Posts in: August


28Aug 2020

Planning for a vacation can take weeks to months of preparation from scheduling to budget allocation and the last thing you would want is to get into an accident that may ruin your whole trip. It’s unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident but it’s even more complicated to deal with as a tourist while you are on vacation. Whether you’re in a different state or a different country you are still protected by legal rights against harm caused by the negligence of others. You may find yourself asking these questions:

– Who do I call for help?

– Where should I go to file a report?

– Will I be able to go home as scheduled?

Of course, you’ll never know when accidents may happen but it’s always better to be prepared if in case this happens to you while on vacation. Depending on the severity of an accident, even if it is a minor fender bender or a major collision, here are some guidelines you need to keep in mind if you ever get in a car accident while on vacation:

Call the emergency hotline

Call for help immediately. If you are not able to call, you may ask someone from the area or any witness nearby to call for you.

Check for injuries

Even when there are no apparent symptoms, you should consider having yourself examined in the emergency room after an accident to make sure there are no hidden injuries and get a copy of your medical report.

Secure a copy of the Police Report

You should ask the police officers who responded to the scene of the accident to give you a copy of the police report to avoid the hassle of dealing with an out of state police department when you are back home.

Document the accident

Take photos or videos of the accident scene, damages on the vehicle and your injuries for evidence. Don’t forget to exchange information with the other parties involved including the witnesses as it may be impossible to find them after or when you have already returned home.

Call the car rental company

Inform them of the accident and discuss your insurance options. They may also be able to guide you through your next steps after the accident or provide assistance for car replacement (if needed). And remember: Don’t throw away transportation tickets or rental receipts. You may need these documents when you decide to pursue legal claims in the future.

Seek legal advice from your attorney

If you or any of your companions are injured in the car accident, call your personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Laws vary for different states so its best to consult with a lawyer knowledgeable of the laws that govern the place where your accident has happened. Your car accident attorney can help carry out the investigation and help you with all the necessary actions needed to process your legal claim.

Additional tips before going on a vacation that can help you in case of an accident while on vacation:

1.Research the nearest hospital and police station near your place of accommodation.

2. Save local emergency numbers of the place you are traveling to on your phone and write a copy for your wallet.

3. Educate yourself on local traffic laws and driving procedures of the location you are traveling to. For example, when you get into a car crash in Texas, you should move the vehicle out of the roadway to a safer spot so you can exchange the necessary information with the other driver and avoid further accidents from happening.

4. Check the routes of your itinerary before you proceed with your tour.

5. Familiarize yourself with the car you rented, especially if renting something you don’t often drive.

Hopefully, if there are no major injuries and everything has been settled with the other party accordingly, you can carry on with your vacation.

21Aug 2020

Despite the many things you should be worrying about during a personal injury claim, your health shall always be your priority. The most important part of your recovery is making sure you are treated and cared for accordingly. The Letter of Protection is a written agreement that guarantees your medical bills will be paid using the money you’ll be getting from your settlement and the hospital agrees to wait until the case reached a verdict.

If you do not have health insurance, you may request your lawyer to write a Letter of Protection (LOP) as long as you were not the at-fault party.

LOPs are not always necessary, but it can be very useful even if you have health insurance. Sometimes, they will refuse to pay for your medical bills and would insist that the at-fault party’s insurance should be the one to pay instead or if the doctor or if the hospital refuses to provide you medical services because they doubt your capability to afford the bill.

Benefits from LOPs


Assurance

Get all the required medical treatment that you need and guarantee that the full cost of your medical expenses will ultimately be covered by your settlement.

Save time and money

You won’t have the need to use a credit card or loan money that would take forever to get approved by the bank. You can immediately start with treatment and focus on your recovery plus, there won’t be interest charges.

It’s Legal

LOP is a legal binding document. Insurance companies will try to discredit your use of the LOP as an attempt to make it look like your lawyer and your doctor are conspiring to minimize your settlement.

What happens if you lose the case?

LOP can sometimes be used to delay the hospital or physician from immediately charging the plaintiff’s credit until the case is resolved.

But just like any other debt, the hospital or physician will now have the cue to the demand for the payment and you are still obligated to pay the medical bills.

Insurance companies would delay the process as much as they can until you give in to a much lower settlement. If you want to get fair treatment and compensation from an accident and you think a Letter of Protection would help your case, seek legal help immediately. A lawyer can draft an agreement with your medical provider so that you can begin or continue treatment.

8Aug 2020

Racing has been one of the most exciting forms of entertainment and competition. There’s formula racing, sports car racing, and other types of professional racing.

Now I know most people think street racing is cool and entertaining since the idea of having fast fancy cars racing against each other has been popularized by the media. However, there is not much emphasis on the risks and how something this dangerous can turn into a serious crime.

Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.420 – Racing on Highway

A person may not participate in any manner in:

(1) a race;

(2) a vehicle speed competition or contest;

(3) a drag race or acceleration contest;

(4) a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle; or

(5) in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.

(1) “Drag race” means the operation of:

(A) two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other; or

(B) one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles in a specified distance or time.

(2) “Race” means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to:

(A) outgain or outdistance another vehicle or prevent another vehicle from passing;

(B) arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles; or

(C) test the physical stamina or endurance of an operator over a long-distance driving route.

Penalty

Before, street racing in Texas was only considered a simple traffic violation. But in 2003, the law implemented a stricter penalty depending on the cause of the accident.

The first offense of racing on a highway is: a Class B misdemeanor

A second offense of racing is: a Class A misdemeanor

A third conviction for racing is: a state jail felony

For Drivers

Your participation in a street race in Texas is now considered a Class B misdemeanor.

-Racers can face jail time of up to 180 days with a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

– Street racers can have their driver’s license suspended for up to a year and they must complete 10 hours of community service.

For Repeat offenders

For repeat offenders, the punishment is much higher and can also make its way to becoming to a second-degree felony.

– Suspension of the driver’s license.

– 2 to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 or both.

If found guilty after receiving two-second felonies for illegally racing, the next offense can lead to life in prison.

For Drunk street racers

In Texas, You will automatically have your license suspended for a year and will merit you a class B misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine for drinking and driving. But is a street racer is caught illegally racing while drunk or if open containers of alcohol are found within the racing vehicle, regardless of the blood alcohol level of the driver, the punishment can increase from a class B misdemeanor to a second-degree felony.

Passengers

Passengers are not an exemption. They will also receive the following punishments:

-class B misdemeanor that includes a $2,000 fine

-up to six months in jail

– or both.

Spectators

Even if you were only caught watching or attending these events, you can also receive:

-a fine up to $500

– have the vehicle towed

if someone gets accidentally killed during these illegal racing events, spectators can also face manslaughter charges and additional felony penalties.

What happens to the car?

If the illegal street race resulted to personal injury or damages in property, a peace officer will take the vehicle to the nearest licensed vehicle storage facility unless it is seized as evidence.

Other Penalties

There are many other charges with designated penalties that a street racer may be liable for such as, damaged property, caused injuries, or evading a police officer for refusing to stop. You will be paying thousands of dollars for fines, your license can either be suspended or revoked or spend some time in jail.

If any person whether he or she was involved in the race or just merely a pedestrian walking in the street who suffered bodily injury because of the offense of racing the defendant can be charged with a third-degree felony.

If a person gets killed or suffers severe bodily injury, you may face a second-degree felony with a penalty range of 2 to 20 years.

Such misdemeanors and felonies will affect your chances of future employment because it will go on your permanent record.

Prosecutors provide serious consequences for street racing because it puts society at high risk and grave danger making cases like these very hard to win.

If you were caught in a street racing event, make sure to hire an experienced criminal attorney that will help you in giving you the best possible deals. You may consider doing a plea bargain for a reckless driving charge which has lighter punishments and penalties than those for illegal street racing or worse, you may be charged with a second-degree felony if a person is killed or suffers serious bodily injuries from the street race.

1Aug 2020

WHAT IS A HOSPITAL LIEN?


Lien – is a legal right that guarantees an underlying obligation

Hospitals and other emergency medical providers in Texas are required to provide treatment for accident victims. They are protected by the state, by allowing them to file a hospital lien for medical bills. The lien gives them the right to claim payment for rendered services from the money recovered by the injured person in a personal injury claim against someone who caused the injury. If you were recently in an accident and were injured due to another person’s negligence, you will probably get a bill in the mail.

It is common for health insurance companies to refuse to pay for emergency medical treatment when the injury was caused by a negligent party with no insurance. While in some cases, insurance companies will not pay your settlement until they are satisfied the hospital lien has been resolved, which can result in huge delays before you receive your money.

EXCEPTIONS


  • It only applies the first 100 days of the injured individual’s hospitalization.
  • The physician can request the hospital to act on their behalf to collect the lien for all necessary medical charges for the first seven days of hospitalization.
  • The lien only applies if you are treated in a hospital or emergency medical services within 72 hours of the incident.
  • The hospital should only collect money from a third party, and not your own insurance company.
  • The lien cannot be attached to the person at fault for the injury. It’s only attached to the person who claims compensation from the injury you are involved with.
  • It is important for the hospital to file the lien before the insurance company pays the injured party. Otherwise, the hospital will lose a claim against the insurance company.
  • You are still obliged to pay your hospital bills even without a lien.

How TO VALIDATE HOSPITAL LIENS?

The hospital must comply with all requirements for filing a lien. They will first send a notice of the claim by filing it with county records.

After a hospital or provider receives notice from the county clerk that the lien is filed, the hospital has five business days to send a written notice to the injured individual or the legal representative of the injured individual by mail to the last known address.

The injured party will need to check with the county clerk to see if any notice of a hospital lien has been filed. If they lose track of the lien, the hospital will have grounds against all parties for not settling the lien first.

If you can prove the amount charged to you is higher than the actual rate of the hospital, you can challenge the hospital lien and have it reduced. Suing the hospital and proving their bills are unreasonable can invalidate the hospital lien.

If the provider fails to follow these guidelines, the validity of the lien can be called into question.

HOW TO DEAL WITH HOSPITAL LIENS?


NEGOTIATE

The key to negotiating the maximum possible reduction on the charges is to have a seasoned attorney who knows the law and the strategies in battling Texas hospital liens.

Depending on the amount of liability insurance coverage available and the amount of the hospital lien, most hospitals are willing to negotiate down on the amount they recover from the liability insurance proceeds and sometimes, the hospital may reduce their charges in exchange for prompt payment.

USE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE

If you have health insurance, you may seek their assistance in reducing the hospital’s bill and the lien.

Always ask for legal counsel, explore your options to ensure that your personal injury claim is processed as fair as possible.

If you find the hospital bills to be reasonable and you are left with enough settlement money that covers all of your damages, you can either pay the bill or instruct the insurance company to pay the bill out of the settlement.