Who’s Liable in a Ridesharing Accident in San Antonio?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ridesharing quickly took over the transportation industry as the most popular method of hired travel, especially among the younger generation. Currently, the top two rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft, serve over 121 million users monthly. Yet ridesharing is not always the safest method of travel. Every year, hundreds of ridesharing vehicles are involved in automobile accidents.

Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents in San Antonio

Ridesharing works by allowing users to request and schedule drivers to pick them up on demand at a certain location. Drivers connect to users and vice versa through an app on a smartphone. This is one of the hazards related to ridesharing: drivers have to constantly look at and interact with their cell phones while behind the wheel.

Like standard auto accidents, ridesharing accidents in San Antonio can occur for many reasons:

  • Distracted driving
  • Inattention
  • Texting and driving
  • Eating and drinking
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Running a red light
  • Making unsafe lane changes
  • Tailgating

Since Texas is a fault-based car insurance state, you or your attorney will need to determine fault before you file an insurance claim. You will file your claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault party. In a typical auto accident, this is most likely the other driver. However, fault is more difficult to determine in a ridesharing accident.

Liability for an Uber or Lyft Accident in San Antonio

In a ridesharing accident case, you may be able to hold the individual driver financially responsible for your injuries and losses. Unlike other transportation services, such as using a taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees of the ridesharing companies. Instead, they are independent contractors.

Generally speaking, this protects Uber and Lyft from vicarious liability for the mistakes and negligence of their drivers, meaning you will seek benefits from the driver’s private insurance carrier instead. In certain scenarios, however, you can file your claim directly with the insurance provider of the rideshare company. This might be the case if the individual driver does not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses.

Insurance Coverage Available

Both Uber and Lyft maintain $1 million insurance policies to cover victims’ injuries when their drivers cause car accidents. The exact amount of coverage available depends on the phase of the ride:

  • Phase One. The driver is signed into the ridesharing app and searching for riders. If the driver causes a collision in this phase, the ridesharing company will provide up to $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, $100,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
  • Phase Two. The ridesharing driver has accepted a ride and is on his or her way to pick up a passenger. In this scenario, both Uber and Lyft will provide up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage.
  • Phase Three. The driver has picked up the user and the passenger is in the vehicle at the time of the accident. As in Phase Two, the company will provide up to $1 million in this scenario, as well as possible uninsured motorist coverage.

Keep in mind that your own insurance company may also offer compensation for your losses as secondary insurance to the at-fault party’s coverage. Finally, if another driver caused your crash, that driver’s auto insurance will also be available to cover your damages. As the victim of a ridesharing accident, therefore, you may have many outlets for financial recovery.

When to Contact a Ridesharing Accident Attorney in San Antonio

If you are injured in an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, consult with a ridesharing accident attorney right away. An attorney can help you navigate your way through this complicated type of claim, holding the at-fault driver or ridesharing company financially responsible for your past and future losses.

With an attorney as your legal advocate, you can rest assured the settlement you accept from Uber or Lyft is adequate for your injuries. Learn more about your accident by consulting with a lawyer today.

Posted by admin at 5:23 pm

What Is the Difference Between Ordinary Negligence and Gross Negligence?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

One of the most common words you will hear during a personal injury claim in San Antonio is “negligence.” A party’s negligence in Texas allows you to seek financial damages from that person for causing you harm. There is a difference, however, between ordinary negligence and gross negligence. While both can make you eligible for compensation, one may result in the defendant having to pay more.

4 Elements of Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence refers to a party’s failure to use a reasonable degree of care, resulting in injury or harm to another person. Reasonable care describes what an ordinary person would do in the same or similar circumstances. If a driver was speeding in wet weather, for example, and caused a car accident, that driver is guilty of negligence.

Ordinary negligence consists of four key elements:

  1. The defendant had a responsibility to treat the plaintiff with a reasonable amount of care. In personal injury law, this responsibility is referred to as the duty of care.
  2. The defendant’s actions – or failure to act – made the defendant breach his or her duty of care to the plaintiff.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and/or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
  4. The plaintiff suffered losses because of the defendant’s actions, such as injuries, hospital bills, property damage and lost wages.

In a case arguing ordinary negligence, a plaintiff does not have to prove the defendant was reckless or knew his or her actions could potentially cause an injury. It is enough for an ordinary negligence claim to show that the defendant breached a duty of care, even if this breach was accidental or unintentional. A claim based on gross negligence, however, is different.

What Is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence is a more severe departure from the duty of care. Rather than a careless mistake or inattention, gross negligence is a willful or wanton disregard of the requirement to use reasonable care. Like ordinary negligence, it is not necessary to prove the defendant’s intent to harm for a gross negligence claim. However, a claim based on gross negligence must show the defendant’s conduct was willful, likely to cause foreseeable harm and done with an extreme disregard for the safety of others.

An example illustrating the difference between ordinary and gross negligence is if a driver isn’t paying attention and fails to notice he or she is exceeding the speed limit by a few miles per hour, he or she is negligent. If, however, the driver knowingly drives at an excessive speed in an area with a lot of pedestrians because he or she is late, the driver is grossly negligent.

Why Is the Difference Relevant to Your Personal Injury Case?

The difference between ordinary and gross negligence is important to understand as the plaintiff in a personal injury case due to the financial compensation that may be available. Although both types of negligence can cause serious injuries, gross negligence is more likely to lead to severe or catastrophic injuries. These injuries will, in general, be worth more in damages than minor injuries:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Ongoing treatments, such as rehabilitation and therapy
  • Permanent disability costs
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Lost wages and future capacity to earn
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Lost quality or enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Wrongful death benefits

In addition to greater compensation available for a more serious injury, gross negligence could also increase the amount of your award through punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a relatively uncommon type of award. Rather than making a victim whole again after an accident, punitive damages punish a defendant for especially egregious acts. In Texas, punitive damages may be available if a defendant exhibited behaviors that were grossly negligent, reckless, wanton, willful, malicious or intentional. Punitive damages are meant to penalize a defendant and deter him or her from making the same mistake in the future.

For more information about ordinary vs. gross negligence and how it may apply to your case, consult with a personal injury attorney in Dallas.

Posted by admin at 5:22 pm

What’s the Difference Between Recklessness and Negligence?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

If someone gets injured in an accident in Texas, that person may have the right to file a lawsuit for financial compensation through the civil justice system. The right to hold someone else accountable for the injury may exist if that person was negligent, reckless or malicious in causing the injury in question.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Antonio, learn the difference between recklessness and negligence to better understand the grounds for your claim.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims in Texas. In personal injury law, negligence is when someone unintentionally or carelessly causes someone else injury or harm. Cases involving auto accidents, dangerous premises, workplace accidents and most other accidents are generally founded on the legal theory of negligence.

Proving a defendant’s negligence during an injury case requires evidence that the following four elements are more likely than not to be true:

  1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner to avoid injury to others.
  2. The defendant breached a duty of care. The defendant committed an act or omission that went against his or her duty of care.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s mistake.
  4. The plaintiff suffered compensable losses. The accident gave the plaintiff real, specific damages, such as medical bills or property damage.

In a case based on negligence, it does not matter whether or not the defendant realized he or she was breaching a duty of care. If the defendant acted in a way that a reasonable and prudent person would not have in the same circumstances, the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injury. To base a case on recklessness, however, the defendant must have acted or behaved in a manner that would foreseeably cause injury.

What Is Recklessness?

Recklessness is a more serious type of tort than negligence. Under Texas law, it describes a situation in which a person knows the risks that will foreseeably arise from his or her actions but commits the act or omission anyway, regardless of the consequences to others. In other words, the reckless party had a wanton disregard for the safety of others.

A reckless person has substantially departed from what a reasonable, law-abiding person would do in the same situation. For example, if a driver had 10 alcoholic beverages and then got behind the wheel, this driver has exhibited a reckless disregard for how his or her actions might injure others.

How Does the Difference Impact Your Personal Injury Case?

Negligence is an unknowing departure from the duty of care, while recklessness is a knowing, willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. The difference between these two types of torts can be important to distinguish during your personal injury case in Texas. Although both are acceptable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, recklessness could result in punitive damages.

Punitive damages, unlike compensatory damages, are not meant to make up for a victim’s financial losses. Instead, they are awarded to punish a defendant and deter others from making the same mistake. Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. Instead, a judge reserves them for cases in which a defendant was grossly negligent, reckless or malicious in causing the victim’s harm. If you have a case based on recklessness, you may be eligible for punitive damages.

Consult With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney for Help

If you or a family member has suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio right away. An attorney can help you identify the grounds for your case, collect evidence against the defendant and pursue the financial compensation you deserve.

Posted by admin at 5:18 pm

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in San Antonio

Monday, February 15, 2021

If you get injured in an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall, you may be eligible for financial benefits from one or more parties. The person or entity at fault for causing your accident may be financially responsible for your related damages, including medical bills and property repairs. Learn how to file a personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, as well as when to hire an attorney for assistance.

When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in San Antonio

Before you begin the legal process, you may wish to consult with an attorney in San Antonio. A personal injury lawyer will have the information and resources to help you fully protect your legal rights as a plaintiff. You may need to hire a lawyer to represent you during a claim, especially if you have severe or catastrophic personal injuries.

With a life-changing injury, it is more likely that an insurance company will try to take advantage of you and devalue your claim. An attorney can help you file your lawsuit and obtain maximum financial compensation for your losses. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you can discuss your case with a lawyer without any financial risk.

Understand the Statute of Limitations

Next, learn your deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas (known in legalese as the statute of limitations). The statute of limitations is two years for most personal injury cases in Texas. If you wait longer than two years after your accident to bring a claim to damages, expect the courts to deny your case. It is important to act quickly in the aftermath of an accident to make sure you file within the required window, as well as while important evidence is still available.

Gather Information and Evidence

Start building your personal injury claim in San Antonio by collecting as much information, evidence and documentation about your accident and injury as possible:

  • Write down the at-fault party’s name, contact information and insurance carrier.
  • Call the hospital where you sought treatment to obtain copies of your relevant medical records.
  • If you were in an auto accident and called the police, contact the local police department for a copy of your police report.
  • Gather any photographs and videos of your accident.
  • If you have signed statements from eyewitnesses, put this in your case folder as well.

Having all the information and evidence organized in a single place can make it easier to file a lawsuit.

Find Out Where to File Your Lawsuit in San Antonio

You will file your personal injury claim with the civil courthouse in the county where your accident took place, in most cases. If this is Bexar County, you will go to the Civil District Court. If you estimate your case is worth less than $10,000, including court costs, you will file with the Bexar County Small Claims Court instead. Filing a lawsuit requires filling out the claims forms given to you by the courthouse clerk completely, in as much detail as possible.

On your claims form, you will need to include the defendant’s name and contact information, a brief description of your accident and why you believe the defendant is responsible, a list of the damages for which you are seeking compensation, and the amount of money you are demanding from the defendant’s insurance company to resolve your claim. You will need to pay the filing fee when you submit the paperwork. This fee is typically $200.

Negotiate on Your Own or With Help From an Attorney

Once you file your personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, the defendant will have a chance to respond to your petition. If the defendant does not deny or refute fault, you will most likely receive a settlement offer from the insurance company.

Before accepting the offer, bring it to an attorney for review. If the offer is not adequate for your injuries and losses, an attorney can help you negotiate back and forth for a better amount. In the rare incident that your case cannot settle, your lawyer can represent you at trial in Bexar County instead. A San Antonio personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the results you deserve.

Posted by admin at 5:10 pm

Texas Good Samaritan Law

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The first people at the scene of an accident – often those who witnessed the accident – are in a unique position to help victims. They can check for injuries, call an ambulance and keep victims calm while they wait for help. Like many states, Texas has a law in place protecting those who render aid at the scene of emergencies. It is called the Good Samaritan Law.

What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

Texas’s Good Samaritan Law (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 74.151) protects people who offer aid at the scene of emergencies from liability for any unintentional damages their interventions cause. These people are referred to as Good Samaritans, as a reference to a parable in the Bible about someone helping a stranger in need. If a Good Samaritan stops at the scene of an accident and renders medical aid in good faith, that person is protected from any liability for related damages in Texas.

The Good Samaritan Law is in place to encourage people who witness accidents to step forward and render assistance without fear of being sued later by a victim for accidentally making things worse. If, for example, a Good Samaritan pulls someone out of a burning vehicle and this action exacerbates a spinal cord injury, causing permanent paralysis, the Good Samaritan will not be liable for unintentionally causing the injury under Texas law.

Who Does the Good Samaritan Law Protect?

As long as a Good Samaritan renders emergency medical care in a good faith attempt to help the victim of an accident, he or she is protected from liability under the Texas Good Samaritan Act. This law states that any person who administers emergency care in good faith is not liable for any related civil damages suffered during the emergency.

According to the statute, the act also protects any person who uses an automated external defibrillator to administer emergency care, as well as someone who acts as a volunteer first responder. The act does not, however, apply to anyone who intervenes at the scene of an emergency for compensation or remuneration, as well as anyone who was at the scene with the purpose of soliciting business.

The Good Samaritan Law in Texas also does not protect anyone who is licensed to provide emergency medical care, such as an EMT or a doctor in an emergency room. The law holds these professionals to a higher standard of care than an average civilian with no professional medical training. The professional must be more careful to prevent any foreseeable harm to the victim in an emergency and may be liable for any damages inflicted by substandard care.

What If the Good Samaritan Is Negligent?

The Texas Good Samaritan Act also has an exception if the person rendering emergency aid is the same person whose negligent act or omission caused the original accident. In this situation, the person who caused the accident will not be protected from liability for the victim’s injuries, property damage and other losses.

Finally, one of the most important exceptions to the Good Samaritan Law is if the person who renders aid is willfully or wantonly negligent. If the person does not render aid in a good faith attempt to help the victim, such as by knowingly doing something that could harm the victim, he or she could be liable for related damages.

The Good Samaritan must act in a way that is not intentionally negligent or reckless to benefit from legal protection. For the most part, however, the Texas Good Samaritan Law protects the average person who renders medical aid in an emergency.

What to Do After Witnessing an Accident

If you are the first person to the scene of an accident, do not be afraid to step in and help. Try not to move an injured person unless it is necessary for his or her safety. Instead, call the police and stay with the victim to offer your support while you wait for paramedics to arrive. Then, offer your services to the victim as an eyewitness, if possible. You could save a life by rendering aid in an emergency, as well as help a victim recover through a personal injury lawsuit.

Posted by admin at 5:09 pm

What Is Assumption of Risk in a Personal Injury Case?

Monday, January 25, 2021

Assumption of risk is a defense that could be used against you if you bring a cause of action for a personal injury in Texas. In your attempt to hold someone responsible for causing your injury, the defendant may allege that you assumed the risks of the activity – thus protecting the defendant from liability. If this defense succeeds, you may not be awarded anything in financial compensation. This is why it is important to speak to a lawyer if you think this defense will be raised during your case.

What Does Assumption of Risk Mean in Law?

In the civil justice system, assumption of risk is an affirmative defense. A defendant can raise this defense to combat a personal injury cause of action. The assumption of risk defense asserts that the defendant is not liable for the injuries sustained because the plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily exposed him or herself to this risk.

Essentially, a defendant who uses the assumption of risk defense is claiming that the plaintiff knew about the risk or hazard that caused the injury but voluntarily took the chance of getting injured anyway. Therefore, the defendant believes he or she should not be responsible for related losses.

This defense is most common in cases involving dangerous activities, such as bungee jumping or cliff jumping. It can also be used in premises liability cases if a defendant had a “No Trespassing” or “Beware of Dog” sign in place. Places that offer experiences with some level of risk may also use this defense, such as gyms, amusement parks and sports arenas in San Antonio.

How Can Someone Prove Assumption of Risk?

It is the defendant’s responsibility to prove the validity of the assumption of risk defense when asserted. The defendant will have the burden to prove, through clear and convincing evidence, that two main elements are more likely to be true than not true.

  1. The plaintiff had actual knowledge of the risks involved in an activity. The defendant must show that the plaintiff knew of the risk that caused his or her injury, such as a sign warning visitors of a known risk on a property.
  2. The plaintiff voluntarily accepted the risk. The defendant must also have proof that the plaintiff voluntarily assumed or accepted the known risks of an activity. This acceptance could be implied by words or conduct or expressly noted in a liability waiver.

If the plaintiff signed a written contract expressly agreeing to the known risks of an activity, this could serve as proof of assumption of risk. Proof could also come in the form of a participant purchasing a ticket if the ticket doubled as a liability agreement. This is often the case with cruise ship and sports game tickets. With a signed liability waiver in place, a defendant may not be liable for damages even if he or she was negligent.

How Might the Assumption of Risk Defense Affect Your Case?

If you signed a liability waiver before participating in the activity that injured you, don’t assume you are barred from financial recovery. Although this can protect a defendant from liability, there are exceptions to the rule.

If the defendant committed an act of gross negligence, recklessness or intentional wrongdoing, signing a waiver will not release the defendant from liability for losses. If the defendant failed to adequately make the risks of an activity known to you when you signed, this could also invalidate a liability waiver.

How an assumption of risk defense may or may not affect your personal injury case depends on your unique circumstances. It is important to consult with an attorney if you encounter this defense or were injured after signing a liability waiver. An attorney can help you protect your rights with or without the assumption of risk defense.

Posted by admin at 12:33 pm

What Are Future Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Friday, January 22, 2021

Through the civil justice system in Texas, you can receive financial compensation from the person or party that committed a wrong (tort) against you. In legalese, this compensation is known as damages. A civil claim not only has the power to reimburse you for past damages; you could also recover compensation for future damages. Learn more about future damages available in a personal injury case by consulting with an attorney.

Economic vs. Noneconomic Damages

First, understand the difference between the two main categories of damages available: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages pay for your out-of-pocket costs as the victim of a tort. These costs may include hospital bills, lost wages, property repairs and attorney’s fees.

Noneconomic damages are the intangible effects an accident had on you and your loved ones. Another name for noneconomic damages is pain and suffering. Compensatory losses in this category may include emotional distress, mental anguish, physical pain, inconvenience, humiliation, lost quality of life and loss of consortium.

During a personal injury case in Texas, you could be eligible for future damages for economic and noneconomic losses. Your eligibility for future damages will depend on the extent of your injuries and how long they will foreseeably stay with you. Future damages are only available if you will experience losses connected to the accident in the foreseeable future.

What Are Future Damages?

Past and present damages are clear at the time a claimant files a personal injury claim. As an injured victim, you will have medical bills and lost wages piling up to prove these losses. Future damages, however, are less clear. They will depend on when your injury will fully heal – if it will fully heal at all.

You may be able to seek compensation for future damages during a claim if your injuries will, with some level of medical probability, stay with you or get worse in the future. Future damages can include:

  • Future medical care. Any surgeries, treatments, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medications or visits with specialists in the future you may need because of your injury. This includes disability accommodations for a permanent injury.
  • Future lost wages and lost earning capacity. If a doctor believes your injury will make you unable to work for a certain period of time, you can seek lost wage compensation for shifts you will miss. If you have an injury that will remove you from your current occupation, you can pursue damages for permanent lost capacity to earn.
  • Future emotional and psychological impacts. Many accidents have long-term emotional impacts on survivors. If you notice emotional injuries or are diagnosed with a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be eligible for future pain and suffering damages.

You can only recover compensation for future damages in Texas if you or your personal injury attorney can successfully prove they will exist. Your lawyer can help you prove future losses using evidence such as your medical records, testimony from your doctor and medical experts, testimony from friends and family members, and information from your employer about the requirements of your job.

Why It Is Important to Seek Future Damages in a Lawsuit

Once you close a personal injury case by accepting a settlement and signing a release of liability form, you cannot reopen it. Even if your injuries worsen or you encounter additional medical costs, you will not be able to reopen a case and negotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is imperative to seek future damages in your original lawsuit – before you miss the opportunity to recover these damages forever.

If you need assistance listing all past and future damages on an insurance demand letter or personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, contact an attorney. An attorney can make sure you do not miss any important opportunities for recovering financial compensation, including future damages. A lawyer will ensure you do not settle for less than the full and true value of your claim.

Posted by admin at 12:32 pm

How Much Is My San Antonio Personal Injury Claim Worth?

Monday, January 18, 2021

You may not have to pay for your medical bills and other losses out of pocket if you did not cause your accident or injury. In San Antonio, you have the right to pursue financial compensation from the person who did cause your accident using a personal injury claim.

One of the most frequently asked questions in personal injury law is, “How much is my claim worth in San Antonio?” The only way to get an accurate answer to this question is by asking an attorney. However, you can get an idea of the value of your claim by understanding how the Texas courts calculate damage awards.

What Damages Are Available?

The word damages in personal injury law refers to the financial compensation available for an injured victim’s losses. The point of a personal injury lawsuit is to make the victim whole again through financial compensation. When discussing damages with your lawyer, you will be referring to the money you may be able to receive from the at-fault party (defendant) through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, you could recover compensation for several types of economic and noneconomic losses.

  • Medical expenses
  • Disability-related costs
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Legal fees
  • Travel costs
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Punitive damages

These are some examples of damages that could be available to you as an injured accident victim in San Antonio. This does not, however, mean that you will be eligible for all of these categories of losses; you will only receive compensation for the actual losses you suffered in the accident.

It will be up to you to prove the losses you experienced due to a defendant’s negligence. You or your lawyer will need to show an insurance company, judge or jury that you suffered these losses using evidence such as medical bills, receipts, pay stubs and medical expert testimony. Without evidence of your losses, you may not receive fair financial compensation.

How Do the Courts Calculate Damage Awards?

Once you have a comprehensive list of the losses for which you are seeking compensation, you can gain an idea of how much your claim might be worth by calculating an award using the same techniques that will be used by the courts. A lawyer can help you with your calculation to make sure you ask for enough money in your insurance demand letter.

  • Economic damages. The courts calculate economic damages by adding up the actual expenses related to your accident, such as health care costs and lost wages. They will also take into account any future economic damages connected to a long-term injury.
  • Noneconomic damages. The value of noneconomic damages is entirely up to a jury. However, the jury may use a common calculation method, such as multiplying the total amount of economic damages by a number that represents the severity of your injuries.

It is impossible to accurately predict how much you will receive for a claim in Texas, as a lot of it is up to a jury’s discretion. Every client is unique, and awards are given on a case-by-case basis. The best way to obtain an accurate estimate is by asking an attorney for an estimate.

What Factors Can Affect Your Settlement?

An attorney in San Antonio can help you understand the potential value of your personal injury claim by analyzing common factors that affect payouts, such as:

  • Injury severity and extent
  • The length of time it will take you to recover
  • Whether your injury interferes with your ability to work
  • Your income before the accident
  • Your age and overall health
  • Physical pain and emotional distress
  • Liability for your injuries
  • The amount of insurance coverage available
  • Your comparative fault for the accident

With these facts in mind, your lawyer can give you a case estimate that comes close to the amount you actually receive, if any. An attorney will have the legal experience necessary to make this analysis. Consult with an attorney today for more information.

Posted by admin at 12:24 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