What if you have been in a car accident in Fort Worth and it was clearly the other driver’s fault for rear-ending you? But when the police officer arrives, the other driver argues loudly that you slammed on your brakes. The officer finds that you — or both of you — are at fault. What do you think will happen when you make a claim against the other driver to recover your damages? When the insurance company denies or minimizes your claim and you have to file a lawsuit, can the police officer testify in court that you were at fault? This is a problem that a personal injury lawyer sees often and it requires immediate attention so that you get paid for your damages.
When has a trial lawyer represented his client too zealously?
The Texas Supreme Court heard arguments Friday here in Fort Worth in the nationally-watched sanctions case of Brewer v. Lennox Hearth Products. There was a packed courtroom and an overflow crowd at Texas A&M Law School.
The Court’s decision will set boundaries on just how far a lawyer can go to win a trial. And making the hearing even more sensational, the attorney in question, William Brewer III of Dallas and New York City, has often been in the headlines, most recently while representing the National Rifle Association.
Rare court victory for injured drivers fighting their insurance companies
The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio issued an important decision on Wednesday that awarded an injured driver his entire underinsured motorists (UIM) benefits. The holding in Allstate Insurance Company v. Irwin is only the second time that an appellate court has allowed a plaintiff to obtain Texas UIM benefits without first filing suit and obtaining a judgment against the adverse driver. Further, it is the first time that the recovery of attorney’s fees and costs has been allowed.
Background: Mr. Irwin was seriously injured in a car crash in 2016. He suffered a herniated disc in his lumbar spine and had to undergo various procedures to alleviate his pain. The total cost of his medical treatment was substantial. He settled with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for her policy limits of $30,000.00. He then demanded that his liability insurance company pay his underinsured policy limit of $50,000.00 for his remaining damages. However Allstate refused and only offered an additional $500.00 claiming that his injuries were preexisting, that he was over 50 years old, and that he worked as a construction worker. The man filed suit for the money his company owed him from his UIM policy.
After hearing the evidence, the jury awarded him $498,968.36. The court signed a judgment awarding the plaintiff his policy’s limit of $50,000.00, attorney’s fees, and costs. Allstate appealed.
There’s more than meets the eye in a commercial vehicle claim
Our client was a passenger in a car in Fort Worth two years ago that stopped at a flashing red light on a wet morning when she and her husband were rear ended by a delivery van. Property damage to their car was minor and there was only a scratch to the front bumper on the commercial vehicle. The driver said that his brakes had locked up on the wet pavement and blamed the light for confusing him. No one reported any injuries, the police were not called, and both vehicles drove off.
End of this story? No, just the opposite.
As often happens after a collision, the woman’s neck and back started hurting. Four days later, her PCP said she had a strain/sprain and prescribed anti-inflammatories.
She filed a claim with the other company but the insurance adjuster said she could not possibly have been hurt in this low speed impact. Further the adjuster told the woman that her husband and the company’s driver were not injured and its driver had a valid excuse. The insurance company made her a paltry offer of settlement of several hundred dollars, referred to in the world of personal injury as a “nuisance offer.”
Adding to the complexity of her case, she had fallen earlier in her life and had just had three vertebrae in her cervical spine fused the year before this wreck. Proving that someone’s current pain is not preexisting can present a problem for a personal injury lawyer. Further, her medical treatment consisted of only two routine visits at her PCP.. And she was salaried and did not lose any wages from her job. Her damages were minimal.
She hired our firm a month later after other personal injury firms had turned her case. But we knew we could help her. Mr. Berenson has represented a lot of people who were injured in wrecks caused by a commercial vehicle over the past almost 40 years and knows what to do. Our firm went to work.
Getting 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 photo was taken from the Tarrant County District Courts building of the Tarrant County Courthouse after a hearing.
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.”
…. and who shot J.R.?
Berenson Injury Law has filed suit on behalf of a husband and wife who were seriously injured when they were rear ended by a commercial vehicle on Interstate 35. Both could have died. They suffered multiple fractures, had to undergo surgeries and extensive physical therapy, and have a very difficult time recovering from their massive injuries.
The young commercial driver admitted that he looked away and didn’t notice the traffic in front of him slowing down. We intend to prove that he was texting while driving in violation of state and federal laws.