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The Hart Law Firm

Our Attorneys Have Over 25 years of Experience, and Are Here to Answer All Your Questions After an Accident

You must be overwhelmed with questions after your Dallas car wreck.  Why not get the answers from a Texas board-certified personal injury attorney?

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  • Could my employer be engaging in surveillance in my non-subscriber workplace injury case?

    workplace injury surveillenceDo you feel like someone is watching you? If you filed a claim for compensation following a workplace injury and work for a non-subscriber employer, you may not be paranoid in suspecting this. Your employer could be engaging in surveillance—more often than you even realize.

    Why Would Your Non-Subscriber Employer Spy on You?

    If you work for a non-subscriber employer, your claim for compensation could be substantial because you may be entitled to your full medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. As a result, your employer and its insurance company will investigate your claim extensively and fight hard to deny or reduce your claim. They may hire a private investigator at various times during your case to engage in surveillance. Is this legal? As long as you are in public view, it is most likely legal for a private investigator to spy on you.

    This investigator may not just watch you. He could also take pictures or video of you, interview neighbors or other third parties, or search your postings on social media sites. Some of the reasons that surveillance is conducted include:

    • Your employer is trying to catch you doing something that you claim you are too injured to do, such as lift a heavy bag, engage in a sports activity, or even do your errands if you claim you need assistance with this.
    • Your employer is trying to show that you are less seriously injured than you claim. For example, your employer could use a videotape of you walking without difficulty or lifting your child without any problem to prove this.

    When you file a claim after a workplace injury, you need to be prepared that you could be under surveillance at any time until your claim is resolved. Your best strategy to defeat this is to follow up regularly on your medical care and to follow your doctor’s restrictions on what you can do at all times.

    Are you worried that you are under surveillance? The experienced workplace injury attorneys at the Hart Law Firm are here to help you protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

     

  • Who is liable when a truck's brakes fail and cause a Texas truck crash that injures you?

    Truck brake failure and other problems with the truck’s braking system are common causes of truck wrecks that leave victims suffering from catastrophic and fatal injuries. If this was the cause of your crash, determining the liable parties is important to ensure that you receive the total compensation you are owed in your settlement. However, identifying these parties can be more complicated than you think.

    Responsible Parties in Truck Accidents Caused by Brake Failures

    Who is responsible for compensating you will depend on the cause of the accident. You need to keep in mind that more than one party can face liability. Here are common parties to sue in these cases:Truck Brake Installation

    • Truck driver. The trucker will most likely face some liability for failing to properly inspect the truck brakes before starting his trip or driving when he knew there were mechanical problems with the brakes. In addition, he could face responsibility if his cargo was not loaded properly and this caused the brakes to overheat.
    • Trucking company. The trucking company could be vicariously liable for any negligent actions of the truck driver. In addition, the trucking company could face responsibility for lack of maintenance of the brakes, depowering the brakes, or improper loading of the truck.
    • Shipper. If a shipping company loaded what was being transported, the company could be held accountable if this caused the brakes to overheat and fail.
    • Truck mechanic. Some trucking companies contract out the maintenance and repair of their trucks. If the repair facility failed to conduct required inspections of the brakes, failed to repair or replace them, or was involved in depowering the brakes, it could be a party in a lawsuit.
    • Brake manufacturer. If your crash was caused by defective truck brake parts, you could have a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the brakes.

    At the Hart Law Firm, our experienced truck wreck attorneys understand the importance of thoroughly investigating truck accident claims and identifying all liable parties so that our clients receive the compensation they are entitled to. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

     

  • Can I obtain punitive damages in a drunk driving injury claim?

    If you are injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. This can include compensating you for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you endured from the trauma of the wreck and your injuries. You may also be entitled to punitive damages if you can prove that the drunk DUI Accidentdriver engaged in gross negligence.

    What Is Gross Negligence in Drunk Driving Accident Cases in Texas?

    Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages and are awarded to punish the drunk driver, not to compensate you. They are not awarded in every case, and you must prove the driver’s gross negligence to be entitled to this type of damages. Gross negligence is defined in Texas as:

    • A conscious and extreme lack of care that puts other motorists at significant risk. It is considered much more serious than a mere lapse in judgement.
    • You have the burden of proving that the drunk driver engaged in gross negligence by clear and convincing evidence.

    While more challenging to prove than negligence, gross negligence can be established. If you do so, a jury could award you significant punitive damages.

    Is There a Cap on the Amount of Punitive Damages You Can Receive?

    In Texas, there is a cap on punitive damages for drunk driving injury cases. You are entitled to the greater of these amounts:

    • Two times the amount of economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, not to exceed $750,000
    • An amount equal to your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, that is no greater than $200,000

    Were you or a loved one injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver? The experienced drunk driving attorneys at The Hart Law Firm are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve—including punitive damages. Contact us online or call our office at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We help injured victims of drunk drivers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between. 

  • Do I sue my manager, my non-subscriber employer, or both for my injuries caused at work?

    suing a manager or an employer for work injuriesIf you suffered injuries at your job and work for a non-subscriber employer, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries as long as you can prove your employer’s negligence caused you to be hurt. You may know that you can establish this because you told your boss about the defective equipment or other safety hazard at work that caused your injuries but he did not take care of the problem. Who do you sue in this situation: your supervisor, your employer, or both?

    Why Your Attorney May Sue Just Your Employer

    You may be angry at your boss for not addressing the dangerous condition that you informed him about repeatedly and want to hold him accountable. However, your attorney most likely will not pursue a claim against your supervisor and instead will focus his efforts on settling your claim with your employer. There are very practical reasons for this decision that include:

    • Your supervisor most likely does not have sufficient assets to pay you the compensation you are entitled to. It does not make sense to spend the time and expense of proving his liability when you will not obtain much or any money from him.
    • Your employer is responsible for your boss’ actions even if his negligence and not your employer’s was the cause of your injuries. Under Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws, your employer would have to fully compensate you if your supervisor was even one percent negligent in causing your injuries.
    • Your employer will most likely have an insurance policy to protect themselves from liability in situations such as yours. This does not mean that your employer or their insurance company will initially just pay you what is owed. However, once you file a claim and prove your right to compensation, the insurance company will be obligated and have the resources to compensate you.

    If you suffered a workplace injury you need an experienced attorney who can investigate your claim, build your case of negligence against your employer, and negotiate your settlement with their insurance company. Contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888 to learn how our legal team can help. We help injured workers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • How soon after a truck crash should I see a doctor?

    see a doctor after a truck crashEven if you feel fine after a truck collision, you should see a doctor right away. Of course, if you don’t feel fine, you want to seek medical care immediately. In other cases where the injuries seem “minor” or you think that you can tough it out, you are making a big mistake that could jeopardize your health and your claim for compensation if you do not seek prompt medical care.

    Why You Should Seek Medical Treatment Even If You Do Not Think You Were Injured

    In any crash with a truck, you should be checked out by your doctor or another physician within about 48 hours of your crash. Here is why you should do so:

    Find hidden injuries.

    Adrenaline from the wreck could mask symptoms of an injury or you could have an injury where the symptoms take days or weeks to develop. Conditions like back, neck, and spinal injuries, traumatic brain injury, or internal organ damage and bleeding can fall into this category. By the time you experience the symptoms, the injuries could have become more serious or even life-threatening.

    Document your injury.

    By seeking medical care right away, you document your concerns about your health and make it easier to prove the causal relationship between the injuries and your truck wreck. This is especially important when your symptoms take longer to develop.

    Avoid disputes.

    Even when the liability of the negligent trucker is not in dispute, the insurance company will try to argue about the seriousness of the victim’s injuries when possible. By not going to the doctor right away, you give them arguments that your injuries were caused by another incident or that they are not as serious as you now claim or you would have sought treatment sooner.

    Following up on your doctor’s advice and continuing with your treatment is also important. Lengthy periods of time when you were not obtaining the medical care your doctor recommended can also lead to disputes regarding how serious your injuries really are.

    Did a negligent truck driver cause your wreck? The experienced truck wreck attorneys at the Hart Law Firm are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Get your questions answered and learn the next steps you should take, then contact us online or call our office directly at 817.380.4888. We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • How much does it cost to hire a truck accident attorney?

    A primary worry if you are considering pursuing a claim against the negligent trucker who caused your injuries may be the cost to hire an attorney. This is a legitimate concern when you are already struggling with expensive medical bills and the loss of your wages while you are off work recovering from your injuries. However, the good Terrible Truck Crashnews is that you should be able to afford an experienced truck wreck attorney to negotiate your settlement for you.

    How Do Attorneys Charge Their Fees in Truck Injury Claims?

    Most truck accident attorneys charge their fees on a contingency basis. This means that they only are owed attorney fees if you receive money through a settlement or at trial. Here’s how contingency fee arrangements work:

    • You would pay the attorney an agreed-upon percentage of your award at the time you are paid by the negligent party. This would be directly deducted from your settlement proceeds.
    • If you lose your case, you would owe no attorney fees.

    Fees and Expenses You Could Owe

    In addition to attorney fees, you could owe fees and costs associated with filing your claim and lawsuit, if this becomes necessary. Some attorneys will require you to pay these fees and costs up front. Others will pay them for you and deduct what you owe from your settlement. Fees and costs that you may owe include:

    • Fee to file your complaint with the court
    • Service fees that are paid to a process server to serve the defendants with your summons and complaint
    • Expert witness fees
    • Fees to obtain copies of your medical records and other records
    • Deposition fees and costs of deposition transcripts

    Focus on Experience as Well as Cost in Selecting Your Attorney

    While the cost to hire an attorney is a consideration in deciding who to retain, the attorney’s experience in handling truck wreck claims is more important. These claims are complicated because of the seriousness of the injuries, federal regulations that may have been violated, and the increased value of many victims’ claims. You need an attorney who is experienced in representing clients in these cases and has successfully settled them. You also want an attorney who you trust and communicates frequently and well with you.

    If you or a family member suffered injuries due to a trucker’s negligence, review our case results to see how we have helped other clients like you. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

  • When can a social host face liability for serving alcohol to someone involved in a drunk driving accident?

    social host laws in TexasTexas takes preventing drunk driving very seriously and, like other states, has passed laws to hold those who provide alcohol accountable when a drunk driver causes an accident. Texas Dram Shop law makes bars, restaurants, and other commercial providers of alcohol responsible for compensating victims of drunk driving collisions in certain situations. While this law primarily focuses on those who sell alcohol, it also contains a provision that holds private individuals who provide alcohol to others responsible, but the obligations are more limited.

    What Is Texas’ Social Host Law?

    A social host law is a law that makes people who allow others to drink alcohol in their homes or other social gatherings responsible when they get behind the wheel and cause a drunk driving accident. Texas’ law is fairly restrictive as it only applies when a minor was served alcohol. Under the law, an adult who is 21 or older is legally liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated minor under 18 years old in these situations:

    • The adult was not the minor’s parent, guardian, spouse, or a person granted custody of the minor by a court.
    • The adult knowingly served or provided the minor with alcohol that contributed to the minor’s intoxication or allowed the minor to be served with or provided with alcohol on property owned or leased by the adult.

    It is sufficient under the law that the social host made the alcohol available to the minor. He did not have to physically provide it to him. A social host can be liable to the minor if he was injured and to victims injured by the minor’s drunk driving.

    Were you the victim of a drunk driving accident? You want to hold all possible parties, including a social host, liable to increase the likelihood that you will receive all the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced drunk driving legal team. We help drunk driving victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.

  • Is injury insurance for non-subscriber employers the same as workers’ compensation insurance?

    Texas was the first state to allow employers to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits, and many employers have taken advantage of this and opted out. Some employers purchase an injury insurance policy to provide benefits to workers injured on the job. In some cases, the employer may deceive the worker into thinking that the insurance policy provides workers’ compensation benefits. However, these two types of insurance are very different.

    How Are Injury Insurance Policies Different From Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

    There are critical differences between workers’ compensation and injury insurance that affects workers’ rights to compensation and their claims. Some of these differences include:

    • What they are. Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that employers purchase. It pays injured workers’ medical bills and some of their wage losses. An injury insurance policy is an insurance policy that non-subscriber employers purchase, and it provides some degree of protection for injured workers up to the policy’s limit of liability.
    • Cost.  Injury insurance can cost significantly less than workers’ compensation insurance—approximately 30 percent less.
    • What they cover. Workers’ compensation is a benefit like unemployment compensation or disability payments. It pays all related medical bills, a portion of the employee’s lost wages, and legal fees. An employee is not entitled to pain and suffering damages generally and cannot file a lawsuit against his employer for additional compensation. When purchasing an injury insurance policy, an employer can control the type and amount of coverage to provide to injured workers. It covers the worker’s medical bills and lost wages up to the insurance policy limits. However, the employer remains liable for the full amount of compensation that is owed to the employee for medical bills, lost and future wages, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages as a non-subscriber employer. An employee can file a lawsuit against his employer.

    Did you suffer a workplace injury and work for a non-subscriber employer? Start an online chat or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and obtain advice on the next steps you should take.

  • Why would my employer deceive me about whether he is a non-subscriber employer?

    In Texas, employers have the right to opt out of providing workers’ compensation benefits and to become a non-subscriber employer. This gives them the benefit of not paying for workers’ compensation insurance, which can be expensive, and paying any workplace injury claims regardless of who was at fault in causing them. However, being a non-subscriber employer has drawbacks, and your employer could lie about his status to avoid his responsibilities for your injuries caused on the job.

    Why Your Employer Might Lie About Being a Non-Subscriber

    Some employers deceive injured workers and tell them that they have workers’ compensation insurance when they do not really have it. In some cases, they have an insurance policy that they purchased that provides fewer benefits than true workers’ compensation insurance. Here’s why employers—including yours—could be lying about being a non-subscriber:

    • Employers want the protection of not being sued that workers’ compensation gives them and the fixed amount of medical expenses and wages they would pay to a worker. They may claim to have this insurance to dissuade an injured worker from filing a claim for additional compensation.
    • Employers do not want the negative consequence of being a non-subscriber employer in terms of liability for fully compensating workers for injuries suffered at work. Injured employees could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, all of their back and future wages, and pain and suffering in a non-subscriber employer case. Your employer would be responsible for fully compensating you if your employer was as little as one percent to blame for your injuries.

    What Should You Do If You Suspect That Your Employer Is Lying About Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

    If you are concerned that your employer is being less than truthful about having workers’ compensation insurance, you want to contact an experienced workplace injury attorney right away. He can help you determine whether your employer is a non-subscriber and assist you in pursuing your rights under Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws.

    At the Hart Law Firm, we understand the complexities of Texas’ non-subscriber employer laws and the challenges in resolving these claims. If you were hurt on the job and want to learn about your legal options, call our office today to schedule your free consultation.

  • Who Is Responsible for Compensating You for Injuries Caused in a Truck Blowout Accident?

    truck tire blowout crash liabilityWhen a truck tire suddenly ruptures or bursts in a tire blowout wreck, the truck driver could lose control and jackknife across lanes of traffic or leave tire shreds strewn across a highway or roadway in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. These tragic accidents happen for a number of reasons. If you are injured by a tire blowout, you want to be compensated for your injuries. However, determining who the responsible parties are may not be as black and white as you imagine.

    Who Is Liable in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident?

    Some of the reasons these accidents happen include lack of truck maintenance, improper loading, defective tires, or negligent inspection of the tires. The precise reason for your collision will determine the parties you pursue a claim against. In addition, there could be more than one party to blame. Here are some of the potentially responsible parties in these cases:

    • Truck driver. Truckers are required to conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection of the truck, including the tires, under federal regulations. They are not allowed to drive trucks with repair issues that may result in the truck breaking down or causing a crash. The truck driver may have violated these rules or could have noticed the low or defective tire while on the trip and chosen to drive anyway.
    • Trucking company. The trucking company has its own federal regulations that it must follow in regards to inspection and maintenance of a truck and its tires. These rules could have been broken in your case. In addition, the trucking company may be vicariously liable for the truck driver’s negligent actions.
    • Maintenance company. Some trucking companies contract with a maintenance facility to perform maintenance of their trucks. If the trucking company in your case did this and lack of truck maintenance was the cause of your injuries, the maintenance company could face liability.
    • Shipper. If the cargo was improperly loaded or secured by the shipper or another company other than the trucking company, this party could be responsible for compensating you.
    • Tire manufacturer. If the tire was defective, you may also have a claim against the tire manufacturer. Tire tread and belt adhesion separation problems are common defects that have resulted in tire recalls.

    Determining who the liable parties are following a truck accident is never easy. The experienced legal team at the Hart Law Firm is here to investigate your wreck and identify all parties you can pursue claims against. Call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn why we’re the right attorneys for your case. 

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