Articles Tagged with Dallas Texas Personal Injury

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photo courtesy: inforney.com

via inforney.com: KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — One person was killed and three others were injured early Friday morning after an 18-wheeler swerved to miss a cow on State Highway (SH) 34 in a rural area between Terrell and Kaufman in Kaufman County, Texas.

The accident occurred around 4 a.m. when the 18-wheeler, a United Van Lines moving truck driving southbound on SH 34 swerved to miss a cow in the road. The 18-wheeler overturned, crossed the northbound lane, and struck a line of trees and a barbed-wire fence.

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Scales-300x132Guest and Gray, P.C. is proud to be considered the largest and highest rated law firm in Rockwall and Kaufman counties. Our personal injury attorneys, Scott Gray and David HagEstad fight for their clients on a daily basis. We are proud to fight for you.

Our Rockwall and Kaufman County personal injury lawyers are experienced in litigating both automobile and motorcycle cases. It is important to note that although the laws that apply to both types of motor vehicle, there are key differences in how to present each case. The key difference is that motorcycle accidents often result in more serious injuries and even death. This means that more often than with a standard automobile, we are pursuing wrongful death claims or claims that involve debilitating injury to the injured party in motorcycle accident cases.

The claims processes are the same, once you have received any and all necessary medical treatment, make sure that you file a claim with your insurance, as well as the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you have any secondary or supplemental coverage, be sure to file a claim with them as well. This will result in the insurance companies making a determination of who is “at-fault” in the accident and at that time it is simply up to the injured party to present their case to the insurance company about how much the insurance company needs to pay.

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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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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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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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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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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.