| Read Time: 3 minutes | Injuries

Is Texas a No-Fault State?

If you have ever sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you likely know how painful and emotional the aftermath of your accident can be. You may also have realized just how complicated and stressful it is to navigate the insurance claims process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly seven million total motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2019. There is no question that motor vehicle accidents can result in significant injuries. These injuries may often lead to time away from work and monetary expenses in the aftermath of your accident. So what do you do, and to whom do you turn to help you recover?  Ultimately, your next steps will come down to whether you live in a fault state or a no-fault state. Thus, many people often wonder, Is Texas a no-fault state for auto insurance purposes? The short answer is no, Texas is not a no-fault state. Rather, it is an at-fault state. But what exactly does this mean for you?  At The Zimmerman Law Firm, our experienced Texas personal injury attorneys have helped countless accident victims fight for their auto insurance claims rights throughout the State of Texas. If you’re looking for an attorney who will be an advocate in your corner as you navigate the Texas auto accident insurance claims process, give our team a call today at (254) 752-9688 or send us an online message.  Is Texas an At-Fault State?  Put simply, yes, Texas is an at-fault state when it comes to auto accident insurance claims. But to fully understand what this means for you, it is important to have a basic understanding of both at-fault and no-fault rules and the difference between the two.  No-Fault State Laws As a general matter, auto insurance laws are a state-level decision. Thus, it’s up to each individual state whether it will impose fault or no-fault rules. Many people often wonder, Is Texas a no-fault state for auto accidents? And while it is not, it is still a good idea to know what happens in a no-fault state. In a no-fault insurance state, drivers must carry at least the minimum insurance required by statute to cover their own injuries and property damage. And when an accident occurs, each party must file a claim with their own insurer. This is the case regardless of who actually caused the accident.  Essentially, even if another party was at-fault in causing the accident, you must still turn first to your own insurance carrier to file a claim and recover. You can typically sue an at-fault party only if your damages are a certain type or exceed a certain threshold amount. Fault State Laws Texas, on the other hand, is an at-fault state.  Fault states, like Texas, use what is called a tort liability system. This means that the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying out the claim.  Rather than turning to your own insurer no matter what, you may turn to the responsible party to cover your expenses arising out of the accident. So What Do Texas Fault Laws Mean for Me?  Texas at-fault auto insurance laws allow you to hold accountable the party that was actually responsible for causing the accident. Thus, if another party caused your accident, you don’t have to file a claim with your insurer and pay a deductible or risk higher premiums. Additionally, if the other party doesn’t have sufficient coverage to cover your expenses, you may also be able to sue the at-fault driver to recover the difference. However, it is important to note that if you are the party that caused the accident, you and your insurer will be responsible for covering the costs of any resulting damages.   Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm Today The Texas at-fault insurance claims process can be complicated and difficult to navigate. Don’t feel like you have to manage the entire process on your own.  If you have questions about Texas fault rules and how they may apply to you, we want to help. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we have over 85 years of combined experience navigating personal injury and insurance disputes. We are confident that we have the experience and resources necessary to fight for your rights and maximize your recovery. Contact us today by calling (254) 752-9688 or send us an online message to see what we can do for you. Texas Personal Injury FAQs How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?  The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Texas is two years. This means that if you have to bring a lawsuit to recover damages, you must do so within two years of the date of the accident.   What If I Was Partially at-Fault in Causing the Accident?  While Texas is an at-fault state, it is important to note that Texas also uses modified comparative negligence rules. Thus, if you were more than 50% at fault, you can’t recover from the other party at all. If you were partially at fault, but 50% or less, your total recovery will be reduced accordingly.  What If I Can’t Afford an Attorney?  At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we believe that money shouldn’t be a barrier to receiving competent legal representation. That’s why you don’t pay us any fees unless and until we are able to recover compensation. 

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accidents

Determining Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident: What You Should Know

T-bone car accidents occur all too frequently, especially in busy areas.  Dealing with the aftermath of a T-bone accident is never easy. Injuries can be severe, frequently resulting in time away from work and significant medical expenses. To make matters even more complicated, determining fault in these types of accidents can be difficult.  If you or a loved one has sustained injuries or property damage in a Texas t-bone accident, you may be wondering what you can do. Fortunately, you may have a legal claim for relief.  The Texas car accident lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm have helped thousands of clients recover valuable compensation. For a law firm that will fight zealously for your rights and help you maximize your recovery, contact our team online or call 254-752-9688 today.  What Is a T-Bone Accident?  T-bone accidents occur when one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle with its front end. These types of accidents are sometimes referred to as side-impact collisions.  As you can imagine, T-bone accidents are often high-velocity and heavy-impact collisions. Thus, they frequently result in severe injuries to the parties involved.  To get the compensation that you are rightfully owed, you must be able to prove who actually caused the accident. Unfortunately, however, determining fault in a T-bone accident can be more difficult than you might think.  Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents A wide variety of situations can lead to a T-bone accident, which sometimes makes determining fault complicated. Car accidents occur for any number of reasons, and the same is true for T-bone accidents specifically. Some of the most common causes of T-bone car accidents include: Failure to stop at a red light, Speeding, Drunk driving, Distracted driving, and Failure to stop at a stop sign. Victims involved in T-bone accidents can suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries. After involvement in a T-bone accident, contact an attorney as soon as practicable to discuss your options moving forward. What Types of Injuries Are Common in a T-Bone Accident? T-bone car accidents present especially dangerous consequences compared to other types of car accidents.  In a car accident that occurs on the front or rear of your vehicle, there are often several feet between the opposing vehicle and your body. This can provide a crucial cushion between you and the impact.  In a T-bone accident, however, the only thing separating your body from the opposing vehicle is a thin car door. When the door is hit with the full force of the front end of another vehicle, this can result in a devastating blow. The injuries that are most prevalent in T-bone car accidents include: Broken bones; Concussions and traumatic brain injuries; Back and neck injuries; Pelvic, abdominal, and back injuries; Whiplash; and  Paralysis. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a T-bone accident, contact the experienced Texas personal injury lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm today. We provide free consultations and will discuss your case with you risk-free as you decide how you’d like to move forward.  Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident? Determining fault in a T-bone accident is crucial in pursuing the compensation you need to recover. However, doing so can be complicated.  Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take that may help you in determining who is at fault in a car accident and T-bone collision.  The accident report, eyewitness testimony, photographs of the scene, and other items are all forms of evidence that can help establish who caused the accident.  What to Do After a T-Bone Car Accident A car accident can be a traumatizing experience for occupants of the vehicles involved. Nevertheless, the moments immediately following a collision frequently provide the most valuable information.  Below are some critical actions you can and should take after your T-bone accident. Doing so might mean the difference in being able to prove fault.  Seek Medical Attention First and foremost, victims involved in a car accident should always seek medical attention.  While this may not directly be tied to proving fault, your health, safety, and well-being are the most important things to think about. Seek immediate medical care after your accident to treat any injuries and address any serious concerns.  Additionally, prompt diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional can be helpful in proving your damages later on in the process.  Contact the Authorities After a car accident, it is also important that you contact the police.  Police officers have to complete an accident report when dispatched to a car accident scene. This accident report will contain information vital to your case, including: Names of the parties involved; Insurance information for the drivers; Information about the accident and its location; and The officer’s initial observation regarding who appears to be at fault.  An accident report will never exist if you do not contact the authorities to respond to your collision. And the sooner the authorities arrive, the more evidence you will have available and the more comprehensive the report will be. Talk to Eyewitnesses One great way to determine who is at fault in a car accident or T-bone collision is to talk to eyewitnesses. While you may not have observed the series of events immediately prior to your accident, there may be others who did. Witnesses to an accident can provide valuable factual information to fill in the gaps of what you observed and experienced. Tip: Do Not Talk to Insurance Adjusters After a T-bone accident, an insurance adjuster may seek you out in an attempt to settle your case prematurely for less than you may be entitled to recover.  Always remember, however, that insurance adjusters are not on your side. Insurance companies make more money by paying out as little as possible to T-bone car accident victims. Before accepting an offer from an insurance adjuster, speak to a personal injury attorney, so you are fully aware of your rights. Need Help Determining Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident or T-Bone Collision?  If so, we want to...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Accident Reports

How to Get Your Austin, TX Accident Report

An accident report is crucial evidence in a legal case. Accident reports establish important information that will come in handy during settlement discussions and at trial. Accident reports typically include: Names and contact information of parties involved in the accident; Injuries suffered in the accident; Whether the parties involved were wearing seatbelts; The time and date of the accident; The location of the accident; Road and weather conditions; Insurance information for the drivers; and The officer’s opinion of the cause of the accident. As you can see, information contained in the accident report can make or break your legal claim. If you suffered injuries in an automobile accident but have not obtained your accident report, some ways to do so are listed below.  Austin Police Department Accident Reports The Austin Police Department has jurisdiction over the city of Austin. The Austin Police Department completes a majority of the accident reports in Austin for collisions that occur inside city limits. APD provides multiple avenues for obtaining your accident report, which are listed below. In Person You can purchase Austin crash reports in person between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday, at the Austin Main Police Headquarters, located at 715 E. 8th Street. To receive a crash report in person, the Report Sales office requires a case number.  Online Austin Police Department accident reports are available for purchase online through LexisNexis BuyCrash. You must include at least two of the following, in addition to the state and jurisdiction of the accident: Last name of involved party, Date of incident, and Street address. Otherwise, you can submit the report number. Mail An Austin police accident report can be requested through the mail. Send $6 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Austin Police Department Report Sales P.O. Box 689001 Austin, TX 78768 Accident Reports Outside Austin City Limits As the population around Austin continues to rise, the suburbs are growing as well. Several car accidents that occur near Austin may not be in the city itself. It is vital to know the agency that completed your crash report to make your request.  TxDOT Crash Report Online Purchase  Texas law requires police officers to document traffic accidents that involve an injury or property damage over $1,000 by filling out a car accident report, also known as a CR-3 form. The CR-3 must be submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation within 10 days of the accident.  The Texas Department of Transportation allows certain people to request the CR-3 through an online database. A CR-3 report can be released only to parties directly connected to the accident. This typically includes: A person that was in the accident, whether as a driver or a passenger; An authorized representative of a person in the accident, such as an attorney; An employer, legal guardian, or parent of a person in the accident; Someone with financial responsibility for a vehicle involved in the accident, such as an insurance policyholder; and The company that insures the vehicle. These restrictions prevent uninterested parties from obtaining any CR-3 they wish and viewing the private information included in the report.  The database requires payment of a fee prior to retrieving the Austin accident report.  CR-3 Accident Report by Mail CR-3 crash reports can also be obtained by mail. Fill out the Request for Peace Officer’s Crash Report form and mail it to the Texas Department of Transportation with the required payment. A standard copy of a CR-3 is $6, while a certified copy is $8. What If Authorities Did Not Complete a Report? Police officers are not always required to complete an accident report. This typically occurs when the accident is very minor and no one is injured in the collision. In these situations, a driver involved in the accident should complete what is called a “blue form report.”  Completing Your Own Austin Crash Report A blue form report is also referred to as a CR-2. The CR-2 must include relevant information about the accident, including: Location of the accident, Date and time of the accident, Vehicles involved, Property damage caused, Injuries sustained in the crash, Your statement about the accident, and Your signature. Like police officers, you have 10 days to submit your CR-2 to the Texas Department of Transportation. Contact The Zimmerman Law Firm Retrieving your Austin, TX accident report is just one step in bringing a personal injury claim for harm suffered in a collision. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have obtained countless accident reports in Austin for our clients. With almost 100 years of combined experience, we put our knowledge and resources to work for you. We prioritize our clients’ needs to recover the maximum compensation available to remedy the financial and emotional turmoil caused by your accident. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Accident Reports

How to Get Your Waco, TX Car Accident Report

If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Waco, Texas, you may need a copy of the police report to submit an insurance claim. The police report provides a variety of important information that you need to document your claim and prove that the other party was responsible for your damages. Depending on the details of your claim, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical bills and any lost income you incurred, as well as pain and suffering and other related damages. Getting copies of Waco police reports is fairly simple if you have the necessary information for contacting the Waco police department. To help you accomplish this objective, we have compiled some basic information about how to get yours. What Happens After a Car Accident in Waco? If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, get to a safe place and call 911. The police will respond to the scene, along with emergency medical technicians if necessary. Even if you don’t believe you were seriously hurt, it’s a good idea to get checked out as soon as possible. If you can do so safely, take photos of the accident scene and the involved vehicles. Exchange contact information with the other driver (or drivers), and obtain their insurance information. If any witnesses are present, get their contact information as well. Never comment on the accident or admit fault, as it’s not usually possible for you to know all the details of the crash. Once the Waco police arrive, they will ask you to provide your information and tell them your version of the events that took place. Using this information and the statements of the other involved parties, the officer will complete and file a crash report detailing the events of the accident. The officer who takes your information and statement at the crash scene should provide you with a report number. If they don’t volunteer this information, request the reporting officer’s name and badge number along with the accident report number. Obtaining a copy of your police report is important, but it’s not as important as seeking medical attention. Go to a local emergency room, or see a qualified physician as soon as possible for a thorough exam. This ensures you get any necessary medical treatment and provides critical information for documenting your insurance claim. How to Obtain a Copy of an Accident Report in Waco, Texas According to the City of Waco’s website, you can obtain a copy of a Waco, TX accident report by contacting the police department directly at their non-emergency number, 254-750-7500, or by visiting the police headquarters at 3115 Pine Ave in Waco. The Waco Police Department doesn’t have the ability to provide reports online, but they do work with two third-party providers, CarFax CrashDocs and the LexisNexis BuyCrash database. You can obtain your report from either of those sources from the comfort and safety of home. How Much Does a Waco Car Accident Report Cost? If you obtain a Waco, TX accident report directly from the Waco Police Department, the cost is $6.00. If you use CrashDocs, the cost is also $6.00, but it may take several days to obtain the report. Ordering your report from PoliceReports costs $11.00, but it takes only 24 hours to obtain. If you want to get your report online, you will need a debit or credit card to place the order. You should also be prepared to enter your name, the names of any other drivers who were involved, the date that the accident took place, and the police report number issued by the officer at the scene. Finally, you will need a current email address, as that’s how the provider will deliver your copy of the report. Once you obtain your report, make several copies and keep the documents in a safe location, along with any other information you may have regarding the accident. Can a Car Accident Lawyer Get a Crash Report in Waco? In Waco, car accident attorneys can pull your crash report for you. In fact, experienced attorneys have the resources to obtain virtually any type of evidence or information that may be necessary for documenting your case. If you choose to hire a lawyer to handle your case, you won’t have to worry about going to the police station to request the crash report or entering your credit card information online. How Else Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help? In addition to helping you get a copy of the accident report, your attorney can provide you with several clear advantages. Your attorney will help protect your legal rights and handle every aspect of your case. This includes investigating and gathering evidence, submitting a demand to the insurance company, and negotiating to get you the best possible settlement. If necessary, your lawyer can file a civil lawsuit and fight for you in court. Attorneys have the resources necessary to accomplish these objectives on your behalf. Your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company, their attorneys, and anyone else involved in your case. This lets you focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track. Having an attorney can also maximize your claim’s value. Your legal team will identify all your physical, emotional, and financial damages and document them appropriately. Your attorney may call upon subject matter experts to provide opinions or testimony regarding the severity of your injuries and how they might affect your life or your ability to perform your job duties. Contact a Waco Car Accident Attorney for Help Never provide any statement to the insurance company or discuss any potential settlement until you explore your options. If you have questions about obtaining a Waco accident report or if you would like to learn more about how a car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve, the experienced Texas personal injury lawyers of The Zimmerman Law Firm can help. We offer a free case evaluation, and we...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

What Is the Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement?

Texas is a big and beautiful state. With all the beautiful space comes the opportunity to jump on your motorcycle and enjoy the breeze of a good ride. But motorcyclists know that the open road can be just as treacherous as enjoyable. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 1,800 motorcyclists suffered serious injury in 2019, and 412 died. If you suffer a motorcycle accident injury in Texas and another driver is at fault, understanding how the average motorcycle accident settlement works can help you adequately resolve your case. If you have a question about a possible motorcycle settlement or have any other questions, contact our Austin motorcycle accident lawyers today. What Should Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement Include? A motorcycle accident settlement should include all the damages you could receive at trial. A motorcycle accident can cause damage in many areas of your life, including your health, finances, and quality of life. You should carefully examine all areas of your life when determining how much you will accept in a settlement.   The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code identifies four kinds of damages you can receive after a motorcycle accident. There are economic, non-economic, future, and exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are very different from the first three categories. A good way to determine your entitlement to the first three categories of damages is to answer the following questions:  What have you already lost since the accident occured? How did the accident change your life? What will your needs be after the accident?  Motorcycle accident compensation amounts are unique to each injured rider or passenger. The average motorcycle accident settlement amount may not apply to your unique case. However, organizing and examining the details of your case using the questions above can help determine your case’s settlement value.  How Can You Recover from a Texas Motorcycle Accident Texas law states that you can recover any actual economic loss if you have suffered from a motorcycle accident. This should be the easiest part of your settlement to estimate because it is in your receipts, pay stubs, and work schedules. Immediately after your accident, you should collect all documents showing everything you paid for your medical care, everything you paid for repair or replacement of property, and all wages or benefits you lost because of the accident.  Motorcycle Injury Costs and Settlement Amounts Though the circumstances of each motorcycle accident are unique, the average economic impact of an automobile accident can be a good settlement reference point. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost of a 2019 motor-vehicle crash with evident injury was $28,000. The economic cost of a crash with a disabling injury can be more than $98,000.   How Has Your Life Changed Since the Motorcycle Accident? Before negotiating a motorcycle injury settlement, you should think of all the ways the accident changed your life. A motorcycle accident settlement should compensate you for any intangible setbacks you suffer. Texas law allows for these intangible, non-economic damages, including: Physical pain and suffering, Mental or emotional pain or anguish, Loss of consortium, Disfigurement, Physical impairment, Loss of companionship and society, Inconvenience, Loss of enjoyment of life, Injury to reputation, and All other non-pecuniary losses. While your pain and suffering may be hard to quantify with a dollar amount, take them seriously. Your non-economic damages are an important part of your motorcycle injury compensation.  Will You Suffer Long-Term Injuries or Loss from Your Accident? Texas law also allows damages for your future economic losses. These include future loss of income, wages, earning capacity, and inheritance. Accident-related medical needs can take a significant toll on your time, future finances, and livelihood. A common medical need after a motorcycle accident is traumatic brain injury treatment.  Unfortunately, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may not appear for months post-accident, and their effects on your life can be long-term. According to the Texas Brain Injury Alliance, traumatic brain injuries cause more years of lost productivity than any other injury.  A motorcycle injury attorney can help you forecast your accident-related needs and reclaim any productivity you lose in the future.  Exemplary Damages or Punitive Damages In some cases, Texas law will allow you to separately collect on an at-fault motorist’s particularly bad behavior. These damages are called exemplary damages or punitive damages. For these damages, you must prove the at-fault motorist acted with malice, committed fraud, or was grossly negligent. The standard of proof for exemplary damages is high, and you must prove more than ordinary negligence to receive them.  Limits You May Face After a Motorcycle Crash A motorcycle accident can cause a seemingly limitless list of complications, but your access to compensation is limited. During settlement negotiations, you may face the limitations of an insurance policy, the limitations of an at-fault motorist’s finances, or recovery limitations under Texas law.  What Limits a Settlement from an Insurance Company? Texas requires drivers to have liability insurance that includes only $30,000 of coverage for each injured person with a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 to cover property damage. These limits can exclude the first $250 to $500 for injury and the first $250 for property damage. An at-fault motorist may not have funds to pay the difference between your losses and the policy limits. Thus, it is important to identify all individuals responsible for your motorcycle injury to maximize your settlement potential. Gathering as much information as possible immediately after your accident can be helpful in identifying all responsible parties.  What Limits Motorcycle Injury Settlements Under Texas Law? Under Texas law, you cannot recover compensatory damages in a motorcycle accident if you are more than 50% responsible. If you are 50% responsible or less, the amount of your recovery can still be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.  Texas law limits the amount of exemplary damages you can receive in a motorcycle accident. Damage caps also apply if you are suing a government entity. The Best Opportunity for a Good Recovery Accidents are...

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accidents

What Compensation Am I Entitled to After a Car Accident?

If you sustained injuries in a car accident, you may have the right to recover compensation for your damages. Car accident compensation claims help accident victims recover their economic and non-economic damages. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer can help ensure you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve. The personal injury lawyers of The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., understand how frightening and confusing this situation can be. We are here to answer your questions and provide the information you need to get started with the legal process. The Most Common Causes of Texas Car Accidents In many motor vehicle collisions, driver error is to blame. Some of the most common types of driver error include the following: Impairment, Distraction, Sleepiness or fatigue, Excessive speed, Failure to yield, and Speeding. In some cases, driver error isn’t involved. Accidents can occur due to poor road conditions or insufficient signage. Roadway obstacles or debris obstructed views, and construction activities can also cause or contribute to a collision. Even mechanical equipment failure—such as defective tires—can cause severe injury accidents. Whatever the cause of your accident might have been, you could be entitled to file a legal claim or lawsuit. Talking to a car accident lawyer is the best way to determine whether you have a viable case. If so, your attorney can help provide answers to your most pressing questions, such as, What are you entitled to in a car accident settlement? What Am I Entitled to in a Car Accident Settlement? If another party was responsible for your injury accident, that party may be liable for all damages you sustained. Depending on the details of your case, you might be entitled to recover some or all of the following: Emergency medical treatment, Medical testing and imaging, Hospital and surgery costs, Medication and medical devices, In-home or residential care, Physical therapy, Lost wages and benefits, Pain and suffering, and Emotional trauma. When pursuing compensation after a car accident, you could also be eligible to recover the estimated cost of future medical treatment or care, future lost wages and benefits, and the value of any scarring, permanent injury, or disability you sustained. You could also be entitled to compensation for diminished earning capacity or a reduction in the quality of your life. The best way to determine what your claim might be worth it to talk to an experienced car accident attorney from The Zimmerman Law Firm. How Long Do You Have to File a Texas Car Accident Injury Claim? Under the Texas statute of limitations, you have only two years to take legal action after a car accident. If you don’t file a lawsuit within that time, you could lose your legal right to recover compensation. If you are involved in an accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to help protect your right to pursue a legal claim. The sooner you can get an attorney working on your claim, the sooner you may be able to get a settlement. In most cases, our attorneys negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If we can’t negotiate a settlement, however, we may recommend filing a lawsuit and fighting for justice in court. Can I Get Car Accident Compensation If I Was at Fault? If you caused or contributed to an accident in which you sustained injuries, you could still be entitled to recover compensation. If you had full responsibility for a crash, the type of car insurance you carry will determine whether you are entitled to damages. For example, if you carry insurance that covers medical payments, your insurance should cover some portions of your medical bills even if you were fully at fault. If you carry personal injury protection coverage, it may pay for some portion of your lost wages as well. If you have collision coverage for your vehicle, that insurance should cover the cost to repair or replace your car. If you were partially at fault for an injury accident, you may be able to pursue a settlement from the other driver as long as you were not more than 50% at fault. However, your settlement will be reduced by whatever portion of the crash was attributable to you. If you were 20% at fault for a crash, for example, your compensation award would be diminished by 20%. For help interpreting this potentially confusing determination, contact one of our helpful and compassionate Texas car accident lawyers. How Can a Texas Car Accident Attorney Help? If you were injured in a car accident, compensation through a settlement or court award will provide the resources you need. The attorneys of The Zimmerman Law Firm understand your fear and confusion, and we are here to provide the assistance you need. We have almost 100 years of combined experience. Since our firm was founded in 1962, we have never stopped fighting to get our clients the justice and financial compensation they deserve. We understand the importance of investigating and documenting your claim and of building the most persuasive case possible. We successfully negotiate a settlement with the insurance company for most of our clients. However, if we do need to take your case to court, our experienced attorneys are well prepared to do so. To schedule a free consultation or to speak to a car accident lawyer, call or contact us online now. Texas Car Accident Compensation Damages FAQs Speaking directly with an attorney is the best way to determine how much car accident compensation you might be entitled to recover. However, we know you have any questions about the legal process and whether it makes sense to work with an attorney. Here are some of the most common questions our clients have about pursuing legal action after a motor vehicle collision. Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney? You aren’t required to have an attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim. However, having one can level the playing field, as you will be up against an insurance company...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Injuries

Punitive vs. Compensatory Damages: What Is the Difference?

If you experienced injury or loss due to the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. The compensation should not only set you back to the financial position you were in before the injury or loss but should also make up for everything you went through. In a personal injury case, it is possible to receive punitive and compensatory damages. To set up a free consultation with our Texas personal injury lawyers, please contact us online or call (254) 752-9688 today. What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth? The amount you are owed should be a combination of the actual expenses you have incurred because of the loss or injury and the quantified amount of damages as they relate to stress, inconvenience, and other factors.  Texas is an at-fault state and follows a “modified comparative negligence rule.” This takes into consideration any partial fault on your part and assigns a liability percentage to you and the other party. The amount of compensation you are owed will be reduced by the percentage by which you were responsible for the loss or injury. As long as you are not more than 50% at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation for your personal injury claim. Punitive vs. Compensatory Damages  There are two different types of damages that you may be eligible to receive in your Texas personal injury case. Generally, you are entitled to compensation for all expenses incurred because of another person’s negligence. Compensatory damages also include non-economic (not monetary) compensation for what you have gone through. Though this sounds pretty straightforward, it can be complicated. Punitive damages are easier to understand if you know that the word “punitive” is derived from “punishment.” Though they can be a large part of your relief, they are more about preventing the other party from continuing to act in the way that caused the damage.  What Are Compensatory Damages? Compensatory damages are a type of relief that is available when some sort of loss or injury has occurred as a result of a negligent action. This compensation covers the actual cost of the injury or loss.  Types of Compensatory Damages   There are two different types of compensatory damages that you may be eligible to recover, depending on your circumstances.  Economic Damages Special damages or economic damages are a type of compensatory damage that serves to provide financial relief. Economic damages cover all expenses that you would not have incurred had it not been for the negligence that caused the injury or loss. These can include: Property damage; Medical expenses, such as hospitalization or surgical procedures; Ongoing treatment costs for injuries; Increased living expenses; Lost wages if you are unable to work; and Reduced earning capacity due to permanent injury. These are all expenses that you can put a price tag on. It is important to keep a detailed record of all costs you have incurred involving your injury or loss. Accurate records will help you achieve fair compensation.  Non-Economic Damages General damage or non-economic damages include compensation that does not involve monetary losses. This makes non-economic damages harder to define and prove. These may include: Pain and suffering, Emotional distress, Anxiety, Disfigurement, Depression, Mental anguish, Disability,  Post-traumatic stress, Humiliation, Emotional and psychological distress, Loss of enjoyment of life, and  Loss of consortium. These damages are generally ongoing and impact life in ways that extend beyond finances. Just because you have been financially compensated for expenses you would not have otherwise incurred, does not mean that your life has been or will ever be restored back to order. Though no amount of money can completely restore the damages that non-economic compensation addresses, it is certainly relevant to your claim and well deserved.  What Are Punitive Damages? Punitive damages in Texas are also called “exemplary damages.” They are designed to prevent others from being hurt by the same or similar activities through a financial deterrent. Punitive damages also serve as a warning to others who may engage in similar conduct. They are not limited to personal injury cases.  Examples of Cases That Qualify for Punitive Damages There are a number of ways punitive damages are applied. Some examples of cases where punitive damages may be appropriate include: A manufacturer continuing to sell a known dangerous product to keep making a profit; A nursing home engaging in elder abuse; Reckless driving that constitutes extreme negligence; and Drunk driving. Relief for punitive damages in Texas is not easy to acquire, but the help of an experienced attorney will increase your chances of a successful case. To be eligible for punitive damages in Texas, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the defendant caused the damage through:  Fraud,  Malice, or  Gross negligence. The standard of proof is high. Punitive damages are not awarded for ordinary negligence. Gross negligence includes an extreme and probable risk of harm that the defendant was subjectively aware of. Texas does place limits on certain punitive damages.  What to Do If You Are Negligently Harmed If you have sustained serious injury or loss because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which means you should act as soon as possible to have the best chance of success with your case. The experienced personal injury team at The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., can help you evaluate your chances of receiving punitive vs compensatory damages and prepare the best strategy for your unique case. We have over 85 years of combined experience in representing the personal injury interests of central Texans. We understand that your financial situation and livelihood may depend on our effective representation, and we will strive to get you the most compensation possible for your case. Contact Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., or call (254) 752-9688 for your free case evaluation.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Work Injury

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay in Texas?

If you are injured on the job while employed in the state of Texas, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim to cover the expenses associated with your injury. Not all Texas employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and it is important to understand your options. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses across the U.S. in 2018.  What Is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. Depending on the nature of your claim, workers’ comp payout amounts can vary.  Texas Workers’ Compensation Not all Texas employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance. The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) reported that 28% of private companies in the state do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not carry workers’ comp insurance, you may consider filing a personal injury claim to receive relief for your injury. If your employer does have workers’ comp insurance, there are steps you should take immediately after you are injured or after you realize your injuries are associated with work: Report the injury directly to your employer, and File a DWC Form 041 with the Texas Department of Insurance.  The insurance company will reach out to your employer and review your claim after the form is submitted. Will I Get a Settlement for Workers’ Comp? Most insurance claims can be classified as settlements. You are not actually suing your employer. You are basically filing an insurance claim, similar to what you would do with your own health or auto insurance. According to Texas Labor Code Sec. 408.005, a settlement may not provide for payment of benefits in a lump sum except in specific cases. For a settlement to be approved, both you and the insurance company must come to a clear agreement on the terms of the settlement for workers’ comp. Once an agreement is reached and the settlement is approved, either party can still withdraw if they change their mind as long as it is before the effective date of the settlement.  How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay in Texas? Workers’ compensation payout amounts vary depending on your wages and your injuries. Each claim is different. When answering the question, How much does workers’ compensation pay in Texas? you must take into account the relief you need and the methods of calculation used by the state. One important number to know is your average weekly wage (AWW). This is the amount your workers’ compensation income benefits will be based on. In Texas, your AWW is the average wage you earned during the 13 weeks prior to your injury. This includes bonuses and other forms of income including: Car allowance, Health benefits, and Dry cleaning. If you have not been employed for 13 weeks prior to your injury, your AWW will be calculated using that of an employee with the same or a similar job.  What are Potential Workers’ Comp Payouts? The severity of your injuries, paired with your AWW will be the biggest factors that determine how much workers’ compensation pays in Texas. Insurance companies will likely try to minimize both your injuries and AWW. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that you are getting what you are owed.  Medical Compensation Workers’ compensation payouts should cover all medical expenses related to your condition. This includes all hospitalization, treatment, medications, and follow up care approved by your doctor. Your employer may require you to see an “in-network” doctor, depending on their insurance plan.  Temporary Income Benefits  Injuries and illnesses can prevent you from performing your job in your previous capacity while you heal. Temporary income benefits make up for the difference in your income while you cannot perform your duties. Texas calculates temporary income benefits as 70% of the difference between the wages you are able to earn after injury and the wages you earned before the injury. This number increases to 75% if you were making under $10 per hour. Workers’ comp payout amounts for temporary income can last for 104 weeks from injury, or until you can return to work.  Impairment Income Benefits If permanent bodily damage occurs as a result of your work injury, you may be eligible for impairment income benefits. These are equal to 70% of your average wage and could continue even after you go back to work. A doctor assigns an impairment percentage point to your condition which reflects severity. Each point equals three weeks of impairment income benefits.  Supplemental Income Benefits Like impairment income benefits, your impairment rating has an impact on workers’ compensation payouts for supplemental income benefits. If you have significant permanent damage and receive an impairment rating of 15% or higher, you may receive supplemental income benefits. To be eligible, you must be earning less than 80% of your pre-injury wages, demonstrate you are looking for work, and have not accepted a lump sum payment for your injuries. You also have to re-apply for these benefits every three months. Death and Burial Benefits According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,333 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2019. This is a 2% increase from the 5,250 in 2018. Eligible family members of employees who die on the job can receive 75% of lost income. Burial and funeral benefits may include up to $10,000.  Lifetime Income Benefits for Disability In severe circumstances, workers’ compensation payouts may include benefits for permanent disability. These benefits are equal to 75% of your average wages before the injury plus a 3% cost-of-living increase each year. Lifetime income benefits for disability may apply under these circumstances: A spinal injury that causes paralysis in at least one arm or leg; Third-degree burns that cover at least 40% of the body and require a skin graft;  Traumatic brain injury resulting in mental impairment;  Complete blindness; or Amputation...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Injuries

What Is the Texas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

If you have sustained injuries in a personal injury accident in Texas, you may have a legal claim for relief.  However, it is important to note that your right to recovery does not extend indefinitely. Rather, there is a time limit on when you must file your personal injury lawsuit. This is what is known as a “statute of limitations.”  Failure to adhere to the statute of limitations can have significant implications for your ability to bring your claim. Thus, it is imperative that you know and understand the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims.  If you have questions about your personal injury case and how the Texas personal injury statute of limitations might affect you, contact The Zimmerman Law Firm today. Our experienced Central Texas personal injury attorneys can help you evaluate your case and determine your best path toward recovery.  Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations As a general matter, the statute of limitations for personal injury in Texas is two years from the date the cause of action accrues. This means that you must file your personal injury lawsuit in a court of law no later than two years after the event that caused your personal injury. What Happens If the Texas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Deadline Passes? Failure to bring your lawsuit within the prescribed statute of limitations time frame can result in losing your right to bring your claim at all. If you miss your deadline, then you may not be entitled to any compensation whatsoever, regardless of whether your underlying claims are valid.  Thus, it is absolutely crucial that you take action as soon as possible after your personal injury accident. Doing so can ensure that you preserve your rights and get the compensation you need and deserve.  Are There Any Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations Deadline? While two years is the standard statute of limitations for personal injury claims, there are a few exceptions. Some examples include personal injury claims arising out of or related to:  Sexual assault,  Asbestos-related injuries, or Silica-related injuries. The statute of limitations also may be longer for a person who is under a legal disability.  Speak with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney to discuss whether any of these exceptions apply to your case.  How the Deadline Changes When You Have a Case Against the Government Additionally, the statute of limitations deadline may change if you have a potential claim against the government.  Namely, a governmental unit must receive notice of a claim within six months after the date of the incident giving rise to the personal injury claim. This notice must describe the:  Damage or injury claimed;  Time and place of the incident; and  Incident itself. If you believe you may have a personal injury claim against a Texas governmental unit, timing is even more crucial than in other circumstances. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options moving forward. Questions? Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney Today  A personal injury accident can have a monumental impact on your life, but a personal injury claim can help you obtain the compensation you need to work toward your recovery. Don’t let the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims keep you from getting the recovery you deserve.  The Zimmerman Law Firm is a Texas firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims in need. We have offices throughout Texas and are equipped to handle a wide variety of personal injury claims. If you have questions about the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury cases, we want to help. Contact our team today to discuss your case and see what we can do for you. 

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Wrongful Death

What Is the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

Losing a loved one is devastating, especially when it is the result of someone else’s careless actions.  If you have lost someone you love due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, you may be entitled to relief. A wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can provide you with the compensation you need to begin the process toward recovery.  The Texas wrongful death attorneys at The Zimmerman Law Firm are standing by and ready to help you through this difficult time. Call (254) 752-9688 or fill out our online form to get started. Texas Wrongful Death Statute: An Overview Texas law defines wrongful death as the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” that causes the death of another person. While the definition appears relatively simple, proving a wrongful death claim can be more complicated than it might seem.  The most common type of wrongful death action is based in negligence. To prevail on a negligence claim, you must prove the existence of these four elements: Duty The first element of a negligence claim is proving the existence of a legal “duty.” This means you must show that the opposing party owed your loved one a duty to use reasonable care to reasonably prevent harm under the circumstances. Breach Next, a plaintiff in a wrongful death action must show that the opposing party breached their duty. This means that you must prove that the opposing party did not act as a reasonably prudent person would have under the same circumstances.  Examples of a breach of a legal duty in a wrongful death lawsuit might include: A driver speeding or failing to adhere to posted traffic regulations; A doctor not providing the level of care expected of someone of their skill and experience; or A business owner failing to ensure that no hazardous conditions exist on their premises. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Contact an attorney today to discuss whether a party breached their duty to your loved one. Causation Third, you must show that the opposing party’s breach was the cause of your loved one’s death. This causal link can be one of the most difficult elements to prove. You have to prove that your loved one’s death occurred because the opposing party breached his or her duty. Damages Lastly, you must prove that damages exist. Damages in a wrongful death action are those suffered by the victim’s loved ones. Examples might include:  Lost earning capacity of the deceased; Loss of or diminished inheritance; Lost care, support, companionship, and love of the deceased; and  Pain, suffering, and mental and emotional anguish caused by the deceased’s death. Some of these damages may be hard to quantify. However, an experienced attorney can help you calculate your potential Texas wrongful death damages in an effort to maximize your recovery.  Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas? One important thing to note about wrongful death claims is that not all loved ones may bring one. Only certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. Specifically, Texas law states that the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased are entitled to bring a suit for wrongful death. These are the only parties that may bring such an action. Thus, even close friends, siblings, or grandparents of the deceased are not permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.  However, if none of the statutorily permitted family members bring a wrongful death suit within three months of the death, the administrator of the deceased’s estate may then bring the suit. Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations The statute of limitations in Texas for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. But what exactly does this mean?  What Is a Statute of Limitations? A statute of limitations is a statutory time period in which you must file a legal action.  The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of the victim’s death. This means that you must file your wrongful death lawsuit in Texas within two years after the death of your loved one.  Failure to do so within the Texas wrongful death statute of limitations deadline can result in losing your right to bring your claim at all.  Are There Any Exceptions to the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?  In most cases, a wrongful death suit must be brought within two years of the date of the victim’s death. However, there are a few limited exceptions to this two-year timeframe.  These exceptions include situations in which: The plaintiff of the wrongful death suit is under the age of 18 at the time of the death; The defendant’s negligence was not known and could not have been discovered during the two-year time period; The plaintiff of the wrongful death suit has a mental or physical impairment that prevented the filing of the suit within the two-year period; or The defendant committed fraud. An experienced Texas wrongful death attorney can help you determine whether an exception exists and how this might impact your ability to bring a lawsuit.  Contact a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Today If you have questions about the Texas wrongful death statute of limitations and how it applies to your case, contact an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer today. An attorney can help you evaluate your case, assess your claims, determine what damages you might be entitled to, and fight for your rights at every step along the way. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we know just how difficult it is to deal with the loss of someone you love. That’s why we work tirelessly to provide you with the support and representation you need and deserve.  We pride ourselves on the personal attention we are able to provide to each and every one of our clients. Your case is important to us, and we want you to know that you will be a priority with our team.  Contact or call (254) 752-9688 today for your free case review to...

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