legal 8/23/22 – 7 – Bus Accidents / Premises Liability / Construction Accidents & Workers Comp – gtg


Bus Accidents can be Extremely Dangerous & Cause Devastating Injuries.

If You or a Loved one has been Injured in a Bus Accident, Call our Law Office.

Traveling by bus is increasing in popularity. But in Texas, bus accidents seem to become more common. Think about all of the bus accident stories you see in the news. Don’t they seem to be happening with more frequency? The troubling thing about bus accidents is that more than with other vehicles, any single accident often injures and kills from one to many passengers. Have you been injured in an accident involving a bus? Our personal injury attorneys know how to get what you rightfully deserve due to negligence by either the driver or the carrier.

A variety of bus accidents can occur, either on transit buses, on a school bus, on national carriers like Greyhound or Trailways that criss-cross all of our state’s highways, or one of the many charter services. Bus accidents can occur at any time and for several different reasons. Negligence or oversight by the carrier should not, and does not, shield them from civil liability. So they are not immune to rightful insurance claims or other civil actions that might be appropriate. But there are some givens that you should be aware of; if you are about to take on these powerful carriers and the insurance companies that defend them. Bus companies, be they transit authorities, national lines, coach companies, or those that contract out to local school districts, are usually treated as “common” (or public) carriers. This means that although they are not obligated to “insure” the safety of their passengers, they have what is called an “affirmative obligation” (or duty) to protect them from harm, including injuries that might occur when an accident happens. All of them are required to have expensive liability insurance policies if they are to operate in Texas. So there’s likely to be enough money to compensate those injured in an accident. As with all defendants who have insurance, their underwriter will go to great lengths to defend their policyholders with adjusters and well-compensated attorneys because the mission of the insurance industry is to take in the premiums and fight like the dickens to avoid paying claims. It’s been that way for generations. Suppose the accident has occurred on a school bus or one of the local transit authorities. In that case, injured plaintiffs will find themselves up against quasi-government entities that benefit from favorable laws that discourage people from suing them. So the route to successful compensation is usually one with many twists and turns that inexperienced attorneys (and non-attorneys) have a difficult – if not impossible – time when trying to convince the defendants that they must pay for their negligence if that is found to be the case. Our Law Office has chosen to share some vital information with you if you have been injured in a bus accident. We believe that educated clients are the best clients. And we also believe that you will trust such transparency as you deliberate your options after being seriously injured in one of these unfortunate but likely preventable vehicle accidents.

The truth about all Bus Accidents
Several governmental agencies keep good records of bus accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells us that 30,000 commercial buses in the United States belong to over 4,000 motor coach companies. They average 360 million passengers annually, who travel 28 billion combined passenger miles annually. And NHTSA has recently been accused by congress of underreporting the actual number of bus accidents and the injuries and fatalities arising from them. However, two private research firms have much more accurate numbers. These two organizations – Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) – have painted an accurate picture of the occasional dangers of riding busses in the U.S. Their statistics tell us that during one year, 311 people were killed and 17,207 people were injured in U.S. bus accidents. In the following year, there were: 13,395 bus accidents in the United States. FARS reported that 221 accidents were fatal, and MCMIS reported 231 fatal bus crashes in the U.S. Two hundred fifty-four people were killed in these bus accidents throughout the U.S. 15,399 people were injured in bus accidents in the U.S.

These national numbers include school busses, charter, and national bus carriers, as well as those which are a part of local transit authorities. NHTSA’s numbers fall woefully short of these numbers. And in one year, the Texas Department of Transportation counted 1,239 accidents involving school buses. The great majority of these mishaps were minor. But six of them involved fatalities. Now, when you compare the number of accidents involving serious injuries and fatalities with the total number of bus miles traveled annually – 360 million – that’s an awfully small percentage, which tells you that, by and large, bus travel is safe. But things still go wrong. Often it involves someone’s negligence. If the bus company you trusted to get you safely to your destination was negligent, you deserve the right to be compensated for your injuries, pain, suffering, and lost wages. At the same time, you recover future lost wages if you are disabled, and – if a family member has been killed in a bus accident – all of the above compensation and more. The only way to expect that compensation is with the help of an experienced bus accident attorney.


Accidents While on the Bus

It is not unusual for passengers to become injured while using bus service. Sometimes, these injuries occur when the bus is involved in a collision with another vehicle. If you ride the bus that bus is involved in an accident with another vehicle, your claims process may become quite difficult. The first obstacle you may encounter has to do with the number of people who will be making a claim. Suppose the accident is caused by the other vehicle. In that case, dozens of passengers aboard the bus may need to file a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. As you can imagine, very few people carry enough insurance on their personal automobiles to compensate all passengers fairly. In such an event, you will need the help of an experienced bus accident attorney to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. The attorneys with our Law Office can help you by identifying other sources of money from which you can be compensated and by helping you claim priority for your portion of the responsible driver’s insurance policy. If some sort of commercial vehicle caused the accident, their insurance might be more appropriate, but their insurance company will fight very hard for your rightful compensation.

Injuries Caused by the Bus Itself
Sometimes, the bus itself can pose a safety hazard. For example, when the bus runs over a passenger or other pedestrian, the bus driver starts driving before a passenger is seated or when the door or automated stairs make contact with a passenger. Most of these are more likely to happen with transit authority buses like the local busses or a school bus service. If you have been struck by a bus operated by any of these entities while standing outside (or in your car), your claim would be similar to that of a conventional pedestrian or vehicle-on-vehicle accident victim. The difference, however, is that you would be filing a claim against an institution owned by a government entity. As you can imagine, you stand little chance of victory without the help of an experienced attorney when you try to get money from any quasi-government agency because the laws are written to make it extremely difficult to sue them, even if they are legally obliged to carry private insurance that is designed to prevent the very losses that arise from such accidents from falling at the feet of these agencies.

If you have been injured while on the bus because the bus driver starts moving before you are seated, you will certainly need the help of a lawyer. Such claims are virtually impossible for non-lawyers to win on their own because the liable government entity certainly has a long history of denying these types of claims as valid. Hundreds of court cases throughout the state involving transit authorities and school buses have resulted in numerous denials because lawmakers generally operate under the belief that you knowingly assume such a risk by getting on the bus in the first place. Our attorneys can help you with this type of case by employing contrary case law and statutes that counteract this rather nonsensical outlook that seems so prevalent in these cases in Texas. But it’s not easy. If you have been injured by some component on the transit authority or school buses, such as a door in the process of opening or closing, much of the above-mentioned applies to your case. The bottom line is that you have little chance of making it past a courtroom’s scrutiny without an experienced attorney’s help. Suppose you have been involved in an accident with a school or transit authority bus while driving an automobile. In that case, you will certainly require the help of an experienced local bus accident lawyer. Many laws have been passed to give buses a considerable right of way. This has led to a general (and unfair) stigma that bus accidents are the other vehicle’s fault. That is simply not the case. As unfair as it may be, such biases within the justice system are common, and your only chance for a fair case is to partner with an experienced bus accident attorney.


Driver Fatigue and Improper Maintenance are Usually the Culprits in Many Bus Accidents, especially on our Highways.

Several noteworthy bus accidents on Texas highways have killed and seriously injured many people in the past few years. In most of them, reports by the Texas Department of Public Safety indicate that an overly-tired driver may have caused just about all of them. These national or tour bus firms have very thin profit margins, which means that the two areas that get squeezed are driver scheduling and maintenance. Though federal laws prohibit the number of consecutive hours a bus driver can be on-duty (10 in a 24-hour period) to keep costs down, many over-the-road bus carriers look the other way when it comes to this regulation, not to mention the bus driver who is happy to get the extra money. When that compromises passenger safety and that of the public in general, it makes the company liable for any accidents or injuries caused by an exhausted, inattentive driver. The same holds true of school bus drivers. Recently, driver fatigue was cited as the cause of a school bus wreck that killed one Texas student and injured 11 others. The legal notion that holds transportation companies liable in such cases is called respondeat superior, which states that employers are legally responsible for their employees’ actions (and inaction) when working. In the driver-fatigue case, in addition to respondeat superior, more direct liability might be attached to the company if they scheduled the driver for more hours than the law allows. A few recent fatal overland bus accidents across the country (and a couple in Texas) were found to have been caused by improper maintenance or a defective part. These causes rank just behind driver fatigue as the cause of a serious bus accident.

Respondeat superior also attaches to this situation, where the bus company is responsible for the maintenance worker’s incorrect acts, in addition to not scheduling routine maintenance in a timely fashion or trying to get a few more miles out of a bus before finally putting it in the shop. Also, you may notice that more Mexican firms that have owned buses in the past few years are now traveling our roads. Though these companies are now allowed to operate in the U.S and can offer their services to Americans, the standards for managing and maintaining buses on the other side of the Rio Grande are a bit laxer than they are in Texas. Whether the buses are adequately insured is also a rightful concern. However, these companies agree to carry “proper” insurance when operating in the U.S. These busses are also subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Texas Department of Public Safety inspections when they cross the border, assuming there is an inspector there at the time they enter the country. If there isn’t one, they just motor on through and continue their journey through our state. Many of them remain and become part of Texas’s lucrative charter bus industry. Some foreign bus operators register their buses in two states using false addresses and a third party to complete their illegal registration paperwork. So it’s not hard, from a regulatory and insurance perspective, for these operators to fall through the administrative and enforcement (and insurance) “cracks” while transporting their passengers across Texas and the country. So, it should become more apparent that before you get on a bus, you have a good idea of what they will be able to do for you if something goes wrong. When something goes wrong, and you are seriously injured (or a loved one loses his or her life) in a bus accident, your best leverage involves an experienced and tenacious bus wreck lawyer.


Investigations by Your Bus Accident Attorney are Vital to your Claim or Case’s success when you have been seriously hurt (or a loved one killed) in a bus accident.

Determining everyone responsible for the wreck is the first thing that must be done. Finding those responsible leads to identifying the legally liable parties for your injuries. To win your insurance claim or case, you need an experienced accident lawyer on your side who also can thoroughly investigate the scene of an accident and determine who is (and isn’t) liable. Hence, you know the proper defendant(s). In Texas, bus drivers are held to a higher standard (or duty of care) due to the number of passengers they carry. So when a bus accident occurs, much of their investigation focuses on the driver. What caused the accident? What did the drivers say after the wreck? Was it the truth? Your attorney’s investigation must be above average local, state, or federal enforcement investigations. Though those investigations often reveal the primary responsible parties, they often stop short the type of examination experienced by bus accident lawyers and their investigator’s conduct. These “drill-down” investigations reveal every liable party and the degree of responsibility each party played in the accident. Occasionally, our investigations bring other case facts to light that law officials miss. We pass them along for further action if they feel it is warranted.

Injured bus accident victims (and their lawyers), as the plaintiffs in this case, must determine whether the negligent driver caused the wreck, if a mechanical malfunction might be responsible, or if someone else played an important part. Many different contributing factors can abruptly lead to such tragic wrecks. This is why it is in your best interests to harness the expertise of a local bus accident lawyer who will make sure that all the liable parties for your injuries from that accident (or wrongful death) are held responsible for your injuries, pain, and suffering, lost wages, and disability. The odds that a commercial liability insurance company will be involved in the bus accident that injured you is a good bet. Bus companies, especially the larger ones or those that serve a government entity, usually carry very high-dollar policies relative to car insurance policies. This is because injuries caused by a bus wreck are more expensive. After all, many people can be injured or killed in a single accident. So, it follows that bus companies have much more to lose. Insurance companies hired by these common carriers have huge advantages when representing their clients. They have “top gun” teams, including defense attorneys, investigators, and specialists, who will leave no stone unturned in mounting their defense. Their legal teams are highly trained and can find any loophole so their client, the bus company, will not have to pay. The stakes are incredibly high. Their objective is for their client to avoid paying a huge claim. These attorneys in expensive suits also know how to use the inconsistencies in federal and state laws to their advantage.

You must have a local bus accident injury attorney to represent you when making a claim or going to court if our opponents insist on not fairly settling your claim. For generations, the mission of every insurance company has been to protect its bottom line, regardless of whether that company is a corporation that answers to stockholders or a mutual fund company that answers to its policyholder. All insurance companies are in the business of taking-in premiums and paying out as little as absolutely necessary in claims. They deny your claim for as long as possible, avoid paying you fairly if they can and protect their cash. Without the right experienced attorney on your side, the odds of collecting a fair settlement from an insurance company are astoundingly against you, regardless of the nature of your rightful claim. Insurance adjusters are their primary weapon against you because their job is to save their companies money by denying your claim or underestimating your injuries’ actual and total cost. The best adjusters are given the most critical cases. Bus wrecks have the potential to be some of the most expensive accidents and command extremely large damage amounts. This makes them very important claims and poses the most danger to any insurance company’s profits. An adjuster acts like your best friend and constantly assures you that all of your needs are met. Then they turn around and cut you off at the knees, coming up with excuses to deny your claim. They are very clever. They try to imitate the excellent relationship with your car insurance agent. Some unscrupulous adjusters even try to deceptively convince uninformed bus accident injury victims to sign away the legal right to sue in exchange for a measly settlement amount that would never be mistaken for fair compensation for the victim’s injuries or other financial losses from a severe bus accident. We’ve even seen a few haunting the ICU waiting for victims to get out of emergency surgery before they pounce.



Suppose You have been Hurt Away From Home Due to Someone’s Negligence.

In that case, a Premises Liability Lawsuit is your Vehicle to Compensation. Every day, we spend time at various places away from home: the grocery store, the pharmacy, restaurants, and often the homes of friends and acquaintances. Accidents that cause significant injuries at any of those places can occur. Suppose you or a loved one has suffered an injury while on someone else’s property, whether residential or commercial. In that case, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim against the property owner under the purview of Texas Premises Liability by retaining the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Premises liability is a series of laws that protects us from harm and outlines clear procedures for recovering legal damages if we are injured due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else in their place of business or residence. Just as we all have different legal obligations (known as a legal duty) to provide for the safety of others generally, property owners are also required by law to provide specific standards of safety to different kinds of visitors to their property. These standards can be relatively high or more general, depending on the circumstances of the accident and where the injury occurred. If someone sustains an injury due to a property owner’s negligence, that injured person may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit under Texas’ premises liability laws. Injuries from slipping and falling, being struck by fallen objects, or becoming injured by malfunctioning equipment that is the property of the owner where you were hurt, may all be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Not every injury one might suffer on someone else’s property will automatically constitute grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

To have an actionable civil case, the plaintiff’s injury must have resulted from the property owner’s failure to provide the legal duty of safety and care to someone visiting the property. For instance, if a person is assaulted in a convenience store parking lot due to a lack of adequate lighting, then the store could be held accountable under premises liability. Suppose someone slips and falls on a restaurant’s wet floor, but there are signs in clear view that the floor is indeed slippery. In that case, the restaurant owner may have fulfilled his legal duty to warn customers of the hazard and might be able to prove that the injured person disregarded his clear warnings: in which case, winning a civil premises liability suit could be very dubious. The legal duty is equal parts circumstance relative to the level of care a defendant is obliged to meet and the due diligence the property owner can prove that he or she did everything reasonable to assure safety.


Which Sort of Visitor You are Determines the Level of Legal Duty You are Owed

The obligation owed by a property owner to visitors changes due to the type of visitor. There are three distinct types of legal duty in Texas Premises Law:

* An Invitee is someone who knowingly and willingly visits a property for the mutual benefit of the owner and the visitor. An example of an invitee would be a shopper in a store. He or she benefits by purchasing something, and the owner benefits by selling something to the Invitee.
* A Licensee is a person who knowingly and willfully visits a property for his or her own sole benefit. The law considers someone stopping by to visit a friend an example of a licensee.
* A Trespasser, on the other hand, is a person who enters a property knowingly and willfully without the permission of the property owner or a legal right to do so. Examples of a trespasser might be a burglar or door-to-door salesman.

Exploring a Property Owners’ Legal Duties to Various Types of Visitors and How They Vary
As you now know, property owners owe different safety duties to different types of visitors. Invitees are owed the following responsibilities: The property owner must be aware of any dangerous conditions on the premises and warn those who visit his or her property. An example would be a fast food restaurant warning customers about a wet and slippery floor that an employee has just mopped. The property owner must warn of unique dangers you might not usually anticipate. For example, if you visit a friend’s house and his staircase has uneven steps, loose carpeting, or some other dangerous hazard that is usually assumed to be safe, he is legally required to warn you.

The property owner has a duty of not knowingly or willingly injuring visitors. For instance, if a property owner booby traps his or her property to punish trespassers and the trap injures another visitor, like a child who cuts across his property on the way home from school or some other innocent bystander or welcome visitor, that property owner has not fulfilled his legal duty and could be sued.

Licensees are owed the duties of property owners of being clearly warned of preexisting dangerous conditions to avoid being willfully or inadvertently injured by the property owner. However, some (not all) trespassers are only owed the duty of being protected from wanton dangers of which the property owner is aware. If a trespasser or licensee slips and falls on a newly laid sidewalk that is part of the city’s easement in front of the owner’s home, that’s the trespasser’s problem: though he or she might be able to take his complaint to the city.

Common Examples of Situations That May Justify a Premises Liability Case
There are several types of cases commonly litigated under Texas’ premises liability laws:
* Slip and fall accidents – In this case, hazardous conditions on a property cause someone to trip or slip and fall if the property owner does not clearly warn the visitor.
* Elevator collapse accidents – A defect in design or maintenance leads to an elevator collapse in which people are injured or killed. The plaintiff would likely seek premises liability relief through a defective product lawsuit in this case.
* Injuries as a result of criminal activity – When criminal activity on the property of an owner leads to the death or injury of another person, and the property owner is found to have taken part in that criminal offense (or had been aware of the activity beforehand), the property owner could be liable for damages.
* Injuries due to falling down stairs – When known hazards on a staircase cause a visitor to slip and fall, injuring him or herself, and the visitor has not been clearly warned of the hazards, premises liability laws usually apply.
* Dangerous animal attacks – when animals attack and injure a visitor to a property, the property owner is liable. A recently passed bill in the Texas Legislature now makes this offense subject to criminal prosecution.

To win a premises liability lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the victim to demonstrate that a hazard existed, that the property owner knew about the risk or should have known, and the hazard resulted in an accident and produced the victim’s injuries. Moreover, the victim or plaintiff must prove the requested compensation is both justified and reflective of the damages received by the plaintiff. In other words, you can’t just prove that the property owner failed to perform his or her reasonable legal duty. You must also prove that this failure justifies the number of damages you are seeking. Fulfilling these requirements can be complex. To succeed with a premises liability claim, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer specializing in Texas premises law.


Insurance Companies Oppose You and Your Premises Liability Civil Actions
Premises liability lawsuits usually involve the defendant’s insurance company because virtually any business owner knows the first check goes for the rent each month, and the second pays the insurance. The same can be said for most homeowners: at least those still paying a monthly note. Though this business owner or homeowner gets liability protection for his monthly premium, the owner (and his insurance company) and any injured party view this insurance coverage differently. You might see it as a means of financial compensation. Often, the insurance company provides “plausible deniability” for the owner is responsible for paying damages. Does this sound a bit contradictory? Well, yes, in many cases. The insurance company is the one who writes the check to you if your case is successful. It’s their job to fight you tooth-and-nail to deny your civil claim or case. Why? Because to protect the profits that come from all those premiums they take in every month, insurance companies are in the business of not paying out claims whenever possible. They do it with insurance adjusters whose duty is to the insurance company, not you, despite what the “friendly adjuster” might tell you. There’s always some reason why they’re dragging their feet in paying your claim. Sometimes they try to talk to you on the phone and then record the conversation in hopes of tripping you up and getting you to say something they can use against you. The best way to avoid this hazard is to have an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer or premises liability lawyer take those calls and keep you out of the loop.

Another position insurance companies take is to suspect (whether true or not) that you’re just looking for some sucker to fleece and are using the premises liability laws to do just that. This is one reason insurers have great lawyers, either on-staff or permanent retainer, to foil you at every turn. They file motions, argue technicalities, and try to put every legal roadblock they can think of to keep your case out of court. And they have lots of experience dealing with premises liability claimants: both those who are justified and those they claim are not. And finally, if the insurance companies know you have a good case but are not represented by a liability attorney, they’ll offer you a “low-ball” settlement that can’t come close to paying all of your damages from the property owner’s negligence. Or they think their case defense might be weak, even if they also suspect the veracity of the plaintiff’s charges. In short, your opposition knows the ins and outs of premises liability law and the best ways to avoid paying your legitimate injury claim against a property owner whose negligence caused your injury.

There’s Great Danger for Premises Liability Victims who go it alone Against the Insurance Companies.
Whenever you are opposed by a deep-pocketed institution like the insurance industry, who knows all the ropes when it comes to not paying a claim, representing yourself, or hiring your nephew who is just out of law school to argue his first case is like taking a knife to a gunfight. The secret to success in any legal area is experience and well-won respect by the defendants. A premises liability attorney with “skins on the wall” gets the insurance company and their attorney’s genuine attention: even more if one of those skins belongs to them. Our Law Office has over 20 years of experience winning premises liability judgments. We also have as much experience negotiating fair damage compensation packages from these insurance companies. This happens because they know we thoroughly investigate all aspects of any injury case, fairly assess the number of damages owed to our clients, and are fully prepared to take the matter to court if they don’t see reason. They know if your case is genuinely just and proves the defendant’s liability. If your damage expectations are fair, they’ll avoid the hazards of a civil trial by settling for a reasonable and fair amount, which means a trial is avoided. You have your money.

Here’s some free advice from any lawyer. It’s very good advice. Before you speak with an insurance company, accept even a single dollar of payment or compensation, sign anything, or attempt to file a lawsuit on your own, you must contact a competent lawyer. If one applies, your legitimate injury claim can yield damage payments for all your medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and disability. At our Law Office, our attorneys have litigated premises liability cases for over 20 years.


Understanding the Fundamentals of Personal Injury Law in Texas

Almost anyone injured by somebody else has questions about their legal situation. If this has happened to you, free online legal advice is very easy. Only rarely is “free advice worth more than the price you pay for it.” So while many people try to seek out free legal advice from websites or discussion boards or from friends who consider themselves self-styled experts, the truth is that nothing short of an experienced attorney’s counsel and guidance can deliver a comprehensive assessment of your unique legal situation or a plan that has a chance at actual success. Each personal injury case is different. Without an experienced attorney to determine the specifics of your situation and give you a well-considered opinion that is right for you and your individual case, all you’re doing is wasting your time and becoming more confused by all the contradictory information you can get on the web, or your friends who know just enough about the law to be dangerous. There’s a reason why free web legal resources usually warn you against relying solely on the advice they give. They suggest you consult with a licensed attorney before doing anything that might endanger your case. This article is not meant as a substitute for competent legal counsel. We do hope you will find the advice we share-worthy, that you will learn a little more about the basics of Texas personal injury law and understand some of the terminologies so you can be in a better position to make an informed decision once you do speak with a lawyer, which we very strongly suggest. If nothing more, this information may help you ask the right questions when you sit down with an attorney to produce the necessary answers. To truly understand your legal situation, a website is never enough. This is why we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury attorneys to receive a complimentary, personalized assessment of your specific legal predicament.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (the rules that govern civil law in Texas), a personal injury occurs “as a result of the actions or inaction of another person or entity.” Personal injuries include physical injuries, the physical pain and emotional suffering that those injuries cause, and fair compensation for all your bills, lost income, and possible disability resulting from the injury. In a personal injury lawsuit, the victim is called the plaintiff, and the party that caused the injury is the defendant. Although there can only be one plaintiff (or plaintiff’s family), many times, there can be more than one defendant, depending on the specifics surrounding the injury.

One of the most fundamental concepts that many don’t fully understand about personal injury lawsuits is that the victim is not uniformly entitled to collect money from the defendant just because the defendant may have injured the victim. It’s never that simple, even if many would like you to believe it is. Very rare is the personal injury lawsuit that ends up being an open-and-shut case. But occasionally, it does happen. The scales of justice are tilted in favor of the defendant, and the law presumes that he owes the victim nothing. All the defendant has to do to win is say, “prove it.” Then, if you can’t, the defendant wins. The only way to recover what you deserve for your injuries is to gather sufficient evidence and present it persuasively enough to tip the scales of justice in your favor. This is called the “burden of proof,” which is always on the victim/plaintiff. In every instance, your evidence must demonstrate that the defendant was negligent, that the defendant was the proximate (or immediate) cause of your injuries, and that you are entitled to damages. If you fail to accomplish even one of these three essential tasks, the law won’t allow you to recover fair compensation for your injuries. In a defendant’s efforts to avoid liability, their insurance company (or representing attorneys) will offer a grab-bag of apparently good reasons why he is not liable. So, in addition to proving the defendant’s guilt, you must also clearly disprove all of their arguments for the defense. Sometimes, their responses and charges can get rather vicious. So be prepared for a bumpy ride.


Why File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury lawsuits have two purposes. The first is to receive reimbursement for your losses. In many cases, no amount of money can truly compensate a victim and his or her family for the physical and emotional aftermath of an accident or wrongful death. Because they have suffered a personal injury, victims typically incur very large medical and repair bills for damage to their property. Often, they must take time off from work to recuperate from their injuries. Suing those responsible for your injuries allows you to win the money you need to get back on your feet. In addition to medical bills and property loss, lost wages, reduced long-term earning capacity, pain, suffering, and the expense of a disability, whether short or long-term, along with other expenses caused by accident due to the defendant’s negligence may all be reimbursed through a personal injury lawsuit or negotiated settlement with the insurance company that represents the defendant. The second objective of filing a personal injury lawsuit allows you to punish the individual or entity that caused your injuries. By using those found to be responsible and then winning fair compensation, you’ll make sure that they think twice before acting carelessly in a way that could endanger others.

Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit? Anyone can file a lawsuit for any purpose in Texas. What matters is being able to file a successful personal injury lawsuit that you can prove. For your case to be successful, you must have been injured in some sort of verifiable accident, which gives you legal standing to file a personal injury lawsuit. You must be able to present evidence to meet your burden of proof in each of the four elements of a personal injury claim. They are duty, breach, causation, and finally, damages. They are listed again below and include some very general information surrounding what the plaintiff (and plaintiff’s legal counsel) must do to prove each of these four elements:

The first element of a successful lawsuit is clearly showing that the defendant owed you a duty of care to act in a way that wouldn’t cause harm to you. Often, people owe each other the duty to behave reasonably, so they avoid hurting others. In short, people we usually trust not to harm us owe us a legal obligation to behave in such a manner. This means not only avoiding unreasonably careless activities, but the defendant must take affirmative (precise) precautions to protect others from getting hurt in the same way a reasonable person would. Your case’s applicable duty of care varies according to the people and circumstances involved.

Here are a few examples of instances in which the duty of care may vary that few free online legal advice websites rarely clarify:
* Homeowners. Property owners generally owe a relatively low duty to trespassers who come onto their property without permission or are there to commit a crime. In some instances, property owners may have a more significant duty to protect children from getting hurt on their property, even those of their neighbors or children who are trespassing. Visitors the owner allows on the property also have a right to expect a reasonably high duty of care.
* Shopkeepers. Have you ever noticed stores and restaurants warning you about wet floors, steps, or other hazards that might cause injury? Now we’re not obligated to put up signs warning houseguests of similar hazards because this high duty of care is already assumed. But stores and other places of the business owe an even greater duty of care to customers because the law views customers as strangers. The higher duty of care must be displayed in their warnings, along with the property owner taking every reasonable action to protect these visitors from getting hurt on the property.
* Hotels and public transportation. Like stores and other businesses, Innkeepers and common carriers owe their patrons an exceptionally high duty of care in many instances.
* Doctors and medical professionals. Doctors and other members of the medical profession receive special training to be able to care for their patients. We expect that they’ll use their specialized knowledge and skill when treating and diagnosing us when we are in their care. This is why the law demands that doctors treat patients with an unusually high level of care than they would owe other people they are not treating. While working, doctors and other medical professionals must exercise the care expected of any reasonable medical professional rather than simply that of a reasonable person. In short, by the very nature of their jobs, most healthcare providers are held to a much higher obligation than the rest.
* Drivers. In many states, the duty of care owed by a driver to a passenger depends on whether the passenger is paying for a ride or simply a guest. In states such as Texas, cab drivers, bus drivers, and chauffeurs must be much more careful to protect the safety of a paying passenger in his car, which makes their duty of care unusually higher than that of a driver who, for example, might pick up a hitchhiker who is a stranger.

There are also a variety of other more subtle duties of care that might apply to your case. Depending on which duty of care applies in your situation, you may have a much easier time proving a defendant’s liability. Or you might have a much more difficult duty to prove. These variations represent one reason why after you suffer an injury, personal injury legal advice that’s free is rarely enough to give you an accurate appraisal of your individual situation or how to receive legal relief through a lawsuit. You need the services of an attorney who specializes in personal injury law.

After showing that the defendant owed him a duty of care, a successful plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached that legal obligation to the injured victim. Proving that a defendant breached the duty of care that he owed you usually requires bringing clear and unambiguous evidence to the court to show exactly what the defendant did or failed to do that constituted the breach. If your case goes to trial, the jury will consider your evidence of an alleged breach, along with all of the circumstances involved in the accident, and determine whether the defendant did or did not breach the duty of care you are claiming. And only an experienced personal injury attorney can make juries understand the many nuances of the breach and how they apply to any specific case. Negligence is the most common way of proving that a defendant violates his duty of care. It refers to what you believe is simple carelessness. If a defendant is careless, even during the critical seconds of the accident, he may be held responsible for the injuries. Gross negligence, on the other hand, which is seen as complete disregard for the safety of others, is another way in which people violate the duty of care they owe to you. An action constitutes gross negligence when the defendant knows it’s highly likely to cause injury to other people or willfully damage another’s property. Still, they behave that way without regard for the consequences. Driving while intoxicated is one – of many – examples of gross negligence. Finally, it is very difficult to prove gross negligence in many personal injury cases. But if, for example, your injuries result from physical assault by the defendant, the defendant may be answering criminal charges for his or her very acts that caused your injuries. Regardless of whether or not this defendant is found guilty of – in this case – an assault against you, it will be easier for you and your attorney to argue that this defendant’s actions were intentional, thereby meeting this higher standard of proof of gross negligence.

The ability to prove causation is a critical part of any personal injury lawsuit. It’s just not enough to prove that the defendant breached the duty of care he or she owed you. You must also demonstrate that the defendant’s actions directly resulted in your injuries. This is not always easy, especially if you were unconscious when your injuries occurred or if many different parties might have contributed to your accident. Furthermore, the defendant you named in your lawsuit will probably try to prove that your injuries were caused by someone else or you. This is also the point where the defendant might try to turn the responsibility for the accident back on you or assassinate your character as his or her attorney tries to drive home the point that your irresponsibility was how you were injured, not the defendant. If you can’t make this crucial link between the defendant’s actions that caused your injuries, your case will quickly unravel, and you’ll lose.

Now we get to the good part: the payday, known as legal damages. But first, we should say that any Texas free online legal advice website that tells you a specific amount to expect from any personal injury damage suit should be viewed with some skepticism. Sharing typical recovery amounts for various types of personal injury cases handled by a law firm is one thing. But any suggestion that you can recover “X-amount” of money for injury compensation by one with no knowledge of your specific case is misleading. Suppose you are successful in proving the defendant’s liability. In that case, the final step finds him or her paying damages to you to fairly compensate you for your injuries. Most of the time, the defendant’s liability insurance carrier picks up the tab. Now don’t confuse injuries with damages. If you are in an accident and break your legs, your broken legs are your injuries. Your damages are the cost of treating your broken legs, the wages you’ve lost if you can’t return to work during your recovery, and probably the value of other economic and non-economic losses you sustained as a result of your accident now proven by the defendant caused. Your tangible (or apparent) financial losses are called special or economic damages. Most of the time, examples of special damages include lost wages, loss of earning capacity for the period of time you can’t work because of the injury, and your medical bills. Sometimes, the cost of medical treatment can also be easy to calculate. Other times these costs are not, especially if your medical treatment continues longer than expected or the full extent of your injuries is unknown. Then the task of calculating special damages is more complex. Calculating loss of earning capacity is often a complicated matter. Suppose you’re unable to return to work. In that case, you must account for the time-value of money you’ve lost, as well as hypothetical promotions, raises, and career changes when calculating how much you’ll demand that the defendant must compensate you for the income you are unable to earn in the future, regardless of whether it takes months or years for you to recover from the accident this negligent person caused.mIntangible, non-economic losses are called general damages. These usually include compensation for your emotional suffering associated with the accident. They also include the pain and suffering of family members in wrongful death cases.






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