When you live a busy life in Texas, there’s always an accident waiting to happen. As a driver, you likely anticipate an occasional vehicle crash, but the highway isn’t the only place where accidents occur. Each day, people fall on poorly maintained staircases and sidewalks, or they sustain injuries while shopping at the grocery store or working on the job.
What’s most frustrating about unexpected accidents is that they’re usually preventable and someone’s carelessness is often to blame. When you’re seriously injured, the path to recovery is rarely smooth. It’s often an obstacle course of medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing treatment. When someone’s negligent actions change your life so profoundly, it’s not enough for them to shrug their shoulders and walk away. When someone harms you, you have a legal right to recover money for the damages they caused.
Negligent People Must Pay
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we believe that injured people deserve honesty and respect. They also deserve to recover all of the damages to which they are entitled. Our law firm fights hard to recover damages for our injured clients.
Our attorneys dedicate time and energy to our injured clients. We rely on our firm’s resources to identify all liable parties, review the legal issues, and evaluate the damages. We place all responsible parties on notice of our intentions and we assert our clients’ legal rights to make them pay. Our law firm has always recognized that a settlement can’t restore our clients’ health. However, we have seen how fair settlements have helped our clients in their efforts to rebuild a normal life. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need an experienced Texas personal injury attorney. The legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas are here to help navigate your claim toward the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Our Law Firm’s Results
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we work hard to recover damages for our injured clients. When possible we resolve their cases through settlement negotiations and Alternative Dispute Resolution. But if insurance carriers and defense attorneys refuse to negotiate fairly, we present our clients’ evidence in court.
We’re proud of our personal injury case track record but our clients explain it best. We invite you to view our Testimonials Page. Our clients talk about their case results and discuss their first-hand experiences with our firm.
Types of Cases Our Law Firm Handles
Accidents lead to injuries anywhere people come together. In 2018, vehicle crashes injured 249,241 people on Texas roadways. Injured workers lost time from work due to 90,900 workplace injuries during 2018. Every day, children sustain injuries on playgrounds, in swimming pools, and during organized sporting events. Premises accidents cause numerous injuries but they’re especially problematic for older people. One five-year study at a Texas Hospital recorded 19,935 fall incidents involving people 65 and older.
Below is a comprehensive list of the types of cases our lawyers have handled:
- Car Accidents;
- Truck Accidents;
- 18-Wheeler Crashes;
- Motorcycle Accidents;
- Bicyclist Accidents;
- Bus Accidents;
- Pedestrian Injuries;
- Premises Liability;
- Brain Injuries;
- Dog bites;
- Oil Rig Accidents;
- Workplace Injuries; and
- Wrongful Death.
Types of Personal Injuries We Handle
Our law firm has worked with people from every walk of life as they dealt with every type of injury imaginable. We have handled the legal side of their cases while they concentrated on healing. Our attorneys have shared important moments with our injured clients and their families.
We’ve seen how they struggled to remain productive in light of lifetime impairments caused by accidental injuries, which have included:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Anoxic brain damage;
- Multiple fractures;
- Spinal cord trauma and paralysis;
- Severe sprains and strains;
- Dog bite wounds;
- Traumatic limb, hand, and digit amputations;
- Back and neck injuries;
- Dislocated and herniated discs;
- Skull and facial fractures;
- Severe fire and chemical burns;
- Traumatic amputations;
- Internal organ damage; and
- Wrongful death.
Recoverable Damages for an Injury
In Texas, a settlement or jury award usually includes economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, a plaintiff also receives exemplary damages.
Economic damages are reimbursement for the out-of-pocket costs a victim incurs during treatment and recovery.
A settlement usually includes current and projected future costs, such as:
- Wage and income losses;
- Medical treatment;
- Mobility devices and home modifications;
- Physical and psychological therapy;
- Scar revision surgery;
- Rehabilitation services;
- Transportation costs;
- Household services; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages acknowledge the value of an injured person’s psychological and emotional injuries. It’s often difficult to negotiate non-economic damages. They’re based on the injured person’s experiences and are highly subjective.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Physical and emotional pain;
- Mental anguish;
- Physical impairment;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Loss of consortium (spousal relationships); and
- Loss of services.
A Texas jury can award exemplary damages when a plaintiff, “proves by clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant caused harm due to fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Texas Personal Injury FAQ
A personal injury occurs when an unexpected event causes physical harm. These accidental moments pass quickly but they can leave behind injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic. While a fender bender usually causes only minor bumps and bruises, a more serious car accident can leave the victim dealing with a long-term disability. A fall to a hard surface sometimes causes serious fractures, internal damage, or brain injuries. When a dog attacks, its teeth can pierce the victim’s skin and muscles, leaving the victim in need of surgery and at risk for infection.
Accidents are often legally complicated and emotionally frustrating. The injuries victims sustain are sometimes costly and can come with long-term consequences. We believe it’s important for everyone to understand the basics of Texas personal injury claims, so this post will provide answers to some of our clients’ frequently asked questions.
Do I need an attorney to get a settlement?
You will get better results if you have a legal representative in your corner. If you accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without getting legal advice, you’ll never know if it was fair.
Personal injury attorneys understand the legal issues and know how to evaluate injury claims. While attorneys can’t guarantee you’ll receive a specific settlement amount, they can negotiate with insurers and defense attorneys until they reach the best agreement possible.
Never try to handle your claim on your own. During a consultation, the attorney listens to your version of events and describes your legal options. You can then decide how you wish to proceed.
What are some common causes of personal injuries?
Personal injuries occur every day, and can affect anyone. Older adults and young children are often the most vulnerable. Some common causes include:
- Premises liability accidents: Premises accidents often occur because an owner fails to maintain their property or warn visitors about a hazard. Falls can cause serious injuries, especially among older adults over age 60. Children can become drowning victims in community, commercial, or residential pools. In one year, drowning accidents claimed 87 children’s lives in Texas and 453 Texas children sustained injuries in near-drowning accidents.
- Vehicle accidents: The Texas Department of Transportation (TDT) Crash Statistics report documented 249,241 vehicle accident injuries and 3,639 people sustained fatal injuries in one year. TDT records indicate that “there were no deathless days on Texas roadways” that year.
- Commercial vehicle accidents: 37,515 of the accidents that occurred in one year involved tractor-trailer rigs, buses, and other commercial vehicles. These accidents caused 1,367 serious injuries and 611 fatalities.
- Motorcycle accidents: 418 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes in just one year.
- Pedestrian and cyclist accidents: In one recent year, 1,414 pedestrians and cyclists sustained serious injuries and 693 died in accidents.
- Workplace injuries: In one year alone, 90,900 workers sustained injuries while performing job-related duties that caused them to miss time at work. The injured employees were oil rig workers, educators, agricultural workers, and people in many other occupations.
- Dog attack injuries: Dog attacks are a major problem in Texas. San Antonio, Dallas, and Ft. Worth are in the top 10 on the United States Postal Service’s Dog Attack National Ranking List. Houston is number one for the second year in a row. In Texas, to hold a dog’s owner liable, you must prove the dog is aggressive or that the owner knew the dog had previously harmed someone.
Who Is at Fault When an Injury Occurs?
Often, more than one person or entity contributes to the causes of a single accident. Under the Texas Proportionate Responsibility Statute, a person or entity is responsible for an injured person’s damages according to their percentage of responsibility.
That’s why it’s important to investigate each case thoroughly and determine the responsible parties as soon as possible.
- Vehicle accidents: A vehicle operator often shares liability with the vehicle’s owner. Owners sometimes are negligent if they allowed someone to drive their vehicle knowing they had a poor driving history.
- Tractor-trailer and bus accidents: When a commercial vehicle driver is operating within the scope of their employment, their employer is also legally responsible for their actions. Employers can be held liable if they knew or should have known that the driver had a poor driving record. Under federal guidelines, commercial trucking companies are responsible for monitoring employee drinking and drug use.
- Workplace accidents: Often, an employee injured on the job may only collect Texas workers’ compensation benefits. If a non-employee, non-employer owned premises, or defective product causes the injury, the employee also has a right to make a claim against the responsible third parties.
- Oil rig accidents: Injured land-based oil rig workers recover benefits under their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. Offshore workers receive benefits under the Jones Act and other laws. Injured employees also have a right to seek damages from third parties if their negligence or a defective product caused their injuries.
- Premises incidents: Property owners and their security, maintenance, management, and pool maintenance contractors share liability for known premises defects, dangerous conditions, or unsafe operations. Tenants share liability if they contribute to an injury or the injury occurs on a part of the premises that’s under their control.
- Dog bites: An owner is responsible for a dog’s acts if the dog is aggressive or has bitten others in the past.
How will I know if I have a valid personal injury claim?
If you suspect you may have a claim, consult a personal injury attorney. When you’re seriously injured, a personal injury attorney is the best person to give you an honest opinion about your injury claim. Insurance companies look out for their own bottom line, and even your own insurance company is not exactly on your side.
When you’re injured, a personal injury attorney can work on your behalf. They can investigate the circumstances, evaluate your injuries, and assess the legal issues. If you have a valid claim, an attorney can pursue it on your behalf. A personal injury attorney works for you and can describe the best course of action in your particular situation.
If I fall on someone’s property, aren’t they liable for my injuries?
Not always. When you’re injured on someone’s property, they’re not automatically responsible. If you want to recover damages, you must prove that the owner was negligent. You must show that they had a duty to keep you safe and that they breached that duty. Often that means proving that the owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition but failed to correct it. That’s something we can help you with by investigating the circumstances of your accident.
How do I prove a property owner is liable for my slip and fall injuries?
You must have evidence to prove your case. If you’re injured, call for an ambulance. Then, if possible, document any dangerous conditions that contributed to your fall. Your phone is a great tool for this purpose. Use the camera to take pictures of the surrounding area while you have the opportunity. When a defect causes an accident, property owners sometimes correct it before the insurance company investigates.
If you’re in an auto accident, and your injuries or other circumstances don’t prevent you from doing so, take photos or video of the scene before you leave.
What is a near-drowning accident?
A near-drowning occurs when a person ingests water in a pool or other water source and loses consciousness. Unless someone notices them right away, they stop breathing. The victim often suffers anoxic brain damage. Brain damage can cause physical, cognitive, and emotional problems. Children are the most frequent near-drowning victims.
Can I sue my employer for an on-the-job injury?
Workers’ compensation fulfills your employer’s obligation to pay for your bills and lost wages if you are injured at work. If a non-employer or subcontractor caused your injury, or if your employer failed to carry workers’ comp coverage, you have a right to file a claim for damages against them. You may also have rights against a manufacturer if a defective product caused your injury. Your rights of recovery are more complicated if you work offshore.
Should I talk to my insurance company about my accident?
Your duty to report an accident to your insurer depends on the type of accident, the type of insurance, and the policy requirements.
- Health insurance. When you enter a hospital for treatment, the admissions department usually requests your health insurance information before they treat you. No matter how you were injured, healthcare providers take the position that you are responsible for your medical bills. They don’t get involved in liability disputes. If your insurance carrier or HMO has subrogation rights, they may contact you to discuss your version of an accident.
- Auto insurance. If you are involved in an auto accident, your auto insurance policy will require that you give your insurance company the information they need to properly investigate your claim. They must determine if you’re liable for the other driver’s damages. Auto policies often include medical coverage to pay some of your bills. If the other party was at fault but has no insurance, your insurance company may set up an Uninsured Motorist claim to pay your liability damages.
- Workers’ compensation insurance. If you sustain a workplace injury, make sure your employer files a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Division. They will determine if you qualify for medical and lost income benefits.
What is an uninsured motorist claim?
An uninsured motorist claim is a liability claim you make against your own insurer. Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverages aren’t mandatory in Texas but an insurer must offer you the coverage.
If you have UM and UIM coverage, your insurer pays your personal injury costs if a negligent driver injures you but:
- The at-fault driver has no liability coverage or liability bond;
- A hit-and-run driver leaves an accident scene unidentified;
- The at-fault driver’s insurer denies coverage or is insolvent; or
- The at-fault driver doesn’t carry the state’s minimum liability coverage.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation is an insurer’s right to recover the amounts they pay on behalf of their insured. If your insurance company pays your claims and someone else is responsible, they may send a notice advising them of their rights. Even if they don’t notify the responsible party of their financial interest, your policy requires you to protect their interests if you file a lawsuit or settle your claim.
Subrogation gives your insurer the right to a portion of your settlement as reimbursement for the medical bills they paid on your behalf. Auto insurance policies often have subrogation rights for medical bills, vehicle damages, and Uninsured Motorist coverage.
What is a personal injury claim worth?
No two liability claims are alike. An injury claim’s value is specific to the circumstances and is based on your injuries, your lifestyle, your marital status, your medical bills, any temporary or permanent disabilities, and many other factors.
How do negligent parties defend themselves?
Responsible parties initiate their defenses long before plaintiffs and defendants come together to negotiate, mediate, or try a case.
- Reporting: When a negligent party chooses to avoid responsibility, they often begin by submitting a biased report to their insurance carrier. Sometimes they delay the report or wait until the plaintiff files a lawsuit. Reporting delays and misinformation put plaintiffs at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance carriers.
- Negotiation: Insurance carriers sometimes make low settlement offers as part of an overall negotiation and defense strategy. This sometimes forces plaintiffs to file a lawsuit and incur costly trial expenses. Insurers realize that many law firms don’t have the resources to pay trial costs. Injured plaintiffs must weigh the benefits of settling for less than they think they deserve versus incurring additional litigation expenses.
- Evidence: Defendants sometimes withhold important information because it can make it harder for a plaintiff to prove their case. When a plaintiff doesn’t have access to all of the relevant evidence, it becomes a powerful defense tool.
- Affirmative defenses: Defendants sometimes push a case to trial hoping to get it before a favorable jury. They may use affirmative defenses such as:
- The defect was open and obvious.
- The plaintiff assumed the risk.
- There was no defect.
- There was no negligence.
- The plaintiff has proportionate responsibility
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we prepare the cases we take on to overcome insurance company and defense attorney strategies. During the early post-accident stages, we conduct comprehensive investigations and case evaluations. We spend time identifying and understanding each element of our clients’ accidents and injuries. Long before we begin negotiations, mediations, or trials, we use our firm’s resources to evaluate the evidence and develop a persuasive presentation.
The Law Offices of George Salinas
If you or a family member sustained a serious injury due to someone’s negligence, you must take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. We’d like to assist you with your claim. Contact the Law Offices of George Salinas at (210) 225-0909 or complete our online contact form. We’ll schedule an in-person or virtual consultation to determine if we can help you.
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“He helped me understand every stage of my case and fought hard for me. I was proud to have him on my side.”