Personal Injury FAQs
This experienced legal team shares their thoughts and perspectives on the most commonly asked questions about Texas personal injury cases. Here, find out what their knowledge of the law and years of injury experience have helped them learn about the different types of injury cases and how to protect victims just like you.
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Texas Storm Damage Claims and Insurance Companies
In Texas after a storm, the insurance company typically will not deny the entire claim. What they usually do is deny parts of the claim based on your insurance policies. For several years now, insurance policies in our state have been the type that do not cover anything except what your specific policy covers. Due to policies we have in Texas, there are few parts of your home that may be covered. For instance, in a tornado where the roof has blown off or if it was penetrated, the insurance company may take the position that they will pay for the roof, but they are not going to pay for the water damage that may happen to the inside of your house as a result of the roof damage.
There are some questions as to whether or not the rain was windblown or if entered the roof through an open-access area. There are very technical details where insurance companies will try to hang their hat to justify not paying part or any of the claims. Another example that we often see is when dealing with hailstorm damage. They will say that the hailstorm came in from the northwest, therefore we are only going to cover the north and west slope of your wall since the east and the south slope did not get damaged. That is not necessarily true. This is an area where they may try to deny the claim. Likewise, they may say, “We are going to pay for this roof or part of the roof, but it may be a type of shingle that cannot be matched.”
The insurance companies have a responsibility to replace it with light parts, but they cannot match it if they have to replace everything. Those are the typical areas where they normally will deny part of the claim as opposed to the entire claim. The list of what they will and can deny is as long as your imagination can fathom.
What Actions are Illegal for Insurance Companies When Dealing With Property Damage?
There are numerous actions that are illegal for insurance companies. We recognize that common law means just that. They have an absolute obligation to deal with you in good faith and fair dealing, and on top of that, we have statutes that provide that they cannot deceive you in any kind of way or give you false or misleading information. They also cannot barter with you by saying, “Okay, we’ll recognize that part if you take a lower value for this part.” They must properly investigate any and every claim.
We sometimes see cases where they will not even come and look at the house; they will just deny the claim outright. That is probably going to be in bad faith on their part because they did not properly investigate the claim. There is another statute that we call the prompt pay statute. This says that once they recognize the claim, they have a duty to pay that claim in a timely fashion, and there are actually time periods set forth in the statute. Failure to pay those claims in a timely fashion, once recognized, can subject them to penalties and interests in attorneys’ fees.
Is There a Statute of Limitation for Claims Against Insurance Companies in Texas?
Yes, as the law stands currently, the time period for bringing calls of action against the insurance companies is two years from the date that the claim was denied. However, insurance industries over the last few legislative sessions in Texas have fought hard to change that law, and I expect that we will see a continued effort in upcoming legislative sessions. They are trying to change the law to say that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the incident as opposed to the two years from the date of the actual denial. It can be very problematic if you have water damage on an inside wall that does not manifest itself for quite some time. Oftentimes it may take months if not years for internal damage to the surface.
Likewise, people may not honestly know that their roof has been damaged by the hailstorm for some time. It is important that the time period run from the time in which the insurance company denies the claim because if you have just two years from the date you made the claim, then the insurance company could wait two years and one day to deny the claim. Then it would be too late for you to file the claim. Right now the law is very much in the consumer’s favor, but just know that the clock is always ticking on these types of claims. Also be aware that the insurance industry is trying hard to make the time period even shorter in the future.
Additional Information on Storm Damage Claims in Texas?
The No. 1 thing that you can do in any storm is document not only all the damage but also all of your conversations with insurance adjusters. Many times insurance companies will run you through several adjusters in an attempt to wear you down. Each adjuster will visit the site and will want to start the process all over again. Always document your conversations. Better yet, you should record them. This way you will have documentation of what each adjuster has said and possibly offered. However, if you do suffer damage, Texas law provides that you must mitigate. That means you must try to remedy the damage so that no further damage occurs even before you receive a resolution with your insurance company.
For example, if you have a hole in your roof, you need to take appropriate actions to get it patched so the damage is as minimal as possible. The last thing I would add is that you hire reputable and competent contractors to assist you with the storm damage. Those people are going to be instrumental in your claim and pursuing the claim if necessary against your insurance company. Steer clear of hiring some fly-by-night contractor who overinflates the need for the repairs and then when you need them to come and help you against the insurance company, they can’t be found. So if you’ll document, photograph, mitigate and hire good people, you are working toward protecting yourself.
For more information on Storm Damage Claims in Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 503-9200 today.
When Your Child Is Seriously Injured Or Killed At Daycare
Placing your child in daycare is a difficult decision that many working parents must face. It’s hard enough taking time away from your child, but worrying about their safety adds an extra emotional burden.
In-home childcare is the fastest growing sector in the industry today, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the total child care industry. Despite being at a home, thousands of children are injured, and some killed, in their childcare setting each year.
Of course, the occasional bumps and bruises are inevitable due to falls or incidents that are commonly associated with clumsy toddlers who are learning to crawl, walk or run well. Too often, though, children are injured so seriously that they require treatment from a hospital. Even worse, serious injuries can sometimes be fatal.
Most Daycare Injuries Are Preventable
Statistics from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control tell us that approximately 4.2 million injuries were recorded for children ages one to four from 2001 to 2002. During that same time period, over 3,000 children in this age group died as a result of injuries sustained while in the care of a child care center or individual. The majority of these deaths were preventable injuries that could have been avoided had the following issues been addressed:
- Workers received proper training and education
- Environmental safety measures were put in place
- Utilization of safer products in the care environment
- Stricter laws to ensure child safety
Common Daycare Dangers
It is vital that the professionals in this industry improve existing safety hazards that could endanger the life of a child. As parents whose number one concern is our child’s safety, there are safety issues to be aware of as well. Some dangerous issues of note:
- Children left unsupervised – Infants, toddlers, and children of all ages should always be in a caregiver’s sight.
- Dangerous Adult-to-child ratio – There are laws that specify how many children one adult is allowed to supervise at a time. Often, child care centers will be out of ratio, and can lead to many injuries.
- Uneducated or Untrained Staff – One of the most important safety measures that can be addressed is caregiver training and education. Each staff member should be trained in CPR and first aid procedures, as well as proper health and safety policies.
- Medications Administered Improperly – When a caregiver administers medication to your child, it is extremely important that the correct amount of medication is given to avoid poisoning and other unforeseen side-effects.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – This serious syndrome is increasing at day care centers today. Your infant’s caregiver should know that babies need to sleep on their backs, and on firm bedding that is void of fluffy blankets or toys that can become choking hazards.
- Poisons and Toxic Substances within Reach – Child Care Aware reports that accidental poisonings are the leading cause of injury and death among young children. Cleaning supplies and medicine should be out of reach from children at all times.
- Unsafe Playground Equipment and Recalled Products – Products used by caregivers are often times not tested to ensure child safety. Manufacturers are not required to do this, and children are harmed or even killed as a result. Playground equipment is particularly concerning because it most frequently causes children physical harm.
There are many other safety concerns that caregivers must recognize. These include food safety, child illnesses, emergency planning and practicing, and background checks for employees and the state licensing of the child care home or facility.
Speak To A Daycare Injury Lawyer Today
As parents, we do the best we can to make sure the environment we place our children in and caregivers we place them with are top notch. Even then, injuries or fatalities occur when caregivers fail to honor procedures and standards they are required by law to follow. If your child becomes seriously injured, or is killed because of negligence on the part of a child care center or an individual you have entrusted your child with, you can receive compensation for your devastating loss. Parker Law Firm provides Complimentary Strategy Sessions that allow the client and firm a chance to fully analyze your particular situation and determine whether you have a case against a negligent caregiver. You can rest assured that Parker Law Firm will fight aggressively against child negligence and those who are responsible for harming your child.
Who Can Be Held Liable In A Dog Bite Claim?
Typically, in a dog bite claim, the owner will be held liable. However, there can be occasions where a son or a daughter may own a dog and they are living with their parents. While the parents may not be the actual owner of the dog, the fact that they allow the dog to be at their home may create liability on behalf of the home owner when they don’t actually own the dog.
What Might Be Scenarios Where The Owner Of The Dog Isn’t Held Liable?
An owner of a dog might not be liable for a dog attacking someone else if the owner did not know nor should they have known that the dog had vicious tendencies. There are cases where for whatever reason, a dog who has been well-behaved, well-mannered and never really shown any aggressive tendencies acts out for some reason or other. In those situations, the owner of the dog may not be liable because Texas does recognize what we commonly refer to as the “first bite is free” rule. This means if the owner didn’t know the dog’s dangerous propensities, then he won’t be liable for the first bite.
Is There Any Sort Of Comparative Fault In Dog Bite Cases?
In some cases there can be comparative fault in a dog bite case. For example, if a person provokes the animal or is teasing it or even trespasses onto the pet owner’s land, all of those facts can be seen as provocation, comparative responsibility or fault on part of the victim and that would minimize or even eliminate liability on the part of the dog owner.
What Types Of Damages Can Be Sought In A Dog Bite Claim?
The type of damages that are available in a dog bite claim, first and foremost, are for the medical care incurred in having the bite treated. That could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the bite. Additional damages available are for lost wages, for permanent scarring or impairment and also for any muscle or tissue damage and that won’t heal properly. Future medical bills that will be incurred in the way of reconstructive surgery or plastic surgery to help with scarring as well as for mental anguish from the incident may also be available.
Can Bystanders Or Witnesses File Claims For Mental Anguish?
Bystander recoveries in dog bite claims in Texas are difficult. The law is rather tough but in essentially, if there is a very close familial proximity and relationship, then there could be a claim for a bystander recovery. Usually this is seen in a type of a claim where a mother sees her young child mauled by a dog. The maul would require the mother to actually have experienced and viewed the incident as opposed to walking up on it or being called later. In Texas, there has to be the closeness of a relationship such as a mother and child, but also the bystander has to have been in the proximity of the dog bite incident itself; meaning they experienced witnessing, seeing, hearing the dog bite actually occur.
Can Someone File An Injury Claim If Dogs Attack Other Pets?
A claim can be filed if a dog attacks someone’s pet. However, Attorney Brad Parker finds that it would probably be hard to find an attorney to take that claim in Texas. Whether it’s wrong or right, the law is that a pet owner can only recover the value of their animal and most pets are obtained for free or for a few hundred dollars. If that animal is injured, there may be a claim to recover the cost of treating injuries but if the pet is killed, the amount of recovery is going to be limited to what the value of that animal is. Unfortunately, Texas law says an individual can’t recover for emotional loss; only for the value of a pet.
Is The Amount Of Damages Dependent Upon The Severity Of Injuries?
The amount of recovery is always guided by the severity of the injury but it can also be guided by the level of disregard of the oppressiveness of the dog by the owner. In other words, there are people who know that they are raising pit-bull terriers and they don’t treat them well. They train dogs to attack and don’t take appropriate action to ensure that the animal is restrained from being able to get to other people. That level of conduct subconsciously can and does play a role in the culpability of the person who owns the dog.
Damages are to be limited by the actual damage suffered by the person who was bit: current and future medical bills, mental anguish, impairment, pain and the suffering and other types of factors. Future medical expenses for cosmetic surgery are also taken into account if the bite resulted in scarring. The Parker Law Firm has had cases where young girls have been bitten by dogs in the face or on the arms or on the legs and they ensure that the cost for future plastic surgery or scar revision is factored into a settlement. The same is done where there may be muscle or tissue damage that needs addressing at some point in the future as well.
For more information on Liability In A Dog Bite Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 503-9200 today.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Dog Bite Claim In Texas?
Like all personal injury cases in the state of Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the actual act in which to file a lawsuit. However, you should never wait that long to begin the process of the claim. There are going to be witnesses and other evidence that needs to be gathered early on in order to have a stronger claim. As time goes by, memories fade, people move and different things happened that can make pursuing the claim more difficult. Therefore, the need to seek legal counsel and advice early is highly recommended.
What Type Of Insurance Pays Out On A Dog Bite Claim?
Typically, a homeowner’s insurance policy for the dog owner pays the damages in a dog bite claim. There are certain policies that specifically exclude animal attacks but those are rare and usually only in situations where the insurance company knows that the homeowner is housing a dangerous dog.
If the homeowner does not have adequate insurance or any insurance at all, the next things to look at for compensation are assets. That can be a very problematic issue in and of itself. However, in majority of cases the homeowner’s insurance is going to be responsible for paying out on a claim in a dog bite case.
What Information Or Evidence Is Used In A Dog Bite Claim?
The single most important information that can be obtained in a dog bite case is evidence or information concerning the dog’s dangerous propensities in the past. In Texas, there is a “first bite is free” rule. In order to prove a case, you need to demonstrate that the dog owner knew or should have known of dangerous propensities or aggressiveness on part of the dog. In that regard, neighbors, other people who frequently walk the block, maybe family members, others who have seen the dogs loose in the neighborhood or have experienced aggressiveness of the dogs are extremely important. It’s critical to preserve that evidence to pursue the case.
Other forms of evidence including as pictures, medical bills, communication with the neighbors and those types of things are also very important. However, first and foremost in any lawsuit, the most important thing is the evidence that establishes the dangerous propensities of the dog and the owner’s knowledge of those propensities.
How Difficult Is It To Prove The Damages In A Dog Bite Claim?
The difficulty involved in proving damages in a dog bite claim all depend entirely on the case itself. The more time that elapses from the time of the dog bite to retaining counsel, the more difficult it is going to be to prove the case. With the lapse of time memories fade, people move and the willingness to be involved dissipates. Attorney Brad Parker has seen cases where immediately after the dog bite, the witnesses were more than willing to come forward, give statements and provide testimony. Over time, however, the witnesses became less inclined to help out in that regard. It’s extremely important to try and gather this evidence and seek counsel as early as possible.
Can Someone Negotiate A Dog Bite Claim With Insurance On Their Own?
It may be possible to work with the insurance company by yourself, if you have minor injuries sustained from a dog bite. However, if someone has suffered any kind of significant injury, that’s not going to be true. The rule in Texas is going to be the “first bite is free”.
In Attorney Parker’s experience, every dog owner has always claimed, “I had no idea my dog was mean”. All dog owners want to take the position that their pet isn’t dangerous. Therefore, the insurance companies take the position that they are not going to pay on the claim.
Keep in mind, insurance companies are in the business to make money. They do not make money when they pay out money on a claim. They try to minimize or even eliminate the claim completely. Unless you have the assistance of an attorney to help you through this process, they are going to try to take advantage of it and stonewall you at every turn.
How Does An Attorney Assist Someone In A Dog Bite Claim?
With more than 4.7 million dog bites occurring annually across this country, you can see that this is a serious problem. At the Parker Law Firm, they have handled numerous dog bite cases. That experience has shown, that early intervention by a lawyer who is board certified in personal injury trial law is necessary to get the very best result possible.
There are a whole host of things that need to be done in order to pursue the case to the best of its ability and to preserve the evidence that’s there including: taking witness statements; taking pictures; contacting the insurance companies and doctors; obtaining medical records; contacting animal control and local authorities, just to name a few.
With over 30 years of experience in handling personal injury claims involving serious dog bite cases, the Parker Law Firm welcomes the opportunity to visit with and outline your rights and the remedies that might be available to you.
For more information on Statute Of Limitations For Dog Bite Claims, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 503-9200 today.
Talcum Powder Side Effects and Warnings
Talcum powder is a soft white powder made from talc – which is a mineral primarily consisting of magnesium, silicon and oxygen. In its powder form, it absorbs moisture, acts as a deodorant and reduces friction, which results in helping keep skin dry and preventing rashes. Talcum powder is commonly used in cosmetic and consumer products such as baby powder, and adult and facial powder. When in its natural form, it can contain asbestos, which is a substance known to cause cancers in and around the lungs if inhaled.
What Are The Side Effects Of Talcum Powder Use?
Questions concerning the safety of using talcum powder have been raised several times of the last 40 years. Studies as far back as the ’70s have linked the application of talcum powder by women to their genital area to ovarian cancer. When used in the genital area, the particles in talc can travel through the vagina and into the uterus along the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. There the particles can remain embedded in the ovaries for up to eight years. Other side effects include respiratory issues – caused when the powder becomes airborne during normal use. This is most dangerous for infants and can cause wheezing, fast and shallow breathing, and potentially acute or chronic lung irritation. The critical issue is how long was the product used or applied to a particular area.
How Common Is The Use Of Talcum Powder?
The use of talcum powder is very widespread and common. It has been routinely used on babies, children, and adults for everything from diaper rash to foot powder. It has also been used for generations by women who have applied talcum powder to their genital area for hygiene purposes.
What Are The Complaints And Side Effects From The Use Of These Products?
The prolonged and continuous use of products containing talcum powder can cause pain, discomfort and lack of enjoyment of life. Bloating or inflammation of the abdomen, pelvic pain, increased urination, changes in appetite, and feeling tired are among the many symptoms that a woman may experience. Despite talcum powder being used for generations in American bathrooms and nurseries, health-care experts have discovered that long-term exposure to the natural talc fibers can increase the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 20 – 30%. Ovarian cancer is an aggressive cancer affecting as many as 10,000 women a year.
Why Don’t Talcum Powder Products Have Adequate Warning Labels?
The companies that produce talcum powder are enormous corporations that often times do not put adequate warnings on their products because they put profits over safety. These companies often times weigh the pros and cons of placing proper and adequate warnings when looking at sales. If only a few cases have been filed against them for talcum powder, the cost of settlement for that does not override the loss of sales that might occur if the public knew of the true dangers the product posed. If they are making billions of dollars in sales, paying a couple million for settlement does not harm them.
Has Any Legal Action Been Taken Against The Makers Of Talcum Powder?
There are currently around 1,200 cases against Johnson & Johnson alone accusing it of not adequately informing consumers about the talc-based products’ cancer risk.
When Did The Problems With The Talcum Powder First Start To Surface?
Scientists have known for over 40 years that talcum powder can be dangerous for women who use it frequently. A 2013 report has indicated that women who have used talc over a 10 year period face a 20 – 30% increase in developing ovarian cancer.
What Has Been The Response From Manufacturers?
In one lawsuit, the manufacturer had offered to pay the plaintiff if she promised to sign a nondisclosure agreement in order to keep the claim quiet and not ruin the name of the manufacturer. The overwhelming response has been to do nothing other than defend against the growing number of lawsuits. They claim that if it is safe enough to use on babies then there certainly cannot be anything wrong with talcum powder use by women.
Who Can Make A Claim Or File Lawsuit?
Women or the family of a woman, who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer which was caused by the use of talcum powder can make a claim or file a lawsuit
For more information on Talcum Powder Lawsuit In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 503-9200 today.
How To Prepare Your Home For Springtime Storms
Protect Your Home From a Storm
Spring is now upon us and with it comes more frequent—and more powerful—thunderstorms. Texas is known for its big weather and the millions of dollars in damages storms cause each year. Dealing with property damage resulting from a storm can be difficult and emotional, that’s why we’ve prepared a quick guide that details how to prepare your home for an incoming thunderstorm. It is our hope that this guide will help you mitigate potential storm damages and prepare you to deal with the insurance adjustors that will undoubtedly offer you as little compensation as they can.
Preparation is the key to defeating the potential costs of weather damage. Try to find a nice day near the end of winter where you can clean up the outside of your home to prepare it for the rigors of spring. Follow these basic steps to make sure that your home is ready for spring thunderstorms.
Trim any dead limbs from surrounding trees. Dead tree limbs can break in high winds and become large pieces of flying debris that will break windows and damage cars. Be sure to trim any limbs that are above your home, driveway, or any other structures that may be damaged by falling limbs.
Consider purchasing operable shutters for your home. The difference between operable shutters and static shutters is that operable shutters can close, thus protecting your windows from flying debris and hail.
Clean up any trash or small items that may be cluttering your property. In a high wind scenario, small objects immediately become potential debris hazards.
Get your roof inspected. If your roof is weak, then it is not equipped to handle a large hail storm. Find a local and reputable roofing contractor to inspect your roof and assess its overall health. If you have a weak roof, then holes can result from large hail. Once your roof has holes in it, then a whole new world of internal home damage can occur. If you have contracted a roofer to reinforce your roof, keep a detailed receipt of their services so that you know the full value of your new roof. This may come in handy if your roof suffers significant damage during a storm.
If you have a car port instead of a garage, make sure that the supporting structures are stable and that the roof is in sturdy condition. If your car port that has a poor support system, then it is more likely to fail under high winds and heavy rains.
After all of these steps have been taken to strengthen your home, carefully inspect every inch of your house, both on the inside and the outside. While you are conducting your inspection, be sure to take detailed photographs so that your property is completely and entirely recorded on camera. In the event of storm damage, insurance companies will ask you for photographic evidence of damaged items and property as proof of loss, and you need to be prepared to prove which items were damaged to maximize your insurance payout.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for undervaluing your property and your loss to cut their costs. In the event that your insurance provider accuses you of overstating the value of your property, or fails to offer a fair and reasonable reimbursement, call the Parker Law Firm. Our firm handles property damage claims and is adept at dealing with stubborn insurance companies. We will fight tooth and nail to make sure that you receive a fair settlement and that you are reimbursed for the total cost of your damaged property. At the Parker Law Firm, people matter. Call us today for your Complimentary Strategy Session at (817) 503-9200.
Should Fee Be A Factor When Retaining A Personal Injury Attorney?
All personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they do not get paid unless and until you get paid. And so money should not be a roadblock to hiring a competent attorney to represent you. What you do need to be careful about though, are attorneys who will work on the cheap. Typically, the fee in a personal injury matter will be anywhere from 33 1/3% – 40% depending upon the type of case and the complexity of the case.
If an attorney says he is going to do it for twenty percent or something in that nature, be aware. There is a strong chance that they either they do not know what they are doing or they are not very competent at what they are doing. Always remember the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” It is better to pay the average or a little more to get a qualified board-certified personal injury trial lawyer who has a proven track record than to be a number or a cog in a wheel of some mass accident firm that has hundreds and hundreds of clients and you are nothing but a number. You are not going to get very good representation and you will not get the best value for your claim.
Unique Attributes Of Attorney Brad Parker And Parker Law Firm In Handling Personal Injury Cases
You are not a number when you walk into the Parker Law Firm. You are a human being with a real problem that has real issues and real consequences. We understand that this process is not natural for you and that you may feel somewhat overwhelmed. We understand and appreciate that upfront. From the day you walk into our law firm you will have a sense of relief, knowing that you have walked into the right place. When you hire us we take over every aspect relating to your personal injury claim so that you can concentrate on getting back on your feet as soon as possible. When you hire us, we take over dealing with your medical providers, the medical billing companies and the insurance companies. We are there to help you every step of the way. You need to be concentrating on getting better, getting your life put back in shape and getting back in order. We take all the problems associated with seeking and getting medical treatment – from billing issues to subrogation and lien matters and everything else in between. We are there not only as your lawyer but as a friend and confidant. Our clients are family to us and we try in every way imaginable to alleviate those issues from your life so that you can concentrate on what is most important — your health.
Additional Information Regarding Personal Injury Claims
One of the things that we always do on all of our personal injury cases and one thing that sets us apart as well is that we negotiate your medical bills, negotiate the liens and negotiate the subrogation interests. Many times, insurance will not cover a particular procedure or treatment or there are deductibles or co-pays that add up. We negotiate with the medical professionals and routinely receive a better rate, a better discount for your medical bills and a better reduction of the lien and subrogation amounts. All too often medical providers attempt to charge a premium because they know it is a car wreck case or a trucking accident and so they bill higher. When you hire the Parker Law Firm, we get involved immediately and start working with these care providers so that you are not getting gouged. We work on your claim in every conceivable way and allow you to concentrate on getting better. At Parker Law Firm, People truly do Matter.
Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 503-9200 today.