Articles Posted in Court proceedings

tarrant-county-courthouse-1Getting in a car accident can be a living hell. You may have already had a surgery or need one. You won’t be able to move without pain.  You can’t sleep. You won’t have your car. You might not be able to work. You will owe a ton of money to a hospital and doctors. For example, today a client of ours found out she needed a major cervical fusion after she was rear-ended a few weeks ago in Dallas. If this has happened to you, here’s a question you need answered: should you settle with or sue the other driver?

This is a difficult but critical decision. This is why your best course of action is to hire a good personal injury lawyer who will make the right decision and speed you through this complicated process.

We at Berenson Injury Law have seen this on a daily basis for almost 40 years and do everything possible to help people get through a horrible period of their lives.

Mr. Berenson met with a young man and his parents on Friday to give him his settlement check from his devastating DWI crash — which only happened two months ago. He had to have a major surgery to his back. He and his family were thrilled with the results. Now we are fighting to get him paid another sizeable insurance payment.

Later, after Mr. Berenson had obtained a giant settlement for a nice young woman and saved her over $100,000 in medical bills, her mother very nicely wrote him this email: “Thank you for being such a warrior and making the outcome positive. We would have been lost without you. Thank you always for your and your team’s valued support.”

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The governor’s final day to sign or veto bills passed by the state legislature was Sunday. Fortunately, the right of Texans to access the courts and recover damages was not adversely affected. Of the 7,500 bills introduced and 1,400 passed, here are several that affect the car and truck crash cases we have specialized in for almost 40 years at Berenson Injury Law.

HB 1693 AFFIDAVITS TO PROVE MEDICAL RECORDS AND BILLS

The plaintiff must file his medical records and bills with affidavits proving that the service was reasonably priced and necessary and itemize how much of the bill was paid and how much is due. The new law accelerates the filing deadlines by requiring that affidavits be filed 90 or 120 days after the defendant’s answer is filed/experts deadline.

In an unanimous decision in Garcia v. City of Willis #17-0713, the high court dismissed a lawsuit Friday that would have eliminated the widely despised red light cameras in Texas. The plaintiff had filed a class action lawsuit to declare they were unconstitutional and sought to obtain a refund of the millions of dollars of fines Texas motorists have paid.

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On procedural grounds, the Supreme Court found the plaintiff lacked standing, chose to pay his fine and avoid the required administrative hearing, and governmental immunity barred the reimbursement claim.

The decision follows other attempts to outlaw the cameras. For example, in February the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago called a similar argument “a dud” and noted that the advantages of the cameras outweighed other concerns.

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UnitedHealthcare slammed for violations of federal and Texas law

A federal judge in Northern California released a 106 page decision Tuesday which held that UnitedHealthcare fraudulently created guidelines that denied benefits to its members solely to save money.  The court found that United’s mental health subsidiary had used self-serving guidelines to justify the denials of badly needed mental health treatment for over six years. The guidelines conflicted with generally accepted medical standards as well as federal and state law, including our statutes in Texas. The story sounds like it came from a John Grisham novel like The Rainmaker.

Judge Joseph Spero wrote that the primary factor in the development of internal company guidelines was the maximization of profit, not adopting generally accepted medical practices. The provider had focused on its ‘bottom line as much or more” than the health of its policyholders and had illegally denied badly needed treatment to thousands of them.

If you have been injured in a car or truck accident, you will have a lot of questions especially these:

  1. Will I have to go to court?
  2. How much money can I receive?
  3. How long will it take?

This post answers the first question and the other two are addressed in these posts:

How much money is my car accident case worth?

The litigation process

Will my case settle out of court or go to a trial?

There are two ways that someone can collect his or her damages: an insurance company can pay them an agreed amount of money or a jury can award them monetary damages.

Statistics show that about 99% of all injury cases settle outside of the courtroom, usually before a lawsuit is filed.

So the chances of your case settling are excellent. But that answer as well as the amount of money you might receive and the length of time the process may take depend on many factors including the following:

Key information that is needed

  • Your case’s strengths and weaknesses;
  • Your liability facts and vehicle damage;
  • Your chance of winning a trial totally or partially, as negligence is attributed between all drivers and companies involved;
  • Your injuries – are they permanent or temporary, hard tissue or soft tissue, did you have surgery, etc.
  • Your medical expenses – how many are outstanding, were paid, and were written off;
  • Your lost wages, lost job benefits, and lost capacity to earn a living;
  • Your disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and other damages;
  • Your financial condition – your need for a quick recovery of money or your ability to wait for a trial;
  • Your desire to go through the usually frustrating and slow court process;
  • Your injury lawyer – his experience, ability, and reputation;
  • Your negotiating ability (if you are trying to represent yourself) and knowledge of legal, insurance, and medical issues;
  • Your goals; and
  • The other driver’s/company’s insurance company insurance policy limits and his/its assets

We at Berenson Injury Law evaluate these and other variables when we first meet with our new clients. We ask if our clients would prefer us to try to get the maximum amount of money from the insurance company or sue. After practicing personal injury law for almost 40 years, Mr. Berenson has never had a client who wanted to go to court if he could avoid it.

Later, we analyze these variables and recommend that our clients take their case to court or accept a settlement offer. We then try to reduce outstanding medical bills and perform other services to make our clients more money.

If you are undecided between entering into settlement negotiations, accepting a settlement offer, and going to a jury trial, we are happy to analyze your car or truck accident in a free no-obligation meeting or phone call. Continue reading

Everything you wanted to know about Ezekiel Elliott

The Cowboys’ young sensation was sued yesterday in Collin County district court after he caused a wreck in January 2017, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Zeke Elliott was driving to the Cowboys headquarters at 7:00 o’clock a.m. when he ran a light on the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco and apparently severely injured Ronnie Hill.

We here at Berenson Injury Law are obsessed with car wrecks and sports and we blogged about the crash here.

Zeke, who is 23, ran for 983 yards last season and scored seven touchdowns despite being suspended for six games for legal reasons. He  was the #1 rusher in the NFL his rookie season.

Hill’s attorney said that his client was left with “serious, life-altering injuries,” so apparently his neck and back discs have been damaged.

Hill’s expensive BMW was totalled with over $33,000 in property damage. Media accounts initially downplayed the wreck, calling it a fender-bender. Both vehicles were driven away from the scene and no ambulance was called for Hill.

Of course injuries can be delayed and in the state of shock — and maybe here a little celebrity worship — the injured person may not rush to an ER or begin feeling pain until hours or even days afterwards.

Zeke was driving a huge GMC Yukon when he “accidentally” ran a red light, according to the police report which was apparently written by a big Cowboys fan.

The Yukon hit the BMW on the front driver’ side panel and, according to the lawsuit, caused it spin more than 90 degrees. A tow truck was required to pull the two vehicles apart, as they were wedged together. The air bags deployed in the Yukon but not in the BMW.

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Berenson Injury Law has filed suit in Cameron County (Brownsville) on behalf of a Fort Worth man whose vehicle was crashed into by this 18-wheeler.

Our client, who was also driving a tractor-trailer, sustained serious injuries and had to undergo a lumbar surgery. He has huge medical bills and lost wages and may have to have a second operation.

Injured victims of car and truck crashes can face years of physical pain and emotional injuries caused by negligent drivers.

A charter bus was taking a group of senior citizens from DFW to the casino owned by the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

Lloyd Rieve, who worked for Cardinal Coach, lost control of the bus in Irving. It flipped over and landed on its side. Sue Taylor, who had organized the trip, and two women, Alice Stanley and Paula Hahn, sustained fatal injuries.

Family representatives filed a lawsuit for the wrongful deaths of Ms. Stanley and Ms. Hahn. The plaintiffs settled with Mr. Rieve and Cardinal before trial and proceeded against the Choctow Nation, which denied any liability. It blamed Rieve and Cardinal for the crash.

The plaintiffs argued that the casino derived most of its income from bus trips like this, with most of them from here in North Texans. Cardinal had apparently failed to perform the required safety background check on its employee, Mr. Rieve, who had a bad driving record.

The trial took two weeks. The jury deliberated for four days.

The verdict awarded the Hahn family approximately $6 million and the Stanley family $5 million.

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Badly Needed Victory for Injured Texans.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of an uninsured woman who challenged her whopping hospital bill of $11,000.

The opinion written by Debra Lehrmann, formerly a district court judge in Fort Worth, held that hospitals must disclose the lower rates that are given to people covered by health insurance or government assistance.

The case

Crystal Roberts was injured in a car wreck in Houston in 2015 and taken to North Cypress Medical Center. After x-rays, CT scans, and routine care she was discharged.

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