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How do you win your case? Car accidents can be overwhelming. If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that someone else is at fault, you naturally feel that you are entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Screaming at her or him is not going to help you. Proving liability is the key, as the at-fault driver often denies responsibility and their insurance carrier refuses to make any payments.

Insurance companies use Colossus program to pay less money. Here's what you can do about it.

If you have been injured in a vehicle crash, you want to know how you can recover your damages. Our personal injury law firm will fight to get you fairly compensated. But almost every car insurance company uses a manipulative software program called Colossus to minimize the amount of money they pay to injured victims. This post explains how you can combat this software to make more money.

When you are rushed to a hospital after a car crash, the cost for treatment and testing often exceeds $10,000. But instead of filing on limited insurance policies, the hospital can file a hospital lien to guarantee that it will be paid in full from your settlement or verdict. This is unfair and can wreck settlements. A major national newspaper just reported about the abuses with hospital liens. It noted that one hospital makes a shocking $10 million a year this way. How rich hospitals profit from patients in car crashes However, sometimes the hospital does not follow Texas law and its lien is not enforceable.

What are the requirements for a hospital lien to be valid?

The statute lists various requirements that must be strictly followed. These are some of the common errors made:
  • The required information is omitted;
  • The patient is admitted after the allowable time;
  • The facility does not file the hospital lien with the correct county clerk or at all;
  • The hospital charges too much;
  • The medical treatment is for too long of a period of time; and/or
  • The hospital accepts partial payment.

Is there a limit to the amount covered by the lien?

Yes, the amount must be reasonable for necessary services to treat a serious medical problem. However, proving these criteria can be difficult. Fortunately, thanks to a new law that took effect on January 1st, a personal injury lawyer can use cost estimates that the hospital is required to post on its website. For example, a hospital charged $3,400 for each of the four CT scans performed, but its site says that the test should only cost $675, so this saved our client a large amount of money. The attorney can also research what other local hospitals charge for the same services. Further, the total medical bill cannot exceed more than 50% of all amounts received by the injured person. For example, if the victim receives the negligent driver's total insurance policy of $30,000 and the hospital bill is $20,000, it must reduce the amount below $15,000. However, that is still an enormous amount, so the cap is often ineffective at making sure the patient is fairly compensated. In addition, the hospital is required to bill the patient's health insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid plans within (1) the date on any applicable contract or (2) at the latest, by the first day of the 11th month after the injury. If the hospital partially collects on the patient's health insurance policy, it is barred from further payment from the patient. A new law will prevent surprise bills.

How do you know if a hospital lien was filed?

Further, the lien must be filed before the patient deposits the check that they receive from their attorney. The hospital is not required to write or call the patient or their lawyer. But the minute the lien is filed, all parties have automatic notice. They can be held legally accountable if they do not pay the hospital. In other words, you can not claim ignorance as an excuse for nonpayment. Therefore, a careful last-minute search is necessary. Here is a list of all the county clerks in Texas to contact to verify filing. Some courts have held that even if the person's name is misspelled or information is missing, the lien is still valid, so check other spellings if it does not appear the first time.

Can only the first hospital file a lien?

No, a lien can also be filed by providers including the
  • ambulance company in smaller counties with populations less than 800,000;
  • emergency room physicians if the reasonable cost of the services is less than $1,000; and
  • if the victim is transferred to another hospital, the lien also protects the second facility.

Are all insurance policies covered?

No, the lien does not attach to the victim's own insurance policies including personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorists benefits. In other words, if the other driver who causes the collision did not have a valid liability policy, did not have enough insurance coverage, or the patient was paid by a benefit available under his own auto policy or by workers compensation, the hospital cannot assert the lien.

How can the hospital lien be removed or reduced?

It is usually necessary to have a personal injury attorney resolve this expensive issue. That is because until the lien is released, insurance companies will insist that the name of the hospital appear on the settlement check so it gets paid in full.

After you are in a car, truck, or 18-wheeler wreck, you will need medical treatment so you can heal. But it is expensive and you may not know how to get your medical bills paid. You naturally assume that the other driver and their insurance company are going to pay them quickly. But it can take some time for the possible payers -- the other driver's automobile insurance, your health insurance, your car insurance, and others -- to decide if they are going to pay you. Then they have to look at the medical records and medical bills and decide how much they want to pay. This is often a slow, complicated, and unfair process that affects every car and truck collision. Unfortunately injured people need to wait to negotiate a settlement or obtain a jury verdict until the possible payers obtain this information:
  • what their injuries are,
  • whether he or she needs surgery,
  • how much their medical bills and lost wages are,
  • how much pain they have and will experience, and
  • if they have suffered other damages.
This can take months to determine. But in the meantime, medical bills and then threatening FINAL NOTICE letters arrive. There is often a conflict between the injured person physically recovering from their injuries and not being harassed by bill collectors. What is the solution? In our last post we discussed some ways you can have your hospital, doctor, and other expenses paid after you were injured in a car or truck crash in Texas. This is such an important topic that we wanted to give you more useful ideas.

More resources to get your medical bills paid or deferred

You need to know up-front that this process is not easy. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and more than one source of funds is usually needed. You will have access to some of the following resources but not others.

Start with your job benefits: 

1. Short and long-term disability plans

Some companies offer to pay their employees two-thirds of their weekly wages and many of their medical bills if they cannot perform their job duties.

2. Unemployment benefits

If you lose your job, you should file for compensation through the Texas Workforce Commission.

3. Workers compensation or in-house plans

If the car or truck crash happened while you were driving while performing a job duty, for example while making a delivery, your company often has an insurance policy or similar program that will pay some of your medical bills and lost wages.

See if you qualify for any government programs:

4Medicare 

5. Medicaid

Depending on your age and income status, these federal and state reimbursement programs can help get your medical bills paid. Note: repayment is often required
Note that the above programs and plans have liens which means that their payments must be repaid. But here's some good news: the amounts they pay are greatly discounted. For example, if a hospital bill with X-rays and CT scans totals $5,000, they might pay $500 to $1,500 and the balance is written off. And our office is often successful in reducing the remaining amount which can save thousands of dollars.

Use other solutions:

6. Letters of protection

Your accident lawyer can arrange delayed payments with certain medical providers. The advantage is that you do not have to pay your doctors out of your own funds until the settlement check arrives. At that time, they can often reduce those medical bills, again saving you a lot of money.

7. Installment agreements

Almost every hospital or doctor will allow the patient to make small payments while their case is pending. We always recommend that our clients pay even $10 a month so the provider know that it will get paid later. That way you can continue to receive treatment and your credit is not hurt.

8. Hardship arrangements

Some facilities will allow the patient to pay a reduced cash amount and they will write off the balance.

9.  Loans

We strongly advise our clients not to apply for the super high interest loans you see advertised on television and on the internet. In emergency cases, our office will make zero percent (0%) interest loans to our clients to pay medical or living expenses.

10. Complaints about medical billing

Calling or writing the medical provider if you believe that you have been overcharged or the services were inadequate may assist you. The Texas Department of Insurance has some useful resources including The Texas Department of State Health and the Texas Medical Board also investigate complaints against hospital and doctor for over billing. A good car accident lawyer will help you put together the pieces of your jigsaw puzzle. Mr. Berenson is one of the top-rated personal injury attorneys in North Texas. He only represents people who have been injured in car, truck, and 18-wheeler collisions. Contact him if you have any questions about your injury claim.

Doctor Examining Patient

So as you can see, this is a very important topic. The problem is that you will not know in advance which doctors you need to see, what they charge, and who is paying them. That is the reason that the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the collision. Lawmakers knew how long this process can take and gave injured Texans two years to treat and then negotiate their insurance claim or file a lawsuit.

How to get your medical bills paid before the settlement or jury verdict

You might assume that State Farm, GEICO, or the insurance company the negligent driver is covered by will automatically mail you reimbursement checks. Unfortunately, this never happens. Why not? Insurance companies, like businesses, do everything they can to maximize their profits. They do this in two ways: raising premiums and lowering the money they pay in claims.
That is why the company often denies fault and minimizes damages. It does not want to pay much, if any, money until an aggressive personal injury lawyer makes them. How much should the insurance company pay if it assumes liability and decides to make an offer? You can't get an accurate answer from the internet, a friend, or a lawyer commercial on TV. Without the expert help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you are not be in a position to know how much a car accident case is worth.

Ways to get your medical bills paid before the settlement or jury verdict

No one will tell you what your final tally for your medical bills will be. Rarely will they even know. Hopefully your pain will resolve quickly. But each person is different and you may continue to need medical treatment.  These are some places to start to get your medical bills paid quickly.

1. Health insurance

You should file on your plan. But you need to know that there can be complications. We see these on a daily basis:
  • You have not met your annual deductible (especially now that it is January and a new year has begun);
  • Large co-pays are required;
  • The plan claims it does not have to pay anything since the other driver's policy is the primary one responsible:
  • Your company says that your hospital or doctors were out-of-network;
  • Your hospital or doctors refuse to file on your health insurance, wanting more money from the driver's liability insurance carrier;
  • The plan limits which doctors you can see and how many times you can see them;
  • The doctors on the plan refuse to treat you because they fear the case may go to court; and/or
  • The plan pays but files a subrogation lien demanding repayment.

2. Personal injury protection 

PIP is a very useful policy that you or the vehicle owner may have purchased. It will pay you and everyone in your vehicle up to a minimum of $2,500 for medical bills and 80% of lost wages. Here is more information that can help you: How to maximize Texas Personal Injury Protection

3. Medical payments

"Med Pay" is a limited option you or the owner may have bought but it has a big disadvantage: you have to repay your company back when you recover money.

4. Uninsured motorists

Your uninsured motorist policy can be utilized if the careless driver has no liability insurance or causes a hit and run - both of which happen often in Texas.
Recovering damages when driver hit by an uninsured driver

5. Underinsured motorists

Underinsured motorists coverage can be filed on if the bad driver only had the minimum policy of $30,000 per person and your damages are clearly much higher than that. For example, you had to have surgery, your medical bills were $50,000, and you lost wages of $5,000.
Takeaway: the other insurance company does not have to reimburse you for your medical bills up front and will try to underpay you later.

We can help you

If you have suffered from personal injuries caused by another driver in Fort Worth, Dallas, or anywhere in North Texas, you should also seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer. The personal injury claims process is complicated and trying to handle the claim or lawsuit yourself can cost thousands of dollars. We will guide you through the snake-like process. Among other steps we take, we will
  • obtain the police report and speak to the officer,
  • investigate how the collision happened,
  • get statements from eyewitnesses,
  • secure photographs and other evidence,
  • prove liability,
  • work with you and your doctors to get the medical treatment you need so you heal as quickly as possible,
  • make sure their payment is made or secured,
  • document your injuries and medical bills so you can be fairly compensated, and
  • negotiate a favorable out-of-court settlement or file a lawsuit.
For over 40 years, Berenson Injury Law has successfully represented injured Texans. The only way an insurance company will ever pay someone a reasonable amount of money is if it believes that the injury attorney can convince a judge and jury to award a large verdict. Our experienced team of professionals will help you figure out your best strategy. We tailor a plan to meet the individual needs of every client.
Please let us know how we can help you by calling us at 817-885-8000 (toll-free at 1-888-801-8585) or by filling out this contact form.
For more information please read:
Our next post which will give you more ways to get your medical bills paid or deferred. New ways health insurance companies cheat car wreck victims Two new ways medical records and costs will be easier to obtain  

How can a personal injury attorney obtain medical records and costs?

After a car crash or other tortious act, the lawyer must obtain the victim's medical records and calculate their bills to prevail in their lawsuit or insurance claim. Unfortunately the process to obtain medical records can be expensive and slow and the ability to learn medical costs has been nonexistent. But these should not be road blocks that delay litigation and hobble insurance claims in our high-speed digital world. So it is good news to both plaintiff lawyers and their clients that the federal government has adopted two important remedies to fix these problems.

1. New medical records rule

  • Deadlines for healthcare providers to deliver electronic records to patients are shortened to 15 days, half of the 30 days now allowed;
  • Records must be delivered to injured people who request their records online free of charge; and
  • Patients can request that records also be sent to their attorney.

How to get medical records efficiently

In 2009, as part of the Recovery Act to counteract the Great Recession, Congress enacted the HITECH Act. It substantially expanded and required electronic health information use in the medical industry. One commentator called it "HIPAA on steroids." That aging privacy law and medical records delivery system enacted in 1996 was rarely enforced and if so, penalties were minor. One of its best features of HITECH was the patient's ability to to obtain records for only $6.50 per record-set plus postage and the labor cost of the provider, not the costs of outsourced providers including HealthPort and Ciox. Costs may increase if the records are recorded on paper. This fee superseded any state law that allowed higher amounts. This was critical since enormous mark-ups are the norm. Records regarding a hospitalization with surgery can cost over $1,000, and more with required affidavits. HITECH allowed an individual to obtain their electronic medical records within 30 days by using a simple request. He or she could also direct that they be sent to their attorney or other party. Practice tips: 1. Only the individual, not an attorney, can make the HITECH request. The letter should simply designate who the recipient of the records is and be signed by the individual. 2. He or she must pay for the records. 3. The individual can designate their attorney to receive the records. 4. If the individual has deceased or is incompetent, a personal representative may sign the request of their behalf. 5. However, the attorney is allowed to fax the letter from their office on the client's behalf and can write a follow-up letter notifying the provider that it has violated HIPAA regulations and that he or she intends to file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. 6. A HIPAA third-party authorization is not required. 7. All records, including x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, film and CDs, bills, and audit rails, must be produced. The only exception is for psychiatric notes taken during a counseling session and documents prepared for litigation or quality control. 8. If the responding provider/records custodian does not reply, file a complaint filed with the Office of Civil Rights at HHS. See www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html 9. Sometimes, this process is not as easy as it should be. More information about this process and how to meet objections from the records providers is here.

The decision that caused the new rule

The new rule undoes the damage to plaintiffs caused by a lawsuit filed by a national medical records provider which claimed that HITECH caused it to lose a substantial amount of money. A federal judge on the D.C. Circuit ruled in January 2020 that third parties -- especially law firms -- could no longer obtain those records inexpensively and made other decisions that reduced the simplicity and cost-savings of HITECH.

Huge penalties can be assessed

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has actively enforced patients' rights to obtain their records cheaply and quickly. Each violation can be penalized with a fine up to $1 million.

2. New medical costs rule

Effective January 1, 2021 the Price Transparency Rule requires all U.S. hospitals to publicize 300 of their standard charges on their websites. This must be in an easily readable and searchable format to enable patients to make intelligent decisions about the cost of upcoming operations, diagnostic tests, and treatment. For example, one of the largest hospital chains in Texas has disclosed for the first time that a magnetic resonance image to the cervical spine will cost $958.19 (without health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid). This is useful information.

What lies ahead?

The process of obtaining medical records and calculating the reasonable cost of medical bills will continue to be one of the thorniest aspects of a personal injury lawsuit. The battle will continue. For example, a new bill has been pre-filed in the Texas Legislature that convenes tomorrow to further reduce the amount of medical bills that can be allowed as "paid or incurred." Stay tuned.

This is probably the best walking photograph of all time. Maybe some of us Baby Boomers have this etched into our brains as we have been trying to get some exercise during the unending pandemic. But just crossing the street should not be the cause of a pedestrian injury. Unfortunately, this is more common every year. In 2019, 668 Texans and 6,227 Americans lost their lives when they were on foot, the highest numbers in three decades. One would have been too many. Read: Pedestrian deaths in Texas alarming Two weeks ago in east Fort Worth, a woman crossing the street was killed and a man was critically injured when a SUV ran a red light. Stories like this where walkers and cyclists are hit by vehicles should not become routine.

What has caused the pedestrian injury spike?

  1. Cell phones: it seems like half of the people around you when you drive are talking on their phones and even texting while driving. Distracting driving is a major reason for the elevated number of all collisions.
  2. Larger vehicles: over one-half of new purchases are for pickup trucks and SUVs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They are so much larger with such bigger engines that they are guaranteed to inflict worse injuries on a person not protected by a vehicle. That is despite new-fangled safety enhancements like back-up cameras and motion detectors, because many drivers can't keep their eyes on the road with all the distractions. And their cell phones.
  3. Bad drivers: coupled with the above, if you add rampant speeding, reckless driving, and intoxication, a pedestrian injury is far more likely.
  4. Poor planning and infrastructure: these include insufficient or nonexistent walking trails and dedicated bike/walking lanes, badly designed cross walks, poorly timed crossing signals and traffic lights, and insufficient public transportation.
  5. Pedestrian error: Of course, sometimes the person who is walking or cycling is at fault. They may be in the road. Or they may have failed to abide by right of way laws contained in the Texas Transportation Code, Section 522. This problem is compounded if they were distracted by music on headphones and did not hear oncoming vehicles, were zoned out, and were reading and even texting while walking. This man walking his dog is next to a paved path to his left.

How to win a pedestrian vs. vehicle case

In a motor vehicle collision collision, the key is establishing which person had the right of way. A fast and thorough investigation is required to prove liability. Photographs and video, diagrams, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other evidence can make or break the case. Texas uses the modified comparative negligence standard. That compares the liability of all parties involved and divides the damages accordingly. More than one person can be found to be at fault by a jury. For example, if the injured pedestrian was not to blame, the vehicle driver will be found to be 100% at fault and all damages will be paid to the victim. However, if it is shown that the person walking was 30% to blame, they lose that amount of the proceeds, and if they are 51% liable, they recover nothing.
There are complicating factors that need to be analyzed including the timing of traffic lights and existence of crosswalks, other vehicles, poor weather, and obstructions to vision.
These cases often have to go to court to be successfully resolved. If there was a wrongful death, litigation is essential unless the insurance companies agree to tender all available proceeds. We just resolved the case for a man seriously injured as he was walking beside an interstate late at night for maximum value. More information about how to proceed can be found here.

How to avoid a pedestrian injury

You never think a car or truck is going to hit you as you are walking until it does. Here are some things you must do to prevent this from happening:
  • Maintain constant vigilance and walk defensively;
  • Wear high visible clothes, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours when drivers are dashing to and from work;
  • Don't wear headphones in both ears - or at all;
  • Don't run stop signs and lights if you are cycling; and
  • Don't walk and read your cell phone

Cases we are handling 

Our law firm just filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was seriously injured when his truck was rear-ended by an extremely intoxicated driver. That caused his truck to flip over and land on a man who was working outside, tragically taking his life. We just settled a major case for a man seriously injured as he walked next to an interstate highway late at night. We are representing a young man struck as he crossed the street to catch his school bus, a woman paralyzed after she was hit by a vehicle in north Fort Worth, and several other pedestrians. We have handled pedestrian and bicyclist injury cases over the past 40 years.

Berenson Injury Law can help you

Mr. Berenson runs, walks, and cycles on our roads and understands the dangers involved. He strongly recommends that Fort Worth residents use the wonderful Trinity Trail network. Here is a photo where it goes by his building for the last 37 years (his firm's offices can be seen near the top).
Other cities in North Texas also have good options including the White Rock Lake trails in Dallas, River Legacy Park in Arlington, and other off-road paths where you are guaranteed to be safer. Mr. Berenson is involved in groups working to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists by Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here to chat if you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle collision. We will answer all of your questions and tell you what your best legal options are at no charge for the first consultation.
Please stay safe out there during these difficult times.

What is an eggshell plaintiff?

Personal injury law has always required a negligent person to pay for all damages suffered by the person they injure. This is due to the eggshell plaintiff rule that holds that the weakness or sensitivity of a victim cannot be used against them in court. But calculating those damages can be difficult, especially if they increased due to a past condition or injury. Personal injury lawyers and insurance lawyers battle over this issue on a daily basis. Defense attorneys claim that the wrong-doer is not liable for the portion of the injury that pre-existed the accident. But the tortfeasor must take the person they harmed as they found them. The victim cannot be blamed for being vulnerable. An accident will cause them to suffer a greater injury and larger damages than the average person.
However the lines can be blurred, especially since there are two types of prior vulnerabilities that are sometimes thrown together.

1. Eggshell plaintiff with a fragile condition

Some people have a debilitating condition which makes them more likely to be injured than those who are younger or in better health. For example, consider the extraordinary injuries that could be suffered in a typical car wreck by someone who has
  • hemophilia and bleeds to death after cutting their hand;
  • a fragile "eggshell skull" who strikes his head and suffers a traumatic brain injury; or
  • a chronic heart condition who goes into cardiac arrest and dies.
Other people suffer from arthritis or degenerative disc disease, especially the elderly.

2. Previously injured plaintiffs

Other people have already suffered an injury to the same part of the body and that injury was aggravated due to the wrongful act. Many people have previous injuries and manage their pain or the pain disappeared. For example, someone may have been in a car collision 10 years ago and been diagnosed with a small disc bulge, but resumed their normal life with little if any pain. However, they are more susceptible to re-injury. So after their second wreck, their MRI might reveal that they now have a herniated disc that is causing excruciating pain. They may need surgery. Common injuries that are re-injured are to the head, neck and back due to broken bones, torn tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Almost everyone has hurt one part of their body or another in the past.

Legal problems presented

Both categories raise these legal questions: 1.  How can you measure how much pain the plaintiff was in before the accident and how much new pain they have suffered? 2. Who bears the burden of proof? 3. What expert testimony is required? 4. Which instructions are given by the court?
There is no Texas Supreme Court decision and only a few Courts of Appeal rulings on this subject that answer these questions. There is a lengthy analysis in the recent federal case of Koch v. United States.  An injured longshoreman in Louisiana who suffered from a degenerative spine and osteoarthritic knees fell down stairs on a ship and was seriously injured. The federal government claimed that it was not responsible for worker's compensation payments due to his preexisting conditions. The trial court instructed the jury that they should consider damages due to the aggravation of a previous injury. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court's substantial verdict for the plaintiff.

What happens in these cases?

In both categories, insurance companies often claim that they are not responsible for paying the damages claimed. They argue they are only liable for the damages their policyholder caused from the date of the tort forward -- if there was a new injury at all. Read: How preexisting injury can harm your case unless you do these things These cases often go to trial. The judge decides whether an eggshell plaintiff or preexisting injury instruction should be given to the jury. It hears evidence about prior conditions and decides damages. There can be legal road blocks. In every negligence claim, the plaintiff must convince the judge or jury of certain elements. One is that the defendant's breach of the duty they owed caused their injuries. Another is that this breach is the proximate cause of their losses.
Medical TreatmentThe plaintiff will need documentation from an accident reconstruction expert and doctors. Magnetic resonance images may show that they need major surgery to repair discs in their spinal column. Or they may have injured discs but at a different levels and places. The personal injury lawyer will obtain your complete medical files and diagnostic films, not just since the crash date, but for the five to ten years before it happened. They can prove that the plaintiff had no previous injury or that it is a different one.

Texas trial law is adding a new instruction

The 2020 Texas Pattern Jury Charges that may be published next month will apparently revise the instructions substantially. We will revise this post when the PJC is published. We can help you We specialize in motor accident cases and have helped injured drivers across Texas for over 40 years. Many have preexisting conditions or are older. We use our expertise and experience to fight insurance company abuse and unfair tactics. We recently filed a lawsuit when a company's driver crashed into our frail clients who were 82 and 81 and recovered a substantial amount. If you have any questions, please contact us. Related posts: How much is a car accident case worth? What Texas car accident adjusters don't want you to know about your case   Please contact our office if you have any questions.

If you have unfortunately been injured in a Fort Worth car accident, this is probably the first time you have had to deal with the personal injury claims process. So you have questions about your legal rights and how a personal injury lawyer can help you. In my 40 years specializing in personal injury law, the question I get asked the most is how much money do you think I will receive after my medical bills are paid? It's a great question. I have discussed this on my web site and blog posts, in a book and seminars I have written and taught to injury attorneys.

How to calculate how much money you might receive from a Fort Worth car accident

Since every car and truck wreck is different, there is no way to state one answer. The real answer can only be learned after the injured person files a lawsuit and a jury returns a verdict for his or her damages (but even then, the verdict can be and often is appealed to a higher court). As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all formula that injury lawyers and insurance claims adjusters and their attorneys use. It is true that many years ago, some cases were sometimes resolved by the "three times medical bills" calculation, but that hasn't been used in a long time. That is because someone who only had a mild neck strain could see a chiropractor 50 times and have a $10,000 medical bill, then claim his fender-bender was automatically worth $30,000. However no insurance company adjuster would begin to pay that inflated amount, especially now. Furthermore, the online calculators designed to get you to hire the law firm that publish them to lure you into hiring it are inaccurate. Take a look at the photograph above from a Fort Worth car accident I recently settled for a large amount of money. Just looking at the picture, it is not clear how badly the occupants were hurt. We have seen serious looking crashes where people only suffered relatively minor injuries, as well as the complete opposite happening, especially with all the pickup trucks and SUVs on the road. A good personal injury attorney is skilled at investigating the collision, dealing with insurance companies and medical providers, obtaining critical evidence, developing the case for trial, and knowing how the value of one case can be substantially more or less than another one. As the file develops and the facts become clearer, the car accident lawyer will have the information needed to more accurately estimate a range of settlement values, say from  $20,000 to $25,000, then do his best to get more than that. Negotiations can be complicated. Each side uses different variables and can reach different numbers as they estimate what a jury might decide.

What affects the value of a Fort Worth car accident?

Evidence We look at approximately 62 variables before we can accurate estimate a range of a case's value in court, but the four primary ones are
  • how serious the crash looks;
  • how seriously injured the person was;
  • how much his reasonable medical bills were; and
  • how much insurance is available and which carriers are involved.
In other words, someone who was the driver or a passenger in the vehicle above will usually get a lot more money than others who only suffered a "fender-bender." This is especially true if they only experienced a minor neck or back strain, incurred small medical expenses, and the at-fault driver is insured by a substandard company like Fred Loya, ACCC, Old American, or Affirmative. But there are exceptions to every rule. Case evaluation is complicated. It is best performed by a skilled personal injury lawyer. Another key factor in determining the value of a case is whether the accident victim shared any responsibility for causing the collision resulting in their injuries. Under Texas personal injury law, an accident victim who is partially at fault can still recover compensation for their injuries from other at-fault parties. However, an accident victim’s total recovery amount will be reduced by their percentage of fault. Accident victims who are 51 percent or more to blame for causing the collision will not be able to recover for their injuries. Finally, there are things that the injured person does or doesn't do that can affect the payment. Here is a list. Trying to fight an aggressive insurance company on your own by using simple online formulas and calculators, without the ability or knowledge of how to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial, will invariable get you a lot less money, even after an attorney's fee is factored in. How can you get a good injury settlement?

Fort Worth car accident claim by type

These are estimates of what various kinds of crashes might be worth, depending on the variables mentioned above:
  • Drunk driving accidents – Despite the well-known dangers of driving while intoxicated, some motorists still get behind the wheel after drinking too much. Fort Worth DWI accidents frequently settle for the drunk driver's insurance policy limits which are usually $30,000 (although we are working on one now with a $1 million policy) to $100,000. This depends on the severity of the accident victim’s injuries, how elevated the drunk's blood alcohol content was, the amount of insurance, and if an alcohol-provider like a bar or store is involved.
  • T-bone accidents – T-bone or sideswipe accidents are often the result of distracted driving. These accidents frequently occur at high speeds and often cause serious injuries. Fort Worth sideswipe accidents can settle in the range of $20,000 or more, depending on the above variables.
  • Rear-end accidents – Rear-end accidents are extremely common, again due to the prevalence of cell phone use while driving, and vary widely. Depending on the severity of an accident victim’s injuries, these cases may settle for anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000 and even more, depending on the amount of available insurance or whether a company owned the vehicle.
  • Hit-and-Run accidents – While many assume that there is no way to recover financially after a Fort Worth hit-and-run accident, that is not necessarily the case. Hit-and-run accident cases tend to settle for $30,000, depending on the seriousness of the injuries and whether that driver is apprehended or whether you file on your own policy's uninsured motorists benefits.
  • Motorcycle accidents – Fort Worth motorcycle accidents often result in serious, life-changing injuries. Typical motorcycle accident settlements can range from $30,000 to $100,000.
  • Truck accidents – Accidents involving large commercial trucks tend to be some of the most serious accidents due to the trucks' size and weight and the speed at which these accidents often occur. On average, Fort Worth truck accident cases settle for between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on the facts, but we have handled cases where the final total recovery is in the millions.
Contact a Fort Worth car accident lawyer  Berenson Injury Law specializes in one type of case: car, truck, 18-wheeler, motorcycle, and pedestrian injuries. We can help you understand your rights and pursue a claim for compensation based on your injuries. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Berenson, call 1-888-801-8585 or click here to chat.

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