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What Is Pro Se Litigation?

Thursday, June 18, 2020

 You do not lawfully have to hire an attorney to bring a personal injury claim in Texas. No law makes it mandatory to retain legal representation during insurance claims or lawsuits. You may choose to represent yourself during your claim instead. The legal term for a plaintiff who represents him/herself is a pro se litigant. Learn the pros and cons of pro se litigation to decide whether it is right for you.

What to Expect as a Pro Se Litigant in Texas

 Being a pro se litigant gives you important responsibilities. It will be up to you to protect your rights and look out for your best interests. You will also need at least a basic understanding of the laws that pertain to your case. You will need to know the grounds on which you are basing your case, as well as how to meet the burden of proof. In general, when bringing a personal injury claim, you will need to prove four main elements. 


  1. Duty of care. The allegedly at-fault party (defendant) owed you specific duties of care, such as a duty to protect your safety.


  1. Breach of duty. The defendant did not fulfill his or her duties of care. You will need proof of negligence on the defendant’s part – a breach of the duty of care.


  1. Causation for your accident. The defendant’s negligence caused the accident or incident that injured you.


  1. Damages accumulated. You have proof of compensable damages due to the defendant’s negligence, such as medical expenses or lost wages.

 As a pro se litigant, it will be up to you to prove these four elements more likely to be true than not true. If you do not believe you can successfully meet the burden of proof alone, hire a personal injury lawyer in Texas to represent you instead. The decision to hire a lawyer over being a pro se litigant could be critical to your recovery. Pro se litigation may only be an acceptable choice if you do not need legal advice from an experienced attorney.

How do you become a pro se in court?

When Is Pro Se Litigation Appropriate?

 One of the pros of being a pro se litigant is saving money in legal fees. You will not have to pay a retainer or attorney’s fees. You will get to keep 100% of the settlement or judgment award you win, if you win. You may also be able to resolve your case faster than a lawyer, who might be representing multiple clients at the same time. The cons of pro se litigation, however, can be significant. Pro se litigation can be dangerous and damaging to a plaintiff’s case.

 The drawbacks of pro se litigation can be as serious as unintentionally sabotaging your claim and receiving nothing in compensation. Without an attorney’s legal advice, guidance and skilled representation, you could make a critical error that destroys your ability to recover. You could miss Texas’ statute of limitations, for example – a mistake that will bar most plaintiffs from recovery. You will need the knowledge, skill and ability to pursue your claim to completion on your own if you choose pro se litigation.

 Pro se litigation is generally not a wise option for a claimant with high-value or serious damages. If you have catastrophic injuries such as broken bones or permanent disabilities, for instance, hire an attorney to demand fair and full compensation on your behalf. Handling a serious case by yourself when you have a lot to lose could put your future at stake. 

Pro se litigation might also not be the right choice if your case involves complicated factors, such as multiple defendants, lack of insurance coverage or a liability dispute. A lawyer will have the education and experience to handle complications. When in doubt, consult with an attorney about your specific personal injury claim. A lawyer can give you honest advice about whether going pro se is right for you.


Posted by admin at 5:41 pm

What Factors Can Sabotage My Personal Injury Claim?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A personal injury claim is a complicated type of civil suit that requires a lot from a claimant. The typical plaintiff will need to understand rules such as filing deadlines, how to prove negligence and when to take a claim to trial. Unfortunately, several factors could sabotage your personal injury claim if you are not careful. Do your best to avoid them with help from a Dallas personal injury attorney.

Mistakes Made By Claimants

 Several things can go wrong during the filing of a personal injury claim in Texas. It is up to you as a claimant to learn the rules for filing or else hire someone who does. From determining whether your insurance covers your injuries to knowing when to bring your case to trial, you will need to handle many matters to have a successful claim. Do your best to avoid the most common mistakes claimants make that sabotage claims.


  • Failing to obtain immediate medical care. Claimants can sabotage their own personal injury claims by waiting to see a doctor too long after an accident. Delaying medical care is a reason insurance companies use to deny injury claims. They may argue that you made your injuries worse by failing to see a doctor immediately.


  • Waiting too long to file a claim. The courts in Texas take statutes of limitations very seriously. If you miss your deadline to file a personal injury claim, it could end your case before it begins. Insurance companies also take deadlines seriously. Report your injury to an insurance company right away to make sure you have a valid claim.


  • Not knowing how to deal with insurance claims adjusters. The mistake of telling an insurance adjuster too much could hurt your case. Do not admit fault or give more information than the adjuster requests. Do not accept a settlement offer until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer about the true value of your case.

 You can avoid common plaintiff mistakes by hiring a lawyer and allowing him or her to take over your personal injury claim for you. A lawyer in Dallas will know how to negotiate with insurance companies and take other steps to protect your right to compensation. You can rest assured in the strength and validity of your case when you hire an attorney to handle legal matters on your behalf.

Pre-Existing Injuries

 Some issues that could sabotage your injury claim are beyond your control, such as pre-existing injuries. A pre-existing condition related to the injury for which you are claiming damages could give your insurance company a reason to deny benefits. If you are filing for a back injury, for example, but a previous workplace accident gave you a slipped disk, your insurance company might try to allege that you already had the injury in question.

 Avoid a pre-existing injury negatively impacting your claim by properly documenting your new injury. Keep all medical documents, test results, x-rays, doctor’s letters, diagnoses and treatment plans related to the injury in your current claim. You should also avoid signing any paperwork from your insurer that grants the company access to your medical records. These papers often request access to your full medical history, not just the documents connected to your most recent injury, so the company can deny a claim based on a pre-existing condition.

Insurance Bad Faith

 Other common factors that sabotage personal injury claims in Texas have to do with bad faith by insurance companies. Your insurer might not treat your case fairly, honestly or in accordance with state insurance laws. Insurance bad faith could compromise your claim and lead to a negative outcome. Common examples of insurance bad faith are delaying your claim, denying benefits without a valid reason, avoiding your phone calls and refusing to offer a reasonable settlement. If you suspect insurance bad faith, contact a lawyer right away. Hiring a lawyer may be necessary to force an insurance company to treat your claim fairly.

Posted by admin at 5:21 pm

Recognizing the Signs of Medical Malpractice

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Medical malpractice is a type of wrongdoing by professionals in the medical field. It refers to any negligent or intentional action or omission during diagnosis, treatment or health management that injures a patient. Every year, thousands of patients sustain injuries and illnesses due to medical malpractice. If you notice any signs of malpractice in your health care, you may have grounds to bring a civil claim against your physician, the hospital or another party. 

recognizing the signs of medical malpractice

How Do You Know If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice? 

 Most patients believe medical malpractice happens much less often than it actually does. In a 10-year period, defendants had to pay 143,713 claimants for medical malpractice claims. These are just the cases that went to court and succeeded. Texas is one of the top states for medical malpractice claims, along with California, Florida and New York. Although many actions can constitute medical malpractice, certain errors are more often involved in lawsuits than others.

  • Birth injuries
  • Misdiagnoses
  • Delayed diagnoses
  • Medical product defects
  • Failures to treat
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failures to warn of known risks

 If you are a patient in Texas and you experience a poor health outcome, it does not necessarily mean you are the victim of medical malpractice. The legal definition of medical malpractice, or medical negligence, in Texas is the violation of a duty of care to a patient by a health care provider. A physician must have been negligent in your health care in some way for you to have a medical malpractice case.

What Are the 4 Ds of Malpractice?

 During a claim, it will be up to your side of the case to prove the defendant guilty of medical malpractice. Most plaintiffs need attorneys to help them prove their cases. This is a complicated practice area with many rules and regulations in Texas. You may need proof such as eyewitness testimony, expert opinions and medical records. Proving negligence during a medical malpractice claim takes four main elements: the four Ds.


  1. Duty. The medical field assigns certain duties of care to those within the practice. Physicians, nurses and other health care practitioners must do what is in the best interests of their patients. They owe this duty as soon as they accept patients into their care.


  1. Dereliction. Dereliction is a deviation from the accepted standard of medical care, or a failure to fulfill a doctor’s obligations. It can describe any act of negligence, carelessness or wanton disregard for a patient’s safety that another health care provider would not have committed in the same circumstances.


  1. Damages. Damages are the specific losses or harm a patient suffered because of the dereliction of a health care provider. Medical malpractice damages in Texas can refer to economic losses, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Some cases also involve punitive damages.


  1. Direct cause. Finally, the health care provider’s breach of the duty of care must have been the direct cause of the patient’s injuries, damages and losses. In other words, the patient’s injuries would not have happened were it not for the defendant’s negligence or breach of duty.

 Proving the four Ds during a medical malpractice suit in Texas may take hiring a medical expert to testify as to the defendant’s duties of care and alleged breach of that duty during a patient’s care. If you believe you have evidence of the four Ds, you may have all the signs of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact an injury attorney in Texas to help you determine if you have a case. If so, your lawyer can help you demonstrate duty, breach of duty, causation and damages through a preponderance of the evidence. A successful malpractice suit could pay you for losses such as hospital bills, lost wages, legal fees, physical pain and emotional distress. 

Posted by admin at 5:30 pm

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

Common Ladder Accident Injuries

Friday, May 8, 2020

The ladder is one of the most dangerous everyday pieces of equipment. Most people have ladders in their homes or at work without realizing the significant dangers they pose. Ladders are behind a large portion of hospital and emergency department visits each year. They account for more than 500,000 injuries and 300 deaths in the US annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

what are common ladder accident injuries

 Even someone well-versed in ladder safety could make a mistake that leads to tragedy, such as carrying up too heavy of a load or missing signs of a ladder defect. In other ladder accident cases, a defect with the ladder itself could cause an unforeseeable accident and injury, such as a broken rung. Ladder accidents, especially falls, can inflict life-changing injuries on victims.

What Are the Biggest Causes of Ladder Falls?

 Ladder falls cause thousands of injuries and deaths in the US each year. They are especially common accident types in the workplace. From 2011 to 2016, ladder falls caused 836 fatal injuries in the workforce based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ladders were the most common source of fatal falls in this five-year period. Ladder falls can arise from many different ladder defects or user mistakes.

  • An old or damaged ladder
  • A defective ladder
  • Rungs cracking and breaking
  • Ladders folding while in use
  • Choosing the improper type of ladder for the job
  • Using a ladder incorrectly
  • Carrying dangerous objects or heavy loads
  • Stretching too far out from a ladder
  • Failing to properly place or secure a ladder
  • Recklessness or horseplay on a ladder

 The main two causes of ladder falls are defective ladders and human error. Too many households and workplaces have old, outdated, worn or damaged ladders. Most people use the same ladder for years without inspecting it for problems before each use. They do not realize that, over time, the ladder could grow old and weak. It only takes one small defect to make a ladder unstable or unsuitable for use. This could lead to terrible accidents if the ladder breaks while in use. Misusing a ladder can also lead to harmful and deadly falls. It is up to the user to understand and obey common ladder safety techniques.

What Are the Most Common Injuries?


Ladder accidents can be catastrophic for those involved. Most ladder accidents cause injuries severe enough to require professional medical care. Falls in general account for more than three million emergency department visits annually in the US. Many of these visits arise from ladder accidents. About one in five fall accidents on average cause serious injuries. 


 Falls account for the highest number of traumatic brain injuries out of all causes. A brain injury could arise from a ladder accident if the victim falls from the ladder and hits his or her head. A victim might never fully recover from the injuries sustained in a ladder accident. Catastrophic injuries could cause permanent disabilities. Other victims do not recover at all. 

What Is the Most Common Type of Ladder Accident?

 According to injury statistics, the most common type of ladder accident is a fall. A fall from any height – even one or two feet – could cause serious injuries such as bone fractures and head injuries. A fall from a greater height on a tall ladder could cause even more catastrophic injuries. If a ladder defect from the manufacturer caused the fall accident, the victim may have grounds for a product liability claim. If poor ladder maintenance or lack of repairs/replacement from an employer is to blame, the employer could be liable. A ladder accident victim in Texas should work with a Dallas personal injury lawyer to understand the liability for his or her damages. The victim may be eligible for financial recovery.

Posted by admin at 9:27 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.

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