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What Should I Do if the Insurance Company Offers Me a Check Right Away?

If an insurance company offers you a check right away, do not sign it. When an insurance company seems overly eager to settle a claim, it is because they are trying to limit their liability or they are trying to beat out future damages that have yet to be identified. As such, many checks will include release language benefiting the insurer.

Make Sure All Your Injuries Have Been Diagnosed and Treated Prior to Accepting Payment

Oftentimes, when you are injured in a personal injury accident, the full extent of your injuries may not be immediately evident. The pain and discomfort that you feel may not completely diminish and may even be symptoms of a larger issue that can limit your movement and ability to perform certain tasks or job duties. This is especially common in back and neck injuries.

When an insurance company rushes a settlement check, it could be because they think your claim may result in more damages that have not yet been identified. As the full extents of your injuries are diagnosed, you may find that future therapy and treatments will be necessary.

If you have accepted a settlement from an insurer, they may have successfully excluded themselves from future liability leaving you solely responsible for future medical expenses, such as:

  • Doctor visits
  • Specialist visits
  • Medication costs
  • MRIs
  • X-Rays
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy

By contacting an experienced personal injury attorney, you can verify that a settlement offer is made with your best interests in mind. Additionally, your attorney will evaluate all of your medical bills to ensure the amount offered covers all relevant expenses and will communicate with your doctor so that all possible future expenses are properly reflected in your claim.

Make Sure the Insurance Company has Included All Economic Damages

When an insurance company attempts to settle a claim quickly, chances are they are not covering all of the economic damages you have sustained. If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, for example, the insurance company will likely address vehicle repairs and immediate medical expenses as they know these items are among your greatest concerns.

However, they may be skipping out on other essential damages, such as lost wages or loss of earning capacity. Even if they do include these damages, chances are they have not covered all areas of your income.

When you pursue wage related damages, you are entitled to all wages lost – not just those associated with your base salary.

Areas often overlooked by individuals attempting to settle with an insurance company include:

  • Loss of commissions on sales
  • Loss of fringe benefits
  • Loss of pension benefits
  • Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work
  • Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury
  • Sick leave and vacation you may have used while recovering from your injuries

A skilled personal injury attorney will work with your employer to identify all areas of lost income and will bring these to the attention of the insurance company.

Is the Insurer Covering Non-Economic Damages?

A final area of compensation that the insurance company may try to downplay is that of non-economic damages. These are damages that do not have immediate monetary values placed on them, like lost wages and medical bills do, and understanding how much these damages are actually worth can be near impossible for those without personal injury experience.

Most insurance companies use formulas to determine an extra amount to be added to your settlement as non-economic damages. This amount is normally a predetermined percentage of you economic damages.

This kind of approach does not address your unique damages and is most often added by the insurer to make it look as though they are going above and beyond in paying out your claim so you will not hire an attorney. Think of it as “hush money.”

Non-economic damages that should be considered include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Deformation
  • Loss of consortium

Attorneys understand how non-economic damages work and how to assign value to these damages, allowing you to recover the financial compensation you truly deserve.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

Will I Have to Go to Court for My Personal Injury Case?

Whether or not your case goes to trial is dependent on the facts of your case. While most personal injury cases settle without the plaintiff ever having to set foot in a court room, it is important that you and your attorney prepare your case as though it will be tried to verdict.

What Can I Expect When My Case Is First Filed?

The early stages of your case or some of the most crucial as the quality of evidence and the ability of witnesses to accurately recall details of your accident and injuries can diminish rapidly. This is why it is best to contact an attorney as soon as you can follow a personal injury accident.

As soon as you contact Thomas J. Henry, an attorney will begin taking the steps necessary to preserve and gather evidence for your claim. This may include gathering photographic evidence, taking witnesses statements, reviewing official reports, and even filing a temporary restraining order if your attorney feels any evidence is at risk of damage, destruction, or tampering.

Once your doctor believes your condition is stable, your attorney will begin assembling medical reports, records, and bills and begin calculating damages. If you missed work due to your injury, your attorney will seek out employment records in order to evaluate damages related to loss of wages and loss of earning potential.

The goal is to establish the facts of your case. Specifically, that your accident was the result of negligent behavior by the defendant, that the accident resulted in injuries or damages, and that the defendant should be held liable of those injuries and damages.

When Will My Attorney Enter into Settlement Negotiations?

Typically, true settlement negotiations will not begin until your attorney and the defense have both completed their pretrial investigations and had time to go through the discovery process.  Part of the discovery process may include your attorney and the defense soliciting written answers from the opposition, called interrogatories, and may even request sworn testimony be given under oath, known as a deposition.

Keep in mind, it is very rare for an insurance company to engage in serious settlement talks before the facts of the case can be acquired. If your case is particularly complex or involves a large commercial entity, the defense may decide to wait for your attorney to identify their expert witnesses before discussing potential settlement amounts.

In such a scenario, the defense is trying to gauge the risk of going to trial versus settling out of court. If an attorney has access to high-quality expert witnesses, the defense takes this as a sign that the attorney has the resources and experience to fight it out in trial and that a settlement may be the safer option.

In extreme cases, the defense will not engage in serious settlement negotiations until they have filed a motion for a summary judgment, often called a motion to dismiss. If the motion is granted, your case is over; however, if the motion is denied by the court, an experience attorney will be able to use the failed motion as leverage in subsequent negations.

If a Settlement is Not Reached, Does that Mean I Go to Trial?

If your attorney and the defense are unable to agree on a fair settlement or if the defense challenges liability in the case, then your case will go to trial. If your attorney has not prepared your case accordingly, your claim may be in jeopardy.

At Thomas J. Henry, we treat every case as though it will go to trial. This way, if trial becomes necessary, has already gathered the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim before a jury or judge. It is important to understand that trials take time – as such, patience is key. While there is little that can be done to speed up the litigation process, there are ways to use this time to your advantage. While your case is pending, your attorney will coach you on court room procedures and how to handle questioning and cross-examination. They will also continue to review evidence for new opportunities to improve your claim to compensation.

Thomas J. Henry has been successfully trying cases against large companies for the past 30 years and has built a reputation by securing record-breaking jury verdicts. With a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to represent injured clients at a moment’s notice, we have the money and the resources to fight and win against even the largest trucking and insurance companies.

 

 

What Is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is a very broad term, especially in Texas. In its broadest sense, liability insurance covers the conduct of a person, persons, or a business following an incident resulting in injury or death and helps protect them from the risk of liabilities imposed by lawsuits or similar claims.

How Does Liability Insurance Work?

On its most basic level, liability insurance says that the liability insurer has three major duties:

  1. The duty to defend – The duty to defend most often provides that the insurer has the right and duty to defend the insured against all lawsuits and claims to which policies apply. For example, if a property owner has liability coverage applying to slip and fall accidents and a slip and fall claim is made against that property owner, it would trigger the insurer’s duty to defend against that claim.
  2. The duty to indemnify – An indemnity case arises when an individual is obliged to pay for losses or damages incurred by another individual or entity in an event or an accident, such as a car crash. The duty of indemnity means that the insurer must pay for all covered sums for which the insured is deemed responsible, up to the limits of coverage.
  3. The duty to settle a reasonably clear claim – This means that if a reasonable opportunity to settle a claim arises, either because the plaintiff has made a settlement offer or the insurer is aware of information to the effect that the plaintiff would accept an offer, the insurer is obliged to move on the settlement.

What Are Some Examples of Liability Insurance?

If there is a risk that an activity, industry, or property may result in the injury or death of a third-party, then there is most likely some form of liability insurance available. Common examples of this include:

  • Liability insurance for company vehicles
  • Liability insurance for store owners
  • Liability insurance for construction sites
  • Liability insurance for amusement parks
  • Liability insurance for apartment complexes
  • Liability insurance for 18 wheelers
  • Liability insurance for personally owned vehicles
  • Liability insurance for product manufacturers

How Does Liability Insurance Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

The reason liability insurance is an important topic in personal injury law is that, in most cases, the liability insurer will be the entity that pays for the damages awarded in your claim. Think of getting car repairs following a collision. If you are rear-ended by an insured driver, the driver isn’t the one paying for your repairs. Rather, the insurer takes on the duty of paying for your repairs up to the point allotted by that driver’s policy.

Liability insurance does the same thing for personal injury. If you are rear-ended by an 18-wheeler, neither the truck driver nor the company will be footing the bill. Instead, the company that insures the trucking company will payout your claim.

Good liability insurance benefits you as a plaintiff as you can be relatively certain that the insurer will have the financial resources necessary to pay your settlement or financial award, even if the trucking company is not doing well economically.

Can Dealing with a Liability Insurance Company Be a Bad Thing?

Liability insurance can be a bad thing provided you do not have an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your claim. Just as a liability insurer has the financial resources to settle and pay out your claim, they also have the financial resources to hire legal experts to challenge your claim.

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the financial and legal resources to level the playing field. We have the money to fight the long fight, and we have a team of attorneys that can go up against those employed by even the largest insurance companies.

Thomas J. Henry Personal Injury Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

What If I Cannot Afford My Medical Bills After I Was Injured by Another Person?

When you are injured in an accident, the medical bills that follow can seem crippling. It is important to remember that if your injuries were caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of another, you are entitled to compensation for the medical bills that have accumulated.

Am I At Risk of Not Getting the Medical Treatment I Need?

In Texas, when dealing with injuries resulting from an accident, it is not unusual for healthcare providers in a community to provide that healthcare based on the future of your case. With that, healthcare providers and even specialists will provide the treatment you need and provide the bills for those procedures to you so you can apply those bills towards your litigation.

When consulting with your attorney, do not be afraid to address any financial concerns you may have. Your attorney is there to help you on your road to recovery, both financial and physical. They can help you get the medical care you need and may be able to refer you to a doctor or specialist who is familiar with the injuries you sustained.

What Kinds of Medical Bills Can I Recover?

Any medical expenses associated with the diagnosis and treatment of your injuries can be sought as part of your personal injury claim as well as expenses related to you long-term recovery and any physical therapy that is needed.

Some typical examples of this include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Laboratory fees
  • Surgery costs
  • Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
  • Costs of prescription medicines
  • Pain and suffering management

It is essential that you attend all medical appointments and therapy sessions as failure to attend these appointments may result in the defense challenging the validity of your injuries, possible lowering the damages awarded.

How Do I Prove My Medical Expenses?

Medical bills are complicated and proving your expenses will often require the help of medical experts and legal professionals. This is why it is so important that you seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Your attorney will make sure you injuries and medical expenses are thoroughly documented and that your damages are calculated and account for all future problems before submitting a request for compensation.

Your attorney will also consult with industry experts, both in the medical field and investigative field, to prove that your injuries are in fact the result of your accident.

Among the experts who may be hired for your personal injury case are:

  • Medical Doctors and Physicians
  • Biomechanical Engineers
  • Forensic Experts
  • Accident re-constructionists
  • Health care administrators
  • Wound care specialists
  • Reconstructive surgeons

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

 

What Are Subrogation Rights?

Subrogation rights essentially allow healthcare providers and workers’ compensation carriers to recover some of the money they have expended on your behalf while your claim was pending. Whether they are entitled to the money they wish to have reimbursed is a case-by-case issue and some companies may seek subrogation that they are not entitled to. If you are being asked to reimburse subrogation, contact an attorney immediately.

How does a Subrogation Action Work?

Generally, when you are injured in an accident, your health insurer will pay for the costs of treating your injuries and any emergency attention you receive. However, once done, your insurer may contact you to further discuss how your injuries occurred and determine if some other entity is responsible for your injuries and can thereby relieve some of their financial responsibility.

They may then attempt to recover some of their expenses by collecting a portion of your settlement or judgment.

In most cases, if you singed an insurance agreement or started using your insurance coverage, you probably also signed a contract allowing your insurance company to seek repayment form you for the bills from an at fault third party. That is subrogation.

How Much Can My Settlement is Subject to Subrogation?

In instances of subrogation, it is important to remember that the insurer can only collect the actual amount they would have paid for your injuries. It is not uncommon for healthcare providers to charge higher fees than what would actually be accepted by an insurer.

Think of past insurance claims. You may have had a procedure for which the cost listed was $3,000; however, the amount paid by the insurer after negotiations was only $2,000. In a case of subrogation, your insurer would only be able to pursue a $2,000 reimbursement.

Can a Lawyer Help Me with a Subrogation Action?

Having an experienced attorney is essential when dealing with a subrogation action. Not only can your attorney help you calculate what an insurer would have paid for a procedure, they can also help negotiate a reduced amount to be reimbursed back to the insurer.

Further, if an insurance company seeks reimbursement which they are not entitled to, your attorney will have the resources and knowledge to challenge their claim for compensation.

Thomas J. Henry Personal Injury Attorneys

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

How Social Media can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Woman smiling while using a laptop in a library

Social media of all types have become a large part of our everyday life — for better or for worse. Status updates, tweets, and picture sharing with friends, family, and strangers across the world is commonplace, and sometimes we hit the Send button before even thinking twice about it.

If you have been injured in an accident and have decided to pursue a personal injury claim, social media can be your worst enemy. Posts, photos, and videos shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, or any other social network can have many unintended, negative consequences on your case.

You may be inclined to share the details of a big event such as an auto accident with your network, but a seemingly innocent post or picture could have a devastating effect on your case and your ability to recover compensation for injuries caused by another person. How does this happen?

How a Post can Wreck Your Claim

Let’s say you’ve been involved in a trucking accident and you sustained a leg and back injury. You’ve decided to pursue a personal injury claim against the trucking company of the semi-truck that crashed into you on the highway. You claim that your injuries have prevented you from returning to your job since you can’t stand or walk without experiencing severe pain.

As a regular gym-goer prior to the trucking accident, you decide to see what you are capable of doing after the accident and post a status update to your friends and family while at the gym. Later that night, your friends invite you out for drinks downtown and you decide to go, with the festivities extensively documented on Instagram.

Even if your pain is legitimate and you are truly unable to work, posts and photos that seem to show the contrary can be detrimental to your injury claim. Insurance adjusters will use any evidence that appears to downplay your injury against you in settlement negotiations. This could result in a reduced settlement amount or no settlement amount at all. Their argument may be, “How injured can you possibly be if you are at the gym and out at the bars with your friends, having a good time?” Remember that it is their job to minimize your injuries and shift blame to you for the accident, and they will go to lengths to find evidence that refutes your claim, which includes scouring your social media accounts.

The above scenario can be avoided completely by following this overarching rule: When in doubt, do not post. Many personal injury cases are difficult enough to handle without providing the defense counsel additional ammunition in settlement negotiations. The safe route to take in the course of a personal injury case is to limit your social media presence until it is completely and fully resolved.

Who can See Your Social Media Posts and Pictures?

Every social media platform has a feature called privacy settings, in which users can limit who can see their profile, posts, and photos. Oftentimes, these settings are tucked away, difficult to access, and can change every few months. Many users are completely unaware that they exist in the first place. Beyond protecting the integrity of your personal injury claim, tightening your privacy settings can protect you from strangers who you don’t want poking around in your business in the first place.

An important thing to remember is even privately posted information on social networks may be used in a personal injury case. Do not simply rely on a tightly private, locked-down social media account.

When adjusting your privacy settings, be sure to disallow access to your content by people outside of your connections and do not allow your connections to share your content to their friends or family. After an accident or filing of a personal injury claim, avoid “friending” or adding additional connections, as these could be representatives from the insurance company or opposing counsel.

Why You Shouldn’t Share Details of Your Injury on Social Media

It may come to no surprise that the severity of your injury and the circumstances that led to the injury are cornerstones of a personal injury case. When you decide to make a social media post about your injury, you could inadvertently mischaracterize how serious the injury is and how long the injury could affect you.

Your personal injury attorney’s job is to accurately and consistently describe the extent of your injury, how the injury has had a negative impact on your daily routine (work, household tasks, recreational activities), and how the defendant’s actions caused the injury.

The description and cause of your injury that you provide to your friends and family on social media could be in direct conflict with story that your legal team is trying to present. Oftentimes expert witnesses will be called upon to give testimony on your behalf. The last thing you want to do is contradict the expert knowledge of the individuals that your legal team has specifically retained to help describe the extent and cause of your injury.

The defense counsel will attempt to use your own words (or photos) against you if it contradicts the narrative that your legal team has prescribed to. If your injury lawyer has claimed that you have suffered physical injuries and mental anguish from a car crash yet a photo of you dancing jovially with a beer in hand at a friend’s wedding a week after the accident surfaces on social media, your claim may be put in serious jeopardy.

Tips on Social Media Use when Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim

To protect your personal injury case, follow these guidelines when it comes to social media use:

  • Do not post — at all
  • If you must post on social media, be cognizant of the content before hitting Send
  • Before posting, change your privacy settings to ensure that nobody outside of your connections can see your posts or photos
  • Avoid posting angry comments about the defendant
  • Tell your friends and family to avoid posting about your accident and injury

Your legal counsel’s job is to build a strong case and help you achieve the maximum amount of compensation possible for your injuries. There is rarely a situation where posting on social media can help your cause.

Injured in an Accident? Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident, call Thomas J. Henry. Our firm represents clients injured in auto accidents, large truck crashes, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and more. We have experience handling complex cases and have a track record of achieving real results for our injured clients. Contact us today and speak with an attorney about your case. Attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case review.

What Can I Recover if I Win My Texas Personal Injury Case?

When you win your Texas personal injury case, there are a multitude of damages you can recover depending on the facts of your case. From past and future medical expenses to lost wages to pain and suffering, a jury will look at the facts of your case to determine exactly what types of compensation you are entitled to.

Medical Expenses

Bills and expenses for medical services following an accident are recoverable provided you win your personal injury case. This includes:

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Emergency room treatment
  • Ambulance fees
  • Nursing services
  • Medication costs
  • MRIs, x-rays, and other scans
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy

To be awarded these damages you will have to demonstrate that the expenses are related to medical conditions resulting from the accident or injuries being addressed in your personal injury claim. You may also recoup future medical expenses provided your injuries will require ongoing treatment. The total amount of medical expenses is sometimes used to determine whether the overall award of damages is reasonable.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

Lost wages represent the amount of money you would have earned from the time of an injury to the date of settlement. You can also recover loss of earning capacity if you have sustained a long-term disability and will be unable to make as much money as you did before your accident as well as damages for lost opportunities such as an interview or promotion you missed out on while you were recovering.

Aside from basic wage calculations (how much direct pay you lost), you are also able to claim:

  • Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work.
  • Loss of commissions on sales.
  • Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury.
  • Loss of fringe benefits.
  • Loss of pension benefits.

You can even recoup damages for the vacation or sick leave you used while recovering from your injury.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is awarded for the physical pain you suffered due to your injury. Because pain and suffering cannot be measured objectively, the amount the jury chooses to award for pain and suffering is largely discretionary. When considering pain and suffering, the jury will look at past and future damages. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, the jury will consider the nature of the injury, the certainty of pain and future pain, its severity, and how long you are likely to be in pain.

Mental Anguish

Mental anguish, also called emotional distress, deals with damages caused by fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, grief, loss of dignity, and shock following an accident. Mental anguish may also reflect distress caused by a disfigurement or deformation following an accident or injury.

Loss of Consortium

These damages result from the deprivation of the benefits of married life following an accident or injury, such as affection, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, and sexual relations. A value is placed on this loss by considering the couple’s individual life expectancies, whether the marriage was stable, how much care and companionship was bestowed upon the uninjured spouse (or vice versa), and the extent to which the benefits of married life have been lost.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages in that they are not meant to give a plaintiff back something that was lost. They are meant to punish the defendant for conduct that was especially reckless or malicious and demonstrate to society that the conduct displayed by the defendant will not be tolerated.

In order for punitive damages to be awarded, there must first be actual damages. Actual damages are thing s like medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of wages. Without actual damages, punitive damages cannot occur.

Second, you must be able to demonstrate that the defendant acted with gross negligence. This means showing:

  1. That a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would have known that their behavior or conduct involved an extreme degree of risk.
  2. That the defendant knew of the risk but acted with disregard.

The most common example of gross negligence in an auto accident is when a person is injured or killed by a drunk driver. When a drunk driver gets behind the will, they have made a deliberate choice to ignore the obvious risk they could pose to others.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

When is a Death Considered Wrongful in Texas?

A wrongful death claim is filed to seek damages from an individual or company whose negligent or intentional actions caused a person’s death. According to Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code,

“A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”

The family or beneficiaries of the deceased victim can recover several types of damages, both economic and non-economic, in a wrongful death action, including:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Lost future earnings
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering

In cases where the victim’s death is caused by “the willful act or omission or gross negligence of the defendant,” exemplary or punitive damages may be recovered as well. Texas law defines gross negligence as:

“An act or omission 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 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.”

Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased victim may file a wrongful death claim. If a wrongful death claim is not filed within three months following the victim’s death, the deceased individual’s executor or administrator can bring forth an action (unless the spouse, children, and parents request them not to).

If a person, company, or government entity or municipality acts negligently or fails to exercise reasonable care and the result is the fatality of a loved one, you can file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can be filed in response to a wide variety of accidents. Our firm has handled many wrongful death cases caused by:

To learn about survival actions and how they differ from wrongful death actions, read our blog post: How is a Texas wrongful death claim different from a survival action?

Contact an Experienced Texas Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one to an accident is devastating and unimaginable. In addition to the emotional and physical toll on your family, financial hardships caused by medical bills, funeral costs, and the loss of a supporting family member can be incredibly difficult to handle. Wrongful death actions are available for surviving family members to seek compensation from the at-fault party to ensure that you are taken care of financially after your loved one’s passing. By holding negligent individuals or companies responsible for their actions, future tragedies may be avoided due to a change in their policies, procedures, or practices.

At Thomas J. Henry, our team of wrongful death lawyers will work diligently on you and your family’s behalf and exercise all legal options to achieve the compensation and results you deserve. For more than 25 years, our firm has represented many clients suffering from the wrongful loss of a loved one. To learn about your legal options or to explore a wrongful death action, contact our law offices today. Attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free legal consultation.

Will I have to Pay Back My Health Insurance Company if I Receive Damages in My Personal Injury Case?

You’ve been severely injured in an accident caused by a negligent party, and as a result of your personal injury claim, you have recovered compensation for your damages, including for medical costs. Soon after receiving your settlement, your health insurance provider may make a claim for part of your settlement to recoup for the various medical expenses it paid on your behalf.

Usually this right by the insurance company to be reimbursed for these payments is built into the contract you agreed to when you signed up for coverage. The language of these contracts will oftentimes allow the insurance company to seek repayment if your injuries were caused by a negligent third party. In the case of government-provided healthcare benefits, such as Medicaid or Medicare, reimbursement of payments are generally pursued due to provisions found in the laws that allow for these benefits to exist.

In many situations, these health insurance providers will place a lien on the results of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Before you can receive your recovery from your case, the lien placed by the insurance company has to be paid.

The claim of reimbursement is through the concept of subrogation. Subrogation by definition is the act of a party stepping into the shoes of another. Subrogation allows a collateral source (in this case, an insurance company) to make any claim against a third party that the insured party could have. Insurance companies take the place of the insured party to recoup a monetary amount and relieve some of their financial costs.

How Much is My Insurance Company Entitled to Receive from my Recovery?

When an insurance company exercises their right to subrogation, they are entitled to recover the actual amount they paid to cover your medical costs. Although a treatment may cost $5,000, if your insurance company paid $4,500 for the treatment, you will only have to repay the insurer $4,500.

There are many reasons why you should hire an attorney to handle an injury claim. One overlooked benefit is that an experienced attorney can negotiate with your insurance company on how much of your paid medical costs need to be reimbursed. In some cases, an attorney can work with the insurance company and reduce the amount that needs to be repaid. Additionally, your lawyer should be cognizant of the subrogation interests of your health insurance company and work tirelessly to maximize the recovery amount in your claim.

Injured in an Accident? Call Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident, contact Thomas J. Henry today. Our experienced injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your injury claim. Subrogation rights and medical liens can be confusing and difficult to navigate. You need a lawyer that will represent you and protect your rights as an injured victim from the beginning of your case until the end and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our law offices today to speak with an attorney and receive a free case review.

What if I am Partially to Blame for my Injuries Caused by Another Person?

People sustain injuries in automobile accidents every day in the United States. In many cases, it can be tough to tell who is responsible for an accident in the immediate aftermath. For example, “Driver A” pulls out of her driveway without checking for oncoming traffic and is struck by “Driver B” travelling 25 miles above the speed limit. A common misconception is that “Driver A” won’t be able to recover compensation if she is found to be partially at fault for the accident that caused her injuries.

Oftentimes, the percentage of responsibility can be negotiated between the plaintiff and the defendant’s legal team or insurance company before ever reaching trial. If the case goes to trial, it is then up to the jury to decide what percentage of fault the plaintiff has for their injuries.

Depending on the state where the accident occurred, “Driver A” in the example above may still make a recovery, even if a jury determines that she shares fault in the accident that caused her injury. In addition, the total amount that “Driver A” is able to recover can be decided by how at-fault she was determined to be.

Contributory and Comparative Fault Rules Explained

In the United States, there are three types of negligence rules that are recognized depending on the state you are in: pure contributory negligence, pure comparative fault, and modified comparative fault.

Pure contributory negligence is only recognized in four states plus the District of Columbia. In these jurisdictions, if an injured party shares any amount of fault for the accident, they are unable to recover damages. For example, if a plaintiff is found to have been ten percent, five percent, or even one percent at-fault for the accident that caused their injury, they are unable to claim compensation from the other party. Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia recognize pure contributory negligence.

Due to the oftentimes harsh results from the contributory negligence system, the majority of states have adopted a form of comparative fault. The remaining 46 states recognize either pure comparative fault or modified comparative fault.

Thirteen states recognize pure comparative fault, which allows a plaintiff to recover damages if they are partially at fault for the accident. Even if the injured party is found to be 99 percent at fault, they can potentially recover compensation. However, the plaintiff’s award is reduced depending on their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is seeking $10,000 in damages and is found to be 90 percent at fault, they may only recover 10 percent, which is in this case $1,000.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington have pure comparative fault rules.

Texas is one of 33 states in the country that recognize a modified comparative fault rule. This rule, called proportionate responsibility in the state of Texas, allows injured parties to recover damages if they are partially at fault up to a certain percentage. States with modified comparative fault rules have adopted either a 50% Bar Rule or 51% Bar Rule.

  • 51% Bar Rule – An injured party cannot recover damages if they are found to be 51% or more at fault in the accident. If the party is 50 percent at fault, they can make a recovery. Texas is one of 21 states that adheres to the 51% Bar Rule.
    • Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming follow the 51% Bar Rule.
  • 50% Bar Rule – An injured party cannot recover damages if they are found to be 50% or more at fault in the accident. If the party is found to be 49 percent at fault, they can still recover.
    • Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia follow the 50% Bar Rule.

Similar to pure comparative fault rules, the injured plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by their degree of fault. If the injured party under the 51% Bar Rule modified comparative fault rule is found to be 50 percent at fault, for example, their recovery will be half of what the jury awards them.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, call Thomas J. Henry. You may think that your actions contributed to an accident that led to your injuries, but this does not necessarily preclude you from receiving compensation. Alternatively, the at-fault party’s defense team may attempt to shed liability from their client and put it on the injured party to lower the recovery amount. Our team of accident lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Contact us today and speak with attorney about your accident. Let us help you protect your rights as an accident victim and get you the compensation you deserve.

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