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What Is Malicious Prosecution? (Updated: 2019)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Prosecution is the process through which the state brings criminal charges against an individual. Any prosecution must have a foundation of probable cause or reason to believe the individual committed the crimes in question. Additionally, criminal charges exist with the intent of upholding justice. “Malicious prosecution” is a legal term pertaining to any prosecution made without probable cause or for purposes other than bringing an alleged criminal to justice. A victim of malicious prosecution can speak with a Trial attorney and file action for damages suffered because of the malicious prosecution.

How Can You Prove Malicious Prosecution?

A malicious prosecution is essentially a baseless accusation brought against an individual for the purposes of harassing or distressing him or her. The plaintiff in a malicious prosecution case must provide evidence for several factors to succeed in a claim. These four elements include:

  • Proving the initiator of the prosecution acted in bad faith, or for some other reason other than the pursuit of justice against an alleged offender.
  • The resulting proceeding led to a ruling in the victim’s favor.
  • There was no probable cause that would have reasonably led to the proceeding.
  • The initiator of the proceeding acted with malice toward the victim.

What Does a Victim of Malicious Prosecution Need to Do?

Victims of malicious prosecution face several hurdles in pursing damages for these incidents. First, proving that a police officer or government agent did not have probable cause is usually difficult. The other difficulty lies in the legal concept of qualified immunity. Many law enforcement agencies and government agencies are immune from legal action from private citizens except under extraordinary circumstances. The victim will need to prove that the malicious prosecutor acted outside the scope of his or her position and engaged in willful and unreasonable conduct.

The final hurdle for victims of malicious prosecution lies in state laws. Some states define malicious prosecution and unfair trials differently and will allow a plaintiff to sue for one, but not the other. Additionally, various elements of a malicious prosecution case may lead a judge to dismiss the allegations or allow the plaintiff to file an action for an unfair trial instead.

What is False Arrest?

People commonly conflate malicious prosecution with false arrest or false imprisonment. False arrest applies to situations in which someone without the proper authority to conduct the arrest arrests a victim. False imprisonment applies to confining someone against his or her will. Malicious prosecution only applies when someone intentionally misuses the justice system.

What are the Damages for Malicious Prosecution?

Generally, plaintiffs in malicious prosecution cases seek to recover any expenses they incur because of the malicious prosecution. This can extend to attorney’s fees, court filing fees, lost income from time spent in prison or being otherwise unable to work, and other compensation. In some cases, plaintiffs can receive compensation for the emotional distress of withstanding an abuse of the justice system. Plaintiffs may also sue for damaged reputation and lost future earning potential.

Anyone who suffers from malicious prosecution needs to act quickly to protect his or her rights. A competent attorney can help a victim of malicious prosecution prove the improper actions of the defendant in question and help the victim secure compensation for such a distressful – and often expensive – ordeal.

Posted by admin at 6:32 pm

5 Things an Attorney Needs for a Valid Injury Claim

Thursday, September 26, 2019

An injury claim goes through the civil justice system to try to obtain financial compensation for an accident victim. An injury claim is something an injured party can file against one or more parties for allegedly causing the harm in question. After a car accident, for example, a victim may be able to a personal injury attorney to file an injury claim against the at-fault driver for damages.

A lawyer will search for certain elements required for a valid injury claim when a client comes to him or her for assistance. The client will schedule a free consultation, ask questions about his or her accident and explain what happened to the lawyer. Then, the attorney will determine if the accident victim has a case by looking for a few main elements.

Filing Before the Deadline

A lawyer must file a personal injury claim before the state’s deadline, or statute of limitations, for a valid claim. The courts in Texas do not allow many exceptions to the statute of limitations. They are very strict in which cases they hear and which they deny. In Texas, the time limit on a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident or discovery of an injury. A lawyer must file a claimant’s personal injury lawsuit within two years or forfeit the right to demand compensation at all.

A Defendant With a Duty of Care

Identifying the defendant is one of the first tasks necessary for an injury claim. The defendant is the party the victim blames for the accident and injuries. A defendant could be a physician, driver, property owner, product manufacturer, employer, criminal and/or other parties. Naming a defendant may take an investigation of who or what caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Many injury claims involve more than one party sharing fault for the incident.

Once the attorney identifies the defendant, the next task is to gather proof the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care at the time of the accident. A duty to exercise reasonable care is something the defendant may have owed the plaintiff according to the circumstances or relationship. A doctor, for example, owes special standards of care to his or her patient. The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care at the time of the accident for a valid claim. Many attorneys hire expert witnesses to help establish the defendant’s duty of care during injury claims.

Proof of Negligence or Breach of Duty

The second element of proof needed for a valid injury claim is negligence. The legal doctrine of negligence is the foundation for most personal injury claims. Proving negligence means to show the defendant breached his or her duty of care to the plaintiff, causing the accident and injuries. A breach of duty could be any act of negligence, careless, disregard or intent to harm the defendant exhibited toward the plaintiff.

The lawyer will also need to establish a causal relationship between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s accident or injury. Negligence alone is not enough to prove a defendant’s liability for damages. The defendant’s negligence must have been a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s damages. Otherwise, the defendant may not be liable for the accident. Causation is an important element a lawyer must prove in any injury claim.

Evidence of Damages

Finally, an attorney needs proof of a victim’s damages for a valid injury claim. Even if the defendant had been negligent, this would not be grounds for a claim unless the victim suffered specific damages as a result. Damages can refer to any economic or noneconomic losses the victim experienced because of the defendant’s breach of duty of care. Texas civil courts allow victims to file lawsuits for both or either type of damages.

  • Physical injuries
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Lost quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Property damages
  • Punitive damages

Proof of a victim’s damages can come in the form of hospital bills, health care receipts, lost wage documents, pay-stubs, photographs, property repair quotes, interviews with witnesses and testimony from the plaintiff him or herself. Documenting the types and values of a victim’s damages is a necessary part of any injury claim in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 4:12 pm

Most Common Preventable Summer Injuries

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer is an exciting time for individuals of all ages. Children and teens receive a well-deserved break from their schooling, while adults get to frequent refreshing outdoor venues on weekends rather than hiding from the cold. Though summer comes with a positive connotation in most contexts, some members of the public take the concept of “summer fun” too far. Commonly due to individual recklessness or ignorance, several types of accidents seem to characterize the summer season.

Car and Bike Accidents

With more people out in public during summer, roadways often become congested. This is especially relevant during parades, carnivals, and other festivities that cause local traffic. These activities that make summer fun and exciting can actually cause major accidents when drivers and bike riders become distracted or overwhelmed by the sheer amount of activity taking place.

Car accidents increase during the summer months, though the most impacted group are teenagers. This is logical because new/young drivers that don’t have school want to travel to cool destinations with friends. Though these individuals have their licenses/permits, they are most susceptible to overwhelming and/or congested traffic conditions. 

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is an extremely common occurrence during the summer caused by overheating. Heat stroke comes with symptoms like nausea, confusion, or blacking out (in extreme cases) caused by dehydration and excessive sun exposure. Though it might be fun to venture outdoors during summer break, you must remember that it’s possible to neglect your own body by refusing to prepare.

Always keep a water bottle in close range and take breaks from the sun, especially if you feel unwell. Though many summer enthusiasts think they can handle the heat, testing your body’s limits in this way can cause major health issues.

Drowning

Summer time, for most people, equates to swimming time. This season is when swim parks and public pool facilities open their doors to the masses. Though cooling off during the hot summer season is great, and even a good thing, you must still remember to exercise safety precautions. This is especially true for young children that have not yet acquired adequate experience and brain development to discriminate between a cool pool game and a dangerous situation.

Drowning often occurs when pools become overcrowded. Swimmers and pool toys alike create dangerous overcrowded environments that easily trap young children, teens and adults under the water. Moreover, the noise level in these environments are typically so high that guardians and lifeguards often cannot hear cries for help or discriminate them from shouts of joy. Remember to monitor your children when taking them to the pool this summer to prevent dangerous accidents.

Playground Accidents

After school lets out, swarms of school-aged children frequent playgrounds and parks. Though utilizing summer break to let children exercise and socialize is beneficial to them, they still require adult supervision.

Much like car accidents and instances of drowning, playground accidents increase during the summer because of overcrowding. Children as a group can be cutthroat, as well, depending on their age. In crowded playgrounds scenarios, children can sustain fractured/broken bones, sprains, cuts/scratches, and even concussion if they fall from the structure. When taking your child to the park, make sure to monitor their whereabouts at all times.

Though summer provides the opportunity for all individuals to take part in activities unavailable during other seasons, safety should still be the number one priority. Remain alert and prevent unnecessary accidents during your summer fun this year. Learn more about safety and preventable injury by speaking to an experienced Dallas injury lawyer today!

Posted by admin at 7:19 pm

What Is the Difference Between a Contingency and a Non-Contingency Personal Injury Attorney?

Friday, February 15, 2019

When you are hiring an attorney, it can be difficult to wade through legal terms so you can ensure you find the attorney that is right for you. One term you may have noticed is contingency, as well as its opposite, non-contingency. How do these terms apply to your case?

What Is a Contingency Case?

Attorneys may work on a contingency basis, which means that you will not have to pay up front for the attorney’s time. Instead, you will enter into a contingency fee arrangement, in which the attorney will agree that no upfront fee is necessary and you will agree to give the attorney a certain percentage of any settlement or judgment. If the case is unsuccessful and you do not win, you do not owe the attorney a fee.

Overall, contingency cases can allow access to attorney services for clients who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Clients can pay with a portion of the results of the case, while the attorney assumes some risk that they will not win the case. However, some attorneys decline certain cases they feel may not prove worth the risk.

Some attorneys work on a contingency basis regarding the fees for the time spent on the case, but will require the client to pay for other related expenses. Expenses may include filing fees, expert testimony fees, or medical expenses. This partial contingency basis may still allow for greater access to attorney services for some clients.

Often, attorneys in the personal injury, workers’ compensation, property damage, and class action lawsuit areas will work on a contingency basis. Such cases have the potential for significant settlements, making the attorney’s time well spent for a percentage of the settlement.

Many people feel that working on a contingency basis provides an attorney with extra incentive to pursue a fair settlement amount for the client. However, a good attorney will work hard for a client regardless of compensation style.

What Is a Non-Contingency Case?

Most attorneys take cases primarily on a non-contingency basis. The client hires the attorney to act as their legal advocate for the purposes of the case. The client pays the attorney outright, either on an hourly basis or a flat fee to provide representation.

Often, attorneys who work on a non-contingency basis will charge clients a retainer, essentially a deposit that guarantees a certain number of hours of the attorney’s time working on the case. If the case exceeds that number of hours, the attorney will charge additional fees. Attorneys often charge other fees, such as filing fees and expert fees in addition to the hourly rate.

Attorneys working on family law, real estate, criminal or bankruptcy and other business cases typically charge a retainer and work on a non-contingency basis. These cases do not involve awards or settlements the client can draw from to pay attorney fees. However, if you win your case, the opposing side may pay court costs and attorney fees for you.

How Much Do Attorneys Cost?

Contingency fees typically comprise about one-third of the settlement amount. Also, keep in mind that filing fees, discovery costs, and overhead fees typically cost hundreds of dollars each. Expert witness fees can reach several thousands of dollars or as much as your attorney himself. Non-contingency attorney fees can begin at $250 per hour. All of these fees depend on your individual case – particularly its complexities and the degree of risk to the attorney – as well as the specifics of the fees in your area.

Always consult with an attorney to get an idea of how he or she would handle the fees related to your case. The consultation phase is crucial so that you can understand how fees will be determined.

Posted by admin at 8:00 am

Safety Tips for Hunting in Texas

Monday, April 9, 2018

There are an average of 20 hunting accidents in Texas each year, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). While the majority of these are not fatal, hunting accidents can lead to serious or debilitating injury. These accidents are also not exclusive to novice or amateur hunters. Per the TPWD:

  • Many shooters involved in hunting accidents have not been drinking.
  • Most hunters have plenty of hunting experience.
  • Most hunting accidents involve people over the age of 40.

Even experienced hunters can reduce their risk of injury while enjoying their pastime. Observe some simple safety tips before packing up for your next hunt.

Take a Hunter Safety Training Class

The majority of hunting accidents occur with experienced hunters, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also notes that most people who sustain injuries on a hunting trip did not have specific safety training. You can take an online safety course through the TWPD website, where you’ll learn basics such as what to wear, when to hunt, and how to communicate with others in your party.

Practice Smart Firearm Safety

Controlling your weapon is one of the simplest ways to avoid injury to others. For example:

  • Point the muzzle in a safe direction. Never point at anything you don’t intend to shoot, and never use your foot as a resting spot. Leave your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire and keep the safety on when not actively shooting. Treat your firearm or bow as if it’s loaded or nocked and ready to fire, even when it’s not.
  • Properly identify your target and surrounding area. Before raising your firearm to take a shot, use binoculars to identify what else is around before using your scope. Never shoot at an animal positioned at the top of a hill or ridge, as there’s no way to identify what’s on the other side.
  • Unload your weapons when not in use and store them properly in cases when traveling. Always store ammunition and firearms separately, under lock and key.

Practice Proper Etiquette

Whether you’re shooting on a range or in a field, know your safety zone and stick to it. Be aware of your companion’s position and never swing your gun or bow outside of your safety zone. Encourage your hunting party to wear fluorescent orange, so you and your companions are visible to one another, even under heavy cover or at a great distance.

Never drink while on a hunting trip. Alcohol inhibits your physical and mental functions, slows your reaction time, and puts your entire hunting party in danger. It can also affect your ability to control your emotions, which could lead to dangerous consequences. Save your celebrations for after your hunt.

Wear Proper Protective Gear

If you’re shooting at the range, make sure you’re wearing both ear and eye protection, as exploding shells can cause hearing loss or eye damage from burnt powder or flying debris. When shooting in a field or out on a trip, always wear your safety glasses, but don’t use hearing protection, as you must be aware of your surroundings.

The majority of hunting accidents are preventable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice shooter or a seasoned pro, there are still steps you can take to assure your safety. Always wear appropriate safety gear and outline basic rules with your party before leaving on a trip. Treat your firearm as if it’s loaded and ready to shoot at all times, and never drink alcohol or use drugs on a trip. By observing these basic safety tips, you can reduce your risk of injury while hunting and make the experience safer for everyone in your party.

Posted by admin at 4:57 pm

Should Your Injury Lawyer Have Trial Experience?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

When you think of retaining a lawyer, you might imagine a big courtroom with your legal representative in the midst of a heated argument before a judge and jury. While this scenario is certainly possible, it’s unlikely. In fact, only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases in the U.S. go to trial. The vast majority reach successful settlements during pretrial negotiations with the insurance company or another defendant. Keep this in mind when wondering whether your lawyer should have trial experience, and then consider these facts:

There is a Chance Your Case Could Go to Trial

Yes, the odds of going to trial are slim; however, it is possible that pretrial negotiations won’t work for your claim, and the courts will need to impanel a jury to decide the case. The prospect of a potential trial will have a significant impact on your case and its value, regardless of whether it ever reaches the courtroom. In the event that pretrial hearings cannot resolve your case, your lawyer needs to be able to accept the responsibility of representing you during a personal injury trial. Imagine discovering your case needs to go to trial, only to find your lawyer has zero courtroom experience. This is why most plaintiffs want trial attorneys, not just personal injury lawyers.

Insurance Companies Are Savvy to Local Law Firms

You want the upper hand when it comes to negotiating your personal injury claim with an insurance company. Otherwise, the insurance agent or claims analyst can take advantage of you and offer much less than your claim is worth. One of the best ways to protect your best interests is to retain a trial-tested attorney for insurance negotiations. Why? If the insurance company knows your lawyer doesn’t typically go to trial, it can offer less because it assumes settlement is the only option. For maximum compensation, you want your negotiations to reflect the fact that if you cannot settle your case, it will go to trial.

You Need an Expert Negotiator

Settlement negotiations can get intense. There is a lot on the line – the amount your lawyer secures you can greatly impact your financial future. A lawyer with trial experience will be thinking of your case in terms of a potential trial. The lawyer will be considering what evidence you need to prove your case, the best methods for presenting this evidence, how to respond to possible defenses, and many other aspects. Even if your claim never goes to trial, you will benefit from the mindset that it could. Trial-tested attorneys excel at juggling many difficult and complex elements of a claim, from beginning to end.

All Trial Experience is Not Created Equal

Keep in mind that just any trial experience might not help your particular case. You need to find an attorney with experience successfully handling claims that are similar to yours. For example, if you need to join a class action against a drug manufacturing company, you don’t want to retain a lawyer who has only gone to court representing car accident lawsuits. Look for a track record of winning cases and securing jury verdicts for clients in similar situations to your own. You always want an attorney with experience in your area of injury law.

No Trial Experience Isn’t a Deal Breaker

Despite the benefits that go along with retaining an experienced trial attorney, it certainly isn’t a requirement. Sometimes, a lawyer with no trial experience is one who is exceptional at negotiating during pretrial meetings. This can work in your favor since settling pretrial is cheaper and faster than going to court. In the end, knowledge of how to successfully negotiate a settlement for maximum compensation might be more important than trial experience. The right lawyer for you depends on your specific claim.

Posted by admin at 6:43 pm

Why Won’t a Personal Injury Lawyer Take My Case?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

You attended a free case evaluation and spoke directly with a local Dallas personal injury lawyer. You explained what happened and discussed your injuries. At the end of the meeting, you were shocked to discover the lawyer wasn’t interested in taking your case. What happened? Knowing why a personal injury attorney won’t take your case is important for your future and personal peace of mind. Here are a few reasons why an attorney may have rejected your case:

You’re Contacting the Wrong Attorney

It’s possible that a lawyer won’t take your case because you contacted one without experience in your type of claim. During your search for the right attorney, make sure you find one who lists the practice area that’s appropriate for your type of accident. If you’re trying to start a medical malpractice claim, for example, don’t contact a lawyer who only has experience handling car accident cases. Odds are, this lawyer wouldn’t take your case. Search for prior experience handling cases that are similar to yours.

You Don’t Have Enough Damages or Losses

In most cases, attorneys don’t offer their services for free. Instead, they work on contingency-fee bases, in which they subtract their attorney’s fees from their clients’ compensation awards upon successfully completing the case. You may be hearing “no’s” from lawyers if you were in an accident but only suffered minor injuries or damages. Your case probably isn’t worth enough to make hiring a lawyer worthwhile. If you think this is the reason you can’t get an attorney, consider trying to negotiate an insurance settlement without a lawyer.

There Is No One Liable for Your Accident

Many people mistakenly assume there is always someone liable for their accidents and personal injuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Depending on state laws, there may not be any person or entity legally responsible for your damages. You must have four main elements to prove most personal injury cases:

  1. Someone else owed you a duty of care.
  2. That someone breached his or her duty to you.
  3. The breach of duty caused your accident.
  4. You suffered damages as a result.

Sometimes, accidents are no one’s fault. You may have gotten hurt due to an act of God, such as bad weather. Perhaps a tree limb from your neighbor’s property fell and hit you, but your neighbor was responsible in his efforts to trim the tree. Perhaps your own actions led to the accident more than anyone else’s. The bottom line: Not all claims are grounds for personal injury lawsuits.

Your Case is Too Small (or Too Big) for the Lawyer

After a lawyer turns you down, consider that maybe your case is too big or too small for that particular law firm. Some boutique firms don’t have the resources or experience to handle high-value claims or those that need to go to trial. A major firm might not accept claims beneath a minimum value. Shop around for a law firm that takes on cases that are the same caliber as your own to optimize your odds of an affirmative answer. An appropriate-sized firm can benefit you by offering the right kind of help, personal attention, and price for your unique claim.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do That You Can’t?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It is not a requirement to retain a personal injury attorney to represent you in Texas. You’re welcome to represent yourself during insurance settlement negotiations and even in a trial, but there’s a reason the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs opt for professional help. There are many things lawyers can do that the typical person can’t – including, in most cases, getting the most compensation for your claim. If you’re on the fence about retaining a lawyer for your case, find out what you’d be missing should you self-represent.

Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement

One of the most daunting aspects of any personal injury claim is your first discussion with an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the person in charge of analyzing your insurance claim and deciding how much to offer in a settlement. The adjuster is not on your team and will typically offer much less than your case could be worth. The best way to have an advantage over the adjuster, and to secure a fair and just settlement, is through an attorney.

An attorney protects your best interests. He or she will take over settlement negotiations and often spare you the time and money it would take to go to trial. In the majority of claims, a lawyer can achieve an out-of-court settlement that gives you the money your injuries demand. A lawyer can deal with the other party, its insurance company, and its lawyers, so you can focus on yourself instead of complex legal processes. The settlement process is much simpler and more rewarding with professional representation.

Bring Elements of Proof

There is much more to a lawsuit than just proving you were hurt. Most personal injury cases require the plaintiff to show four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. It can be difficult to show these four elements depending on the circumstances of the case. You will need to provide evidence such as medical records, official documents, police reports, expert testimony, eyewitness statements, and more for a successful claim. There are rules you must obey during the evidence gathering and discovery phases – all of which a lawyer can help you navigate.

Preserve Important Evidence

Speaking of evidence, another reason to hire a lawyer is the preservation of vital information relating to your case. Certain pieces of critical evidence, such as the data from a large truck’s black box after a crash or another driver’s cell phone records, can get destroyed, erased, or tampered with after an accident. Fast action to preserve this evidence can be imperative to the claim. A lawyer can submit an evidence preservation letter or file a temporary restraining order to prevent the destruction of evidence – safeguarding information that could make your case.

File Within the Deadlines

The world of civil law abides by many important deadlines. Missing a deadline, or a statute of limitations can mean losing the right to ever pursue compensation for your accident. Deadlines change according to the type of claim you’re filing, as well as on a state-by-state basis. In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file your lawsuit. The timeline for claims against the government is much shorter, often only giving you 60 to 90 days to file an initial notice. A lawyer knows all of the deadlines specific to your case and can make sure the right documents are in front of the right people at the right time.

Posted by admin at 6:24 pm

How Do Damage Caps Work?

Monday, December 11, 2017

When injured persons file a lawsuit to recover damages, they hope to receive fair financial compensation. Sometimes they will hear the amount awarded by the jury and think they will receive that amount. However, many states have passed laws limiting the payout amount, the so-called damage cap. Read on to learn more about damage caps, what types of damages face caps, and other rules that affect the amount awarded in a lawsuit.

What Are Damage Caps?

If an individual is injured because of negligence during medical care, he or she may file a medical malpractice claim. This lawsuit claims a provider did not practice standard operating procedures, failing to diagnose or treat a patient’s injuries.

A damage cap exists to limit how much a service provider will have to pay, with each state enacting its own limits. States set these caps to prevent juries from awarding excessive payout amounts. Damage awards of millions of dollars would drive up insurance costs and eventually raise doctors’ fees to deal with the upwardly spiraling costs.

Some states block lawyers from mentioning a damage cap, thus freeing the jury to award whatever they deem fair and enacting the cap after the fact. In some cases, judges have capped the payout themselves to reduce a payout to something they considered reasonable.

Caps for Different Damages

Even in situations where the law requires payout caps, the type of damage awarded determines which cap applies. Several categories of damages exist, including economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages Caps

Any concrete, measurable expenses for medical care, rehabilitation, or loss of wages falls into the economic category, with defined limits already in place. Non-economic damages cover any damages not already included in the economic category. This includes pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and mental anguish.

These damages do not follow definable expenses or future expenses based on already known data or charts. A jury must employ a subjective approach to determine non-economic damage payouts.

Most states have passed caps on these types of damages. However, states exempt cases that deal with wrongful death or grievous injuries (e.g., loss of limb, organ, etc.) from the damage caps entirely or have a higher cap in place.

Punitive Damages Caps

These damages, sometimes called exemplary damages, serve to punish willful acts of wrongdoing. These damages should deter the wrongdoer and others in a similar position from these acts in the future.

Federal guidelines set in place in 2005 place limits to prevent extremely high punitive damages payouts; however, these limits still allow large awards in certain situations. States took this a step further, placing strict limitations on punitive payouts in personal injury claims, some eliminating them altogether. A variety of caps now exist, some with multiplying factors to set caps in place.

Other Rules

States established further tort reforms. For example, a plaintiff once could receive all damages from a single defendant when multiple defendants shared the blame. Now, the obligation to pay applies to all defendants.

Another rule added by the states, collateral source, prevents defendants from mentioning any compensation a plaintiff may have already received, like payouts from the plaintiff’s own insurance. This prevented juries from potentially reducing a payout by taking into account payments already received. This rule applies to all medical malpractice lawsuits and in many personal injury claims. Some state courts later declared this rule unconstitutional.

Several resources exist to help you find out what damage caps exist in your state, as well as what exemptions or special rules apply for specific situations.

Posted by admin at 6:11 pm

Texas Bus Accident Lawyers | Bus Accident Attorney

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Texas Bus Accident Lawyers

Every year in Texas, thousands of people are killed or seriously injured in Texas bus accidents. Tragically, many of these accidents are the result of negligent, reckless Charter bus and Tour bus drivers and their employers. Whether you are a passenger on a Charter bus, Tour bus or in a motor vehicle or pedestrian, you entrust the bus driver and bus company with your loved ones’ safety and well being. An accident caused by a bus company is among the last thing you would expect. Yet, when a bus accident happens, the consequences can be significant, both emotionally and financially. Our legal system has in place a mechanism to ensure that the costs of bus crashes are borne by those at fault. Experienced Texas bus accident lawyers can help you determine if you have a valid claim for your injuries, and, if so, how to maximize the recovery from all negligent parties.

Bus Accident Statistics

Buses are often thought of as a safe alternative to flying for large groups traveling across the country, in the state of Texas, or even just across town.  But the number of deadly Texas bus accidents in the news are proof that travel by bus is not always guaranteed to be safe. In each of the years from 1990 to 2001, there were between 50,000 and 63,000 bus crashes in the United States. Between 1991 and 2004  somewhere between 15,000 and 21,000. In 2015, 4,311 buses were involved in fatal crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that between 2000 and 2007, 1,093 fatal bus accidents have occurred, resulting in 1,315 fatalities and 3,471 injuries. This translates to about 137 bus-crash related fatalities a year. The number of people injured because of careless bus drivers and bus companies is much higher.

Cases of Tour Bus and Charter Bus Accidents

 There are many reasons why a bus may get into an accident. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Negligence on the part of the bus driver
  • Negligence on the part of the driver of another vehicle
  • Speeding
  • Alcohol or drug Use
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Mechanical problems
  • Improper maintenance
  • Distracted driving such as cell phone use
  • Inadequate training
  • Inadequate supervision

 Common Tour Bus and Charter Bus Accident Injuries

 Some of the most common injuries individuals sustain when involved in a bus accident include:

  • Whiplash and spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures
  • Sprains to the muscles
  • Brain injuries
  • Trauma to the head
  • Paralysis
  • Crushing injuries
  • Damage to nerves
  • Internal injuries
  • Cuts, bruises and burns

 What Damages Can I Recover After a Charter or Tour Bus Accident?

One of the most common questions asked of a Chart bus or Tour Bus accident attorney after a bus accident is in regard to what damages can be recovered. If you or a family member has been injured in a Charter Bus or Tour bus accident, you may have a claim against the driver of the bus, bus company and other third parties for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Impairment of earning capacity
  • Life care expenses
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (the services of an injured spouse)
  • Punitive Damages
  • Wrongful death Damages

Who May Be Responsible for Your Injuries?

Because of the many ways a bus crash can happen, the question of who is responsible for injuries and other damages depends upon the circumstances of the accident. Early in the case it is important for your lawyer to identify certain parties, such as the owner of the bus, the company that operates it, and the company responsible for making repairs and maintaining the bus in a safe mechanical condition. Finding an attorney who will locate all potential responsible parties is crucial. Some of those your lawyer may identify as parties responsible for your injuries include:

The Bus Company – A bus accident may occur because the bus company sends a defective bus out on the road with faulty brakes, a shaky steering column or overused tires. The company’s actions in hiring unqualified drivers, maintenance people and other personnel, or in negligently training or supervising them may also contribute to the cause of an accident. In addition, the company may be found at fault for a bus crash and passenger injuries caused by its failure to make or enforce adequate safety procedures.

Bus Maintenance Companies – If the bus company contracts an independent company to maintain the vehicles in a safe mechanical condition, that company may be sued independently for negligent maintenance that causes a crash or accident.

Affiliated Cruise Lines and Tour Operators – Owners and drivers of these buses can be held liable for driver negligence in an accident. When a bus trip is part of a package offered by a tour service, the service itself may be liable for damages to passengers when a crash occurs in an affiliated tour bus.

Bus Driver – Accidents are often caused by the driver’s negligent operation of the bus. Drivers may violate traffic controls, fall asleep at the wheel or have their attention diverted by non-driving-related distractions. Bus drivers involved in a crash can be held personally responsible for the injuries sustained by the passengers. As a practical matter, however, the companies employing the bus driver, and their insurance companies, will typically be held financially responsible for bus crashes and resulting injuries.

Drivers of Other Vehicles and their employers – Owners and drivers of other cars, trucks and other vehicles may be held responsible for injuries caused by negligent or reckless driving. A driver’s employer may also be held liable for an accident if the driver was operating the bus while performing work duties.

Manufacturers of the Bus and/or its Parts – A bus manufacturer that sends a defective vehicle from the factory to the marketplace subjects passengers to unreasonable danger and potential harm. As a result, the bus manufacturer can be held responsible for damages when a crash occurs. Likewise, the manufacturers and retailers of defective bus parts that may have caused the bus accident could be liable for the injuries to the passengers.

What Qualifies as a Bus for Purposes of a Bus Accident?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards define a bus as any motorized vehicle capable of carrying more than 10 passengers. The category includes school buses, large vans used for public transport, church buses, municipal transit buses, many airport shuttles, tour buses, trolleys, and interstate carriers, such as Greyhound buses. Most of these are considered “common carriers” under the law, and are therefore subject to state and federal licensing requirements and other regulations, but it is state law that will determine if bus companies and others are liable for compensating a passenger for injuries sustained in a crash. There are many Charter and Tour bus companies operating in Texas and just some of the few that have been involved in collisions include:

  • Greyhound Bus Company
  • Dallas Charter Bus Company
  • Gogo Charter Bus
  • Charter Bus Company
  • Echo Transportation
  • Cowtown Charters
  • Tornado Bus Company
  • First Class Tours
  • Dallas City Tour
  • Star Shuttle & Charter
  • OK Tours
  • San Antonio Charter Bus Company
  • Roadrunner Charters
  • Coach USA
  • Concord Coach Lines
  • First Transit
  • Megabus
  • Thruway Motorcoash
  • Trailways Transportation System
  • Capital Metro
  • Loan Star Coaches
  • Prompt Bus Charters & Tours
  • Central Texas Party Bus
  • El Expreso Bus Company
  • Clark Travel
  • Kerrville Bus Company
  • Continental Bus Lines & Charters
  • Houston Charter Bus Company

Selecting Texas Bus Accident Lawyers

It is important that the lawyer you hire is experienced and capable of navigating the state and federal laws and regulations governing all types of bus service providers, and that your attorney can determine if violation of those laws caused your accident or made your injuries or other damages worse. It is very important for a lawyer handling these cases to ensure that all potential sources of compensation are pursued, whether fault lies with the bus’s manufacturer, the bus company that hired an unqualified mechanic, or the driver of the tractor-trailer that rear-ended the bus.

It is also important for Texas bus accident lawyers to retain investigators and well-respected experts to investigate the causes of your crash. If it appears that your accident may have been caused by a dangerous road condition, your attorney will need to hire expert civil and traffic engineers to pinpoint those road deficiencies. Competent and reliable lawyers will invest the necessary resources and efforts to ensure that your case is resolved for its maximum value. Such attorneys will hire the necessary investigators and experts, visit the location of the bus crash, take images of the scene, conduct tests where necessary, find and interview witnesses and investigate prior complaints or claims that have been made against the responsible parties.

Aaron A. Herbert has extensive experience handling personal injury claims involving buses and recovering substantial settlements and verdicts for his clients injured in bus accidents. You will incur no attorney fees, court cost, or legal expenses unless you recover. Time to file is limited by Texas law, so call today to protect your right to the compensation you deserve. Call 24/7 (214) 200-4878 or toll free to (855) 655-HURT.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 8:43 pm