| 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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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Injuries

Guide to Calculating Pain and Suffering in Texas

Pain and suffering is an important subcategory of general damages in any personal injury case. However, determining how much pain and suffering is worth in a Texas claim can be challenging. One reason is that non-economic damages are not easily quantifiable as tangible economic losses like medical expenses and lost wages. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, How much is pain and suffering worth? To accurately determine a value for your specific case, speak with a professional San Antonio personal injury attorney at the Zimmerman Law Firm today. Damages Covered Under Pain and Suffering in a Texas Personal Injury Claim Before calculating a figure, it’s crucial to understand what makes up pain and suffering in a personal injury claim. Examples of pain and suffering include: Physical pain and suffering, including chronic pain complaints; Permanent damage that results in losing an important bodily function; Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological trauma; Permanent scarring, disability, or disfigurement; Loss of consortium; Emotional distress; Anxiety and depression; and Loss of enjoyment of life or diminished quality of life. Pain and suffering values will be higher for victims who have severe injuries. Cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death claims have the highest value. For example, if a plaintiff had minor injuries that resolved in two or three months they would not have the same pain and suffering as someone who has lost the use of their leg. Calculating Pain and Suffering There is no pain and suffering calculator in Texas that every adjuster or jury uses when evaluating your claim’s value. However, two popular calculation methods are often used when calculating a fair value for pain and suffering at trial. The first is the multiplier method. This method starts with calculating your total amount of economic damages. Your economic damages are quantifiable losses, such as your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, etc.  Then, the jury might multiply that total amount by a specific number, usually somewhere between 1.5 and five. The worse your injuries are, the higher the multiplier. For example, take a plaintiff with $20,000 in economic damages. Using a multiplier of two, pain and suffering damages would be $40,000. For someone with permanent injuries, a jury might use a multiplier of five. Then the total amount for pain and suffering would be $100,000. The second method is based on the per diem method. This calculation method assigns a specific dollar amount to every day you are healing from your injuries. A common dollar amount is what you would typically receive from your salary for that day. You would receive this amount for each day until you reach a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). If someone took 50 days to reach MMI, and they made $100 per day on average, pain and suffering might be $5,000 in this case. Juries often lean toward the per diem method for cases where the plaintiff has a recovery date. In contrast, the multiplier method may be a more common option for cases involving long-term injuries or permanent damage. How Claims Adjusters Value Pain and Suffering You might be wondering how claims adjusters calculate pain and suffering if your case doesn’t go to trial. Depending on the company, they may have claims software programs, such as Mitchell, Colossus, or Claims Outcome Advisor. These programs are popular for minor injury claims, especially soft tissue injuries. The adjuster may be prohibited from extending an offer that falls outside of the software’s suggested range unless you can bring them “new” information that changes the value. Adjusters enter injury codes, medical billing codes, and other information so the program can calculate an acceptable settlement range. Insurance companies minimize your medical expenses, and then using the software can be a way to reduce their potential payout. Most claims software programs severely undervalue general damages, which is why jury verdicts are often significantly higher. Insurance adjusters rely on the fact that you don’t handle claims for a living, so you may not realize how low their offer is. Retaining a skilled San Antonio personal injury attorney can eliminate this problem. Factors That Impact Pain and Suffering Pain and suffering is a very subjective value. You are likely to place a higher value on your own pain because you are living it, and it’s personal. A jury will look at a variety of factors when determining what method or multiplier to use. Some of these factors include: The nature of your injuries; The severity of your injuries; How your injuries impact your life now; How your injuries will impact your future; Your age, health before the accident, income level; and How your injuries affect your family life. To maximize your value for pain and suffering, it’s a good idea to keep a journal where you log your pain and detail how your injuries impact your life. It will make it easier when you’re preparing for a deposition or testimony at trial. Texas caps general damages in certain instances, such as in medical malpractice cases. Special cases involving malicious intent or gross negligence could be eligible for punitive damages. Those damages are also capped in Texas unless the injuries resulted from a felony. Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer If you need assistance resolving a personal injury claim in Texas, speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys right away. We have years of experience handling San Antonio personal injury claims. We know the tactics that insurance companies use to undervalue claims. And we know how to counter these tactics by building a strong case for pain and suffering damages. To learn more about how we can help you get the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering, contact the Zimmerman Law Firm today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Accident Reports

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Texas?

How long do you have to file a car insurance claim in Texas after an accident? That depends on the identity of the at-fault driver.  If a driver hits you while performing government work, you have six months to notify the government of your claim. If the at-fault driver is a civilian, you have two years to sue for personal injury. Regardless of the identity of the at-fault driver, you should start a lawsuit or a claim early to protect your rights. When it comes to a car accident claim, Texas has many deadlines and timelines that close soon after your injury. An experienced car accident attorney can meet your deadlines and put you in the best position to win all you deserve in your case. You Must Report Accidents Involving Personal Injury or Significant Vehicle Damage Immediately If you are contemplating filing suit for a car accident, you likely suffered physical injury and/or serious damage to your car. If you suffered bodily injury or damage to your car that is so severe that your car is inoperable, Texas law requires you to report your accident to the police immediately. If the accident caused personal injury or damage worth at least $1,000, an officer must file a report quickly. The officer must file their written report with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident. These reports can also be helpful for any claim you make with the at-fault driver’s insurance or your own insurance. Immediately after the accident, you should exchange information with the other driver, take pictures, collect names and contact information for any witnesses, and seek medical attention. You should also make a claim on an at-fault driver’s insurance policy as soon as possible. Having this information and making a claim as soon as possible keeps the events fresh and accurate in everyone’s minds. A detailed and accurate account of the events can help you obtain a more favorable outcome in your case.  Do Not Hesitate to Pay Out of Pocket Immediately for the Medical Care or Car Repairs You Need You may not be at fault for the car accident, but you should not wait for the at-fault driver to pay your bills up front. While a lawsuit against an at-fault driver could be your best option for maximum recovery, it could take a while to recover your damages at trial. Paying for repairs and care immediately is good for the health of your body, finances, and case.  You Could Receive Payment from Your Insurance Company Within One Month For your immediate needs, you can quickly make a claim on your own insurance’s personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Your Texas auto insurance policy must include PIP coverage unless you opt out of the coverage in writing. When you make a claim on your own insurance, Texas law requires your insurance company to review your claim and respond quickly.  Under the Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Bill of Rights, your auto insurance company has 15 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim and to ask for additional information. Your insurance has an additional 15 days to accept or deny your claim and five days after approval to pay. Sometimes your insurance company can extend this deadline by 45 days if it notifies you with a reason. You can collect 18% annual interest and attorney fees for any other delays in payment.   Filing Your Claim Immediately Establishes a Stronger and More Accurate Reflection of Your Damages Filing your claim immediately increases the likelihood that you receive payment earlier and the likelihood that you receive adequate damages. Your damages should cover your medical care, lost wages, repair or replacement of property, and pain and suffering. I f your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for medical care immediately, you can receive regular, monitored care early. Regular care can produce multiple reports explaining your medical needs. Reports explaining your present and future medical needs are important evidence to prove your economic damages at trial. These reports are also useful in settlement negotiations.  The longer you wait to file a claim, the higher the likelihood that you could suffer a subsequent, unrelated injury. The at-fault driver’s insurance wants to find ways to argue that your injuries are not related to your accident. Even if your symptoms stem from the accident, insurance companies use subsequent “intervening injuries” to argue that the at-fault driver didn’t cause your damages and isn’t liable. You should present to the insurance company evidence of your injuries’ connection to the accident and your treatment needs early. This makes your damages harder to deny. Making your claim and presenting evidence early might also inspire the insurance company to settle with you fairly and quickly. Contact an Attorney Immediately to Handle Your Claim How long do you have to file a car insurance claim in Texas after an accident? You should know that the answer is not long. You should call a car accident attorney immediately to make the most of your time and maximize your damages.  The attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., have 85 years of combined experience. We strive to improve the lives of Central Texans with our legal expertise, and we want to help you. Contact us online or by phone at 254-272-3296 for a consultation.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Injuries

Texas Maximum Amounts Awarded for Personal Injury Cases

You should not commence litigation without thought and a solid strategy. In weighing your decision about whether to initiate litigation in a personal injury case, one question likely comes to mind above others: What is the maximum amount you can be awarded in a personal injury case in Texas? The answer to this question is key because it can help you determine whether litigation is worthwhile, and/or whether a settlement offer from the defendant is just. Generally, the maximum amount you can be awarded depends on the facts of your case and what kind of injury is involved.  There are three kinds of damages you can receive in almost any personal injury case:  Economic damages, Non-economic damages, and  Punitive damages. Together, economic and non-economic damages create your compensatory damages, and punitive damages are a reflection of how egregiously an at-fault party behaved at the time of your injury. Each of the three types of damages mentioned above are subject to different kinds of award limits, depending on the type of personal injury case.  Maximum Awards for Economic Damages or Total Damages Your economic damages are pretty straightforward in a personal injury case. They consist of the money you paid out of pocket for medical care, the cost of property repair/replacement, lost wages, and future financial losses. In most cases, personal injury damage limitations in Texas do not limit your award of economic damages. But there are exceptions. Award Limits for Injuries Occurring on Agricultural Recreational Land If you suffer injury while on agricultural land used for recreational purposes, there is a maximum award you can receive in a suit against the private landowner, lessee, or occupant of the land. Texas law allows each person to recover up to a maximum of $500,000 for bodily injury and a maximum of $100,000 for property damage. The liability of a landowner, lessee, or occupant cannot exceed $1 million for a single occurrence. These limitations apply only if the party to be sued has applicable insurance coverage. Award Limits for Injuries Caused by State Government Employees and Agents If a state government employee or agent caused you damage or deprived you of a right while they were performing work for the government, the maximum total amount you can recover is $100,000. This limitation applies only if the government has an obligation or authorization to indemnify the employee or agent, or if the employee or agent has insurance coverage. This limitation does not apply to cases brought under federal law or the United States Constitution. Award Limits for Placing Burdens on Religious Beliefs Generally, the government may not substantially burden your free exercise of religion. If a state government actor infringes on your right to freely practice your religion, your compensatory damages cannot exceed $10,000. This kind of suit applies only to government actors who infringe upon your rights while acting in official capacities.   Award Limits for Wrongful Death and Survival Lawsuits Against Healthcare Providers If you lost a loved one due to the careless actions of a healthcare provider, money does not bring much comfort, but you should be compensated. A wrongful death or survival action can award you damages for economic losses, damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages for a provider’s especially heinous behavior. The maximum award each claimant can receive is $500,000, regardless of how many providers are at fault. Though the law limits total damages in these cases, it does not limit damages for medical care, including future care.  Maximum Awards for Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Your non-economic damages are for injury-related losses that can be hard to quantify with receipts. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, damage to your reputation, disfigurement, physical impairment, and other non-pecuniary losses. In addition to laws setting maximum recoveries for total damages, Texas specifically limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Non-Economic Damage Award Limits in Cases Against Physicians and Healthcare Providers The maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover in an action against a physician or healthcare provider is $250,000. The same limit applies even if multiple healthcare providers were at fault or your claim is based on multiple causes of action. Non-Economic Damage Award Limits in Cases Against Healthcare Institutions The maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover in an action against a single healthcare institution is $250,000. If more than one healthcare institution is responsible for the same injury, the maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover is $500,000.    Maximum Awards for Exemplary or Punitive Damages Exemplary/punitive damages punish a defendant who behaves particularly poorly at the time of the actionable incident. You cannot recover exemplary damages in cases involving infringement of your right to freely exercise your religion. In all other cases, you can recover punitive damages only if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed fraud or acted with malice or gross negligence. In general, you can recover exemplary damages only up to an amount equal to twice your economic damages plus your non-economic damages, or up to $200,000, whichever is greater. Regardless of the calculation method, your exemplary damages generally cannot exceed $750,000. If your case involves methamphetamine or certain felonies, there are no limits to your exemplary damages.  There Are Minimum Awards for Personal Injury Cases Involving Methamphetamine The typical question is, What is the maximum amount you can be awarded in a personal injury case in Texas? Sometimes it is important to ask about minimum awards. If your case involves the manufacture of methamphetamine, you can recover at least $20,000 for each exposure to the substance or its byproducts.  Contact an Attorney for Maximum Recovery There are many complicated legal factors that determine how much you can recover in a personal injury case. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine your best options for recovery and negotiate the best settlement on your behalf. An experienced attorney can also bring you peace of mind by doing the heavy lifting in your personal injury claim. The Zimmerman Law...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accidents

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Texas Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?

Car accidents happen suddenly and may leave you stressed and confused throughout the state of Texas. You may consider filing a claim or even a personal injury lawsuit. But you might be wondering, should I hire a lawyer for a car accident? Call our office today at 254-752-9688 to begin your free consultation. In many cases, yes, hiring an attorney is the best decision. However, in other situations, you may not need the help of a lawyer.  When you do need a skilled personal injury attorney on your side, The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C. is ready to help get you on the road to recovery. When You Don’t Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Texas The option to hire an attorney is always available, but in certain instances, you may not need one. Every accident is different, and the need to hire a lawyer depends on the situation. You Did Not Suffer Significant Injuries While accidents can be scary and unexpected, they do not always result in serious injuries. Some accidents do end in damage to your vehicle or personal property but leave you relatively unscathed. If you suffer little to no injury after a car accident, you may be able to handle your claim directly with the insurance company. Under these circumstances, you are unlikely to need a lawyer’s help. You Do Not Need Compensation In the most fortunate cases, you may not need compensation after an accident. You might find yourself involved in a small fender bender and not want to make a “fuss” by involving insurance companies and attorneys. If damages are not serious, you can move along without an attorney. You Are at Fault for the Accident If you are the cause of the accident and you have car insurance, you will not need a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies have attorneys they work with who will handle your claim for you. When To Get an Attorney for a Car Accident There are a variety of reasons you may need the help of an attorney after a car accident. Having a lawyer on your side can benefit you and your claim, helping to give you a more favorable outcome. You Were Not at Fault for the Accident If you were the victim of a car accident, an attorney can help protect your rights. You may be entitled to compensation, and a lawyer can help you build a strong case to help win the financial recovery you need. Your Accident Resulted in Injuries If you suffered significant injuries after your car accident, a personal injury attorney can provide much help. Your lawyer will fight for your rights and work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve. The Insurance Company Gave You a Low Settlement Offer In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will try to resolve the claim as quickly as possible. This often entails providing an extremely low or unfair settlement offer. Many individuals often accept these offers, not knowing better or fully understanding how much they’re entitled to. An attorney can negotiate to help get you a better settlement. Frequently Asked Questions Gather Evidence If possible, begin collecting evidence as soon as possible. Helpful evidence can include: Photos and videos; The other driver’s information; and Witness information.  Eventually, as they become available, other pieces of information can be used to strengthen your case, including police reports and medical records.  Avoid Speaking to Insurance Companies You can almost surely expect to receive a phone call from the other party’s insurer asking for details and a statement. It is important you do not speak to anyone about your accident. More often than not, insurance companies use your words against you to avoid paying you what you are owed. Speaking to an insurance company may have a negative impact on your claim. Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney in Texas The sooner you discuss your case with a lawyer, the better. Your attorney will gather details and answer any questions you may have. If pursuing a personal injury claim is the best way to go, your lawyer will represent you every step of the way, working to get you just compensation. What Damages Am I Entitled to After an Accident? The amount of damages you are entitled to after a car accident is completely dependent on the details of your accident. Damages can be economic and non-economic. Economic damages serve to compensate you for the damages incurred after your accident. These include: Medical expenses, Property damage, and Lost wages. Non-economic damages are also directly related to your accident but are slightly more challenging to calculate. They include: Pain and suffering, Mental and emotional distress, and Loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages may also be available in some cases. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant if their actions were intentional or grossly negligent.  A personal injury attorney will review the details of your case to be able to successfully calculate the appropriate amount of compensation available to you. How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim? If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit, you do not have forever to do so. Statutes of limitations are laws that exist to limit the amount of time an individual has to file their claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury. If you fail to file your claim within the two-year period, you will give up any rights you had to compensation. It is crucial that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing your opportunity for financial recovery. Discuss Your Accident With a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in Texas The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., has been proudly helping injured clients since 1962. Call our office today at 254-752-9688 to get started with a free case review. Our firm has had the pleasure of successfully representing thousands of clients throughout the years, using...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Accident Reports

How to Get Your Killeen, TX Car Accident Report

Accidents happen every single day. Whether it be a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, police are almost always dispatched to the scene. Once at the scene, officers will survey the area, speak to parties involved, and gather details and information. All information collected will then be turned into an accident report. If you’ve been involved in an accident, The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., is ready to help you. What Is a Crash Report? After experiencing a car accident in Killeen, TX, you will need to call the police. Police officers will arrive at the scene of the accident and begin collecting relevant information that will later be turned into a police report. Crash reports comprise many details of the accident, including: Driver information, including names, ages, and driver license information; Vehicle information, including make, model, VIN number, license plate, and insurance; Exact date, time, and place of the accident; Factors contributing to the accident; and A diagram of the crash. Police reports are very detailed and contain plenty of valuable information. Attorneys typically use accident reports to build a case, as these reports play a significant role in your claim. Different Ways to Obtain Your Killeen Accident Report Some time after your accident—typically about 7 days—your police report should be available. It is important to note police reports are available only to those parties involved and their authorized representatives. If you would like to obtain a Killeen police report, you may do so in person or online. Get Your Killeen Police Report in Person You can request your crash report in person at the Killeen Police Department Headquarters, located at 3304 Community Blvd. Killeen, TX 76542. If you wish to call ahead, their phone number is 254-501-8830. Keep in mind that you cannot request police reports over the phone. Some fees for police report requests may apply. Get Your Crash Report Online The Killeen Police Department uses LexisNexis BuyCrash to retrieve crash reports. You can access your report for 30 days after purchasing it. After the 30 days, you will need to repurchase your report if you wish to access it again.  Let a Qualified Attorney Help You Crash reports are exceptional pieces of evidence used to help strengthen your personal injury claim. If you have a skilled personal injury attorney working with you, they will handle every aspect of your case, including accessing your Killeen police department records. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact a Texas personal injury attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing your opportunity to file a claim. The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., founded in 1962, has had the pleasure of representing thousands of clients throughout the years. We strive to provide clients with the patience, care, and understanding they need during a challenging time. We’re committed to each one of our clients, from the beginning of your case to the end. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your case.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Accident Reports

How to Get Your San Antonio, TX Car Accident Report

If you’ve ever experienced a car accident, you understand that police officers play a large part after the crash. Whether you’re in a San Antonio car, truck or motorcycle accident, officers will almost always arrive at the scene to collect information. Your SAPD police report is an essential and necessary part of your claim. Send us an online message or call (254) 752-9688 today for assistance. What Is a San Antonio Crash Report? When you are involved in a car accident, one party typically calls the police. The police then report to the scene of the accident and gather information to include in a San Antonio crash report. This report contains the relevant and important information regarding your car crash, including:  Driver information, including names, ages, and driver license; Vehicle information, including make, model, VIN number, license plate, and insurance; Date, time, and location of the accident; Details and contributing factors of the crash; and Any injuries sustained. Police officers try to be as thorough as possible when collecting information for an accident report. These reports can later play a significant role in your claim. Ways to Get Your San Antonio Crash Report In San Antonio, TX, there are a few ways to get a copy of your SAPD car accident report. You can typically do so in person, online, or by mail. NOTE: After an accident, it can take up to seven business days for your report to become available, as this gives the officer some time to enter the information into the system and generate your report. Get Your SAPD Police Report in Person To get your report in person, you can visit the San Antonio Police Department Headquarters, located at 315 S. Santa Rosa, San Antonio, TX 78207. The Records office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. To reach them by phone, their number is 210-207-7598.  It is important to note accident report requests cannot be made over the phone. Get Your Accident Report Online The SAPD has an open records requests online portal, which you can use to request your car accident report online. Once you’ve created an account, you will have to answer various questions before you submit your request. Once you’ve submitted it, you can log back into the portal to check the status of your request. Get Your San Antonio Accident Report by Mail To request your accident report by mail, you’ll need to download and fill out a crash report request form. You can then mail your completed request form to 315 S. Santa Rosa, San Antonio, TX 78207. Along with your form, be sure to include $6 in cash, check, or money order. Contact a San Antonio Attorney For Help While you can request your own SAPD records, your lawyer can also take care of this for you. Your attorney will work diligently to build a strong case, and a crash report is a big part of it. Keep in mind that time is of the essence, and there are time limits on the amount of time you have to file your claim after a car accident. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., has over 85 years of combined experience helping our clients in Texas. We strive to make every client feel heard and understood, while providing the best legal representation. After an accident in San Antonio, count on us to help you. Contact us online or call (254) 752-9688 today for a free consultation. We can get started on your case to pursue the maximum compensation available under the law.

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