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Frequently Asked Injury Law Questions

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General Personal Injury Questions

One common formula used for negotiations involves multiplying your total medical expenses by a number to come up with an estimate of non-economic damages (which includes compensation for your pain and suffering) and then adding any lost wages or other economic damages. This is merely a means of determining a number that might be used to start negotiations.

If your case does not resolve through negotiations, and went to go to a trial, a jury would listen to evidence about your injury claim and use their own collective judgement to place a value on the various elements of damage (such as pain and suffering, past medical bills or lost wages).

Compensatory damages are the actual damages suffered by the victims of an injury accident. This includes both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include any actual or pecuniary loss like medical bills, past lost wages, or future loss of income. Non-economic damages include pain, suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairment.

Likely, Texas courts will have jurisdiction over the matter. You may have the option to sue in Texas State courts or Federal courts if the parties are residents of two separate states. In either event, Texas law surrounding negligence will most likely be applied. An attorney licensed in the State of Texas and specializing in injury law will be the best option for legal advice.

If you find errors in the police report—even factual ones—you do not want to ignore them. Politely approach the officer who wrote the report and address it with them to correct mistakes.

It is possible for a family member or a friend to act on behalf of an injury victim. In Texas this is called “acting as next friend” is permitted if an individual does not have a legal guardian and is not mentally competent for any reason. In addition, minor children cannot legally sign contracts or take other legal action due to their age and are usually represented by their parent or legal guardian acting as “next friend.”

If you or someone you know has been badly injured, you should not hesitate to assist them in starting the process of making a claim. A personal injury attorney can provide you with valuable assistance during this time. Please contact Tate Accident Law now if you wish to receive a free consultation.

Recognized in Texas statutes as exemplary damages, punitive damages are damages awarded to punish a person for injuries caused by malice or gross negligence. They are capped at the larger of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages plus an equal amount of non-economic damages up to a maximum of $750,000. There are many exceptions to these caps, including Intoxication Assault, which occurs when someone drives a car drunk and causes serious bodily injury to another.

Under Texas law, negligence can best be described as carelessness. The legal definition includes the following: A failure to use ordinary care, that is, failing to do that which a person of ordinary prudence would have done under the same or similar circumstances.

Gross negligence might be thought of as recklessness. The legal definition can be paraphrased as follows: an act that involves extreme risk given the probability of serious harm to others and the person committing the act was aware of those risks but proceeded to act without regard to the safety of others.

The full definitions can be found in the Texas Pattern Jury Charge which is available at https://libguides.law.ttu.edu/txpatternjurycharges.

Generally, you have two years from the date of an event causing injury to file a lawsuit. After that date lapses you are barred from filing the lawsuit which effectively makes your claim worthless. This area of law, known as the Statute of Limitations, can be complex so if you have a question about time limits you should consult with an attorney. Most attorneys strongly prefer to represent a client well before the statute of limitations so that the attorney is familiar with the case before filing a lawsuit. If you have an injury claim you should consult with an attorney well before the limitations period expires.

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. While our law firm files lawsuits on behalf of our clients on a regular basis, most do not go all the way to a jury trial. There’s a high probability that your injury case will be settled without having a jury trial.

You should not wait to contact a personal injury attorney after an accident. Even if you think you were at fault you will still benefit from an assessment of your case. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the situation and consider your options. Most injury attorneys offer a free case review.

Much of the time, we can help you with the next steps in an injury case with little more than a description of the circumstances in which you were injured. Do not wait to contact an injury attorney, as you may not need to provide any more than a few key details to get started on your injury case. Consultations are usually free and there is no obligation to hire the lawyer.

Usually, you can speak to an attorney the same day you contact the firm. If you call outside of business hours, Tate Accident Law has staff that will speak with you to guide you on next steps.

Yes. You can seek representation with Tate Accident Law as a long as you are not under contract with another attorney for the same case. If you are under contact you can still contact us to inquire about your situation, but ethical rules will limit the communication and we are not able to take cases that are currently under a legal agreement with another attorney or law firm.

Yes. We keep all of our communications confidential, unless we are required by law to do otherwise.

Yes. We regularly handle cases in Oklahoma and have handled several accident cases in other states including Arkansas, New Mexico, and Kansas.

Yes. In some cases, we can. It depends on the nature of your specific case. For most auto accidents, we can file in the majority of states.

Attorney client communication is very important. You should have an open line of communication with your lawyer. Lawyers in Texas are required by Texas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.03 to keep clients reasonably informed and explain matters so that you can make decisions about your case.

The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here: https://www.legalethicstexas.com/ethics-resources/rules/texas-disciplinary-rules-of-professional-conduct.aspx

If an attorney is not communicating with you, the first step is to email or fax the attorney and tell them you do not feel the communication is adequate and that you are don’t know what is happening with your case. The lawyer may respond and start communicating, but if they do not, you have created a record. Consider sending a second fax or email if communication does not improve. If it still doesn’t improve its time to reach out to another lawyer and seek advice without delay.

Attorneys are regulated by the bar association in each US state, as well as local, state and federal laws. Bar associations usually administer the state bar examination and are charged with making sure that lawyers are properly licensed. The bar also has the authority to discipline attorneys for ethical or other violations. To find the bar association for your state please visit: https://www.enjuris.com/personal-injury-law/state-bar-association-directory.html

The answer to this question is case specific and will depend upon an analysis of the circumstances such as fault and the amounts and types of damages. If you have been injured, you should consult with an injury attorney before taking a settlement from an insurance company. Tate Accident Law provides free case assessments and can assist you if we undertake representation.

Most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing until you arrive at a settlement with the defendant or insurance company, or after a trial and any appeals are exhausted. Once a settlement is received the contingency fee will be paid out of settlement proceeds. The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Conduct require lawyers in Texas to provide clients with a written accounting of their matter showing all fees and expenses. Beyond being required, providing a full written accounting to the client is a good business practice.

This can vary substantially from case to case. Some cases take as little 6 months, while others can take a year or more to complete. Generally, we prefer to have clients complete their medical treatment so that we have a prognosis for future care and whether any impairments are permanent. It’s important to estimate the entire damage model before making a claim or settling a case. This can take time. In addition, some cases require a lawsuit to achieve a desired result. Lawsuits usually take more time.

A personal injury attorney should help you in several different ways. Death and serious injury cases can present complicated legal issues including decisions about estates and probate, funding future medical care, loss of future earning capacity, and resolving large medical bills or health insurance liens. You need to be informed before making decisions that have legally binding consequences. A lawyer can help guide you through these decisions.

In addition, a lawsuit may be necessary to bring the responsible party to account for their actions. Lawsuits are complicated, but an attorney who is experienced with handling death or serious injury claims will be qualified to represent you. While the client plays a role in preparation of the case, the attorney does almost all the work. A good lawyer can use a lawsuit to fully investigate and prove your case. This includes creating a damages model that fully accounts for you losses, both financial and loss of quality of life.

In smaller cases, an attorney can also help guide you through issues such as getting your car repaired or totaled, getting medical care from a qualified specialist, and handling all communication with the insurance companies.

Most insurance contracts include a requirement that you cooperate with the insurance company in the investigation of the accident and the defense of the case. If your insurance is calling you, you most likely have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company.

Sometimes, however, your interests and the interests of your own insurance company can conflict. For instance, in the Texas Standard Personal Auto Policy, underinsured motorist benefits are only payable to you if you are “legally entitled” to recover those from the person who caused the wreck. This means that if you are not legally entitled to recover from the other person, then your underinsured motorist carrier does not have to pay you.

Consequently, all the legal defenses which belong to the other person can be asserted against you by your own insurance company. So, if your insurance is contacting you and you have an attorney, you should politely refer them to your injury attorney. If you don’t have a lawyer and are concerned about providing a statement to your own insurance company, you should consult with a qualified attorney.

If you are partially at fault, then the law of contributory negligence will apply in the State of Texas. That law says that the other driver only must pay for that portion of the damages they cause. For instance, if you are 10% at fault and the other party is 90% at fault, and you are damaged in the amount of $10,000.00, then the other party pays for 90% of the damage, or $9,000.00. Furthermore, if you are over 50% at fault, then you do not recovery any damages under Texas law.

Fault can turn on may factors and sometimes those factors might not be obvious, so you should consult with an attorney if you have questions about who was at fault

No. There are several other types of personal injuries, including, workplace injuries, construction site injuries, wrongful death accidents, boating accident injuries, medical malpractice, toxic torts, and a number of other case types that involve parties being injured by another party.

Lawyers shouldn’t be directly soliciting clients as a rule, so receiving an unexpected phone call from an attorney should be a warning sign for accident victims. Many people are unaware that the practice of in person or direct phone solicitation is illegal and end up using the attorney’s services.

A qualified injury attorney can help you make this determination by assessing the details of you accident. Please feel free to contact Tate Accident Law to find out if you might have a case.

Victims may be entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses incurred because of an injury accident. This may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Medical Bills (hospital bills, doctor charges, the cost of surgery, diagnostics, physical therapy, personal care, nursing, prescriptions, medical equipment, ambulance charges, wheelchair costs, medical supplies and more),
  • Lost Wages, including Holidays & Overtime,
  • Physical Disability,
  • Disfigurement,
  • Pain & Suffering,
  • Emotional Trauma,
  • Permanent Scars,
  • Cognitive Impairment,
  • Physical Impairment,
  • Mental Anguish,
  • Loss of Enjoyment,
  • Embarrassment,
  • Loss of Love & Affection,
  • Property Damage,
  • Related Transportation Charges,
  • House Cleaning Services,
  • Child and Pet Care,
  • Accessibility Changes to Your Home,
  • Lawn services,
  • and Other Potential Costs incurred.

A qualified personal injury attorney can help you make this determination, and most attorneys offer a free case review. Contact Tate Accident Law today if you wish to have a lawyer review your case.

The word “Tort” refers to a very board category of civil law where one person may be liable to another for breaching a duty and causing the other person damages. The purpose of Tort law is to allow the injured party to recover damages from the party who caused the loss. Examples of duties include a general duty not acting in unreasonable ways that foreseeably place other people in danger. This is a basic description of negligence and includes things like driving a car carelessly. Torts also include intentional actions like assaulting another person, which is also a type of tort and a personal injury claim.

It depends. It usually won’t go to trial. Most Injury claims are settled with the insurance company for the party at fault. And the vast majority of settlements take place outside of the courts.

No. For the most part auto insurance does not act like health insurance and will not pay any of your damages until you sign a release. Personal Injury Protection Coverage and Medical Payment Coverage are two exceptions to this generally rule.

Police reports and determinations of fault by insurance companies do not control the outcome of a court case. The rules of evidence may prevent certain evidence from being introduced during trial, including police reports, which are generally considered hearsay. Moreover, different rules govern the legal determination of responsibility for a car accident, including precedent from prior cases in the jurisdiction where your case is being heard.

In the state of Texas, if you are unable to work after being involved in a car accident, you may be able to recover money from lost income.

Most Texas personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning their clients do not pay anything until after they reach an agreement or receive a settlement. The law firm handling the case covers all expenses during this period and represents the client in communications with the insurance company, judge, and jury.

The standard contingency fee for an attorney is a percentage amount of the final settlement the lawyer is able to obtain, rather than a fixed amount. Most personal injury lawyers charge 33 1/3% if the case settles without filing a lawsuit and 40% if a lawsuit is filed. These fees are arguably fair because attorneys often front all of the cost and handle the majority of the work necessary to obtain a fair settlement. These costs can sometimes be tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Many clients simply would not be able to easily or readily pursue their claims without the assistance of an attorney. And, you only pay if a settlement is obtained.

You can file a claim for any property that you can prove was lost in the accident.

There is a dispute about fault. This means that if another driver is at fault in an accident in which you were injured, you may be entitled to claim compensation. It also means that if you are found to be partially at fault, any compensation that you may be entitled to receive may be reduced by your share of fault.

As a general rule, you cannot seek damages in a car accident claim for a preexisting injury or medical condition. If the accident made a preexisting injury or illness worse, you may be able to secure compensation for the resulting medical bills.

Most settlements finalize within 6 weeks While most personal injury settlements in Texas finalize within six weeks or less, it could take longer due to complexities.

Once the settlement check clears, your lawyer will distribute your settlement money.

Questions about Insurance

You should still attempt to see a physician if you have been injured in an accident. The ER must treat you for emergency conditions. In addition, your lawyer should be able to assist you in finding a qualified doctor or medical facility depending on the circumstances of your injury. There are certain well qualified and respected medical doctors that will defer collecting their bill until you collect from the at fault person’s insurance.

The answer to this question is case specific and will depend upon an analysis of the circumstances such as fault and the amounts and types of damages. If you have been injured, you should consult with an injury attorney before taking a settlement from an insurance company. Tate Accident Law provides free case assessments and can assist you if we undertake representation.

Commercial trucks are insured by commercial insurance carriers. Many times, these carriers are not the same carriers who insure passenger autos. Commercial trucks are required to carry a large amount of insurance, usually a $1,000,000.00 primary policy, but sometimes in a lesser or greater amount depending upon what cargo is being carried.

Many commercial truck companies carry excess insurance in the event the wreck causes more damage than the primary policy limit. These excess policies usually are written in the amount of $5,000,000.00 or $10,000,000.00, but the limits vary. Proof of the primary policy is required to be filed with the Federal government and is available online at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. Look for the company snapshot and licensing and insurance.

Most insurance contracts include a requirement that you cooperate with the insurance company in the investigation of the accident and the defense of the case. If your insurance is calling you, you most likely have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company.

Sometimes, however, your interests and the interests of your own insurance company can conflict. For instance, in the Texas Standard Personal Auto Policy, underinsured motorist benefits are only payable to you if you are “legally entitled” to recover those from the person who caused the wreck. This means that if you are not legally entitled to recover from the other person, then your underinsured motorist carrier does not have to pay you.

Consequently, all the legal defenses which belong to the other person can be asserted against you by your own insurance company. So, if your insurance is contacting you and you have an attorney, you should politely refer them to your injury attorney. If you don’t have a lawyer and are concerned about providing a statement to your own insurance company, you should consult with a qualified attorney.

Many times, the initial communication with the adjuster is very cordial. The insurance company, however, most likely has their own interest at heart. People are often surprised when the nice adjuster makes low offers to resolve the claim.

In addition, when it comes to a car wreck, there are several defenses which are commonly asserted against you. The adjuster has been trained to look for these defenses and you should be aware of these defenses as you communicate with the adjuster. An adjuster may seem nice, but they are collecting evidence and statements to use against you later.

Immediately refer the adjuster to your insurance company or attorney. Do not speak with the lawyer for the other driver. If you have a lawyer, you will not want to speak to anyone but your lawyer.

No. For the most part auto insurance does not act like health insurance and will not pay any of your damages until you sign a release. Personal Injury Protection Coverage and Medical Payment Coverage are two exceptions to this generally rule.

Depending on the types of coverage you have, auto insurance typically pays for car repair or replacement.

Depending on the kind of coverage you have, an insurer will often pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or stolen

The goal of any insurance company will be paying as little for a claim as they can possibly pay. This means that they will take all of the steps they can to reduce the value of your claim, including attempts to lure you into saying something that will hurt you claim. Insurance companies will pay no more than what they think they can get away with paying for any injury claim.

Insurance companies are not in the business of helping victims get the full payment that they are owed. Insurers work aggressively to try to limit settlement offers, so chances are, you will not get a fair settlement if you do not have legal representation or an understanding of the full range of settlement options you might have available to you.

You can file a claim for any property that you can prove was lost in the accident.

Yes. The amount you receive to repair your vehicle will likely be based on one or more repair estimates and/or an inspection made by the insurance company. You will want to get an estimate other than the insurance company estimate, to insure you are able to sufficiently repair your vehicle.

Your insurance company may want to inspect the damage or require that you use an approved repair shop.

You have the right to request your insurance company use original equipment manufactured parts rather than aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle.

If the car accident wasn’t your fault and you can’t or don’t want to pay for the rental car yourself, you have the option of filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to provide you with a rental car until your car is fixed. A qualified and thorough lawyer will do this for you.

A vehicle is a “total loss” when the cost of repair plus the salvage value of the wrecked vehicle exceeds the pre-wreck fair market value (FMV) of the vehicle.

Texas Transportation Code section 501.091 provides that the TLT in Texas is the fair market value of the vehicle in its’ pre-accident status.

In a Texas auto accident, you have three options to obtain damages in an uninsured vehicle accident: File a claim with your auto insurance. Seek damages from a liable third party.

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may have the option to file a lawsuit against the other driver, depending on whether you live in a no-fault or traditional negligence state.

The practice of “stacking” insurance refers to combining the UM/UIM coverage limits from multiple policies to force a higher cap on what carriers will pay out for post-injury claims or recovery.

This form is so named because it “releases” the responsible party—the at-fault driver and his or her insurer—from any liability associated with the accident. There are also situations in which your own insurer will ask you to sign a release before authorizing payment for vehicle repairs.

Uninsured motorist coverage is what insurance companies typically pay for damages which a covered person is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle. This covers bodily injuries sustained by a covered person, or property damage, caused by an accident with an uninsured motorist.

An umbrella liability policy is personal insurance that covers liabilities beyond other applicable and primary policies. Umbrella policies also provide added coverage for legal defense and may cover some lawsuits and claims that other policies would deny.

Full coverage car insurance is a term which describes having all of the main components of car insurance including Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Uninsured Motorist, PIP, Collision and Comprehensive. You’re typically required to carry most of these coverages by law.

We suggest that you buy as much coverage as you can comfortably afford, especially for uninsured motorist coverage. Texas law requires you to have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. This is called 30/60/25 coverage.

Questions about Medical Care

Tate Accident Law helps our clients choose highly qualified medical professionals for their specific injuries. Medical doctors who are well trained and qualified provide a high level of care and are credible witnesses. If you need representation for injuries, do not wait to contact Tate Accident Law, so that we can help you assess your case.

You may still be able to see a doctor, with the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your options for medical care. There are a some highly qualified medical doctors that will treat injured people and defer collecting payment until we recover from the at fault person’s insurance. Medical help may still be an option even if you don’t have health insurance or another health benefit.

You should still attempt to see a physician if you have been injured in an accident. The ER must treat you for emergency conditions. In addition, your lawyer should be able to assist you in finding a qualified doctor or medical facility depending on the circumstances of your injury. There are certain well qualified and respected medical doctors that will defer collecting their bill until you collect from the at fault person’s insurance.

You might wish to report that health care professional to his or her licensing entity in your state.

It is common with car accident injuries for there to be delayed onset symptoms, like traumatic brain injuries or damage to internal organs. Seeing a doctor right away is the best way to make sure you’re not injured. Tell the doctor who treats you that you were involved in an accident, and follow their instructions.

As a general rule, you cannot seek damages in a car accident claim for a preexisting injury or medical condition. If the accident made a preexisting injury or illness worse, you may be able to secure compensation for the resulting medical bills.

Car Accident Questions

Likely, Texas courts will have jurisdiction over the matter. You may have the option to sue in Texas State courts or Federal courts if the parties are residents of two separate states. In either event, Texas law surrounding negligence will most likely be applied. An attorney licensed in the State of Texas and specializing in injury law will be the best option for legal advice.

No. Laws regarding car accidents vary from state to state.

If you find errors in the police report—even factual ones—you do not want to ignore them. Politely approach the officer who wrote the report and address it with them to correct mistakes.

Tate Accident Law helps our clients choose highly qualified medical professionals for their specific injuries. Medical doctors who are well trained and qualified provide a high level of care and are credible witnesses. If you need representation for injuries, do not wait to contact Tate Accident Law, so that we can help you assess your case.

Common causes of car accidents include driver fatigue, distracted driving, failure to yield and drunk driving.

Driver Fatigue – Driving while tired is dangerous. Drowsy driving can be as much of a danger as driving while intoxicated.

Distracted Driving – There are many sources of distraction when driving. It might be the cell phone, unruly passengers, eating while driving or applying makeup or any other situation that draws your attention away from the road and other traffic. Distracted driving can cause severe accidents because drivers often have no time to react to dangers.

Failure to Yield – Failing to yield the right of way causes numerous accidents. Drivers often fail to pay attention to other traffic and a result cause an accident.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs – A common cause of Texas car accidents is drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. Driving under the influence is a dangerous activity that puts your, other drivers, passengers and pedestrian at a significant risk.

Determining fault in a car wreck can be more complicated that it seems. In some cases, fault is straightforward because one of the drivers clearly violated a rule of the road. Other cases may seem clear on their face, but once the wreck is more thoroughly investigated other factors are revealed. Sometimes the police report is incorrect, and this can be shown with evidence such as Electronic Control Module data. You should call an attorney if there is any question about fault as the lawyer may be able to prove how a collision occurred.

The decision to file a suit will depend on the circumstances. Generally, we try to resolve cases without filing a suit. In other instances, we file suit very quickly when we need to preserve evidence, issue subpoenas, or take other action. The lawsuit forces the parties to adhere to a set of rules. These rules can be tools in the hands of your lawyer to force the other side to respond. Lawsuits have a cost, however, in terms of money and time. The decision to file a lawsuit in a personal injury case must be based upon an analysis of the case.

Services like Uber and Lyft are required by Texas law to carry $1,000,000.00 of liability coverage when a passenger is being transported for a fee. If the driver negligently causes injury to another person, then the insurance would cover the person for their injury claim.

Services like Uber and Lyft are required by Texas law to carry $1,000,000.00 of liability coverage when a passenger is being transported for a fee. If the driver is negligent and injures the passenger, then the insurance would cover the passenger for their injury claim. The same insurance would pay for other people who the driver hit and hurt.

Tractor trailer and commercial vehicle accidents are different than passenger car wrecks in several regards. First, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by state and federal laws, which do not apply to a passenger auto collision. Secondly, commercial truck wrecks often present complicated ownership and joint enterprise issues where multiple parties may be liable for the wreck. Third, the weight of a large commercial truck creates a large amount of momentum which can have devastating effect when the truck strikes a passenger auto. Finally, the insurance limits are usually much higher for a commercial truck than a passenger auto. The minimum insurance limit is typically $1,000,000.00 for a commercial truck hauling goods across state lines.

If you are partially at fault, then the law of contributory negligence will apply in the State of Texas. That law says that the other driver only must pay for that portion of the damages they cause. For instance, if you are 10% at fault and the other party is 90% at fault, and you are damaged in the amount of $10,000.00, then the other party pays for 90% of the damage, or $9,000.00. Furthermore, if you are over 50% at fault, then you do not recovery any damages under Texas law.

Fault can turn on may factors and sometimes those factors might not be obvious, so you should consult with an attorney if you have questions about who was at fault

Depending on the types of coverage you have, auto insurance typically pays for car repair or replacement.

Depending on the kind of coverage you have, an insurer will often pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or stolen        

Yes. The amount you receive to repair your vehicle will likely be based on one or more repair estimates and/or an inspection made by the insurance company. You will want to get an estimate other than the insurance company estimate, to insure you are able to sufficiently repair your vehicle.

Your insurance company may want to inspect the damage or require that you use an approved repair shop.

You have the right to request your insurance company use original equipment manufactured parts rather than aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle.

If the car accident wasn’t your fault and you can’t or don’t want to pay for the rental car yourself, you have the option of filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to provide you with a rental car until your car is fixed. A qualified and thorough lawyer will do this for you.

Truck Accident Questions

Personal injury attorneys handle commercial truck accidents, but large truck wrecks are different than a passenger car wreck. The trucking industry is heavily regulated at the federal and state level. These regulations are designed to keep the public safe from a large truck wreck. For instance, truck drivers are required to take periodic breaks and can only drive a limited number of hours. There are many other regulations. Your attorney should have a history of handling truck wreck cases, so you know they are experienced and familiar with these laws.

In addition, large truck wrecks often cause catastrophic injuries which require life care plans for future medical needs and economic analysis of lost earning capacity. Proving these damages requires a team of experts. You should hire a lawyer who is experienced with these types of claims and the experts who are qualified to prove up the damages.

If you are injured by a commercial truck or you know someone who is, you should contact a qualified truck accident attorney without delay. Trucking companies and their drivers are heavily regulated by state and federal law, but they often cut corners to keep drivers and rigs on the road and making money for the company. Commercial truck wrecks happen when the driver and the company choose to violate the rules and regulations that were created to keep the roads safe. Some drivers and companies are aggressive about denying liability, destroying evidence, and are not willing to take responsibility for their actions.

An attorney can help by preserving evidence and hold the trucking company and driver accountable for the wreck. Trucking companies and their drivers are typically covered by a policy of insurance in the amount of $1,000,000.00 and often more.

Tractor trailer and commercial vehicle accidents are different than passenger car wrecks in several regards. First, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by state and federal laws, which do not apply to a passenger auto collision. Secondly, commercial truck wrecks often present complicated ownership and joint enterprise issues where multiple parties may be liable for the wreck. Third, the weight of a large commercial truck creates a large amount of momentum which can have devastating effect when the truck strikes a passenger auto. Finally, the insurance limits are usually much higher for a commercial truck than a passenger auto. The minimum insurance limit is typically $1,000,000.00 for a commercial truck hauling goods across state lines.

Commercial trucks are insured by commercial insurance carriers. Many times, these carriers are not the same carriers who insure passenger autos. Commercial trucks are required to carry a large amount of insurance, usually a $1,000,000.00 primary policy, but sometimes in a lesser or greater amount depending upon what cargo is being carried.

Many commercial truck companies carry excess insurance in the event the wreck causes more damage than the primary policy limit. These excess policies usually are written in the amount of $5,000,000.00 or $10,000,000.00, but the limits vary. Proof of the primary policy is required to be filed with the Federal government and is available online at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. Look for the company snapshot and licensing and insurance.

First, liability is based upon the negligence of the driver and, possibly, the company that was responsible for hiring, training, supervising, and retaining the driver. Negligence has a legal definition, but it is essential being careless. Liability starts and analysis of who was careless and how those actions caused the injury.

Usually, the driver did something careless to cause the collision. Not paying adequate attention is typically the cause of the wreck. Driver fatigue is often a factor. The company may also be liable for their employee driver’s negligence due to the law surrounding agency and vicarious liability.

Finding the root cause of why the driver was careless usually involves investigating the company. The driver’s company may be directly liable if they were careless in their hiring practices or supervising the driver. For example, companies have duty to make sure their drivers are properly qualified to drive large trucks before hiring them, and to supervise their drivers to make sure they are not violating limitation of hours. These types of company actions can expose the company to liability for a wreck.

Sometimes hauling cargo involves a joint venture between two independent truckers or an independent trucker and a freight broker who brokers the load. It is possible for all parties involved in the joint enterprise to be liable for the negligent acts of the driver.

Tractor trailer and commercial vehicle accidents are different than passenger car wrecks. First, the trucking industry is heavily regulated by State and Federal regulations which do not apply to a passenger auto. Secondly, commercial truck wrecks often present complicated ownership and joint enterprise issues where multiple parties may be liable for the wreck. Finally, the weight of a large commercial truck creates a large amount of momentum which can have devastating effect when the truck strikes a passenger auto.

Pedestrian Accident Questions

Generally, you have two years from the date of an event causing injury to file a lawsuit. After that date you are barred from filing the lawsuit which effectively makes your claim worthless. This area of law, known as the Statute of Limitations, can be complex, so if you have a question about time limits you should consult with an attorney. Most attorneys strongly prefer to represent a client well before the statute of limitations so that they are familiar with the case before filing a lawsuit. If you have an injury claim you should consult with an attorney well before the limitations period expires.

The most common cause for pedestrian accidents is distraction—either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian. Distracted walking and distracted driving are two major factors in accidents that involve pedestrians. Other common causes of pedestrian accidents include, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol, excessive vehicle speeds, reckless driving and illegal street crossings. In urban areas, many pedestrian accidents occur when pedestrians try to cross busy roadways in areas that are not designated for crossing.

Most personal injury attorneys handle pedestrian accident cases. You will want to find a lawyer with proven success in this area of law, as it is important that your injury attorney the understand the many particulars of pedestrian accident law.

Wrongful Death Questions

In Texas, a wrongful death case occurs when the death of one party is caused by “a wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or default” of another party. The wrongful death cause of action in Texas belongs to only certain relatives of the deceased: surviving children, surviving spouse, and parents of the deceased. Those individuals have a claim for the loss of love, society, and companionship of the decedent as well as loss of services and pecuniary loss (loss of earning capacity).

The estate of the decedent has a separate claim called a survival claim that allows the estate to recover for damages the decedent would have claimed if they survived. For instance, the estate has a claim for conscious pain and suffering of the deceased before they passed as well as medical expenses and funeral expenses.

Wrongful death claims and survival claims are often, but not always, brought together in a single lawsuit.

In Texas, a survival cause of action belongs to the estate of a deceased whose death was caused by the negligence of another person. The estate of the decedent has a claim for those damages that would have been pursued by the decedent had they survived. Damages recoverable by the estate include medical bills, conscious pain and suffering, and funeral expenses The survival claim is usually filed in the same lawsuit with the wrongful death claims. The survival cause of action is usually asserted by the administrator of the estate of the decedent but can also be asserted by an heir to the estate.

Yes. We do. Please do not hesitate to contact us if a loved one has lost their life in an accident. Tate Accident Law is here to help you navigate through this difficult time and determine how best to move forward with a wrongful death and survival claim. If there are multiple wrongful death beneficiaries, it might be advantageous for the parties to enter into a family agreement at the outset of the case. This typically is not required but there are advantages to all of the wrongful death beneficiaries many times to explore this avenue.

Common wrongful death claims involve drunk driving, car accidents, commercial truck wrecks, dram shop cases (lawsuits against bars or restaurants who serve obviously intoxicated individuals), products liability claims, manslaughter, negligence, assault and battery, and murder.

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that allows certain surviving family members to hold individuals, companies, and government agencies responsible for intentional or unintentional actions that cause death to another person.

It is important to fully investigate the circumstances because multiple parties may be liable for engaging in acts that could foreseeably cause death or serious injury to others. In addition, sometimes multiple parties have insurance coverage that might pay for the loss.

Other Types of Injury Questions

Worker’s compensation was “reformed” in late 1980’s in a way that was very favorable to the worker’s compensation insurance carriers. The rules make it difficult for an attorney to help an injured worker in many circumstances. The rules also limit how the attorney is compensated and what they can charge. These rules forced many lawyers to stop practicing in the area.

There may be, however, ways to get out from under the worker’s compensation scheme. The first is to make sure your employer is covered by comp. If they are not, we may be able to help you. The second is look for other responsible parties. For instance, if you are hit while driving on the job, comp may cover, but the other driver is also liable for your injuries, and we can recover from their insurance company. Another example is dangerous machines that are designed or manufactured in an unsafe way and cause injury. The manufacturer may be liable for selling a dangerous product.

You should contact a lawyer regarding your situation and find out what your options are. Under Texas law there is “penalty” for companies that do not subscribe to work comp. The law in Texas says that if the company does not carry comp coverage, and the company is even 1% at fault for causing the injury, then the company must pay 100% of the damages.

If the unsafe condition was caused by your employer, and your employer is covered by worker’s comp, then your only course of action is to pursue a comp claim. In cases where the unsafe condition was caused be someone other than the employer, then you may have a claim against that person. For instance, we helped a lady who was injured on the job when badly burned by a steam venting from a dish washer. The employer was covered by comp, but we sued the manufacture of the washer, which was defective. The washer maker was not covered by worker’s compensation.