Posts in: July

24Jul 2020

The term “good samaritan” originates from a parable from the Bible. The story is about a man which they call a Samaritan (resident of Samaria), who stopped to help a man who had been robbed and injured while even the Priest and the Levite passed by and simply ignored him. It basically tells us a lesson on how we should “love our neighbors as we love ourselves”.

The Texas Good Samaritan law protects good Samaritans from costly claims of negligence in the event that they provided emergency assistance to another individual involved in an emergency situation. This law also promotes an overall helpful disposition for the citizens to care and protect one another from further injury.

Good samaritans have the best intentions when responding to an accident or emergency situation. Unfortunately in some high-stakes and high-pressure situations these individuals may make some mistakes due to confusion, panic and the survival mindset. The Good Samaritan Law protects these individuals when these unfortunate mistakes are made.

The Good Samaritan Law applies to civilians, first responders and unlicensed medical personnel who act in good faith.

The Good Samaritan Law does not protect individuals whose motive was only to help someone with the intention of receiving a reward.

Car accidents are a common example. A bystander at the accident scene may try to help the driver by pulling him out of a totaled vehicle and may injure him in the process of removing him from the vehicle.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to sustain additional injuries during this process. Without the Good Samaritan law, the driver might sue the good samaritan for additional injuries or negligence, even if the person was only trying to help.

Another example could be an injured driver in a single-car accident who will accuse a Good Samaritan of causing their injury. This can happen when he needs someone to blame so he can get compensation for his injury, even if he is fully aware that the accident is his own fault.

Texas Good Samaritan Law Exceptions

Willful or Wanton Conduct

This protection does not apply if the person was negligent or reckless when offering aid in any kind of emergency situation.

Expectation of Remuneration

This protection does not apply if the person or medical professional offered service while expecting to be paid or solicited business at the scene of the emergency.

Medical Professionals

This protection does not apply to a person who works in the care industry, the hospital or the emergency room.

Including, a treating physician or admitting physician of a patient with a health-care liability claim.

Cause of Harm

This protection does not extend to a person who was responsible for causing an emergency situation. For example, if a driver crashed with another vehicle and then rendered aid to the other driver, he or she could still be held liable for damages that resulted from lending aid.

Good Samaritan 911 call

A fraudulent or misleading call to the police can potentially lead a person to civil liability.

Good Samaritan Law for CPR

A person can face liability if he or she performed unnecessary emergency CPR on the victim.

16Jul 2020

Like all Personal Injury lawsuits, it is imperative that all parties shall be investigated in order to prove which party is at fault. Since Texas follows the modified comparative fault law or what is commonly known as “proportionate responsibility” which means if you are found partially at fault for the injury, then your compensation claims can be reduced or you may lose the right to claim if the plaintiff is responsible for more than half of the accident. This law prevents plaintiffs from unjust compensation claims against the defendants.

Thus, an injured driver who wants to sue must have less responsibility for the accident than the other driver in a collision.

Another important factor in comparing who is at fault is to check if there was negligence from the parties involved. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to navigate through the defendant’s tactics from shifting blame from themselves to maximize their client’s compensation.

So even if the accident was the defendant’s fault but you were not wearing your seatbelt, the defendant may contend that the severity of your damages was also because you failed to wear your seatbelt and will affect the overall value of your case.

51% Bar Rule

Texas, among twenty other states, follows the 51% bar rule. This means you are eligible for compensation when you have a partial fault or you will be unable to receive any compensation if you are determined to be 51% or more at fault for the accident.

In the end, if the plaintiff wins, their monetary compensation will be deducted from the percentage of their fault.

Let’s say there is a car accident between John and Ana. John gets injured and decides to sue Ana.

The value of the claim is $1000 but we find that John was 30% responsible for the crash and Ana was 70% responsible. John would only receive $700 in compensation.

If we apply the 51% Bar rule, and John was proven to be 60% at fault, he will lose the case and will not get any compensation.

9Jul 2020

Accidents happen when you least expect them. Whether it’s a car accident, workplace accident or even medical malpractice, a major accident can have major physical and mental effects on your everyday life.

If you or a loved one was the victim of an accident, knowing your rights can dramatically improve the road to your recovery.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Personal Injury Law pertains to a person who suffers an injury due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Personal Injury Law enables victims to get the justice they deserve by allowing them to claim compensation for damages from the person proven accountable for the accident.

Types of Personal Injury Laws in Texas:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites

Where should I start?

Seek legal assistance.

To get the full compensation you deserve it’s important to have a seasoned personal injury lawyer. Each personal injury case is different and the laws vary depending on the nature of your accident and the state you were in when they occurred. It is extremely advantageous to hire a personal injury lawyer who has a complete and extensive understanding of the specific laws that apply to your case.

Keep in mind that it is always in your best interest to hire and file your case as soon as possible. In Texas, you have 6 months to 2 years (depending on your case) from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.

Most experienced personal injury attorneys will advise you on the proper timeline on filing your claim. This will give you, your doctor and your lawyer time to fully assess the damages.

Once you have found your lawyer, the investigation will begin.

What do I need?

You’ll need to provide as much documentation and relevant information relevant to your accident.

Common documents:

  • Photo and videos of the accident and injury
  • Police report
  • Medical report
  • Hospital bills and medical receipts
  • Pay stubs
  • Information gathered during the incident (parties involved and eye witness contact information)

Your attorney will conduct an investigation to determine how much each party is at fault.

Texas uses fault percentage commonly referred to as “proportionate responsibility” which states if a person is partially to blame, they can be held liable for the amount of damages proportionate to their fault.

However, Texas also follows the 51% bar rule. This means you are eligible for compensation when you are 50% below at fault. If you are 51% or more at fault for your accident you may not receive any compensation.

How much can I claim?

Damages are not exclusive to physical injury or property damage. Your claim amount can also depend on the nature, severity of your accident and how it affects your and your families lives. These are just some of the other factors considered when calculating the correct claim amount.

The 3 types of damages under Personal Injury:

Economic Damages

The cost of these damages are relatively easy to quantify. It pertains to medical expenses, lost wages for missing work, lost capacity to earn, and property damages. It can be proven using documents, receipts and current prices in the market.

Non-Economic Damages

The cost of these damages are subjective and difficult to quantify because it has no monetary value. These types of damages include the physical, mental and emotional pain you have suffered from the injury.

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of ability to have sexual relations (consortium)
  • General inconvenience

There are currently no caps on non-economic damages in Texas, except in medical malpractice cases.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages because it aims to carry out a message that bad behavior will be punishable by law. There must first be actual economic and non-economic damages before we calculate punitive damages. You also need to prove that the cause of the accident was due to gross negligence, fraud or malice to justify additional punishment and you must be able to convince all of the 12 jurors to agree. However, in Texas, you’re limited to an amount between $200,000 and $750,000, depending on the actual economic damages determined by the jury.

What happens next?

After the investigation, your personal injury lawyer will begin negotiations for your settlement with the insurance company.

Most people with personal injury lawsuits prefer to achieve a financial settlement without going to trial. This saves both time, money and removes the heavy burden of a lengthy trial. In the event that the insurance company does not want to negotiate and agree with your claim, your case will go to trial.