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Surprise! New law started on 1/1 to cut thousands of dollars in medical bills

After someone is injured in a car accident, they must be treated immediately. They naturally assume their medical bills will be paid quickly -- by someone else. But unfortunately, this doesn't often happen. We strive to get our clients the maximum in-pocket recoveries of money. We also stay on top of all new laws and court decisions that can help them. So we are excited to announce some great news for the victims of car accidents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The "No Surprises Act" took effect on January 1st. So what does that mean and how can that help you?

How much money can you receive for your injured finger or hand?

The hand is a very complex and fragile structure. It has many small parts that can easily be hurt including 27 bones, 34 muscles, 27 joints, and over 100 tendons and ligaments. After a car accident, people often suffer an injured finger or hand. The pain can be crippling and must be dealt with -- along with a lot of financial and legal concerns -- as soon as possible. If you are suffering from an injured finger or hand, you may be wondering

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.

The most maddening thing about being in a car accident in Fort Worth -- or anywhere in Texas -- is that it was easily avoidable. It would not have happened if the other driver had followed basic traffic laws. But sadly our number of motor vehicle crashes is soaring along with our sky-rocketing population. What used to be a sleepy Cowtown when Mr. Berenson moved here back in 1979 after graduating from SMU Law School in Dallas is suddenly the 12th largest city in the country. Almost one million people live in Fort Worth and there are 7,500,000 in the Metroplex -- and more every day. Cattle ranches are now bustling suburbs.  A sprawling new subdivision in North Fort Worth with 10,000 houses was just announced. But more people = more vehicles = more roads = more collisions. And to make the chances of being injured even higher, it seems that almost every one has an oversized truck or SUV and and is texting as they race around town.

Average Compensation for a Whiplash Settlement
If you've been in a car or truck crash, you will experience a lot of pain. But who will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and other expenses? Unfortunately, the insurance company for the driver who caused the wreck has clever ways to pay you as little money as possible. Here are a few of them.

Swoop and settle

The next day you may get a call or text from an insurance representative who says he or she wants to pay you money immediately. But usually the amount offered is only between $500 and $1,000. They might also make a vague promise to pay some of your medical bills - if their company decides they are reasonably priced.
Here is a typical story of how this game is played: an 18-year-old woman in Frisco named Rayza was crashed into, had to give a recorded statement, and settled her claim for $1,000. But her pain increased and she had to seek medical treatment. The company refused to pay her any other money and personal injury lawyers could unfortunately not help her since she had signed a release. The biggest problem is that you don't know how much your expenses are. You will be shocked when you see how much some providers charge car wreck victims and their health insurance companies. So if the ambulance, hospital, emergency room, radiology, chiropractors, physical therapists, pharmacies and other medical providers charge a total of $10,000, accepting a company's offer of maybe $1,000 to 3,000 is not a good idea.
Our office gets calls from injured drivers like this several times a year. A man contacted us several weeks ago. It is almost impossible to rescind the release. We did this once when we proved our client could not fully understand English.

Warning: even an oral agreement can be enforced

The Dallas Court of Appeals held that a verbal offer to pay the injured driver $500 and some medical bills was a binding contract - even though the driver immediately changed his mind, hired a personal injury attorney, and returned the check. In the case of Gilbert v. Fitz, the GEICO adjuster representing Fitz admitted that Mr. Gilbert's medical bills would be $8,000 to treat his broken ribs and wrist and his other injuries. They ended up being $15,000. Gilbert sued Fitz for his damages. However, not only did he lose his case, he was ordered to pay $10,000 in attorney's fees.

New law would end these oral releases after a car wreck

State Representative Julie Johnson from Dallas introduced HB 2374 which allows a driver to revoke a verbal settlement agreement. All seven members of the House Insurance committee voted in favor of it and it awaits the vote of the House of Representatives. Of course insurance companies will continue to swoop and settle, even if this law is passed.  By asking the injured driver to sign a form acknowledging that they understand what is happening, this will keep people from making rush decisions. There should be a short cooling off period, as there is with the sales at conventions or door-to-door homes. Texas Watch, a consumer organization, has urged Texans to contact their representatives to support HB 2374.

Recorded statements

The other insurance company's representative will also demand a recorded statement. He won't tell you but his detailed questions are designed to deny or minimize (1) his driver's responsibility for causing the collision and (2) your bodily injuries, medical expenses, and other damages if you decide to pursue legal action. You are not required to give a statement and it is almost always a bad idea. Mr. Berenson rarely if ever agrees to one unless it is absolutely necessary. If he does, he first reviews the expected questions, police report, photographs and other evidence with his clients so they are prepared. He also makes sure the statement will not be used later in court.

Other tricks to expect

There are too many to list in one post. Take a look at this article which lists more ways companies take money from you.

A good car accident lawyer can help you

The insurance representative will usually tell you that don't need to hire a car accident attorney since they are taking care of you. Don't believe it. The last thing he wants you to do is to hire a personal injury lawyer who can guide you what can be a confusing medical/legal process. We have been written blog posts for years about these insurance tactics guaranteed to result in small settlements or jury verdicts. Texas Watch advises drivers not to speak to the at-fault driver's insurance company before consulting with a car accident lawyer. The first consultation with Berenson Injury Law is free. We can explain how we can help get you the results you want after your wreck. And there is no fee due until the case is won in court or settled.
Mr. Berenson has successfully represented injured Texans for over 40 years. He only handles vehicle crash cases (not medical malpractice, dangerous drugs and products, etc.).
Still not sure if you want to talk to us and let us answer your questions at no charge? See what some of Mr. Berenson's clients have written about how satisfied they were with their results.

For more on this topic:

Recorded statements: why you need an attorney Need help paying your medical bills? Podcast about Rayza's claim

An injured person must prove their case at trial. They must introduce pertinent evidence including proof of medical bills that are reasonably priced. The defendant can attack this evidence. The judge rules on the admissibility of the medical bills and other damages and the jury decides how much compensation the injured party receives. To make trials more efficient and fair, Texas law has allowed the parties to prove and disprove medical bills and records with affidavits since 1979.

The New In Re Allstate opinion

The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion on Friday that will dramatically curb the use of these affidavits and require doctors to testify in person. The justices directed a Corpus Christi trial court to vacate its order that struck a counter-affidavit filed by the plaintiff's car insurance company.

Here's the latest elected official or celebrity to be arrested for driving while intoxicated

Drinking and Driving Why do we have so many "car accidents" on our roads -- especially the huge number caused by drunken and drugged drivers? The chance of being injured in a DWI wreck in North Texas is a lot higher than you may realize. In Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton Counties last year, drunk drivers caused over 5,000 crashes which tragically took the lives of 90 people and injured thousands of people. We hear about the Covid-19 pandemic constantly but rarely about the DWI epidemic. But these collisions are so common that it takes someone dying in one - or a famous celebrity arrested - for the news media to mention it. Recently we blogged about how two prominent officials -- a Dallas criminal judge and a high-ranking Fort Worth police officer -- were arrested for driving while intoxicated in the same weekend. In the latest report about a public servant breaking the law, the Mayor of Granbury was arrested for DWI early Sunday morning. Worse, this was his second arrest. Ninnian Hulett, age 68, was pulled over in his highly visible red Corvette. The mayor was reportedly found guilty about seven years ago of evading arrest and later that year, was arrested for causing a DWI wreck in Fort Worth - and one more. EDITED: The mayor resigned on May 6, 2021. That's outrageous. We elect people not just to make laws but obey them, just like the rest of us have to do. We expect our officials, judges, and law enforcement personnel to lead us by exhibiting the highest conduct and setting a good example, especially when innocent drivers can be injured. We can't sit back and allow a DWI to be normal behavior when people naturally ask, "if he can do that, why can't I?" Our office handles many driving while intoxicated collision cases and sees how destructive these usually high-speed crashes can be.

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.

There have been hundreds of car wrecks in Texas since the historic winter storm shut down our state this week. If you have been injured in a Texas icy road accident, you need to know how to proceed. This article will answer questions you may have including
  • What should you do at the scene and later on?
  • When and how can you make an insurance claim?
  • Can you file on the other driver's liability company, your company, or both?
  • How can you prove the other driver was at fault?
  • Will you have to file a lawsuit?

10 steps to take if you have been in a Texas icy road accident

Horrifying series of collisions shuts down I-35

Early this morning, a thin layer of ice coating the high-speed toll lanes near North Side Drive on Interstate 35 North caused one of the worst series of crashes that Fort Worth has ever seen. The catastrophe made national headlines. This video shows the clean-up of the estimated 133 vehicles in the pile-up. Berenson Injury Law has handled many crashes on I-35, including a death caused when the reconstruction of the highway happened.
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