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10 Most Common Burn Injuries at Home

Monday, November 25, 2019

Many people think their homes are places where serious and fatal burn injuries cannot occur. Most homeowners are familiar with their cooking equipment, furnaces, space heaters and other appliances. You might underestimate the dangers of cooking, decorating, purchasing new appliances or engaging in other regular activities at your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), however, 73% of structure fires in 2018 were home fires. Home fires and burn injuries are more common than you think. Practice a few general safety tips to avoid suffering a serious burn at home.

Who Is Held Liable?

If you suffer a bad burn injury at home, someone else may owe you compensation for your related medical bills, property damages, lost wages and other losses. Although you may not have a case if you negligently caused the burn injury yourself, you could have grounds for a claim if another person or entity reasonably could have prevented your burns yet failed to do so. If a defective water heater exploded, for example, the product’s manufacturer could be liable for your burn injuries.

Potentially liable parties for a burn injury that occurs at home include product manufacturers, property owners (if you are renting) and individuals. Any party that reasonably should have prevented your burn injury but failed to do so could be liable for damages. If your burn injury would not have happened but for the action or omission of another party, that party could owe you compensation for causing the incident. Speak to a Dallas burn injury lawyer for help with your case.

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

Your risk of suffering a burn injury at home increases if you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is the number one day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the NFPA, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. It is also a popular day for serious burn injuries and related trips to the emergency room. If you plan on cooking this Thanksgiving holiday, do so with safety in mind.

  • Stay in the kitchen the entire time you are using the stovetop.
  • Check on your turkey frequently.
  • Keep hot items at least three feet away from children.
  • Do not let electric cords dangle within reach of children.
  • Keep knives safely out of reach.
  • Keep your kitchen floor clear of toys, clutter and debris.
  • Keep flammable items away from your oven, stovetop and other heating appliances.
  • Avoid using an oil-based turkey fryer.

Turkey fryers that use oil are one of the top causes of Thanksgiving burn injuries and home cooking fires. The NFPA recommends against using an oil-based turkey fryer, but if you do so, position it in your yard at least 10 feet away from any structures. Do not overfill your fryer with oil. Defrost your turkey entirely before dropping it into the oil. Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

Common Burns You Can Get at Home

The four types of burns you could suffer are thermal, electrical, chemical and radiation. Within these categories are more specific types of burns, such as scalds from hot water or third-degree burns from spilled hot oil, that could injure you at home. Whether it is Thanksgiving or just another day at home, you could end up in the hospital with one of these 10 most common burn injuries.

  1. Fire-related burns
  2. Scalds
  3. Contact burns
  4. Hot liquid burns
  5. Steam burns
  6. Oil burns
  7. Cooking burns
  8. Electrical burns
  9. Chemical burns
  10. Explosion-related burns

Any type of burn could be significantly painful and require emergency medical treatment. If you suffered a first-degree burn (no blistering), you may be able to treat it at home if it is not on your face or another vulnerable area or more than four inches long. For second- and third-degree burns, however, you should see a doctor for professional burn treatment. Without hospitalization, you could be at serious risk of infections and other complications.

 

Posted by admin at 4:19 pm

What Are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Settlement?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Filing a personal injury claim serves multiple purposes, but one of the most crucial for a victim is obtaining a compensation award for economic and/or noneconomic damages. A positive injury settlement could contain award amounts to cover many different damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While each personal injury settlement is unique, the broad types of damages potentially available to a victim remain the same in Texas.

What Are General Damages?

The two main damage categories in a Texas personal injury claim are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages serve to reimburse a victim for his or her losses. Several specific types of damages exist under the broad category of compensatory damages. The two subcategories of compensatory damages are general and special. General damages are those most reasonable accident victims would suffer in a personal injury accident, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, lost enjoyment of life and distress from permanent disabilities or disfigurement.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages in a personal injury settlement are out-of-pocket losses that are unique to the individual victim. They may include past and future health care expenses, lost income, lost future earning capacity, legal fees, travel costs and the price of property repairs. Special damages are the quantifiable financial losses the victim experienced because of the defendant’s actions or conduct. To obtain special damages, the victim or his or her attorney must prove specific losses through receipts and documentation. Proof can come in the form of medical bills, paystubs and estimates from vehicle mechanics.

What Are Exemplary Damages?

Exemplary damages, often called punitive damages, in personal injury settlements are extra compensation awards granted to a victim in cases involving a defendant’s malicious, intentional or wanton acts. A judge may award exemplary damages in a personal injury case if the defendant’s actions warrant an additional restitution award as a form of punishment. A judge may also issue punitive damages if he or she believes compensatory damages do not adequately compensate a victim for severe, traumatic or permanent losses.

What are Special Damages

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is one of the main types of general damages available in most personal injury claims. Pain and suffering can refer to many different forms of physical pain, mental anguish or emotional distress. A victim may be eligible for pain and suffering damages if the accident or injury caused significant emotional repercussions.

  • Anxiety or fear
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Physical pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Grief
  • Humiliation

Proving pain and suffering can be more difficult than proving measurable economic damages. Proof can come in the form of testimony from mental health experts, letters from treating psychologists, or statements from family and friends. A lawyer can often help a victim prove pain and suffering as part of an injury settlement.

Can You File a Claim?

As the victim of a personal injury accident in Texas, you could be eligible for compensation to cover special, general and/or punitive damages. Proving your economic and noneconomic damages may take assistance from a lawyer in Dallas. In most cases, your lawyer will need to establish four main elements to obtain a compensation award on your behalf.

  1. Duty of care. The defendant in your case must have owed you specific duties of care at the time of your accident.
  2. Breach of duty. The defendant must have breached, or failed to fulfill, his or her duties of care to you.
  3. A direct connection must exist between the defendant’s breach of duty and the damages you are claiming.
  4. Your lawyer must provide proof of economic and/or noneconomic damages related to the accident in question.

Your attorney can review the facts of your recent accident to let you know if you have grounds for a claim against one or more defendants in Dallas. If so, your lawyer could help you negotiate a fair settlement award for your special and other damages during an insurance claim. If a settlement is not possible, your attorney may be able to take your case to court.

Posted by admin at 8:24 pm

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