Herrman and Privette talk about the reasons they terminate cases. Personal Injury Cases should be handled with care, and the lawyers at Herrman & Herrman talk about in what situations they will terminate the case.
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Greg: Welcome to Frequently Asked Questions with Herrman & Herrman! Sorry for the technical difficulties, that's why we're back using this iPad to broadcast. We'll try to speak up a little bit so people can hear us, and hopefully, by next week we can have our camera equipment and audio running again. Today, I want to introduce one of our South Texas Attorneys, Will Prevent.
Will: Hello, my name is Will Privette. I've been an attorney since 2012, and I’ve worked at Herman and Herman's office for about three years. My primary focus is personal injury law, and for the better part of five years, I have practiced in the South Texas area.
Greg: The topic today; the reasons why our attorneys terminate cases. We have prepared materials regarding the top reasons why lawyers will terminate to give people a better understanding of why did we terminate the case, or give the file back.
Will: First, I'll give a couple of reasons here why we have to sometimes make the unfortunate decision to let a case go. For example, insurance is a big part of it, and oftentimes when we're trying to settle a claim with the adverse party it's not actually the person we're going after it's their insurance company.
The state of Texas requires all motorist to carry insurance; full coverage or partial to protect others. If you get into a wreck that is not your fault, and the other party does not have coverage, unfortunately, you will need to contact your insurance provider, as they will cover the uninsured motorist. This is known as bodily injury coverage and is considered a third party coverage on your first party claim. The person who hits you would be the third party coverage since they do not have their own coverage. If you are involved in an accident, and the other party does not have insurance, now is the time to call Herrman & Herrman for help getting back lost time and money from your accident.
Greg: Do we have an idea of how many people are running around out there without insurance?
Will: Depending on where you live, the coverage can vary. For example, if you live in a higher-income neighborhood, statistically speaking, they will have a higher percentage of people with coverage. The neighborhood's that have less gross incomes will have a higher percentage of no insurance, so it is important to make sure you have coverage in your policy. For instance, in Corpus most of the time, people have adverse insurance. I would say about 10 to 15% of the time you find that there's no insurance on the other side, and that's always a difficult conversation.
Calling our lawyers is important I situations like these because of the laws that can help those who are fighting to get their accident paid. I have a client and explained an aspect of insurance called Medpay. The insurance company did not inform her about the extra benefits she qualified for, and it ultimately helped her through not being able to work and recover lost money from the accident. Understanding Medpay is important in some cases, you have to pay the money back, and maintaining personal injury protection is a better way to cover your accidents with insurance claims. It's my opinion, personal injury protection is much better than medpay, and very little difference in terms of costs, so I would always suggest having at least the minimum policy. for you, I am which is the uninsured motorist and at least a minimum for personal injury protection at $30,000 in Texas.
Personal injury protection is the minimum that Texas can write a policy. Sometimes we sign a case up and we think it's decent, and then we go to check and there's no insurance, the client doesn't have um or uim, and doesn't have to permit pay. In that case, there's no adverse so that would be one reason that we just wouldn't be able to help them.
Greg: What are some other reasons we might have to give a fallback to a potential case?
There are a few others you know one of these terms of art I guess you could call it as the proverbial he-said she-said collision. The inconsistent statements between our client and the other driver in the vehicle you know, or in the other vehicle.
I'm sorry, you know there's always two sides to every coin and there are two sides to every story. if the defendant says that they were not at fault for the collision, and say that the plaintiffs at fault as well as, the police report doesn't really say one way or the other who's at fault in Texas, as the plaintiff you must present a burden of proof. This is important you have to prove your case so the defense cannot debunk or bring any evidence to prove that the defendant did anything wrong. The defense can rest their case or file for a motion for summary judgment during the trial when you have to bring evidence. Providing the facts for your accident will make or break your case. Bring something that proves the defendant caused the accident, otherwise, you're not gonna be able to recover for the accident and that's another one of those situations where we as a law firm we want to help every single person that we can we want to help every person that walks through the door. We're a business and it costs a lot of money to get to the court so without evidence, sometimes we have to let cases go.
In Texas, lawyers follow the modified comparative fault rule. What that means is the plaintiff we have to prove that the defendant was 51% or more at fault. If the defendant is 51% or more at fault then we can collect money for the case if we're deemed 50/50 percent at fault. That's why at the scene it's important to gather any witnesses, any photos and any phone numbers that you can. There's a lot you can do to preserve information at the time of the accident. We have a pamphlet that describes real case scenarios that will help answer a lot of your injury questions.
Greg: So you're not going to drop my case if the other guy says it's not his fault?
Will: No, definitely not, but we need evidence to overcome their unwillingness to cooperate. People lie, all the time. For example, if you're if you've got a rear-end collision, they may try to lie and say it's not their fault but generally speaking if you're rear-ended in Texas, it is their fault. That is an easy way to determine the fault, but other cases are not as easy and we’ll get into that in more detail below.
When two parties crash and both claim they had a green light. They are going to believe their client over our client, and there are some factors to determine if it's a viable case for litigation, but the biggest case is proven liability, without that it's going to be very hard to win.
Greg: Isn't that your job as a lawyer?
Will: It would help you to gather evidence like pictures, etc., asap because it would help you because sometimes evidence disappears. For example, a car will get fixed without us getting photos this is one of the books we were talking about and can be a fatal mistake that will ruin your case.
In our book, Seven Fatal Mistakes that Will Ruin Your Auto Accident case that we talked about before. I wrote one of the seven chapters in here and I explain what to do and what not to do about your car wrecks, but it is our job to collect the evidence. Helping your lawyer with any details about the surroundings, weather, etc will help to build a good defense, and I have more about things you can do in our book.
Greg: Ok, so clients should talk to any independent witnesses at the scene, take photos, of the driver, of the sequence of traffic lights, if anything is blocking their vision, etc. What if you're injured and you have to go directly to the hospital? What do you do then?
Will: If you are in a collision that is severe enough that you have to go to the hospital, in this county, the cops will come and they will make a report. This type of case that we are talking about, the he-said-she-said cases, maybe the copy couldn't determine it for the police report or there wasn't one at all. Those happen sometimes on private property or apartment complexes. The police report by itself is generally all of the evidence that we need, but there are times when even with the police report that says the defendants at fault. They lie and say that the police report is wrong and that's the type of case where that evidence is going to be in my opinion more insurmountable than just the word of our client, and the word of the defendant. Because we have something from an independent party that deemed the other person at fault and so that you know I don't see it a whole lot on cases where they go to the hospital because they're oftentimes as a police report on a collision that can be wrong as well, and its important to have all components of evidence.
Greg: There are often people who call us from the scene of an accident, is that a good idea?
Will: Yes, that's a great idea, you can call us, you can go to our website, get a copy of this book and put it in your glovebox. If you aren't sure what to do it's definitely a good idea to call an attorney first and see what you should do. If you're hurt, go to the hospital but we can help, we have providers that can see you depending on what your needs are. If you call us, we will send someone out there right away to help collect evidence if you need help.
There are other ways to ruin a case. Social media can ruin a case. If you don't think the adjusters are out there, they are. They will catch you skiing, doing jumping jacks, smoking marijuana, basically anything that can hurt your truthfulness or the veracity of your case. Your case can be terminated by social posts and exposing your case to the public.
Greg: The argument I hear a lot is that alcohol is a neurotoxin and you probably could have healed quicker had you not been out drinking, did the doctor say it's ok to drink beer while you're injured, etc. That's why judges sometimes let that in and it will come up in cross-examination with doctors.
Will: That talks to the damages of the case, that doesn't necessarily affect the liability portion. For each we deal with it's a negligence claim, for each case, you have four elements, duty, breach, causation, and damages. In an accident, the defendant had a duty to drive their car in a reasonable manner, they failed to meet that duty or breach it by rear-ending you and that rear-ending caused your damages. And if you are out there doing jumping jacks or climbing Mt Kilimanjaro your damages will be significantly diminished. Another way that you can ruin your case as the plaintiff, is you can ruin the liability portion by inconsistent statements and it's a little different context than what I was talking about earlier and in this context, you, the plaintiff, before you go to a law firm you talk to the insurance company and you tell them what happened. Then you think, ah I'm a little more hurt I need to see an attorney and you give a statement during deposition and that doesn't match your original statement it's going to ruin your case.
Greg: It's getting kind of late we've already kind of spent more time than we normally do, so next week we may or may not be online next week is Fiesta de La flor. Herrmann & Herrmann is a proud sponsor of LeFleur, next week we will be at the American Bank Center getting ready for our event. We will feature on Facebook live, Becky G if anybody knows who Becky G? She's gonna be new talent at the fifth sailor for this weekend and she's pretty phenomenal among all the other artists! I hope everybody can make it out there and until next Friday goodbye and yeah five thanks again I'm sure I'll see you again for another frequently asked question and until next time.