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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.

How Will My Attorney Determine Whether I Have a Case Following an Accident?

If you have suffered injury due to the negligence or reckless behavior of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To determine whether or not you have a case, your attorney will examine the facts and evidence of your accident and injuries.

Identifying Your Injuries Following an Accident

The first thing your attorney will advise you to do is to get adequate medical attention. Getting medical treatment for your injuries is not only essential to building your personal injury case, it is also essential to your physical recovery and getting your life back on track.

If you have been involved in an accident, you should go to a doctor that you trust. You want to make sure that all of your injuries and any potential long-term effects are identified. Once your doctor considers your condition to be stable, your attorney will begin to sort through your medical bills in order to determine their financial impact.

Identifying and Proving Negligence and Liability

While you are receiving medical attention, your attorney will be looking at the evidence of your accident to identify and determine liability. In order for you to seek compensation, your attorney will have to show that your injuries were the result of another person’s negligence.

Negligence is defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. While the behavior in question usually consists of actions, it can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.

In attempting to ascertain whether a person’s conduct or behavior lacked reasonable care, your attorney will consider the four elements that are required to establish a prima facie case (a legally required rebuttable presumption). The elements are:

  1. The existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff
  2. The defendant’s breach of that duty
  3. The plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury
  4. Proof that the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury

Determining the Existence of a Legal Duty

While analyzing potential negligence in your case, your attorney will attempt to establish the existence of a legal duty owed to you by the person responsible for your injuries. In law, there are two kinds of duty that can be owed:

  1. Duty of Care: A duty to conduct oneself in a manner that a person of ordinary prudence, acting under similar circumstances, would conduct himself. (i.e. Would a reasonable person have acted the way the defendant acted while operating a motor vehicle if the reasonable person was operating a motor vehicle under circumstances similar to those as the defendant?)
  2. Special Duty: A duty imposed by a statute or case law which may exist either in addition to or in place of general duty of care. (i.e. A statute requiring drug manufacturers to list possible side effects, contraindications, and warnings on product labels.)

To determine whether a general duty of care or a special duty was owed, lawyers and courts look at the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant and identify if a duty was owed based on that relationship.

Proving that Breach of Duty Caused the Injury

The final part of forming a prima facie negligence case is establishing proof that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.  There are two types of causation in cases of negligence which must be addressed:

  • Cause-in-Fact Cause (Actual Cause): Cause-in-fact is pretty straightforward. It simply states that the actions of the defendant are the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. This can normally shown through the “but-for” test. For example, if a bus driver ran a red light and hit a pickup and the driver of the pickup suffered back injuries, the “but-for” test would state “But for the bus driver running the red light, the pickup driver would not have sustained his back injuries.”
  • Proximate Cause (Legal Cause): Proximate cause deals with the question of foreseeability: Are the injuries of the plaintiff suffered a forseeable result of the defendant’s behavior? For example, a drunk driver hitting and killing a pedestrian is a foreseeable consequence of the driver choosing to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, if a drunk driver were to collide with an 18-wheeler carrying volatile chemicals which exploded on impact and caused a poorly maintained utility pole a half-mile away to fall over and injure a pedestrian on a late night walk, it is unlikely the drunk driver would be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries as the collapse of the utility pole is a highly unforeseeable consequence of the defendant’s drunk driving.

Another way to think of proximate cause is that the injury of the plaintiff should be close (proximate) in time and close (proximate) in the “chain of causation” linked to the defendant’s actions.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured in an Accident?

The best thing you can do if you have been injured in an accident is seek immediate medical attention. Your health should always be at the forefront of your mind. Beyond that, contact an experienced attorney for a free consultation.

Thomas J. Henry has been handling personal injury cases for more than 25 years and has a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to review your case. Our attorneys are available to assist you 24/7, nights and weekends


How Quickly Should I Contact an Attorney After I Was Injured by Another Person?

If you suffered an injury due to the negligent or reckless behavior of an individual or company, you can contact an attorney immediately. Contacting an attorney does not mean that you are hiring an attorney, and a free consultation can help you better understand your situation and what you can do to preserve your legal rights.

How Can a Free Legal Consultation Benefit Me?

If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in injury, chances are you have a lot of questions. Nobody expects to be seriously injured in an accident and even fewer people understand the steps necessary to pursue financial compensation. This is not a time to “learn as you go.”

Consulting with an attorney will help you understand the potential pitfalls you may face in your pursuit of fair compensation. An attorney can also help you better understand what information can benefit your claim to recovery and what information may damage your claim.

Finally, having a sit down with an experienced attorney can help you understand the scope of your damages. The injuries you have sustained may not be immediately evident – the attorneys at Thomas J. Henry understand this and will advise that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.

You deserve peace of mind following an accident. The sooner you consult with a knowledgeable attorney, the sooner you will be able to achieve a sense of stability.

What Do I Risk by Waiting to Contact an Attorney?

Many people view contacting an attorney as a last resort – an action that should be taken if the insurer of the negligent party fails to offer fair compensation. This is an unfortunate misconception. While you are taking the “wait and see” approach, the insurance company has representative and lawyers actively working to limit their financial liability.

Insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. While they may seem cooperative while on the phone, behind the scenes they are doing everything they can to undermine your claim.

A common example of this is the “recorded statement.” The adjuster will claim that providing a recorded statement for reference will help them resolve you claim faster. What they won’t tell you is that they will compare the recorded statement to future conversations for inconsistencies, nor will they tell you that the recorded statement you are providing can be used against you in court.

Providing a recorded statement without consulting with an attorney can often result in:

  • Unintentional inconsistencies – Accidents that result in injury are hectic and disorienting. As time moves on, you will likely remember less and less about the events leading up to and following an accident. When an insurance company goes back to compare all the statements you made over a period of weeks or months, they will claim that any inconsistencies were attempts by you to mislead the company and label them as lies before a judge or a jury.
  • Exposure to trick questions– Representatives often ask trick questions or word their inquiries in a way meant to trick or trap you. You may even be pressured into agreeing to facts that are not completely accurate just to get the representative off your back. Even an aggravated response of “I don’t know, maybe” or “I guess” can come back to haunt you later.
  • Exposure to leading statements – Even a statement that seems innocent on its surface can damage your claim depending on your response. For example, by giving a positive response to statements like “I hope your back is starting to feel a bit better” or “Wow, it’s a miracle you weren’t more seriously injured”, you could be tricked into understating the severity of your injuries.
  • Failure to report undiagnosed injuries – Most doctors agree that the full extent of any injuries suffered in an accident may not be evident until several days after the accident has occurred. If a claims adjuster contacts you within 24 hours of an accident and asks about your injuries, chances are you will not be able to provide a complete list of injuries. This will not stop the insurance company from questioning and attempting to dismiss any injuries that became symptomatic after that initial recorded statement was made.
  • Provide material for cross-examination – By the time deposition or trial occurs, chances are the defense counsel will have reviewed your recorded statements dozens of times. They will craft questions for cross-examination with the understanding that you likely don’t remember everything you said or agreed to in that recorded statement. And when you misremember or contradict yourself in a moment of confusion, they will try to claim your misstatement proves your testimony is not credible.

When Should I Contact an Attorney?

  1. When a serious injury or death occurred. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an accident, contact an attorney immediately. Hiring an attorney in a timely manner can help protect your rights and ensure that essential evidence is preserved. Serious injuries include broken bones, soft tissue damage, head and face injuries, neck and back injuries, or any other injury requiring hospitalization.
  2. When a loss of wages occurs. If an accident has cost you time away from work and resulted in lost income, you may be able to recover those lost wages from the responsible party.
  3. When a commercial vehicle is involved. If you were involved in an accident that involved a commercial vehicle, such as a delivery truck or an 18-wheeler, it is better to err on the side of caution. Accidents involving company vehicles can become complicated very quickly as company vehicles are subject to additional laws and regulations. You need an attorney who has the experience and resources to navigate these complex cases.
  4. When there is contested liability. If there is any dispute about who caused the accident, an attorney can help you make sure that any fault determinations are correct. In Texas, civil litigation is decided on preponderance of evidence. This means that a party found to be 51% liable or more is unable to recover damages. Additionally, insurance companies will often dispute liability and assert their policyholder was not entirely responsible for a crash to mitigate payouts.
  5. When you have questions. If you are ever unsure about your rights following an accident or have questions about how you should proceed, contact Thomas J. Henry for a free consultation. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys will review your case and help you determine if legal representation is right for you. Our attorneys are available to assist you 24/7, nights and weekends

Where can my Texas Personal Injury Case be Filed?

Personal injury lawsuits can be filed in what is referred to as a proper or appropriate venue. An appropriate venue is a city or county that is connected to or pertaining to your case under the rules of civil procedure and venue statute in Texas.

In general, the venue in which a lawsuit can be brought will be determined by one of the following:

  • The county in which the accident or event occurred
  • The county in which the adverse individual, or defendant, lives
  • The county in which the defendant company or business has its principal office or headquarters

For example, if a motorist is hit by a semi-truck driver on a cell phone in “County A,” but the trucking company’s principal office is located in “County B,” your legal counsel will have options on where to file your personal injury lawsuit.

Defendants in a lawsuit can dispute the chosen venue and obtain a transfer in venue from the court if the transfer would be “for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and in the interest of justice.”  You can view Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 15.002(b) here along with additional information regarding proper venue.

Some lawsuits include more than one defendant, which can open up additional venue options for your legal team. Our firm has handled many types of personal injury cases in nearly every county in the state of Texas, and we will go the extra mile to find the best and most appropriate venue to try your case.

How the Right Venue is Selected for Your Case

Every personal injury case is different, and every jury is unique. There are no guarantees in an injury lawsuit, but there are venues that are historically more beneficial to injured plaintiffs. Some venues in Texas, for example, have a better record of positive results and higher jury awards compared to others in the state. This is why it is important to hire a Texas personal injury attorney that knows about the intricacies of each county and venue and where to file suit.

Over the past two decades, our law firm has handled personal injury cases across the entire state of Texas and its 254 counties. Thomas J. Henry has experience determining the best venue for injured clients, putting them in the best position to win their case and achieve the maximum amount of compensation possible. However, filing a lawsuit in a beneficial venue means very little if you are not represented by a lawyer with trial experience or the backing of extensive legal and financial resources to properly develop your case.

Have you Been Injured in an Accident?

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to an individual or company’s negligent actions, call Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. Our law firm of more than 100 attorneys has represented clients across the state of Texas and the entire country. Experience matters when it comes to handling complex personal injury cases, and our lawyers have a proven record of achieving real results for our injured clients. Regardless of where your personal injury case is filed, our attorneys will fight tirelessly on your behalf from day one until resolution.

Contact our law offices today and speak with an attorney. Our lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case review.

What Documents Should I Bring to My First Meeting With an Attorney?

When meeting with a lawyer for the first time after an auto accident, there are things you can bring with you that can help expedite the process and make it easier for an attorney to evaluate your claim.

Before your meeting, gather all of the evidence you collected from the accident and anything that may be related to your injuries, such as:

  • Photographs of the accident scene, damage to your car and other vehicles involved, your injuries, or anything else pertaining to the incident
  • Copy of a police report or accident report
  • List of names, phone numbers, or addresses of witnesses you spoke with at the scene
  • Medical records

If you received medical attention after your accident, bring any records or documents showing the procedures or treatment you had completed, the names and contact information of the doctors or medical professionals you saw, what future treatment may be recommended, and the costs associated with your care. In addition, bring medical and auto insurance information with you, if you have them.

Other documents that you may have that you should bring to your first meeting with a lawyer include:

  • Letters or emails you received from your insurer or the other driver’s insurer
  • Name and phone number of the at-fault driver from the accident (and their insurance company’s information)
  • Contact information of any insurance company or claims adjusters that you have spoken with
  • Receipts of anything you purchased to remedy an injury or repair due to the accident

In general, bring any evidence, documents, or information related to your injuries and the accident with you to your initial consultation with your attorney. The more information you bring, the quicker and easier your lawyer can evaluate your case and provide you with the next steps to take. To keep the documents organized and to avoid losing anything, keep all of these in an envelope or folder that you can then bring with you to the law office (or wherever you meet your attorney).

What Should I Ask During a Legal Consultation?

During your initial meeting with an injury attorney, you will be asked many questions regarding the accident and the injuries you sustained. You should also be prepared to ask the attorney questions of your own. It can be helpful to create a list of questions you have for the attorney prior to the meeting so you don’t forget anything when you get there.

Important questions to ask your prospective accident attorney include:

  • How long have you been practicing law in this practice area?
  • What is your track record of succeeding in these cases?
  • Do you have trial experience?
  • How much will it cost to hire you?

One of the most important questions to ask your lawyer is how they charge for services and if a consultation costs you anything upfront. Our firm offers free case reviews and charges on a contingency basis. Learn about Thomas J. Henry’s “No Fee Guarantee” in our blog post: How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our team of accident lawyers is available 24/7, nights and weekends to speak with you and set up a free initial legal consultation. Thomas J. Henry has represented severely injured clients from across the country and helped them achieve the compensation they deserve. Let us help you protect your rights as an accident victim and secure the real results you need.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer before Finishing Medical Treatment?

Have you been involved in an accident and suffered an injury that requires medical treatment? When you are considering whether to accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company, there are many factors that can affect your decision.

Generally, we advise injured people to seek legal counsel with an experienced injury attorney before dealing with insurance companies. Sometimes it may seem that the insurance company cooperating with you and presenting you with fair settlement offers. Retaining an attorney can help you maximize your compensation and protect your rights.

Why You Should Not Accept a Settlement Offer

Insurance company claims adjusters aim to pay out as little as possible in every claim. Simply put, it is their job to try and settle a claim as quickly as possible for the smallest amount possible. Adjusters will reach out to injured individuals (who may not have had time to retain an attorney yet) in hopes to resolve the issue for a fraction of what the claim may actually be worth.

When you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, you will not be able to collect any further compensation. After accepting the settlement, you may discover additional medical problems or require more surgeries, treatment, and therapy. Unfortunately, if you took a settlement, you cannot be compensated for these medical costs. This is one of the biggest factors in determining whether or not to accept an early settlement offer from an insurance company.

It is important to remember that serious injuries may become apparent days, weeks, or months after an accident occurs. Seek medical attention immediately after an accident and continue to monitor your health for the days and weeks that follow. Keeping a record of your condition can help protect your rights as an accident victim and receive the compensation you need. This is why it may be beneficial to reject any early settlement offers from an adjuster and to hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney will meet with you, your doctors, and a life care planner to determine how much future medical care may cost you.

Another thing to consider is how an injury has affected your ability to return to work. You are entitled to receive compensation for your past and future lost wages after being injured in an accident. If a settlement offer does not take those damages into account, you should not accept that offer. A lawyer can help negotiate on your behalf and make sure the insurance company is acting in your best interests.

Accepting an Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer

Although we believe the best way to protect your rights as an accident victim and maximize your recovery is to contact a lawyer, there may be cases that you can handle on your own. In a relatively minor accident with a small amount of damages, you could attempt to negotiate with the insurance adjusters directly and quickly. Remember: insurance adjusters are trained to handle claims negotiations — and you are not. If you fear being taken advantage of or not receiving a sufficient settlement to cover your damages, our firm implores you to seek out an injury attorney to represent you.

In situations where your case is complex, results in catastrophic injuries, or involves a large business or corporation, you should hire an injury lawyer immediately to represent you and never negotiate with insurance adjusters by yourself.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney

Making these decisions on your own can be confusing and difficult. An experienced injury attorney can help protect your rights and make sure the insurance company is looking after your well-being and best interests. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact Thomas J. Henry today for a free case consultation.

What are some Common Causes of Brain Injuries?

Typically, people think of brain injuries as being caused by trauma. However, brain injuries can also be the result of a non-traumatic incident. In general, brain injuries are classified into two categories: traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

By definition, a traumatic brain injury is a disruption of brain function resulting from a blow, bump, jolt, or penetration to the head.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2006 and 2010 in the United States, the majority of traumatic brain injuries were caused by four different events: falls, motor vehicle accidents, assault, or struck by/against an object.

  • Falls — Falls accounted for 40 percent of all TBIs between 2006 and 2010. Children and the elderly population are especially susceptible to injuries from a fall. Fifty-five percent of TBIs in children age 0 to 14 were caused by falls, and 81 percent of TBIs in people over the age of 64 were caused by falls.
  • Accidental hit by object — Unintentional blunt trauma accounted for 15.5 percent of traumatic brain injuries. In children under the age of 15, blunt trauma was the cause of TBI in 24 percent of cases. Oftentimes these injuries occur on the job, such as at a construction site or oilfield.
  • Motor vehicle crashes — Motor vehicle crashes accounted for 14 percent of traumatic brain injuries. However, approximately one out of four TBI-related deaths between 2006 and 2010 were the result of an auto accident.
  • Assault — Approximately 10 percent of TBIs were caused by assault, and about 75 percent of these injuries occurred in people between the age of 15 and 44.

Children participating in sports and other recreational activities are susceptible to traumatic brain injuries, especially concussions. According to the CDC, an estimated 329,290 children were diagnosed and treated in an emergency department for a concussion or TBI caused by a sports or recreation-related injury in 2012. Emergency department visits for these injuries have more than doubled among children under the age of 19 between 2001 and 2012.

Learn more about TBIs in our blog post: What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Causes of Acquired Brain Injuries

An acquired brain injury is typically caused by a severe medical event, medical condition or disease, near drowning event, tumors, hazardous chemicals, or medical errors rather than a physical strike. An estimated 795,000 people suffer from an acquired brain injury each year in the United States.

Common causes of acquired brain injuries include:

  • Errors in medical treatment
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Medical conditions or diseases
  • Near drowning event
  • Severe medical events (stroke, cardiac arrest)
  • Tumors

Anoxic or hypoxic brain injuries can be caused by a disruption in the brain due to an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive any oxygen. A hypoxic brain injury occurs when the brain receives some, but not enough for the brain to fully function. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain cells can be damaged and lost permanently. The extent and severity of the damage depends on how long the oxygen deprivation lasts.

Hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries can be caused by a crushed windpipe, inhalation of smoke or other harmful chemicals, electrocution, anesthesia complications, or problems with a mechanical ventilator. These types of brain injuries can be the result of improper medical care or medical malpractice, such as not receiving enough oxygen during surgery or a procedure.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

Knowing the warning signs of a traumatic brain injury can improve the recovery process and increase the chance of positive outcomes. Some symptoms are easily recognizable, quick to find, and can resolve within days. However, more severe TBIs are much more difficult to notice and can cause symptoms that last for weeks, months, or years.

The following symptoms may indicate a severe traumatic brain injury and may require immediate medical attention:

  • Severe headache that gets worse and does not resolve
  • Weakness and numbness
  • Dizziness or loss of vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness or confusion
  • One pupil larger than the other (black part of the eye)
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Seizures and convulsions

Although non-traumatic or acquired brain injuries share many symptoms with TBIs, other symptoms may include:

  • Disruption of decision-making tasks
  • Difficulty forming words or using the correct word
  • Visual impairments
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weakness in the extremities

In severe cases, brain injuries can result in coma, a permanent vegetative state, or even death.

Contact an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our injury attorneys have experience handling cases involving clients with brain injuries of all types and levels of severity. Brain injuries are one of the most devastating injuries a person can sustain. These injuries can cause financial hardships in addition to the physical, mental, and emotional pain associated with the injury. You deserve to be compensated for your medical bills, future and past lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish that you have been put through.

Call our experienced injury attorneys today for a free legal consultation. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

What Types of Injuries can Result in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas?

Personal injury lawsuits in Texas involve an injured person seeking compensation due to the negligence of an individual, company, business, or corporation.

The most common type of injury is a physical injury, which can be very broad and range in severity. Cuts, bruises, broken bones, and internal injuries are all commonly occurring injuries resulting from an accident, such as a car crash or workplace incident. However, a physical injury of any severity can be accompanied by a serious psychological or mental injury as well. If someone else caused your physical injury or psychological injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

The mechanisms or causes of injuries are as numerous as the types of injuries that can result from an accident. Motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, defective medical devices, and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs can all cause significant injuries. In some cases, these accidents can result in life-altering catastrophic injuries.

Defining Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries are generally characterized as causing long-term or permanent disability, disfigurement, or pain that results in years of medical care and rehabilitation. Victims suffering from a catastrophic injury likely cannot return to work and are unable to perform activities in their normal, daily routine.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Loss of limb
  • Eye damage resulting in permanent vision loss
  • Internal organ damage
  • Neurological damage

To help describe the severity of a catastrophic injury and the extent of medical care that will be required in the future, our firm retains highly qualified medical experts to provide testimony. The invaluable testimony brought forth by an expert witness can make a significant difference in achieving a positive result in any personal injury case. Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding the best experts from across the country to retain in our client’s cases.

Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The party found liable in a personal injury lawsuit are required to pay damages to compensate the injured victim. In personal injury cases involving a catastrophic injury, the damage amounts are oftentimes larger. These cases are also more complex and elaborate, making your decision of who to hire to represent you even more important. An experienced and aggressive personal injury firm will handle your case with care and put you in the best position possible to achieve the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Recoverable damages in a personal injury case may include:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of past and future earnings
  • Medical costs (surgeries, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and other treatments)
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability

As an Accident Victim, What Should You Do First?

After suffering an injury in an accident, there are steps you can take to protect your well-being and your rights as an injured victim.

  1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  2. Contact the police and file a report
  3. Obtain names and contact information from any witnesses to the accident
  4. Take pictures, secure evidence, and record facts regarding the accident and your injuries
  5. Contact an injury attorney at your earliest convenience

Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call and provide you with the assistance you need.

Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?

A common question injured people have following an accident is “how do I know if I have a personal injury case?” At Thomas J. Henry, our injury attorneys can help you determine if you have a valid case to pursue by providing you with a free legal consultation, or case review. In this review, we will ask you questions about your injury and facts surrounding the accident that caused your injury. Additionally, we may conduct our own investigation and research into the potentially negligent or reckless parties that could be responsible for your injury.

Our personal injury lawyers will provide you with an honest and knowledgeable assessment of your situation and let you know if you have a case. We have experience handling a multitude of different injury cases and our attorneys are prepared to start building your case immediately. If you have been injured, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys today to start your free case review.

If you have decided to pursue your injury claim, find out how much it costs to hire a personal injury attorney.