| Read Time: 4 minutes | Injuries

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

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

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| Read Time: 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: 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: 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: 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 | 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: 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: 2 minutes | Injuries

Eliminating Preventable Crashes

Car accidents kill thousands of people each year in Texas. That’s a pretty frightening statistic, but when you start to realize that number is only accounting for deaths and not injuries, it can be even more terrifying. Tens of thousands of people are injured throughout the state, and some of those injuries life-threatening and permanent. Crashes caused by alcohol or distracted driving are avoidable accidents, which can make the injuries sustained by innocent victims even more infuriating. Knowing that the driver was doing something illegal to cause the crash can make a horrible situation worse. The best way to reduce the number of people injured or killed is by preventing the crashes from happening in the first place. The stats According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 100,000 traffic crashes each year involve some type of distracted driving. A study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institution found that more than 44 percent of drivers admitted to reading or sending messages while driving during the past month. Distracted driving includes more than just cell phones These days, when you hear about distracted driving, you likely think of texting and driving. It’s important to remember, however, that distracted driving is more than just texting and driving. Distracted driving can involve anything that takes your attention off the road. Some of those things include: Adjusting the radio, CD or DVD player Eating or drinking Programming your GPS Fixing hair or makeup If you have kids, then you know that hearing their screams or cries over a lost toy or dropped pacifier may seem like the greatest distraction you face. You might think it would be better to find whatever it is they are looking for with one hand while steering with the other in order to stop the tears. All of that takes your attention from the road and ultimately puts your safety at risk. Just don’t The only way to avoid distracted driving is to not be distracted. You might read about different voice-to-text apps that are supposed to eliminate that concern. But another Texas A&M Transportation Institution found that those apps aren’t any safer. So the only way to make it safer is to just pretend your phone isn’t there. Ignore it while you are in the car. If you or a loved one were injured due to someone else negligence or bad decisions, you should talk to an experienced attorney. You deserve to be compensated for your suffering.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Injuries

How safe is your hayride?

Autumn is a time of outdoor fun for many Waco residents. When attending football games, trick-or-treating or going for a fall hayride, locals find the milder temperatures are a welcome respite from the summer heat. These fun activities can also increase the likelihood of accidents, however. Today’s post will address safety on hayrides. If you’re going for a hayride… Not all hayrides are the same regarding safety. Some are put on by local farmers and consist of Farmer Jones riding the neighborhood kids around on the back of his trailer amid some bailed hay. Farmer Jones may not have taken the proper liability insurance out to host a hayride. In the event of a catastrophic accident, his farm insurance policy could be quickly maxed out — or potentially nullified if he accepted cash for the ride. But there are plenty of legitimate businesses that conduct hayrides and have adequate liability insurance policies in place. They hire sober drivers with the required skills and certifications to operate farm machinery and carry passengers. They have personnel on-site to help riders off and on the equipment and to alert the driver in the event of an emergency. If you want to take the family out for an autumn hayride, it’s the latter version that will likely be the safest bet. If you’re hosting a hayride Hosting hayrides on your farm is a good way to earn some extra cash before the holiday season is in full swing. Just make sure that you take steps to protect yourself legally if a rider gets injured. Speak to your insurance agent about adding an agritainment rider to your policy or increasing your commercial liability coverage. Have all riders (and the parents of minors) sign liability waivers before climbing aboard. Then, take the steps to make sure that the route for the ride is free of debris or potholes that could dangerously destabilize the farm equipment. Clear any hanging brush from the route. Avoid spots with poor drainage and uneven paths. Also, make sure that if there is an accident, emergency vehicles have access to the hayride route, if necessary. Your route should be contained on private land without the need for crossing a public highway after dark. You will also need to do a thorough equipment inspection during the daylight hours before the ride to make sure that all tractor parts are running smoothly. Ditto for the wagon section. With the proper preparation, both riders and hayride hosts can have a great autumn season.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Injuries

Bus Stop Safety Tips For Parents And Kids

A bus stop is considered a safe place for children to gather before going to school. But, the central location of bus stops on busy roadways can also create a danger for children. Parents want to know their kids’ wellbeing is assured at a bus stop, but a lack of supervision at the stop and distracted drivers on the road can create a precarious situation. The potential danger became a reality last fall in Texas, when a driver failed to stop for a school bus at a bus stop. Fortunately, the students were ok, but the incident served as a reminder about the dangers surrounding drivers’ inability to follow the rules. As parents, how can you ensure your child’s safety at a bus stop? Here are a couple of bus stop safety tips for parents and kids from SafeKids.org. Parents help kids establish good habits Parents may not have time to supervise kids at the bus stop every morning, but they can still take steps to help kids have safe habits. Before the school year starts, take kids to the bus stop and point out potential dangers. Help the kids measure out a safe distance from the street by taking three big steps away from the curb. Show kids how to operate crosswalk signals and safely walk across the street. Cross the street when it is safe Passenger vehicle drivers may be unaware that a bus stop is in the area and may be unprepared to stop. If there is not a designated crosswalk in the area, this can create issues with visibility for both the driver and the kids. Children should wait until the school bus is completely stopped with its crossing arm fully extended before walking into the street. Kids make eye contact with the school bus driver and other vehicles on the road before crossing the street. Encouraging eye contact helps kids establish visual safety cues and ensures that they look both ways before crossing. Parents can’t predict the unexpected, and if your child was injured due to someone else negligence, you will need to consult with an experienced attorney. By teaching your kids safe bus stop habits, however, we can do our best to prevent it.

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