San Antonio Personal Injury Attorneys Ford and Laurel
>San Antonio Injury Lawyer Sandra D. Laurel Discusses the Kinds of Cases she Handles
For the past three decades , Ford and Laurel have assisted countless clients in a variety of personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Contrary to many firms that practice what’s known as “general law”, we have decided to stick with only two kinds of law as we seek to provide the best possible legal counsel in those two areas. This path of exclusivity has helped our attorneys be able to sharpen their skills and to reach a level of focus and experience that not many other firms can equal.
Because of this, when you decide to work with Ford and Laurel to help you on your personal injury or wrongful death case, you are teaming up with a group of lawyers who don’t just occasionally handle personal injury law, but rather are a very experienced firm that invests all its time handling cases just like yours.
We could be of assistance if you’ve suffered a variety of injuries, whether it’s brain injuries, spine injuries, soft tissue damage, any kind of catastrophic injury, broken bones, concussions, any other manner of bodily harm, or have been a part of an assault. Our San Antonio attorneys have years of experience assisting clients in getting proper compensation for everything ranging from dog bites to birth injuries, 18-wheeler accidents, head injuries, and construction accidents to car crash cases, compensation for being the victim of battery, slip and fall cases resulting from icy/wet floors, wrongful death cases, and much more. In our two decades since our firm began its practice, we have prevailed in countless personal injury cases assisting thousands of clients in getting compensation for financial damage, pain and suffering, medical costs and other forms of damages.
Personal injury law has a variety of subsections and while we have lots of experience handling all manner of personal injury cases there are numerous kinds of Texas personal injury cases that our San Antonio personal injury lawyers are very experienced in. For that reason, we take on the following kinds of cases:
Drunken Driving Accidents
Other Vehicle Accidents
Drug & Pharmacy Injuries
While the majority of personal injury law will be categorized in one of those previously mentioned categories, there are other forms of personal injury cases that we assist clients with as well. If you have sustained any kind of personal injury please call us today to get the assistance you need. What is a Personal Injury?
Anyone can get injured, but that doesn’t technically mean everyone will have a credible legal case. So the question arises: When is an injury a personal injury in the legal world? When it comes to the legal system, the term personal injury is one used to refer to the physical injury and the emotional trauma caused by the actions or non-action of another individual. Despite what many think, you can’t automatically sue everyone that is responsible for you being injured for any reason. An injury victim, who is known as the plaintiff in the justice system, has the responsibility to show in court that the person who caused their injury, called the defendant in the legal world, owed the victim a duty not to harm them. For example, if a suspect charges a police officer, attempting to harm him or her and the officer then hurts individual while legally defending himself, the suspect has no ability to sue the officer since the officer didn’t owe him a legal duty to protect him from harm. On the other hand, if your neighbor gets upset and hurts you, you’ll probably have the option to file a lawsuit against them since your neighbor owes you a legal duty not cause you harm. In both matters, an assault happened which led to an injury but only the latter situation could lead to a legal case since in that example the defendant broke a legal duty that was owed to the plaintiff and in the other example, the police officer wasn’t obligated to such a duty. A personal injury claim comes down to proving that the defendant had an obligation not to hurt you, showing that their actions did lead to some form of harm, and showing that harmed resulted in you suffering serious injuries or emotional distress. As the injured victim, it’s up to you to prove this. To go even further, you have to prove all this within the rules and guidelines of the court system, which become very formal. Most people damage their own personal injury cases because they just aren’t aware with how the court works, how procedures happen, how to file motions and pleadings, how to get credible evidence submitted, etc. Every case has a fact pattern but the particulars of your case, regardless of how favorable to you they appear, are worthless if you don’t know the proper procedure in which to get all the facts admitted onto the official record. Let’s be clear: It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove, and you’ll be unable to prove your case if you lack the understanding of the procedure required to get ALL of the relevant facts in your case admitted into court. This is a task that is much easier said than done and is the exact reason why you need to obtain a San Antonio personal injury attorney to assist you with a personal injury case.What Purpose Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Serve?
There are two goals with personal injury lawsuits. First, they let victims recover financially for the losses they’ve sustained due to the defendant’s actions. While it may sound bad to say that money can replace the emotional and medical stress you’ve endured, the facts are that most personal injuries cause some serious financial issues for victims and their families. Medical costs, repairs, and other types of expenses can add up quickly, especially if a victim is the main breadwinner who has been unable to get back to work because of his or her injuries. Recovering money from a defendant can help a family deal with these expenses following an injury. Second, personal injury lawsuits let victims have the opportunity to hold those liable parties accountable for their behavior. When you punish the defendant for causing your injuries, you decrease the chance that he’ll endanger others by acting in the same way down the road.What is a Solvent Defendant?
Since one of the objectives of a personal injury lawsuit is to obtain money from the party who caused your injuries, it’s typically not worth the time to file a lawsuit if the defendant has no means in which to pay. Let’s say a penniless old man living on the street hurls a rock from atop an overpass, and the rock smashes into your windshield, causing you to have a collision. Even if the old man was 100 percent responsible for the injuries that took place, there would be no purpose in filing a lawsuit against the man since the man is financially unable to assist you with your injuries. When a defendant can’t pay you damages in compensation for your injuries, the defendant is said to be insolvent. A defendant’s insolvency is a bad situation for an injured plaintiff to deal with, but it’s an issue which does happen on occasion.
In lots of instances, a defendant will claim to be insolvent, but actually have plenty of assets to use as compensation for your injuries. When some individuals are worried they could be involved in a lawsuit because they’ve caused harm to someone else, they take steps to hide their assets and make it seem like their insolvent. Lots of companies do this early on. If the defendant in your case has elected to do this, and you can’t show the real extent of his resources, it’s unlikely that you’ll be unable to obtain what your case is really worth. At Ford and Laurel, our San Antonio personal injury lawsuits do an asset check of the defendant in virtually every case we deal with. If the party responsible for causing your injuries is attempting to hide resources, odds are we’ll locate them.How is a Personal Injury Lawsuit Won?
It’s a common misbelief that the victim of a personal injury is instantly entitled to collect money from the party that was responsible for the damage. The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code state that personal injury victims have the ability to seek compensation for their injuries, but not necessarily the ability to collect anything. Since the defendant doesn’t automatically owe you anything, in order to get compensation for your losses you’ll need to obtain a positive settlement or verdict.
While most of us have seen jury trials in sitcoms and movies, the truth is that most cases never even reach a courtroom. Instead, the bulk of them are settled outside of court. In a settlement, the defendant agrees to pay a plaintiff an agreed upon amount of money for his injuries even though no judge has demanded him to do so. As a result of this, the plaintiff also agrees not to sue the defendant for additional money in the future. If you take a fair settlement offer, you’ll save time, effort, and the unknowns that come with being involved in a jury trial. However, if you’re persuaded into taking an unfair settlement, you’ll forever be barred from obtaining what your case really is worth. Because of this, it’s critical to have an attorney examine any settlement offer in a Texas personal injury case. Offers you get before you retained an attorney typically aren’t very fair, but they typically becoming binding if you take them. The tables turn dramatically when you have a San Antonio personal injury lawyer who can rely on their reputation to pressure the defendant in your case into settling for an honest amount.
Obtaining a proper settlement isn’t like a business transaction. It’s not like dealing with the price of a car or other purchase. It’s a serious mistake to believe that since you have some business sense that you are somehow able to negotiate a fair settlement by yourself. That only thing a defendant is concerned with is the chance at having to pay you additional money, especially if you’re involved with the defendant’s insurance company. If they offer you $10,000 it is because they accept the actual possibility that a jury may order them to pay $50,000 for instance. When a non-attorney threatens to sue an insurance company or tries to negotiate with an insurance company, they have zero leverage. Think about it for a second. If you take on the world heavyweight champion in a boxing match and have never won, he will not worry about you for a minute. However, if you’ve been winning for years and steadily climbed the heavyweight ranks, he will have to devote plenty of time and energy to you. Insurance companies and defense attorneys have this same approach. The San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Ford and Laurel have prevailed in cases against every well known US insurance company over the last 20 years. Insurers are aware of our name, and would usually prefer to settle cases for a fair amount with our clients than face off with our attorneys in trial.
Some Texas personal injury cases won’t be settled, and these are the cases that wind up in court. To emerge successful, you’ll need to provide evidence to meet your burden of proof in each of the four factors of a personal injury claim. These factors are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below, we’ll examine more of these in detail.Duty
To succeed in your case, you’ll first have to show what kind of duty of care the defendant owed you. In various situations, all of us owe different duties of care to behave in a way that won’t harm others. The most well-known duty of care is the duty to behave as a normal person would act to avoid inflicting harm with others. Though the “reasonable person standard” is the most often applicable duty of care, the standard differs depending on the situation involved and the link between the parties. Here are some examples of cases in which the reasonable person standard can’t be used:
You may have noticed signs posted in stories designed to protect you from getting harmed. For instance, a store may warn you that you are coming up on a step, the floor was just mopped, or that it’s not safe to keep your valuables outside in a locked car. Most of us wouldn’t tell friends who came to visit our homes about these conditions, so why do business owners have to do it? The answer is that store owners owe customers who enter their stores a huge duty of care – far greater than the duty we owe to house guests who visit our homes. But what happens when the store’s visitor is a trespassing burglar during the night, rather than a paying customer during regular hours? Does the store owner still owe the visitor that kind of caution? Most of the time the answer is no. The applicable duty of care differs tremendously depending on the visitor’s intentions.
Doctors and other healthcare workers are professionals who have invested years in learning how to treat and diagnose patients. Because of their years of training and experience, we demand healthcare professionals use their particular knowledge when treating and diagnosing their patients. For that reason, healthcare workers typically owe a higher duty of care to their patients compared to others. For example, while working, a doctor has to use the care of a reasonable doctor, and not just the care of a regular person.
How much care does your employer have to owe to keep your workplace safe for you to do your job? The answer to this question depends on what kind of worker you are. If you are an employee, your employer owes you a huge duty of care, and must maintain proper working conditions for your protection. However, temp workers, contractors, and volunteers (under specific circumstances volunteers are provided a legal duty) are all responsible for keeping their workplace safe. Employers in this case don’t owe them a duty of care to keep their worksite safe.
How cautious do we have to pay to guard passengers who are in our cars? Some states have specific laws that establish differences between paying passengers and nonpaying passengers who ride as guests. In those states, a driver has to be considerably more careful to ensure the safety of a paying passenger than he must to guard a friend who needs a lift.
Children usually aren’t held to the same standard of care as adults. Instead, they’re typically held to a smaller standard of care, depending on their experience and age. There are exceptions to this rule, though.
To understand the duty of care pertaining to your San Antonio personal injury case, it’s best to discuss this with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer. Texas civil law relies on what’s called joint and several liability. That means numerous defendants can be the proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injuries and the plaintiff can sue all of them. It’s crucial to talk to a lawyer to make sure you have properly accounted for all the possible defendants. For example, if you are hurt when your car is hit by a drunken driver, Texas law states you can sue both the drunken driver AND the establishment that served the motorist to the point of intoxication.
Once you’ve shown which duty of care applies to the defendant in your case, you’ll have to submit evidence to the court to show the defendant violated the duty of care he owed you. When using the reasonable person standard, defendants break their duty of care when they do something that a normal person wouldn’t, or try not to take some precaution that a normal person would have taken to help others.
There are three ways in which defendants typically violate their duty of care. Usually, a defendant violates his duty of care if he acts negligently. Negligence is what we think of as an error or accident. If a defendant is careless even for a brief second, he can be held liable for the consequences that follow. Second, gross negligence is a far more severe kind of negligence. A defendant has violated his duty of care by doing something grossly negligent if he has done something which is highly likely to lead to others being injured. For instance, a person who drives while drunk is grossly negligent, and violates the duty of care he owes to other drivers. Third, a defendant may violate his duty of care deliberately. It shouldn’t be any surprise to discover if a person does something with the intention of injuring someone else, he can be held accountable for his actions.Causation
Once you’ve proven that the defendant violated the duty of care he owed you, you’ll have to show that his actions were the result of your injuries. This can become complicated, especially if numerous parties may have played a factor in harming you. It’s common for defendants to try to switch the blame from themselves and over to third parties, or onto you, in hopes of ducking responsibility. If you don’t have proper evidence to show that it was the defendant who harmed you, you’ll wind up losing your case.Damages
Finally, your attorneys will need to show how much you’re entitled to collect in damages from the defendant. The total of damages is usually challenged in Texas personal injury cases, so it’s key to be able to both compile your damages and have proof of your injuries so you can prove your calculation is spot on.
It’s important to provide evidence on every part of your personal injury case to trial. If you don’t provide evidence for even one part of these elements, your lawsuit will be turned down and you’ll get zero for your injuries. A San Antonio lawyer who focuses on personal injury cases, like the lawyers at Ford and Laurel, can obtain evidence you need to prevail in your case and submit evidence to a jury.What Damages are Available to Personal Injury Victims?
There are two forms of damages available in most San Antonio personal injury cases. Special damages are damages that assist the plaintiff for his tangible economic losses. Lost income, loss of earning capacity and medical bills may all be compensable through special damages. While these losses are tangible, totaling them can become difficult. for instance, damages for loss of earning capacity assist a plaintiff for his lost future earnings as a result of his inability to get back to work because of his injuries. An obvious way to total the loss of earning capacity could be to multiply an accident victim’s salary before his injuries by the years remaining until retirement. This approach is too simplistic, though. The calculation of this form of damages must also factor in eventual promotions and raises that the victim could have obtained if he kept working. The time value of money must also be considered. The lawyers at Ford and Laurel know how total special damages and how to include all of these details.
The second form of damages that a plaintiff can obtain is general damages. General damages assist a plaintiff for non-economic losses he sustains because of a personal injury, like pain and suffering and other emotional trauma. Because of this form of loss, putting a price tag on these forms of injuries usually isn’t clear cut. In fact, the total amount of general damages can change dramatically from case to case, even when injuries are very similar. To figure out your general damages, call a veteran personal injury attorney in San Antonio.How Ford and Laurel Can Help
Because we focus on Texas personal injury claims, the San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Ford and Laurel are especially equipped to handle all kinds of Texas injury cases. We deal with all manner of our clients’ claims from start to finish. We know how to spot the defendants who caused your injuries and make sure they’re held responsible.
If you’d like additional information about what we can do for you, or if you’d prefer a free consultation regarding your specific legal situation, call us soon . Since we value strong communication with personal injury victims, we’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your calls and answer your questions you’ve got