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How Much Is a Good Settlement for Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?

Nerve damage is common after auto accidents. Nerves are sensitive, fragile tissues that can easily be pinched, compressed, crushed, or even severed in a serious accident—potentially leading to serious and lifelong physical and emotional distress.

Unfortunately, pinched nerves and other injuries are not always immediately apparent following a crash, which can prevent car accident victims from seeking the proper medical treatment right away.

If you’ve suffered nerve damage after a crash, you may wonder what kind of compensation you could receive from a personal injury claim. That’s not a simple question to answer, as nerve damage cases can be complex.

The good news is that you do not have to shoulder the financial burden alone, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get a good settlement to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect From a Nerve Damage Settlement?

Since there is such a wide variety of nerve injuries, there is no “one-size-fits-all” average car accident settlement for nerve damage. For a serious injury, the settlement could be in the millions of dollars.

Since there is such a wide variety of nerve injuries, there is no “one-size-fits-all” average car accident settlement for nerve damage. 

Here are a few key factors that go into calculating the settlement total:

  • Medical Costs: One of the easiest (although still complicated) factors to calculate is your medical bills. You can expect your settlement to cover the costs of any medical treatment, physical therapy, medication, home care, and anything else related to your injury—not only those you’ve already incurred, but also those you are expected to face in the future.
  • Lost Wages: If your nerve damage prevents you from working, or forces a career change to lower wage work, you can claim the lost wages and reduced future earning capacity as part of your economic damages.
  • Liability: If it isn’t clear who is at fault, or if the evidence of the nerve damage is weak, it may be harder to negotiate a good settlement from the insurance companies. A skilled attorney, like Tom Crosley, has the right experience to dig deep and make the facts of the case clear.
  • Policy limits: Your car accident attorney will help you identify all the insurance policies that cover your claim. This is particularly important if the at-fault driver was underinsured.

What About Pain and Suffering Damages?

In addition to economic damages, like your lost wages and medical bills, you can also demand compensation for your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Your car accident attorney will help you document how much physical pain you feel, how often you are in pain, and how it affects your daily life.

Other non-economic damages include compensation for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Types of Nerve Damage Common With Car Accident Injuries

Nerves are the messengers of the body, linking the brain and spinal cord to everything else. They are essential to everyday life, from what you feel to how you move.

These vital nerves can be damaged if they are stretched, crushed, pinched or severed. And because nerves serve so many critical functions—from sensation to motor control to regulating involuntary body functions—nerve damage injuries cause serious, wide-ranging, and sometimes permanent symptoms.

Nerve injuries can develop in almost any part of the body after car accidents, although they are frequently associated with back and neck injuries. Because the spinal cord plays such a critical role in so many body functions, injuries in these locations can be especially serious.

Nerves can also be compressed by broken bones or swelling from other injuries. For example, a herniated disc in your spine might compress or pinch a nerve.

Let’s break down the common types of nerve damage that can happen after a car crash, classified by location:

Radiculopathy: Spinal Nerve Damage

Your spinal cord runs from your brain to your lower back and contains the roots of 31 pairs of nerves that branch off your spine. Radiculopathy is damage to these nerve roots at the point where they branch off.

Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash, can injure any of these nerves and cause pain, tingling, headaches, and more. Injuries to the lower spine can cause hip pain and mobility issues.   

Peripheral Neuropathy: Non-Brain and Non-Spinal Nerve Damage

Peripheral nerves are outside of your brain and spinal cord, such as the radial, median, and ulnar nerves in your arm and the sciatic nerves in your legs. Peripheral nerves fall into two major categories:

  • Autonomic: Nerves that control involuntary functions, including heart rate, digestion, and glands.
  • Somatic: Nerves that control the senses, what you feel, and how you move. Sensory nerves connect to the ears, eyes, and skin to detect pain, images, sounds, and more. Motor nerves connect to the muscles to stimulate movement.

Myelopathy: Spinal Cord Compression or Damage

Unlike radiculopathy, which affects nerves as they branch off the spinal cord, myelopathy is the compression of the spinal cord itself. Myelopathy can happen anywhere along the spine, from your neck to your lower back.

People with myelopathy may experience pain, tingling, weakness, trouble with motor skills, or loss of function and control.  

Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Some common signs of nerve damage include:

  • Severe pain or shooting pain
  • Painful headaches
  • Spasms
  • Tingling, numbness, or burning
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth, dry eyes, lack of sweat
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Paralysis

RELATED POST: My Arm Tingles. Did I Suffer Nerve Damage in My Car Accident?

Working With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get Fair Compensation

Nerve damage personal injury cases can be very complex. Nerve damage can be subtle and hard to diagnose, particularly if there are other injuries as well.

If a pinched nerve injury (or related condition) causes permanent impairment, the pain and suffering damages should account for the long-term effects of the car accident. Unfortunately, since nerve damage is not as “visible” or easily proven as other injuries, insurance companies and juries may not treat them as seriously as they should.

It is important to find an attorney like Tom Crosley, who regularly handles nerve damage cases and will call in medical experts with the most advanced diagnostic tools. The team at Crosley Law can help you make sure you know what degree of nerve damage you have suffered, and whether it is permanent or will heal.  

For example, our law firm can connect injured people with neurologists who use electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction testing (NCT) to better understand nerve damage and its impacts, including pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness.

After you understand the severity of your injuries, your car accident attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies to decide a fair settlement amount. They will not settle without your agreement, so you have the final say in your nerve damage settlement.

Since nerve damage is not as “visible” or easily proven as other injuries, insurance companies and juries may not treat them as seriously as they should.

Nerve Damage Injury Cases: Real Life Examples From a Personal Injury Lawyer

While it is difficult to estimate what kind of compensation you might get from your settlement, it helps to look at some examples of other nerve damage cases we’ve handled in the past.

In one case, we represented a telecom worker who had a very heavy cabinet fall on him while on the job. This caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and permanent problems with memory, mood, and personality. His neck injury required surgery, and he also developed a seizure disorder. Because of the nerve damage, he suffers ongoing and chronic pain and limited use of one arm. Liability was clear in this case, and the telecom’s insurance company settled the case for $2.9 million.

In another case, our client J.T. was in his vehicle and was side-swiped by a semi. J.T. did not think his injuries were too serious, until a few days later when he experienced severe neck and arm pain. Herniated discs in his back caused pressure on his nerves, which led to shooting pains. The truck driver’s insurance company offered to settle the case for $65,000, but Crosley Law’s investigation revealed a history of reckless driving for the truck driver, and J.T. racked up serious medical bills trying to recover from the accident. Crosley Law helped J.T. reach a settlement of $337,500.

RELATED: Can a Car Accident Cause a Bulging Disc?

Crosley Law Can Help You Get the Best Settlement for Your Nerve Damage

If you have nerve damage from an auto accident, an attorney can help you get the best settlement for your case. A skilled lawyer who is knowledgeable about nerve damage will make the effort to find the true extent of your injuries, so that you are getting fair compensation.

We offer a free consultation, so you can talk to an attorney with no strings attached. To see what kind of compensation you may get for your nerve damage case, call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our contact form. We can help you find answers to your questions.

References

About peripheral nerves. (n.d.). UC San Diego Health. Retrieved from https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/neuro/specialty-programs/peripheral-nerve-disorders/pages/about-peripheral-nerves.aspx#:~:text=Peripheral%20nerves%20reside%20outside%20your,bodily%20functions%20and%20regulates%20glands.

Myelopathy. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/myelopathy#:~:text=Myelopathy%20is%20an%20injury%20to,runs%20almost%20its%20entire%20length.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Everything You Should Know About Airbag Injuries and Claims

Airbags can save lives, but sometimes things go wrong, and you are the one who pays the price. The unfortunate truth is that airbag injuries can be serious and even fatal, so it is important to understand why and how they can happen, and well as what to do in case you are injured.

But even if you understand the basics of airbag injuries, nothing can prepare you for when you are the victim of one.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of an airbag injury after a car accident, you deserve fair compensation and accountability. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can fight back for you, so you can focus on your recovery. At Crosley Law, we have a remarkable track record of success with complicated personal injury claims and are ready to help.

In this article, we will give you the information you need to understand who is responsible for airbag injuries and how they happen, as well as common injuries and how to protect your claim from potential pitfalls.

Are Airbags Dangerous? How They Work and Why Injuries Sometimes Happen

The short answer is that most airbags, in and of themselves, are not dangerous. But, depending on the specific airbag and situation, they can become dangerous. Let’s explore how this happens.

How Do Airbags Reduce Injury?

Here’s how airbags work: Your vehicle contains a crash sensor that detects collision, as well as how fast you’re moving when it happens. If you’re going fast enough that the crash could be severe (typically more than 15 miles per hour), a bag made of light material will deploy to absorb impact between people in the vehicle and the vehicle itself.

Usually, airbags are in the steering wheel, the glove compartment area (for the front seat passenger), by the windows, and in the front seats (for the back seat passengers).

To fill the airbag, inflators send out gas (usually nitrogen or argon). Although these gases have the potential to cause serious injuries, they are essential to ensuring the airbag inflates quickly enough during a collision and then deflates almost immediately afterward.

Why Airbag Deployment Injuries Happen

To be effective, airbags must rapidly inflate and then deflate almost as quickly. In a fraction of a second, an airbag can fly out at 200 miles per hour and exert 2,000 pounds of force. When it deflates, it may leave behind gases that irritate the eyes and skin.

People sitting low in the seat or close to the steering wheel are at greater risk of injuries to the head, neck, and chest, even when the airbag deploys exactly as it should.

While engineers have found ways to make airbags safer over the decades, the deployment process will always come with injury risks.

Beyond the risks of proper airbag deployment are the larger ones of faulty airbags that don’t do their job. This could happen because of:

  • A defective and dangerous inflation system, like those in ARC and Takata airbags
  • The bag itself has a flaw, such as a hole or tear
  • The sensor does not release or inflate the airbag upon collision
  • The sensor deploys the airbag too late upon collision
  • The airbag is deployed or inflated without a collision

If an airbag doesn’t inflate due to a leak or faulty sensor, or it inflates after the collision, the chances for severe injuries to your head or torso greatly increase.

A vehicle occupant is at greater risk for any airbag injury if they are:

  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • A child, especially if they’re under 12 and in the front seat
  • Sitting forward in the seat (not with their back against the seat)
  • Shorter than the average adult (less than 5 feet 4 inches)

Of all these risk factors, the one that drivers consider least is how height can affect the severity of an airbag injury. Smaller drivers tend to sit closer to the steering wheel to reach the pedals. This proximity to the steering wheel causes a harder impact closer to the body when an airbag deploys.

Many airbag claims are from smaller drivers with severe injuries, as these cases are easier to fight. Airbag claims are complex and often difficult to win, so cases tend to involve severe injuries, which are more common with shorter drivers.

Smaller drivers like Priscilla are at a higher risk of serious injury, especially if an airbag is defective. Many smaller drivers and front seat passengers receive serious or fatal injuries from airbag impacts striking them in the face or chest at a close distance. This forceful impact can result in eye, neck, or even heart injuries that can lead to long-term issues or death.

How You Can Seek Compensation for a Faulty Airbag

Certain malfunctioning airbags deploy after exposure to extreme heat or humidity, as with what happened during the infamous Takata airbag recall. Some of these airbags exploded upon deployment, killing more than 20 people and injuring hundreds.

An airbag that inflates when you don’t need it is another problem. The speed and force of the bag could injure vehicle occupants and cause an accident.

If you believe that your airbag injury was caused by a defective airbag, it is possible for you to get compensation, even if there is an active recall. By working with an experienced auto attorney, like those at Crosley Law Firm, you can file a special claim that will grant you compensation through a fund designed to help victims like yourself. 

RELATED: Takata Airbags: Dangerous Defects and What to Do About Them

Common Airbag Injuries

Car accidents happen so quickly; it can be difficult to tell exactly what happened and what caused specific types of injuries. Airbag injuries largely depend on how the person is sitting and where the airbag is located (frontal airbag, side airbags, etc.).

However, driver and passenger airbags tend to cause certain kinds of serious injuries:

  • Sprains and breaks in the wrists and hands
  • Bruising and contusions on the face, chest, and arms
  • Whiplash-related injuries to the neck and spine
  • Concussion, swelling, and other brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Injuries of the eyes and ears (including sight and hearing loss)
  • Rib fractures and other broken bones
  • Burns, lacerations, or abrasions on the skin from airbag fabric friction
  • Asthma attacks or other respiratory reactions to airbag gas

In the worst-case scenario, a faulty airbag deployment could result in fatal injuries and death. In recent years, it has been discovered that keeping your hands at the classic “10 and 2” position on the wheel can lead to more serious injuries than other hand positions.

According to AAA, this hand position can lead to injuries caused by either degloving (an injury involving skin or limbs being separated by a sudden impact) or by hands flying back into the driver’s face. AAA now recommends lower hand positions such as 9 and 3 or 8 and 4 that give the same control but with less risk of increased injury.

Related: Driving With Hands at 10 and 2 is Outdated and Dangerous

Who Is at Fault for Airbag Injuries?

In a motor vehicle accident, one or more drivers will be cited as being at-fault. In Texas, injured parties may seek compensation from the at-fault driver for their losses — as long as they were less than 51% at fault for the accident, according to Texas’ comparative fault rule.

However, if a faulty airbag or sensor caused some of your injuries, you might be able to file a claim against whomever is responsible for that defect. Your attorney will help you determine who that is, but possibilities include:

  • Automaker
  • Airbag manufacturer and supplier
  • Auto distributor
  • Specialist who fixed or reinstalled your airbag      

Determining which of these is at fault will depend on your specific injuries and the reason for the airbag’s improper deployment (or lack thereof). An experienced lawyer will have the resources to investigate here.

If, through investigation, the airbag is found to work properly, or you were sitting too far forward or weren’t wearing a seatbelt, you won’t be able to make a claim involving the airbag.

What Makes Product Liability Cases Different Than Personal Injury Claims?

When you are injured because of a faulty airbag, you might have additional legal claims against the airbag manufacturer, retailer, and other parties. Manufacturers and other companies often have higher policy limits than the average driver in Texas—which can improve your chances of recovering a fair settlement. However, product liability cases are even more complex than the typical personal injury claim.

In Texas, product liability claims follow a strict liability rule, so it is up to you to prove that the product was unsafe, and that this product’s defect was what caused your injuries. This is a complex problem to have, one that is best handled an experienced product liability attorney.

With the right legal help, you can ensure that others don’t suffer the same injuries you did due to someone else’s carelessness. It also gives you the opportunity to get the compensation you deserve directly from those responsible for your airbag injuries.

RELATED: An Intersection Collision, Airbag Defect, and Eye Injury: Priscilla’s Story

Factors that Can Impact Your Airbag Injury Settlement Amount

Just like the insurance company of the at-fault driver, the insurers of those responsible for an airbag malfunction will want to settle the claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.

It’s always in your best interest to wait until your lawyer can talk to the insurance companies and negotiate a fair settlement.

They will also anticipate anything that might negatively affect your settlement amount. An experienced lawyer, like those at Crosley Law, will work with you to understand these complications and address them. Maybe you are shorter, so you need to sit closer to the steering wheel, or maybe your injuries require specialized medical experts to connect them to your accident.

Whatever the circumstances of your airbag-related injuries, working with an attorney will improve your chances of a fair settlement. Personal injury lawyers have access to resources and experts who will present your case in the best light possible.

Experienced lawyers like Tom Crosley know what evidence to gather and use cutting-edge legal techniques to help you avoid these complications and strengthen your claim. Getting help from an attorney with experience in airbag injury claims gives you the opportunity to avoid and fight back against reaching excuses the insurance company may give to prevent you from wining.

Third-party airbag cases can be extremely complicated and often lead to serious hardship for those who try to go them alone. Evidence can be turned around on claimants, and claims can be wrongfully denied without the right expertise. That’s why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney that has the expertise to fight back against unfair denials.

Why Seeking Immediate Medical Attention is Important to Your Case’s Success

After a car accident, the first thing you should worry about is your safety, as well as the safety of those in your vehicle. You need to seek medical attention as soon as possible to make sure you can diagnose any injuries and increase your chances of recovery. The longer you wait after an accident, the more serious your injuries could become and the more impact those injuries could have on you and your loved ones later.

The other important part about seeking immediate medical attention is that it shows your insurance company your commitment to your well-being. It also gives you a higher likelihood of getting an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional that can directly link your injuries to your accident. This evidence is key to your claim and can end up being the difference between success and denial, like it was in Chelsea’s auto liability case.

RELATED: Don’t Miss Out on Product Liability Compensation After a Car Wreck

Crosley Law Knows How to Investigate Airbag Injury Cases

If you or a loved one were injured by an airbag, or you’re dealing with airbag related deaths, it’s time to talk to an experienced attorney. The team at Crosley Law has handled airbag deployment injury cases before and is ready to thoroughly investigate your claim.

To set up your free consultation with our legal team, call our office at (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or fill in the simple contact form on our website.

References

Airbags. (2021, March). Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. Retrieved from https://www.iihs.org/topics/airbags

Takata Recall Spotlight. (n.d.). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/takata-recall-spotlight

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Car vs. Pedestrian: Who Is at Fault for the Accident?

No amount of money will erase the emotional trauma of being in a car crash as a pedestrian. However, fair compensation for your suffering and financial costs is one way you can begin to rebuild your life and find some closure.

Securing that fair compensation might be more complicated than you’d expect, however—especially when you’re focused on healing, and perhaps supporting a family. Even if liability (legal responsibility) for your pedestrian accident is clear beyond a doubt, convincing the insurance company to pay you what you deserve can still be frustratingly complicated.

This article will explore the common causes of pedestrian-car accidents and who is often at fault. We’ll dig into the options you may have for filing claims and explain how the help of an experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference for your case.    

The Driver Is (Usually) at Fault for a Pedestrian-Car Accident

Before we go any further, let’s define “pedestrian.” A pedestrian is a person who’s on foot, walking or running, generally near a roadway. We would also include anyone sitting or lying in these locations, such as a person in a wheelchair or a baby in a stroller.

The person driving a motor vehicle is usually held liable for a pedestrian accident. This is because drivers are legally obligated to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution wherever and whenever pedestrians may be present, due to the significant danger that vehicles pose to people on foot even at low speeds. Even if a pedestrian does something unexpected or against the rules of the road, the driver may still be liable.

However, the driver being at fault is not guaranteed, and such cases are almost always more complicated than they seem.

Even if a pedestrian does something unexpected or against the rules of the road, the driver may still be liable.

Is a Driver Always at Fault When Hitting a Pedestrian?

It’s rare for a driver to completely avoid blame in these situations, although it can happen.

Again, part of the responsibility of driving is being constantly aware of surroundings and anything that might be in the path of the vehicle. Hitting a pedestrian with a car is pretty much the worst-case scenario, so drivers are expected to take every precaution to avoid that happening.  

Still, drivers can’t control everything, and this is where it gets more complicated and worth working with personal injury lawyers. Here are a few other entities that may be at fault for a pedestrian accident:

  • Governments and municipalities: Cities and other governing bodies are responsible to maintain traffic lights, pedestrian signals, and the roadways themselves. If someone is injured because of malfunctioning lights or damaged roads, you may be able to hold the governing bodies responsible.  
  • Employers of commercial drivers: While an employer can’t control a drivers’ every move, they are ultimately responsible for ensuring their company doesn’t cause accidents. If a delivery or work vehicle hits a pedestrian, the company may be considered liable.  
  • Pedestrians themselves: Again, people on foot aren’t generally faulted for getting hit. However, if a person suddenly darts into the road far from a designated crosswalk or completely ignores traffic laws, they may be at least partially at fault. We’ll talk more about this in the following section about comparative negligence.   

Comparative Negligence Can Mean Shared Fault and Less Compensation

Texas, like many states, observes a rule of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. This means that both the driver and the pedestrian (as well as other parties) may share in the blame for a pedestrian-car accident, and an injured pedestrian may still receive financial compensation even if they share some of the fault—though the amount of compensation will be reduced.

In Texas, comparative fault is modified so that an injured person can only get compensation if they aren’t more at fault than the other involved parties combined. In other words, the injured person can be 50% at fault and still get some compensation, but any more and they cannot receive anything. This is sometimes called a “51% bar.”

For example, let’s say a pedestrian ignores a traffic signal and darts out into the road right in front of an oncoming vehicle, making it extremely difficult for the driver to avoid hitting them. In this case, the injured pedestrian would almost certainly bear a large portion of the fault—quite possibly enough for them to be barred from compensation.

But imagine a similar scenario in which the driver was a little further away when the pedestrian began to cross the road, and under normal circumstances should have had plenty of time to react and avoid the collision. But because they were speeding, they were unable to stop in time. Now, things may be very different.

Let’s say the pedestrian was found to be 30% at fault for not following the traffic signal, while the driver took the remainder of the blame. In this scenario, the partially at-fault pedestrian would have their compensation reduced by their share of the blame. If they are claiming $100,000 in damages, they’d only be able to receive $70,000.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Clearly, car crashes involving pedestrians can quickly become complex, especially if you’re going up against a city government or large company. These groups tend to have huge legal and insurance teams who want to close the case as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and they might try to shift blame your way in the process.

Furthermore, at-fault drivers and employers are not always completely honest about what happened in a pedestrian accident, and they might do their best to minimize how careless they appear.

Consider our client, John, who was hit by a commercial truck while crossing a street in San Antonio. The trucking company first tried to deny liability entirely. And even after our team provided overwhelming evidence of their negligence (including the driver’s own admission), they still tried to avoid paying their fair share by arguing that John’s medical bills were excessive. Fortunately, our team proved them wrong on each point, ultimately securing $178,000 for John.      

Car crashes involving pedestrians can quickly become complex, especially if you’re going up against a city government or large company. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to negotiate with these various groups and will take on the heavy lifting and busy work while you focus on healing. They can guide you through the entire process, from filing a claim to a personal injury lawsuit to financial compensation.  

In the meantime, take note of your daily pain and struggles. How have your injuries negatively impacted your life beyond the financial costs? A record of your suffering will help your attorney show the insurance company what you deserve.

RELATED: Here’s What You Need to Know if You’ve Sustained a Pedestrian Injury

Take note of your daily pain and struggles. How have your injuries negatively impacted your life beyond the financial costs? A record of your suffering will help your attorney show the insurance company what you deserve.

Common Causes of Car-Pedestrian Accidents

If cars are on the road, and pedestrians are on the sidewalk, why and how do so many pedestrian accidents happen? Typically they occur at intersections and crosswalks, but pedestrians can be hit in parking lots, highways, and elsewhere. Here are a few of the more common situations.

Cars Turning Into Pedestrians

Sometimes drivers are so focused on watching for other cars and trying to find a gap in traffic to merge into that they forget to watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This can happen on a right turn at an intersection, but is even more likely if the vehicle is turning left.

Sadly, these attempts to “shoot the gap” and merge into high speed traffic without checking for people on foot are especially likely to result in severe pedestrian injuries and pedestrian deaths.

Parking lots are another potentially dangerous place for pedestrians. Even cautious drivers might not see a person about to walk behind their car or between vehicles.

Broken Traffic Lights or Signals

Drivers and pedestrians trust signs, traffic lights, and crosswalk signals to indicate where they should be and when it’s safe to move. Because these things usually work properly, we might trust them so much that we don’t check to see if they’re correct.

For example, drivers are so accustomed to safely going through green lights that they often don’t check to make sure that the cross traffic (pedestrians or other vehicles) has actually stopped. But on the off chance a light is malfunctioning and stuck on green, it’s always worth glancing right and left to be certain the way is clear.

If a crosswalk signal isn’t working, pedestrians won’t know when it’s their turn to cross, especially at more complicated intersections. This could lead to someone venturing into the road when they think it’s the safest time, only to be struck by a driver following a totally different signal.    

Poor Layout and Design

The design and layout of streets and sidewalks can actually increase the chances of a car accident and a pedestrian getting hit, especially as speed limits continue to rise.

For example, imagine a crosswalk right after a curve on a busy road. A driver coming around the bend probably won’t be ready to immediately stop for a pedestrian, even if they’re observing the speed limit and watching the road.

Some roads don’t even have sidewalks, making it more likely that pedestrians will be in the road and in the way of motor vehicles.   

Pedestrians Being Where They Shouldn’t

In general, drivers are considered liable when they hit pedestrians, even if the pedestrian wasn’t following all the laws perfectly. However, when a pedestrian is somewhere they shouldn’t be, it increases the chance that they’ll get hit.

For example, crossing a busy road anywhere other than at a crosswalk means the traffic is less prepared to stop and not watching as closely for people on foot. Likewise, walking along the edge of the road, instead of on the sidewalk, puts a pedestrian in greater danger.

In some cases, a pedestrian might put themselves in danger by walking somewhere they aren’t allowed, such as on the shoulder of a highway. Often, people doing this are walking away from a broken-down car or bringing gas to a vehicle they left on the side of the road.      

RELATED: Hit by a Delivery Driver, a Pedestrian Gets a Settlement: Zak’s Story

Contact Crosley Law for Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

At Crosley Law, we have decades of experience with all kinds of personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents involving significant injuries. No matter how serious or complex a case is, we’re ready to fight for fair compensation.

We begin every case with a free case evaluation, where we get to know you and your story better. Schedule yours today by calling 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or completing the easy contact form on our website.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Drunk and Impaired Driving: A Crash Victim’s Essential Guide

Driving drunk is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible things a driver can do. Unfortunately, millions of people take this risk every single year. When drunk drivers hit the road, they endanger the lives of others and can cause serious injuries or even death in an accident. 

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to a drunk driver, you probably have many questions. At Crosley Law, we want to help. Our injury attorneys have represented drunk driving victims for decades, helping them navigate their complex claims and get the compensation they deserve.  

In this article, we outline the essentials that everyone needs to know after a drunk driving crash. 

hit by a drunk driver

Texas’ Drunk and Drugged Driving Laws: The Fundamentals 

In Texas, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re found driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above 0.08 or while under the influence of drugs, you can face criminal penalties — including jail time and fines. You also cannot have open containers of alcohol in your vehicle, even if your motor vehicle is parked or stopped.  

Most people focus on these criminal penalties, but there’s more to Texas’ drunk driving laws. If an impaired driver injures or kills someone, they may also be financially liable (beyond legal fines) under the state’s personal injury laws. 

The Differences Between Criminal and Civil Drunk Driving Cases 

If a drunk driver injured you or someone you care for, a prosecutor may press charges and try to convict them of driving under the influence (DUI). This is a criminal case, and the goal is to punish wrongdoing, not compensate you for your injuries. The State of Texas will handle the criminal prosecution, and they will likely ask you to cooperate. 

In addition to the criminal case, you may also have personal injury claims. However, the prosecutor will not handle this for you. Instead, a drunk driving accident lawyer can help you file claims with the correct insurance companies, negotiate a settlement, and (if necessary) present your case to a jury. 

While criminal prosecutors must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” you won’t have to face this  difficult standard in a civil personal injury case. Instead, if you can prove that the at-fault driver was most likely acting recklessly or negligently, you should be eligible for compensation. In fact, it’s possible to file a civil lawsuit even if the prosecutor decided not to press charges against the drunk driver. 

You should not wait until the criminal case is closed before you talk to a personal injury attorney. In Texas, you only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait too long, you may miss this deadline, or you might discover that valuable evidence was lost or destroyed. To protect yourself, it’s always best to consult an experienced San Antonio drunk driving injury lawyer as quickly as possible. 

Chances of Being Hit by a Drunk Driver Increase Around Holidays 

Across the country, drunk driving accident numbers increase on and around holidays. While everyone enjoys celebrating these holidays, people are out drinking in greater numbers at bars and parties, which can lead to more dangerous driving conditions for other drivers.  

According to Texas’ Crash Records Information System (CRIS), there have been over 2,500 crashes involving alcohol in San Antonio alone this past year. Among these accidents, the highest concentration of crashes occur around holidays — including New Year’s Eve, Halloween, and Fiesta.  

During Fiesta 2021, there were 83 drunk driving accidents over the course of the festival. Three of these accidents were fatal, and 26 caused minor or severe injuries to either the other driver or the drunk driver. 

By staying aware of these trends, drivers can reduce their risk during these high-risk times. Sadly though, the unfortunate truth is that a drunk driving car accident can happen at any time to anyone. If you or a loved one are injured due to someone else’s negligence, call an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer to get the help you need so you can focus on your recovery. 

RELATED: Hit by a Drunk Driver? You May Be Able to Get Punitive Damages 

4 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Drunk Driving Injury Claim From the Insurance Company 

After a drunk driving crash, it’s important to act quickly and decisively. Prompt action could save lives and ensure that the at-fault driver is held accountable.  

Take the following steps after a wreck with an impaired driver. 

1. Call 911 and Cooperate With the Authorities 

Immediately after the collision, call 911 and request assistance. If you already suspect that the driver is intoxicated, report your concerns to the emergency operator. If possible, provide details. For example, if the driver approached you and smelled heavily of alcohol, or if you saw them disposing of bottles or cans, report what you observed to both the operator and the police officers.  

This information can help the authorities recognize a potential drunk driver, and your concerns should be noted in the police report. Later, this documentation may serve as powerful evidence in a personal injury claim. 

2. Preserve Your Evidence 

In addition to cooperating with law enforcement, you can (and should) actively preserve evidence. For example, if possible, take pictures or videos of the crash scene, your injuries, and the vehicles involved. These images might help accident reconstructionists and other experts explain the causes and severity of the crash. 

Electronic data can help your case, too. For example, many commercial vehicles have onboard systems that track the vehicle’s every move. These systems may even record what’s going on inside and outside the vehicle. Nearby businesses might also have surveillance footage of the crash. If you wait too long, however, this information could get lost or destroyed. So, you’ll want your lawyer to start their investigation as soon as possible. 

3. Get Medical Treatment for Your Injuries 

Immediately after a serious car crash, you might not fully understand the severity of your injuries. Your body will be pumped full of endorphins:, the “fight or flight” chemicals that help us function under stressful circumstances. Unfortunately, these chemicals can also mask injuries. And some conditions, like herniated discs and concussions, can take time to develop.  

The sooner you see a doctor, the faster your medical team will identify these developing injuries. Regardless of whether you feel any discomfort after a car crash, you should seek medical treatment to be absolutely sure and to establish documentation should you choose to pursue legal action.  

Medical records are an essential part of your drunk driving injury claim. These records provide fact-based information about the severity of your injuries, help us understand your likelihood of a full recovery, and document your treatment. Without strong medical evidence, it’s tough to win a personal injury claim.  

You should also keep copies of all of your medical bills so your San Antonio drunk driving injury attorney can include them in your settlement demand. An experienced attorney will help you to calculate your total costs, as well as any future costs, so you don’t have to. 

4. Work With a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Who Understands Your Claim 

If you survived a drunk driving crash, you’ll want to spend your time focusing on your recovery, not your legal claims. And if you lost your loved one due to a drunk driver’s recklessness, litigation is the last thing on your mind. That’s why many families turn to the trusted injury attorneys at Crosley Law. We’ve developed a national reputation for our detailed investigations, innovated cutting-edge legal tactics, and built track record of results. 

An experienced car accident attorney will help protect you from the tricks that the drunk driver’s insurance company will use to cheat you out of a fair settlement. By hiring an attorney early in the process, you can avoid lowball settlement offers, get an accurate calculation of your damages, receive the right medical care the first time, and participate in your legal claim — organizing and interpreting medical records and medical bills. 

When you work with our law firm, we’ll handle most of the details of your case, giving you the time and space you need to recover from your injuries and emotional distress. But we’ll keep you informed along every step of the way and educate you about your options while explaining Texas’ negligence laws and providing the emotional support you need.  

RELATED: How to Prove Buzzed Driving in Texas 

Drunk Driving Injury Settlements: What’s Your Case Worth? 

If the insurance company offers you a quick settlement after a drunk driving crash, you should be wary. Insurance companies often try to make lowball offers and close out cases as quickly as possible, something an experienced attorney will be able to spot.  

The insurance adjuster hopes you’ll undervalue your case and take a lump-sum payout before you talk to an experienced lawyer. Instead, once you get an experienced lawyer on your side, you can fight back against unjust offers or even take a case to trial — just like Jamie and Ryan did to get the compensation they deserved. 

Drunk driving victims may be entitled to numerous damages, including: 

  • Medical bills and other future medical expenses 
  • Lost wages and wage-earning capacity 
  • Property damage costs, including repairs and replacements 
  • Improvements that you make to your home or vehicle to make them accessible 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress 
  • Loss of companionship and consortium 
  • Funeral and burial expenses 
  • Punitive damages 

Unlike other forms of damages, punitive damages aren’t designed to compensate you for your losses. Instead, they aim to punish a wrongdoer for their intentional or reckless actions. While punitive damages are relatively rare in a “typical” personal injury claim, they often come into play in cases involving drunk or drugged driving. In cases like Ed’s family’s, these damages were given in an amount that reflects the unjust damage done to a drunk driving accident’s victims. 

If you do not demand punitive damages early in your claim, they may become unavailable. So, it’s important to act quickly and consult with a knowledgeable drunk driving injury lawyer.  

Damages like pain and suffering are hard to calculate and are often where insurance companies will take advantage of injured drivers. Get help calculating these damages from an experienced lawyer to be sure you are not being cheated out of any non-economic damages. Personal injury lawyers have experience calculating these damages and might be able to help you get compensation you didn’t know you were entitled to. 

You may also have legal claims against parties other than the drunk driver. For example, if the driver was in the course of their employment, you can demand compensation from the company. Similarly, if a bar or restaurant overserves someone, you may have a dram shop liability claim against the establishment. 

Crosley Law: Fighting for Drunk Driving Accident Survivors and Their Families 

If a drunk driver injured you or someone you love, the injury attorneys at Crosley Law want to help. Our team has built a reputation based on our cutting-edge and compassionate approach to drunk driving claims. We work hard to protect you from unfair offers, hold the at fault driver accountable, and get a settlement that covers your medical expenses and pain and suffering. 

To schedule your free consultation, you can reach us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our contact form.  

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

Is it Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about personal injury attorneys. Many people are reluctant to seek out legal representation after a car or truck accident, or even medical malpractice, because of stories they’ve heard or what they’ve seen on TV. Often, they’re particularly concerned about the costs associated with hiring a personal injury lawyer.  

At Crosley Law Firm, we want to put those fears to rest, because the right lawyer can make a world of difference when it comes to the success of personal injury cases. Because we care deeply about our clients and community, we know it’s important to outline exactly what that difference is.   

In this post we’ll discuss the benefits of working with a personal injury law firm, and how it can impact your personal injury claim for the better. And—spoiler alert—it’s far more affordable than you might think. 

The Benefits of Legal Representation for Your Personal Injury Claim 

Assumptions about cost, timelines, and more lead some injured people to tackle personal injury claims on their own. Later, they realize the situation is more complex than anticipated. Then, when they finally do talk to an attorney, they discover that everything would have been simpler if they’d done that in the first place.  

Sadly, sometimes waiting too long to get an attorney involve means permanent loss of access to evidence and witnesses, missed deadlines, and other mistakes that significantly jeopardize the chances of a successful recovery. 

Let’s talk about the specific ways a personal injury lawyer can benefit your case right from the get-go.  

Assumptions about cost, timelines, and more lead some injured people to tackle personal injury claims on their own. Later, they realize the situation is more complex than anticipated.

Not Having to Interact with the Insurance Companies 

In most states (including Texas), the at-fault party’s insurance policy compensates the injured person for their damages. Before that money is handed over, however, the insurance company investigates the incident and resulting injuries, pain, and suffering experienced by the injured party. 

Make no mistake: their goals are to minimize how much they pay and close the claim as quickly as possible, not to ensure generous and compassionate compensation. 

For the average person, being on the other side of those negotiations is a lot to handle. An insurance adjuster is trained to sound like your friend when you talk to them, but in reality, they’re trying to get you to say anything that might jeopardize your claim, or at least reduce the amount the insurance company will have to pay out.     

An experienced personal injury lawyer is familiar with these tactics and, unlike the insurance company, has plenty of reasons to help you get full and fair compensation.  

RELATED: Proving “Invisible” Injuries After a Catastrophic Truck Crash: Joshua’s Story 

More Time to Focus on Your Recovery 

Managing a personal injury case successfully is a time-consuming process. As you likely know, healing (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from an injury is also very time-consuming. For you, the most important thing is to focus on getting better. 

That’s difficult to do when you’re negotiating with the insurer, scrambling to prove how your life has changed, and slogging through legal codes and jargon. Fortunately, that kind of complex, focused work is exactly what a personal injury attorney is trained for, and loves to do—giving you the time you need to focus on healing. 

Support in Claiming Non-Economic Damages 

Gathering documentation of your medical costs, lost income, and other measurable, economic damages might be relatively straightforward if you’re careful about recording and keeping the receipts. But these aren’t the only kinds of losses you may be eligible to be compensated for.   

Personal injury claims often include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of opportunity. Unlike economic costs, these aren’t so easily measured or proven, and different insurance companies may make inaccurate or unfair assumptions when estimating them.  

Your personal injury attorney understands how these losses are typically calculated and has a better chance of negotiating them with the insurance company than you do on your own.  

RELATED: Father and Son Get More Than a Settlement: Michael and Justin’s Story 

Expertly Negotiated Medical Bills 

You shouldn’t have to pay any medical costs when you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, particularly while your personal injury case is ongoing. However, providers will often file medical liens requiring you to pay them back directly out of your settlement or jury award, before you can take any for yourself. 

Unfortunately, in some cases this can leave the injured person and their family with little to nothing left over, particularly in catastrophic injury situations where the costs of care exceed liability insurance limits. The obvious question here is this: Why should you fight for more money if it’s just going to be taken away from you anyway? 

A personal injury lawyer not only fights to get maximum compensation for your claim, but also negotiates with health care providers to settle your medical debt for a reduced amount. Every dollar saved here means more money back in your pocket to help rebuild your life. 

RELATED: Negotiating Medical Bills: How a Lawyer Can Help After a Crash 

A personal injury lawyer not only fights to get maximum compensation for your claim, but also negotiates with health care providers to settle your medical debt for a reduced amount.

Peace of Mind 

For so many injured people and their families, the complexities and uncertainties of the claims process are the hardest parts of getting “back to normal” after an accident. If you take on a personal injury case alone, you may constantly worry that you’re missing something or didn’t understand important details.  

When you work with a personal injury attorney, a lot of that worry is calmed. You can rest easy, knowing that an experienced professional is taking care of the heavy lifting and red tape. Best of all, a peaceful mind is an important part of your physical healing.      

If you take on a personal injury case alone, you may constantly worry that you’re missing something or didn’t understand important details.  

A Larger Settlement 

It’s common for an at-fault party’s insurance company to quickly contact injured people and offer what they hope sounds like a fair settlement. The idea is that you take the money, and that’s the last they hear of it. The problem is that those settlement offers tend to be far less than injured people actually need rebuild their lives.   

Your best bet is to avoid speaking to the at-fault party’s insurer and let a personal injury lawyer do the talking instead. Attorneys are experts who stay up to date on recent changes to the law. They’ve worked on hundreds or even thousands of cases and know exactly what information they need and how to get it. They have networks of other attorneys, consultants, and expert witnesses to help them build and make a case for each one of their clients.  

All that to say, they have tools their clients don’t, and use them to demand and secure more money than most people could on their own—even after considering lawyer’s fees. While it’s true that getting your compensation will probably take longer when a personal injury lawyer is involved, that timeline is worth the wait.   

Lawyers have tools their clients don’t, and use them to demand and secure more money than most people could on their own—even after considering lawyer’s fees.    

Contingency Fees and What They Mean for Personal Injury Claims 

It’s normal to be concerned about costs when you hire an attorney. Fortunately, with the way most personal injury lawyers work, you won’t even have to pay anything out of your own pocket. This holds true whether or not you file a personal injury lawsuit or go to trial. 

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means they only get paid if they secure your settlement or jury award. Further, legal fees come out of that settlement or award. For many people, this is a huge relief and makes hiring a law firm well worth it. 

RELATED: Cutting-Edge Tactics Result in a $16M Jury Award: Jerry M.’s Story 

It’s normal to be concerned about costs when you hire an attorney. Fortunately, with the way most personal injury lawyers work, you won’t even have to pay anything out of your own pocket.

Crosley Law Is a Leading Personal Injury Attorney in San Antonio 

Crosley Law is honored to help injured people get justice in San Antonio, and we’re ready to hear your story. If you or someone you love is facing injuries, mounting medical expenses, and pain because of someone else’s negligence in a car accident or other incident, now’s the time to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.  

We always offer free case reviews at the beginning of any attorney-client relationship. If we represent you in your personal injury claim, we won’t charge a penny unless you receive a settlement or we win your case in court. Call to set up your free consultation at (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or use the easy contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!  

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

Texas Personal Injury Law Changes: Texas Tort Reform

Unexpected accidents happen more frequently than most of us like to admit. Car wrecks, workplace injuries, even major trucking crashes occur every day. Often, these unexpected tragedies were preventable, if only someone had put down their phone while driving, promptly addressed a workplace safety issue, or performed their required duties.  

In the eyes of the law, if someone fails to behave as a reasonable person would in the same situation, they may be held responsible for any injuries resulting from their actions or neglect.  

However, getting the insurance companies or courts to agree about who is at fault and how much injured people deserve isn’t always so straightforward. Recent changes in the Texas legal system have further complicated this for our clients and others.  

This article will explain tort and tort reform, as well as what it means for injured people in Texas. We’ll also outline how working with an experienced personal injury attorney can make the entire process smoother.  

Tort Reform and Texas Personal Injury Claims 

In 2003, a new tort reform law took effect in Texas, and that law makes it harder for injured people to develop personal injury claims and secure full compensation for pain and suffering after an accident.  

First, let’s clarify what tort reform means. A tort is a wrongful action that harms someone else and results in legal responsibility (liability) for the wrongdoer. A tort isn’t necessarily a crime, though it can be both (such as drunk driving).  

Tort law addresses how people who have been injured or wronged can seek financial compensation from the responsible party in civil court—as opposed to criminal law, which is how the state punishes wrongdoers for crimes they commit. Thus, tort reform involves changing the civil justice system around personal injury and other tort cases.  

Often, tort reform makes it harder for injured people (plaintiffs) to bring their case to court and receive full and fair compensation. The typical justifications for this tend to be about efficiency in the court systems, keeping legal costs down for businesses, and how litigation isn’t always the best way to compensate injured people.  

Often, tort reform makes it harder for injured people (plaintiffs) to bring their case to court and receive full and fair compensation. The typical justifications for this tend to be about efficiency in the court systems, keeping legal costs down for businesses, and how litigation isn’t always the best way to compensate injured people. 

Tort Reform in Texas   

Texas injury law and claims became more complex in the early 21st century with state tort reform. In 2003, lawmakers put a cap on how much plaintiffs can receive for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. Unlike medical costs and lost wages, noneconomic damages are harder to measure. Examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. 

Negotiating noneconomic damages with insurance companies was already difficult, and this tort reform puts the most pressure on those with the greatest need.    

The new cap was set at $250,000. While this might be enough to compensate some people for noneconomic damages after a medical malpractice case, it falls far short for many whose lives were shattered by catastrophic situations.  

In 2003, lawmakers put a cap on how much plaintiffs can receive for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.

One Family’s Medical Malpractice Case 

We can’t help but think of our client, John, and his family when discussing fair compensation for medical malpractice. Shortly after successful treatment for a heart attack, an air bubble in John’s brain caused catastrophic injuries and put him in a permanent vegetative state. He will need complete care for the rest of his life.   

The fact that John had this air embolism so soon after heart surgery was suspicious. First, the likelihood of this complication after bypass surgery is less than 0.003%, and half of those who develop them end up just fine. Second, in the months before John’s embolism, a specific employee of the hospital treating him had been linked to multiple incidents of air entering patient IVs.  

Without a doubt, this was a medical malpractice case in which the family had every right to demand not only major economic damages, but significant non-economic damages around grief, mental anguish, stress, and loss of companionship.   

With the help of medical experts, our team calculated the massive costs John’s family could expect for his lifetime of care. While we were able to secure a satisfactory settlement, would $250,000 really make up for what John lost and how devastated his family would continue to be?    

Tort reform does not usually make things easier for injured people in Texas. In the case of the 2003 changes, it favors doctors, who now pay less to insurance companies to cover their practice. It’s just one more reason that an experienced injury attorney is such an important part of getting the compensation you deserve.  

RELATED: Crosley Law Helps Victim of Negligent Hospital: John’s Story 

Recovering UIM Coverage and Attorney’s Fees in Texas  

Crosley Law was particularly proud to be involved in a case that went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and made fair coverage more accessible for injured people.  

In Texas, drivers are required to carry a basic liability policy to pay for injuries they cause while behind the wheel. Individuals have the option to add uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) coverage for themselves, which can supplement if the person who injured them doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover the medical costs. 

For example, if you are injured in a car crash and have $80,000 in medical bills, but the person who caused the accident only has $30,000 of insurance coverage, you could supplement $50,000 from your own UIM policy.    

In 2021, Allstate v. Irwin addressed the issue of insurance companies fighting their customers’ UIM claims, forcing injured people to hire attorneys and possibly take their cases all the way to court. Specifically, the case examined whether insurance companies should owe their customers’ attorney’s fees in addition to the insurance payment if they refuse to pay out policies and drag their customers through a lengthy legal process.   

Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with injured parties, setting a precedent for insurance companies to pay out UIM policies sooner rather than later. Our team was honored to play a part in this win for injured people and their families in Texas.       

RELATED: Crosley Law Achieves $498,960 Verdict in Texas in Car Crash Case Against Allstate 

Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Such a Difference for Personal Injury Cases 

For most people, tackling a Texas personal injury case on their own is a huge and difficult undertaking, and tort reform only makes it harder. When you or your loved ones are focused on healing after an accident, it’s in your best interest to have someone else do the heavy lifting of dealing with the insurance companies and the court system.  

Beyond that, experienced Texas attorneys often work with experts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists, to build the strongest possible case.   

Crosley Law has been honored to help clients get fair compensation under current tort law, and Jerry’s story is one we’re particularly proud of. On the way home from bringing his son to the hospital, Jerry was hit by a big rig that was driving the wrong direction on the highway.  

While getting coverage for Jerry’s physical injuries was relatively easy, the insurance company denied his claim of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because of a “normal” MRI scan.  

The reality for Jerry, however, was that his “invisible” injury was negatively impacting his mood, behavior, relationships, career, and general ability to manage day-to-day life. Although his physical injuries continued to heal, Jerry’s quality of life declined, affecting everything and everyone he loved.  

Fortunately, Crosley Law was able to connect with leading scientists and brain specialists, who used cutting-edge technology to prove the seriousness of Jerry’s brain trauma. In the end, a jury awarded him $16 million for his losses.   

It’s important to remember that medical malpractice can apply to wrongful death cases as well as personal injury cases. When a family is facing the loss of a loved one and needs compensation, an attorney can step in to support their demands during a tumultuous and difficult period.     

RELATED: A Grieving Mother Clears Her Daughter’s Name: Amanda and Jane’s Story  

When you or your loved ones are focused on healing after an accident, it’s in your best interest to have someone else do the heavy lifting of dealing with the insurance companies and the court system.  

From Whiplash Injury Claims to Catastrophic Damages 

You don’t have to have a million-dollar claim or life-shattering injury to make a personal injury lawyer worth your while. In many cases, whiplash injuries sustained in typical road traffic accidents are enough to make you eligible for financial compensation.  

Of course, when you or a loved face the aftermath of a horrific accident and serious injuries, or even death, your lawyer is there to provide not only legal services, but peace of mind.     

RELATED: What Does a San Antonio Car Accident Lawyer Do? 

Crosley Law is Your Leading Personal Injury Firm in Texas 

At Crosley Law, we bring the experience and knowledge to build a strong case and navigate negotiations with the insurance companies. Regardless of tort reform laws and other attempts to limit injured people’s options, we fight back with all we have to secure the compensation you deserve.  

We always begin the attorney-client relationship with a complimentary case evaluation. To set up your free consultation today, call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or use the easy contact form on our website.   

 

 

References 

Berlin, J. (2020, May 29). Tort reform on trial: Houston case challenges noneconomic damage cap. Texas Medical Association. Retrieved from https://www.texmed.org/TexasMedicineDetail.aspx?id=53720   

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

What Is a Medical Lien—and How Will it Affect My Personal Injury Settlement?

We probably don’t have to tell you that dealing with medical bills, insurance companies, and a mountain of paperwork is not easy—especially when you’re also trying to recover from the injury that caused it all.

If you’ve made a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how long it will take to get the compensation you deserve. And if you’ve found out that there is a medical lien against your personal injury settlement, you may now be wondering if you’ll even have anything left over for yourself once the health insurance provider gets its cut.

It’s important to understand how medical bills are paid after an accident, and who may have a claim for reimbursement after you obtain your personal injury settlement. How will a medical lien affect your compensation?

What is a Medical Lien?

When you make a personal injury claim, you will naturally demand compensation for any medical care you’ve already received, as well as future medical expenses, current and future lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, some of your medical bills may have already been paid, in part or in full, by your health insurance company, your own auto insurance company (via a PIP or Med Pay policy), or others. Other hospital bills may simply go unpaid until you are able to recover compensation from the at-fault party—a process that could take months, or even years.

These healthcare providers and insurance companies may then say to you, essentially, that while you may be entitled to compensation, they are also entitled to be reimbursed for emergency medical services, ongoing medical bills, and other expenses they’ve already paid on your behalf.

In order to ensure they get paid, these parties may file a medical lien against your personal injury lawsuit settlement proceeds. A medical lien (also known as a hospital lien when filed by a healthcare provider) requires you to pay these parties directly from your settlement or jury award before the remainder of that money gets to you.

What Is Subrogation?

In legal terms, subrogation is an insurance carrier’s right to pursue the responsible party for the purpose of collecting debt or damages. This frequently occurs in auto accident cases, to use a common example, in which the at-fault driver’s insurance company must repay other insurers that stepped in to cover some of the up-front costs.

Without subrogation, the injured person may receive a large windfall if they receive a settlement for medical bills that they did not pay. However, sometimes the insurance company will try take an unfair portion of your settlement. Between the insurance company and the lawyer fees, you might get next to nothing.

This is why it’s very important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer when a medical lien has been filed against your case, they will make sure that insurance is only getting reimbursed for what is fair.

Without subrogation, the injured person may receive a large windfall if they receive a settlement for medical bills that they did not pay. However, sometimes the insurance company will try take an unfair portion of your settlement. Between the insurance company and the lawyer fees, you might get next to nothing.

Who Can File a Medical Lien?

Depending on the specific situation of your injury, your healthcare costs may have been covered by different organizations (including the direct providers of your medical care). The way those medical liens are treated can vary for different organizations.

If you were the victim of an accident, one of the following organizations may have paid for your healthcare and filed a medical lien.

  • Your health insurance or the at-fault person’s insurance.
  • A government entity, including Medicaid, Medicare, or Veteran’s Administration (VA).
  • Other insurance, like Med Pay or Workers Comp. (In Texas, PIP insurance is not subject to subrogation, whereas Med Pay is.)
  • Hospitals or other medical providers.

In particular, government agencies and programs can add complication to personal injury cases. Medicaid, Medicare, and VA subrogation interests are known as “super liens,” where the program has a legal right to reimbursement from the settlement awards if they have paid for health expenses following your accident. Their subrogation interest is applied to the entire settlement, not just the medical bills portion, which means that a so-called super lien could affect your pain and suffering compensation.

Even if you are not on Medicare, if you expect to use that program in the next 30 months, they may have a subrogation interest in your case due to potential ongoing medical care. It is extremely important to take this into consideration when filing your case against the negligent party! Your lawyer should ask these kinds of questions and ensure that you are still being compensated fairly in your personal injury case.

How is a Medical Lien Released? What Happens if I Lose My Personal Injury Case?

A medical lien is a legally binding contract, and it must be paid to be released.

There are circumstances when you, the victim of the accident, may be personally liable for a medical lien. One such situation is if you lose your case against the negligent party. If you have signed a medical lien agreement, you will have to pay back the lien even if you are not awarded any damages.

In Texas, your attorney’s fees take priority over the lien payment. This means that your lawyer will take his or her fees from the total amount of compensation you were awarded, and then you must pay the medical lien from the remainder. If there is not enough left to pay the medical lien, you are still responsible to pay back the debt.

This can be a scary prospect, to say the least. It is very important to make sure you have an expert lawyer if there is a medical lien involved in your personal injury case. An experienced personal injury attorney will make sure you get the compensation you deserve, because they have an ace up their sleeve: negotiation.

Can a Medical Lien Be Negotiated?

Yes, a medical lien can be negotiated.

If insurance has paid for your healthcare bills, and is seeking repayment from your personal injury case, their main goal is to get paid. Therefore, it is in their best interest to ensure that some reimbursement is possible, even if they don’t get the full amount they initially asked for.

In fact, most liens are settled for less than the full amount of the lien. A good lawyer can help rewrite the medical lien contract so that it is more favorable to you, adding in clauses to protect you in the event that you lose your case, or the settlement does not cover the lien.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to negotiate with insurance companies and medical care providers, making sure that your medical expenses were billed correctly and fairly. They will use this knowledge to make sure you get to keep as much of your settlement as possible.

RELATED: Negotiating Medical Bills: How a Lawyer Can Help After a Crash

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to negotiate with insurance companies and medical care providers, making sure that your medical expenses were billed correctly and fairly. They will use this knowledge to make sure you get to keep as much of your settlement as possible.

Crosley Law’s Expert Negotiation Helped Our Client Reduce Medical Bills

After being rear-ended on the freeway, John suffered daily pain in his neck and shoulders. Doctors ran a multitude of tests, including multiple MRIs, diagnosing John with herniated discs, nerve damage, and spinal strains. His injuries required him to see medical providers several times a week, and the medical bills racked up quickly.

Prior to the accident, John was active and healthy, but due to his injuries the doctors expected he’d need ongoing treatment. He struggled with daily pain and limited mobility, as the victim of a negligent driver. John turned to Crosley Law for help.

As part of John’s case, we looked at the tens of thousands in medical bills that would eat away at the proceeds of his settlement—money that he fairly deserved for the pain and suffering of his life-changing injuries. We aggressively negotiated with the medical providers and insurance companies to significantly reduce what John owed.

Crosley Law’s experience and skill at negotiation were key to getting John the compensation he deserved.

RELATED CLIENT STORY: Teacher Wins $282,000 From UIM Policy After Rear-End Collision

Crosley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Will Fight for You

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, and have sustained injuries that required medical treatment, a medical lien might be filed against your personal injury case. If there is a medical lien or subrogation interest complicating your personal injury settlement, you need an expert lawyer on your side to make sure you get the fair compensation you deserve.

Crosley Law has a wealth of experience negotiating with both medical providers and insurance companies. We will fight for you to keep your settlement and not lose out due to medical liens.

Get started today with a free consultation, and let us review the details of your case and see how Crosley Law can help you. Call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our contact form to ask us any questions about medical liens and settlements. Don’t waste another moment worrying about your personal injury case!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

How to Negotiate a Settlement With an Insurance Adjuster

Whether you find negotiations intimidating or exciting, taking on an insurance company after a car accident or other incident can be a roller coaster of emotion for you and your family — especially if one of you is healing from serious injuries.    

If your life was negatively affected due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you have every right to demand a settlement that helps restore the security you had before that accident. Knowing what to expect from negotiations is an important step toward the fair settlement you deserve. 

Enter this process carefully and armed with knowledge. Your primary point of contact when it comes to negotiating your claim is likely to be an insurance adjuster. This person may act friendly and sound like your friend, but in reality, they are on the side of the insurance company.  

A personal injury attorney is one of your greatest assets throughout the negotiation process. Keep reading to learn more about settlement negotiations and the options available to you.   

Who Is an Insurance Claims Adjuster? 

Insurance adjusters go by a range of job titles, including claims representative, claims specialist, car insurance adjuster, and independent claims analyst. Whatever title they use, their job is essentially the same: Negotiating settlement amounts with injured people and their attorneys.  

Often, the insurance claims adjuster will be employed by the insurance company itself. Other times, they are from an independent firm. In some cases, an attorney negotiates on behalf of an at-fault company or entity. While an attorney might be savvier than an adjuster about the law, they cannot do anything a regular insurance claims representative may not do.   

In all these instances, the adjuster’s goal is to settle your case quickly and for as little money as possible. As a representative of the insurance company, they know their job is on the line and will do what it takes to close the claim without involving supervisors or holdups.      

The adjuster’s goal is to settle your case quickly and for as little money as possible.

RELATED: Should I Talk to an Insurance Adjuster After a Car Accident?  

Steps in the Settlement Negotiation Process  

Below, you’ll find a general outline of the negotiation for most personal injury cases, such as those following a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, defective product, or trampoline accident.  

It’s important to understand, however, that negotiation doesn’t always follow a perfect script, and can be more of an art than a science. Your attorney can help you navigate these steps with confidence and protect you from inadvertently harming your claim. 

1. Make a Personal Injury Claim  

This is the very beginning of your negotiations with the insurance company and will put you on the adjuster’s radar. It lets them know you believe one of their customers is responsible for your injury. Usually, you can do this step over the phone or with an online form. 

We recommend filing the claim as soon as possible. Insurance companies often have their own deadlines for filing claims, so check with the at-fault’s insurer to make sure you’re within the time frame.    

2. Receive a Reservation of Rights Letter 

After you file a claim, you will probably receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurance company. The letter is an acknowledgement of your claim and the insurance company’s investigation of it.  

The reservation of rights letter will also clearly state that the insurance company’s investigation of the claim does not mean they will necessarily accept liability or agree that the incident falls under their policy.  

3. Send a Demand Letter 

This step might happen quite a while after the accident. It’s best to wait until you are fully healed, or at least have a reliable estimate of the costs of ongoing treatments and future lost income.  

Be sure to send the demand letter well before the statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. For a personal injury case in Texas, this is two years. 

Your demand letter should include details on your:  

  • Injuries  
  • Medical bills 
  • Lost income 
  • Estimated future costs and losses.   
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress 

Ultimately, the demand letter demands a specific amount of financial compensation. This amount should be well above what you actually need to cover your costs — an amount you have in mind but never tell the insurance adjuster. 

An attorney can help you pinpoint the most important details and calculate costs, especially when it comes to harder-to-define losses like pain and suffering.  

RELATED: Car Accident Victim Quickly Settles His Claims with Help from Crosley Law: Booker W.’s Story 

4. Receive a Settlement Offer 

Most likely, the insurance company will respond with a settlement offer that’s much lower than you specify in your demand letter (a “low ball” offer). In fact, it might be so low that it’s meant to test how well you know your own case and if you mean to negotiate for fair compensation — in which case you can ignore it and move on to a counteroffer.   

If the insurance company’s offer is too low but not quite absurd, feel free to ask for detailed justification. This will give you points to address in your counteroffer. 

If the insurance company’s offer is too low but not quite absurd, feel free to ask for detailed justification. This will give you points to address in your counteroffer. 

5. Make a Counteroffer 

This is where negotiations truly begin for an injured person and their family. It’s important to demonstrate that you plan to fight for what you deserve, but are willing to negotiate within reason. The insurance adjuster will not hesitate to take advantage of you if they think you’ll easily agree to less money. But if you seem unwilling to budge, it’ll only stall negotiations.  

Often, injured people come down a little bit from their original demand in the first counteroffer, though you’ll still want to stay well above your absolute bottom line. Focus on staying close to where you started, not on getting closer to the insurer’s offer.   

Of course, you’re not required to lower your demand. If you can refute the insurance company’s justifications for their offer and clearly emphasize your strongest points (not restating every detail but highlighting the big picture), you can try again for your original demand.  

If your demand letter focused on your economic losses and physical injuries, provide a little more detail on the emotional struggles, missed opportunities, and decreased quality of life. A broken leg might not sound so terrible on its own, but if it seriously altered academic or professional plans for years to come, that’s a different (and perhaps more convincing) story. Again, a lawyer is a great asset as you navigate these challenges.  

RELTATED: Getting Fair Compensation for Pain and Suffering After a TBI: Kaegan’s Story 

6. Be Ready for Some Back and Forth 

Often, it takes a few rounds of offers and counteroffers to reach an agreement on the settlement amount. A few things you might realize during the volley include: 

  • The adjuster might have more general knowledge about insurance claims than you do, but you know more about your own case. Adjusters deal with numerous claims every month, and simply can’t know all the details of each one. Use this to your advantage.  
  • Insurers covering government and municipal bodies tend to keep a tighter grip on the money because they’re dealing with taxpayer dollars. The entities they represent don’t want a reputation for spending money on legal trouble.   
  • Saying as little as possible about your part in the accident is wise. No matter how obvious it is to you that someone else is at fault, you still might say something that the insurance adjuster can twist to put some of the blame on you. Instead, concentrate on the negative impacts you’ve faced since the incident.  
  • The insurance company doesn’t want you to work with an attorney. Most people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with personal injury claims and negotiations, giving the insurer the upper hand. Once you bring in a lawyer, they lose that advantage.  

The insurance company doesn’t want you to work with an attorney. Most people don’t have a lot of experience dealing with personal injury claims and negotiations, giving the insurer the upper hand. Once you bring in a lawyer, they lose that advantage.  

7. Know When it’s Time to File a Lawsuit 

If you’ve gone back and forth with the insurance company and it’s clear that you’re not going to reach an agreement, you may have to escalate by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Ideally it won’t come to this, but it’s still better than getting an unfair settlement.  

Remember that a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of the injury. A personal injury attorney will be helpful in managing timelines and knowing how to move forward with a lawsuit.    

8. Consider Mediation 

This potential mediation step could happen before or after you file a lawsuit to keep negotiations from escalating to the next step (be it a lawsuit or court trial).  

Mediation is a way to try to resolve the disagreement with the help of a neutral third party. The mediator does not make any decisions on the case, but helps the parties have a healthy, effective discussion — and hopefully come to an agreement.   

Every single step of negotiating with an insurance adjuster is easier if you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Not only do they bring the skills and knowledge to help your case, but their involvement sends a clear message to the insurance company that you are serious about getting compensated fairly.   

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Texas Car Accident Settlements 

Every single step of negotiating with an insurance adjuster is easier if you work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Will My Insurance Claim End With a Settlement or Trial? 

Most personal injury cases settle (the sides reach an agreement on an amount of money) without going to trial. 

However, if you’ve negotiated, mediated, and even filed a lawsuit and the at-fault party and their insurance company still won’t agree to fair compensation, you may have to end negotiations entirely and leave it to a judge and jury. In that case, you’d be hoping for a jury award rather than a settlement.  

While a good lawyer will try to settle a case fairly, they should also be willing to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get the compensation you deserve.  

RELATED: Aggressive Tactics Lead to a $178,000 Settlement for a Pedestrian 

Crosley Law Will Handle the Insurance Company 

The team at Crosley Law has a lot of experience handling a range of personal injury cases and takes negotiations very seriously. If you or someone you love needs legal guidance and representation after an injury, our law firm is ready to hear your story.  

We begin every case with a free consultation. These initial calls and discussions come with no risk or pressure and are intended to help everyone get to know each other better at the beginning of an attorney-client relationship.  

To schedule your free case evaluation today, call (210) LAW-3000 | (210) 529-3000 or use the easy contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!   

References 

Goguen, D. (n.d.). Insurance adjusters: who they are and how they handle an insurance claim. NOLO. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/insurance-adjusters-who-they-are-how-they-handle-injury-claim.html  

Goguen, D. (n.d.). Tips for negotiating an injury settlement with an insurance company. NOLO. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/negotiating-with-insurance-company-29765.html 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit: What Parents Need to Know

For years, Similac and Enfamil were popular baby formulas, often given to premature babies in NICUs. However, for decades, there has been research suggesting that cow’s milk-based formulas can make premature infants ill.

Our personal injury lawyers are helping children and families who have been harmed by NEC and other conditions related to the consumption of Similac and Enfamil.

Was Your Child Harmed by Enfamil or Similac?

Similac and Enfamil Baby Formula Lawsuits  

Crosley Law is investigating toxic baby formula cases and legal claims against Mead Johnson & Company (makers of Enfamil) and Abbott Laboratories (makers of Similac) for failing to warn consumers that their cow’s milk-based formula products may cause premature babies—babies born before 37 weeks—to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).  

Premature babies need extra nutrition to support their underdeveloped bodies, and many doctors recommend baby formula as the best option to parents (over pasteurized donor breast milk) if their newborn won’t breastfeed. Making matters worse, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company neglect to add a warning label to their cow milk-based formula products, and unsuspecting parents have been putting their premature newborns at risk of NEC for years.  

Prior to sale, baby formula manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. As a result of their negligence, toxic baby formula lawsuits are being filed across the country and litigation is expected to be consolidated in into multi-district litigation (MDL).  

MDLs help expedite pretrial and settlement procedures, and plaintiff’s lawyers will be seeking the largest settlements possible to cover damages including medical and out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, lifelong health care and treatments, and funeral expenses if the baby died from NEC, or complications from NEC. 

RELATED: Texas Defective Produce Lawyers – Crosley Law

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)? 

NEC is a devastating intestinal disease that occurs primarily in low-weight, premature newborns. Bacteria invade the wall of the intestine, causing inflammation, serious infection, and the death of intestinal tissue. Necrotizing enterocolitis often develops after cow milk formula feedings begin. 

Breaking NEC down into parts:  

  • Necrotizing means to cause the death of tissue. 
  • Entero means relating to the intestine or bowel. 
  • Colitis means relating to inflammation, usually of the colon. 

Once the intestinal wall is destroyed by bacteria, it can cause a hole or tear and allow stool to spill into the infant’s abdomen, resulting in life-threatening complications such as sepsis, multi-organ failure, and death. Severe, lifelong health complications from NEC may include development delays, cerebral palsy, and short bowel (short-gut) syndrome (SBS). 

What are the symptoms of NEC? 

When a child is born premature, the professionals in charge of your infant’s care should monitor for:  

  • Constipation 
  • Yellowish or greenish vomit 
  • Difficulty eating and gaining weight 
  • Fluctuations in temperature 
  • Diarrhea with dark-colored stools or blood 
  • Reduced heart rate and low blood pressure 
  • Increased abdominal pressure—swollen, red, or tender abdomen 

Different Types of NEC 

According to healthcare providers, NEC in premature babies is usually classified as one of three different types based on when symptoms start. The primary types include: 

  • Atypical: When a premature infant develops NEC in the first week of life, which is very rare. 
  • Transfusion-associated: When an infant lacking red blood cells (anemic) develops NEC after a blood transfusion. 
  • Classic: When an infant is stable but develops NEC without warning. Classic is the most common and affects infants born before 28 weeks of pregnancy, usually within three to eight weeks after birth.  

What is worse than one case of NEC? Multiple cases. NEC outbreaks can happen in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and during an outbreak, several infants can develop NEC at the same time.  

Lastly, it is extremely unlikely—but possible—for full-term babies to get NEC. This type of NEC is called Term Infant and usually happens in conjunction with birth defects.

How Many Babies Affected by NEC in the United States? 

According to the CDC, preterm births accounted for 1 of every 10 infants born in the United States in 2020. [1] So, of the 3,605,201 babies born, roughly 360,520 were born premature.

In prior years, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) estimated that NEC affected about 9,000 out of every 480,000 preterm babies born each year, which is roughly 1.875%.[2] The math follows, then, that nearly 6,760 premature infants born in 2020 suffered from NEC.  

If Your Child Developed NEC, Learn More About Your Legal Options

Treatment for Premature Babies with NEC 

If only a small area of intestine is affected, and if the intestine is not already perforated, medical treatment is attempted before surgical treatment. Once a baby is diagnosed with NEC, stopping the formula feeding is the first step. From there, medical treatment may include:  

  • Running a NG (nasogastric) tube from the premature baby’s nose to his or her stomach (done to keep their stomach empty).  
  • Intravenous (IV) feeding to deliver nutrients, fluids, and medications to the baby. 
  • Starting an antibiotic treatment and assessing the need for surgery.  
  • Taking X-rays. X-rays may show air on the outside of the intestines in the abdomen, or if your newborn’s intestine has a bubbly appearance. 
  • Checking stools for blood and taking frequent blood tests to detect early signs of infection. 
  • Giving extra oxygen or using a breathing machine if the newborn’s abdomen is so swollen it interferes with breathing. 
  • Isolating the baby to keep any infection from spreading and causing a NICU outbreak. 
  • In extremely severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary. 

If a child does not respond to medical treatment, surgery will be necessary. About 50% of all infants with NEC will require surgery, and although NEC causes significant morbidity after surgical treatment, survival rates for surgically treated NEC have improved over the last four decades.[3]

During surgery, a pediatric surgeon examines the intestine and removes only the necrotized tissue, leaving as much healthy intestine as possible. A temporary ostomy (or opening in the wall of the abdomen) is typically created to allow the bowel to recover and heal during the first surgery. 

A colostomy may also be required. In this procedure, part of the colon is rerouted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall to bypass the damaged part of the colon. Another operation to examine the abdomen may be required 24 to 48 hours later to determine if the diseased has progressed.  

Multiple Organ Failure  

If the newborn is not responding to the IV feeding after multiple surgeries have been completed, the lack of nutrition or the inability to absorb the nutrition may cause multi-organ failure. If NEC isn’t challenging enough, premature babies also have a very high risk of developing intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD). In some cases, the surgery to treat NEC by removing dead intestinal tissue makes IFALD much more difficult to overcome. Think of it like jaundice for a newborn—their skin tone may even turn yellowish. 

In the worst-case scenarios, a newborn may need a liver or intestinal transplant, or die. In the best-case scenario, fish oil monotherapy, or Omegaven® therapy, may be needed to cure IFALD. Omegaven® is a fish oil-based lipid that was approved by the FDA in 2018 to help premature babies overcome intestinal failure developed in the NICU after birth.[4] NEC may also affect the brain, kidneys, and lungs. 

One Premature Baby’s Battle with NEC After Consuming Enfamil Formula

Crosley Law recently agreed to represent the family of a premature baby born at 26 weeks and weighing less than two pounds. Immediately admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, the newborn received Enfamil baby formula as a supplement to the mother’s breast milk for nutrition.

After 8 weeks of formula feeding, the premature baby suddenly had a swollen belly. After testing, doctors diagnosed the infant with NEC, and immediate surgical treatment was recommended to the parents due to the intense abdominal pressure. 

Roughly 48 hours apart, two surgeries were performed to remove over 80% of the 100 cm of intestine the child was born with that had become dead tissue. A third surgery (sometimes referred to as a Humpty Dumpty surgery) was required weeks later to reconnect the remaining intestine to other vital organs once the baby reached a weight that could support a third surgery. Between surgery number two and number three, the infant lived with a colostomy bag.  

The procedure of removing such large amounts of intestine led to liver failure and the need for a liver transplant was considered. Fortunately, our client’s newborn was included in an Omegaven® trial in Texas prior to the FDA’s approval of drug.  

Nevertheless, the destruction of so much intestine developed into short bowel (short gut) syndrome, a malabsorption condition that makes it very hard for the body to absorb fluids and nutrients. A child with short gut syndrome needs lifelong care and attention to get the right nutrition to grow and mature properly.

But not every child will be as fortunate. The NICHD estimates that fifteen to forty percent of infants with NEC die from the disease.[5] 

Learn More About the Enfamil and Similac Lawsuits

Studies Examining NEC and Raising NEC Awareness 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recalled any Similac or Enfamil baby formulas, and their packaging continues to lack a warning about increased risk of NEC, despite more and more studies documenting higher risks of NEC associated to cow’s milk-based formulas: 

  • In 2002, the FDA recommended that NICUs no longer use powdered infant formula.[6] 
  • In 2009, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that an exclusively human milk-based diet is associated with significantly lower rates of NEC when compared with a mother’s milk-based diet that also included cow’s milk-based products.[7] 
  • In 2012, a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement that premature infants should only be fed human milk after they found that premature infants are six to ten times more likely to develop NEC when they consumed only cow’s milk-based formula.[8]  
  • In 2014, Jennifer Canvassar founded the NEC Society after her son died from complications of NEC. The NEC Society brings together families, healthcare professionals, and researchers who are committed to a vision of building a world without NEC through research, advocacy, and educational strategies. The NEC Society says that NEC claims the lives of about 500 infants per year, while accounting for almost 20% of NICU costs—which is more than $5 billion annually in the United States.[9]  
    • The NEC Society established NEC Awareness Day (May 17) to raise more consciousness on the fight against NEC worldwide. 
    • Please note the NEC Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with Crosley Law or any other law firms pursuing Similac or Enfamil NEC baby formula lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company.  
  • In 2019, a study by Cochrane found that feeding with artificial formula results in faster rates of growth, but that growth comes with a cost of a near-doubling of the risk of NEC for preterm infants.[10] 

Call the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Crosley Law 

If you were a parent unaware of the potential deadly harm in feeding your infant Enfamil or Similac cow milk formula products, you need the help of legal experts to win your case.  

Premature infants have weaker immune systems and digestive systems to fight off infections. If a product like baby formula is intended to provide a healthy benefit, such as help an underdeveloped baby gain weight, it should do just that—without unnecessary or avoidable harm. It’s not your fault your baby developed NEC. 

If your child: 

  • Was born prematurely
  • Consumed Similac or Enfamil at the hospital
  • Was diagnosed with NEC by hospital doctors
  • Is currently under 18 years of age

Please call Crosley Law for a free, confidential, no-obligation evaluation. If we take on your child’s case, it will cost you nothing to be our client, and we only get paid if a settlement is recovered for your family. 


References

[1] Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Osterman MJK. Births: Provisional data for 2020: Vital Statistics Rapid Release; no. 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. May 2021 Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/vsrr012-508.pdf

[2] Retrieved from: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/nec/conditioninfo/risk#f2

[3] Fredriksson, F., & Engstrand Lilja, H. (2019). Survival rates for surgically treated necrotising enterocolitis have improved over the last four decades. Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992), 108(9), 1603–1608. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.14770  

[4] Retrieved from https://www.texaschildrens.org/texas-children%E2%80%99s-leads-effort-get-lifesaving-drug-approved-fda 

[5] Lin, P. W., Nasr, T. R., & Stoll, B. J. (2008). Necrotizing enterocolitis: recent scientific advances in pathophysiology and prevention. Seminars in perinatology, 32(2), 70–82. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.semperi.2008.01.004  

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2002). Enterobacter sakazakii infections associated with the use of powdered infant formula–Tennessee, 2001. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 51(14), 297–300. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12002167/

[7] Sullivan, Sandra et al. An Exclusively Human Milk-Based Diet Is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products. The Journal of Pediatrics, Volume 156, Issue 4, 562 – 567.e1. Retrieved from: https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(09)01085-3/fulltext

[8] SECTION ON BREASTFEEDING, Arthur I. Eidelman, Richard J. Schanler, Margreete Johnston, Susan Landers, Larry Noble, Kinga Szucs, Laura Viehmann; Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics March 2012; 129 (3): e827–e841. 10.1542/peds.2011-3552 Retrieved from: https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/129/3/e827/31785/Breastfeeding-and-the-Use-of-Human-Milk

[9] Retrieved from: https://necsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/NEC-Advocacy-info-sheet.pdf  

[10] Quigley M, Embleton ND, McGuire W. Formula versus donor breast milk for feeding preterm or low birth weight infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD002971. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002971.pub5. Retrieved from: https://www.cochrane.org/CD002971/NEONATAL_formula-versus-donor-breast-milk-feeding-preterm-or-low-birth-weight-infants

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Protecting Yourself: A Comprehensive Personal Injury Settlement Guide

When you’re going through a tough recovery after an injury and facing an uncertain future, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’re getting cheated by your insurance company.

Filing a personal injury claim can be stressful and frustrating enough on its own. When you finally see a settlement offer, it can be extremely tempting to just take it and put it all behind you. But how do you know if the settlement you’re being offered is fair, or will cover your long-term needs?

By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you can pass the burden of filing your claim onto someone who knows the tricks your insurance company may use to cheat you out of a fair settlement. At Crosley Law, we know the impact an injury can have on you and your loved ones. Let us relieve the stress by taking the lead on filing your claim, communicating with your insurance, and fighting back against unfair settlements—all so you can focus on getting better.

In this article, we will provide an overview of what to expect from the personal injury settlement process, including timeline, average settlement value, and what may influence your case’s outcome.

What is a Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?

At the most basic level, a settlement is a negotiated sum of money that the at-fault party (through their insurance company) pays you to make your claim go away. By offering you a settlement before trial, the insurance company is attempting to avoid any further legal action.

However, the insurance company is still a business and will try to protect its bottom line rather than prioritizing your wellbeing. They will have no shame about offering you a settlement that’s far less than what your case is worth if they think it will save them money in the long run.

There are two common types of settlements:

  • Lump-sum: An agreed-upon single payment given to you by your insurance company soon after negotiations
  • Structured: Payments of varying size and frequency that are given over time based on your settlement’s value and terms.

Regardless of what type of settlement you get, it is important to remember that by accepting a settlement, you are closing your claim for good. Once a settlement is accepted, there will be no opportunity for you to go back and get more money for your injuries. So, make sure not to accept any offer you consider to be unfair or insufficient. Take any future costs that your injury could cause into account when evaluating your settlement’s value.

Related: Insurance Settlement FAQs

Regardless of what type of settlement you get, it is important to remember that by accepting a settlement, you are closing your claim for good. Once a settlement is accepted, there will be no opportunity for you to go back and get more money for your injuries. So, make sure not to accept any offer you consider to be unfair or insufficient. Take any future costs that your injury could cause into account when evaluating your settlement’s value.

What is the Average Settlement Payout for Personal Injury Cases?

The average settlement value for a typical mild-to-moderate personal injury claim can range from $3,000 to $75,000. However, under the right circumstances, very serious personal injury and wrongful death cases can produce settlements ranging into the millions of dollars.

That said, even seemingly simple and straightforward person injury claims will usually have many factors that affect the outcome of your settlement offer, so you need to be sure to be careful while filing. All claims require extensive evidence as well, so collect any and all proof of the severity of your injuries.

Related: When Should I Agree to a Structured Settlement?

The average settlement value for a typical mild-to-moderate personal injury claim can range from $3,000 to $75,000.

What Can Affect My Settlement’s Value?

No two personal injury cases are exactly the same, which means personal injury settlement amounts can vary significantly depending on the specific circumstances. Working with an attorney to accurately calculate the value of your case before filing a claim can help you avoid accepting a settlement that’s too low.

Some of the variables to keep in mind include:

Ability to Establish Fault

If you have a straightforward case and it will be easy for you to prove that the other party was at fault, the person who caused the injury (or that person’s insurance policy) will be more eager to settle. While it can be difficult to wait for a settlement if medical bills are piling up, take the time you need to gather information and protect yourself.

Damage Types and Severity

You should also know the different types of damages you can request as part of your settlement. Economic damages include, but aren’t limited to, lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and the costs of transportation to and from medical visits. General damages include pain and suffering, humiliation, and mental anguish. Pain and suffering can make a big impact on the value of your case, like in the case of Kaegan’s TBI claim.

Your settlement should include all the types of damages available to you, because once you sign the settlement you will likely give up your right to recover for those losses. The value of your injury will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries, your wage loss, and how long the injury can be expected to last. Be sure to gather as much evidence as possible to help calculate and estimate the impact of your injury.

Available Insurance Coverage

Most insurance policies have a cap on how much they will pay out to injured claimants. In Texas, for example, individual drivers are only required to carry a minimum of $30,000 in liability coverage per person and $60,000 per accident. On the other hand, a trucking company may carry six or seven figures’ worth of commercial vehicle liability insurance to protect their assets from lawsuits.

Once you’ve reached the limit of all available insurance policies that cover you, it may be difficult to get any more out of an at-fault party. Your attorney can help you identify any potential sources of insurance coverage that may be available to you.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

A good personal injury or accident attorney will be aware of personal injury settlement guidelines and can help you negotiate your settlement successfully. Experienced attorneys like those at Crosley Law Firm can help you figure out the value of your injury for settlement purposes during a case evaluation.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather and analyze evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, file your claim, and even fight on your behalf if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement. Your attorney can make sure you get the maximum amount you deserve, like in the case of Michael and Justin.

How Long is the Claim Process?

The average length of a personal injury claim can vary drastically depending on the details of your injury, how well the claim is filed, and how quickly your insurance company chooses to respond.

Many claimants believe that the claim process will be quick, but this is a common misconception. While some small and simple personal injury claims can be settled within a few days or weeks, most will take months to a year or more to resolve—during which time you and your loved ones will be under financial pressure and collecting medical expenses. (Insurance companies are not shy about using these stalling tactics for leverage.)

The average amount of time it takes for claimants to get their settlement is . This time can vary based on the success of your case, any negotiations, and even if your claim is denied. Claims that are denied tend to take much less time but can involve a lengthy personal injury lawsuit process if you choose to fight your denial.

Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can often speed up the process by making sure your claim is handled efficiently. That being said, if you can only choose one or the other, it’s much better to get a fair settlement than a fast settlement. Your attorney can help you keep the bill collectors away while your personal injury case is still open.

Crosley Law: Personal Injury Lawyer Defending Injury Victims in San Antonio

Our team of personal injury lawyers are ready to help you through the personal injury claim process. At Crosley Law, we provide the high-quality, cutting-edge work you can expect from an experienced personal injury law firm. We know the tricks that your insurance company uses to deny most personal injury cases and are here to teach you how to avoid these pitfalls, file a successful claim, build an attorney-client relationship you can trust, and get you the fair personal injury settlement you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured and are unsure what to do next, call Crosley Law today at (210) LAW-3000 or fill out our simple contact form to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney.

References

David, G. How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case and How Long Will It Take? NOLO. How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case and How Long Will It Take? | Nolo

Adam, K. What’s the Average Amount For a Personal Injury Settlement? Adam S. Kutner Personal Injury Attorneys. Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts | Adam S. Kutner, Injury Attorneys (askadamskutner.com)

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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