Larry F., Former Client
"I'm not sure where I would be today if it weren't for Justin and the law firm he is with... You become a part of the family the day you become a client and there is nothing more satisfying... If you want the best, the most terrific, then this is the man you want as your attorney."
Ben C., Former Client
"They're good people, plain and simple. I had the opportunity to work with Justin Demerath on a few issues. One where he had nothing to gain financially and the other, he did. There was no difference in his demeanor, the way he treated me or his intent. He just wanted to help in any way he could."
Herbert F., Former Client
"I want to thank you Justin for a job well done. My case was certainly a difficult one as attested to by the number of rejections I had before your name was given to me... You were up front about my chances for a win, never denying the road blocks that certainly would arise. I was impressed by the professional manner in which you handled my case."
Melanie S., Former Client
"The service I received from Justin Demerath has been unparalleled in every aspect. He is very professional, concise, and empathic towards his clients. My settlement exceeded my expectations on my collarbone injury case, in result of his strong desire for success."
Teresa P., Former Client
"WOW! I haven't seen this kind of customer service in years. Justin visited with me on the phone until all my questions were answered. He was extremely helpful, gracious, pleasant, willing, professional and very nice."
"In the midst of dealing with insurance, body shop, doctors and staff all of whom were 'just doing their job'... Justin was a ray of sunshine on a very gloomy day in my life. He made me feel very comfortable and encouraged me to continue with my questions... Thank you Justin...God bless you."
Jon S., Former Client
"Fantastic Representation. Justin Demerath represented me in a motorcycle accident where I was injured severely. The outcome was a best case scenario based on the realities of the at-fault driver. I received the largest settlement that was available and it turned out well. That was the bottom line, but what I wanted to comment on was Justin's willingness to explain each step of the process and his personal interest in my case. He came to visit me at my house while I was still unable to walk and his competence and ability to put things in simple terms allowed me to feel comfortable to take the details of my case off my plate and put it in his hands."
Nancy C., Former Client
"I am just so impressed in your scientific and legal knowledge. Your commitment and enthusiasm goes beyond compare. Should I ever need your services again or if someone I know needs your expertise, I will not hesitate to give you and call or make a referral."
Jay B., Former Client
"My experience with the insurance companies over the 15 months following the accident was frustrating... I admit I was also reluctant to find a personal injury lawyer, based on the stereotype of personal injury lawyers that I had ... I no longer carry that stereotype with me, I've since learned better."
Cindy R., Former Client
"Great Representation. I was involved in an auto accident two years ago and, after unsatisfactory dealings with the insurance company of the other driver, I hired Justin Demerath to represent me in my claim for medical bills coverage.... Mr. Demerath is a true professional whose compassion for his clients and for the law is first rate."
Motorcycle Accident / Product Liability
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $170,438.09|
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $640,000.00|
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $339,982.00|
Apartment Fire - Negligent Design of an Apartment Complex
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $532,393.34|
Negligence - 18-Wheeler Accident
Product Liability / Defective Machinery
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $67,431.47|
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $101,045.83|
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $97,892.23|
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $67,119.28|
Product Liability / Defective Design
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $47,704.60|
Auto Accident - Intoxicated Driver
|Medical Bills:||In excess of $17,892.00|
Skillful and Aggressive Legal Representation
When you or a loved one has endured personal injury or wrongful death, you have the right to seek justice and compensation. O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath is committed to providing each and every one of our clients with compassionate advocacy and skillful, tireless, aggressive representation. Our number one priority is providing each client with the most desirable legal outcome to every issue they are facing.
We Value and Respect Every Client
We believe that every client deserves and should receive one-on-one access and attention. Legal issues can be daunting without the protection of knowledgeable and experienced lawyers. O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath is dedicated to resolving your unique situation with compassion and diligence.
Superior Client Services
At O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath we ensure seamlessly integrated work product and representation through our utilization of state of the art technology and resources. We are committed to providing our clients superior legal representation at every turn.
Commitment to Getting you the Compensation you Deserve
In our efforts to obtain compensation for our clients who have suffered injuries and the related indignities arising from the negligent actions of individuals and corporations, we pledge to provide you with a personalized, "no stone unturned" pursuit in achieving the most favorable outcome on your behalf in what are, undoubtedly, the most important and often life-changing situations you may ever experience.
Our clients never owe any fees unless we obtain financial settlement on their behalf. We will go the distance for you.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today
O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath offers you a free one-on-one evaluation of your personal injury case. Our clients never pay for our legal services unless we obtain a successful recovery of compensation for you. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers.
Kevin O'Hanlon, the founding partner of O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath began practicing law in 1974 and has vast knowledge of all areas of litigation. Mr. O'Hanlon became Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1987, and in Civil Trial Law in 1990.
Renee Rodriguez Betancourt
Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt, a Valley native, was born and raised in Edinburg, Texas. Aside from her career and family, Renee also serves as a director for the Hidalgo County Young Lawyers Association and is a member of Hidalgo County Bar Association and an active member of Junior League of McAllen.
Justin Demerath joined the firm as a law clerk during his final year of law school and has been with the firm since that day. He has dedicated his law practice to helping people who have suffered damages at the hands of others in the state of Texas recover monetary compensation. Mr. Demerath has one mission in his work: to fight for the rights of the clients he represents.
Darren G. Gibson is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in federal courts and Texas state courts. Mr. Gibson’s practice at O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath focuses on representing school districts and other governmental institutions in litigation and other business-related disputes.
In 2010, Mr. Castillo graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. Upon graduation, Mr. Castillo worked as a government and history teacher in the Rio Grande Valley.
Nick Maddox is an associate attorney who represents clients in a diverse range of litigation issues. Licensed to practice in both State court and Federal court, Mr. Maddox handles injury, employment, business, and contract disputes.
Ms. Hanley graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame with Bachelors of Arts degrees in History and Art History. In 1998, Ms. Hanley graduated with honors from the University of Florida School of Law. During school, and continuing after graduation, Ms. Hanley clerked for the Public Defender's Office in Gainesville, Florida, gaining criminal litigation experience in the Misdemeanor Division.
Alice Ward was born in Ithaca, NY and raised in Jersey City, NJ. The older of two daughters, she graduated from Friends Seminary, a Quaker high school, in 1996. Ms. Ward attended the University of Texas in Austin, attaining a BA in History in 2000. She also became a certified paralegal through Austin Community College.
After serving with the military, Ms. Lamas earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Management in 2006 and graduated with honors in 2009 with her Master Degree in Criminal Justice, from Florida Metropolitan University. In 2008, Ms. Lamas attended Boston University’s School of Professional Development, earning her Paralegal Studies Certificate.
Erin Pate grew up in Houston, Texas. Upon graduating from Klein Forest High School she moved to Austin, Texas. She began working for O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath in 2005.
Serious Personal Injury
Every year, hundreds of Texans suffer serious injury because of the reckless actions of another. If you were hurt in a car accident or pedestrian accident, or a loved one was injured using a defective product, the personal injury attorneys at O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath are here to help.
It is unfortunate, but it is usually up to the victim's family to pursue a wrongful death claim after the accidental death of a loved one. At a time when you feel most vulnerable and emotionally exhausted, a lawsuit is the last thing on your mind. But it's important to give it some consideration. An experienced, dedicated Austin injury attorney can help.
Car accidents carry serious physical and financial consequences. Injuries can leave you unable to work and prevent you from enjoying a normal life. To make matters worse, your insurance company may more committed to its bottom line than your recovery. At O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath in Austin, Texas, our main priority, is representing people who have been injured in car accidents and make them whole again.
With the freedom and excitement motorcycle riders enjoy comes the risk of serious injury in an accident. Despite the consistent warnings drivers receive to â€śstart seeing motorcycles,â€ť thousands of people across Texas are injured in motorcycle accidents. If you have been involved in an accident, you can benefit from immediate representation from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer .
Collisions between commercial trucks and cars or passenger trucks almost always result in life-changing injuries or tragic deaths. Because of the seriousness of these accidents, it's important to work with an experienced Austin personal injury attorney who will protect your rights.
Whether you buy something from a big-box retailer, midsize market, outlet store, mall, or small grocer, you expect the product to be safe. However, sometimes you may buy a product that injures you, and product liability and defective product law dictates who is responsible for this breach of the implied warranty of fitness for the productâ€™s intended uses. The place from where you purchased the product, the company that made the product, or even the company that advertised the product may be legally held responsible for your injury.
The defective drug product liability attorneys at O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath law firm understand that your injuries and complications may be the result of a defective drug. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Defective Medical Devices
The defective medical device liability attorneys at O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath law firm understand that your injuries and complications may be the result of a defective medical device. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Disputes are an unfortunate, and often expensive, part of doing business. At O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath in Austin, Texas, our business litigation attorneys are experienced professionals who can protect your interests if you are embroiled in a legal dispute.
Fatal Auto Accidents
Car accidents are the leading cause of accidental death, bringing pain and grief to hundreds of Texas families every year. If a loved one has died in a fatal car accident, an SUV rollover, a collision with a commercial truck, or a motorcycle crash, you will be facing financial challenges, and we are here to solve your problems.
Defective Machinery / Equipment
Heavy equipment and workplace machinery can be dangerous even when itâ€™s used properly. But when that equipment is faulty, has defective parts, or has been improperly repaired or serviced, even careful users can suffer serious injury or death. The injury lawyers at O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath hold companies responsible for negligence in the manufacturing and maintenance of equipment and machinery that leads to injuries and deaths.
Bike riders and cycling enthusiasts bear an unfair burden when car and truck drivers do not drive carefully. With so little protection beyond a bike helmet and their quick reflexes, cyclists often suffer severe injuries when a car makes a sudden stop or a truck turns into their path. Sadly, many bicycle accident victims are children. If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has died in a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle or a cycling accident on a dangerous property, you may have a right to financial compensation.
How do I choose the right attorney for my case?
When you or a loved one has suffered an injury, hiring an attorney is one of the most important steps you will take toward seeking compensation from those who are responsible for your injuries. This can be a daunting and complicated process if you have never before hired an attorney and do not know how it all works.
What are my rights as a client?
If you ever have any questions about these rights, or about the way your case is being handled by your attorney, do not hesitate to express your concerns to your attorney. He or she should be readily available to represent your best interests and keep you informed about your case.
What should I do immediately after an accident?
Just after an accident or other event which seriously injures your or a loved one you may not know what to do or where to turn for help, especially when you have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, or in many instances, the manufacturer of defective equipment or other products.
What is the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process?
After an accident in which you or a loved one are injured, and you have sought medical attention and have hired an attorney to handle your insurance claim, you may be on your way to becoming a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company has refused to make a reasonable offer of settlement on your injury claim.
Could ERISA reduce my claim recovery?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known as "ERISA", is a federal law that may allow your insurance company, or your employer's health plan, to recover its costs on your claim, from a settlement or trial verdict award you may receive as a result of a personal injury lawsuit. This is known as "subrogation", and is considered to be a complex area of law. Potential subrogation interests should be discussed with your personal injury attorney after his/her review of any subrogation clauses in your insurance policy or your employer's health plan provisions.
What information will my attorney need from me?
When you or a loved one have been injured in any type of accident it is important to keep extensive documentation of the incident and your injuries. Your personal injury attorney will interact with insurance companies and defense attorneys on your behalf, and in order to make a proper claim for all the benefits you are entitled to, this documentation is necessary.
Some of our Victories
Our firm represented a golf course grounds keeper who, due to a mechanical design defect in the industrial mower he was operating, was crushed under the machine when it fell into 15 foot ravine. The client suffered partial blindness, memory loss, and permanent brain damage.
Justin Demerath, in joint representation with his father, Attorney Larry Demerath, represented the widow of a truck driver who was killed when his vehicle struck a large tire that had detached from another truck. Larry and Justin are pictured above with the client.
Our firm represented a family in a wrongful death action against a large trucking company when their father was struck and killed by an 18-Wheeler due to a defective brake pedal. The case settled prior to trial. The brothers are pictured above.
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Do I have a case?
Do injury claims always go to court?
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How much will it cost to hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Can I be compensated if I am partially at fault?
If I was injured in a DWI accident, do I need an attorney?
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What will a Personal Injury Attorney do for me?
Similarly, if you know you don't want to go to trial, you shouldn't file a lawsuit.
What documents should I bring with me when I meet with a lawyer?
What can I expect at the first consultation?
How long should I wait before contacting a lawyer?
How is fault proven in an injury causing accident?
What theories of law apply to a personal injury case?
Should I give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?
What Amount of Money is “Fair Compensation” For my Personal Injury Claim?
What do I do if the other driver doesn't have insurance in an Automobile case?
What are Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits?
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
How do I file an injury claim?
I have a personal injury question that you have not answered.
An injured party is referred to as the plaintiff. In our state, the Plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means, you will have to establish the legally required facts in your case, or you will not be entitled to any recovery. Each case can be thought of has having three main areas in order to be successful: liability, causation, and damages. Only a competent personal injury attorney can accurately help you evaluate the likelihood that you have a case and can assist you in reaching a decision as to whether you want to pursue a claim.
In order to have a case, there must be a third party who is liable to you. This depends in on the facts and what type of claim you are bringing. Usually, if there is a liable person in a personal injury case, they will have committed a negligent action which caused your injuries. In order to prevail on a claim of negligence, the facts must clearly demonstrate: (1) negligence or failure to meet the standard of care; and (2) that the negligence caused you harm or injury. However, having confidence that liability can likely be established is only part of the picture.
The other part of the picture is damages. The harm or injuries you have suffered must be significant enough to justify the expenditure of time, energy, and resources that are required to bring a successful claim.
The chances of success of a claim depend on the individual circumstances of your case. A personal injury attorney can advise you of the possibility of success of your particular case.
Fortunately, most claimants are not subjected to the stresses of litigation, and many cases are settled out of court. However, when the defendant's or insurance company's offer of settlement is too low or questions of liability remain, the facts and damages of a case may need to be decided by a jury or a judge. The decision to settle a case or file a lawsuit is one of the key decisions a lawyer can assist you in making.
Time to conclusion depends largely on the circumstances of the injury, the nature of the at fault party, the insurance company, the insurance adjuster and the attorneys involved. There is a wide time range for settlements, and that timeframe changes substantially if a claim escalates to an actual lawsuit. A personal injury attorney will be able to give you more information after a thorough evaluation of your specific circumstances.
There is no fee for talking to a personal injury attorney about your claim; initial consultations are free. Generally in personal injury cases, once an attorney makes commitment to represent you and/or your family, they only charge an attorneys’ fee when they are successful in obtaining a recovery for you. This fee is calculated as percentage of the recovery. Most times, all expenses necessary for pursuing an injury claim will be advanced by a personal injury attorney. If an attorney is successful in obtaining a recovery for you, case expenses, will be reimbursed from your portion of the client’s recovery. If at the conclusion of the case, nothing is recovered on your behalf, you generally will not owe the attorney for any attorneys' fee or any case expenses.
If you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive a percentage of the compensation you would have normally received. The amount depends on the percentage of fault assigned to you. Until that percentage has been established by a judge or jury, you should seek the informed opinion of a personal injury attorney.
The use of alcohol can be considered an aggravating circumstance in a personal injury claim. If you were injured by a person under the influence of alcohol, a personal injury attorney will be able to advise you as to the actual value of your case and will be able to act on your behalf to insure that you are not taken advantage of with a low offer.
First and foremost you must ensure your own safety and that of those with you. Obtain the medical attention necessary to ensure the health and safety of your loved ones.
Do not discuss the facts of the incident or sign any legal documents until you have come to understand your legal rights. Do not give a statement to an insurance company until you are comfortable it is in your best interests.
You should gather as much information and supporting documentation as possible at the scene of an accident and in the days following, if possible. Try to get as many of the following items as possible:
The attorney you choose should show interest in gathering evidence with an eye toward trying the case in court. If you have an attorney who appears to be waiting around for the case to settle, your alarm bells should be ringing; a good attorney does not assume a case will settle. Being prepared for trial may ultimately be what prompts the other side to offer a fair settlement. Be wary of hiring an attorney who rarely, if ever, goes to trial.
After an initial meeting with your attorney, he/she will begin putting your case together by interviewing witnesses and thoroughly investigating and documenting the accident. After this information-gathering phase, the attorney will begin discussions with the other party. In the case of car accidents, this is generally the other driver's insurance company, who is contractually obligated to defend them. Many attorneys organize all the evidence and medical records in a settlement brochure, which is sent to the insurance representative for consideration of the claim. The attorney might also include in the brochure a demand for a specific amount of compensation. After some back-and-forth with the insurance company, many cases settle. Many others do not and a lawsuit must be filed.
The short answer is the more information the lawyer has, the better his advice to you will be. You should supply any documents that might have a bearing on your case. Accident reports, for example, contain eyewitness accounts and details about auto accidents. Copies of medical reports from doctors and hospitals which you have obtained will describe your injuries. Information about the other driver's or negligent party’s insurer is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident or of your injury. If you do not have these documents in your possession, do not worry. Your lawyer will be able to obtain all necessary paperwork necessary to bring your case.
Most importantly, you should expect to obtain a sense of confidence in the law firm you are meeting with. Your lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a case with merit. If your case is one the law firm is willing to accept, you will likely be provided with a retainer agreement. All aspects and fine print of the retainer agreement should be explained to you. Be aware, a lawyer cannot represent you without a written retainer agreement. Once that agreement is in effect, your counsel should start gathering the documents and information he or she will need to try your case. No competent lawyer should tell you what your case is worth at the first visit. In order to arrive at a figure for damages, your lawyer will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages. Many times these elements of damages cannot be determined without extensive research and consultation with expert witnesses. Your lawyer, once retained, should be able to provide you with a proposed rough timeline for the pre-litigation, litigation and potential appeal phases of your particular case.
It is imperative that you contact a lawyer as soon after an incident as you are able to do so. In almost all cases, evidence begins to be spoiled or be altered almost immediately following an incident, and it is imperative to preserve evidence to maintain your claim. Consequently, the sooner your lawyer can get started working for you the better. Remember the insurance adjuster you may be dealing with settled hundreds of cases in the past year alone. He or she is also highly trained at negotiations. It is important not to give any information to the insurance adjuster without first consulting a personal injury attorney. Also, letting your claim languish could affect its value as often witnesses and memories of the accident fade away. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible about any potential claim because you should get legal advice on your time limits for filing a lawsuit or claim. The investigation of claims can be lengthy. Remember that you should not accept legal advice about your claim from anyone other than a qualified lawyer.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of a Judge or jury to assess the fault and responsibility in an Accident. A personal injury attorney can work with you in conducting a through investigation, and gather the evidence to get to the bottom of who was at fault in an injury causing incident. For this reason, it is important that you gather as much information as possible, and preserve as much physical evidence as possible.
Generally there are three established theories of personal injury or tort liability: negligence, strict liability and intentional misconduct.
Negligence occurs when a person’s conduct falls below a legally recognized standard of taking reasonable care under the circumstances to protect others from harm. Persons who act negligently do not intend to cause an accident that injures another person. Instead, their liability develops from careless or thoughtless conduct or a failure to act when a reasonable person under the circumstances would have acted. Negligence is the basis for liability in the majority of personal injury lawsuits, including automobile accidents and medical malpractice.
Proving that someone else was negligent hinges on the following question: Was the party who allegedly caused the injury behaving as carefully as a reasonable person would have behaved under the same circumstances? If not, then that party was negligent and has committed the tort of negligence. Examples of negligence include a reckless driver causing an automobile accident, or a store owner failing to repair a defective door, thereby causing a customer to fall and be hurt. If a reasonable person would have driven more prudently, or if a reasonable store owner would have repaired the defective door, then the negligent party could be found liable by a judge or jury.
The outcome of a lawsuit in which negligence is alleged can be difficult to predict because determining how much care a reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation is difficult. The reasonable person standard is vague, imprecise and apt to be interpreted differently by different people. Often, a practice that seemed reasonable in the past may appear unreasonable with the benefit of hindsight. Finding an attorney who has experience with how juries typically interpret the reasonable person standard is, therefore, one of the most important steps in successfully defending a personal injury lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleges that the person acted unreasonably.
In the area of Strict Liability, designers and manufacturers are held strictly liable for injuries caused by their defective products. In strict liability cases, the injured person does not have to establish negligence by the manufacturer or designer. Instead, what the injured person needs to show is that the defective product was designed or manufactured in a manner that made it unreasonably dangerous or unsafe when used as intended. Strict liability is an important and growing area of tort law.
Strict liability, applies to very dangerous activities. If someone does something extremely dangerous, such as demolish a building, and someone gets hurt as a result, the injured person can sue for damages without having to prove the defendant acted negligently or with intent to cause harm. The principle behind strict liability lawsuits is that some activities are so dangerous that, in exchange for permission to engage in the activity, the individual must assume total responsibility for any resulting damage.
Intentional Misconduct claims of personal injury or tort liability must allege and prove more than just careless actions by another person. It must be alleged and proved that the offending person intended to engage in the offending conduct that he or she engaged in. From this conduct, the law infers and concludes that the offending person intended the consequences of his or her action. Further, in contrast to the negligence theory of liability for personal injury, the plaintiff (alleged victim) alleging an intentional tort does not need to show actual damages to recover. It is important to note that while perpetrators of some intentional torts--such as assault and battery, for example--can be held criminally liable for their actions, a tort or personal injury case is a civil proceeding in court brought by an individual or entity and remains totally separate from any criminal charges brought by the government.
Intentional misconduct is a deliberate action resulting in an injury to another person or damages another person's property. For example, if a manufacturer deliberately sells products it knows to be defective, it is causing harm on purpose. A plaintiff alleging intentional misconduct need not compare the defendant's actions to those of a reasonable person; he or she only must show that the defendant intended his or her actions. In a civil lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleges intentional misconduct, the plaintiff can recover punitive damages in addition to awards for injuries, pain and suffering. Punitive damages, designed to punish people or organizations for unlawful acts, are often very large sums of money. Until recently, there were few limits on the amount of money a jury could award as punitive damages. However, Congress and many state legislatures recently have passed laws putting caps on punitive damage awards in certain types of cases. Even without statutory limits, judges have long had the authority to reduce many types of punitive damage awards. Businesses wanting to avoid paying punitive damages should institute specific safety procedures for their employees to follow to reduce the risk of injury.
You are absolutely not at any time obligated to give a recorded statement without the presence of a personal injury attorney to represent you, and if you do, it my later be used against you. It is the best practice to consult and attorney prior to giving a recorded statement so that your rights regarding your claim are not prejudiced.
Most people simply want fair compensation for their injuries from an auto accident. They are not trying to get rich or get something for nothing. However, what is “fair compensation?”
There is no exact formula for determining the amount of compensation you recover. A variety of factors are considered, whether by your lawyer, the Defendant and insurance companies in negotiations or by a jury in court, in determining fair and just compensation. These factors include severity of the accident, severity of injuries, impact of the injuries on the victim’s employment and day-to-day life, and extent of medical care, just to name a few. Aggravating factors such as drunk driving can both hasten settlement and affect the settlement amount.
Fair compensation certainly includes more than just reimbursement for your medical expenses. Under Texas law, a personal injury victim may recover compensation for—
In some cases, the injured person’s family members may be entitled to compensation, depending on the severity of the injuries and their dependence on the injured person.
You are entitled to compensation for medical expenses even if those expenses already have been paid by a health insurance plan. The same is true for lost wages, regardless of whether you take sick days or receive worker’s compensation benefits.
This, however, is not a windfall or double recovery. First, under a principle known as “subrogation” your health insurance plan (based on the plan documents) and your company’s workers’ compensation carrier (under Texas law) may be entitled to reimbursement from your recovery for what they pay out. Therefore, in order to be adequately compensated you need maximum recovery from insurance in the event your health insurer or workers’ comp carrier makes a subrogation claim against your recovery.
Second, if the Defendant’s insurance company reduces your injury compensation simply because you have paid for health insurance, or paid extra auto insurance premiums for “PIP” coverage (see below), or have accumulated sick days or paid vacation, the adverse insurer is taking unfair advantage of the fact that you are a responsible person and diligent worker. If you use up your sick days because of injuries from the auto accident, those days will not be available for other types of health problems. If you sacrifice to obtain extra insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurer should not get the advantage of your sacrifice.
If the liable party doesn't have insurance to cover their damage, but you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to make a claim against your own policy. In some cases you can file a claim against the liable individual, but chances are that their assets won't cover the damage.
If you were in an auto accident due to the negligence of another driver, you typically will seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurer based on his insurance policy.
However, if the driver was uninsured, and if you have “uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage” (“UM coverage”) through your own insurance policy or the policy covering the vehicle in which you were riding, then an uninsured motorist claim will be made to your insurer.
Many Texas auto policies include a form of medical and wage coverage called personal injury protection coverage, or PIP. This coverage is available to the insured driver and any passengers in the insured’s vehicle for injuries sustained, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. PIP coverage pays 100% of the medical expenses, plus 80% of lost earnings, up to the amount of the PIP coverage limits. These limits are usually in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000. PIP benefits do not have to be repaid if the adverse driver’s insurance pays damages.
The proper procedure for bringing an injury claim completely depends on the circumstances of each case. Variables such as the type of injury, nature of the at fault party, and the nature of insurance coverage can drastically effect the method by which a victim must bring a claim. Also, different types of claims are subject to distinct time limits. So it is important that you take action without delay. A personal injury attorney can advise you as to the proper method and timing to properly file a claim in your particular case.
Our attorneys are available to answer questions you may have over the phone or via e-mail. Please visit our contact page, and submit your question, or feel free to telephone us at Toll: 1-877-494-9949 or e-mail one of our attorneys.