Posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2018 at 4:41 am
Accidents happen all the time, but each one is unique. In some accidents, injuries to the people involved may never happen at all, or may be so insignificant that they will never lead to a personal injury claim being filed. At the other end of the scale, in some accidents, the injuries may be so horrific that one or more victims may be so badly injured that their injuries could disadvantage them for life, or even lead to their death.
Apart from the scale of seriousness of the injuries received in an accident is the question of who was to blame. Many accidents may not be clear cut. Was the accident solely one person’s fault? Was more than one person to blame? If you were injured and are contemplating filing a personal injury claim, one of the first things that a defendant’s insurer will probably do is try and implicate you in the accident. The insurer may try and do this whether you know whether you shared some of the fault or not. If you know that you were not at fault or are not sure whether you were to blame for at least some of the reasons why the accident took place, it is safer not to admit fault at all. Your personal injury accident attorney will help you decide exactly how to proceed with the claim to maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Texas law on comparative negligence
All states have laws that clarify who can receive what in a shared personal injury case. In some states, like Virginia, if you are judged to have had any part of the blame at all, even 1% then you will not be allowed to obtain any personal injury compensation. At the other end of the scale, pure comparative negligence rules allow a plaintiff to receive a percentage of compensation calculated on the percentage blame. This is usually decided by a judge if the case goes to court.
In Texas, the law follows what is called the modified comparative negligence rule. The defendant must be at least 50% to blame for the accident. To put this another way, if you were found to be 51% to blame, you cannot obtain compensation. If you were found to be 49% to blame, then you will be awarded 51% of the compensation payment that you originally claimed.
Basically, as long as you were not more than 50% to blame for the accident that caused your injuries, you should be awarded a percentage of the original amount claimed according to the final percentage blame which it is decided is yours.
The only way to prevent an aggressive insurer for convincing a court (if it comes to that) that you were to blame for the accident that caused the injuries you are claiming for is to get help from an experienced injury lawyer. The attorney will have dealt with claims like yours before and will probably have dealt with the insurer who is now trying to evade having to pay out any compensation at all if they can get away with it.
As with all personal injury claims, the more evidence you have that backs up your claim and negates the allegations that the defendant and his / her insurance adjuster is making, the more likely you will be able to obtain the compensation you need to get on with your life.
Comparative negligence when there is more than one defendant
Comparative negligence rules also apply when there is more than one defendant. For example, if you have been injured in a bus accident, part of the blame may be the way the bus driver handled the bus at the time of the accident, but perhaps another vehicle driver was also partly to blame, or the bus company itself. Personal injury compensation depends on identifying exactly who was at fault in an accident and to what extent.
Assuming that you, in this bus accident example, were not to blame at all, then the percentage blame must be divided between the bus driver and the other party. The total percentage must come to 100%. If the claim is for a total of $10,000 and it is decided that the bus driver was 60% at fault and another driver was 40% at fault, then if the claim is successful, the bus driver’s insurer would be liable for $60,000 and the other driver’s insurer $40,000.
No personal injury case is quite like any other and few are straightforward. If you are injured anywhere in San Antonio or the surrounding area, you should contact the Injury lawyer San Antonio as soon as you are able to discuss your legal options.
Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2018 at 11:38 pm
The latest in a string of Amtrak train crashes has yet again focused the public’s attention, as well as that of investigators, on the rail company’s safety record, which is abysmal. It doesn’t matter what is the actual reason for each particular crash, it seems that Amtrak management appears to be attempting to dodge bullets headed at it rather than seriously address its own safety procedures.
The key seems to be getting an electronic safety program called “Positive Train Control” actually working properly. It has only been partially installed and it appears that this just isn’t good enough to prevent trains going off the rails, crashing into trains and other vehicles and lives lost or ruined because of injury.
The latest crash took place in South Carolina on February 8th when Train 91 from Penn Station, bound for Florida, was accidentally derailed from the main line and crashed head on into a CSX freight train which was parked on a siding. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators found that in this instance that CSX crew members failed to reverse the track switch that had allowed the freight train to divert off the main line on to the siding. It also appears that there was a message to dispatchers that indeed the switch had been activated. It also appears from the preliminary results of the NTSB investigation that signals in the vicinity were not working because of lack of maintenance.
The South Carolina crash resulted in the deaths of the train’s engineer and a conductor, as well as injuries most of which, thankfully, were relatively minor, to more than100 passengers.
Amtrak management has put the blame for the latest crash on CSX, which has the contract for servicing the tracks and signals. However, critics have claimed that the recent crash is a symptom of what they say is a culture of lax safety measures at Amtrak. They say that Amtrak has had plenty of time to get Positive Train Control up and running on the rail network and properly operating this would have prevented the most recent crash, as well as most of the others. That includes the January 2018 Washington state crash when an Amtrak train reportedly derailed after negotiating a bend at more than twice the recommended speed.
Positive Train Control is a complex system that integrates sensors providing information about a train’s location and speed with signals and track switches. It is designed to automatically slow down or stop a train if there is any danger of a collision or derailment.
For example, Positive Train Control should have automatically prevented the train that was traveling too fast around the bend in Washington from reaching the speed that it did – more than 50 mph more than recommended. However, it was not turned on, as it was not yet operational. The investigators after that crash questioned why the engineer and conductor appeared to be unaware of their location and that they should have reduced speed before entering the bend. Positive Train Control is supposed to over-ride engineers and conductors if there is a discrepancy between the decisions they make and the potential for an accident as detected by information available to it.
It’s not as if Positive Train Control as a concept is totally new. It was conceptualized back in the 1960s. Congress gave railroad companies until 2015 to fully implement the system, but this was then extended to the end of 2018. It may not be until 2020 that Positive Train Control is fully implemented everywhere and even then there may be a period in which refinements and adjustments are necessary to ensure it is fully operational.
In the meantime, more accidents may be inevitable. Train crashes are potentially very serious because of the number of passengers involved and the size and weight of the train. If you, or a member of your family, are unfortunate enough to be injured in any kind of rail or train accident anywhere in Texas, you should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney at the Patino Law Firm in San Antonio. You may be entitled to full and fair compensation from the rail company or whoever was to blame for the accident that caused your injuries.
Posted on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 at 8:52 pm
If you have been considering filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against another person, business or organization, you should ask your attorney about the chances of the lawsuit going to trial and what might be involved if it does.
Most personal injury claims never get to the stage where a trial is called for. In fact, often times, even a lawsuit is never filed because a satisfactory settlement has already been negotiated.
A personal injury attorney will try hard to make sure that a trial is unnecessary and a successful compensation payment is made before a trial takes place. Most personal injury attorneys will carefully assess the circumstances of a personal injury case and in particular the evidence that might be available which can support the claim. The more convincing the evidence is, the less likely that there will be a need for a trial.
A personal injury claim may eventually go to trial because the attorney who represents you thinks that the claim is more likely to be won if a trial takes place or because a more generous compensation payment may be awarded if a trial takes place.
A personal injury trial is not to be taken lightly. Judges do not like their time wasted and attorneys cannot afford to waste their time and money, either, especially because the vast majority of them, like our San Antonio lawyers, work on contingency, i.e. are not paid unless there is a satisfactory outcome for the plaintiff. The legal fees come out of the compensation payment. No win, no fee.
Basically, a trial takes place when no satisfactory agreement can be arranged between you, the plaintiff and your attorney and the defendant, his or her insurer and their attorney. The trial will be heard by a judge and possibly a jury and provides an independent assessment of the circumstances surrounding the injury and how it was caused, together with supporting evidence. It is also an opportunity for the defendant to show that he or she was not responsible or that negligence was not involved. The trial decision will also decide on the eventual payment to be made, if any, to the injured party.
There are a number of steps involved in a complete personal injury trial and it is worthwhile you, as the plaintiff, becoming familiar with them.
Step 1 The jury, if any, is determined. This is not a pre-determined process, as both the plaintiff and defendant get to see who is on the list drawn up in advance and may reject any of the suggested jurors if there is any suggestion that they could be biased against either party.
Step 2 The attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant make opening statements outlining their client’s side of the case. Usually, the plaintiff’s attorney makes the introductory opening statement and because it deals with the reason why a claim has been submitted in the first place may take longer than the other opening statement by the defendant’s attorney. In a few cases, there is more than one defendant, in which case each defendant has an independent opening statement made on their behalf, rebutting the plaintiff’s case.
Step 3 This is when any witnesses that are available give their testimony under oath and may be cross examined by the opposing side’s attorney. As with the opening statement, the plaintiff usually has the first opportunity to bring forth witnesses and make available for inspection other physical evidence, such as photos, medical statements etc. Each witness is first questioned by the attorney representing the side that called the witness, then cross examined by the opposing attorney. Each side may choose to rebut any of the opposing side’s witness statements or question the validity of any other evidence provided.
Step 4 The closing statements come after each side has “rested” with respect to witnesses and other evidence. It is an opportunity for the main points to be stressed and anything that has been raised during the trial incorporated in such a way to enhance the side that is making the closing statement.
Step 5 The jury is given instructions that are needed to come to a verdict regarding the personal injury case. This is usually based on deciding on the “preponderance” of evidence that points one way or another. The jury members then get together to discuss the case. This can take anything from a few hours to a few weeks. In a Texas personal injury trial, a majority of 10, rather than unanimity, is all that is needed for a verdict.
When a decision is made, Step 6 involves the judge announcing the verdict, i.e. whether the plaintiff was justified in suing the defendant and how much should be awarded.
Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Nuedexta, a drug manufactured by the Southern California based company Avanir, has been heavily promoted as a means of dealing with a number of neurological disorders, especially pseudobulbar affect (PBA). However, despite the drug having FDA approval, it has been implicated in 51 deaths, 113 hospitalizations and over 1,000 reports of adverse effects. Even during clinical trials before the drug was cleared for release by the FDA, it was implicated in 3 deaths.
Despite PBA being relatively uncommon amongst the elderly in nursing homes together with doubts about the synergistic effects of Nuedexta when taken with other more commonly taken medications, the drug has been aggressively promoted to nursing homes and doctors.
Now, following a CNN investigation into Avanir and Nuedexta, the leading non-profit organization that supports those with Alzheimer’s and their families the Alzheimer’s association, has curtailed funding donations from the company. Los Angeles City is also carrying out its own probe into the use of the drug in L.A. nursing homes and the way the drug is promoted.
Avanir has only recently won a patent war with its competitors over generic versions of the drug and it is thought that the aggressive marketing is linked to an attempt by the company to balance its books after spending up big in the court battles.
The main criticism of Avanir is that it is winning influence amongst doctors and nursing home management by providing cash incentives if they help their organizations purchase the drug. In one survey, it was shown that of the prescriptions made by doctors, over half of them had already been given financial inducements by Avanir.
The tactic seems to have been working as the sale of Nuedexta has increased by some 400% over the last few years since it was released. In 2012, for example, a mere 2.83 million pills were prescribed, but by 2016, nearly 14 million Nuedexta pills were prescribed.
Much of the money made available for purchase of Nuedexta comes from the federal government through Medicare payments.
No clear evidence that Nuedexta is needed in nursing homes
Although there is no detailed evidence to show what the use of Nuedexta is like in San Antonio nursing homes is like, there is nothing to indicate that Texas nursing home managements have taken a more cautious line over purchasing the drug, despite the fact that there is no clear evidence that Nuedexta does any elderly nursing home residents any good.
In fact, the evidence elsewhere is that the drug could be doing more harm than good, unless the residents it is provided for suffer from both dementia as well as PBA. It has been reported that PBA is not common in any nursing home. Nursing home residents have been reported to have a higher incidence of falling over, confusion and dizzy spells.
The concern with Nuedexta’s use in nursing homes, in addition to the unproven benefits for residents, is that its application will be poorly carried out by untrained staff who are a feature in many nursing homes.
Avanir has also been accused of deliberately targeting advocacy groups for dementia and Alzheimer’s even though there is no evidence that the drug it makes has any effects on these afflictions.
If you have an elderly relative in a San Antonio nursing home or residential care facility it may be worth asking the management at the facility whether it is using Nuedexta and if it is whether it is one of the medications being given to your relative. Does your relative suffer from PBA, or show signs of dementia? Find out whether the relative has been exhibiting any of the characteristic symptoms of unnecessary use of Nuedexta, such as dizziness, confusion and falling over. There is no need for your relative to be given Nuedexta unless he or she has been suffering from PBA. Talk to a nursing home abuse attorney at Patino Law Office in San Antonio to find out what your legal options are.
Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 11:20 pm
Truck accidents cause more serious injuries and fatalities on U.S. highways than any other type of vehicle. That includes highways in Texas too. Most people tend to think of the typical truck accident as a crash involving an eighteen wheeler, but there are smaller truck, too whose drivers and company profits are under the same sort of pressure as the larger trucks. One particular company that seems to stand out in terms of frequency of accident reports is UPS. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s (FMCSA’s) company snapshot, UPS trucks were involved in 60 fatal accidents alone in the last two years and nearly 700 more where serious injuries were involved.
UPS is admittedly a big company. It has a national delivery fleet of around 100,000 vehicles and beyond the U.S. it has a huge international presence, serving 220 individual countries and revenue in the billions of dollars annually. Considering the size of the organization and the number of parcels that need to get from one place to another in the U.S. it’s not surprising that there are a large number of accidents involving these trucks.
Why do UPS trucks cause serious accidents?
Some of the reasons why UPS trucks are involved in so many serious accidents are the same as for any trucks. The typical truck accident is caused by driver error rather than a fault in the company or defective parts, but the fact is that in any encounter between a large truck and a smaller vehicle such as the typical auto or even a SUV, the smaller vehicle is almost always going to come off worse. In fact, trucks are not necessarily more crash happy than any other type of vehicle, it’s just that they are so much heavier and larger in size than anything else on the highway.
Large, heavy trucks are not the cause of an accident. You can’t blame an accident on the truck or even the model of the truck. Truck recalls because of known defects are very rare. It is almost always something the driver has done that is the immediate cause of a crash. If UPS trucks are involved in highway accidents, then an analysis of what US drivers are doing wrong is necessary.
Truck drivers, including UPS truck drivers, primarily cause accidents because they:
- are too tired to concentrate on driving safely;
- are driving too fast for the conditions: note this is not the same as driving over the speed limit;
- are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication that affects their ability to drive safely;
- make poor decisions about passing or lane changing;
- do not see a vehicle because of the truck’s blind spot;
- fail to yield the right of way at an intersection;
- are distracted by something, a cell phone call, texting while driving, eating or drinking, checking the GPS;
- are inexperienced or unqualified to drive a large truck safely;
- are suffering from psychological or emotional stress.
UPS drivers are under a lot of pressure to get their load of parcels delivered as fast as possible. Particularly in large states like Texas, that means driving for very large distances for long periods of time. The temptations to stay behind the wheel for longer than is safe as well as to drive faster than is safe are very real.
UPS drivers are not always to blame for accidents. Occasionally, defective parts let the truck down. Components like brakes, tires and steering are some of the commonest reasons for accidents that are not related to the way the driver is driving.
What can be done to avoid a UPS truck accident?
If you are behind a UPS truck, keep a safe distance behind it and only pass when you are sure it is safe to do so. Watch the way the truck is being driven. If the truck driver is tired, on drugs, or using his or her cell phone their driving may be erratic. You may have to swerve to avoid the truck when passing it id it veers out towards you.
If you are involved in a UPS truck accident, and are sure it was the truck driver’s fault, or at least not your fault, you may be eligible for compensation. Talk to a truck accident attorney such as one at Injury Lawyer San Antonio to discuss your legal options. A successful personal injury claim will help pay for any damage to your vehicle, pay medical expenses if injured and compensate for any lost earnings. Ring 210-646-9100 for an appointment.
Posted on Friday, November 3rd, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Finding yourself injured due to someone else’s negligence isn’t just a fact of life.
While you may want to move on after an injury, insurance and hospital bills might not allow you to. A personal injury attorney in San Antonio can help you manage your life post-injury.
Speaking to a qualified legal professional can alleviate your concerns and help you navigate your options. Finding yourself managing a case in small claims court or dealing with an uncooperative insurance company can be a headache for the inexperienced.
Here are some reasons why you might want to seek help from a personal injury attorney San Antonio.
The average person who suffers a personal injury isn’t going to be thinking about the legal ramifications immediately after the event. It may be hard to put into perspective who is at fault, even if it’s clear to an objective party.
An experienced personal injury lawyer has probably seen a case like yours before. They can give a quick assessment of what steps need to be taken and in what order.
They are also experienced in dealing with insurance companies. They can advise you on what kinds of things companies are going to want to avoid paying out for and how to ensure you can get what you deserve.
Websites for personal injury lawyers often list testimonials and examples of previous cases. Call a law office and ask about details to get find out what kind of approach they will take. Read reviews to find the right personal injury lawyer for your case.
It can be time-consuming to raise a family, work a job and try building a case for your personal injury claim. The hours of calling insurance and local bureaucrats, looking at records, and calling insurance adjusters can take up days of your time.
The paperwork required for many legal claims can snag most people. There are so many hoops to jump through. Just getting together the paperwork to find lost wages can take weeks.
If this is your first time, it can be easy to make a mistake that leaves a hole in your case for insurance adjusters to take advantage of.
Even if you know the ropes, there might not be enough time in your day to handle this case with all of your other responsibilities.
Finding the right personal injury attorney San Antonio can put your mind at ease and ensure the work will be done right the first time.
It can be very frustrating if an insurance adjuster offers you an unfair settlement, especially after you’ve done your due diligence. After doing all the work of gathering the right paperwork and doing the legwork to track down all the right bureaucrats, you may want to give in.
An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to respond to an offer.
Personal injury attorneys regularly handle minor arbitration and mediation that are daunting to the average person.
After experiencing a personal injury, you may just want to have it over with rather than go through the pain of dealing with the other party.
The right personal injury attorney San Antonio can handle all of this for you and ensure you receive a fair settlement. Their experience with dispute resolution will come in handy when you have to go back in and negotiate with lawyers.
Should the issue escalate, your attorney can assess the risks of going to trial and advise you on your next steps.
Representing yourself is a pretty reliable way to ensure that you won’t get the outcome that you’re hoping for. The odds just aren’t in your favor.
Trials can drag on for months at a time and the fatigue can weigh on your bank account and your ability to stay focused. Most attorneys handle multiple cases at a time and can easily juggle the work of your trial with the rest of their workload.
They will put together an efficient and tight case that will succinctly summarize your case for a judge or jury. Details that you might think are important may not prove important in a court of law.
Your personal injury attorney will know this and help navigate the pitfalls common to people who might try to represent themselves. Relying on an attorney will allow you to see an outcome that you’re happy with, without the frustration of learning the ins and outs of courtroom procedure.
It’s a matter of fact that people who hire a personal injury attorney are not only more likely to win but often receive higher awards in their settlement. Once fees are deducted, most claimants still walk away better off than those who don’t hire an attorney.
Get to know what kinds of fees your lawyer has and see whether or not an attorney is good for your case. It’s likely going to be the choice that makes the difference between whether you can get some help covering high medical bills or not.
Call the offices of a personal injury attorney San Antonio and see what kinds of settlements they’ve reached in similar cases. Compare your needs with their average settlement price.
Compare that against how much the attorney costs and determine which attorney is right for you.
Finding The Right Personal Injury Attorney San Antonio
Finding the right personal injury attorney can make the difference between winning and losing your right to get back to your life. You’ll find most personal injury attorneys are able to work within any budget. The majority will not collect a fee unless you’re given an award.
Rather than put all of your time into building a case, let an experienced personal injury attorney help you deal with the medical bills and lost wages you’ve experienced from your injury.
Whether you experienced a dog bite or were struck by another driver, there is a personal injury attorney San Antonio ready to handle any type of case. Find them today!
Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 at 3:06 am
Making a personal injury claim following an oilfield accident can be an uphill struggle. You’ve had a unique experience and you need legal services that are sympathetic to what you’ve been through.
You need a knowledgeable lawyer who knows how to get tough with the kind of legal team you might be up against.
Finding the right attorney in San Antonio can be overwhelming when you’re dealing with the aftermath of an oilfield accident. Here are 5 tips to make sure that you get the right kind of representation to cover all of the damages you’re dealing with.
Dealing With An Oilfield Accident
1. Client Testimonials
What’s the best way to find out how someone does there job? Ask someone who’s hired them. Reading through client testimonials on a firm’s website, on LinkedIn or on Yelp can give you a broad scope of how a lawyer works.
While every firm works differently, you might not get a partner working on your case immediately. Read about different experiences with different people working at a firm to give you a broad idea of how the firm handles cases.
If you know other people who’ve suffered from similar issues or oilfield accidents, ask how they found a lawyer that they could trust. Word of mouth is very powerful in the legal industry.
To check on your lawyer’s credentials, you can call your state bar association. If you’re worried that someone isn’t licensed or is acting inappropriately, you aren’t required to give any information you don’t want to. There are no bad questions to ask. You want to work with a lawyer who wants you to make the right decision.
2. Look At Your Budget
Before you sit down with a lawyer, see what your budget is for a lawyer. If this is a workplace-related accident, make sure you have a case before you put yourself in any kind of debt.
Working on this lawsuit might also be time-consuming. If you’re looking to file a workplace-related lawsuit, talk to other people affected. You might be able to work together to file a class action suit.
There are federally funded programs that pay for legal aid through a series of grants. Other programs exist to help provide legal assistance to undocumented people and refugees, people with disabilities and people with low incomes. If you are involved with a union, see if there’s any aid they can provide before you write a check.
Thankfully, several lawyers in San Antonio won’t charge you until they win a claim on your behalf.
Pay attention to how people speak to you when you get in touch with a law firm. From the front desk receptionist to the senior partner, you should receive respectful and honest treatment from everyone.
When you make your case, listen to how people respond to you. You want to speak with a lawyer who doesn’t just want to win, but to seek justice.
In your first meeting, be prepared to offer all of the details of your case. If you have photographs, medical bills or anything in writing that pertains to your case, bring copies to your lawyer.
Remember that consultations aren’t just interviews for your case. They’re also a chance for you to see how your lawyer works. Don’t be afraid to meet with several different firms to see who can provide you with what you need from your lawyer.
4. Do They Understand Oilfield Accidents?
Given the specificity of your experience, it’s important that your lawyer has relevant experience. Depending on your case, you’ll need a lawyer who is experienced in toxic chemicals, workplace negligence, or blowouts during drilling.
If you’ve got a personal injury case, there are lots of options to choose from. But you don’t want just any lawyer from a bus stop or TV ad. Finding a lawyer who is committed to cases similar to yours can be the difference between losing or receiving what you deserve for the damages you’ve incurred.
If worker’s compensation isn’t enough to cover the costs of your lost wages and out of pocket medical bills, making a decision can be high a high-stakes affair. Make sure you feel comfortable with how knowledgeable your law firm is before you commit.
5. Do You Have A Case?
Lay out all of the details of your case. If you’re facing negligence on behalf of your employer, be clear on all of the conditions. Ask for testimony from anyone who was on site during the event that your case is focused on.
If you have photos, video or written communication, organize them and make copies. Lay out the narrative of your claim. Make sure each piece of evidence helps to build your case.
Have there been any other effects on your life related to your case? If the rehabilitation process has caused undue stress on your personal life, make a note of it to your lawyer. If you have had trouble getting employment since this is a grounds for a claim.
Lack of training is has become a leading cause of many accidents. Employers will often tell victims of an oilfield accident that their only grounds for recourse is through workers’ compensation. If your employer has prohibited you from returning to your job unless you decline to file a suit, you may have grounds for a complaint.
Find The Right Oilfield Accident Lawyer Today
Defining the nature of your accident is the key to finding the right lawyer. Having a clear idea of the nature of your lawsuit will allow you to narrow your options down. Save and make copies of everything that could be a piece of evidence for your oilfield accident lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is only two years. If you’re considering filing a claim, don’t hesitate. Contact us if you need assistance finding a lawyer in San Antonio today so you get what you deserve now.
Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2017 at 12:31 pm
It can be appreciated by most people that not everyone has the same ability to withstand an accident. Some people are more likely to be seriously injured than others even if the accident is exactly the same. If you know that your bones are more brittle than average, for example, you would most likely take precautions to avoid slipping over and falling down, in case the fall meant that you broke an arm or leg bone more easily than most. But what might happen if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence? Could the person argue that they are not responsible for your injuries because of your naturally more fragile condition? This is where the so-called “eggshell skull” or “thin skull” law applies.
The eggshell skull law prevents a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit from using the plaintiff’s more fragile condition to limit liability if negligence has been proven. This means that even if the accident victim needs a much greater financial payment in compensation because their injuries are more serious than the average person who might have experienced the same accident, then the payment may be justified, although this will depend on the court’s decision.
Despite the law being called the “eggshell skull” law, it is not limited to head injuries and the existence of a thinner or more fragile than usual skull. No-one in real life has a skull that is paper thin or as fragile as an eggshell. It might also apply to the propensity to have a heart attack or develop a particularly serious bacterial infection when hit in some part of the body.
One way to interpret the eggshell skull rule is that the defendant is liable for the victim in the state that he or she was when injured.
Take an example. You are driving on a highway near San Antonio and are hit by another vehicle from the rear as you slow down close to an intersection. The other driver was too close to you and traveling too fast to prevent crashing into you. You are hospitalized as a result of the accident and are discovered to have serious brain injuries as a result of what seemed to be a relatively minor knock to the head. It is discovered that your skull is significantly lighter than average and that means that your injury was more serious than might normally have been expected. The evidence that the other driver was negligent is sufficient to sue him (or her) for damages. There are sufficient eye witnesses to back up your side of the story.
The defendant cannot use your fragile skull’s condition to avoid liability. The defendant must accept you in whatever physical state you were in at the time, or to put it another way the defendant must “take his victim as he finds him”.
Interestingly, the eggshell skull law only applies to physical condition and does not apply to one’s emotional state. It does not apply if another incident aggravates the original injury after the original one, for instance a further accident on the way to the hospital.
The eggshell skull law is not unique to Texas, but is common law valid in all other U.S. states and many other countries.
Vosburg vs Putney: a case study in the application of the eggshell skull law
This is an early example of the eggshell skull law being applied. A schoolboy kicked another boy in a classroom. The boy whose leg was kicked had a previously unknown microbial infection which was aggravated by the blow. The boy eventually lost his leg. Despite the fact that the boy who did the kicking wouldn’t have known about the other boy’s susceptibility this was not considered a sufficient defense to prevent legal action against him. The act of kicking was construed as negligence and therefore the boy was considered liable for his action whatever the physical state of the victim. This decision was made back in 1891 by the Wisconsin Supreme Court!
Although the principles of the eggshell skull law may seem plain enough as they apply to personal injury cases, the calculation of damages can be a complex and contentious subject. If you have been the victim of a negligent action, and have been seriously injured because of your existing condition you are strongly advised to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to work n your behalf. It is vital that you get the argument for damages right the first time, as you will not be able to change the amount of compensation requested a second time round.
If you have been injured in or around San Antonio, Texas, then contact the Patino Law Office in San Antonio on 210-646-9100 for a free consultation.
Posted on Sunday, August 20th, 2017 at 8:07 am
For many, entering into a legal battle can feel terrifying. Especially if you’ve never been through a trial, it may seem confusing, frustrating and downright exhausting.
What can really make or break your experience is who you have behind you. Hiring the right attorney will ensure you are receiving the representation you need.
Not all San Antonio lawyers will offer the same time and effort as others. Also, it’s important that your attorney is someone who is experienced and knowledgeable, all-around.
Hiring a lawyer usually comes in a time crunch. If you need someone to represent you, here are five things to look for prior to onboarding an attorney.
1. Do they usually handle your type of case?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an error that quite a bit of people tend to make. Whoever you’re hiring should have relevant experience handling your specific trial.
If you’re involved with a car accident case, you wouldn’t want to hire a workplace attorney. Your attorney’s area of expertise needs to match the crime.
It may seem tempting to go with other San Antonio lawyers for different reasons. Perhaps, they’re a family friend who can cut you a deal on their services. Or, maybe a colleague had recommended someone who is up for pro bono work.
While this may sound appealing upfront, in the long run, it’s going to cost you. You need someone who is knowledgeable about your case and your specific needs.
The right person will be able to identify what has and hasn’t worked in the past. After discussing previous strategies, they should adapt accordingly to your case.
2. Look for San Antonio Lawyers with Good Recommendations
Sure, we don’t recommend going with just anyone who has been thrown your way. But, referrals can be an excellent place to start.
Reach out to family, close friends and colleagues about your situation. You’ll want to make sure they know you’re looking for someone who specializes in whatever sector.
Inquire about their trial and whether or not they got their desired results. If they did, ask about their overall experience with the attorney.
Was this person open and honest? Communicative? Direct? Pleasant to work with?
If your friends and family haven’t hired a lawyer before, then you could always start online. Browse through consumer-driven sites, such as Avoo, to find attorneys in your area.
Also, you could do a general internet search for “XYZ lawyers near me” (XYZ being your type of case). Then, visit their BBB page, social media accounts, etc.
3. Set Up an Initial Consultation
After doing your research, you should have at least one attorney that you’d work with in mind. But, although they may look good on pen and paper, how do you know they’ll live up?
That’s why it’s imperative to set up an initial consultation with your potential San Antonio lawyers. You’ll be able to put a name to a face, get a feel for their services, and determine if they can help you.
During your consultation, you should come prepared with questions. If you don’t receive the answers you were hoping for, it could be a sign to find another candidate.
Some of the common questions you should ask at a consultation are:
- What is your experience with my type of case? How many have you handled like mine?
- What were the results of these previous trials?
- What is the average time length of my case?
- What can I expect to pay? How often and what exactly will I be billed for?
When visiting an attorney, also make note of their office space. Is it clean and professional? Is their staff orderly and efficient?
4. Usual Processes and Procedures
After asking the above questions (among others), you need to get down to the nitty-gritty. This is when you need to figure out the most important details of your case.
When meeting with a potential attorney, inquire about the details surrounding your situation. Thoroughly explain your case without any restraints. Your lawyer needs to be as knowledgeable about your situation as possible.
If you’re suing, what is the likelihood you’ll win? How much can you expect to earn? What will you and your team need to do to win?
The same goes if you’re the one who’s facing legal trouble. What is the usual sentence for someone in your position? What’s the likelihood you’ll face punishment?
This insight lets you know how your attorney plans to move forward. They’re going to have a different approach, depending on their take towards your case.
Also, they should go over what is and isn’t usual in your type of case. What is the normal procedure for this type of trial? What will you need to do to be successful?
5. Request a ‘Background Check’
Prior to hiring an attorney, you should visit a state directory to conduct a background check. In Texas, you should visit the State Bar website to check for any disciplinary action.
Visiting the State Bar of Texas ensures you are hiring someone who’s in good standing.
Or, you can visit the American Bar Association’s disciplinary action resource page. This lists other agencies who provide public information on lawyers in your area.
As mentioned above, your inner circle can be a great outlet to learning about a lawyer’s history. Did they seem ethical and honest when working with your friend/family member?
Don’t let someone who talks a big game fool you into thinking they’re ethical. Instead, you should ensure they are by reviewing their background history and hearing from others.
Looking for San Antonio Lawyers?
We know where to find some.
At Patino Law Firm, we know a thing or two about personal injury law. In fact, we know quite a few things- which is why we offer our support in 12 different types of injury cases.
Whether you’re handling a wrongful death, medical malpractice, or personal injury, we have you covered. Contact us today to learn about our range of services that will get you your desired results. We stand behind you!
Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 7:37 am
If you are facing the uphill battle of filing a personal injury claim, you’ll want to hire San Antonio injury lawyers to get the compensation you deserve.
In this article, we’re covering what qualifies as a personal injury case, what a personal injury lawyer does, and how to choose the right injury lawyer for you.
Read on to find out what personal injury lawyers can do for you.
What Constitutes a Personal Injury Case?
Were you were injured in a car accident, bitten by a dog, assaulted, or perhaps a slip and fall?
A personal injury case can be these or any other scenario in which you sustained serious harm at the negligence or fault of another person or business.
You may remember the recent high profile personal injury case of David Dao. He is the United Airlines passenger who was violently dragged off the plane by airline officials.
Mr. Dao sustained injuries to the nose, teeth, and a concussion. Disturbing photos and videos of the incident when viral. The case was quickly settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
You may also recall the controversial case of Stella Liebeck. Ms. Liebeck was the 79-year-old woman who was severely burned by McDonald’s scorching coffee in 1992.
She required two years of medical treatment for the coffee that spilled in her lap and paid over $10,000 in medical bills. The jury suggested a reward of $2.7 million, which was based upon two days of McDonald’s coffee sales. This case became a media frenzy, and the judge eventually reduced the settlement to about $500,000.
The case is used in many personal injury cases as a litmus test for jury selection. This can help to see if the potential jurors are open to discovering the facts rather than the frenzy.
These are just two cases in the estimated hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims that are filed in the United States each year.
These two examples perfectly indicate why you need injury lawyers to go to bat for you. The legal field is immensely complicated and requires experience and expertise to navigate.
Why You Need San Antonio Injury Lawyers
The harsh reality is that insurance companies will do everything in their power to not pay out the claim. That is why personal injury lawyer for you are the only option when it comes to a serious accident.
Injury lawyers will do the following for you:
- Fight to recover the damages. Damages include medical bills, compensation for leave from work, punitive damages, and more.
- Determine and prove negligence of the defendant.
- Investigate if there was gross neglect in your case. An example of gross negligence is if the driver that hit you was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Investigate if the defendant or claimant was on the job. Companies carry personal liability insurance, typically to a much greater amount than individuals. This could mean a higher settlement as well as a more complicated legal battle.
- Lawyers will know what vital facts to prove, and how to prove them effectively.
- Experience and expertise is required to negotiate a fair settlement with the most benefit you are entitled to receive.
- Lawyers have the means and knowledge to meet crucial deadlines. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury in Texas is only two years. In the legal world, that’s not a very long time, so San Antonio injury lawyers will understand the need to beat this deadline.
- Prevent the removal of your case to federal court, which statistically favors defendants, not claimants. This is a commonly attempted tactic used by defendants to delay the case and even swing the case in their favor.
- More than anything, you’ll want to hire injury lawyer for you to deal with the other side.
Your personal injury lawyer will understand the traumatic nature of your injuries. This includes both physical injuries and emotional ones due to the drama of a legal claim. The lawyers on the other side may not have the same empathy, so you definitely will want a representative to deal with them on your behalf.
How To Find the Right Injury Lawyer for You
If you believe you have a case, the next step is to contact an experienced lawyer for a free consultation.
In the consultation, you can expect to be asked many details about your potential claim, to see if you have a case. Gather information on the details of the accident including the time of day, the number of people involved, the location, etc.
Also, provide the lawyer with information on the injury or injuries sustained. This includes medical bills and any other relevant information.
Remember that you need to feel comfortable with the injury lawyer for you. The consultation is a two-way interview.
Most importantly, it needs to be determined if you have a case. Also, keep in mind that you are hiring this lawyer to represent your best interests and you must feel that you are in the best possible hands.
Want to move forward with a personal injury claim? Patino law firm is here to help.
Dr. Louis Patino is uniquely qualified to handle personal injury cases due to his background in both the legal and medical fields.
A deep understanding of the medical aspect of personal injury claims will help him prosecute your case proficiently.
Patino Law Firm charges no legal fees until we win the claim on your behalf!
We hope this article gave you a deeper understanding of what a personal injury case entails and what personal injury lawyers can do for you.
You have the constitutional right to represent yourself in court. However, most cases are better served by an experienced lawyer who knows how to handle the court systems and the complexities of personal injury law.
If you have faced a personal injury at the fault of another person or organization, you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
Give Patino Law Firm a call today toll-free at 877-333-3333 to find out if you have a case.