Articles Tagged with personal injury

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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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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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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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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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Fog TexasBy and large, fall weather in North Texas is phenomenal. Highs in the low 70’s and the sun is still warm. Cool nights with just enough chill in the air to make you want to put a coat on, but not cool enough to actually make you go inside and put one on. It is a far cry from the 100 degree heat of the summer.

So, you could be thinking, how could such amazing weather lead to danger on the highway? It all has a little something to do with the dew point. The “dew point” is the point at which the air is holding as much water vapor as it can handle. In the fall in Texas, the days can still be fairly warm, but the nights are getting cooler. Because of this, we have a 20-30 degree temperature difference between the day-time high and the overnight low. This is the perfect combination to create foggy morning driving. If you live anywhere near a river, lake, or other body of water, it is likely that you are driving to work in fog every morning this time of year.

The simple and best advice for drivers who are concerned about driving safely in fog is to not drive when fog is present. Driving in fog is laden with variables that you cannot control: other drivers, animals crossing the road, poor visibility… the list goes on. However, if you must drive in fog, follow thesFogTexase safety tips:

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KAUFMAN, Texas — A Tesla Model S being driven in Autopilot crashed on U.S. Highway 175 in Kaufman earlier this month, according to a crash report obtained by inForney.com.
On August 7, 2016, the driver, 44-year-old Mark Molthan of Dallas, Texas, was traveling in the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 175 in Kaufman when the vehicle, while in Autopilot, failed to maintain a single lane of traffic at a bend in the highway and impacted the cable guardrail in multiple areas, according to the report.
In a phone interview with Bloomberg News, Molthan admits he was not paying full attention to the road — having reached into the glovebox to remove a cloth to clean the dashboard.
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Wet Roads TexasEvery year, thousands of drivers around the country are injured in car wrecks where weather played a role in the accident. Dallas-Fort Worth is not an exception to this trend. Especially with the amount of rain we have received over the last two years. Now, after a fairly dry summer, the wet weather has returned and our forecast calls for rain straight through the end of next week.

For local farmers this is exciting news. For most everyone else it means cooler weather. For personal injury attorneys, it means lots of phone calls. Why? Lots of car wrecks occur on North Texas roads when they become wet from the rain.

Under Texas law, “An operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.” This means that our State requires drivers to maintain a speed that is safe under the conditions. If you get into an accident in Texas, whoever the police officer believes is at fault will usually receive a ticket for “Failing to Maintain Speed”. If you get into an accident and receive one of these tickets, it is vital to your case against liability to have this ticket dismissed. Your personal injury attorney will usually get you in contact with a ticket attorney to defend the ticket.

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Ever since Pokemon Go came out, it seems to be all the millennials and news channels want to talk about. When the news talks about it, they say one of two things: They emphasize the craze, or they talk about the crazy accidents that have been happening. People are getting so wrapped up in the augmented reality game that they are falling off of cliffs and walking into streets.

We noticed that there is a Pokestop just down the street from our office because ever since the game was released, we have teenagers swirling around our windows at a never-before-seen rate. One day it even seemed like the zombie apocalypse was actually happening. Instead of zombies, they were 16 year old iPhone wielding Poke-drones. I even saw a car stop in the middle of the street near the Jackrabbit sign, the local landmark in our small town, to get the Pokestop.

Because of this, the accident and injury attorneys here at Guest and Gray decided it would be wise to let people know a few facts about accidents and injuries that may occur as a result of playing Pokémon Go.