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Pre-Existing Injuries: Navigating Your Texas Auto Accident Claim or Lawsuit

September 21st, 2016 by admin

HelecopterOne of the most common tactics used by insurance companies to avoid paying out claims is to assert that the injuries sustained by their policyholders are attributable to pre-existing conditions and not to the accident in question. If you are seeking Houston auto accident compensation from one of these companies, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in negotiations with insurance adjusters and to pursue your case in court if it becomes necessary.

Why Pre-Existing Injuries Matter

Under Texas state law, accident victims must first prove that the defendant is responsible for the injuries and losses sustained during the accident. This generally involves three basic principles:

  • The defendant must have had a duty toward the victim to drive in accordance with traffic laws or to exercise a certain degree of care in his or her actions.
  • The defendant must have failed in that duty by behaving in a negligent or careless fashion.
  • Their lack of care must have been the direct cause of the injuries sustained by the victim.

If the insurance adjusters can avoid paying for your Houston auto accident claim by asserting that you were already injured prior to your traffic accident, they can save large sums of money for their companies. It is in the best interests of these company representatives to pay as little compensation as possible for your injuries and losses. By claiming that you were injured prior to the crash, insurance adjusters may be able to reduce the amount their company owes you in settlement funds or compensation.

The Eggshell Principle

One factor that may weigh in your favor during your Houston auto accident lawsuit is the “thin skull” rule. This oddly named legal principle states essentially that plaintiffs cannot be penalized for being injured or in a weakened state prior to the accident. If the forces at play in the automobile accident aggravated injuries already sustained by the plaintiff or caused complications related to those injuries, the defendant is still responsible for the increase in injuries and the medical expenses incurred because of his or her actions.

Full Disclosure Is Required

If you decide to pursue legal action to recover medical expenses and damages from the other drive, you will be required to disclose your medical records to your own attorney and to the opposing legal team. Old football injuries, previous accidents, broken bones and other medical issues may be used as evidence that your current injuries are the result of pre-existing conditions and not directly caused by the accident. Retaining the services of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can even the playing field for your compensation claim and can prevent insurance adjusters from succeeding in these unfair negotiation tactics.

Evidence Is the Key to Success

By collecting ample evidence that the accident was responsible for your injuries, your legal team can ensure the most positive outcome for your insurance negotiations or courtroom proceedings. Toward that end, you may be asked to consult with medical professionals and to discuss your case with expert witnesses who can testify regarding the likely cause of your injuries and the extent to which the accident caused or exacerbated these medical issues. Your attorneys will work with you to ensure that you receive the largest settlement possible for your accident claims.

By retaining the services of a Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can enjoy greater peace of mind during the aftermath of a serious traffic accident in Houston.

There Is No Such Thing As Full Coverage Auto Insurance

September 19th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

Last week the Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office showed that many drivers in The Houston area are uninsured and how it is virtually impossible to recover any monies from an uninsured driver who causes a car or truck accident.  The solution to this problem is to have the coverages in place on your car that will take care of your injuries, your property damage, any rental car charges and any other damages associated with a car accident  with an uninsured driver.  Many potential clients of the DeSimone Law Office think they are covered for these items when in fact they are not. They go to an insurance agent and ask for full coverage and are sold a policy that they think will cover the aforementioned items when in fact all they have purchased is coverage to take car of their car no matter what and not their rental or personal injuries.  Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage is considered full coverage by some agents.  These coverages will take care of your automobile damages if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver but nothing else.  Many clients call me after having a car accident with an uninsured driver and want to pursue an injury claim because they purchased full coverage. They think they have purchased the coverages necessary to pursue a personal injury claim when in fact all they purchased was the coverage to take care of their car in the event of havng an accident with an uninsured driver. As a matter of fact most of them are not only surprised to have no medical coverage but that they don’t even have something as basic as rental car coverage.  There is in fact no full coverage in Texas, only parts of an insurance policy that cover an insured driver for different outcomes of an accident.  Never ask an insurance agent for full coverage because you are not likely to get the coverage you want and need. Next week we will cover what coverages you need to ask for when attempting to cover yourself for any outcome of an accident with an uninsured driver.

If you have had an accident with an uninsured driver, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office right away.  We will be able to assist you with all of your injury and property claims and make sure you get the money

Guidelines for Victims of Hit and Run Traffic Accidents

September 9th, 2016 by admin

auto-insuranceWhen motorists are involved in an accident in Texas, the drivers are legally required to stop and exchange contact information and insurance data. Sometimes, a driver will not be so cooperative and will flee the scene. This can be for a number of reasons. None of them are beneficial to you. Other parties may leave the scene of a collision because they are uninsured. They could have bench warrants and fear being arrested, or they might be driving with a revoked or suspended license. Other times, they are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs. Hit-and-run accidents can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It depends on how extensive the damage is and if there are any injuries or deaths. There are laws to protect you and experienced Houston vehicle accident lawyers can protect your legal rights.

Immediately after the accident, there are a few things you should do to help yourself. If possible, try to get the license number of the vehicle that fled. It would also be advantageous to use your cell phone to take a photo of their vehicle’s damage, so a team of Houston car wreck attorneys can match that damage to yours. Then, call the police to report the incident. Give them the other driver’s license number if you were able to get it. The next thing you should do is complete an accident report with your insurance company by phone or online.

It is important to get written statements, including the names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses. These statements will confirm the Houston car accident and can make a big difference if the case goes to trial. This step is frequently overlooked during the confusion after a motor vehicle wreck, especially if there are injuries involved. Take several photos of the scene of the accident, including skid marks and sight lines. Record your version of the wreck in writing or on a cell phone. Document all of your contact with the police. Take notes of what they have to say regarding who was at fault. Their words may prove to be very valuable later.

Be sure you have your registration and proof of insurance to show the authorities. They will want to see this information so that they can properly report the incident.

Just as there are things that you should do after a hit-and-run accident, there are things that you absolutely should never do. Do not chase the other driver. Remain at the scene of the wreck. You will not make the situation any better if you leave the scene too. Pull your car to the side of the road so that you do not block traffic while you are waiting for the police to arrive. If you cannot move your vehicle, do not wait in it if it is in a lane of traffic. Find a nice, safe seat off the roadway, and try to calm yourself.

Hopefully, you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance company. This is very important in a hit-and-run case. It may prevent you from having to cover the cost of repairing your car or the cost of visiting the emergency room. You can adjust the limits of both types of coverage so that you are protected in such a situation. Some drivers carry the lowest liability coverage that is allowed by law. If the accident caused an injury to you or one or more of your passengers, that minimum will probably be exceeded. In that case, your uninsured coverage limits can be supplemented by your underinsured coverage.

Protect yourself in the event of a hit-and run accident by knowing what to do and what to refrain from doing. When deciding on a Houston attorney, look for one with experience and a staff of investigators who will find the culprit and gather evidence so that you can win a civil suit and be compensated for the damage to your vehicle and any health care costs incurred by you or your passengers.

What Happens If the Other Party Does Not Have Insurance?

September 6th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office get many calls from potential clients who have been in a traffic accident with another driver who does not have insurance.  Unfortunately in hard economic times many people who are struggling to pay for food with rapidly increasing food prices will have to forgo paying for something else which is often times their liability insurance.  Clients will ask what they can to do to the uninsured driver to pay for their property damages  and personal injuries.  Unfortunately the answer is nothing that will net anything in the way of a significant amount of money.  The thing is that if someone can’t afford car insurance then they probably are judgment proof, meaning that if you obtain a judgment against them it won’t be collectible.  In Texas a person’s homestead on one acre of property not matter how valuable the property is protected from a judgment.  Also certain pieces of personal property such as cars and furniture are protected from judgment.  Getting a judgment against someone is not easy either. First a lawsuit has to be filed and filing fees paid. Then you have to serve the lawsuit and wait for the other party to file an answer to the suit before getting a hearing before a judge.  This process will take a minimum of several months.  Now you have a judgment that is probably uncollectible. You can do an asset search of the uninsured party on your own which would be time consuming or pay a private investigator a 1000 dollars to do an asset search. One thing you can do is send the judgment to the Texas Department of Public Safety which will suspend the unisnured driver’s Texas driver’s license for ten years or until the judgment is paid. By this time of course you have probably experienced hardship in getting around in a damaged vehicle and have suffered considerable pain with no way to pay for medical treatment.  What is the solution to this problem? The solution is making sure you have coverages on your car that will make you whole if you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver.  Of course you have to be on your guard when calling your insurance agent and asking for “full coverage” as that can mean diferent things to different people.  We will cover that next week.

In the meantime if you have any questions regarding insurance coverages or have been in an accident with an unisured motorist, contact the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office immediately. We will be more than happy to advise you on what coverages to purchase or assist you with any uninsured motorist claim.

Get Other Driver To Admit To Fault In Writing

August 31st, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office receive many calls that go as follows. The injured party calls to say that they had a car accident with a negligent party and the negligent party admitted fault at the scene.  Since the at fault driver admitted fault at the scene of the accident the injured caller did not bother to call the police.  Later on when the injured caller to us called the at fault driver’s insurance company to recover for his property and personal injury damages the insurance company informed the injured caller that they would not pay since their insured (the at fault driver) is not admitting fault. The injured caller has no evidence to disprove the at fault driver’s lie to his insurance company, and thus the injured party’s chances of recovery fron the traffic accident are not very good. What can be done to prevent this situation? First if you have been in an accident, insist on calling the police to get a record of the accident and an admission of fault by the other driver to the police officer. This statement can later be used to impeach a lying at fault driver. If the at fault driver does not want to call the police, tell them they need to write out an admission of fault which can also be used later to impeach an at fault driver. Make sure to get the names address and phone numbers of any witnesses whose testimony can be used later to impeach any lying at fault driver’s statement. Also take pictures of the position of the vehicles immediately after an accident. Said pictures sometimes can also be used to impeach a lying at fault driver’s statement.

If you have been in an accident, are injured and confused about how to proceed, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  We have been handling auto accident cases for over 20 years and will make sure you obtain all of the compensation to which you are entitled.

Safety Tips for Texas RV Drivers

August 23rd, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

trafficYour RV provides you with opportunities to get away from it all and to get back to nature. These large recreational vehicles, however, present special challenges for drivers on Texas roadways because of their weight and large size. If you are involved in an accident in your RV, you can protect your legal rights by retaining the services of experienced Houston vehicle accident lawyers. A qualified Houston traffic accident lawyer can provide you with the representation needed to resolve legal problems quickly and effectively. To avoid these issues altogether, however, it is wise to follow a few simple safety guidelines each time you are behind the wheel of your RV.

Watch for Clearance

While most major highways offer plenty of clearance for RVs, it is important to know the height of your RV and keep an eye on posted signs to help you avoid difficulties when navigating fast food drive-through lanes and gas stations. Most major chains are designed to accommodate larger recreational vehicles. If you are in doubt, however, it may be best to steer clear of restaurants and gas stations with low clearances altogether. Watching out for low-hanging tree branches and overpasses on rural roads can also provide greater protection for your RV and your passengers.

Allow Extra Room for Turns

The turn ratio of a large RV is much greater than that of a car or truck. By allowing extra room to the left when navigating a right turn, you can avoid hitting the curb or moving too far into the oncoming traffic lane. This can ensure greater safety when managing these turns on Texas streets. Be sure to watch for traffic passing on the left and to reduce your speed when turning right at an intersection. If you are involved in a collision, retaining the services of an experienced Houston accident injury attorney can provide added support throughout the aftermath of these events.

Leave Extra Braking Room

Especially if you spend a lot of time on Texas highways, leaving a gap between your RV and the traffic ahead can help you avoid many problems associated with braking times for these large and bulky vehicles. The weight of your RV can make it difficult to stop effectively on short notice; as a result, leaving plenty of room between your vehicle and the cars and trucks ahead can help you stay safer

Watch Out for Wind

RVs present a high profile on the road. This can make them more susceptible to wind gusts that can reduce stability and control. If possible, pull over or park during periods of high wind. If you are not in an area where this strategy is practical, drive slowly and carefully until you reach a safe area in which you can stop your RV and wait out the storm. Pointing your RV directly into the direction of wind can provide even greater protection against high winds when parking or driving.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Keeping your RV in peak condition can help you avoid breakdowns on the road and can reduce the risks of accidents associated with defective equipment. Braking and steering issues should be addressed immediately to prevent loss of control on the road. Regular oil changes and tune-ups are also important to ensure that your RV stays roadworthy for long journeys and trips across the state.

Back It Up Safely

Recreational vehicles provide severely reduced visibility for backing when compared with smaller cars and trucks. Taking extra care when backing up can help you avoid serious accidents involving pedestrians and other vehicles. If necessary, enlist help to ensure that roadways are clear before backing your RV out of your driveway or parking space.

If you are involved in an accident, calling a Houston traffic accident lawyer right away can help you protect your legal rights and ensure the fastest resolution of these unfortunate situations. Your Houston accident injury attorney can provide you with expert representation to ensure the most positive outcomes for your case. This can provide you with greater peace of mind when driving your RV in the state of Texas.


Medicare and Medicaid Have To Be Paid Back

August 22nd, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

Last week the Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office started a discussion of liens that are placed on an injured party’s personal injury claim.  Liens are legal claims, either contractual or statutory, that have to be paid out of any settlement.  As a matter of fact, if a settlement is paid out without honoring the lien, the insurance company themselves would be on the hook for the lien anyway even though they already paid the settlement. Thus the insurance company will be particularly paranoid about making sure all liens are paid an any car accident.  Any medical bills paid by Medicaid or Medicare for example have to be reimbursed to those entities. Sounds simple enough until you try and obtain them. Medicare has a process that if you manage to wade yourself through all the requirements that they put on you to obtain their lien is a process that will take no less than 90 days. Knowing who to call and what paperwork to send in is something that a lay person will find extremely difficult or impossible to do.  The insurance company likes this fact. If you cannot get the Medicare lien, they have an excuse to never pay any settled insurance claim.  The Medicaid liens are a little easier to obtain but once again if you have never done it, you will find it extremely difficult.  As a matter of fact if you have either Medicare or Medicaid but they have not paid any of your medical expenses related to the accident the insurance company will make you obtain a letter from either one showing nothing has been paid which is just as onerous to obtain as a lien letter.

If you have been involved in an accidnet and have had some of your medical bills paid by Medicare or Medicaid, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  They have handled such legal matters for many years and will make sure you get the settlement you deserve in a timely manner.

Hospitals File Liens Which Must Be Honored

August 15th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys of  DeSimone Law Office handle many auto accident cases where many hands are in the pot trying to take our clients’ money.  Most of these hands are in the from of  liens, statutory or contractual, which must be paid out of any personal injury settlement.  Any time an injured party is in an accident and goes to a hospital within 3 days of the accident the hospital, any emergency room doctors and any other medical professional that has treated the injured party can file a lien with the county clerk’s office for these medical expenses.  Under the law in the State of Texas these medical providers have to be paid out of any injury settlement.  The problem arises many times in these cases because the hospital bill is many times astronomical and the amount of insurance available for the claim is not. We’ve seen hospital liens that are sometimes more than the insurance policy limits.  These hospital bills are many times what the hospital would charge health insurance.  In other words the hospitals know the law and hope to get many more times for their services out of an injured party’s settlement than they would when being paid by health insurance. Their position is strong. You cannot settle the claim without paying them their exorbitant prices which are well above what is reasonable for their area.   Many claimants are shocked to hear that the hospital wants to get more out of the settlement than they do, and they were the injured party with plenty of lost wages and pain and suffering.  Of course the hospital does not get paid until the injured party agrees to a settlement so the injured party’s attorney, if he is knowledgeable, can negotiate hospital bills down.

If you have been involved in an accident and the medical expenses are piling up, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office.  They will make sure you get your fair portion of any injury settlement.

Maintaining Tire Safety of Your Vehicle in Texas

August 10th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

trafficYour tires are the essential connection between your vehicle and the road. Making sure these auto components are in good working order and are safe for operation on Texas streets and highways can provide added protection against the negative effects of a serious Houston auto accident. The right tires can also prevent unexpected breakdowns that can put you and your family at greater risk on Texas streets and highways. Here are some important tips for maintaining the safety of your tires and your vehicle on the open road to help avoid the need to file a Houston auto personal injury claim.

Avoid Underinflated Tires

According to the experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, commonly referred to as the NHTSA, underinflated tires can overheat on the road. In some cases, excessive heat can lead to catastrophic failure that could cause an accident. Research included in a 2015 press release from the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) indicates that almost 70 percent of all cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. have one or more underinflated tires. Vehicles manufactured in 2008 or after should be equipped with tire-pressure monitoring devices that can warn drivers of seriously underinflated tires. For newer and older vehicles alike, however, checking the pressure of your tires regularly can reduce the risk of accidents for you and your passengers.
Check Your Alignment

Misalignment of your vehicle’s wheels can create uneven wear patterns that can reduce the longevity of your tires and can pose serious risks on the road. The damage caused by misaligned tires can lead to blowouts or unexpected flats that can seriously inconvenience you and your family and may even increase the risk of an accident. By taking steps to correct the alignment of your vehicle promptly, you can extend the life of your tires and ensure greater safety behind the wheel.

Watch for Warning Signs of Tire Failure

Vibrations, unreliable steering and visible wear on your tires are among the most common early warning signs that your tires are nearing the end of their useful lives. Inspecting your tires regularly can help you identify issues with these vital components of your vehicle before they result in an unexpected flat or an accident. If your vehicle pulls to the left or right or makes unusual noises while you are driving, having your tires checked can potentially protect you and your family against

Check Tread Wear

A 2014 study conducted by the RMA found that at least 12 percent of vehicles in the U.S. have one or more bald tires that could present real risks during everyday driving. Especially during wet and icy weather, ensuring that your tires retain enough tread to maintain solid contact with the road can make a real difference in your ability to steer out of trouble and stay safe. Most automotive experts recommend replacing tires at or before they reach 4/32 of an inch of remaining tread. Tires with less than 2/32 of an inch of tread are considered unsafe and will cause your vehicle to fail inspection in the state of Texas. Worse yet, lack of tire tread can cause your vehicle to slide or experience loss of control on slick road surfaces. The RMA recommends checking the condition of your tires and your spare every month and before any extended journeys to reduce the risk of accidents and breakdowns along the way.
Rotate Tires Regularly

Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles can significantly reduce wear and tear and can help you extend the life of these necessary components. If you regularly go off-road or travel on uneven terrain, more frequent checks and rotations may be recommended by your auto care professional. By investing in this low-cost service, you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of auto accident claims in Houston related to premature tire failure.

Taking steps to maintain your vehicle in peak driving condition can reduce the risk of accidents and can keep you safer on the road. If a serious accident does occur, however, consulting with a Houston auto personal injury attorney can ensure the best outcome for your case and can help you obtain the compensation needed to manage medical bills and to restore your car, truck or SUV to good working order. By working with these dedicated professionals, you can protect your legal rights both in and out of court.


Photographic Evidence Can Greatly Help Your Case

August 8th, 2016 by Ron DeSimone

The Houston Auto Accidents Attorneys at DeSimone Law Office represent many clients whose cases would be more easily resolved or would settle for more money if clients took photos at scenes of car accidents and also of any injuries.  With the advent of cameras on cellular phones there is really no excuse to be able to get photo evidence at the scene of an accident unless a person is too injured to do so.  Photos of the traffic accident scene and or any personal injuries can be helpful in several ways. Often there is a dispute at the scene of any car or truck accident about how the accident occured.  Pictures of the positions of vehicles taken immediately after an accident can be excellent evidence to assist in an understanding of how an accident happened.  After the vehicles have been moved a negligent party can begin to spin his lies about the position of the vehicle after the accident. Photos of the position of the vehicles will prove up that the negligent party is lying. Pictures of the damage to the vehicles are excellent in backing up a claim of injury from an accident.  Pictures of both vehicles that show significant damage will put an end to the insurance company argument that the injury claimant is not really as hurt as he and his doctor are saying. Pictures of injuries such as bruising, broke bones, and bleeding are more effective in conveying an injury to a jury than words alone. Insurance companies know this and will pay more for claims where there are good pictures of any insurance claimant’s injuries.

If you have been involved in an accident, call the lawyers at DeSimone Law Office immediately.  They have investigators that will help document how your accident happened and your injuries through photographic and other means.

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