| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

How to Get a Copy of Your Fort Worth Accident Report

Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in Texas with over 900,000 drivers on the road each day. Unfortunately, this means many car accidents happen here every day. In fact, in 2019, Fort Worth reported over 14,808 car accidents. Over one hundred of those car accidents proved fatal. If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Fort Worth, one of the first things you should do is obtain a copy of your accident report. Remember, you can always contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you!  Why Are Fort Worth Car Accident Reports Important?  When a car accident results in injuries and property damage, accident reports can be used as vital evidence. Your Fort Worth accident report serves as a valuable tool when seeking compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. When a law enforcement officer reports to the scene of your accident, they provide an unbiased account of their observations. These observations may include: The date, time, and location of the crash,  The names and contact information of involved parties,  Whether the police issued tickets to any involved party,  The weather and road conditions,  If there was vehicular damage, and Whether there were any injuries.  Most importantly, a reporting police officer may assess fault based on their observations at the scene. The conclusions of a police officer as detailed in a Fort Worth accident report can weigh heavily on the outcome of your insurance claim and lawsuit.  How to Get a Copy of a Fort Worth Accident Report You may always call law enforcement to the scene of an accident to create a report. Texas law provides for the following circumstances when you must file a car accident report with the Texas Department of Transportation:  The accident resulted in injuries or death, or There was more than $1,000 in property damage.  There are three ways to obtain a copy of your accident report from the Fort Worth Police Department.  In Person  The most direct way to obtain a copy of Fort Worth incident reports is in person at the Fort Worth Police Department. The police department is located at 1000 Calvert Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107, and is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Fort Worth Police Department charges $6.00 for each report.  By Mail  You may also request a copy of Fort Worth police accident reports by mail. The Police Department charges a fee of $6.00 per accident report in addition to a $6.00 research fee. Complete a check payable to the Fort Worth Police Department. Additionally, fill out the Request Form and include a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of your Fort Worth accident report.   Online  For $11.00 each, you may also request Fort Worth incident reports online. You must provide the following information:  Report number, Incident date, Incident location, Intersecting street,  The last name of an involved party, Driver’s license of an involved party, The insurance information of the involved party, and The name of the insurance company. If you don’t know your accident report number, you may conduct an advanced search through the police department’s database.    Additionally, the police department permits you to request Fort Worth accident reports to be emailed to you. Contact Us After an accident, you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury team to protect your rights. The attorneys at Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., understand how overwhelming the recovery process can be after an accident. From focusing on your physical rehabilitation to paying down mounting medical expenses, you may feel stuck on how to move forward. The lawyers at Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., pride themselves on providing zealous representation, competent expertise, personal service, and the necessary financial resources to maximize your recovery. Remember, you don’t pay anything until you win your case. Our lawyers fight for you. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

What Is Texas’ Hands-Free Law: What Are the Laws?

Distracting driving can be a big problem, though it is difficult to track how many incidents are distracted driving-related. In the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving is anything that diverts the attention of the driver from the road. New cell phone laws in Texas have been structured to minimize the risk of distracted driving across the state.  New Cell Phone Law Texting and driving in Texas has been illegal since 2017 according to Texas Transportation Code Section 545.4251, but the use of a cell phone is not completely prohibited. Many people use their cell phones for navigation or to play music while driving, as well as for making phone calls. Here are some important Texas cell phone driving laws that you should know. Texting While Driving You cannot send or receive text messages while driving in Texas, however, you can use your navigation system. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are texting while driving, they can pull you over. Therefore, it is best to have all of your navigation and music set before putting the vehicle in motion.  New Drivers New Texas drivers may not use cell phones at all. This law extends for the first six months of driving and includes all forms of cell phone use. Statistics show that the highest percentage of distracted drivers are in the 15 to 19-year-old age range.  Drivers Under 18 After the six-month probationary period, cell phones can be used. Hand-held devices are not allowed until a driver is over the age of 18. All cell phone use must be hands-free in Texas until then.  School Zones Using a handheld device while driving in a school zone or on public school property is prohibited when reduced speeds are in effect.  School Bus Drivers If children are present on the bus, the school bus driver may not use a cell phone at all. A bus full of children is distracting enough on its own.  Texas Cell Phone Driving Law Exception Using a cell phone during an emergency situation will not cause a driver to be fined. A driver may also use their cell phone to contact law enforcement. Despite the exception, the best practice is to pull off the road before placing the call.  Injured By a Distracted Driver Injuries caused by someone disobeying the new Texas cell phone driving laws are compensable. Every driver has the duty to drive with care and obey the laws. Texas is an “at-fault” state, meaning the at-fault driver (or their insurance company) is financially responsible for compensating the injured party.  The specifics of your accident and your legal representation can have a huge impact on your personal injury settlement.  Zimmerman Law understands the importance of conducting a comprehensive investigation of your accident and careful documentation of your claim. We can help you understand what your claim is really worth and will negotiate to get you everything you deserve. Contact us for your free case consultation. 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Who Will Be at Fault for a Sideswipe Collision in Texas?

Anyone who drives regularly has probably witnessed a driver drift in and out of their lane. While most drivers may correct this action without any consequence, sometimes they are unable to do so and hit the side of another car. Most associate sideswipe car accidents with relatively minor damage and minimal injuries. However, these accidents have the potential to cause serious, life-threatening injuries and severe property damage. If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe car accident and you weren’t at fault, speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss how you can recover compensation.  What Is a Sideswipe Car Accident?  A sideswipe car accident occurs when two cars travel parallel to one another, either in the same or opposite direction, and collide with each other. Sideswipe car accidents may occur in intersections, parking lots, highways, or neighborhood roadways. The consequences of these accidents vary from minor scratches to serious injuries.   What Are Common Causes of Sideswipe Car Accidents?  Sideswipe car accidents typically occur when one driver moves out of their lane unsafely and hits another car. Common reasons why sideswipe car accidents occur include:  Failing to check blind spots,  Failing to properly change lanes,  Drifting out of a lane while distracted,  Hydroplaning on wet or icy roadways,  Driving under the influence, Road rage, and Drowsy driving.    Additionally, when drivers drive too fast on curved roadways, sideswipe car accidents may occur when over- or under-steering on the curve.  How Is Fault Determined?  After a sideswipe car accident, determining fault is vital when seeking compensation for your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit. Texas law requires all drivers to stay in a single lane of travel. A driver may change lanes when it is safe and they use their vehicle signals. When a sideswipe car accident occurs, the at-fault driver is the one that crosses into another lane and sideswipes a car legally in their lane. A driver is also at fault if they sideswipe a legally parked car.  Common Injuries After a Sideswipe Car Accident The severity of injuries following a sideswipe accident depends on numerous factors. These factors include the size of the vehicles involved, the speed of travel, and the force of the collision. Common injuries of sideswipe accidents include the following:  Spinal cord injuries,  Traumatic brain injuries,  Whiplash,  Internal injuries,  Broken bones,  Bruising, and  Burns.  Some injuries may not be immediately apparent following a car accident. Some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. For this reason, despite your belief that you may have escaped your sideswipe car accident unscathed, it’s crucial to seek medical attention to avoid further complications. Contact Us  Since 1962, the attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., have been fighting for the rights of Central Texans. Our attorneys have cultivated a reputation for helping clients move forward after a traumatic accident. After an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and burdened by what lies ahead. We provide our clients with zealous representation, competent experience, and personalized service. When you meet with one of our attorneys, this is your attorney for your entire case. Contact our office today for a free consultation and case review! 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Texas Rear-End Collision Injuries

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident. Of the 7,277,000 reported crashes in the U.S. in 2016, 29% of them involved rear-end collisions. In Texas alone, one crash occurred every one minute seven seconds, resulting in 205,498 injured people in 2020. As Texans traveled 260.580 billion miles during 2020, rear-end collisions continue to be common, especially along the I-35 corridor.  If you’ve been rear-ended in an accident, know that you are not alone. The attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm have experience representing people after an auto accident and can help you get your life back on track. This page will help you understand rear-end collision injuries and the legal process of filing a claim for reimbursement. Common Rear-End Collision Injuries In a rear-end collision, the striking car will push the impacted car forward suddenly. The seat of the impacted car will flex backward from the weight of the occupant and the sudden acceleration. When the car comes to a stop, the seat will “flick” the person forward, causing a “whiplash” effect. Initially, the impacted occupant’s head experiences a negative velocity. When flicked forward, the head can undergo an acceleration rate of 18 times the force of gravity.  In rear-impact accidents, drivers most commonly receive head and spine injuries. Drivers who strike another car most commonly experience injuries to the upper limbs, lower limbs, face, and head. Out of all accidents with severe injuries, about 80% of injuries were either to the head or the chest. Frequent sources of rear-end car accident injuries include impact with the: Steering wheel rim,  Left instrument panel (driver side),  Windshield, or Head restraint system. Improvements in head restraint systems may reduce the risk of head and neck injury in rear-impact collisions. Other injuries may appear after whiplash exposure, including headache, thoracic and low back pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and ill-health. It is also common for people to experience emotional problems and an inability to return to work after being rear-ended in an accident. The Legal Process of Filing a Claim After a Rear-End Collision Texas is a “fault” state for car accidents. When another driver causes an accident, you will file a claim with that person’s insurance company because they are at fault for the accident. This is known as a “third-party claim” because you must file a claim with an insurer you don’t have a policy with. In some situations, you may also file a claim with your own insurance company and have them handle reimbursement.  The at-fault driver’s policy will only pay up to their coverage limit. If your medical bills exceed their coverage limit, they may become your financial responsibility. In that case, you can file with your insurance if you have personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments (Medpay), or underinsured motorist coverage. If you don’t have this additional coverage, another option is to sue the at-fault driver in a civil lawsuit. How Can The Zimmerman Law Firm Help Me? When you call The Zimmerman Law Firm, an experienced auto accident attorney will listen and explain your options. We understand that you may have experienced severe rear-end collision injuries or property damages. We have recovered over $2.95 million for our clients involved in auto accidents. If you need help filing an insurance claim or want to sue the at-fault driver, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Work Injury

Texas Workers’ Compensation Laws

Worker’s compensation insurance (workers’ comp) provides income and medical benefits to individuals who suffer a work-related injury. The workers’ comp system dispenses with long lawsuits and disputes over fault to deliver benefits swiftly to the injured worker to protect them from financial hardship and uncertainty.    What Is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy held by your employer which pays benefits to cover the costs of your work-related injury. Most Texas employers elect to have workers’ compensation for several reasons, the most common being that it prevents employees from suing the employer for work-related injuries. If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, they could find themselves paying a potentially large workers’ comp lawsuit settlement in TX. The upside for the employee is that they don’t have to prove their employer was negligent to receive benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits are typically much more modest than the damages recoverable in a personal injury suit because they do not include noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.  What Do I Do When I Am Injured? When you suffer injury on the job, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of when it occurred. You also need to report the injury to your doctor and tell them how it happened. Make sure they know that it was work-related. Finally, within one year of your work-related injury you must inform the Texas Department of Insurance. Failure to do any of these things on time may disqualify you from workers’ compensation benefits. How Do I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits? Depending on the type of benefit and how your injury is classified, workers’ comp benefits are paid a few different ways in Texas.  Most workers’ comp benefits are paid in weekly installments or as costs are incurred. For instance, temporary income benefits are paid on a weekly basis, and medical benefits are paid when you get a doctor’s bill. There is no option in Texas to receive these benefits as a lump sum or settlement.  However, impairment income benefits (not to be confused with temporary or supplemental income benefits) can be paid as a lump sum. To qualify for an impairment income lump sum payment, you have to meet specific standards with regard to disability rating, minimum work periods, and wages earned. In addition, receipt of the lump sum payment may disqualify you from receiving other benefits. Often an impairment income lump sum payment is referred to as a settlement. While that characterization is not entirely correct, in effect the lump sum does end up “settling” a portion of the workers’ comp benefits claim in a single payment.  What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Pay For? Workers’ compensation benefits are not always paid directly to you. The nature of the expenses will determine how the benefits are paid. Generally, benefits are paid as follows: Medical and rehabilitation expenses—paid to the provider, Temporary income—paid to you, Impairment income—paid to you,  Supplemental income—paid to you, Lifetime income—paid to you, and  Death and burial expenses—paid to your estate. Bear in mind, the above list has several specific triggering events (e.g., temporary income triggers after missing seven days of work), and you may not qualify for every benefit (e.g., impairment income or lifetime income etc.). Further, the amounts paid as temporary or supplemental income are calculated as a portion of your wages (e.g., approximately 70% of your wages).       Can I Be Disqualified from Workers’ Compensation? While you don’t have to prove fault to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you can still be disqualified under the following circumstances: You were intoxicated when the work-related injury occurred, It was the result of “horseplay” at the work site, or The injury was self-inflicted. Absent the occurrence of any of the above, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as you can show your injury was work-related Do I Give Anything up When I Receive Workers’ Compensation? When you receive workers’ compensation benefits you give up the right to sue your employer, co-workers, and some third parties. Also, there is no avenue to receive non-economic damages like pain and suffering in a workers’ comp lawsuit settlement. In addition, you will only receive a portion of your wages as temporary or supplement income benefits. Finally, you may face restrictions on which doctors you can see for treatment. The Zimmerman Law Firm Can Help Maximize Your Benefits  At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we have over 85 years of combined experience representing injured individuals just like you. Our attorneys are highly experienced in the details of workers’ compensation claims and have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact us today so we can help you understand your benefits and make sure you get the most out of your workers’ compensation claim. 

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Work Injury

How Much Does a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Charge in Texas?

Hiring a lawyer for a Texas workers’ comp injury is one of the most important decisions you can make. Dealing with the insurance company to get your wage benefits and medical bills is pretty confusing and frustrating. But you don’t have to go it alone. If you were seriously injured at work, you need to hire an experienced Texas workers’ compensation lawyer. It won’t cost you any money upfront, and you won’t have to pay anything unless you win. The workers’ comp insurance company has unlimited resources to fight paying you the benefits. You need a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer on your side fighting for your rights. The Texas workers’ comp lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., have over 85 combined years of experience in successfully representing injured workers. We have the resources and skills to take on the big workers’ comp insurance companies and win you compensation. We won’t charge you upfront fees because the Texas workers’ compensation attorney fees come out of the benefits we win for you. Will It Cost Me Anything Up Front to Meet with a Lawyer? Most lawyers who handle Texas workers’ comp claims do not charge for an initial consultation. Often, the lawyer you call can meet with you over the phone, asking you questions about your case to determine if they can help you. If so, they’ll schedule an appointment for you to come to the office to go over all of the details and paperwork and sign an agreement for workers’ compensation fees. These meetings usually don’t cost you any money up front. Before you sign the fee agreement, decide whether you are comfortable with the lawyer and their experience level and whether they can help you. Hiring the best lawyer possible will go a long way toward winning your case. How Do Workers’ Comp Attorneys Get Paid in Texas? A Texas workers’ comp attorney receives their fees only if they win your case. If your case is lost, your attorney can’t then charge you for attorney fees. The Texas workers’ compensation attorney fees come out of the benefits owed to you. Unlike lawyers in most other states, Texas workers’ comp lawyers charge an hourly fee and not a percentage of the benefits you win. But the hourly rate that a lawyer can charge a workers’ comp client is limited under Texas law. Also, your attorney has to send his or her fee request to the workers’ compensation judge for approval. This is an extra level of protection to make sure lawyers aren’t charging clients too much and they are receiving fair and reasonable Texas workers’ comp attorney fees. What Are the Approved Hourly Rates for a Texas Workers’ Comp Lawyer? Under the current Texas guidelines for workers’ comp attorney fees, the maximum hourly rate is $200 for attorneys and $65 for legal assistants. The guidelines also limit the amount of time an attorney can charge for certain tasks, like attending a hearing, drafting correspondence, or creating settlement agreements. The bottom line is that however much the attorney charges, the attorney fees cannot be more than 25% of the total amount of the unpaid wages. The judge will approve the lawyer’s fees after a careful review of what the attorney has charged. In approving the fees, the judge considers the following factors: Whether the case and legal issues were difficult; Whether the time listed for the various tasks seem reasonable; What benefits are disputed and how much was the final recovery; The experience level of the lawyer; and Whether the fees are normal for the geographic area. Before your attorney submits the fee petition to the judge, review it with them in detail and ask about any questionable charges. Sometimes the Insurance Company Has to Pay Your Attorney In some limited cases, the workers’ comp insurance company will pay your attorney their fees, above and beyond the amount that they have to pay you. In cases where the insurance company and employer contest the claim for certain benefits but lose, the judge can order that the insurance company pay your lawyer. In these rare cases, the fees will not be taken out of the total benefits owed to you. Contact the Texas Workers’ Comp Lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., to Help You Get the Wage and Medical Benefits You Deserve If you have been injured at work in Texas, you are entitled to certain benefits. In some cases, the insurance company fights you and refuses to pay. If this is the case, you need to contact The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. We will take on the workers’ comp insurance company to help you get your owed benefits. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 254-272-3220 today. You can also reach us through our online form.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Work Injury

Walmart Employees and Work Injuries in Texas

Walmart is one of the largest employers in Texas, as well as in the United States. With 508 Walmart stores, 85 Sam’s Club stores, and 19 distribution centers, the company currently employs over 170,000 people in Texas. Because they have so many employees, there are thousands of Texas Walmart work-related injuries every year. Walmart employees work as cashiers, stockers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, maintenance people, and in many other types of jobs. With so many different kinds of work activities going on, Walmart employees suffer from many types of serious injuries. Walmart workers’ compensation claims in Texas are different from those for most employers. Walmart is a self-insured employer and does not have normal workers’ compensation insurance. They are what Texas calls a non-subscriber employer. Because of this, you cannot file a Walmart workers’ comp claim with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission.  To get the benefits and compensation you are owed, you may need to first file a claim with Walmart directly. With most Walmart work injuries, Walmart pays medical bills and lost wages without a fight. But sometimes Walmart will dispute the claim or not pay what’s owed. If this happens, filing a civil lawsuit against Walmart might be necessary.  If the actions of Walmart, another employee, or a third party are to blame for your injury, it may be in your best interest to file a civil suit to start out with, rather than filing a claim with Walmart. Before you do anything, you need to speak to a law firm that focuses its practice on representing injured Walmart employees. The Texas workers’ comp lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., are here to help you handle every aspect of your Walmart work injury claim and protect your rights to receive compensation. We can help explain the sometimes confusing process and advise you on how best to proceed in winning the benefits you deserve. Common Walmart Work Injuries We represent a lot of injured Walmart workers. Our clients have suffered from many types of injuries. Here are the more common Walmart work injuries that we see in our practice: Back injuries; Pulled muscles; Herniated disc; Bulging disc; Broken or fractured bones; Knee injuries; Wrist injuries like carpal tunnel;  Rotator cuff injuries; Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions and skull fractures;  Slip, trip, and fall injuries; Hearing loss; Scarring and disfigurement; and Torn and damaged ligaments and tendons. These injuries can happen in a variety of ways. One of the main causes of Walmart injuries is lifting heavy objects or repetitive lifting. Also, there are many warehouse injuries caused by falling objects, tripping, or forklift accidents causing crush injuries and broken bones. Because employees have to stand for a long period of time, there are many knee, ankle, hip, and back injuries caused by prolonged standing on hard surfaces. Many Walmart cashiers and stockers suffer from repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. What Kinds of Benefits Are Available? With a normal workers’ comp claim, you get wage benefits and medical benefits. This means that for every week that you are off work due to the injury, you should get most of your average weekly wages. Also, all your work-related medical bills are paid by the employer. You receive these benefits no matter who caused the injuries. Even if you were negligent or careless and injured yourself, you still receive workers’ comp benefits. A Walmart workers’ comp claim is not normal since they are a Texas non-subscriber employer. The benefits you will receive by filing a claim with Walmart will likely be less than you would receive under the state system. However, you also retain the right to file a lawsuit against Walmart outside the Texas workers’ comp system if you can prove that their negligence or the negligence of one of their employees contributed to your injury. The best way to get the full compensation you deserve is to hire an experienced Walmart workers’ comp lawyer and force them to pay.  If there is evidence that Walmart was negligent in causing the work injury, you will likely be able to receive more than you would by filing a claim with Walmart. In addition to medical expenses and wage benefits, you could receive compensation for things like Pain and suffering, Mental and emotional distress, Loss of earning capacity, Disfigurement, Loss of life’s pleasures, and Punitive damages. Walmart will have a small army of adjusters, investigators, and attorneys fighting to not pay you anything. You deserve to have a skilled and knowledgeable team on your side fighting for your rights. Can I Settle My Walmart Workers’ Comp Claim? There is always the option to settle your workers’ comp claim or personal injury claim for a lump sum amount. The amount of the settlement will depend upon the facts of the case, the seriousness of the injuries, and how much compensation you are owed. You need to hire a lawyer who is very experienced in negotiating Walmart workers’ comp settlements. A law firm that focuses their practice on representing injured Walmart employees will know the amount of money that is fair and reasonable for a settlement. Contact the Walmart Workers’ Comp Lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., and Have Us Fight for What You Are Owed Just because Walmart is a huge company, it does not mean that they can walk all over the rights of their injured employees. With over 85 years combined experience, the Texas workers’ comp lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. We know what it takes to get a fair Walmart workers’ comp settlement. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 254-272-3220 today. You can also reach us through our online form.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Who’s at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

If you’ve been T-boned in an accident, you may have medical bills, repair bills, lost wages, or other damages that you can recover for. Texas is a fault state, meaning that you will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company for compensation.  But even in a T-bone car accident, it’s not always clear which driver is at fault. Hiring an experienced auto accident lawyer can help simplify investigating the accident and proving who is at fault.  Our attorneys at Zimmerman Law Firm have recovered $2.95 million for our clients in auto collision accidents and have 85 years of combined experience fighting to get justice for the wrongfully injured. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. T-Bone Accidents and Fault When you get behind the wheel of a car, you must act with a certain level of care. A driver acts negligently when they act outside the standard of care and cause an accident. Drivers often act negligently when they: Drive while distracted, Fail to yield, Drive with excessive speed, or Drive while under the influence. T-bone accidents are common at intersections, but they can also happen in parking lots or on highways. For example, a driver might try to beat a red light but be going at an excessive speed, or a driver might run a stop sign because they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To recover your damages, you’ll need to prove that the other driver was at fault. Texas has a modified comparative negligence law, also known as proportionate responsibility. A judge or jury will calculate the percentage of fault for each party involved in the accident. As long as you are 50% or less at fault, you can recover damages. However, the judge will reduce the amount of your recovery by your percentage of fault in the accident. Imagine the other driver failed to yield and drove at an excessive speed, but you were distracted by texting. A judge might find you 40% at fault for the accident and the other driver 60% at fault. If your damages are $100,000, you can recover only $60,000 because of your proportion of responsibility for the accident. How Can Zimmerman Law Firm Help After You’re T-Boned in an Accident? When another driver injures you in an auto collision, one of your first calls should be to an experienced auto accident lawyer. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations for injuries from a car accident. When you contact us, your lawyer will immediately start collecting evidence to prove who is at fault. They can negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company or advise you when it is best to file a lawsuit.  After a T-bone accident, you may feel stressed or frightened. When you hire Zimmerman Law Firm to represent you, our team of experienced, compassionate lawyers will work to maximize your financial recovery while you focus on healing. You don’t pay us until we produce for you.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Claim vs Survival Action: What’s the Difference?

Survival actions and wrongful death claims both address legal compensation after the death of a loved one. However, there are important distinctions between the two causes of action. Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, you may be eligible to file for one or both legal remedies. It is important to understand the differences. Wrongful Death vs Survival Action  The primary difference between a wrongful death and survival action is the purpose of the compensation. Wrongful death claims are intended to compensate family members of the deceased. The compensation is for the injuries that the family member personally sustained as a result of their loved one’s death. These injuries could be financial or emotional losses suffered by you—the claimant. In contrast, a survival action seeks compensation to cover injuries sustained before death, by the person who actually died. Each cause of action has specific elements that must be present to build a valid case.  Wrongful Death Elements  There are five elements that must be met in order to file a case for wrongful death in Texas. All elements are necessary for the lawsuit to succeed.  The only people permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas are the decedent’s spouse, child, or parent. This rule varies by state.  The defendant in the case must be a person or a corporation.  The death was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, insufficient care, lack of skill, or default on the part of the defendant.  If they had lived, the victim would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.  The person or people filing the claim actually suffered because of the death. The suffering does not have to be physical. It can be financial, mental, or emotional.  Wrongful death is also different from criminal homicide. Wrongful death cases compensate the family financially. These are civil cases. Criminal homicide cases are filed in criminal court and can result in jail or prison time, and fines paid to the state as well as other non-financial penalties. And because the defendant’s freedom is at stake, the standard of guilt is significantly higher in criminal cases.  Wrongful death compensation exists to help ease the sting of the wrongful loss of a loved one. And although money cannot bring your loved one back, it can help to ease the pain of the loss of financial and emotional support you would have received had your loved one lived. Economic damages such as funeral expenses and other costs related to the death are available. The plaintiffs may also seek compensation for lost earnings, which is especially compelling if the deceased was the financial breadwinner of the family. Non-economic damages include loss of emotional support, mental anguish, depression, loss of consortium, and other emotional components of losing a loved one. Any recovered damages in a wrongful death case go directly to the family member plaintiffs. Survival Action Elements The Texas Survival Statute grants the heir or executor of the deceased’s estate to bring or continue a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. There are four primary elements of a survival action in Texas.  The plaintiff filing the lawsuit must be a representative or executor of the deceased’s estate.  The deceased had a cause of action for the personal injuries they suffered prior to death. Had they lived, the deceased could have filed a valid personal injury claim for the injuries sustained.  The defendant’s actions caused the injuries that resulted in death.  A death that occurs instantaneously is often ineligible for survival action compensation because there were no injuries or suffering. If the deceased was first hospitalized for any period of time, short or prolonged, a survival action may be valid. Compensation for personal injury may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and all other claims that would have been brought had the loved one survived. Any compensation derived from a survival action goes straight to the decedent’s estate — not directly to the surviving family members. Can You File a Claim for Both Wrongful Death and Survival Action? There are some cases when the death of a loved one meets the elements of both a wrongful death and survival action claim. This occurs when an injury caused by the negligent or careless action of the defendant causes damages to the person who died (such as having to pay for an extended hospital stay), and to the family members as well. Each case is unique in the specific circumstances of the injury, action of the defendant, and suffering experienced by the deceased and the family of the deceased.  What to Know About Filing a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death vs Survival Action The Texas statute of limitations for both causes of action is two years from the injury or death. The sooner you can file your claim, the better. Over time it becomes more difficult to obtain important evidence and conduct a thorough investigation.  The Zimmerman Law Firm has been representing the needs of Texans since 1962. Our experienced attorneys understand how difficult this time can be. We are here to use our knowledge and experience to help you navigate the complex legal system and to provide you with the necessary resources to maximize your financial recovery. Contact us for your free case consultation today!

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Texas Diminished Value Claims

A Texas car accident can result in severe personal injuries. In many cases, a car accident will also result in significant property damage to the vehicles involved.  In the aftermath of a car accident in Texas, you may elect to have your vehicle repaired. However, even if the vehicle is restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident, the overall value of the vehicle may still be diminished. This is often due solely to the fact that the vehicle sustained damages in an accident.  As a result, you may have to bear that resulting loss in value due to no fault of your own. Fortunately, however, there are ways to seek compensation to cover this loss of market value.  Have questions about how to recover in the aftermath of your Texas auto accident? Contact the car accident lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm today.   Diminished Value Claims in Texas: An Overview Before moving forward, it’s important to have a basic understanding of diminished value claims in Texas. So, what exactly is a Texas diminished value claim?  Essentially, a diminished value claim is one that you may bring with your own insurer or against another party’s insurer to cover any diminution in value of your vehicle as a result of an accident. How Do I Qualify for a Texas Diminished Value Claim?  Importantly, not all people qualify to file a diminished value claim in Texas simply because their vehicle sustained damage and a resulting loss in value. Generally, the following must also be true:  The person that caused the accident was underinsured or did not carry sufficient coverage to cover all costs and diminished value of the vehicle;  You carry uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage; and You were not at fault in causing the accident.  If you have questions about whether you qualify for a Texas diminished value claim, give our team a call today to discuss the facts of your case in more detail. Diminished Value Appraisals After filing your claim, the next step is determining an appropriate diminished value. To obtain this valuation, insurers will typically send an adjuster to value the vehicle. Common factors to consider in a diminished value appraisal include:  Make and model of the vehicle;  Prior accident history;  Age of the vehicle; and  Vehicle mileage.  It’s important to note, however, that you do not have to blindly accept the value obtained during the diminished value appraisal. Instead, consider obtaining a competing value from an independent appraiser to help further negotiations moving forward.  Need Help Assessing a Texas Diminished Value Claim?  Between personal injuries, vehicle damage, and emotional trauma, dealing with the aftermath of a car accident in Texas can be complicated and overwhelming. However, you do not have to navigate this process alone.  At The Zimmerman Law Firm, our dedicated and award-winning trial attorneys are ready to help you fight for your rights. Whether you need assistance pursuing a Texas diminished value claim or need an attorney to take your case all the way to trial, we will always pursue justice for our clients. Contact our team today for a free case review to discuss your case and see what we can do for you. 

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