How Much Is My San Antonio Personal Injury Claim Worth?

Monday, June 6, 2022

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?

Antonio Car Accident Lawyers
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 Aaron Herbert at 12:24 pm

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

Monday, May 9, 2022

It is not a requirement to retain a personal injury attorney in Texas 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

Marissa Maggio - Associate Attorney in TexasOne 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 Aaron Herbert at 9:24 am

Understanding Fault in High Risk Activity Accidents

Saturday, February 19, 2022

What happens if you get injured while rafting, paragliding, BASE jumping, or another extreme sport? Many of these activities require liability waivers, but a waiver does not necessarily preclude an injured individual from taking legal action against the organizer.

In 2012, a man in Fort Worth drowned during a mud run. In 2013, a Pennsylvania hospital’s emergency services took in 38 patients during a Tough Mudder (extreme obstacle course) event. Of course, there are many of these kinds of incidents, and they can quickly become tragic.

Extreme sports and obstacle courses are exhilarating, in part, because of the risk-factor. Liability waivers are designed to protect organizations from lawsuits arising from certain injuries or death. However, many waivers are not enforceable, even when a participant signs the document.

What Affects the Protectiveness of a Waiver?

Every state has different laws regarding contracts including waivers. Some states may not accept the terms or the structure of a waiver under state law. Assuming state laws do support the enforceability of a waiver, the waiver may still not protect the organization from a lawsuit.

A waiver only protects an organization within the limited scope outlined in the document. In other words, an organization may be liable for an injury that goes above and beyond the terms of the waiver. For instance, if you were injured because an organization knowingly changed the hazardous nature of an activity or failed to take reasonable safety precautions (extreme negligence), you may still be able to hold the organization accountable.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the nature of the activity and see if the factor that caused harm could have been reasonably eliminated without changing the nature of the activity. If it could have been removed or altered, then the waiver may not protect the organization from a lawsuit.

The Complexity of Waiver Enforceability in Texas

Enforceability of waivers is a complicated matter in Texas. There are no written laws that explicitly define what a liability waiver must contain to remain enforceable. Instead, courts rely on a patchwork arrangement of court opinions and interpretations to determine enforceability on a case-by-case basis.

If you have an attorney who understands the framework for enforceability in Texas, he or she can review the waiver and develop a case that either contests enforceability or goes beyond the scope of the waiver. For instance, if a parent signs a waiver for a child to go whitewater rafting, the parent may give up the ability to file a claim, but a child may recover some damages.

Always Talk to an Attorney After an Extreme Activity Injury

After a high risk activity accident, secure a copy of your signed liability waiver. Keep any recordings that capture the time of the incident, and tell your medical provider about your injury. If you were using equipment that malfunctioned, take pictures of the equipment.

Some individuals assume a waiver will keep them from recovering damages after an injury. As a result, they never pursue a legal consultation to determine if they have grounds for a lawsuit. At the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC, our initial consultations are always free, and we can help you determine if a lawsuit is the right course of action.

Knowing your rights can help you take action after an accident. You probably don’t need to have your attorney review every waiver before you, but don’t be afraid to reach out to an attorney if you have any questions. You may have options to secure financial compensation that will cover the cost of your injury and rehabilitation. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC in San Antonio.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:42 pm

What Is the Texas Dram Shop Law?

Sunday, September 12, 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.

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.

If you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident in fort worth or any other city in Texas, contact us for a free case evaluation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 5:27 pm

What is Mobbing?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

As residents of a populous metropolitan area, San Antonio citizens face a variety of threats and dangers in day-to-day life. Among those threats is mobbing, a form of group bullying focused on harassing or treating a victim badly with the intent to demean and inflict psychological harm. Mobbing comes in several forms and can happen in school, at work, and online.

Elements of Mobbing

To classify as mobbing, two or more people acting as “bullies” must be involved. This group works together to collectively inflict a relentless assault of psychological and/or physical terror on a helpless target through a tirade of threats, insults, and offensive remarks. Victims of mobbing are typically people who differ from the norm in a social setting, either based on their religious beliefs, race, disability, or other traits. Thus, people engaged in mobbing are often practicing discrimination. Mobbing can involve:

  • Intimidation
  • Threats of harm or embarrassment
  • Blackmailing
  • Intense peer pressure
  • Offensive conduct
  • Harassment

By-standers and victims alike have reported recent incidents of mobbing on the internet, on social media, and in chat rooms. Cyberspace mobbing is especially dangerous to vulnerable children and teenagers and can lead to depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and even suicide.

Another example is mobbing in the workplace. When a group of employees wants a person to leave the company or job, either through voluntary or forced termination, it can trigger people to engage in mobbing. The workplace bullies inflict public ridicule and humiliation upon the fellow employee, creating an uncomfortable and sometimes volatile work environment for the victim. In some cases, a manager can support or participate in the mobbing, which creates a further strained working relationship for the target.

Targets of workplace bullies can suffer long-term emotional scarring. Financial damage is also a risk if victims are forced to take off work or quit a job to avoid the bullying attacks. Workplace mobbing has far-reaching effects that can result in damage to the victim’s career and professional reputation through loss of business opportunities and promotions.

Dangers of Mobbing

Mobbing has the same negative consequences as ordinary bullying but can be exponentially worse, depending on the number of bullies involved in the mob. Mobbing can have various effects on the victim, but psychological and emotional damage is most common. A victim can suffer extreme fear about going to school or work, which can trigger feelings of illness or nausea.

Victims may also experience nightmares and a fear of social settings. Mobbing can make a victim feel less-than, injuring self-confidence and leading to feelings of self-loathing or shame. The severe emotional trauma mobbing can inflict on a victim can last for years after the incident and often requires therapy or professional counseling to help overcome the damage.

A victim can also suffer physical damages if the mob becomes physically violent.

Can I File a Claim for Mobbing?

Mobbing often involves damaging and harmful conduct, inflicting long-lasting pain on the victims. In many cases, an employer or school official can dispel a mob if a victim reports what’s happening. In some cases, however, this is not enough to remedy the victim’s damages, especially in cases of actual injury or loss. Filing a claim against the perpetrators of mobbing can help a victim obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.

If you were or are the victim of mobbing, an attorney can help you file a legal claim against the group of bullies. You have rights in a mobbing situation, especially if the incident stems from discrimination. If you need to attend a meeting with an official to discuss the mobbing incident, an attorney can stand by your side and give you advice.

Posted by admin at 10:06 pm

San Antonio E-Scooter Laws

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, have taken over the streets of Texas. They are rentable to the public for a low amount of money from companies such as Bird and Lime. San Antonio has hundreds of dockless e-scooters available for rent every day. Unfortunately, these vehicles are not as safe as many people assume. A lack of awareness of e-scooter laws in Texas contributes to many harmful e-scooter accidents.

Definition of an E-Scooter

According to Texas Transportation Code Section 551.351, a motor-assisted scooter is a self-propelled device with at least two wheels, a gas or electric motor capable of making the device travel up to 15 miles per hour, and a braking system capable of stopping the device. It also has a deck that allows a person to sit or stand while operating the vehicle and can be propelled by human power alone. An e-scooter is not the same as an electric bicycle, moped or motorcycle in the eyes of the law in Texas. Motor-assisted scooters have their own rules and regulations.

Age Limits for Riding

In Texas, a rider must be 16 years or older to ride an e-scooter. Most e-scooter companies require riders to have valid driver’s licenses and upload photographs of these licenses before they can rent the device. However, many users get around this requirement by having someone older, such as a parent or guardian, rent the e-scooter for them. This is a dangerous practice that can increase the risk of accidents.

Helmet Requirements

Helmets are strongly encouraged while riding e-scooters in San Antonio, but they are not a legal requirement. This is similar to Texas’ bicycle helmet stance, which is that all riders, regardless of age, may operate bicycles without wearing helmets. The only exception is if a city or municipality has a law requiring bike helmets. San Antonio does not have such a law for operating dockless e-scooters. The city strongly encourages helmets, however, as they can drastically reduce the risk of serious and fatal head injuries.

Riding Rules in San Antonio

The e-scooter laws that are broken the most often, and that lead to the most traffic accidents, are riding rules. Riding rules give e-scooter operators guidelines they must follow for safe and prudent vehicle operation. They dictate what a rider can and cannot do while interacting with other roadway users, such as motorists and pedestrians. Some of the most important state and citywide e-scooter laws in San Antonio are:

  • Riders must obey all state and city roadway rules.
  • E-scooters must ride in the street or bicycle lanes.
  • Riding a scooter in the street is only legal on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
  • No e-scooters on sidewalks.
  • No e-scooters in Alamo Plaza, the Riverwalk, La Villita, Main Plaza, Market Square, or city parks and trails in San Antonio.
  • Only one person per e-scooter.
  • Riders must grant pedestrians the right-of-way.
  • Riders cannot use cell phones while operating e-scooters.
  • Riders should not park e-scooters in the middle of sidewalks, in bicycle lanes, in the street or in the way of pedestrians.

Following these rules can reduce the risk of e-scooter accidents. Riders should also use tactics such as wearing brightly colored clothing for maximum visibility, riding in the same direction as traffic, maintaining a safe speed for conditions, using hand signals to turn and never riding on highways. Paying attention to the road and riding prudently can also decrease the odds of an accident.

Injured in an E-Scooter Accident? Get Help

If you get injured in an e-scooter accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the other party’s insurance provider. One or more parties may be financially responsible for your medical bills and other losses. Protect your legal rights by contacting an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.

An attorney can help you understand and exercise your rights during insurance claim negotiations or an injury trial. An attorney can also use proven legal strategies to fight for maximum financial recovery on your behalf.

Posted by admin at 1:09 pm

10 Mistakes That Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Friday, April 23, 2021

If you suffer a serious injury in San Antonio, you may be overwhelmed by medical bills, physical pain and emotional suffering. It is important, however, to learn as much as you can about the legal process if you wish to obtain fair financial compensation. Otherwise, you could make a common mistake that negatively impacts your claim.

Admitting Fault

It may be in your nature to immediately apologize for an accident while at the scene, such as apologizing to the other driver after a car accident. Saying you are sorry, however, can be construed as an admittance of guilt. Be polite, but do not apologize and do not admit fault for an accident. Doing so could automatically place liability – financial responsibility – with you, even before an investigation is finished.

Not Reporting Your Accident

Do not keep your accident or injuries to yourself. It is important to report the accident to an authority figure immediately so that it is documented on the official record. The authority you should contact will depend on the nature of the accident. After a car crash in San Antonio, for example, you should call the police. After a slip and fall accident, tell a store manager.

Forgetting to Collect Evidence

Although you may have a lot on your mind after suffering an injury, do your best to collect evidence before you leave the scene. Some evidence may not be available if you wait. If you were injured by a property defect, for example, the property owner may repair the hazard before you can return to take photographs. Collect evidence as soon as possible, even if this means asking for help from a friend, family member or personal injury attorney.

Delaying Medical Care

Always go to a doctor or hospital right away after any type of injury. Delaying medical care can allow an insurance company to argue that your injuries were not serious or did not happen the way you say they did. Delaying medical care or ignoring your doctor’s treatment recommendations could also have negative consequences on your health.

Posting on Social Media

Avoid posting anything on social media following an accident. An insurance company can use your social media activity as evidence against you, regardless of your privacy settings. Any photographs, location check-ins, status updates or comments made on other people’s pages could be twisted around and used against you later.

Waiting Too Long to Tell an Insurance Company

Most insurance companies have rules that require injured parties to file claims as soon as possible – typically within 72 hours of the accident. Do not wait too long to file an initial claim, as this could potentially bar you from financial recovery from the insurer.

Believing the Insurance Company Is on Your Side

When communicating with an agent or claims adjuster from an insurance company, do not make the mistake of thinking he or she is on your side. The insurance company will want to save as much money as possible by devaluing your claim. Do not agree to give the insurance company a recorded statement and do not sign anything until speaking to an attorney.

Settling Too Soon

It is normal to want to resolve your case as quickly as possible. Settling too early, however, could mean accepting less than you deserve for your serious injuries. Wait until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement to accept a settlement. Discuss the value of your claim with an attorney before settling, as well.

Missing Your Statute of Limitations

In Texas, a law called a statute of limitations places a deadline on your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, the courts will typically refuse to hear your case, meaning you cannot recover money damages. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years for most cases.

Failing to Seek Help From a Personal Injury Attorney

Do not attempt to handle a personal injury claim alone – especially if you suffered catastrophic or permanent injuries. Work with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio for professional legal assistance with your case. A lawyer can help you with all the stages of a lawsuit for the best possible outcome.

Posted by admin at 11:41 am

What Is a Personal Injury Liability Waiver?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

If you get injured due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, that party may be financially responsible for your injuries and related medical bills. If you signed a personal injury liability waiver, however, you may have given up your right to hold someone legally accountable. Learn more about liability waivers – including when they are unenforceable – to find out if you have a claim.

How Do Liability Waivers Work?

A personal injury liability waiver is something you may have to sign before participating in an event or activity that poses foreseeable injury risks. These waivers are designed to protect the creator from liability (legal responsibility) if a participant gets injured – even if the entity was negligent and this is what caused the injuries.

Common activities in Texas that require participants to sign personal injury liability waivers include:

  • Amusement parks
  • Bungee jumping
  • Concerts
  • Cruises
  • Daycare centers
  • Equipment rentals
  • Gyms
  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Skydiving
  • Spas
  • Sporting events
  • Tours
  • Trampoline parks
  • Vehicle rentals

In some scenarios, you may be given a written liability waiver that you must fill out and sign before you can participate in an activity. Otherwise, accepting the terms of a liability waiver may be implied when you purchase a ticket. When you buy a cruise ticket, for example, the liability terms you are automatically agreeing to are in fine print on the back. Either way, once you agree to a liability waiver, you may forfeit your right to hold the entity legally responsible for your injuries.

Can You Still File a Lawsuit With a Personal Injury Liability Waiver?

Liability waivers are not infallible. In certain circumstances, it is possible to work around a liability waiver and hold a party accountable for negligence. However, the fact that you signed a personal injury liability waiver will make a lawsuit more difficult. In Texas, a defendant’s attorney may use the assumption of risk defense against you to combat liability for your injuries. This defense states that since you assumed the known risks of an activity, the defendant is not liable for any injuries suffered.

You or your personal injury lawyer will have to prove that you are still eligible to file a lawsuit after signing a waiver based on an argument such as:

  • An invalid or unenforceable waiver. An attorney will analyze the liability waiver you signed to search for issues that could make it unenforceable. A liability waiver must contain clear and unambiguous language, for example, and cannot go against public policy.
  • Failure to warn of known risks. If a liability waiver (or the defendant) fails to clearly list the foreseeable injury risks associated with an activity or event, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Gross negligence. Although a liability waiver can protect a defendant from lawsuits brought on the basis of negligence, no waiver can prevent liability for gross negligence, recklessness, intent to harm or a wanton disregard for the safety of others.

Other exceptions that could make a liability waiver invalid are if your injuries are from a defective product or due to a misrepresentation of fact. A manufacturing company cannot use a waiver to avoid liability for a defective product that injures a customer. In addition, a defendant misrepresenting the activity could constitute fraud, which will invalidate a liability waiver.

What to Do If You Were Injured After Signing a Liability Waiver

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident after signing a personal injury liability waiver in San Antonio, consult with an attorney for assistance. Hiring an attorney can be crucial for protecting your rights, documenting your injury, and bringing a case against one or more defendants. Your lawyer can help you navigate the unique challenges that may arise during a personal injury case involving a liability waiver or the assumption of risk defense.

For more information about personal injury liability waivers in Texas, consult with a lawyer from The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.

Posted by admin at 11:39 am

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 San Antonio.

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