FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When is the best time to hire a lawyer?
The best time to retain a lawyer in a personal injury or wrongful death case is immediate. Cases are won or lost on the evidence. The sooner the lawyer can get started taking statements from witnesses, shooting photographs of important things, and preserving essential evidence in the case, the better. The fee is a percentage of the recovery, so it does not cost more. In many cases, the price is lower if a claim is settled earlier without extensive litigation, which can result in more money to the client from the settlement.
How long will my case last?
At the outset, it is difficult to predict how long a case will go on before the final settlement because of many factors. Generally, cases in less severe injury matters are resolved in six months to a year, and in complex and catastrophic injury cases, many cases take two or three years to settle. Trial before a jury in most personal injury and wrongful death cases takes between one and two weeks. Some complex cases can take several weeks or even months.
Do I have to pay any attorney’s fees upfront if I hire your firm?
The easy answer is no. Our office works on a contingency fee basis and fronts all the expenses on your case. We get reimbursed for our costs out of the settlement proceeds. Our fee is generally 331/3 percent if the case settles before filing a lawsuit and 40 percent if a lawsuit must be filed. If we do not make a recovery on your case, then you owe our office nothing.
What type of costs can be expected in my case?
The first thing that costs money in handling a case is the investigation. Investigators are used to taking statements from witnesses, photographing the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles, and locating other important evidence. There are also fees for the reports obtained from police, fire departments, and other investigative bodies. Next, hospitals and physicians’ offices charge for copies of their medical records and bills. Experts, such as physicians, life-care planners, accident reconstruction, safety engineers, biomechanical engineers, economists, or others, may be necessary to prove the issues in your case. Expert charges are frequently the most expensive part of litigation, with hourly rates varying from $150 per hour to $1,000 per hour. In each case, the expenses are managed very carefully to accomplish the dual goals of proving all issues in the case and not spending more than necessary. The law firm is reimbursed for the case expenses from the funds recovered for the client.
How is a claim valued?
Every claim is valued individually, and many factors must be considered to reach a reasonable value range. There are three key factors in determining the value of a case.
LiabilityDamages – Available Coverage
Liability is who is at fault for the accident. In Texas, we have what is known as an at-fault state. Your claim can be decreased if you were partially responsible for the accident. The second factor in determining the value of your claim is the damages suffered by the injured party. The worse someone is injured, the more valuable the claim becomes. Some of the important considerations are: the type of injury, the length of the disability resulting from the injury, permanent residual pain, loss of function, scarring, past and future medical expenses, and loss of earnings and lost earning capacity. The last factor is the available coverage. This means how much available insurance coverage is there to compensate a person for his or her injuries, or is the defendant self-insured and able to pay the injured party?
Should I give the insurance company a tape-recorded statement?
Generally speaking, the investigators or adjusters for an insurance company that represents the wrongdoer that caused an accident to want to take a tape-recorded statement from the injured claimant to use later to limit the claim’s value. By getting the injured person to say on tape that they are not severely injured, or if the injured person forgets to describe any significant parts of the injuries suffered, the defense will later play the recording in court to say “the person didn’t have the problems being claimed in court at the time of this recording, so they are not real or not related to this accident.” In other words, the tape recording is used against the interests of the injured party and to try to prevent the injured person from claiming any injuries or losses later on that are not described in the recording. The best advice is never to provide such a recording!
How do I get my car repaired in an auto accident, and can I get a rental car?
The party at fault for the auto accident is responsible for the property damage to your vehicle. The insurance company must pay the vehicle’s fair market value if the car is a total loss. You are also entitled to payments for loss of use of your vehicle while it was inoperable. If the car is fixable and not determined to be a total loss, then the insurance company must provide you with a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. Many times it is difficult to get the adverse insurance carrier to comply with these requirements, and it is necessary to have a personal injury attorney help you with these matters. Call us today so our office can help you through these difficult times.
Am I responsible for my medical bills?
The ultimate answer to this question is yes. However, different situations and various ways depend upon the type of accident in determining how the accounts should be paid. You can also be reimbursed for travel expenses through your insurance carrier. The party that caused your injuries is responsible for medical bills in personal injury protection. If you were involved in a slip and fall accident, the premises where you were injured might have medical payments coverage that will cover your medical expenses. Contact our office for a more in-depth conversation with our attorneys to discuss how medical bills would be handled as it relates to your particular situation.
10 Tips for Injury Victims
1. Obtain immediate medical assistance.
2. Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
3. Write a detailed summary of all facts surrounding the accident. (Only give this to your lawyer.)
4. Do not give representatives of insurance companies or adjusters written statements or tape-recorded statements when asked to do so on the telephone. Have them contact your lawyer.
5. Obtain a doctor’s note for all time taken off work due to your accident, even if you are self-employed.
6. Save all physical evidence, and mark them with some identification tag. This may mean the shoes involved in a trip and fall accident, the receipt for products purchased at a store where you fell, or material or foreign objects which caused a fall.
7. Obtain and save the names of all witnesses and persons involved in an accident. Be sure to get the telephone number and address of the witnesses.
8. Take photos of all damages. This means damages to any motor vehicle, motorcycle, etc. Also, take photos of all visible injuries. Be sure to develop these pictures immediately. If they do not come out well, retake the photographs before the physical wounds have healed. If a dangerous condition causes a fall, take pictures of the hazardous condition before it is changed or repaired.
9. Do not sign anything without the approval of your lawyer. Insurance companies and adjusters frequently request people to sign authorizations to obtain information or releases of all claims. Be sure to show these documents to your attorney before signing them.
10. Avoid gaps of time between medical treatments. The defense uses long periods between medical appointments to argue that the later treatment is unrelated to the accident. Also, be sure to give each doctor you see an accurate history of all the physical and mental problems experienced as a result of the accident.
What are the DOs and DON’Ts after an accident?
DO: Get medical care immediately, write a detailed account of what happened for your attorney, report the accident to the police and your insurance company, and keep a journal of how you are doing with your injuries and affecting you. Consult with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible (this usually is free). Take photos of your injuries, damage to your vehicle, or the dangerous condition that caused your injury. Save the defective product that caused an injury and the receipt for it.
Don’t: Don’t give a tape-recorded statement to anyone from an insurance company or adjusting firm without first consulting your lawyer. Don’t delay in seeing a doctor for your injuries. Don’t negotiate with the other person’s insurance company without first talking to an attorney. Factually speaking, people represented by an attorney receive a settlement three times greater than those who try to obtain payment without the help of an attorney.
INSURANCE COMPANY SECRETS
10 Secrets Of Insurance Companies Don’t You Want To Know About
Insurance is a BIG BUSINESS; these companies are in business to make money. The less they pay to injured victims on claims, the more money they make! So you must understand how large insurance companies get out of paying you.
SECRET #1: MOST CASES REQUIRE AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY TO MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF A CLAIM!
This probably sounds like an attorney trying to get more cases, but unfortunately, this secret is true! Insurance companies actively discourage you from getting a lawyer. They usually suggest that the attorney’s fee is a waste of money and you can do it yourself. Bottom line: The insurance companies have attorneys, and so should you.
SECRET #2: GET MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY!
If you’re in an accident, you must seek immediate medical attention. Victims are often in some form of shock after an accident. The shock can often mask serious injuries, and the injured will not feel any pain. Most people deny being hurt because they don’t want to make a “big deal” out of the accident. This is a trick the insurance companies use against them when settlement time comes. They claim, “If your client was hurt in the accident, why didn’t he or she go to the doctor immediately.” Don’t let them win this argument; get the medical treatment you need as quickly as possible.
SECRET #3: TIME IS MONEY!
One of the most important aspects of your claim is the evidence. The longer you or your lawyer waits to collect the necessary evidence, the harder your case will be to prove. The case’s value may be substantially reduced if this evidence is lost because you cannot prove your claim. Additionally, you may be barred from recovering any money if you wait too long. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Sometimes, you must put a party on notice, and these time limitations can be very short. The insurance company won’t tell you that they don’t want you to recover a dime!
SECRET #4: A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS.
You’ve heard it said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” A picture can also be worth a thousand dollars or even more in injury cases! I always take more pictures than I need, taking pictures of everything relevant. When in doubt, take a picture. Good photographs can make a case. Take photos of your car and any scar or bruises that occurred as a result of the accident.
SECRET #5: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING.
Documentation is a major key to keeping an insurance company honest. You must show proof if you want to get paid for an expense and other items you are legally entitled to recover. Many people let legitimate expenses fall through the cracks. But remember, not only does this get these items reimbursed, but it also shows just how seriously you were injured. This may give the adjuster a better idea of what happened to you.
SECRET #6: FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS.
Make sure that you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. Money cannot ever replace good health, so you want to follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plan. You want to recover from your injuries as quickly as possible. Your doctor will keep track of any missed appointments and deviations from his or her treatment plan. When we provide the medical records to the adjuster, they will be able to see these inconsistencies. Their philosophy is that hurt people get the help they need and follow through with it. So you can see how they may think you are not injured as seriously as you are if you do not follow through with your doctors and treat them consistently.
SECRET #7: INSURANCE ADJUSTERS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Remember that insurance adjusters are people, and people can be reasoned with. Insurance companies don’t want you to think of them as people, but that’s who runs these companies! They try to hide behind professionally-looking stationery, cold voicemail, and significant buildings. Still, when it all comes down to it, a person decides when and if to pay the claim and what amount to pay for your accident.
SECRET #8: ADJUSTERS TRY TO BE NICE TO YOU.
Sound strange? It’s true; adjusters try to befriend you and get you to take a small amount of money immediately, sign a release and send you on your way. This is taking advantage of people who may have serious injuries and are entitled to significantly higher amounts of money. If you have been offered a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars by the adjuster, you are in a dangerous place and should seek immediate counsel from a lawyer.
SECRET #9: THEY DENY LIABILITY. Insurance companies often deny claims that are real, substantiated, and factual. This is called a “bad faith” claim; until recently, insurance companies have never been called on this issue. They flat-out dent the claim and hope you will go away or get an attorney who is not very good. They are betting on the odds for which they have spent much money figuring out. It’s not fair, and you need to get a qualified attorney.
SECRET #10: SUE THEM!
They don’t want to have a lawsuit filed against them. But sometimes, the best thing to do is skip the insurance adjuster and the insurance company. What happens is you get the claim out of the hands of an adjuster and into the hands of the insurance company’s attorney. More often than not, these attorneys are easier to deal with, return phone calls better, and are more willing to see the case move along. They will take the matter to a jury trial and often settle before the jury returns with a verdict.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS BEEN INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT, YOU NEED THE ADVICE OF AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER. CALL OUR LAW OFFICE TODAY FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2% of the U.S. population is bitten by a dog yearly. This translates
to almost 5 million dog bite victims per year, most of whom are children. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog and need to retain legal counsel, please contact us today. Our dog bite attorneys are experienced with dog bite information and litigation. Here are a few frequently asked questions about dog bites:
WHY DO DOGS BITE? There are many reasons why a dog bites. Dogs bite out of fear, to protect their territory, or to establish dominance over the person bitten. Some owners mistakenly teach their dogs that biting is acceptable to play behavior. Another factor could be how the owner has treated the dog over time. Lastly, it could be just due to dog breeds and genetics.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN BY A DOG:
1. Identify the dog that bit you and see if you can get the address to the house where the dog bite occurred. If it’s a stray, you could
end up having to get rabies treatments, which is very painful. However, suppose the dog belongs to someone. In that case, you may not
have to get rabies treatment, and you may be eligible for a personal injury lawsuit against the owner.
2. Get medical attention quickly because any delay in getting medical attention could affect your eligibility for a claim.
3. As soon as possible after you’ve received medical attention, focus on finding out as much as you can about the dog and the owner,
including whether or not the owner has insurance (homeowners, renters, commercial, or landlords insurance).
4. Have good pictures of your injuries on the attack date at reasonable intervals afterward.
5. Interview witnesses (if there were any) at the location of the attack, taking down names, addresses, and phone numbers of any
witnesses to the attack.
6. Contact us for experienced and qualified dog bite attorneys to represent you and help you with your claim.
CAN OTHER PEOPLE BESIDES THE OWNER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR A DOG BITE?
Landlord liability law differs from state to state. Some do not ever impose liability on the landlord. However, a landlord may be liable
for injuries and bites inflicted by dogs belonging to tenants and possibly others bringing dogs onto the landlord’s property. It all
depends on your state’s laws. As a dog bite victim, you may be entitled to damages and losses, ranging from medical bills and emotional
harm to failure of the opportunity to earn income in the future because of the injury. Only an experienced dog bite attorney can
determine if you are eligible for a lawsuit claim. State statute limitations apply, and you may have as few as 60 days to start your
Dog Bite Injury Law – Contact Us Today For a Free Consultation if you have been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack.
Serious dog bite injuries require a severe dog bite lawyer. To get the help of a dog bite attorney, please call us now. Whatever legal problem you have, our Texas dog bite attorneys want to help you. You can see us for free. Please get in touch with us now. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Dog Bites and Animal Negligence
Dog bites are dangerous, painful, and costly. The chances of being bitten by a dog in America are 2% every year. That means that every 40
people in the US, someone seeks medical attention for a dog bite. You may be entitled to compensation if a dog has bitten a dog or someone close to you. It is essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the dog bites to preserve your rights in this matter. Legal responsibility for damages resulting in these attacks by dogs is generally considered under Personal Injury Law and
referred to as torts. A tort is a wrongful injury to a person or his or her property. Personal injury laws are enacted to prevent harm or to compensate for harm to a person or property. That harm or injury may include physical, mental, or financial damages. The bodily injury due to a dog or animal bite may even be secondary to the mental injury to a person who has been victimized to the extent of permanent scarring and disfigurement. Medical bills and loss of income due to dog bite injuries are examples of financial harm. Law recognizes a civil wrong, or a tort, as grounds for a lawsuit for damages or monetary compensation to injured parties. Damages may include both present and future expected losses. Considerations for actual liability in dog bite lawsuits are:
The owner of a dog or an animal is strictly liable for damage resulting from the animal’s trespass on land owned by the victim of a bite. The owner of a dog or an animal shown to be a prior danger is strictly liable for the injuries caused by the dog or animal.
The owner of a wild animal is purely responsible for harm arising from the dangerous characteristic of wild animals of its class.
Texas dog bite law, also referred to as Texas dog attack, Texas animal bite, and Texas animal attack, is a complicated legal system and difficult to understand. Our Texas dog bite lawyers and Texas dog bite attorneys can help you if you have been injured by an animal anywhere in Texas.
It does not matter if you are an employer or an employee; knowing as much as possible about employment law is vital. For an employer, it can help save you from lawsuits, and if you are an employee, it can help you know your rights and if they have been violated.
You would be surprised how many rules and regulations there are for employers. For example, there are 100 statutory instruments, 25 statutes, 36 European directives, and 20 codes of practice, that is, over 181 regulations involved with employment law. It can become a little overwhelming for employers trying to follow everything by the book.
Many do not know that it is not required to have a written contract of employment. When an employer has offered a job, and the employee accepts, an agreement has been created. Of course, it is in both parties’ best interests to have an actual written contract drawn up. If there needs to be a change in the contractual agreement, there will need permission from any party involved. There are many reasons for a change, such as a location switch, pay raise, job title, or hours. If either party disagrees on the changes, the contract cannot be changed.
This is a legal document for terminating an employee’s job and means the employee revokes their right to file a suit or claim against the employer. This is given in exchange for the employer issuing a full and final settlement. There are also job loss situations due to the business deciding to stop trading, move to a different site, or a change in the need for the products or services provided.
There is generally a 3-month time limit on claims filed with the Employment Tribunal. This time limit begins on the day of an employee’s termination or the date the lawsuit was filed. However, exceptional circumstances allow a claim to be heard past the time limit. For example, the employee filing the claim was in the hospital, so the claim could not be made quickly.
Some situations occur when employees feel the appropriate disciplinary process is not followed. Other cases involving certain circumstances leading up to the dismissal were not evaluated. These cases are justifiable for an employee to appeal their dismissal.
Many circumstances provide no limit to the compensation reward for matters such as age or race discrimination. Then other issues have a limit on the compensation received; each case is different.
There are exceptional cases that require a specific time of service provided by the employee before they can file a claim. Discrimination cases have no minimum service time. Wrongful termination generally requires 12 months and redundancy 24 months for a claim to be filed.