The Five Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a person is involved in an accident in which they were injured, and the accident was the result of the negligence of another party, they may be entitled to file a personal injury claim.

This is a situation that, fortunately, not many people experience frequently. Therefore, they are not familiar with how this type of process works. Hiring an experienced attorney who can advise you, and who will be by your side every step of the way, is critically important so that you can obtain the compensation for damages that you deserve.

The Five Stages of a Personal Injury Process

The more informed you are, the more you’ll know what to expect and what steps you need to take to have a better chance of getting a positive result. Here are the five stages of a personal injury legal process.

1. Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Lawyers specialized in this area will help you review all the circumstances surrounding the accident. In addition to all the consequences and expenses that were derived from this situation. A personal injury attorney can help you determine the strength of your case, and whether it’s worth pursuing a lawsuit.

2. Research stage. Your lawyer will conduct an investigation that will allow him to know every detail of your accident. He will need to gather information such as witness statements, videos from nearby security cameras, talk to accident reconstruction experts and medical experts, etc. He will also need all the evidence regarding your injuries, treatments, economic losses, among others.

3. File a lawsuit. Once have all the necessary information and evidence, it is time to file a lawsuit against the responsible party and their insurance company. Your attorney’s expertise will be crucial at this stage in determining the amount of compensation you deserve, and in starting negotiations.

4. Negotiation. Often the insurance companies, or the responsible person, will make you an offer so that you can settle before going to court. Your lawyer, taking care of your interests, will review this amount and decide if it is a good offer or if he must continue negotiating, or take the case to trial.

5. Litigation stage. In the case that the parties involved cannot reach an agreement between them, then the litigation stage will begin. That is, the case will be brought before a judge so that they can decide the result.

If you have any doubts, or find yourself in such a situation, please contact us. We will help you evaluate your case and will do everything in our power to get you the justice you deserve.


Burn injuries and car accidents

Fortunately, fires during car accidents are not very common. However, when fires do occur, the injuries to the victims can be dire and even fatal. According to an article published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2020, approximately 212,500 vehicle fires were the cause of 560 deaths, 1,500 injuries, and $1.9 billion in direct damages to property in the United States during the year 2018.

The main causes of these fires in vehicle accidents were mechanical failures, breakdowns, and electrical faults, a situation that gives even greater importance to the timely maintenance of vehicles. As for deaths resulting from these fires, collisions were the leading cause. Commercial trucks have a higher chance of catching fire during a traffic accident and a higher fatality rate. 

A car accident can be quite an overwhelming experience, and the body goes into a state of shock that can prevent a person from realizing the severity of their injuries. Different factors can cause burn injuries in car accidents; some of them include:

  • Burns from deploying airbags
  • Burns from explosions inside the car or nearby vehicles
  • Burns from contact with sources of electrical current
  • Burns from contact with dangerous chemical substances

Body tissues are damaged by burns resulting from heat, overexposure to the sun or other radiation, contact with chemicals, fuel, etc. The severity of burns can range from minor injuries to life-threatening emergencies, and their treatment depends on the location on the body and the severity of the damage. Some complications that can occur in this type of injury are:

  • Fluid loss, including blood loss
  • Low body temperature or hypothermia
  • Bacterial infections
  • Sepsis
  • Respiratory problems

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident in which you were injured by burns, contact us. You could file a personal injury claim, and we will help you get the justice you deserve. Call us today!


How does motorcycle insurance work?

In the United States, it is mandatory for people who own a motor vehicle to purchase minimum insurance coverage. This can vary from state to state and depending on the type of vehicle; however, it is crucial that you review the different types of coverage and the costs and choose one that suits your needs and provides maximum support in case of an emergency.

When choosing insurance for a motorcycle, it is crucial to consider some situations that may be different from a car—for example, passenger coverage. Perhaps when traveling by motorcycle, carrying passengers is not very common for you, and you probably want to get the insurance that covers a little beyond the minimum for different things. Like car insurance, there are different types of coverage for motorcycles.

Some of the things you might want to include that might be important to consider are:

Liability Insurance – Liability insurance covers costs for property damage and/or injury to another person in the event of an accident. Damage to the other car or vehicle, injuries to the driver and/or passengers, damage to public property, etc.

Personal Injury Protection – It is highly recommended to get more comprehensive coverage in this part that may cover not only your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, surgeries, and related damages in the event of an accident but also those of third parties. An accident can be devastating for motorcyclists because they do not have the same protection as if they suffered an accident while driving a car.

Accessory or Additional Equipment Coverage – Accessory or additional equipment coverage can help you if any of these parts are damaged during the accident. Some insurances can even cover the helmet and your safety equipment; ask the insurer for all the extra they can offer you.

Collision Coverage – The coverage we have most in mind, of course, is coverage that protects us if we collide with property or another vehicle, regardless of whether I or someone else was responsible for the accident.

Uninsured or Underinsured Other Motorist Coverage – This coverage is very important to consider for all types of vehicles. Some drivers may not have insurance or have insufficient insurance that does not cover all your expenses. With this coverage, you can be calm even in these situations.

Coverage for original parts – This coverage will guarantee that your motorcycle is repaired only with original parts from the manufacturer in the event of an accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, call us today. We will schedule a free consultation and talk with you about all the details of your case.


Who is at fault for hitting a car parked illegally?

Most car accidents involve two vehicles that are in motion. However, there are also situations where a driver can collide with a parked or unattended car. When the car is legally parked in a designated parking area, the driver who hit the parked vehicle will be held liable. And even if the damage is relatively minor, the person responsible is expected to do everything possible to locate the owner and call the police to report the incident.

But what happens when someone collides with a vehicle that was parked illegally? Many people may think that, in these situations, the culprit will be the owner of the car parked incorrectly. Unfortunately, although it may seem unfair, this is not the case.

The fact that a car is badly or illegally parked is not an excuse or justification for another driver to collide with it. In this type of situation, the responsibility will be divided between both parties. The percentage of blame assigned to each party will depend on the investigation that will be carried out or, if the situation escalates to a lawsuit, on the decision of a judge. In shared liability, you may still have a chance to recover compensation for damages, although not 100 percent.

In Texas, what is known as comparative negligence is used, where if both parties were 50% at fault for the accident, it would still be possible for them to file a claim for partial recovery of damages. However, if you were more than fifty percent at fault for the accident, the possibility of obtaining compensation would disappear.

Within the Texas Transportation Code, it is established that if you collide with an unattended car, you must stop immediately, locate the owner, and exchange contact information. This applies even if the vehicle is illegally parked since the driver is expected to act in good faith. What you should never do is run away after hitting a parked vehicle, as this will be used against you and will aggravate your case.

Zant Law Firm has over two decades of experience in a variety of personal injury accidents, and among the most common are car accidents. We will do everything we can to ensure you receive the outcome you deserve.


Common misconceptions about car accident injuries

Being involved in a car accident is a very frustrating experience. Whether the accident was severe with injured people or minor, where there are no visible injuries.

In any case, all accident victims are entitled to compensation to help them cover the expenses derived from said accident. The compensation must apply regardless of the accident’s severity or how serious or minor the damages were.

However, there are several myths and misconceptions about what to do after an accident. Below we will mention some of these myths and explain why they are misconceptions.

  • I don’t need to call the police. Seeing that the crash was nothing more than a hit to the rear bumper, many people decide it’s not important to call the police. However, failure to do so prevents the police from filing a situation report that can serve as backup should they later decide to take legal action against the responsible party.
  • My insurance company will take care of everything. This couldn’t be further from reality. We must remember that insurance companies are businesses that seek to take care of their interests first. Often, the initial amounts offered to victims tend to be much less than what they deserve to cover all their expenses. Before accepting any offer, it is essential to speak with an attorney who can help you determine the concepts to be considered to arrive at a fair amount of said compensation.
  • I am not entitled to compensation since I had no injuries. Even if the victim does not have visible injuries, this does not mean that they cannot develop over time. It also does not mean that they cannot obtain compensation to cover the costs of repairing their vehicle as well as the stress and suffering that the person may have experienced.

Should backseat passengers buckle up?

According to national studies, the use of seat belts in the rear seats is much lower than the use of seat belts in the car’s front seats. For example, it has been observed that adults use the rear seat belts 75% of the time during a car trip, while when traveling in the front seat, they use it 90% of the time.

Every year, thousands of people die in car accidents. According to the driver safety organization, in 2018, approximately 803 passengers who were in the back seat without seat belts during an accident died. The same organization estimates that half of them would have survived if they had used their seatbelts. People who use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft rarely wear seat belts.

During a car accident, the laws of physics apply to everyone in a car, both in the front and rear, putting them at risk of severe injury or even death. Some of the most common injuries that we can see in these accidents are lacerations, head trauma, broken bones, neck injuries, and ejection from the vehicle.

Much has also been discussed about the need for car manufacturers to develop better conditions and safety devices for people who travel in the back seats. For example, while drivers have airbags to protect them in the event of an impact, rear-seat passengers only have the restraint of a seat belt. There is no other device to protect the backseat passengers from the seats in front.

For older adults, just as for children, it is vitally important to wear a seat belt at all times to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.

As a driver, you can make a difference, making sure that all your passengers always use it, no matter where they travel in the car.


How to Distinguish the Symptoms of a Concussion in a Child?

Being a child means playing. Climbing, running, jumping, for a child, everything is fun, and often they don’t measure the consequences that, within their fun, they may suffer an injury. Parents often worry that their children and teens are taken care of and that they return home safe and sound after a day of activities.

It is very common for children and adolescents to get injured, not only playing but also participating in PE classes, soccer practices, hockey, basketball, skateboarding, and other high-impact activities. One of the areas of the body that is most at risk for serious injury is the head.

Suffering a concussion can have both short-term and long-term consequences, and it is crucial to be able to spot the symptoms, so you know how to act quickly should this occur.

What is a concussion?

A concussion occurs when the head is hit hard, either by an object, person or from a fall. This trauma can temporarily interfere with normal brain function. Therefore, it is essential to get medical attention as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

When suffering a concussion, the person may or may not lose consciousness. Some of the symptoms may include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, memory loss, sleepiness, among others.

If you suspect that your child has suffered a concussion, it is vital that you stop their activity immediately. Don’t allow them to continue playing, and take them to a doctor as soon as possible.

Other symptoms that the person may present in the short or long term – when they have not received the necessary and timely medical attention – may include irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, depression, tiredness, and lethargic movements.

It is crucial that after a concussion, the child or adolescent gets as much rest as possible and does not participate in any physical activity until determined by the doctor.


Distracted drivers and accidents

Distracted driving refers to any activity you can do while driving that takes your attention away from the road in front of you, even if only for a few seconds. This not only refers to talking on the phone or sending text messages; it can also be putting on makeup, eating, being distracted with passengers, using some other electronic device and/or being distracted with the controls of the car, among others.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) statistics, distracted driving is the leading cause of approximately 920,000 traffic accidents, 3,000 deaths, and about 280,000 people injured each year in the United States.

Distraction can present itself in different ways. Here are some of them:

  • Visual distractions. It refers to when your eyes stop seeing the road. It can be by checking your cell phone, talking with a child or passenger who travels in the back of the car, seeing the landscape, etc. Taking your eyes off the front prevents you from seeing the movements that other drivers may make and therefore responding quickly and appropriately.
  • Manual distractions. In this type of distraction, your hands stop holding the steering wheel, which takes time to maneuver immediately if necessary. Some manual distractions can be eating, using the radio controls, sending text messages, having a drink, among others.
  • Cognitive distractions. Cognitive distractions refer to when your mind is not fully focused on driving, when you may be thinking about other things that worry you or when you are going through strong emotions, stress, or fatigue. When our mind wanders, we run the risk of doing things as on automatic pilot, without really registering what is happening around us, and, therefore, it prevents us from reacting in time.

Taking care of everything necessary before driving and avoiding using electronic devices and car controls can save not only your life but also the lives of others.


What You Need to Look for in a Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents are not something we can plan for, much less something that is easy to handle. The legal system in our country can be confusing for those who lack experience in the area, so it is crucial to hire a lawyer who has the necessary knowledge and empathy to accompany you throughout the process. You don’t have to do it alone. Let an expert represent your best interests and take care of your case so you can focus on your recovery.

But how do you choose the right attorney? What should you look for when hiring a good lawyer? Here are some of the things to consider when deciding on an attorney:

  1. Experience in personal injury accident cases. The most important thing is that he/she has sufficient experience in these types of cases. Not all attorneys can handle every case, as there are many areas of expertise within the law.
  2. Experience in managing insurance companies. Your attorney will be responsible for communicating and negotiating with the insurers. It is extremely important to know how they work and how to make them pay the compensation you deserve, not the minimum amount they tend to offer in most cases.
  3. Good communication. Another important thing you need to have with a lawyer is good communication. They can explain clearly and simply what the process will be like, the obstacles you may encounter, and give you information about fees and ways of working. It is really important for your lawyer to answer all of your questions and to let you know what is going on every step of the way.
  4. Empathy and a good relationship with clients. It is crucial that you feel comfortable with the person representing you, that they listen to you, are friendly, and care about your recovery. Your lawyer will be your voice and your presence in court, and if you do not feel confident that he/she will take care of you and your interests, it is better to look for someone that you feel more comfortable with.

Is There a Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Action?

Losing a loved one is a painful and challenging situation, regardless of the reasons and conditions in which the person passed away. When something like this happens, the surviving family members, or the persons who represent the victim’s estate, have legal recourse through which they can recover compensation. Today we will talk about these two processes known as “wrongful death” and “survival action” and explain their differences.

In a wrongful death case, the person dies due to the negligent actions of a third party—for example, medical negligence, car accidents, accidents in facilities, etc. The first thing to consider is that a wrongful death lawsuit aims to obtain compensation for damages for surviving family members. Therefore, the only people who can carry out the process are the victim’s spouse, parents, or children. This compensation will include all medical expenses, pain, and suffering of the family for the loss of a loved one, lost wages that the family finances depend on, and loss of company. This compensation goes directly to the surviving family members and is generally tax-exempt.

On the other hand, the survivor action is handled like a personal injury case, even if the person is deceased. The victim’s heir or the representative of the will and/or their estate can carry this process out.
In the survival action, the compensation does not go directly to the relatives but to the person’s assets. Medical expenses, pending bills, and even the pain and suffering that the person may have suffered before death can be covered through this.

That is, this compensation would go directly to the person’s assets, so this would be subject to taxes. However, once the victim’s expenses have been paid and taxes have been deducted, the remainder can go to the relatives according to the deceased person’s last wishes.