Don’t Let Them Get Away With It

An injury can affect every area of your life. When another person’s actions or negligence caused you harm, we understand your need to hold them responsible. Our team at Agarwal Law Firm will help you understand the ins and outs of personal injury suits, to give you the best chance of reaching the outcome you desire.

Personal Injury

According to the Department of State Health Services, there were over 10.5 million visits to Texas emergency rooms in 2016. Most Texans don’t anticipate that they’ll end up in the hospital when they get up in the morning. However, from distracted drivers to unsafe premises, there are a multitude of hazards we navigate every day.

Many times we suffer injuries as the result of the conduct of others, whether they are individuals or entities. When this occurs, Texas personal injury law establishes the means through which individuals injured by the negligence of others are compensated for their losses.

In order to pursue your case, you must show that your injury was due to the failure of another to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm. If this sounds vague, it’s because it is. There is very rarely a clear line as to what constitutes negligence in a given scenario. Further complicating matters is the fact that Texas law is full of exceptions and nuances to this basic formula. Courts rely on both the common law (law based on previous judicial decisions) and statutory law (law based in Texas or federal code) is coming to a decision.

Retaining or speaking to an attorney is always the best course of action when you suspect or know you were injured due to another’s actions. An attorney will help you evaluate and build your case. A good attorney will identify all the responsible parties, seek and preserve evidence, help you receive medical treatment from the best doctors, retain expert witnesses, and negotiate on your behalf. The sooner you contact us to begin the process, the stronger your case will be.

There are also different types of personal injury lawsuits. If your injury occurred due to the negligence of a property owner, that falls under premises liability. For injuries caused by faulty products, you should look at product liability. Our team also specializes in cases related to automobile accidents and wrongful death.

Auto Accidents

In 2017, 254,853 people were injured or killed on Texas roads. Texans depend on their vehicles to shuttle them around our large and populous state. The number of total miles driven in Texas has gone up each of the last four years to a whopping 274.580 billion miles in 2017. It’s no wonder that traffic accidents cause over $38 billion in economic loss each year.

Most auto accidents occur due to the poor decision-making of one or more drivers. Unfortunately, a poor decision coupled with a large and fast vehicle can be a recipe for disaster. Distracted drivers using their cell phone, drivers under the influence, and drivers disobeying traffic laws are common factors in auto accidents.

If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact an attorney immediately. An attorney develop your case and take over discussions with all the relevant parties to ensure you receive the medical care and compensation you deserve.

What should I do after an auto accident?

An auto accident is never planned. When a huge mental, physical, and emotional burden is suddenly placed on our shoulders, it can be easy to be confused about what to do. Immediately following an accident you should:

  1. Dial 9-1-1

    Always report the crash to 911 emergency services and follow their instructions. Emergency responders can help you assess your medical condition and take you to the emergency room if necessary. Police officers on the scene are required by Texas Transportation Code Section 550.062 to forward a crash report to the Texas Department of Transportation no later than the 10th day following the crash. This report can be significant to your case down the road.

  2. Gather Information from All Involved Parties

    While you are waiting for emergency responders, you should take down the information of the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This information should include:

    • Their name, address, and contact information, including driver’s license number, or a picture of their driver’s license
    • Their name, address, and contact information, including driver’s license number, or a picture of their driver’s license
    • Their name, address, and contact information, including driver’s license number, or a picture of their driver’s license

    You should also take down the name, contact information, and vehicle information for any witnesses to the accident.

  3. Collect Evidence

    The best time to investigate a car accident is right after it happens. Make sure you take photos of the immediate aftermath of the accident scene when it is safe to do so. Take pictures or videos of your surroundings or anything you feel may have contributed to the crash. Collect vehicle parts that may have fallen off your vehicle. All this evidence will be useful to your attorney as he builds your case.

  4. Collect Evidence

    The best time to investigate a car accident is right after it happens. Make sure you take photos of the immediate aftermath of the accident scene when it is safe to do so. Take pictures or videos of your surroundings or anything you feel may have contributed to the crash. Collect vehicle parts that may have fallen off your vehicle. All this evidence will be useful to your attorney as he builds your case.

  5. Don’t Discuss the Accident or Your Injuries

    Do not discuss your injuries or the accident with the other drivers or their insurers. Often, adrenaline is pumping following an accident, and it is impossible to accurately assess your medical state. The opposing insurance adjuster can and will hold your words against you. Furthermore, you should refrain from discussing the accident itself or who was at fault with the other drivers or their insurers. It is always best to let your attorney do his or her job using the evidence at hand to protect your rights.

How Do I Deal with the Insurance Adjuster?

Should I File a Lawsuit?

The truth is you are under no obligation to deal with the other driver(s) insurance company or adjuster at all. You can always file a lawsuit to protect your rights. However, there may be substantial benefits to settling your claim without filing a lawsuit. A lawsuit can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, requiring hours of your time to work with your attorney to prepare the petition and answer discovery. A lawsuit will also delay your financial recovery while you have bills pending. Furthermore, in most cases your recovery will be limited to the other driver’s policy limits regardless of whether or not you file a lawsuit. So, why would anyone file a lawsuit?

There are several scenarios where a lawsuit makes all the difference. If any of the following occur, you may need to file a lawsuit:

  • The Opposing Insurance is Denying Liability.
  • The Opposing Insurance is Being Unreasonable in Negotiations.
  • Your Recovery Won’t be Limited to the Policy Limits.
  • You Want to Force the Other Side to Preserve Evidence.

Agarwal Law Firm understands the unique demands of an automobile accident case. Contact us for a free legal consultation or call us at (210) 588-9182. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Premises Liability

Responsible property owners often wonder about their obligation concerning the safety of visitors. In the event of an injury, when are property owners required to pay damages?

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners, managers, and occupiers for those who visit or live on a property. This legal concept covers any public or private property, including retail stores, office buildings, entertainment venues, apartments, and personal homes. Every state requires property owners to make a reasonable effort to maintain a safe environment for visitors, either by warning visitors about an unsafe situation or by making the situation safe again.

An injury under premises liability requires the presence of an ongoing problem. This contrasts with a negligent act, which requires ongoing activity. For instance, a person slipping on a water-covered floor would fall under the umbrella of premises liability, whereas a person slipping on water being sprayed by a gardener could be a negligent act.

Types of Visitors

There are several types of visitors who might be injured on a property. The law defines them as invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Different levels of care are expected for each group, but you’ll see that even trespassers must be taken into account.

Invitees are the people a land owner expects to visit, to the mutual benefit of both parties. This includes customers, clients, and employees. It also covers service personnel, like mail carriers. An injured invitee can argue that a business owner failed to maintain a safe environment because of actual or constructive knowledge of a problem. Actual knowledge means it can be proven the owner knew about an unsafe situation, whereas constructive knowledge means they should have known about the situation through reasonable inspection of the property.

Licensees are those who visit the property for a reason other than financial gain. This includes social guests like friends and family, as well as unsolicited sales people. A written or even verbal invitation is not needed to qualify as a licensee. An implied invitation, such as an absence of a No Trespassing sign, is generally enough. Licensees differ from invitees in that they must prove actual knowledge of an unsafe condition. Constructive knowledge is not enough in these instances.

Trespassers include anyone who enters a property unlawfully or without an invitation. A property owner has the least responsibility of care for trespassers, with one exemption. As long as the owner doesn’t intentionally harm the trespasser, like with a trap, the trespasser is considered responsible for their own injuries. However, the owner does have a responsibility toward potential children who trespass. If the property includes an attractive nuisance, the owner must take the safety of children into consideration. If the attractive nuisance is a swimming pool, for instance, the owner would need to take the reasonable precaution of putting up a fence to try and keep children out.

Injury claims made under premises liability can be challenging to prove. The visitor must prove that the owner knew about the hazard, failed to amend the situation or make a clear warning, and that the injury is a result of the hazard. Licensees must take it further, proving that they were unaware of the hazard until the injury occurred.

If you’ve been injured or are facing a premises liability lawsuit, contact our offices today. We’ll help you navigate this complicated legal situation.

Product Liability

From kitchen appliances to tools to cars, there are items we depend on every day. Sometimes these products fail, and someone can end up injured or even dead. When a personal injury or death is believed to be caused by a defective product, the case falls under product liability.

The injured person or their representatives are the plaintiff in a product liability case, and the manufacturer serves as the defendant. In Texas, it’s unnecessary for the plaintiff to prove negligence on the part of the product manufacturer. This is referred to as strict liability. The plaintiff must only demonstrate that the product possesses a defect, and that defect led to harm. There are several types of defects that might lead to a product liability claim.

Types of Product Defects

A product might have a design defect, meaning that the item would be flawed even if built perfectly. Examples might include an appliance that gets too hot, or a car door that fails to stay closed. In the case of a design defect, the plaintiff must prove that a safer design could have been used, and that it would be reasonable to use the safer design from an economical and manufacturing standpoint. The safer design would have to maintain the products function while reducing risk of injury.

Another cause of injury could be a manufacturing defect. The defects occur when the design of the product is correct, but a problem occurs because of poor materials or construction. A faulty turn signal or a power tool that fails to turn off are possible examples with manufacturing defects.

The third type of defect under product liability is failure to warn. If the product poses a danger that an average user would not predict, the manufacturer is responsible for making that clear. This includes products that must be used in a certain way to reduce risk of harm. For example, a medication that causes drowsiness must include a warning, and an airbag must include a warning that it is not safe for young passengers. If a pharmaceutical includes a warning made by the FDA, it probably includes an adequate warning under the law. Without an FDA warning, there a higher possibility the medical manufacturer can be held liable.

If a product defect has caused you harm, document the injury with photographs and any relevant documentation. Do not dispose of the product, even if it is damaged or destroyed. While the statute of limitations in a product liability case is 15 years, you are better off contacting an attorney as soon as possible. If you’d like an expert to help you file a product liability suit, contact us online or you can call (210) 588-9182.

Wrongful Death

An unexpected loss is always a difficult situation. If you’ve suffered through the sudden death of someone close to you, we understand your need to find answers. If we take up your case, we’ll do everything we can to find justice for you and your family.

A wrongful death case occurs when a plaintiff seeks monetary damages from a person or entity whose negligence may have resulted in the death of their family member. Family members may seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, and emotional trauma. There may also be punitive damages, intended to punish the defendant in cases of gross negligence.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In Texas, a wrongful death case can only be filed by an immediate family member of the deceased, namely their spouses, parents, and children. Adoptive parents and adopted children are also included. Other family members, such as siblings or grandparents, are unable to file a wrongful death case. Additionally, the suit must be filed within the statute of limitations. In Texas, the time limit is two years. Exceptions include children who were minors at the time of a parent’s death, who have two years following their eighteenth birthday to file. In the event the negligence isn’t determined at the time of death, family members have two years from the time the negligence is uncovered.

When a wrongful death case goes to trial, it is considered a civil matter. Instead of seeking fines or jail time, like in a criminal trial, a wrongful death case seeks monetary compensation for surviving family members. While a criminal trial requires proof that satisfies the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof is lower in a civil trial. Typically, the plaintiff must prove, through a preponderance of evidence, that the defendant “more likely than not” caused the death.

What Must Be Proven

In a most wrongful death civil cases, three elements must be proven:

  • Duty of Care – It must be proven that the defendant was responsible for the safety of the deceased person.
  • Breach of Care – The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to live up to their duty of care.
  • Causation – It is not enough to prove negligence or that the defendant broke a law. The court must believe that the breach of care directly caused the death.

A wrongful death suit is challenging for everyone involved. In such a serious situation, the responsible course of action is speaking with an expert. The team at Agarwal is here to help. Contact our office through this website, or call (210) 588-9182.