| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Elements of a Texas Wrongful Death Claim

A legal claim for wrongful death can be brought by loved ones seeking justice and financial relief on behalf of a loved one who passed away due to the negligence of another party. This cause of action is not applicable to every accidental death situation. Specific wrongful death elements must be present to succeed on this legal claim.  In Texas, wrongful death occurs when the injured person would have had the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had lived. This also applies in the case of an unborn fetus.  Wrongful Death Elements There are four elements to this cause of action that the plaintiff must prove to win a lawsuit. These are similar to the elements that must be established for Texas personal injury claims. Each wrongful death element is crucial to the case. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 71.001 to 71.003, if all elements of wrongful death are present, loved ones are entitled to damages.  Duty The first element of a wrongful death claim is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the person who died. One example of duty of care is the duty to obey traffic safety laws such as stopping at a red light, or not texting while driving. Breach of Duty You must next prove that the defendant breached their duty. A breach of duty occurs when a party fails to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation. Causation The causation element of wrongful death requires you to show that the death was caused by the breach of duty. There are two types of causation: Cause in fact means that the death would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions; and Proximate cause means that the act was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty. “Fault” is another way to think about the wrongful death element of causation.  Damages Finally, the negligent party’s actions must have caused damage. In the case of a wrongful death claim, the damages you must prove are those suffered by the loved ones of the deceased person as a result of the death—for example, loss of financial support and loss of companionship. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas? A handful of people are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These include the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents.  If none of these surviving relatives files the suit within three months of the death, a personal representative of the estate may file the claim instead. The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations give you two years to file the claim after the death of your loved one.  Proving the Elements of a Wrongful Death Suit Keeping accurate records of all the events surrounding the death of your loved one is the first step in building a successful case that meets all wrongful death elements. This includes accident reports, medical records, autopsy reports, and more. These documents can be difficult to compile as well as heartbreaking, but they are necessary. Your legal team will be able to guide you through this process, as well as conduct an investigation to determine the defendant’s level of culpability.  Our legal team at The Zimmerman Law Firm has over 85 years of combined experience representing clients with their personal injury and wrongful death cases. We can help you determine the value of your claim and the best way for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for your free consultation.  FAQ What Are the Elements of Wrongful Death in Texas? There are four elements of wrongful death. These elements include duty, breach of duty, causation, and damage. Each element must be present to bring a cause of action.  Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas? The decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents are all eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. If these surviving family members do not file within three months of the death, a personal representative of the estate may file the claim instead. How Can an Attorney Assist in Your Wrongful Death Case? An experienced wrongful death attorney will determine the value of your case, investigate the death, gather proof of the negligent action that caused the death, negotiate with insurance companies, timely file paperwork, and represent you at trial if necessary.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

What Are the Most Common Rear-End Collision Injuries?

The injuries caused by a rear-end collision range anywhere from minor bruises and scrapes to debilitating brain injuries or loss of limb. Many victims usually underestimate the severity of their injuries, especially if those injuries are internal. Rear-end collisions often lead to these types of serious injuries, so it’s important to seek medical care immediately following the accident. After receiving care, our Texas personal injury attorneys can help you file a claim for the compensation you need to recover. Here are the most common rear-end collision injuries and the symptoms you should look out for. Whiplash This is by far one of the most common rear-end collision injuries. Whiplash occurs when a sudden movement snaps the head or neck forward or backward. This causes the ligaments and muscles of the neck to overstretch, often leading to a strain or tear. While whiplash is more likely to occur in high-speed collisions, it also happens in low-speed accidents.  The symptoms of whiplash from rear-end collision include muscle soreness, headache, numbness, dizziness, spasms, and stiffness. Many of these symptoms last for days or weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. Spinal Injuries Back injuries, including damage to the spine, are some of the most serious rear-ended collision injuries. The impact from a rear-end crash not only strains muscles in the lower back, but can also lead to fractures in the vertebrae or herniated discs. This often results in life-long complications and chronic pain. Symptoms of spinal injuries include headache, lower backache, arm pain, leg pain, stiffness, difficulty walking, numbness in the extremities, bladder control issues, and paralysis. The amount of time that it takes to recover depends on the severity of the back injury. For bruises and strains, pain may last for a few weeks. However, more serious injuries such as herniated discs or facet joint damage can cause lingering pain for several years.  Head and Facial Injuries Most common car accident injuries involve some damage to the face or head. In rear-end collisions, these injuries typically occur when a driver’s head strikes their window, steering wheel, or dashboard. Injuries to the head can be life-threatening, so it is best to get checked by a medical professional immediately following the accident.  A majority of facial injuries come in the form of bruises, cuts, scrapes, broken teeth, or a broken nose. While these injuries may not seem serious, they often require long-term treatment and can cause permanent disfigurement. The most dangerous kind of head damage is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can be caused by whiplash or head trauma and usually results in a concussion. The damage from a TBI is often permanent, leading to life-long neurological issues, including the following: Memory loss; Lack of focus; Impaired movement; Loss of balance; Depression; Sleep disorders; Light or noise sensitivity; Mood swings; Slurred speech; Nausea; and Seizures. For this reason, head injuries of any kind should be taken seriously after a rear-end collision, even if they initially seem to be minor. Chest Injuries Injuries to the chest, including fractures, are very common in rear-end collisions. While seatbelts and airbags prevent many fatal injuries, they can break your ribs during more severe crashes. This is especially true in a rear-end collision since the force pushes the occupants forward.  Immediately following an accident, it may be difficult to know if you have broken ribs. While sharp pain accompanies more severe fractures, cracks or hairline fractures may be less obvious and difficult to discern. Some symptoms of broken ribs include swelling, heat in the area, bruising, stiffness, and weakness. Severe pain when breathing, coughing, laughing, or twisting your body may also be an indication that you have broken ribs. Amputations Unfortunately, amputations happen often in severe rear-end accidents. In many cases, the force of the collision causes the car to crumple, leaving the victim vulnerable to crushed limbs. When this happens, emergency responders may have no choice but to remove the limb in order to save the victim’s life.  Amputations are life-altering injuries that drastically decrease a victim’s quality of life. Victims often need years of rehabilitation and psychological therapy to recover. And after some time passes, they may experience further complications that require additional surgeries. Some complications that may arise down the road include infections, blood clots, swelling, or heart issues. Injured in a Rear-End Collision? Call The Zimmerman Law Firm Today If you sustained injuries like the ones listed above in an accident that wasn’t your fault, we can help. For nearly 60 years, The Zimmerman Law Firm has been representing clients throughout Texas with their personal injury claims. Our experienced personal injury attorneys know that you need a compassionate advocate to fight for you. We will tirelessly work to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery.  Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our personal injury lawyers. We are proud to serve clients from our offices in Waco, Austin, Round Rock, and Killeen.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Average Wrongful Death Settlement: What to Expect

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. The amount you are eligible to receive will depend on a number of factors. There is no real way to determine the average wrongful death settlement because the circumstances of death are unique to each case. However, a personal injury lawyer can help you estimate the value of your claim. What Is Wrongful Death? A claim for wrongful death compensates the close family members of a deceased person for losses they experience as a result of their loved one’s death. To have a valid cause of action, the action or inaction that resulted in death must have been intentional or negligent. The action must have been the cause of or a contributing factor to the death of your loved one.  Potential Compensation for Wrongful Death Cases Compensation for wrongful death takes into consideration the impact of death on survivors. Damages can be both economic and noneconomic. Exemplary damages (also known as punitive damages) may also be available in egregious cases. Economic Economic damages are those that can be proven objectively using bills and invoices. Costs covered may include: Funeral and burial expenses;  Loss of decedent’s expected earning capacity;  Loss of benefits such as medical insurance coverage or pension plans;  Loss of inheritance; and Value of any goods or services that would have been provided.  Most estimated wages and benefits are calculated through the decedent’s intended retirement age. Non-Economic Damages that don’t come with a written cost are harder to prove but still just as valid. Non-economic damages attempt to place a value on the mental and emotional components of wrongful death. Non-economic damages may include: Mental anguish; Post-traumatic stress; Loss of the care, protection, and guidance from the deceased;  Loss of household services of the deceased; Loss of love and companionship; and  Loss of consortium.  Non-economic damages may require witnesses and expert testimony to prove that the damage occurred. Exemplary Damages Egregious behavior may be costly. An additional payout in the form of exemplary damages may be required to punish a defendant. These damages are most likely in cases where the defendant is a big corporation that would be undeterred by a small payout. But they could be available any time intentional conduct or gross negligence is involved, such as in the case of an accident caused by a drunk driver with repeat offenses.   Examples of Average Wrongful Death Settlements Wrongful death claims can come in all shapes and sizes. Who you are bringing the claim against will also impact average wrongful death settlement amounts.  A Texas court awarded a $9,360,000.00 verdict in 2019 against the City of Austin doing business as Austin Energy. The company was found negligent in operating and maintaining high voltage power lines that ran dangerously close to the side of a nightclub. This negligence resulted in the electrocution that killed Jaime Membreno. ​​ In 2019, Greyhound Bus was ordered to pay $20,000,000 for the wrongful death of a 25-year-old Texas resident who was hit while trying to get the driver’s attention to board the bus. The driver erred when he left the bus stop prior to the scheduled time and did not conduct a headcount.  A $4,500,000 wrongful death settlement was negotiated with Bexar County, Texas, in a lawsuit involving the fatal 2017 shooting of a 6-year-old caught in police crossfire. The person the police were seeking entered the home of the boy’s family without invitation. Officers thought she was armed and opened fire.  Factors That Impact Your Wrongful Death Settlement The amount of compensation you receive for your wrongful death lawsuit will depend heavily on the circumstances of the case including:  How the death occurred: Who was responsible: The degree of responsibility for the death; Other factors contributing to death; The age of the deceased; Salary and earning potential of the deceased; and Financial dependence of family members. If the death of your loved one was caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of an individual, your settlement may be different than if it had been caused by a large corporation.  Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney The experienced team at The Zimmerman Law Firm has been fighting for the rights of central Texans since 1962. We understand how difficult it is to handle legal matters when you are grieving. Every case is important to us, and our team is dedicated to providing each client with individual attention and compassionate representation.   Do not settle for less than what you deserve for your wrongful death lawsuit. You have already been through enough. We’re here to help, and we don’t recover unless you do. Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm for your free case evaluation.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Injuries

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

The legal process of personal injury claims is very complex compared to many other aspects of our day-to-day lives. Many people have never had to go through any sort of legal claim process before, so the prospect of filing a personal injury claim is often quite daunting. Sometimes, it is unclear what you should do next or even what you should do to get started. Luckily, when you hire a personal injury attorney, you hire not just an advocate, but a guide to take you through the claims process and help you get where you need to go. Before your lawyer can guide you through the legal process, however, you need to find the right one for you. Not every lawyer is the right lawyer for every person. Even for the same person, the right lawyer for a given legal claim is not always the right one for another. No two people are alike, and no two cases are alike, so to figure out whether someone is the right lawyer for you, you need to ask them some questions to get to know them and how they work in practice. Why a List of Questions Is Helpful Before consulting with any lawyers, it helps to prepare a list of questions you are going to ask them. Once you prepare your list of questions, you should ask those same questions to every attorney you consult with. That way, you can objectively compare the attorneys you speak with using the same metrics. To help you get started on your questions to ask a personal injury attorney, The Zimmerman Law Firm prepared this list of ten questions you should ask when hiring a personal injury attorney. What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer? If you ask a lawyer in Texas all the following questions to start with, you will have a head start on getting to know them. That way, you can determine if they are the right attorney for your case and leave nothing to chance. 1. How Long Have You Practiced Law? Experience is critically important for any attorney. If the attorney you consult with has very little experience, they may not have the preparation necessary to successfully litigate your case. 2. Is Personal Injury Your Primary Focus Area? Some law firms handle just about any sort of claim that comes their way. This has its advantages but can also have its disadvantages. Notably, lawyers that lack a focus area can have a hard time keeping up with important developments in various legal areas. Conversely, a lawyer who focuses on personal injury will be well aware of any important changes in the law. 3. Do You Offer Confidential and Risk Free Case Consultations? This is a good question to ask before you consult with a given attorney. If the lawyers you speak to charge a fee for their consultations, you may not want to consult with them. After all, if you plan to speak with multiple attorneys, the consultation costs can add up quickly. Most personal injury attorneys do offer free consultations. 4. What Is the Value of My Personal Injury Claim? By asking each lawyer you speak with about the value of your personal injury claim, you can compare their answers. If one lawyer’s estimate far exceeds the other estimates, it may be a sign that that particular attorney has a habit of overpromising. 5. Have You Successfully Litigated Personal Injury Claims Similar to Mine? It always helps if your lawyer has successfully handled personal injury claims similar to yours. With that specific experience under their belt, they will know what to expect in your case, and can prepare accordingly. 6. What Fees Do You Charge? To avoid any nasty surprises when billing time comes, you should always ask any attorney about their fees before retaining their services. Furthermore, you can compare each lawyer’s fees to try to find the best value for your money. 7. What Happens If I Lose My Case? The answer to this question may come up in a discussion about attorney fees. Most personal injury lawyers work on the basis of a contingency fee. WIth a contingency fee payment arrangement, if you lose your case or it does not settle, your lawyer cannot collect a fee. By hiring a lawyer who works on the basis of contingency fees, filling your claim comes with very little risk. 8. Have You Faced any Disciplinary Action by Any Bar Association? If a lawyer has faced repeated disciplinary action, it may be a sign that they have questionable moral and ethical practices. You can avoid a potentially bad situation by steering clear of attorneys who were subject to repeated disciplinary action. Don’t just ask about Texas either; be sure to ask if they have faced disciplinary action from any bar association. You can also look up this information yourself online. If a lawyer lies to you about their disciplinary record, do not hire them.  9) What Case Was the Most Challenging for You? Why? Asking about what case was the most challenging for a given attorney will give you a window into their personality. You will get a glimpse into how that attorney reacts to adversity and how they work under pressure. It is a good omen if an attorney works well in difficult situations. 10) What Case Was the Most Rewarding for You? Why? This is another question that will help you get to know your attorney on a more personal level before hiring them. By asking this question, you can see what drives an attorney to do what they do. Furthermore, it can help you learn a bit about that attorney’s morals and ethics. It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive. You will always get to know someone better by asking them more questions. If you think of more questions after you consult with an attorney, you should make sure you ask those questions of the other personal injury lawyers you...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Work Injury

Injured by Faulty Equipment at Work—Who Is Liable?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 2.8 million reported workplace injuries per year. While many of these injuries happen due to falls or other common workplace hazards, many occur because of faulty equipment.  In 2020, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) listed unsafe machinery as one of the top 10 reported workplace safety violations. Even though most employers follow OSHA’s regulations for inspecting and maintaining machinery, there are many who disregard the safety of their workers. Even minor work equipment malfunctions can put workers at risk. You may be wondering, “What is the most common injury caused by working with machines unsafely? Who is liable if I get injured using work equipment?” When faulty machinery causes an injury, you may be able to seek compensation from whoever is responsible. However, it may be difficult to determine who is at fault. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we have decades of experience representing clients injured on the job due to the negligence of another. Our Waco work injury attorneys can help manage your case and your workers’ compensation claim at the same time, so you can focus on recovery. What Counts as Faulty Equipment? Faulty equipment is any machine, either mechanical or electric, that is too unsafe to use. There are several things that may cause a faulty machine, including manufacturing defects, design defects, and improper maintenance. Manufacturing Defect A manufacturing defect is an error in the creation of the machine that occurs during production or assembly. Typically, this defect causes the machine to become dangerous to use since it doesn’t meet the intended design specifications. Design Defect A design defect occurs when a machine is too dangerous to use, even for its intended purpose. The faults often originate from the overall blueprints of the design rather than the manufacturing process. Improper Maintenance Not all machinery defects are caused by defective parts or manufacturing errors. Some machinery injuries happen due to an employer improperly maintaining their equipment. OSHA has published requirements for machinery and machine guarding listed in their guidelines. According to standard number 1910.212, machines with the following parts require point of operation guarding to prevent injury: Guillotine cutters, Shears, Power presses, Milling machines, Power saws, Jointers, Portable power tools, and Forming rolls. In addition to these guidelines, OSHA states that stationary machinery must be securely anchored so that it doesn’t move. Machines that do not meet these standards are unnecessarily dangerous to operate. What Is the Most Common Injury Caused by Working with Machines Unsafely? The most common injury caused by using a machine unsafely is laceration. However, there are other injuries that can occur depending on the type of machinery. This includes  Broken bones,  Burns,  Traumatic brain injuries (TBI),  Spinal cord injuries,  Eye injuries, and  Amputations. Machine injuries tend to be severe and life-altering. For this reason, workers’ compensation is often not enough to cover all the damages associated with the injury.  Employer vs. Manufacturer Liability Proving liability for a workplace injury involving machinery can be difficult depending on the circumstances. If the machine is faulty because of a manufacturing or design defect, it may be easier to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. However, if the machine malfunctions because of poor maintenance by your employer, you will likely be limited to pursuing a workers’ compensation claim except in very limited circumstances. Bringing a Case Against Your Employer In Texas, you can only sue your employer for negligence if they do not carry workers’ compensation insurance or if they intentionally harm you. However, if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you can file a claim for your injuries. Depending on your unique situation, this could include lost wages, rehabilitation, medical travel expenses, and more. Bringing a Case Against the Manufacturer Proving the liability of a manufacturer is a little different. In many cases, it’s possible to bring a product liability claim against a manufacturer for a defective machine. These defects can be caused by the manufacturer: Installing the machine incorrectly; Providing poor operation instructions; Designing the machine with safety flaws; or Building the machine using defective parts. For example, let’s say you are taking inventory in a walk-in freezer. When you try to exit the freezer, the door locks from the inside, causing you to suffer frostbite injuries. In this case, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for a defective door lock. Injured on the Job? We Can Help Workplace injuries can be devastating for workers and their families, especially when caused by faulty work equipment. The impact of the injury is usually life-long, requiring constant medical care or job changes. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, our work injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you maximize your recovery. We will help manage every aspect of your case from your workers’ compensation claim to your product liability lawsuit. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Waco personal injury lawyers.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accidents

What You Need to Know About Diminished Value Claims in Texas

When you get in a car accident, sometimes you suffer a personal injury. Other times, you experience loss in the form of property damage. Typically, the property damage that you suffer is some form of damage to your car. In Texas, the person who is to blame for an accident bears the liability for the damage that the accident causes. This means they are responsible for compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, and any property damage they cause.  A diminished value claim is a way to recover property damage from a responsible party. However, many people have never heard of a diminished value claim. Because diminished value claims are critically important in recovering damages, The Zimmerman Law FIrm put together this quick guide on diminished value claims in Texas. Texas Fault Rules and Liability Insurance Texas law looks at who caused an accident to determine who is liable for the damages the accident causes. The system is known as a modified comparative fault system. The system is comparative, as the law compares each party’s share of the blame to determine liability. Each party, with limits, can recover the amount of damages they suffered minus the percentage attributed to them. Because Texas is a fault state, the law requires all drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance. Then, unless a lawsuit is necessary after an accident, the responsible party’s insurance company compensates the damaged party. The system in Texas is called a modified comparative fault system instead of a pure comparative fault system. In a pure comparative fault system, regardless of percentage of fault, each party sees a reduction in compensation based on their own percentage of fault. If party A is 95% to blame for an accident and party B is 5% to blame, party A can still recover 5% of their total damages from party B.  The same result as outlined above would not happen in Texas’s modified comparative fault system. Instead, party A would not recover any damages from party B. This is because Texas’s modified comparative fault has a threshold of responsibility. If any party’s share of liability exceeds 50%, they cannot recover any damages from the other party. What Is a Diminished Value Claim? A diminished value claim is a way to recover property damages. When you are in an accident, the amount of damage to your vehicle can vary between minor scratches and other cosmetic damage on one hand, to rendering the vehicle entirely unusable on the other. In any case, the responsible party is liable for compensating you for that damage. If the car is unusable, that amount is the total value of the vehicle. If the car can be repaired, the amount is equal to whatever is necessary to restore the vehicle to its pre crash condition. There is one problem, however: even if a mechanic and body shop restore your vehicle to its pre crash condition, it is very likely that your car will lose value. That’s because car crashes often cause various underlying problems that inherently damage the vehicle but are not always visible. To rectify the situation, you can file a diminished value claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. The amount of your diminished value claim is equal to the difference between your car’s value before the accident and your car’s value after the accident. What Types of Diminished Value Are There? There are three main types of diminished value. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you will want to file one of the following claims: Inherent diminished value, Immediate diminished value, or Repair-related diminished value. Inherent diminished value refers specifically to the loss of a vehicle’s worth or market value. Inherent diminished value applies when you have made repairs to your vehicle but its value still decreases. Immediate diminished value refers to the difference in your vehicle’s resale value before the accident vs after the accident. Immediate diminished value applies only if you have not made repairs to your vehicle. FInally, repair-related diminished value refers to your vehicle’s loss in value because of faulty repairs, less reliable replacement parts, and any damage that has yet to be repaired. How to File a Diminished Value Claim You can file diminished value claims in Texas fairly easily. The process is similar to filing any other sort of insurance claim. To do so, you will need to gather evidence to demonstrate your vehicle’s diminished value. There are a couple ways to do this. Doing both will help to bolster your claim’s chances of success. First, you can look up your car’s Kelly Blue Book value before and after the accident. Second, you could go to a used car dealer for a valuation. Third, you could get a quote from an auto repair shop that accounts for all relevant damage. It always helps boolster your claim if you get more than one or two quotes on your vehicle.  Depending on the circumstances of your case, you should file one of two types of insurance claim. You will need to file either: A) a first-party insurance claim or B) a third-party insurance claim to recover diminished value damages. With a first party diminished value claim, you file the claim with your own insurance company because you were at fault for the accident. To do so, you need to have collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, or any other insurance product that covers property damage when you are at fault for an accident. You will need to file a third-party diminished value claim when someone else is at fault for the accident. You will do so through their insurance provider. What If the Insurance Company Denies My Diminished Value Claim? Sometimes insurance companies are quick to deny diminished value claims. One reason for this is that many attorneys do not take on diminished value claims unless they are already representing a party. Knowing this, insurance companies deny diminished value claims in hopes that the party making the claim will drop it. If...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accidents

7 Common Car Accident Injuries

While we do our best to avoid them, car accidents inevitably occur. No matter what precautions you take, you can’t always avoid involvement in a car accident.  People are involved in car accidents every day throughout the county. In fact, according to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury in the United States.  Car accidents can range from minor to severe. Some result in no injuries or only property damage. Other accidents, however, can result in severe injuries, hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, and, in some cases, even death. Regardless of the severity, if you sustain an injury in a car accident, you may have a claim for relief. So what do you do if you’ve sustained car crash injuries in a motor vehicle accident?  Knowing what steps to take next is crucial to your physical, emotional, and financial recovery moving forward. And the first step toward your recovery is being able to recognize what types of car wreck injuries may entitle you to seek compensation.  Below are 7 common car accident injuries that you should be aware of. If you have sustained any of these car accident injuries, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Then contact a car accident injury attorney to see what your options are for recovery. 1. Cuts and Scrapes Even in a minor car accident, occupants of the vehicle can sustain minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes. These types of injuries might result from debris, broken glass, or even airbag deployment.  Depending on the severity of the cut, you may need stitches to stop the bleeding. Even if you do not require stitches, be sure to properly care for your injuries. This can help to prevent infection and other complications that may lead to more serious car accident injuries later on. 2. Broken or Fractured Bones Broken arms, legs, and hips are some of the most common types of car crash injuries.  A simple bone fracture means that a bone breaks without an open wound. A compound fracture, on the other hand, occurs when a broken bone penetrates through the skin.  Broken or fractured bones can occur when a vehicle occupant braces themselves for the impact of the accident.  Rib bones are extremely fragile and can be broken by the impact of a seatbelt. Facial bones can also break if your face strikes part of the vehicle during the crash.  If you believe you suffered a broken or fractured bone during a car accident, seek medical treatment right away. 3. Internal Bleeding Internal bleeding may not be visible to the naked eye. However, it remains one of the most serious car accident injuries someone can sustain.  In fact, the seriousness of internal bleeding is due in large part to the fact that such injuries cannot be seen. Failure to promptly address internal injuries can lead to even more severe injuries.  Thus, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention even if you do not notice any visible car accident injuries. 4. Spinal Cord Injuries With car accidents involving blunt force trauma, spinal cord injuries are a frequent result.  According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Unfortunately, individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury during a car accident frequently end up partially or completely paralyzed.  The average yearly expenses for an individual with a spinal cord injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Commonly, annual expenses can range from approximately $350,000 to $1 million. However, this accounts for only the first year after the injury occurred, and expenses can increase in later years.  While a spinal cord injury can be devastating, there are ways to seek monetary compensation to help you move forward. An experienced car accident injury lawyer can help you assess your losses and expenses and determine what you may be entitled to recover.  5. Head Injuries The severity of head injuries sustained in a car crash can range from minor bumps and bruises to traumatic brain injuries.  Brain injuries can be caused when your brain forcefully makes contact with your skull. The brain is a delicate organ and can easily be injured during a high-impact car accident. However, head injuries can be difficult to detect and diagnose. Thus, it is crucial that you receive medical attention as soon as possible if you hit your head during a car accident. 6. Whiplash The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as a neck injury that results from forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, much like the cracking of a whip.  Whiplash is incredibly common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. If you are experiencing neck pain after a car accident, you should consult with a medical professional to receive treatment and ensure that you don’t have any more serious injuries. 7. PTSD and Other Emotional Injuries Not all injuries sustained during a car accident are physical. But that doesn’t mean you can’t receive compensation for your non-physical injuries.  Even if you do not suffer serious car accident injuries that are physical in nature, you may still sustain emotional trauma in the aftermath of the accident. Car accident victims can experience emotional distress and severe anxiety about driving or even being inside a vehicle after being in an accident.  If you are feeling heightened anxiety or depression following your accident, be sure to seek the assistance of a mental health professional that can provide you with treatment options.  Questions About How to Move Forward? Contact a Car Accident Injury Attorney Today No matter what type of car accident injuries you suffered, the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision can be a stressful, time-consuming, and emotionally draining experience.  Of course, nothing can turn back time and prevent the accident from occurring. However, there are ways for you to recover.  If you have questions about your car accident injuries and whether and to what extent you might be able to recover compensation, we want to...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Work Injury

Impairment Ratings in Texas Workers’ Compensation Claims

If you have a work-related injury, you may have heard of “impairment ratings.”  You might be wondering what impairment ratings are and why they matter.  Impairment ratings (also called “MMI ratings” in Texas) are a critical part of every workers’ compensation case. The wrong impairment rating can prevent an injured employee from getting the payout they deserve.  If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or assigned an impairment rating in Texas, take a moment to read this post. Our experienced Texas workers’ compensation lawyers discuss what impairment ratings are, how they’re calculated, and why they matter to your case.  For immediate assistance, please contact us online or call (254) 752-9688 to set up a consultation. What Is an Impairment Rating?  Impairment ratings in Texas are ratings that reflect how much a worker has been permanently affected by their work injury. Impairment ratings decide how much compensation an injured Texas employee should receive. It’s kind of like when people rate collectible items as “fair,” “very good,” or “mint” condition. Impairment ratings involve the same concept but apply to permanently injured workers.  How Is an Impairment Rating Calculated in Texas?  An injured worker receives an impairment rating in Texas only after they have reached “maximum medical improvement,” or “MMI.” Injured workers generally reach MMI when their doctor decides that their injuries are unlikely to get any better. An injured employee can also reach MMI when they’ve received temporary income benefits (TIBs) for two years.  When an injured employee reaches MMI, their doctor will conduct a special examination. During this examination, the doctor measures the workers’ physical condition by assessing things like pain levels, physical strength, and range of motion.  After the examination, the doctor assigns an impairment rating to the injured worker by referencing The Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Physicians use this book to compare their findings with defined impairment rating criteria. It’s kind of like a Texas impairment rating calculator.  Let’s use an example. Imagine you hurt your hand and back while working on the job. When you reach MMI, you still can’t bend a couple of your fingers on your injured hand. You also have lower back pain that just won’t go away. Based on this, your doctor assigns you an impairment rating of 25 for your hand and 10 for your back. This means that your hand has a permanent impairment of 25% and your back has a permanent impairment of 10%.  The higher your impairment rating, the less function you’ll have in that part of your body. Why Does My Texas Workers’ Compensation Impairment Rating Matter?  A Texas worker’ compensation impairment rating helps determine how much compensation an injured worker receives. Higher impairment ratings mean greater compensation. In other words, your impairment rating determines your payout in Texas.  How Much Compensation Can I Get?  Injured workers in Texas who have permanent work-related impairments can receive “impairment income benefits,” or “IIBS.”  State law creates a kind of Texas impairment payment rating calculator for these benefits. Each point of impairment allows an injured worker to receive three weeks of income equal to 70% of their weekly wage, provided that amount doesn’t exceed 70% of the state average weekly wage (SAWW). The SAWW varies every year and is available online.  Let’s use an example to show how this Texas impairment rating calculator works. Imagine that a worker named John has an average weekly wage of $1,000 before he injures himself at work. When John reaches MMI, his doctor assigns him an impairment rating of 30%. This means that John will receive IIBs equal to 70% of $1,000, or $700, for 90 weeks. Imagine another injured worker named Jane. Before her injury, Jane made an average weekly wage of $1,500. With the same impairment rating as John, she will receive $705 per week for 90 weeks because the 2021 SAWW is $1,006.71.  Injured workers can receive more than just IIBs. In fact, there are several other kinds of income benefits besides IIBs, including supplemental income benefits (SIBs) and lifetime income benefits (LIBs). These income benefits each have their own unique requirements. For example, injured workers can receive SIBs if they have an impairment rating of 15% or more and either: Have not returned to work; or Have returned to work, but earn less than 80% of their pre-injury weekly wage.  To sum up, your Texas workers’ compensation impairment rating may entitle you to several different kinds of benefits. That is why it is important for you to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you.  What Should I Do If I Don’t Agree with My Impairment Rating?  If you don’t agree with your impairment rating, contact us right away. Although the Texas impairment rating evaluations system is supposed to produce consistent, unbiased impairment ratings, the truth is that it’s far from perfect.  For one, different doctors can have different opinions. One doctor might determine that a hand injury results in 10% impairment, while another will assign the same injury an impairment rating of 15% or 20%.  Second, workers’ compensation insurance companies often pay the medical doctors who make impairment ratings. Although doctors are supposed to be unbiased in determining impairment ratings, this financial connection often encourages them to assign lower impairment ratings to save the insurance company money. This in turn motivates the insurance company to help the doctor earn more money by sending more injured employees for evaluation.   Consequently, doctors often assign injured workers unfairly low impairment ratings. How Can The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., Help? Chances are, you now realize that an impairment rating is an important but complex issue. No one should have to navigate the complicated world of Texas workers’ compensation law alone. Our experienced Texas workers’ compensation attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Plus, we won’t charge you any legal fees unless you win your case.  Contact us or call (254) 752-9688 for a free consultation today, and let...

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Injuries

10 Signs You Need a Workplace Injury Attorney

If you’ve suffered an injury after a workplace accident, you may be confused about what to do next. You know there are certain steps you should take, but you may not know exactly what they are. So you might be wondering, Do I need a lawyer for workers’ comp? In many cases, the answer is yes. The attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm are ready to help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. When You Don’t Need a Workplace Accident Lawyer After an accident, many people wonder, Should I get a lawyer for workers’ comp? In some instances, you may not need the help of a lawyer. You may not need a lawyer if: Your resulting injuries are obviously work-related; You do not need extensive medical treatment; You do not suffer any disability forcing you to take time off work; or There are no permanent injuries. If your case involves any of the above-mentioned situations, an insurance company is unlikely to deny your claim. In other words, in these scenarios, you are likely to get the help you need without an attorney. When to Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer In other circumstances, you are much better off having a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on your side. The following scenarios can bring about challenges that only a lawyer will know how to handle. In any of the following situations, having a workplace accident lawyer can help you get a much more favorable outcome.  Your Employer Is Delaying the Claim After experiencing a work accident, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible. Once you have notified the employer, they must contact their insurance company and file a claim. If your employer does not act quickly enough, this can negatively affect you. A hurt at work lawyer can help get the process going to get you the benefits you need as soon as possible. Your Claim Is Denied Insurance companies can deny claims for many different reasons. Fortunately, if your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. However, the need to appeal a denial adds a level of complication to your case that you are likely unprepared to handle alone. Every state’s appeals process varies, but most require filing paperwork and presenting compelling evidence at a hearing. A workers’ compensation lawyer will represent you to ensure your case is handled properly. Your Accident Results in a Permanent Disability There are two types of disability—permanent partial disability and permanent total disability. When there is a permanent partial disability, the employee is still able to work, but not at the same capacity as before the accident. On the other hand, a permanent total disability leaves an employee unable to work altogether. Disabilities are expensive, and insurance companies may push back. Your attorney will help ensure you receive the benefits you need after suffering a disability.  You Are Not Getting the Benefits You Need Depending on your injuries, you may be eligible to receive certain workers’ comp benefits. But not all injuries qualify. So how do you know if you qualify? The easiest way to determine what workers’ comp owes you is to speak with an attorney. They are experienced in workers’ comp cases and can help you fight to protect your rights to receive any benefits you qualify for. You Have a Preexisting Condition If you suffer from a preexisting condition in the same area you injured during your work accident, you can expect the insurance company to fight back and blame it on your condition. Your attorney can help produce evidence to show your injuries were a direct result of your accident. You Are Unable to Get the Treatment You Need Your injuries may require certain treatment, including surgery. The insurance company may delay approving or completely deny your required treatment, especially when the treatment is costly. A lawyer for work-related injury can take the necessary steps to get the insurance company to cover your treatment.  The Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer Does Not Cover All Your Medical Bills or Lost Wages After suffering a workplace accident, you will need to be examined by a doctor. You will receive an impairment rating that reflects how much you have been permanently affected by your work injury. Your rating determines how much compensation you receive, and if the rating is low, you may not get enough to cover all related expenses and lost wages. A workplace injury lawyer can help get you the appropriate rating. Your Employer Retaliates Against You for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim Employers are never allowed to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Retaliation can take many forms, including demotions, a reduction in work hours, a transfer to a different department, or even getting fired. An attorney can help you fight against your employer’s retaliation. You Receive Other Government Benefits If you receive or plan to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), receiving workers’ compensation benefits may reduce the amount of these benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer can work out a plan to help reduce the impact on your benefits to help ensure you are receiving the fairest amount of benefits all around.  You Have a Workers’ Compensation Hearing If you are unhappy with the result of your claim, or your claim is denied altogether, you can appeal the insurance company’s decision. In most states, this includes a hearing. A hearing is a serious event, and you are much better off having a lawyer represent you. You Have a Claim Against a Third Party By law, if you suffer an injury at work you can only file a workers’ compensation claim and you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer. Nonetheless, if a third party plays a role in your workplace accident, you are entitled to file suit against them. Your attorney can handle your third-party claim from beginning to end to help make sure you receive compensation for your injuries. What to Expect if You Handle Your Case on Your...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

How to Get Your Dallas, TX Accident Report

Car accidents can be scary and stressful. It is typically a relief when officers get to the scene, as they provide care and attention during a challenging event. Officers are also responsible for gathering as much information as possible to include in their police reports. These accident reports can then serve as a valuable source of information while you work on your claim. If you’ve been injured in a crash, the experienced Dallas car accident lawyers from The Zimmerman Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call (254) 752-9688 today for a free consultation. What Are Dallas Police Accident Reports? If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you know police officers are always called to the scene. Officers serve a legitimate purpose, as they gather relevant information, ask questions, and make determinations regarding the accident. After they’ve collected important details, that information goes into a Dallas crash report. This kind of report typically includes: The date, time, and location of the accident; Information for those involved; Details regarding injuries sustained; Details regarding damage; Witness information; Laws violated and any citations given; Weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident; and The officer’s opinion as to the cause of the accident and fault. Police reports can play a significant role in your car accident compensation claim. Therefore, it is important to obtain a copy as soon as it becomes available. Your Dallas auto accident attorney can use this collision report to help build a substantial case and pursue compensation you may be entitled to after an accident. There Are Multiple Ways to Obtain a Copy of Your Dallas Crash Report You or your attorney may request a copy of your crash report five to seven business days after the accident. In Dallas, there are multiple ways to get a copy of your accident report—in person, by mail, or online. Get a Copy of Your Dallas Accident Report in Person You may go to the Dallas Police Department records department in person to get a copy of your police report. The police department is located at 1400 S. Lamar Street, Dallas, TX, 75215. You must provide the name of a person involved in the accident, the location of the accident, or the date of the accident. There is a $6 fee for accident reports obtained in person. You may also call (214) 671-3345 for more information. Keep in mind, you cannot request a police report and the police department will not release information over the phone. Request a Copy of Your Dallas Car Accident Report By Mail You can seek a copy of your Dallas police report by mailing in a written request. To do so, you must submit a written request to the Dallas Police Department at 1400 S. Lamar Street, Dallas, TX, 75215. Be sure to include the $6 payment for your request. You may also call (214) 671-3345 if you have any questions regarding mail-in police report requests. Obtain a Copy of Your Dallas Crash Report Online You may also request a copy of your police report online through the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Records Information System website. Only a person concerned with the accident or an individual having a proper interest may request a crash report online. Online crash report requests are $6 for a regular copy or $8 for a certified copy. A Dallas Car Accident Attorney Can Get One For You While you can obtain a copy of your Dallas accident report yourself using any of the methods described above, your attorney can also request one for you. Your lawyer will do everything they need to do to build your case. They are interested in getting that report because it often provides essential details and information about the crash in Dallas. This information can be extremely useful when building your case for compensation. And the sooner they can obtain the report the better. Time matters because you do not have an indefinite amount of time to file a claim for compensation after someone injures you in a car crash. In Texas, you have two years after the date of the accident to file your claim. So the sooner you consult with a car accident lawyer, the sooner they can obtain your Dallas crash report and begin working on your case. Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm For Help Since 1962, The Zimmerman Law Firm has been helping clients get the help they need after suffering injuries due to someone else’s negligence. We provide qualified expertise, compassionate service, and exceptional legal representation so our clients feel confident in their decision to work with us. Let us help you get the recovery you need. Contact us or call (254) 752-9688 today to request your free case review.

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