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Scales-300x132Guest and Gray, P.C. is the largest full service law firm in Kaufman and Rockwall counties. One of the main areas of our practice is personal injury and wrongful death. Our very own Scott Gray is a Texas SuperLawyer in personal injury and is the highest rated personal injury lawyer in Kaufman and Rockwall counties with a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.

Wrongful death cases are some of the most procedurally complex and emotionally difficult cases to handle. Our wrongful death attorneys know that this is a very personal and difficult time for a family who has lost a loved one in an accident. We handle each wrongful death case with a personal touch and a dedicated attorney and staff is assigned to each case. At Guest and Gray, our clients are not just another number or file and our clients know that we are truly here for them. Why? Because the case represents the loss of human life and it is our goal to provide justice in the only way that the civil law provides: monetary relief. That fact, can seem very impersonal by simply trying to obtain money for the life of a lost loved one. However, often times the person who has died is a family provider, a young person who had a long life ahead of them, or a caretaking mother and because of that, the family that remains often will suffer a financial hardship as a result of their loss. Medical bills and loss of income are some of the main causes of financial hardships and it should not be left to the family to bear the brunt of those burdens. The responsible party should be made to pay for those losses and it is the goal of Guest and Gray, P.C. to help put the family back in a place where they can continue to focus on their own recovery during this difficult time.

If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was not their fault, you need the help of an attorney to help secure the financial relief that you need during this very difficult time. It is often quite difficult for a family member to make insurance claims with each responsible party and then try and negotiate a settlement because, lets be honest, how do you assign a value to a loved one’s life? At Guest and Gray, we know that it is impossible. Life is priceless. However, insurance companies may try to take advantage of the fact that you are not able to push hard for your recovery and try to pay you the least amount possible. You may not be a number to Guest and Gray, but to the insurance company, this is just another claim to add onto a pile of other claims and their goal is to pay the least amount possible. Do not let them get one over on you. That is insult to injury. Literally.

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pain-and-suffering-1-300x227Here at Guest and Gray, that is a common question when talking to new and potential clients. Pain and suffering is a real thing. It can be the pain from recovering from a broken arm, but also the suffering you feel as your body tries to heal. So, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident, and it was not your fault, you are likely going to be able to recover for not only your injuries sustained in the accident but also for the pain and suffering associated with those injuries. David HagEstad and Scott Gray, our Dallas, Forney and Rockwall county personal injury attorneys are well versed in the area of pain and suffering and have successfully obtained favorable settlements for our clients over the years and have put together this short guide to help you understand the process of recovering monetarily for your pain and suffering.

How Much is My Pain and Suffering Worth?

The funny thing about Texas law is that there is no set method for calculating pain and suffering in any given case. It is determined on a case by case basis. Some firms may try to get you to click their website because of a calculator they supposedly have to determine how much you should get for you injuries. Those are likely not going to be accurate because no attorney can ever guarantee how much you should get in any given case. This is especially true early on when the full extent of your injuries, and the overall time period of your recovery, are still unknown. However, as experienced personal injury attorneys, we can tell you that the two main indicators of pain and suffering that you should be aware of are the extent of your injuries and the amount of your medical bills. These key indicators will help guide us in determining a fair dollar figure for your pain and suffering, i.e. calculating your pain and suffering.

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WHAT IS EMINENT DOMAIN?

Eminent domain is the taking of land by a governmental entity for a public use. Public use has a very broad meaning with lots of specific requirements that change based on how the land will be used. Eminent domain proceedings can involve an entire tract of land owned by a person, a specific section of that land, or even an easement related to the land. In order to take property by eminent domain the Texas Constitution and the United States Constitution both require that the governmental entity provide just compensation for the land that they are taking. Basically, the government can take land for “the greater good” but they have to pay you a reasonable amount of money before they can do it. The setting of the reasonable amount is where the conflict usually arises and that is where the commissioners come into play.

HOW DOES A COMMISSIONERS’ HEARING WORK?

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Usually a blog about flooding would be the last thing on people’s minds in DFW during August. However, with our recent rain and flooding you may be wondering if there is anything you can do about newly found excess water on your property. If that water is causing damage to your property, you may be able to recover from your neighbors.

Section 11.086 of the Texas Water Code provides, subject to a few exceptions, that: no person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in this state, or permit a diversion or impounding by him to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded. It also creates a cause of action for a person whose property is injured by an overflow of water caused by an unlawful diversion or impounding. It states that the injured person will have remedies at law and in equity and may recover damages occasioned by the overflow.

Basically, all you need is, (1) diversion or impoundment of surface water by your neighbor, (2) that diversion or impoundment by your neighbor to cause damage to your property, and (3) to have damage to your property. Any unnatural diversion or impoundment by your neighbor may create a cause of action. Since the statute allows for legal and equitable damages a court can order your neighbor to fix the problem caused by their diversion (re-route the water so that it is not damaging your property anymore) and to pay for any damages that have already been caused.

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GuestandGrayPic-300x88Guest and Gray Law Firm is the largest, most highly rated local law firm in Kaufman and Rockwall Counties. Why? Because we are litigators who fight for our clients. We are not just a bunch of local guys who went to law school and decided to come back home to practice. We love where we live and we love the people here.

Our main office is located in old downtown Forney inside the old bank building. If you have driven through old downtown, then you know us. You’ve seen the big gray building with big “Guest & Gray” letters on the front. We also have an office near the Rockwall Court Courthouse in Rockwall to serve our growing needs in Rockwall. Both Rockwall and Forney are currently experiencing growth never before seen in this area. With unprecedented growth, both Rockwall and Forney are having to deal with problems they have never had to face before.

This growth has created a need for experienced local attorneys who know the lay of the land. When you have a local problem, you need a local attorney. Here at Guest & Gray we are proud to say that we have answered that call. Case after case, we effectively resolve the issues our clients are facing. No legal problem is too big or too small. No matter what your litigation needs are, they are important to us. Why? Because the people of Rockwall and Kaufman county are important to us.

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I find that  potential clients here in North Texas are quick to use phrases like “negligent” and “gross negligence” because they’re terms used quite often in TV shows to portray the negligent acts of another person. However, knowing how to use the word correctly in a sentence and knowing what the term means according to the law are two different things. The point of this article is to shed light on the legal meaning of the term “gross negligence”. Adding the modifier “gross” to the legal term “negligence” denotes a greater level of negligence than your standard negligence claim. When you say someone was “grossly negligent”, the hearer assumes that the other person acted absurdly under the circumstances. The hearer is right and the law would support their conclusion, as long as you can prove the behavior was absurd at the time of the accident. This is the key distinction between the common meaning of a word and its legal meaning. To the hearer, it means what it means according to its commonly understood definition. However, in this case, the legal meaning given to gross negligence shows how you go about proving the behavior was absurd. As we will see, gross negligence is defined by the Texas Practice and Remedies Code (TPRC) and provides a blue print for proving a gross negligence claim.

Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, “gross negligence” means an act or omission (1) which when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the actor at the time of its occurrence involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others; and (2) of which the actor has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved but nevertheless proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others.

The first prong of the gross negligence test focuses on the objective nature of the defendant’s conduct. A plaintiff may objectively prove gross negligence by proving that under the circumstances of the accident, a reasonable person would have realized that his or her conduct has created an extreme degree of risk to the safety of others. “Extreme risk” required for a finding of gross negligence turns upon the likelihood of serious injury to the plaintiff. This extreme degree of risk threshold is significantly higher than the objective reasonable-person test for negligence. Essentially, we must show that the person had some level of understanding that their actions were risky and involved danger not only to himself but to the public at the time of the accident.

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Texasoilfields-300x191We don’t need to tell you that an oilfield is a dangerous place to work. There are drilling rigs, work-over and completion rigs, gas plants and compressor stations, hot oilers, oilfield trucking, roustabout and other oilfield services require the use of heavy and dangerous equipment.

On top of all that, the operations must be carried out in an environment surrounded by highly explosive and dangerous chemicals. In order to ensure a safe workplace for an oilfield worker demands constant attention to the details of safety policy and procedure. Failing to adhere to policy can set the stage for accidents resulting in catastrophic, and even fatal, injuries.

Negligence, error, and defective machinery are the most common causes of oilfield injuries. During these times of boom or bust, calls from corporate require increased production from the field in the name of profits. This can create a dangerous combination of shortcuts, employee exhaustion, and an overall failure to adhere to the set safety and procedure guidelines.  This is type of renegade work environment is how oilfield workers become injured. Its that wildcatter, can-do attitude of the workers and the corporate attitude towards profit margin that puts the oilfield worker at great risk of injury. Whether they are working offshore, or working in the Permian basin or elsewhere in this oil rich state, the general attitude remains the same: drill that oil, make that money. Oilfield workers are some of the hardest working men around. They work in dangerous conditions for long hours and often with very little sleep for days.

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(photo credit: inForney.com- Mathew Richards)

via inForney.com: FORNEY, Texas — A reported reckless driver fatally struck a motorcyclist head-on Monday night forcing the closure of westbound U.S. Highway 80.

The crash occurred at approximately 10:40 p.m. on westbound U.S. Highway 80 just prior to the Farm-to-Market (FM) 548 exit ramp.
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Insurance-Claim-PictureThe insurance company is not your friend. I feel like I say this to every potential client, and I get the same response “they’ve been really friendly so far.”

Then we get into the claims process and get down to brass tacks and the client quickly realizes that, had they gone into this without an attorney, what would have been considered “fair” by the insurance adjuster’s definition would have been much different and less zeros on it.

Case in point, I was speaking to a friend recently I had not seen in nearly a decade and it came up that he had been involved in an 18-wheeler accident a few years back. He told me how he had tried to go it alone for a while against the insurance company, in part because they seemed to be on his side and they accepted liability right away. He was hurt pretty bad in the accident and required shoulder surgery and weeks of rehabilitation.  However,  in his initial meeting with the insurance company’s adjuster, they offered him $1,500. He said he couldn’t believe it and as he said it, he seemed to think that I should be surprised too, but I wasn’t.