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fender-bender-300x216Hospital bills piling up? We know how that goes. Literally. After you are injured in an accident, you will probably have several different kinds of bills related to medical services that were provided to you after the accident. You will likely have hospital bills, ER doctor’s bills, and emergency services bills, such as the EMS ambulance that treated you and transported you to the hospital. You will have the emergency room bill for the treatment you received there. Additionally, you may have subsequent treatment from your family doctor, or you may need to have additional treatment by a specialist. All of these providers will want to place a lien on your recovery, or put your account under a letter of protection to protect their right to recover money for the services they provided you once your case settles or goes to trial.

The job of a personal injury attorney is to determine which of these liens has priority and to settle these liens with the providers once your claim has been settled or a judgment has been paid. We often hear questions from injured clients and injured potential clients when they come meet with us in our Forney, Dallas, or Rockwall locations about how their doctor’s bills will end up affecting their recovery. In order to understand how these liens will affect your recovery for injuries you received here in Forney, Dallas, Rockwall or anywhere else in the State of Texas, you need to have a basic understanding of how the liens work and how they are perfected by the hospitals. Only then can we begin to understand how much they will affect your recovery.

How Do Hospital Liens Work?

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TxDOT_Color_LOGO-300x190According to recently released crash data from TXDot, both Rockwall and Kaufman counties are experiencing significant increases in commercial traffic accidents. The data just released is from 2015, so 2016 statistics are not known. However, the number of commercial vehicle accidents increased by 34.5% year-over-year from 2014 to 2015 for Rockwall and Kaufman county increased by 20.3% over the same time period.

We know that Rockwall and Kaufman counties are experiencing extreme growth, with cities like Rockwall, Royse City, McClendon-Chisholm, and Heath as well as parts of Dallas, Garland, and Rowlett located in Rockwall county, it is no wonder that Rockwall county has experienced large year-over-year growth in commercial vehicle accidents. But over 34%? That is a crazy statistic.

In Kaufman county, what is really the most surprising is that it had more commercial vehicle accidents that Rockwall county in 2014 (113 in Kaufman county and 107 in Rockwall county). What may be surprising to hear is that Kaufman county has a larger population that Rockwall county, thanks to large growth in cities like Forney, Terrell, and Kaufman. That may partly explain the higher number of accidents, but Rockwall county is smaller in geographic size and is more densely populated, so the statistic is still a little surprising. Forney’s population alone grew by over 25% from the 2010 census to the last released data in July 2015, and Kaufman county’s growth over that same period is at exactly 11.0%.

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Scales-300x132So often we hear legal terms such as “negligence” and “wrongful death” used by attorney’s and non-attorney’s alike. It is almost common place for people to use the word when describing an accident or a person’s behavior. If you listen to some of the local radio stations here in Dallas-Fort Worth you will probably hear a few commercials for attorneys asking the question “have you been injured because of someone else’s negligence?” The word is thrown around almost nonchalant. But, under the law, negligence has a very deep and complex meaning. Using the word as a broad stroke “that was negligent” does not afford the word its due, and under the law, may not actually be so, as you will see below.

For attorney’s and legal professionals, these terms have significant meaning beyond the common understanding of the words. In law, these are called “legal terms of art”. For the practitioner of law, terms of art such as negligence, wrongful death, and the thousands of other legal terms of art have a meaning beyond just a Webster’s Dictionary definition. So, in this article we ask “just what does the word ‘negligence’ mean?”

Terms of art can have different meanings in different jurisdictions. For the most part, the term “negligence” has the same legal definition in all 50 states. However, what may be different is how it is applied in certain situations. For instance in Texas, up until 2015, evidence of a plaintiff’s own negligence by failing to wear a seat belt was not admissible to show that the plaintiff was partly or wholly the cause of their own injuries. However, that all changed with the Supreme Court of Texas’ decision on Nabors Well Services, Ltd v. Romero.  Now, it is admissible, so you have yet another reason, other than the obvious, to wear your seat belt. The Supreme Court now says that if you fail to wear a seat belt it can be used against you to limit your recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. Many other states allow such evidence to be used to establish a plaintiff’s own negligence, but there are others states who still do not allow this type of evidence to prove plaintiff’s negligence.

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Heartland-image-300x200According to inForney.com’s Mathew Richards, FM 741 is expected to remain closed for several hours as police investigate the crash. The crash was reported at approximately 9:30 p.m. on FM 741 in between Heartland and Crandall just north of FM 2757. As of 11 p.m., FM 741 remains closed.

DPS spokesperson Kyle Bradford confirmed with Mathew Richards that two people are deceased on scene, one child was flown by CareFlite helicopter to a Dallas-area hospital in unknown condition, and a second child was transported by ground ambulance also in unknown condition.

The Texas Department of Public Safety released the names of the deceased on Wednesday morning identifying the male driver of the Chevy as 29-year-old Leyva Cerda of Heartland and the female driver of the Ford as 36-year-old Kelly Jones of Crandall.

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Stock-Accident-PhotoAsk anyone who has lived in Forney for a while and they will tell you how much Forney has changed. It doesn’t matter if you have lived here one year, five years, or your whole life. Forney is not a little town anymore. Some places, like old downtown, still retain that small-town feel, but the modernization of Forney is well under way. Take a drive down 741, 548, Broad Street, 1641, or if you dare, highway 80, and you will see new houses, new businesses, and new faces.

Let’s face it, Forney is growing. Growth is great. It is good for local businesses and residents alike. It seems like once a week we hear about another press release from the City Council approving a new business or development coming into Forney. Just yesterday, the Forney City Council approved a waiver for Eno’s Pizza Tavern, a local restaurant chain with its original hangout spot in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District. Pretty excited about that.

However, as a personal injury attorney, I have a different outlook on growth and how it impacts local residents. The first thing I think about when I hear about new business or development projects, is the impact it will have on traffic, and more specifically, the increased risk of accidents. Let’s just face it, Forney’s roads were not made for the amount of use they currently receive. If you do not believe me, try driving down FM 548 at 6:30 p.m, or 3:30 p.m, or between 7:30 and 9:00 am. Lets just say, your gas mileage will suffer if you go that way during those times of day. They just will.

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McKinney – According to the Collin County Sheriff’s Department,  two people have died from injuries sustained in a three-vehicle crash on SH 380 Monday afternoon in McKinney. The wreck involved a small tanker truck, an SUV and a pickup, happened near CR 330. DPS investigators are on the scene. Vehicles and debris littered the road and one deceased victim was still on scene late in the afternoon. Significant debris will cause lengthy delays in the area. The road will be closed indefinitely.

capture 20170306 150347 2 Dead In Crash On SH 380 In McKinney

Photo Credit: cbsdfw.com

deadly crash on SH 380 (Chopper11)

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Trooper-Injured-300x169

Photo Credit: Chopper 11 (CBS DFW local)

This Thursday a DPS Trooper was injured on highway 80 while attempting to conduct a routine traffic stop of an 18-wheeler here in Forney, Kaufman County, Texas. It started out normal enough, but when the 18-wheeler travelling behind the Trooper failed to see traffic slowing in front of him, he slammed into the Trooper’s vehicle, causing the Trooper’s vehicle to hit the 18-wheeler that he was attempting to stop.

The first question to ask is “why did it happen?”

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Stowers-300x188Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Stower’s Doctrine. Its got moxy. The Stowers Doctrine is as Texan as they come. From the Stowers Doctrine flows the Stowers Demand, a powerful settlement tool in personal injury practice.

But what is a Stowers Demand, exactly? Where does it come from? What does it do? Well, ask any attorney who deals with insurance companies on a regular basis and they will tell you it is a lifeblood of a personal injury practice. In our practice here in the Forney, Rockwall and Dallas area, once damages have been reasonably calculated, we always send a Stowers Demand to the insurance company. It is quite possibly the single most powerful pre-trial tool a personal injury attorney has to maximize settlement dollars for their client.

What is a Stowers Demand?

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We have learned of a major Accident in Kaufman County about 5 miles east of Terrell. Multiple public safety crews have closed eastbound and westbound I20 near FM 429 due to a multiple vehicle crash, according to TxDOT. All lanes of travel are forced to exit. Folks traveling this way should expect delays in both directions.

The accident involved multiple 18-wheelers, and has resulted in a fuel spill that will need to be cleaned up by crews before the highway may be reopened. No word as to the condition of the people involved in the accident.

This is a developing story. We will update as information comes available.

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personalinjury3-300x201The answer is simple, but to understand importance of the work they do, and the value they bring to their clients, you must understand a little more about the process of handling personal injury claims. It is no cake walk, even for experienced personal injury attorneys.

Notifying Insurance Companies and Establishing Communications Between the Parties

A personal injury attorney will notify the insurance providers of the claim for injuries and that the injured party is represented by counsel. This is true whether it is a motor vehicle accident, boating accident, commercial vehicle accident, or even slip-and-fall. These providers must be provided “notice” of the claims being made by the injured parties that were caused by their insured. In addition to notifying the at-fault parties insurer, the injured party will need to notify their own insurer of the possibility of any claims under their own UM/UIM in the event that the other party has no insurance or carries insufficient coverage to pay for the damages that have been suffered.