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I Was Injured at My Apartment Complex, What Do I Do?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Apartment complex injuries are relatively common – especially when landlords and property owners are negligent. Apartment injuries can stem from structural flaws, poor maintenance, pests, water leaks or floods, slippery floors, fires, asbestos, and many other premises hazards. Luckily, if you have an injury from an apartment accident in Dallas, you may be eligible for financial recovery from your landlord.

slip and fall injury in building

Who Is Liable?

 Your landlord might be liable for your apartment complex injury if he or she reasonably should have prevented the accident. In general, the law will hold a landlord responsible for tenant injuries from dangerous conditions that were not blatantly obvious and that the landlord did not warn the tenant about. If you reported a property defect and your landlord failed to make any reasonable attempts to remedy it, your landlord could also be liable for your damages. Landlords in Texas owe many duties of care to tenants according to state law.

  • Repair any condition that affects your physical health or safety
  • Repair issues in your apartment caused by normal wear and tear
  • Provide working smoke detectors
  • Equipt the building with appropriate security devices

It is against the law to face retaliation from your landlord, such as getting evicted, for complaining about necessary repairs in your apartment. You may have the option of withholding rent if the repair is necessary for your physical safety and health. Otherwise, however, withholding rent could lead to a lawsuit against you. If you file a complaint and your landlord does not respond within a reasonable time, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit against your landlord. If a preventable apartment defect causes a serious accident and injury, your landlord could be liable for economic and noneconomic damages. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover My Medical Expenses?

 Many landlords make it mandatory to carry renters insurance as a tenant. This insurance is typically available for $10 to $15 per month. It protects you in case of an event that causes property damage, such as a robbery or flooding. Renters insurance will provide benefits to repair or replace damaged property at your apartment. If you have to live someplace else temporarily during apartment repairs, renters insurance can pay for your additional living expenses as well.

 Renters insurance can also help you pay for a visitor’s injuries if someone comes to your apartment and gets into an accident. If the injured visitor files a claim against you, your renters insurance could protect you from personal liability. One thing renters insurance will not cover, however, is your medical expenses after an accident. If you are injured due to an accident in your apartment or in the building, you will not have coverage through your renters insurance. You will need to seek coverage through your health insurance or a premises liability claim instead.

Who Do I Contact If I’m Injured at the Apartment?

 If you get into an accident in your apartment, go to the nearest doctor’s office for an exam and injury diagnosis. Keep copies of all relevant medical records. Notify your landlord about the accident. Take photographs of the dangerous property defect that caused your injuries. Then, contact a Dallas apartment injury attorney for a free legal consultation. A Dallas injury attorney can investigate your apartment accident and let you know if you have grounds to bring a claim against your landlord or another party for damages. 

 A lawyer can help you with all the steps it takes to file a claim and fight for fair compensation. A premises liability lawsuit could hold your landlord responsible for your medical expenses, property repairs, lost wages, pain and suffering, legal fees, and other damages. A successful suit could also push your landlord to take his or her legal duties more seriously – potentially preventing future tenants from experiencing the same harm you did in the complex. Contacting the right attorney could make it easier to move forward after an apartment injury in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 9:45 pm

Can I Still File a Lawsuit After Accepting a Settlement?

Monday, May 11, 2020

It can be tricky to navigate a personal injury lawsuit alone as a claimant. The average accident victim does not know how to adequately protect his or her rights during the claims process. It can be tempting, for example, to accept the very first settlement an insurance claims adjuster offers. It is critical, however, to bring the offer to a lawyer first to see if it is fair and reasonable. Once you accept a settlement offer, even if it is unreasonably low, you cannot file a lawsuit against the same defendant for the same damages in Texas.

what happens if I accept a settlement

Once You Sign, You Agree Not to Pursue a Lawsuit

 A settlement is a legally binding agreement. It states that you agree to accept the money offered in return for giving up your right to bring a lawsuit against the defendant for the same tort in the future. You will forfeit your right to file a lawsuit against the defendant for the same injuries and losses once you sign to accept a settlement. Even if your injuries worsen in the future or you realize your claim is worth more than the settlement you received, you will be unable to pursue further compensation through the court system once you accept the settlement.

 Before you accept, however, during settlement negotiations, nothing is binding. You and the insurance provider can go back and forth with settlement negotiations as much as you wish before you decide to file a lawsuit. You will not forfeit the option of bringing a lawsuit until you sign to accept the defendant’s settlement offer. Once you accept, it may be impossible to change your mind. For this reason, it is important to be sure accepting a settlement is in your best interests before you proceed.

Settlement vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas

 Settlements and lawsuits both have pros and cons. The right solution for you will depend on your case’s individual factors. A personal injury attorney can review your specific case and guide you toward the ideal resolution. This might be a settlement if the insurance company handles your claim fairly and offers an amount that matches your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages and other damages. Most personal injury claims reach successful settlements. A settlement can save you time and money as a claimant. Do not accept a settlement, however, until you have spoken to an attorney.

 Some cases will not achieve settlements and will need to go to trial in Dallas County. Claimants with catastrophic and life-changing injuries, for example, may benefit from going to trial over accepting settlements. Other claimants may face insurance companies that are refuting liability, meaning a trial will be necessary for a judgment award. While a trial could take longer to resolve and does not guarantee positive results, a successful outcome could provide a larger award for you as a victim depending on your case.

Carefully Review Your Options With a Lawyer

 Accepting a settlement might not be in your best interests if the insurance claims adjuster is not handling your case fairly. Insurance companies often try to save money by limiting payouts, diminishing claim values, unfairly denying claims and delaying payments. It often takes a lawyer’s representation to force an insurance company to offer a more reasonable settlement. Once you accept a settlement, you generally cannot take it back.

 Even after you accept a settlement from one defendant, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against a different defendant. If multiple parties caused your accident and injuries, your lawyer may be able to file a third-party lawsuit for part of your damages from a different party even after you accept a settlement from the first defendant. Many accidents involve multiple defendants who share fault for damages. These claims can be complicated and require assistance from lawyers. Work with a Dallas personal injury attorney in Texas if you wish to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Posted by admin at 8:14 pm

Proximate Cause in Personal Injury Cases

Monday, May 11, 2020

Causation is a critical element in any personal injury claim in Texas. It is one of the four main elements of proof necessary for most claims. In general, a plaintiff’s attorney will have to prove a defendant responsible for the proximate cause of the injury in question to achieve financial compensation from that defendant. Defining proximate cause in a personal injury case in Texas could help you understand what elements you will need to prove your claim.

What Is the Difference Between Actual Cause and Proximate Cause?

 The actual cause of an accident, also called the cause in fact, refers to the action or omission that caused the accident. For example, if a driver ran a red light and crashed into a motorcycle, the driver’s actions would be the actual cause of the accident. The proximate cause is the primary cause of the injury. The proximate cause is the action without which the plaintiff reasonably would not have his or her injuries. In the red light example, the driver running the light would be both the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

The likelihood of a cause being proximate grows as the cause becomes more directly connected to the injury. In the car accident example, for instance, the driver running the red light might be the actual cause of the accident, but if the victim’s seat belt malfunctioned, this could be the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. Not all cases have a proximate cause. Some only have actual causes. Either way, a defendant may be liable for damages.

 Determining whether a cause is proximate sometimes requires the but-for test. The but-for test asks what would have happened if the defendant had not committed the tort in question. It asks whether the injuries or damages in question would not have happened but for the defendant’s tort. If the foreseeably would not have happened, the defendant’s tort would be the proximate cause of the damages. If the plaintiff likely would have suffered the same damages regardless of the defendant’s tort, the tort would not be the proximate cause.

How Do You Prove Proximate Cause?

 Most personal injury claims in Texas require the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s breach of duty was both the actual and proximate cause of the damages claimed. The plaintiff’s lawyer must establish through a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s actions catalyzed a chain of events that reasonably and foreseeably would have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The evidence available to prove a defendant’s fault could include photographs, videos, police reports, medical records, witness accounts, crash reconstruction and expert testimony.

 A common issue related to the proximate cause is two or more issues operating concurrently to produce a victim’s losses. For example, if a victim had a pre-existing injury from a sports incident and gets into a car crash, the pre-existing injury could be the actual cause of the damages in question. If the plaintiff can establish the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the accident, however, the defendant could still be liable, even if a pre-existing injury contributed to the extent of the damages claimed.

 Proving proximate cause often takes proving the defendant’s majority share of fault for the accident. Otherwise, the defendant could use the comparative negligence defense to avoid paying the plaintiff. The comparative negligence defense alleges the plaintiff contributed to the accident. In Texas, if a defendant proves a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for the accident or injury in question, the plaintiff will lose all right to financial compensation. Otherwise, a lesser percentage of fault would reduce the plaintiff’s financial award proportionately. An accident victim must hire a lawyer to help him or her establish proximate cause and combat the comparative negligence defense in Texas. A Dallas personal injury lawyer can increase the odds of obtaining maximum compensation.

 

Posted by admin at 7:17 pm

What Is the Eggshell Skull Rule?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Every victim is unique. No two people are exactly the same, with identical strengths and weaknesses. Some victims have medical histories, past injuries and pre-existing conditions that could exacerbate their injuries in an accident. The eggshell skull rule exists for these types of claimants. Learn how this doctrine might affect your claim as an accident victim with a pre-existing condition in Texas.

What Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Mean?

 The eggshell skull rule states that a defendant who is liable for a plaintiff’s damages will be liable for them as they are. The defendant will have to pay for the plaintiff’s related medical bills, lost wages and other damages even if that plaintiff had a pre-existing condition that led to more severe injuries than another victim likely would have suffered. The defendant must take the plaintiff as-is, pre-existing conditions and all. The eggshell skull rule holds a defendant responsible for a plaintiff’s uncommon and unforeseeable reaction to the accident or tort. 

 Even if the plaintiff had a peculiar condition that magnified the effects of the tort, the defendant will be liable for the damages as they are. The rule takes its name from a common example of how it works: if a plaintiff had a weakened skull, as brittle as an eggshell, and sustained a catastrophic brain injury in an accident because of this pre-existing condition, the defendant will be responsible for all the victim’s losses – even if a victim with a stronger skull would not have had the same injuries. The doctrine holds a defendant liable for all the consequences of his or her actions, including those that were not foreseeable.

Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Apply to Emotional Injuries?

 Texas law allows a plaintiff to claim damages for both physical and emotional injuries. Emotional injuries can refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional distress, grief, humiliation, anxiety, depression, loss of consortium and lost quality of life. As of now, however, the eggshell skull rule does not apply to emotional injuries. It is only usable as a doctrine in physical injury claims. That does not, however, mean you will be unable to obtain fair compensation for your emotional injuries after an accident.

 Although you may not be able to use the eggshell skull rule, you and your personal injury lawyer could argue your eligibility for noneconomic damages by demonstrating your losses using evidence. Emotional injuries may be invisible, but that does not mean they are impossible to prove during an injury claim. Evidence of emotional injuries can include medical records, notes from mental health professionals, expert witness testimony, an injury journal, and testimony from your friends and family members. 

Does It Vary by State?

 The eggshell rule can apply to both criminal and civil cases. In a criminal case, prosecutors can use the rule to hold the defendant accountable for all the injuries and consequences a victim suffered due to the crime, even if a pre-existing condition exacerbated these injuries. The eggshell skull rule, or a version of it, exists in most states. However, the exact law and specifics of each statute can vary by state and county.

 In Texas, the eggshell skull rule protects plaintiffs with pre-existing injuries. It is up to the plaintiff or his or her lawyer to prove the existence and extent of the injury through medical documentation. The lawyer will also need to prove the defendant’s majority share of fault to protect the plaintiff’s eligibility for compensation. Texas is a comparative negligence state, meaning a plaintiff’s partial fault will reduce his or her financial recovery. If the courts find a plaintiff more than 50% at fault for the injury, the comparative negligence law bars the plaintiff from recovery entirely. Hire a personal injury attorney in Dallas to help you with your injury claim, especially if it involves the eggshell skull rule.

Posted by admin at 7:05 pm

Can a Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Any car accident claim can be difficult for a victim to navigate. If that victim has a pre-existing injury, however, it can be even harder to obtain a fair settlement from an insurance company. An insurance carrier might try to use a pre-existing injury as a reason to deny the claim or reduce payout. Learning how a pre-existing injury or condition might affect your personal injury claim can help you prepare for the process ahead. 

What Is Considered a Pre-Existing Condition?

 A pre-existing condition in terms of personal injury law is any health or medical condition for which the claimant has already received treatment or medical advice before the date of the accident. It can refer to any illness, injury, disease, mental health condition, nervous disorder or ailment the claimant had with reasonable medical certainty before the accident. Common pre-existing conditions include back injuries, degenerative disk disease, prior bone fractures, soft-tissue injuries, whiplash and brain injuries. Pre-existing conditions can also refer to asthma, diabetes and other medical conditions.

How Can it Affect an Injury Claim?

 Having a pre-existing condition can impact your claim in a couple of ways. First, it could make the injuries you suffered in the accident worse than they would have been without your pre-existing condition. If you have degenerative disk disease, for example, a car accident could exacerbate this condition and cause an injury such as disk herniation. Your injuries and symptoms could be worse than someone without the pre-existing condition in the same situation. You may be eligible for greater compensation. 

 If an accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition, file an insurance claim for your injuries – including any physical ailments the accident worsened. A pre-existing injury will not bar you from recovery. You will have the right under the eggshell skull rule to claim damages for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. The eggshell skull rule is a legal doctrine giving a plaintiff the right to obtain compensation from a defendant for a negligent or intentional tort that worsens the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition. It states that a defendant at fault for the tort will be liable for the victim’s injuries as-is – even if a pre-existing condition or peculiar characteristic magnified those injuries.

How to Handle a Claim Involving Pre-Existing Injuries

 A pre-existing injury should not interfere with your right to recover compensation; however, an insurance company might tell you otherwise. The insurance company that receives your accident claim might try to avoid payout by alleging your injuries were pre-existing. The insurer might try to argue that you had the injuries before the accident and that its policyholder is, therefore, not liable for your damages. It is important to handle these claims carefully if you wish to recover fair compensation from a defendant in Texas.

 Go to the hospital immediately after a personal injury accident. Disclose all pre-existing conditions. Keep copies of your medical records and treatment plans to show an insurance carrier later. When you file your insurance claim, do not sign anything or give the insurance company permission to access your medical records without first talking to a lawyer. The waiver the insurer might want you to sign could grant the company access to your full medical history rather than only the records related to your recent accident. This is a ploy an insurance company could use to try to argue the ineligibility of your injuries for coverage.

 Hire a lawyer to help you with a claim involving a pre-existing condition or injury an accident exacerbated. These claims can be complicated and require a lawyer’s knowledge and skill. A lawyer can gather the correct medical records, protect you from insurance carrier bad faith, hire medical experts and argue for maximum compensation on your behalf. A pre-existing condition should not keep you from financial recovery after an accident in Texas. Work with a Dallas personal injury attorney to obtain the best possible results for this type of injury claim.

                 

Posted by admin at 6:52 pm

What is a Letter of Protection?

Monday, April 13, 2020

After a serious accident, you might receive correspondence you do not want from many parties: insurance claims adjusters and bill collectors, namely. One type of communication you might receive is from your doctor’s office, reminding you about an outstanding unpaid bill. As the victim of an accident, however, you might be unable to pay your medical bills upfront. This should not interfere with obtaining the medical treatment you need for your injuries or disabilities. A letter of protection is a document that could help you receive medical care while you wait for a settlement.

letter of protection

How Do You Write a Letter of Protection?

 A letter of protection is a document your personal injury lawyer can draft that essentially says while you do not have the money right now to pay your doctor or hospital, you are in a court proceeding and will use the results of it to satisfy your medical debts. It is a letter assuring your health care provider that you will use part of any settlement or judgment award won during your personal injury case to pay off what you owe. If you have trouble finding a care provider that accepts letters of protection and medical liens, ask an attorney for assistance locating one.

 Sending a letter of protection can allow you to continue receiving the medical care you need without receiving constant letters or phone calls about your outstanding debt owed. It can also provide your doctor with peace of mind about the care already provided. A letter of protection is a legal notice your lawyer can draft for you. If you are the injured party, ask your personal injury attorney to send a letter of protection to your doctor on your behalf at the beginning of litigation.

 A letter of protection will include your name (the client’s name), any relevant dates and the medical procedure you received. It will give the name of the law firm and/or attorney and verify that the firm has taken your case and is currently pursuing compensation from the at-fault party. It should assure the recipient that if your lawyer succeeds in obtaining a cash settlement or a jury verdict at trial, you will repay any outstanding debts. It should be polite, succinct and to the point. It may also include the law firm’s contact information for any further questions or concerns.

 Is a Letter of Protection a Lien?

 An official letter of protection serves the same purpose as a medical lien. The two terms are interchangeable depending on the state. A lien is a legal claim one party has to the property of another party if the second party fails to repay a debt owed to the first party. A lien is a type of contract that gives one party the right to take the property of another in lieu of payment for an unpaid debt if the debtor does not pay within a certain amount of time. A letter of protection essentially serves the same purpose. It is a contract that assures a doctor that while you cannot pay upfront, you will pay when your case resolves and you receive payment from the defendant.

 Upon sending a physician a letter of protection, you will be under a legal obligation to give the medical provider his or her cut of any settlement or judgment award won in a lawsuit in the future. When working with an attorney, he or she can arrange a payment to your medical providers for you after obtaining a settlement, so you do not have to worry about this yourself. If your lawyer fails to obtain financial compensation for your damages, you will still owe a debt to the provider of your medical care. The health care provider will then have the right to pursue the full cost of the bill from you as it normally would, such as through bill collectors. A lawyer can help you with a letter of protection from the very beginning of the process.

Posted by admin at 4:36 pm

Is a Bystander Claim Derivative in Texas?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Victims with physical injuries from an accident are not the only parties eligible to bring claims to damages in Texas. Texas also recognizes the mental anguish and emotional suffering a victim’s family members and loved ones go through – especially those who witnessed the traumatic accident firsthand. State law enables people negatively impacted by a family member’s accident to file what the courts call bystander claims.

Bystander claims are free-standing torts in Texas, meaning the plaintiff can bring a bystander claim separately from a victim’s direct civil action. Bystander claims are derivative in Texas, however, meaning the outcome of a related personal injury or wrongful death case will affect the outcome of the bystander claim.

What Is a Derivative Claim?

A derivative claim is very different from a direct claim. While a direct claim focuses on the legal rights of the individual directly injured, a derivative claim serves the interests of someone other than the victim. A wrongful death lawsuit is technically derivative, for example, since the plaintiff is not the actual victim of the accident in question. Bystander claims in Texas are also derivative.

The outcome of a direct claim will foretell how the courts will rule on a derivative claim, in general. If the direct claim finds the defendant not liable for the victim’s injuries, for example, the derivative claim will most likely fail as well. The courts will not find the same defendant not liable for the direct injury but liable for derivative emotional harm. Likewise, a positive verdict for a direct claim could portend a successful derivative claim, as long as the plaintiff has all the other necessary elements.

When Can Someone File a Bystander Claim?

It is not always possible to file a bystander claim after a harmful accident. In Texas, the plaintiff must be a close relative of the party directly involved in the accident. The courts restrict the right to recover to only the victim’s spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings and children. It is not a requirement that the plaintiff must live with the victim at the time of the accident. The claimant must also meet certain standards of proof to obtain compensation.

  • The plaintiff witnessed the accident or was nearby when it happened. The plaintiff must have seen the accident or been at the scene to qualify for damages, with a few exceptions. It typically will not be possible to seek damages for finding out about a loved one’s injury or death through someone else or over the phone.
  • The plaintiff suffered an unexpected, extreme and immediate shock. In general, the courts require the plaintiff to prove that witnessing the accident (or, in some cases, discovering the injured or killed loved one) was unexpected and an extreme shock. In other words, the plaintiff may not be eligible if he or she found out about the accident and purposefully drove to the scene.
  • The plaintiff can prove specific mental and emotional trauma. The person filing the claim must have proof of specific damages due to the incident, such as mental anguish or emotional distress. Common damages claimed in bystander lawsuits are post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, extreme anxiety, depression, insomnia and suicidal thoughts. The plaintiff might also have economic damages, such as lost wages from having to take mental health leave from work.

Proof during a bystander claim in Texas often comes in the form of testimony from relatives and friends who have seen firsthand how the accident impacted or traumatized the plaintiff. The plaintiff may also hire mental health experts to testify as to how an accident such as the one in question would reasonably affect an eyewitness or loved one in the same situation. An injury attorney can help with a bystander claim at the same time or separate from a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Texas.

Posted by admin at 6:44 pm

What is a Common Carrier Accident?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A common carrier is a special type of vehicle. It is a vehicle people use for commercial or work purposes, such as carrying paying passengers or transporting cargo for businesses. In Texas, thousands of common carriers fill the roads every day. Common carriers must obey unique rules, regulations and responsibilities that typical motor vehicles do not. If you get into an accident with a common carrier, the claims process will look different. Work with a Dallas personal injury attorney for legal advice about these complex types of claims.

inside a common carrier

Examples of Common Carriers

Common carriers refer to vehicles that transport goods or people for business purposes. Common carrier enterprises include trucking companies, taxi companies, airlines and railroads. It typically costs money to use or employ a common carrier unless the vehicle offers its services to the general public for free. Recognizing common carriers can help you understand whether your recent car accident involves related laws in Texas.

  • Commercial truck
  • Taxicab
  • Limousine
  • School bus
  • Public or private bus
  • Tour bus
  • Airport or hotel shuttle
  • Rideshare vehicle
  • Light rail vehicle
  • Mail delivery vehicle
  • Utility truck
  • Waste removal truck
  • Oil and gas pipeline operators

A common carrier accident refers to a traffic collision with any common carrier or commercial vehicle in Texas. If you discover the other driver in your accident was operating the motor vehicle for occupational purposes, you might have collided with a common carrier. In this case, the claims process will have rules and steps you would not have encountered with a typical auto accident. Contact a lawyer if you need assistance bringing a claim against a common carrier in Dallas.

Who Is Responsible for a Common Carrier Accident?

The duty of care to prevent collisions is higher for common carriers than standard drivers in Texas. Common carriers have a duty to exercise a high degree of care in preventing foreseeable risks and accidents. Carriers must use the level of care a prudent, cautious and reasonable party would under similar circumstances. Failure to do so is negligence. If you get into an accident with a common carrier you suspect is guilty of negligence, that party may owe you financial compensation for your damages.

One of the main differences between a typical car accident case and a common carrier accident is the doctrine of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability holds parties such as employers, companies and parents accountable for the actions of those under their jurisdiction. After a crash with a common carrier, the company could be vicariously liable for the actions or negligence of its drivers or employees. Bringing a claim against a company instead of an individual may take help from an attorney; otherwise, the company’s aggressive legal team might take advantage of you.

How to Handle a Common Carrier Accident in Dallas

Determining liability, collecting evidence, building a claim and negotiating a resolution with an insurance provider after a common carrier accident can become easier after you hire an attorney. A common carrier accident lawyer in Dallas could help you learn and defend your rights. A lawyer can investigate your crash for signs of negligence by the company, such as improperly trained drivers or ignored vehicle maintenance needs. If the common carrier broke a federal or state law or one of its staff members was negligent, the company may owe you compensation for your losses.

  • Vehicle repairs
  • Totaled vehicle replacement
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Legal expenses
  • Pain and suffering

You will generally have two years from the date of your common carrier accident to bring a cause of action, according to Texas’ statute of limitations. Do not wait to speak to an attorney, however, because if the common carrier is a government entity such as a school district, you will only have 180 days from the accident to file a claim. Contact an attorney in Dallas as soon as possible about your rights and legal options as the victim of a collision with a common carrier. You may be eligible for compensation.

Posted by admin at 6:34 pm

Could Social Media Affect an Injury Case?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

You are not alone as someone who wishes to share aspects of your life with your friends and family via social media. Millions of users log onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok and other social media apps daily. Around 70% of Americans use social media sites, according to the Pew Research Center. If you get into a personal injury accident, it is in your best interest to restrict what you post to social media. Posting the wrong thing could have the power to reduce your financial recovery award…or eliminate it completely.

law case and social media

Why You Should Avoid Social Media

Your Dallas personal injury lawyer will most likely advise you to stay off of social media for the duration of your personal injury case. Investigators can access content posted across social sites and use it as admissible evidence. The defense may be able to take anything you post and turn it around to paint you in a negative light. Staying active on social medial during a claim could interfere with your ability to recover in many ways.

  • Contradicting your story. You or one of your friends might post something that contradicts the story you have been telling. If you say you have chronic pain that interferes with your enjoyment of life, for example, posting photos of you bowling or at a party could hurt your case.
  • Undermining your reliability. If you post something on social media that contrasts any information you gave to an insurance company, no matter how minor (such as a photo showing you at Disney when you said you were at work), this could be enough for the defense to establish that you are an unreliable witness.
  • Divulging your location. Something as seemingly innocent as checking in at a location could still serve as evidence against you during an injury case. The defense might use the fact that you checked in at a yoga studio as proof that your injuries are not serious, for instance, no matter why you were at the studio.
  • Saying the wrong thing. Even if you are careful about what you post on social media, you cannot control what your friends or family members post. Comments regarding your case or lifestyle, such as how much money you wish to make in a settlement, could hurt your case or damage how you look to a jury.
  • Trying to cover up evidence. Deleting messages or photographs you think might be incriminating could harm your case further. Investigators have ways of retrieving deleted content. The fact that you deleted things could look suspicious to a judge or jury, regardless of the actual content of the material deleted.

It can be difficult to predict how the defense may use your social activity against you during a personal injury claim. Changing your privacy settings will not keep investigators out. The best way to protect yourself from potential social media pitfalls is to delete or freeze your accounts during your claim. Do not post anything, check-in anywhere or let your friends tag you in any photos on social media sites. The same is true for other forms of digital communication. Be careful what you email, text and message to others, as this could also become evidence during your case.

Do Not Run the Risk – Log Off During Your Claim

Many injured parties believe they are exceptions to the rule and can do better about posting carefully on social media during an ongoing injury case. Unfortunately, they underestimate the ways in which an aggressive defense team can twist posts and online activity into evidence against them. Even the most prudent plaintiff could make a mistake on social media that comes back to hurt his or her claim. The best way to optimize your odds of obtaining fair compensation for an injury is by pausing your social media use entirely until the conclusion of your case.

Posted by admin at 7:01 pm

A Quick Guide to Calculating Pain and Suffering

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A fair settlement can provide your family with compensation to pay for medical bills, make up for lost wages due to missed work, and other expenses associated with daily living. Many personal injury claims also include what’s known as “pain and suffering” costs. These are noneconomic damages, such as physical pain an injury caused or emotional distress from the accident. If your family qualifies for pain and suffering damages, you or your lawyer will have to prove eligibility and calculate a fair amount of compensation to demand from the defendant. A lawyer in Texas can help you with the difficult task of calculating a reasonable pain and suffering award.

paperwork on table

Pain and Suffering Defined

Lawyers use the term “general damages” to define any intangible losses, like pain and suffering, as part of an injury settlement.

They contrast specific damages, or damages particular to a unique plaintiff, such as his or her precise medical expenses and lost wages. General damages can refer to many different mental, emotional or psychological losses.

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Chronic pain
  • Stiffness and immobility
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of limb
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Anxiety, stress or depression
  • Embarrassment or humiliation
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of consortium or household services

While you will have medical evidence and financial statements to support the value of your specific damages, it can be more difficult to quantify your pain and suffering. Luckily, those in the civil justice system have worked out a way to calculate pain and suffering damages to result in just compensation for injured parties.The two most common are the multiplier method and the per diem approach.

The Multiplier Method

The most frequently used of the two methods is the multiplier method. Using this method, a jury will start with the total value of the plaintiff’s calculated economic (specific) damages, then multiply it by a suitable number according to the circumstances of the case. Jurors will vote on a multiplier between 1.5 and 5 to represent the level of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. While a moderate injury might receive a multiplier of two or three, for example, more severe, debilitating, traumatic or painful injuries would receive higher multipliers, such as four or five.

For instance, if you lost a limb in a traumatic workplace accident, a jury might assign your case a multiplier of 4.5 to calculate pain and suffering. If the combined value of your medical bills, lost wages, legal fees, travel expenses, property repairs, disability expenses and other out-of-pocket costs was $500,000, the jury would multiply $500,000 by 4.5 for a total pain and suffering award of $2,250,000. The only time the courts will cap pain and suffering damages in Texas is during medical malpractice cases, where the maximum award is $250,000.

The “Per Diem” Calculation

Less common is the “per diem” method of calculating pain and suffering. This process gets its name from the Latin phrase meaning “each day.” Rather than summarizing your general damages with one lump sum, the per diem approach works by demanding a certain dollar amount for every day you experience pain as a result of your accident.

Juries more commonly apply the per diem method to short-term injuries with clear recovery timelines versus long-term injuries. The per diem approach might not be appropriate for a long-term or permanent injury. If a jury does use the per diem approach, the jurors will come up with an appropriate dollar amount to assign per day of the plaintiff’s injury recovery. Typically, this dollar amount will match the plaintiff’s daily working wage. Then, the jury will multiply this amount by the number of days the victim will foreseeably experience pain and suffering from the injury or accident.

Say, for example, you were involved in a car accident and experienced a fractured arm as a result. You wore a cast for six weeks and took pain pills each day to alleviate your suffering. Even after your cast is off, you continue to experience pain for another month, for a total of 75 days of suffering. Say you make $35,000 a year—approximately $95 per day. Your per diem settlement would be around $7,2000.

What Is Your Case Worth?

 Catastrophic injuries are generally worth more than minor injuries in Texas. If you or a loved one has life-changing or permanent personal injuries, your pain and suffering damages may be higher than those of a victim of a minor accident. Wrongful death claims can also involve higher multipliers and compensatory awards. A jury may choose to use the multiplier method, per diem method or no method at all to calculate a pain and suffering award. Although it is possible to seek compensation solely for pain and suffering in Texas, most personal injury claims combine a pain and suffering demand with economic damages as well. This can lead to maximum compensation for the full extent of your damages after a preventable accident.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident?

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering about the recourse for the parties responsible or wondering how to pay for your medical bills. The Attorneys at Aaron Herbert are skilled at negotiating settlements that are fair, given the extent of your pain and suffering. To start your personal injury claim today, contact our office for a free case evaluation. We offer our services on a contingency-fee basis, so there’s no risk to you.

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