Articles Tagged with Accident Attorney Terrell

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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.

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personal_injury_law-300x215We get this question a lot from our clients and potential clients here in Forney, Rockwall and Dallas. The question often boils down to “how long do I have to sue the other driver?”

The easy answer is two years. But, that is not the legal answer. The legal answer involves a review of  a state statute and a little bit of case law.  The limitations periods in Texas are set out in the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. So, that is where we start.

Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code provides in pertinent part that a person must bring suit for personal injury not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues. Pretty simple, right? Almost. The statute does not say when the cause of action accrues, it only says that you have two years from the accrual date.

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Let’s be honest for a minute. Car wrecks suck. They really do. They hurt our bodies. They destroy our property. We miss time from work. Insurance companies. Hospital bills. Rental cars. Rehabilitation. Did I mention insurance companies? Because they suck, too.

Hold on a second….

Sorry, I just went and asked an associate who was in an accident last August and she confirmed it. Accidents suck. See, its unanimous.

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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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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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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.

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Every now and then you may come across a semi-truck or car-hauler parked on the side of the road, or even partially in the road and think to yourself, “that is so dangerous,” or “they should not be allowed to do that.” Well, technically they aren’t supposed to do that. Section 545.301 of the Texas Transportation Code provides that an operator may not stop, park, or leave standing an attended or unattended vehicle on the main traveled part of a highway outside a business or residence district unless:

(1) stopping, parking, or leaving the vehicle off the main traveled part of the highway is not practicable;
(2) a width of highway beside the vehicle is unobstructed and open for the passage of other vehicles; and
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m-cc-ups-and-fedex-300x202This time of year seeing a UPS or Fed Ex truck on the road is a common occurrence.  Driver’s delivering packages this time of year are often under a lot of pressure. In my house, those delivery men and women are called “Santa’s little helpers” because they’re the real heroes of the Christmas package delivery game, not those elves. UPS expects to deliver more than 700 million packages this holiday season, with 13 of 21 holiday shipping day to exceed 30 million packages a day. https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1477506556294-677.  Fedex does not expect to be quite as busy as UPS, although they still predict record deliveries of around around 325 million packages this holiday season. http://www.businessinsider.com/ups-fedex-holiday-shipping-plan-new-technology-2016-11. All told, that is around 1 billion packages traveling around the country in large semi-trucks and delivery trucks. That is a lot of packages and a lot of driving.

This time of year it seems like every where you go, you see a Fedex or UPS vehicle delivering  package. Those drivers are everywhere. You see them traveling in and around our local highways all day and into the night, often working very long hours and driving in upwards of 50-100 miles per day to drop off their hundreds of shipments. It is a tough job with long hours, lots of driving, and a lot of stress. With such a vast number of drivers on the roads this time of year, that leads to one absolute certainty: accidents.

Accidents with delivery drivers happen for a variety of reasons. It could be human error, or it could be some outside factor. Here is a list of some common causes of accidents with delivery truck during the holiday season: