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Category Archive: Law Blog

Category Archive: Law Blog

  1. What Is an Expert Witness and an Expert Report?

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    If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas civil court, you may wonder what types of evidence and testimony you will need to present a compelling case. Your attorney can put you in touch with numerous experts to help boost your claim’s validity. These experts can provide witness testimony on your behalf that will help prove your claim. In addition, these experts will produce reports to verify their claims.

    Expert Witnesses in Texas Personal Injury Cases

    Depending on the circumstances of your accident, your personal injury attorney may consult an expert witness to support your claim and testify at your trial. These witnesses have significant experience and training in their respective fields. You may need an expert witness for many reasons – verifying an instance of medical malpractice, testifying about tire blowout rates for a particular brand, or calculating your economic damages.

    Your attorney will enlist the help of expert witnesses as he or she sees fit for your case. Your attorney may ask the following types of expert witnesses to provide testimony at your trial.

    • Accident reconstruction experts have years of experience and training investigating accidents and establishing theories about what happened in an accident. They can help prove that the accident led to your injuries.
    • Medical experts are important because they can help verify the extent of your injuries and, in some cases, instances of medical malpractice and negligence. They can provide independent opinions about your injuries and their causes.
    • Economics experts help calculate your damages if you have a severe and debilitating injury. These experts can help you determine your loss of future wages, your employability after your accident, and other forms of economic damages.
    • Mental health experts help you claim pain and suffering damages in your personal injury claim. They can provide testimony about how the accident affected your mental health, as well as the existence of psychological damage.

    Rules for Expert Reports in Texas

    Expert witnesses will also submit an expert report to the court and to the defense team regarding their findings in your case. This report will express their opinion about whatever your attorney asked them to study for your case, supported by facts and qualifications. Under United States federal law, your attorney will have to prove that the expert witness has the qualifications and credentials necessary to make him or her an expert in the field. Therefore, the expert report comes from a place of factual, reliable information.

    Benefits of Expert Witnesses for Your Case

    One of the greatest advantages of hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with your lawsuit is access to expert witnesses and the resources to secure them for testimony. Expert witnesses can provide numerous benefits for the strength and credibility of your case.

    • Expert witness testimony is different from other witness testimony. You receive support in the form of facts, studies, and someone to explain the facts and circumstances of your case in a clear, professional manner.
    • Your expert witness has likely served as an expert witness in other cases and can handle the deposition and trial processes. He or she will be comfortable testifying on your behalf on the witness stand and can provide credible representation for your case.
    • Your expert witness will often have a strong academic background, meaning that he or she has the skills necessary to write clear and defensible reports. Your expert reports will be comprehensive and supported by key evidence.

    Having expert witnesses and expert reports in your Houston personal injury lawsuit can make the difference between an unsuccessful and a successful case. However, you need an attorney with the resources necessary to put you in contact with these experts. Contact a Texas personal injury attorney as soon as possible to begin your litigation and consult with the experts you need.

  2. What Is Loss of Earnings in a Car Accident Case?

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    If you are in a car accident on Texas roads, you can emerge with a variety of injuries and losses. Depending on the severity of your crash, your damages can range from minor injuries and a few broken car parts to severe, debilitating injuries that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you suffered injuries that impact your ability to work, you could claim loss of earnings in a car accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

    Severe Injuries in Car Accidents and Lost Income

    Car accidents can lead to severe injuries for many victims. These injuries can last for a very long time, even impacting you for the rest of your life. If you decide to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for causing your car accident, you can claim many forms of damages, such as compensation for past and future medical expenses and lost income. If your injuries prevent you from working for a period of time, you can recover the income you lost while you were healing.

    However, if your accident leads to a permanent or long-lasting disability, you could be out of work for a very long time. Depending on your injury or your line of work, you may never return to your old profession. If you do try to seek employment, you may have to take a lower paying job. In all of these circumstances, you can claim compensation for your loss of earnings.

    All types of injuries sustained in a car accident can lead to loss of earnings compensation, including physical and psychological injuries. Paralysis, quadriplegia, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe and chronic pain are all common disabilities that can occur after a car accident and qualify you for loss of earnings compensation.

    What Happens If You Have a Pre-Existing Injury?

    To recover lost wages and lost earning capacity in a car accident lawsuit, the car accident must be the primary cause of the injuries that keep you from working. If you had a pre-existing injury that did not change because of the accident, you cannot claim compensation for that injury. However, if the car accident negatively impacts or aggravates your pre-existing condition to the point where you cannot work any longer, you can claim loss of earnings.

    To qualify for loss of earnings, you need to prove that the accident aggravated your pre-existing injury and you can no longer work, or cannot work as well as you could before your injuries. In these circumstances you may be able to recover the full amount of your lost wages and earnings.

    How to Prove Loss of Earnings in a Car Accident Case

    When you suffer a severe, disabling injury in a car accident, you will need to prove that you lost wages and your earning capacity due to the injury. Proving wages is an easy process: all you have to do is submit your recent paystubs or invoices to prove what you would have earned if you did not suffer injuries in your car accident. In addition, you can claim lost tips and benefits with proper documentation.

    Proving your loss of earnings is a more difficult process, since you cannot easily quantify how much you could have earned without your disability. You will need to analyze your job functions, the type and severity of your injuries, and your physical and mental capacity to perform your job. Consulting with a car accident attorney can help you establish your loss of earnings and provide an accurate calculation in your lawsuit.

    If you suffered severe injuries that left you with a disability in your Texas car accident, you could claim additional damages to make up for your loss of earnings. You need a car accident attorney to advocate for your rights. If you have not already done so, contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to help you with your lawsuit or insurance claim.

  3. What Is a Downtime Claim?

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    If you are a truck driver for a large transportation company in Texas, you put yourself at risk for injury even when you are not on the clock. You may even use your own truck to perform work for your company. If you are in an accident when you are not working, but you are in your work truck, you may wonder how you can pay for these damages without employer coverage. However, you could make a downtime claim to recover compensation for your losses.

    How to Calculate Your Damages for Your Texas Downtime Claim

    When you get into an accident with the truck you use to perform your work, you can lose out on lost wages while you are waiting for your repairs. However, your Texas insurance company must compensate you for all of your lost profits during your repair time as long as you were not at fault for your accident.

    To calculate your damages, you will first need to look at your gross income. You can choose any number of days to base your gross income on, as long as it is between 90 days to one year. Take your gross income and subtract all of your expenses from it, such as gas, tolls, and any required maintenance for your vehicle.

    Divide this amount by the number of days that you chose to calculate your profit from, and you have your daily net income. Now, you have a figure to present the insurance company for your lost profits. This number will be your daily losses for each day that you cannot use your truck to work.

    Proving Your Damages in Your Downtime Claim

    After you have calculated your damages for your downtime claim, you will have to provide the insurance company with documentation to prove your claims. Make sure to file and keep track of the following documents for your downtime claim.

    • Reports from the scene of the accident to prove that you were not at fault for the accident
    • Any insurance settlements you receive from the accident
    • Tax returns, invoices, billing statements, and profit and loss reports to help you prove and substantiate your lost income
    • Repair estimates and bills for your truck
    • Any attempts to mitigate your damages

    One major requirement for filing a downtime claim is that you must attempt to mitigate your damages. Simply put, mitigating your damages means that you must minimize your lost wages and profits while you were waiting for repairs for your truck. You must prove that you did not try to delay repairing or replacing your truck, and that replacing and repairing your truck was not possible for you while your truck was in the shop.

    For example, say that you tried to contact a rental company to replace your truck after your accident. All of the trucks they had available were out of your budget range and you could not afford to rent one. You can provide documentation listing the prices of the rental trucks and a record of your communications with the rental company to prove that you tried to mitigate your damages.

    Why You Need an Attorney for Your Downtime Claim

    Receiving a downtime claim is not always an easy process. The insurance company may deny your claim or offer you a lower settlement than you need to recover from your lost profits. They may also claim that you did not do enough to mitigate your damages. In these situations, contact a Texas truckers’ attorney as soon as possible to assist you with this process.

    Your attorney can provide numerous benefits to your claim, such as helping you collect the documentation you need to prove that you tried to mitigate your damages. Your lawyer can also help you calculate your profit loss using your documentation so you can provide an accurate number to the insurance company, minimizing your risk of claim rejection.

  4. What Are the Types and Degrees of Burn Injuries?

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    Burn injuries are some of the most devastating wounds we can suffer. When a fire strikes, we can suddenly find ourselves permanently disfigured and in severe pain – leading to a diminished quality of life and thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Medical professionals categorize burns into different types and degrees based on the extent and severity of the wounds.

    The Different Types of Burn Injuries

    Many different accidents can lead to burn injuries. The types of burns you can sustain from these accidents can be very different from each other, coming with their own set of symptoms and treatment options.

    • Electrical burns occur when you touch an electrical outlet or any exposed electrical wires. You experience a bad shock, which can result in a severe burn.
    • Radiation burns occur when you come into contact with a source of radiation, usually X-rays or another radiation treatment. The most common form of radiation burn occurs when you spend too much time exposed to the sun.
    • Chemical burns happen when you work closely with acids, solvents, and other dangerous chemicals. While safety measures are in place to protect you from these materials, coming into contact with chemicals can cause burns to your bare skin.
    • Thermal burns are the most common types of burns. They occur when you come into contact with a very hot object, such as scalding liquids, flames, steam, and hot dishes.
    • Friction burns occur during accidents, usually bike or motorcycle accidents and carpet burns. They occur when a hard object takes off some of your skin, causing abrasion.

    First, Second, Third, and Fourth-Degree Burns

    When you visit a doctor for your burn injuries, he or she will classify your burn into one of four degrees. These degrees range in severity, with first-degree burns being the mildest and fourth-degree burns being the most severe, life-threatening, and rare. Your symptoms and doctor’s observations will lead to your burn diagnosis in the following four categories.

    • First-degree burns are some of the most common types of burns you can receive. They are the mildest type of burns, and you usually do not need extensive medical care. First-degree burn symptoms include some redness and pain to the outermost layer of skin.
    • Second-degree burns are also quite common, but more serious than first-degree burns. They impact both your outermost layer of skin and the layer of skin underneath it. Symptoms of second-degree burns include bright red and swollen skin and blisters. You will need medical attention for second-degree burns.
    • Third-degree burns are some of the more serious burns you can sustain in an accident, leading to damage to both layers of skin. In addition, you can sustain nerve damage from these burns. Symptoms of third-degree burns include white skin, blackened or charred skin, and numbness. You will need immediate medical attention for third-degree burns.
    • Fourth-degree burns are the most serious and life-threatening burns you can sustain, but are rare. Fourth-degree burns destroy all of the skin’s layers and can lead to damage to your bones, tendons, and muscles.

    How to Treat Burn Injuries

    Seeking treatment for your burn injuries will depend on the type of burn you sustain. If you have a first-degree burn, you can treat it with skin ointments and pain medication. For second-degree burns, you will need to visit a doctor and receive a special antibiotic cream or ointment to treat your injuries.

    Third- and fourth-degree burn treatment will require extensive medical care and surgeries. You may need to undergo skin grafting. If your burns cover large parts of your body, you may need to seek intensive treatments to prevent infection and dehydration.

    If you suffered burn injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Contact a Texas burn injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and begin your proceedings for compensatory damages.

  5. How Do I Pay for a Funeral Following a Wrongful Death?

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    Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we can go through, and his or her death can be even more challenging if it was unexpected and avoidable. You could face thousands of dollars in burial and funeral costs that you did not prepare for. If someone else’s negligence led to your loved one’s death, you could claim compensation for his or her funeral expenses through a wrongful death lawsuit.

    How Much Do Funerals Cost?

    Funerals are not inexpensive, especially when you are not prepared to hold a funeral for your loved one. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of an adult funeral in 2017 was $8,755. These costs included the funeral ceremony, a viewing, and a burial. The main expenses in the average funeral include the cost of the casket, the funeral staff, and the hearse responsible for transporting your loved one.

    While this figure is an average of the adult funerals across the United States, it does not reflect all the costs you may have to pay to hold a funeral. You may have to pay for many add-ons to pay your final respects, such as purchasing a grave plot and labor costs for the funeral. These costs can add another $3,000 on top of what you already have to pay for your loved one.

    Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

    If your loved one died as a result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf to seek compensatory damages. In the state of Texas, the surviving spouse, children, parents, or personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim in Texas civil court.

    You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. You can recover many compensatory damages related to your family’s losses and the losses of the deceased’s estate as a result of the death. These damages may include final medical expenses, lost earning capacity, mental and emotional anguish – and reasonable funeral and burial expenses.

    What Funeral Expenses Can You Recover in Wrongful Death Claims?

    In a Texas wrongful death claim, you and your family can claim compensation for the funeral and burial expenses associated with your loved one’s death. You may not receive these funds until years after you hold the funeral, so they are more of a reimbursement than up-front payments. You can claim compensation for the following funeral expenses in a Texas wrongful death claim.

    • Hearse rental and other transportation costs
    • The casket and tombstone
    • Receiving the death certificate
    • The funeral home rental
    • Standard funeral services

    How to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

    In order to successfully obtain compensation for your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses, you and your wrongful death attorney will have to successfully establish negligence in your lawsuit. To do so, you and your attorney will have to prove four conditions in Texas civil court.

    • First, you must prove that the person who caused your loved one’s death owed him or her a duty of care.
    • Next, you must prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to your loved one.
    • After establishing the breach, you must prove that the breach of duty was the primary cause of your loved one’s death.
    • Finally, you will need to prove that your loved one and your family suffered from losses and damages as a result of your loved one’s death that you can recover in your settlement.

    If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can claim compensation for your and your family’s losses and your loved one’s burial expenses through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact a Texas wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to begin the claims process.