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How to Reject and Respond to a Low Insurance Settlement Offer

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

An accident can cause significant injuries to a victim, leading to expensive medical bills and other related costs. The value of a personal injury claim can be substantial to pay for all of a victim’s past, present and future losses. An insurance company, however, may do everything that it can to limit a victim’s payout, as insurers are for-profit organizations. Here’s what to do if you receive a low insurance settlement offer for your personal injury case.

Be Prepared for a Low Offer

You are already completing the first step by learning more about your rights as a plaintiff. The more you know about what to expect from the insurance process, the more prepared you will be. Know that the insurance company that you deal with after an accident – even if it is your own insurer and you have never missed a payment – is not on your side. Insurance companies look out for their bottom lines more than their clients. Keep this in mind throughout the claims process.

Be prepared for the insurance company’s first settlement offer to be low. This is a tactic that insurance companies use for two reasons: to set the bar low with the expectation that the client will negotiate for a higher amount, and to minimize a client’s payout if he or she does not know how to negotiate. Being prepared for a low settlement offer can prevent you from accepting it, as well as allow you to stay calm and take the correct steps to submit a counteroffer.

Consider Your Options

While it is true that an insurance company’s first offer is generally low, it is still important to take your time and consider the offer against the hassle of countering it and negotiating. Learn what your case is worth by calculating all of the expenses related to your accident, as well as estimating how much you will continue to spend in the future. Then, look at the language of the insurance policy to determine its limits.

You should also consider whether the insurance company has given you a valid reason to decrease your payment. Determine how much more you would need from the insurance company to feel like you have been made whole financially. Weighing all of this against the steps you will need to take to negotiate for a higher offer can help you decide what to do next. Advice from an attorney can also help you make the right choice.

Submit a Formal Counteroffer

If you wish to negotiate with the insurance company for a higher settlement offer, reject the offer correctly. You or your personal injury lawyer will need to draft a formal business letter that makes a case for your counteroffer. Your letter should be clear and concise. It should state that the settlement offer is unacceptable and give an acceptable figure. It should explain why your counteroffer is reasonable and appropriate, giving reasons and explaining your losses and demands. It can also refute the reason the insurer gave for its low offer.

Your counteroffer should be professional. It should not be angry or accusatory in tone. To work toward a reasonable settlement agreement with the insurance company, your counteroffer should be less than your initial demand. This will show the insurance company that you are willing to compromise. It is difficult to say how many counteroffers your case will need to reach an amount that you believe is fair for your injuries and losses. You may never reach this amount, and may need to either accept the settlement or take your case to trial.

Get Assistance From an Attorney

It is important to work with an attorney for assistance rejecting and responding to a low insurance settlement offer. This is a delicate phase of your claim. Once you accept an offer, you cannot reopen your case. Rejecting the offer in the wrong way, however, could make the insurance company less likely to work with you to achieve a reasonable settlement. A personal injury lawyer in Dallas can help you communicate with an insurance company in the most effective way possible.

Posted by Legal Team at 6:50 am

What Is the Attorney-Client Privilege?

Friday, January 14, 2022

When you retain an attorney, you become protected by something known as the attorney-client privilege. This is a legal principle that applies to both criminal and civil cases. In simple terms, it is a guarantee that what you say to your attorney remains confidential – it stays only between the two of you. Attorney-client privilege encourages clients to openly share information with their attorneys without fear of it getting back to opposing counsel, allowing the attorney to provide effective legal representation.

How Does the Attorney-Client Privilege Work?

Attorney-client privilege automatically applies when an attorney is communicating with a client or potential client. This includes during free case evaluations, in most cases. In general, the individual must be speaking to a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining legal advice for attorney-client privilege to apply. Speaking to someone who happens to be an attorney at a cocktail party, for example, would not create attorney-client privilege.

The attorney-client privilege applies to conversations with personal injury lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, employment lawyers and all other types of attorneys. The communication in question must be kept only between the client and the attorney, however; no third parties may overhear the conversation, or else the attorney can no longer guarantee attorney-client privilege. This is because the confidentiality between the two parties has been broken by the third party.

When kept only between the client and the attorney, all types of communication are confidential under attorney-client privilege. This includes text messages, emails, letters, voicemails and verbal communication. After a client agrees to work with an attorney – he or she “retains” the lawyer and signs a contract – all information passed between them is safeguarded by the attorney-client privilege.

The attorney-client privilege is typically stated in plain terms in the attorney’s contract, but it may also be created by oral agreement. Even without a written or oral agreement, however, the attorney-client privilege can exist any time a client talks to a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining legal advice with the assumption that it is in confidence.

How Is Attorney-Client Privilege Used?

Attorney-client privilege works by preventing the attorney from diverging information against his or her client. When the opposing party in a case is trying to learn more about the subject at hand, such as during the discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit, the attorney-client privilege prevents the defense lawyer from questioning the plaintiff’s attorney. Any privileged information between the attorney and his or her client is not discoverable. This makes it possible for a client to speak freely and openly with his or her attorney without fear of the information being given to the opposing side.

Likewise, if questioned about what a client said to his or her lawyer, the client cannot legally be compelled to answer. A client cannot be forced to testify regarding private matters communicated to his or her attorney in confidence. If the client wishes, however, he or she can waive the attorney-client privilege. It is the client’s privilege, not the attorney’s. This means the client has the right to waive the privilege if desired, but an attorney cannot. This is generally only done when the client wishes to have a third party present.

Are There Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege?

Attorney-client privilege is not without exception. There are circumstances where an attorney is ethically compelled to disclose information given to him or her by a client to the appropriate authorities. For example, if a client admits plans to commit a crime that has not yet been committed, this information may have to be given to the authorities. Admitting an intention to commit fraud during the current claim is also an exception to the rule. In addition, the specific laws regarding attorney-client privileges can differ from state to state. The best way to understand this privilege in your personal injury case is by asking your attorney.

Posted by Legal Team at 6:40 am

How Personal Injury Mediation Works

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Personal injury mediation is a type of pretrial conflict resolution, also known as alternative dispute resolution or ADR. It is an opportunity for both parties involved in a personal injury case to resolve the issue by reaching a settlement rather than going to trial. Sometimes, mediation is a legal requirement before a case can proceed to trial. Knowing what to expect during personal injury mediation can help you prepare for this process as an injured party.

When Is Mediation Used?

A simple personal injury case that involves only minor injuries may reach a settlement without needing any form of conflict resolution. The plaintiff and the defendant’s insurance company may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement between themselves – especially if the plaintiff is represented by an experienced attorney as the negotiator. If negotiations fail, however, a logical next step is mediation.

Where Is Mediation Held?

Mediation is not a court trial. It generally does not take place in a courtroom or even a courthouse. Instead, mediation is often held at a neutral location, such as at an attorney’s office. It is more informal than a personal injury trial, although you should still act professionally. Your lawyer can help you prepare what to wear, how to act and what to say during mediation.

Who Attends Mediation?

Mediation is generally attended by both parties involved in the personal injury case, their attorneys (if desired) and a mediator. In some cases, the defendant may opt not to attend mediation and to send his or her defense attorney to the meeting on the defendant’s behalf. Mediation is not open to the public and does not involve a judge or jury.

What Is a Mediator?

A mediator is an unbiased third party whose job is to help the other two parties resolve their legal dispute. Unlike a judge, a mediator does not have the power or authority to render a resolution or create a court order at the end of the meeting. Instead, the mediator is only there to facilitate conversations and negotiations between the two parties, in the hopes of reaching a resolution.

What Are the Steps of Mediation?

Like all legal processes, mediation follows the same general steps from case to case. While it is less formal and often less stressful than a personal injury trial, mediation can still be daunting if it is your first time. In general, you can expect the following steps during personal injury mediation:

  1. First, the mediator will introduce everyone who is in attendance and explain their roles in the case.
  2. Before mediation begins, the mediator will pass around a document that everyone must sign. This is an agreement to keep everything that is said and negotiated at mediation confidential.
  3. Once mediation begins, the plaintiff’s lawyer will make the opening statement and provide any supporting information or evidence. This will be followed by the defense attorney’s opening statement.
  4. Both parties will separate for the second half of mediation, typically going into two different rooms. The mediator will visit each room, going back and forth to carry information and try to resolve the conflict.
  5. Mediation does not have to end in a resolution. Mediation can end with a settlement agreement, an agreement to continue negotiations or the case going to trial.

Your lawyer can help you know what to expect from mediation during your specific personal injury case. A lawyer can represent you during mediation so that you do not have to go through this important meeting on your own. Finally, a lawyer can tell you what to do and what not to do during mediation to help your case.

Do You Need an Attorney for Personal Injury Mediation?

Throughout the legal process, including personal injury mediation, the defense attorney will have the defendant’s best interest in mind – not yours. The best way to stand up for your own rights during mediation is by hiring a lawyer to represent you. If you are curious about mediation during a personal injury case in Dallas, contact an attorney from The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for a free consultation. We offer mediation representation services.

Posted by Legal Team at 5:59 am

What Is a Personal Injury Settlement Agreement?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A personal injury settlement agreement is one possible way to end a personal injury claim. It describes an agreement made between the plaintiff (the injured party) and defendant (the liable party) to end the case with the agreed-upon resolution. Settlements have many benefits for both parties – which is why most personal injury cases in Texas reach settlement agreements. There are some circumstances, however, when it is better not to settle as an injured accident victim.

What Is a Settlement?

A settlement is reached after negotiations between the plaintiff and the defendant, or the defendant’s insurance company, in a personal injury claim. First, the insurance company will analyze the claim and investigate the accident it involves. If the insurance company accepts liability for the accident, it will then offer the plaintiff a settlement to resolve the dispute.

The plaintiff has the choice of accepting the agreement as-is, negotiating to try to obtain a higher amount, or rejecting the settlement and taking the case to trial. If the insurance company rejects the claim, on the other hand, a settlement agreement won’t be reached, and the plaintiff may have the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit, instead.

What Are the Advantages of a Settlement Agreement?

There is a reason why the vast majority of personal injury claims reach settlement agreements. Settlements come with many benefits that personal injury trials do not have. Some of the most common advantages are:

  • Privacy. A settlement agreement can be kept private, while a personal injury trial is open to the public and will go on public record.
  • Control. It is up to both parties whether or not to agree to the terms of a proposed settlement. If a case goes to trial, on the other hand, both parties surrender control over the final outcome, or verdict, to a judge or jury.
  • Cost. Reaching a settlement agreement, even if it involves mediation or arbitration, is cheaper than taking a case to trial. A trial requires court costs, higher attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses.
  • Time. The average personal injury settlement agreement takes around three to six months from start to finish (although some take much longer). A personal injury trial, on the other hand, has a timeline of about one year. A trial must wait until the courthouse has an open date.

Overall, a personal injury settlement agreement is cheaper, faster and generally more lucrative for both parties. This does not mean, however, that accepting a settlement agreement is always in your best interest as a plaintiff.

When Should You Reject a Settlement Agreement?

There are circumstances where accepting a settlement could mean receiving less money than you deserve for your case. Insurance companies are known for putting their bottom lines over client recoveries. This can mean a settlement offer that is inadequate for your injuries and losses. If you accept the first settlement offer without consulting with a lawyer, you may never be able to renegotiate or receive a higher amount – even if you find out later that your injuries require more medical care than you initially knew.

It is important to speak to an attorney before signing anything from an insurance company, especially a settlement agreement or a Release of Liability Waiver. If an attorney believes that you could collect more financial compensation through a personal injury trial, he or she may recommend that you reject the insurance company’s settlement offer. A personal injury trial could end in types of compensation that are not available with a settlement, such as money for your pain and suffering. There is no guarantee that you will win the case, however, if it does go to trial.

For more information about the personal injury settlement process, or advice about whether to accept a settlement, contact The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for a free consultation.

Posted by Legal Team at 5:56 am

What Is the Texas Dram Shop Law?

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

When one person injures another, the injured party may seek compensation for his or her injuries and associated expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person who injured him or her. In some situations, a third-party may share some of the blame. This third-party may not have directly contributed to the injury-causing incident, but his or her involvement enabled the defendant (the person being sued) to commit the action.

One of the most prevalent examples of this situation would be a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron. In Texas, the laws meant to prevent such incidents are known as dram shop laws.

How Do Dram Shop Claims Work?

Any establishment or “social host” that provides alcohol to guests may be held responsible for any injuries that those guests cause to others after they leave the premises. Additionally, liquor stores and other alcohol vendors can be held responsible for damages in some cases, including any instance of alcohol being sold or given to anyone under the age of 18 or any instance of providing alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.

A “social host” describes any individual who knowingly supplies alcohol to individuals under the age of 18. This does not apply to parents – a parent cannot be held accountable as a social host if his or her child injures another person due to intoxication. Under Texas laws, social hosts include any adult who is not a parent, legal guardian, or spouse of the minor under 18. Social host laws also apply to individuals who knowingly serve alcohol to minors under 18 or permit alcohol consumption by minors under 18 on his or her property.

 

Texas Dram Shop Laws

Damages

As with any other personal injury case, a personal injury lawsuit involving dram shop laws can provide the injured party with various forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses. Compensation for medical costs can include emergency response services and care, hospital bills, the costs of any necessary subsequent treatments (such as physical therapy or reconstructive surgeries), prescription costs, and any other medical expenses resulting from the incident.
  • Pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s attorney will consult with medical professionals who will act as expert witnesses. Expert witnesses have no personal involvement in a case, but instead, provide their expertise to the court to help a jury determine how an injury affected the plaintiff. Although it sounds difficult to quantify physical pain and emotional trauma with a dollar figure, expert witness testimony allows a court to determine a reasonable amount of compensation.
  • Lost income. If an injury prevents the plaintiff from returning to work for an extended period, he or she can claim lost wages as compensation. If an incident results in a permanent disability that prevents the plaintiff from resuming his or her job permanently, he or she can sue for the income that he or she would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
  • Property damage. This includes damage to a vehicle or destroyed personal belongings.

Cases involving dram shop laws often involve extensive investigation, such as interviewing patrons and staff of the establishment who saw the intoxicated individual, security footage from the establishment, and consultations with expert witnesses. An attorney is crucial for successfully navigating any personal injury case and any case involving Texas dram shop laws – which will likely be complex.

The individual directly responsible for the incident and the establishment that served alcohol to the individual can both be held accountable for the incident. For example, if you were struck by a drunk driver and injured, you can sue the driver for compensation for the damages listed above. Additionally, if that driver just left a bar that continued to serve him or her alcohol after he or she was visibly drunk, the bar can also be held accountable for contributing to the incident.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 5:27 pm

What Happens if an Injury Victim Dies While Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim?

Friday, October 8, 2021

A personal injury claim can bring justice to an injured victim by holding a wrongdoer accountable. Sadly, not all accident victims live long enough to see their day in court. If someone passes away while pursuing a personal injury claim in Texas, the claim doesn’t die with them. The victim’s surviving family members or a representative of the estate may continue the claim through a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action or both.

What Is a Survival Action?

A survival action is the closest thing available to continuing a deceased individual’s personal injury lawsuit in Texas. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.021 states that a cause of action for a personal injury does not go away because of the death of the injured person. Instead, it survives and allows the decedent’s heirs, legal representatives and estate to recover financial compensation against the liable person through a survival action. A claim also does not abate because of the death of the liable party.

A survival action permits the deceased person’s (decedent’s) surviving family members or personal representative of the estate to take over a personal injury lawsuit that was started when the decedent was still alive. The main goal of a survival action is to provide compensation for the losses suffered by the decedent prior to death. These losses may include physical pain, emotional suffering, psychological anguish, property damage and lost wages.

If a survival action in Dallas succeeds, the financial compensation gained is given to the decedent’s estate for distribution rather than going directly to surviving family members. Under the estate’s control, it may first go toward repaying any outstanding debts. Then, any remaining amount is distributed based on the terms of the decedent’s will or the rules of Texas’ intestate succession law if there is no will.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If an injury victim dies while pursuing a personal injury claim, another possibility is a wrongful death lawsuit. Although both of these types of civil cases seek financial compensation for a preventable death, they are two separate causes of action that can result in different types of financial compensation. For this reason, it is possible to file both a survival action and a wrongful death lawsuit simultaneously.

In Texas, a wrongful death action may only be brought by the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents or the executor of the estate. If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, it can result in financial compensation given to beneficiaries or the estate to make up for the victim’s final medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of the loved one’s care, love and companionship.

When to Contact an Attorney in Dallas

If one of your loved ones recently passed away in the middle of pursuing a personal injury claim for an accident such as a car crash, slip and fall injury, medical malpractice, or product liability claim, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Dallas as soon as possible. This type of attorney will have the knowledge and experience to explain the rights of the estate or heirs to pursue a survival action and/or wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney can take over complicated legal processes on your behalf while you plan a funeral and focus on grieving.

In Texas, a law known as a statute of limitations gives a deadline for the ability to continue a personal injury claim after the death of the claimant. Although this deadline can change according to the type of case, it is usually two years from the date of the victim’s death. It is important not to wait until the end of your deadline to consult with an attorney, however. Gathering evidence and filing the necessary paperwork takes time. Contact an attorney for legal assistance as soon as possible if your loved one dies while pursuing a personal injury claim.

Posted by Legal Team at 9:59 am

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

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

What Are Lost Wages?

Lost wages during a personal injury claim specifically refer to the past or present losses of income you are experiencing due to the inability to go to work. Lost wages can cover missed shifts at work, bonuses, special projects, commission, tips, promotions, vacation time, medical leave, retirement benefits and other employment benefits lost while you are in the hospital or recuperating. If you had to miss work for a surgery, physical therapy or rehabilitation, for example, this financial loss would be categorized as lost wages.

Lost wages can also refer to the difference between what you used to make and what you are able to make now while you heal from an injury. If you cannot return to your old job until you recover, but your employer finds you a different job that is part-time or has you working in a lesser capacity, you could be eligible for the difference between your old paychecks and what you make now.

What Is Loss of Earning Capacity?

Loss of earning capacity, on the other hand, refers to the future foreseeable losses of income that you will suffer due to a long-term or permanent injury. It describes the loss of your ability to earn a living wage in the future – either partially or entirely – due to your injury or disability.

If you suffered a reduced ability to earn a living or cannot earn a living at all, you are eligible for this type of damage award. For example, if you suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury that puts you out of work for the rest of your life, you could seek financial compensation for the income and employment benefits that you are not able to earn in the future.

While the amount of financial compensation you can receive for lost wages is calculated based on your exact income and benefits lost, loss of earning capacity is predicted based on factors such as the severity of your injury, how long it will take you out of work, your age, your overall health and your income level. The amount may also be adjusted for inflation.

How to Prove Both Types of Losses

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

Evidence that you may be able to use to prove past and future losses of income include:

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

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

Posted by admin at 5:53 pm

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

Monday, June 28, 2021

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

Pros and Cons of Settling Your Personal Injury Case

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

The pros of settling an injury claim include:

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

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

Pros and Cons of Going to Trial

Going to trial means to state your case before a judge and jury. You and your personal injury lawyer will go to court and give an opening statement, provide evidence and testimony from witnesses, and give a closing statement during your trial. The defendant’s side will also have the chance to state their case. Then, a judge or a panel of 12 jurors will determine whether you met the burden of proof.

The burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant more likely than not caused your injury. If you did meet your burden of proof, you will be given a judgment award. If not, the defendant won’t be found liable for your damages. Some of the pros and cons to consider with a personal injury trial are:

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

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

Which Is the Right Choice for You?

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

Posted by admin at 5:51 pm

Is Social Media Content Admissible in Court?

Friday, June 25, 2021

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

Social Media Can Be Used Against You in Court

You might not think twice before posting about your accident, injury or personal injury claim to your social media accounts. You may assume it is for social purposes only and cannot be used for official legal proceedings, or that your privacy settings keep your profile safe from prying eyes. These are common misconceptions.

Regardless of your privacy settings, a defense attorney can access your social media accounts if there is a valid reason to do so. In fact, social media sites are becoming a more common focus during evidence discovery. An attorney or investigator can access everything you post, including photographs, comments that you write on other people’s profiles, private messages and location check-ins. The defense attorney or insurance company that you are going up against may be able to use this information against you during a personal injury case.

An insurance company will look for any reason to deny benefits or reduce your payout while gathering evidence from your social media accounts. Mainly, the insurer will look for posts that paint you as an unreliable witness, such as photographs of you enjoying yourself with your friends after you file a claim for pain and suffering, or participating in physical activities after claiming a debilitating injury. This is why it is important to be conscious of what you post – or don’t post anything at all.

Social Media Tips After an Accident

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

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

Any social media activity before the resolution of your case can be used against you. The best way to avoid negatively impacting your right to recover is by avoiding social media altogether. Temporarily disable or delete your account until your claim is completed, if possible. If you receive a request for your social media content, bring the request to an attorney before complying.

This type of request must be reasonable in the eyes of the law for a valid claim to your social media content. Your attorney can make sure that the request is relevant and lawful. Then, your attorney can help you submit the correct social media content while still protecting your rights. For more information about social media and civil law, contact a personal injury lawyer in Dallas today.

Posted by admin at 5:50 pm

What Is Double Indemnity in a Personal Injury Case?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

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

What Is Double Indemnity?

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

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

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

What Issues Might You Encounter With a Double Indemnity Clause?

It is important to realize that the insurance company receiving your claim does not want to maximize your payout. It wants to pay you as little as possible to protect its own profits. The insurance company can come up with many reasons to deny a double indemnity clause. One of the most common excuses is that the death was not accidental. It may be up to you or your personal injury attorney to prove that it was accidental and that you qualify for double indemnity under the insurance policy.

Another excuse insurance companies often give is that the death qualifies as a policy exception. Read the fine print of your life insurance policy to understand the exceptions to your double indemnity clause. Common exceptions are deaths caused by suicide, the decedent’s own negligence or intoxication, natural causes, and murder by one of the beneficiaries listed on the policy.

Finally, your double indemnity clause may be denied if the insurance company is guilty of bad faith. Insurance bad faith is the rejection of benefits or diminishment of a client’s payout without a valid reason. An insurance company may be guilty of bad faith if it knowingly or intentionally mishandles your claim to protect its own profits. If you suspect insurance bad faith, contact an attorney for assistance with a separate bad-faith claim.

How to Handle Your Life Insurance Claim

If you are filing a claim to recover benefits under a double indemnity clause, be careful what you say to the representative in charge. Remember, the insurance company does not have your family’s best interests in mind. Before you accept a life insurance settlement, bring the offer to a personal injury lawyer to confirm that it is a fair and full amount. A lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company for a fair payout or appeal a denied claim, if applicable.

If your loved one recently passed away under unexpected or preventable circumstances, consult with a wrongful death attorney about your family’s legal rights. An attorney can guide you through a double indemnity clause in your loved one’s life insurance policy and/or represent you during a wrongful death lawsuit in Dallas. An attorney can also help you with an insurance bad-faith claim if your double indemnity clause is wrongfully denied. Learn more today by contacting The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

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