Articles Tagged with Dallas Texas Accident Attorney

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Personal-Injury-Law-300x149Between Soap Operas and the Price is Right, the other consistent day-time TV you see are personal injury attorney’s yelling at you about they will “get them the compensation they deserve” for their injuries in between scenes of car crashes and people looking strangely well groomed to be in a hospital bed after the aforementioned accident. I love those commercials. The acting is about as good as the Soap Opera episode it runs in between.

All jokes aside, the biggest hiccup that occurs between clients and attorneys is the concept of compensation. Many clients expect that since the accident was clearly not their fault, they should just get the money. Although that is quite often how it works, you have to “prove up” your damages, either during the claims process with the insurance company or by introducing admissible evidence of damages in court once a case has been filed.

Once a case has been filed, a party seeking recovery of past medical expenses must pay very close attention to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (TCPRC) §41.0105 that says, “in addition to any other limitation under law, recovery of medical or health care expenses incurred is limited to the amount actually paid or incurred by or on behalf of the claimant.” Easy enough, right? Actually paid and incurred means expenses that have been or will be paid and excludes the difference between such amount and charges the service provider bills but has no right to be paid, e.g., amounts that have been written off. Ahmed v. Sosa, 514 S.W.3d 894, 895-896 (Tex. Ct. App.–Fort Worth, 2017).

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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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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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fender-bender-300x216Let’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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school-bus-accident--300x142According to Dallasnews.com, a Mount Pleasant High School track coach and one other person were killed when an 18-wheeler headed north on U.S. 271 swerved into southbound lanes and struck the boy’s team bus. Along with two confirmed fatalities,  at least 18 high schoolers were injured in the crash.  The 18-wheeler also struck the car behind the bus, which was driven by one of the team’s assistant coaches. The female driver died in the crash.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was also killed in the crash.

The team was returning from a track meet in Paris, Texas, according to Mt. Pleasant Independent School District Superintendent Judd Marshall. In all, 18 of 32 students on board the bus were injured, with one coach and one student transported to nearby Tyler hospitals by helicopter and described as being in “severe” condition.

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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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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?