pm