Dog Bites Most Likely to Occur in the Summer

personal injury dog bite

Experts Say Children Are Most at Risk For Dog Bites During Summer

It’s summer and your kids are home from school. More likely than not, though, they’ll be outside playing somewhere. Unfortunately, during the summer months, when more small children are outside, there are typically more dogs outside as well. Statistics show that the summer vacation months are the time of year when dog bites and attacks are more likely. It’s most likely a combination of factors—more kids outside, hotter weather that makes dogs more irritable.

There are measures that you can take, though, to minimize the risk that your child will be a dog bite victim this summer. A four-year study reported in the medical journal Injury Prevention looked at more than 100 dog bites involving more than 40 breeds and came to the following conclusions:

  • The single greatest contributing factor to a potential bite or attack is a dog’s natural territorial response — Almost every breed of dog has some territorial instinct. The study found that children under the age of six were more likely to be bitten when going for a dog’s toy or food. The study found, however, that dogs of many different breeds will become aggressive when an unknown person comes close to them.
  • Fear or anxiety are also precursors to aggression — The study found that dogs were more likely to attack if exposed to sudden noise (including thunderstorms or fireworks) or unpredictable movements. Some dogs also showed more aggression when their owners were not present.
  • Children were less likely to recognize that a dog was in pain — A number of attacks involved canines who had suffered some type of injury or had some type of ailment. The evidence seemed to show that most children did not have the tools to be aware of that.
  • The younger the children, the greater the risk — The study found that children under the age of 10 were about five times more likely to be attacked than any other age group. Within that demographic, boys were more likely to be victims of a dog attack than girls. Researchers say that younger children tend to be louder and move more unpredictably and can often look a lot like the way young dogs play. If you’ve ever watched puppies play, they use their teeth a lot.
  • More often than not, the dog is one that’s known to the family of the victim — It may be a neighbor’s dog, a friend’s pet or a dog that frequents the neighborhood. The familiarity with the dog can give the false impression that the dog doesn’t pose a serious risk.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Children From Dog Bites

The first and most important thing is to communicate to your children that dogs need to be treated cautiously.

  • Teach your children not to run to a dog—the safest thing to do is stay put and ask if you can say hello.
  • They should never pet a dog they don’t know.
  • They should never approach a dog that is eating or chewing on anything
  • Don’t pull tails or ears and don’t wrestle with the dog (even your own dog)
  • If a loose dog approaches them, they should stand as still as possible—if they run, the dog’s instinct will typically lead them to chase and bite
  • Tell them to roll into a ball and keep their hands over their ears until the dog leaves—the more passive they remain, the less likely the dog will be aggressive with them.

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys Today

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Department of Justice Announces $9.1 Million Settlement in Defective Ear Plug Case

American soldiers

3M to Pay $9.1 Million to Settle Defective Ear Plug Claim

Injured Military Personnel May Have Claims Over Defective Earplugs

If you served in the armed forces of the United States between 2003 and 2015, and use the dual-end or reversible “Combat Arms” earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation, provided you can show that you were subsequently diagnosed with tinnitus or any type of combat-related hearing loss. According to lawsuits already filed, the earplugs, designed and manufactured by the Minnesota-based company 3M, did not create a tight seal in the ear, allowing high-decibel sounds to enter the ear canal, unbeknownst to users. 3M boasted that the design would allow users to hear commands from comrades or senior officer, and even approaching enemies, without impairment, but would protect against any hearing loss. Accordingly, users suffered hearing damage while believing they were protected from hearing loss.

In July, 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to settle a federal claim against the company for $9.1 million. That claim, however, was made under the False Claims Act, a federal statute that allows the government to recover compensation from individuals and companies that commit a fraud on the government. Because the 3M contract was with the military, and because there was evidence that 3M employees knew as early as 2000 that the earplugs were defectively designed, the federal claim against 3M was strong.

The evidence in the False Claims Act case also included documents that showed that 3M had conducted testing that showed that the earplugs were ineffective, but misrepresented the test results in certification proceedings, wrongfully alleging that the product met military standards and specifications. According to estimates, the company provided the armed forces with approximately 750,000 pairs of the earplugs every year, from 2006 until 2015, when the product was discontinued. However, the earplugs were never recalled, so have been in continual use since 2015.

A federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act is essentially a whistleblower action. In the 3M case, one of 3M’s competitors, Moldex, brought the defective design to the attention of the federal government. Under the provisions of the False Claims Act, Moldex is entitled to share in the proceeds of any verdict or settlement. Moldex received nearly $2 million of the $9.1 million settlement.

Are you Suffering from a Defective Earplugs Injury?

It’s important to understand that the settlement under the False Claims Act does not have any impact on the rights of individuals who suffered personal injury because of the defective design of the Combat Arms earplugs. That settlement only addresses the fraud perpetrated on the U.S. military and the federal government.

Accordingly, if you or someone you love served in any branch of the armed forces from 2003 until the present, used the 3M Combat Arms earplugs, version 2 (known as CAEv2), you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. A number of lawsuits have already been filed, many of which include demands for punitive damages, based on 3M’s gross negligence.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers to Fight your Defective Earplugs Claim

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What to Do If You Are Hurt in an 18-Wheeler Accident

Personal Injury LawData collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) supports what most Americans already know—the number of 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, semis, big rigs and commercial over-the-road vehicles motoring across the country’s highways continues to increase every year. It’s also no surprise that, given the size of the state of Texas, the interstates that weave throughout the Lone Star State and the state’s healthy industrial and manufacturing base, that Texas sees more large truck accidents than just about any other jurisdiction.

When you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a large commercial truck, there are specific steps you need to take to protect your legal rights. Here’s a checklist to help you do the right thing:

  • Get the medical care that you and your passengers need—The most important immediate concern is your health. In a collision with a big truck, injuries are often catastrophic. Don’t try to minimize your injuries and don’t try to be strong. If you can’t move under your own power, wait until emergency responders arrive. If you need to go to the hospital in an ambulance, do so.
  • Move to a safe place, if reasonable—A large truck can take up most or all of the road, and leaving your vehicles where they are can put you at further risk or jeopardize the safety of others. Look for a place nearby where you can get off the road safely. If you can do so without risking further injury, do so. In most instances, accident reconstruction can be done even if vehicles are moved.
  • Call law enforcement officers—You’ll want a police report on the accident. In addition, police officers can ensure public safety during the cleanup after the accident.
  • Take pictures of everything—You don’t need a fancy camera—the camera on your phone will suffice. Get pictures of anything potentially related to the accident, from the damage to all vehicles and any injuries sustained due to weather conditions, roadway defects, skid marks and nearby traffic signs or signals.
  • Gather information from all parties involved, as well as potential witnesses. You’ll want all the necessary information to allow your attorney to find and contact those parties, including name, phone number, address and e-mail address. You’ll also want the driver’s DOT number, as well as insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident.
  • Say as little as possible—A common mistake people make after a truck accident—they talk too much and may say something that can be construed as admitting fault. Answer the police officer’s questions as factually as you can.
  • Hire an attorney—The sooner you retain legal counsel, the less risk that evidence will be lost, that witnesses will disappear or their memories will fade.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a FREE initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What to Do If You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver this Holiday Season?

Personal Injury LawChristmas and New Years—the time of “good cheer.” Unfortunately, too often that “cheer” comes in a bottle or a glass and too often it leads to disastrous results. Alcohol, after all, is a depressant—it will make you tired and it will slow down your reaction time. It is no surprise, then, that four out of every ten nationwide traffic fatalities during the holidays involve drunk drivers. But what if you have had the good fortune (if you want to call it that) to have been in a holiday crash with a drunk driver and survived. What steps should you take to protect yourself?

Contact the Authorities

In the aftermath of any motor vehicle accident, you want to contact the police, but it is particularly important to do so when the other driver is intoxicated. If you seek damages in a court of law, the jury will base its ruling on a finding of fault. If you can introduce evidence in court that the other driver was drunk, that is powerful evidence of fault. In addition to the arrest record, you may also have testimony gathered by police officers.

Get Medical Care

Whether you have to leave the scene in an ambulance or are able to drive away under your own power, you want to seek medical care as soon as possible. Often, the most debilitating injuries are the ones you cannot see and that take a couple days to manifest. For example, if you have strained muscles, you may not notice it very much at first, but may be in significant discomfort in a day or two. It is important that you get immediate medical care, that you tell the doctor exactly what happened, and where you feel any pain or discomfort. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that opposing attorneys will argue your injuries were either not severe or were caused by an intervening event.

Identify Potentially Responsible Parties

Often, the biggest challenge after an accident involving a drunk driver is getting compensation for your injuries. It is a fact that many drunk drivers are repeat offenders and are often driving without adequate insurance or without insurance at all. In such a situation, you should look first to your own insurance policy, to determine if you have a rider for “uninsured or underinsured motorists.” Insurance companies are required to offer this in most states, but you should not expect them to tell you that you have coverage—get an attorney to do that for you.
Another potential source of recovery is the person or establishment that served the alcohol. In most states, if the person being served was visibly or obviously intoxicated when served the alcohol, or was served a quantity that would reasonably cause intoxication, the person and/or the establishment may have liability. That can also hold true for social hosts at private parties.
Other potential sources of recovery include:

  • There may have been roadway defects that caused the accident
  • There may have been defects in your vehicle or the at-fault party’s vehicle that caused the accident
  • There may have been wrongdoing by a third party that contributed to the accident

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Law in Texas

Personal Injury LawWhen you’ve been hurt in an accident, one of the first places you turn to help you get reimbursement for your losses is your insurance company. For many, that’s an unpleasant experience. Let’s face it—insurance companies are in business to make a profit and have a vested interest in paying as little as possible, or nothing, to settle your claim. They’ll employ a lot of different strategies to minimize their payout—playing nice, asking for information they don’t need, hiding coverage. But there’s one you need to be on the lookout for at this time of year—the so-called “holiday settlement.”

The Holiday Settlement Offer

Insurance companies will often stop at little to reduce the amount they have to pay to settle a claim. Around the holidays, they take advantage of the emotions people have at the holidays. They know that everyone wants to provide a nice Christmas for their family and that doing so can be difficult if you’re out of work because of an accident. Accordingly, they’ll come in with a offer significantly less than the injured person deserves, knowing there’s pressure to take because of the expenses involved with the holiday.

Don’t be fooled, either, if your insurance agent and/or the adjuster take great pains to be in the holiday spirit. They want you to be thinking about Christmas and the fact that you don’t have the resources to get the gifts you want for your loved ones. They know that most people, faced with the choice of taking less or not having anything to buy gifts, will take less.
Don’t be taken in…Christmas is just a day. Don’t put your family’s future at risk because an insurance company is trying to profit from your emotions.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Law in Texas

Personal Injury LawWhen you are hurt in motor vehicle accident, one of your first responses is to gather information from the at-fault driver about automobile insurance coverage. But what are your options if the other driver either doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses, or perhaps has no insurance at all? Statistics show that as many as one of every five drivers on the road in Texas don’t have a valid policy of insurance.

The Texas legislature, aware of the high number of people operating motor vehicles without insurance, has required that any automobile insurer doing business in the Lone Star State offer uninsured/underinsured (also known as UM/UIM) coverage as a standard part of a personal automobile insurance policy in Texas. Under the law, limits of coverage are set at a minimum, which is now $20,000/$40,000/$15,000. A policyholder may increase coverage amounts for an additional premium.

Such a rider would pay up to $20,000 to a specific person and a total of $40,000 for all injured persons and a maximum of $15,000 for all property damage. The bodily injury portion is specifically intended to compensate or reimburse injured persons without deductibles. It provides broad coverage, compensating victims for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent scarring and disfigurement, lost wages or earning capacity and even funeral expenses. The property damage component will reimburse the costs of repair of a vehicle, up to the fair market value of the automobile.
It’s important to understand that the Texas UM/UIM laws will provide coverage if you are injured by a hit-and-run driver. The statute specifically defines “uninsured motorist” to include “unidentified motorist.” The only requirement, under the law, is that the injured party report the accident to police in a timely manner.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Texas Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuits and Settlements

Personal Injury Law If you have been injured a car accident, truck wreck or motorcycle crash in Texas, you have a right to pursue benefits through an insurance provider or in a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you’ve never been involved in a lawsuit before, the American Civil Justice System can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some fundamental concepts to understand, so that you don’t make mistakes that jeopardize a claim.

Make Sure You Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible

There are at least two good reasons to do this:

  • The longer you wait, the greater the risk that evidence will be lost. Witnesses may move or die, and memories can fade. In addition, physical evidence can deteriorate or be misplaced. The sooner you act, the better the chance that your lawyer will take necessary steps to safeguard critical evidence.
  • The Statute of Limitations may expire—In Texas, as in other states, you have a limited amount of time (two years for the date of the car accident) to file your claim, or it can be forfeited. This law is known as the Statute of Limitations, and serves a number of purposes.

Your Rights Regarding Insurance Benefits

Texas is an “at-fault” jurisdiction with respect to automobile insurance. This means that, in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, you can file either a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. There are minimum coverage amounts mandated by Texas law–$30,000 for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage. Texas does not require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, but it can be purchased voluntarily.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Beware of Insurance Company Settlement Offers

Personal Injury Law

In the Aftermath of a Personal Injury, Don’t Take a Settlement Offer without Talking to an Attorney

When you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident because of the carelessness or wrongful act of another person, you may not know where to start to get compensation for all your losses, from the costs of medical care to lost income, from loss of companionship to the physical pain and suffering you experience every day. Under those circumstances, it can feel like a relief when your insurance agent or adjuster is proactive about your claim and seems ready and willing to help as much as possible.

BEWARE! Your insurance company has a vested interest in paying as little as possible to settle your claim. They have a much better understanding than you do of the potential consequences of your accident, and their primary goal is to minimize their obligation to you. Here’s how they often operate:

  • Your insurance company will offer to pay for all losses related to your vehicle. They’ll do this to lead you to believe that they just want to be fair and do the right thing. The reality is that they have no other option. If they admit that you were liable, they must pay for the vehicle.
  • At the same time, or within days, they’ll offer you a cash settlement to cover all your medical bills. It may be $1,000 or $1,500, and it will seem like a lot of money, especially if you only have minor aches and pains at the time you settle. But in exchange, they’ll ask you to sign a release, which means you can’t obtain reimbursement for any other medical expenses.
  • In some situations, insurance adjusters will actually initiate the contact (before you’ve even filed a claim), saying that want to take swift action to make certain you get the help you need. What they usually want to do is get you to sign a release before your injury becomes too serious.

The unfortunate reality is that many of the most debilitating injuries often take a little bit of time to cause you serious pain, discomfort or problems. Insurance companies know this and hope to get you to accept a quick settlement and sign a waiver before the injury really flairs up. If an insurance adjuster contacts you, don’t sign or agree to any settlement and don’t make any statement. Tell them where the car is and tell them that you are sore, and then call your attorney.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Beaumont Man Files Premises Liability Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful DeathAndrew Teel, a Beaumont resident, has filed a wrongful death action against Sienna Apartment Homes, as well as its parent company and property manager, alleging premises liability and gross negligence in the death of his wife and newborn daughter in a shooting that occurred at the family’s apartment complex on June 6, 2017.

According to Beaumont police, Teel’s wife and newborn daughter were returning from a doctor’s appointment with the wife’s mother when they noticed a black Cadillac near the exit to the apartment complex. Teel’s mother-in-law, Mindy Morris, said that a man approached the vehicle, opened the door and opened fire. Teel, who was seven months pregnant, died after arriving at the hospital. The child, delivered prematurely, also died at the hospital.

According to the lawsuit, tenants at the apartment complex had complained numerous times to property managers about the high rate of crime in the area, as well as a number of security concerns. They say that the complex had a broken security gate, a collapsed fence and that security lights were not functional across the complex. They also noted that there were no security cameras or guards at the site.

Under Texas law, the owner/manager of residential or commercial property has a duty to take reasonable steps to minimize the risk of injury to anyone lawfully on the property. That duty has been held by courts in Texas to require that owners and managers take reasonable measures to provide appropriate lighting and security measures.
Police say one suspect has been arrested in the slaying, but that the shooter remains at large.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas personal injury law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Adverse Side Effects from Mesh Implants

Experienced Medical Product Liability Attorneys—Hernia Mesh

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If you’ve had surgery to repair a hernia in the past few years, or even as long ago as the late 1980s, there’s a chance that a surgical mesh was implanted as part of the process. The mesh is a loosely woven sheet that may be made from organic or inorganic materials, and that may dissolve over a period of time or may be permanent. You may have had mesh implanted in a laparoscopic procedure or in what is known as “open repair.” The mesh is designed to reinforce weakened or damaged tissue, and to minimize the risk of a recurrence of the hernia.

The implantation of hernia mesh has been linked to a number of adverse health complications, including infection, bowel obstruction, severe pain, perforation of internal organs, adhesion and mesh failure (leading to recurring hernias). The FDA has received reports of injuries caused by mesh shrinkage, as well as movement or migration of mesh after surgery. As a consequence, a number of surgical mesh products have been subject to recall.

Do You Have a Claim?

Our experienced lawyers will carefully review your case, looking at medical records and gathering evidence to support a claim for damages. To qualify for a consultation with our experienced team, you must show the following:

  • You’ve had at least two or more hernia repair surgeries using surgical mesh (either implant or explant)
  • At least one of the surgeries was done after January 1, 2010

We will make exceptions to the following conditions if:

  • You have a second hernia mesh surgery scheduled, with a specific date and location
  • You have medical records that document that the mesh implanted was either Physiomesh or C-QUR mesh
  • Your doctor will testify that he/she believes that a hernia mesh implantation has caused you injury, but also believes that the mesh cannot be removed without the potential for serious injury

Contact Our Office for a Free Initial Consultation

You may have concerns about the potential cost of pursuing recovery for a hernia mesh injury. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to helping you get full and fair compensation for all your losses. For that reason, we take all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t pay any legal fees unless we recover damages on your behalf.

There’s no charge to discuss your potential hernia mesh injury with us. Contact our experienced medical device injury trial lawyers today to schedule an appointment. We represent injured people throughout the United States.

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Protect Your Legal Rights – Seek Medical Care Immediately after a Car Accident

Personal InjuryWhen you’ve been in any type of a motor vehicle accident, whether it’s a minor collision or a high-speed crash, you want to protect your legal rights. One of the most important steps to do just that is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In some instances, you may not have a choice. If you can’t move without pain, don’t try to. Wait until emergency responders arrive and let them determine whether you need to go to the hospital in an ambulance. Even if you can walk away under your own power, you should either drive yourself to an urgent care facility or immediately schedule an appointment with your personal physician.

One of the primary reasons you want to seek immediate medical treatment—it’s the best way to ensure a thorough and accurate diagnosis, and, consequently, the most effective way to make certain you maximize your recovery from injury. With many injuries, the sooner you begin to treat them, the less potential there is for long term ramifications. For example, if you have significant swelling tied to your injury, controlling that swelling early in the process can reduce the risk of other injuries. In addition, the sooner you seek medical treatment, the sooner you’ll have access to medication that can ease your pain and suffering.

There’s another good reason, though, to have an immediate medical checkup. Though some of your injuries will be readily apparent, many of the most painful and debilitating injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident are not as easily discovered, especially by a lay person. When you describe the accident to a medical professional, they can typically predict injuries or discomfort that may take days, weeks or months to manifest.

By seeking immediate medical care, you can also minimize the likelihood that defense attorneys or insurance companies will argue that your injuries were not tied to the motor vehicle accident, but to some intervening accident or cause.

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To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

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NOT OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER: THE DUTY (OR LACK THEREOF) TO ACT IN TEXAS

THE DUTY (OR LACK THEREOF) TO ACT IN TEXASAs a general proposition, there is no duty on the part of any citizen of this, and most other states, to render aid to third parties at risk of harm. “[I]t may be said generally, as a matter of law, that a mere bystander who did not create the dangerous situation is not required to become the good Samaritan and prevent injury to others. ” Buchanan v. Rose, 159 S.W.2d 109, 110 (Tex. 1942). As the quoted language suggests, however, this principal does not apply where the person in question created the condition which has put the third-party at risk of harm: “if a party negligently creates a dangerous situation it then becomes his duty to do something about it.” Id. Other exceptions exist as to the application of the so-called “no duty to act” rule.

For example, one who voluntarily and willingly sets about to aid another in peril must exercise reasonable care in doing so:

  • One who undertakes gratuitously…to render services to another which he should recognize are necessary for the protection of the other’s person or things, is subject to liability to the other for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care.

Colonial Sav. Ass’n v. Taylor, 544 S.W.2d 116, 119–120 (Tex. 1976) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 323). This exception, however, requires an actual, “affirmative act.” Helbing v. Hunt, 402 S.W.3d 699, 703 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2012, pet. denied). There is no liability, therefore, for an unfulfilled “promise” to provide aid, unless the party in peril relies upon this promise to his detriment. See Helbing, 402 S.W.3d at704–706.

Finally, another recognized exception may arise where a “special relationship” exists between the parties: “Special relations may exist between the actor and the other…which impose upon the actor the duty to take affirmative precautions for the aid or protection of the other. “ Restatement (Second) of Torts § 314. Such a “special relationship” may exist where “[t]he actor [has] control of a third person, or of land or chattels, and be under a duty to exercise such control.” Id.

Though stepping outside the confines of a legal analysis in this regard, it is important to note that these rules relate solely to “legal” and not “moral” obligations. By way of example, the Restatement itself provides the following hypothetical to illustrate this rule:

  • A sees B, a blind man, about to step into the street in front of an approaching automobile. A could prevent B from so doing by a word or touch without delaying his own progress. A does not do so, and B is run over and hurt. A is under no duty to prevent B from stepping into the street, and is not liable to B.

Restatement (Second) of Torts § 314.Thus, based upon the principles noted previously herein, we can see that when we come across the blind man clearly stepping into a dangerous situation; because we did not create that situation, and have not already set about to help him, though we could; and having no “special relationship” to him, we are under no legal duty to undertake even the simplest act to prevent his injury or death. But few would suggest there to be no moral obligation to do so. Such moral obligations, however, are best left addressed in other settings.

I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity before ending this humble blog to congratulate Phillip Galyen of Bailey & Galyen on 35 years of providing legal services to the citizens of this state. Rights, legal or otherwise, are rarely self-enforcing. And Phillip Galyen has spent much of his life protecting the rights of Texans everywhere.

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To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

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DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURY UNDER TEXAS LAW

Personal InjuryIf you are injured because of the negligent acts or omissions of somebody else, perhaps a careless driver, a careless doctor or a careless dog owner you may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for your injuries. There are many ways in which Texas Law allows a jury to compensate personal injury victims. Some of those ways are obvious and some are not. In the article below, I will describe in summary fashion the ways that personal injury victims are generally compensated under our Texas civil jury system.

  1. Medical Bills

The most obvious and probably most well known type of monetary damage that may be awarded by a jury are medical expenses. In order to recover a medical expense, it must be shown that the expense was reasonable. That means that it falls within the range of expenses typically charged by other medical providers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Additionally, it must also be shown that the expense was medically necessary. That part of the equation is fairly self explanatory (i.e. you don’t get a foot x-ray for a head injury!). Finally, it must be shown that the incident, usually an accident or some other occurrence (car wreck, dog bite, botched surgery, fall etc.) caused the injury that required the medical treatment.

While causation can be shown through the patient’s own testimony and records, the medical necessity and reasonableness of the charges must be shown through the testimony of the medical provider themselves. This can usually be done through affidavit, but occasionally requires the actual testimony of the treating physician.

One aspect of these damages that most people are not aware of involves the application of health insurance and/or some other 3rd party payer, such as Medicare or Medicaid. When a 3rd party payer pays a medical expense related to an accident or occurrence, there will normally be an adjustment made to the bill in addition to the payment. In the case of Medicare and Medicaid these adjustments can be substantial, sometimes as much as 90% of the entire bill. In the case of private health insurance, the adjustments are generally in the 30-40% range. Either way, a jury is not permitted to award money damages for that portion of the medical bill that has been adjusted, and may only award money damages for that portion of the medical bill that has actually been paid plus whatever balance may be owed by the patient.

This is fairly unique to Texas, and was the result of legislative mistake. While an entire article could be devoted just to this topic, suffice it to say that the automobile insurance companies and other injury insurance companies have benefited greatly from this legislative mistake.

  1. Physical pain and mental anguish

Most people are familiar with money damages for pain and suffering. In Texas, this referred to as physical pain and mental anguish. While they are two separate elements of damage, they are generally grouped together under one sum for the jury’s consideration.

The amount the jury may award for physical pain, if anything at all, is entirely up to the jury. Juries in Texas tend to be very conservative when it comes to awarding money damages for physical pain, especially in cases where the injury is not readily visible, such as in strain and sprain injuries to the neck and back. While the pain experienced by the patient is very real, it is often difficult for the jury to fully comprehend the pain.

Mental anguish is a level of emotional discomfort that does not rise to the level of emotional distress, but is more than just mere worry or concern. It is difficult to describe exactly what mental anguish is and what mental anguish is not, but mental anguish is normally present in cases involving personal injury because people that are injured have a mental component to the physical pain they endure. This is especially seen in folks that become depressed and easily agitated or moody because of their pain, which in turn which affects their familial relationships. Again the amount the jury may award for mental anguish, if any, is entirely up to a jury.

  1. Impairment

Personal injuries will often render a person much less active and unable to do the things that they used to do on a daily basis. Such activities may include the regular activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, eating, combing ones hair, and driving. These activities may also include recreational activities such as sport, shopping, traveling, and socializing

If a personal injury is severe enough to limit one’s activities as noted above, the jury is entitled to award money damages for the impairment, even if temporary. In a nutshell, impairment damages are awarded by a jury for a loss of enjoyment of life or the loss of quality of life. Because they generally cannot be quantified, that is determined by a specific number or dollar value, the jury has discretion to award as much or as little as they deem fit, based upon the evidence.

  1. Lost Wages and loss of earning capacity

A jury may award additional money damages for lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity. While they seem to be one and the same, these two elements are slightly different. Technically, lost wages are generally not part of the damages a jury may award in Texas, so they are referred to damages for loss of earning capacity.

If an injury has caused a person to miss time from work they are entitled to be compensated for the time they missed, regardless of whether their employer was generous enough to pay them for that time off.

Likewise, if an injury has reduced a person’s ability to work in the capacity for which they were trained, and they are therefore making less money as a result, they are entitled to loss of earning capacity money damages. While the jury does have some discretion in whether to award these damages, the amount is usually fairly predictable. Of course, if an injury results in a complete and total disability, then the personal injury victim is entitled to the present value of all of the money they would have earned in their lifetime had they not been injured. These numbers can be staggering.

  1. Past/Future damages

All of damages described above are awardable by the jury for both past, which is the time between the day of the occurrence and the day of the jury’s award, and the future, which is the day of the jury’s award into the future, usually measured by standard life expectancy. If an injury to a young person is permanent and serious, the award of damages in the future can be very significant. In fact, every large jury verdict I have obtained has been predominantly made up of an award of damages in the future such as impairment, physical pain, and/or loss of earning capacity.

The award of damages past and future will be separate awards, and they will be considered separately by the jury. As a cautionary note, juries do not generally award future damages lightly. They require significant evidence that the injury is not only permanent, but will produce the permanent consequences that would entitle the injured party to a large sum of money going into the future.

Of course, if medical expenses are expected in the future as well, those would also be awarded by the jury but based upon the testimony of the treating doctors.

In summary, the typical injury victim is entitled to money damages for reasonable and necessary medical expenses in the past and future, physical pain and mental anguish, impairment in the past and future, loss of earning capacity in the past and future, pre-judgment interest and taxable court costs. The litigation team at Bailey & Galyen are experts at collecting the appropriate evidence and presenting it to a jury to maximize all of the damages that our personal injury clients are entitled to. For more information please go to our website www.pinjury.com

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To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request.

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Rear-End Collisions in Texas: Those Golden Years Have Gone!

The fact that an accident has occurred does not necessarily mean that someone was at fault. As the courts of this state have long recognized: “It is not that in any case negligence can be assumed from the mere fact of the accident and injury…”. Hous., E. & W. T. R. Co. v. Roach, 114 S.W. 418, 422 (1908). Despite this truism, in years past it was frequently presumed that liability was a “slam dunk” in cases involving rear-end collisions. This is, simply put, no longer true.

Juries in most counties are becoming more and more forgiving of such accidents, resulting in findings of non-liability. And the law is on the juries’ side. As the Austin Court of Appeals noted in Stone v. Sulak, 994 S.W.2d 348, 351 (Tex.App.—Austin 1999, no pet): “Though a rear-end collision may be some evidence of negligence of the rear-ending driver, we find no cases holding that a rear-end collision shows the negligence of the rear-ending driver as a matter of law.” The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has more recently described in greater detail the burden of the motorist who is the victim of a rear-end collision:

The mere occurrence of a rear-end collision is some evidence of negligence of the rear-ending driver but is not negligence as a matter of law. The plaintiff must prove specific acts of negligence on the part of the following driver as well as proximate cause. The issue of whether a rear-end collision raises an issue of negligence or establishes it as a matter of law depends on all the facts and circumstances of the particular case. Whether the plaintiff succeeds in proving negligence by a preponderance of the evidence is within the jury’s province to determine.

Campbell v. Perez, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 2070, at *10 (App.—Fort Worth 2015, no pet.).

Insurance companies are well aware of the law in this regard, and the willingness of more and more juries to pour out Plaintiffs at trial in rear-end collision cases that might otherwise appear to involve clear-cut liability. When you are involved in such a collision, therefore, it is more important now than ever that you contact experienced lawyers like those at Bailey & Galyen to handle your claims. The insurance companies have lawyers in their corner, and so should you.

Contact Us

To set up a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you

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