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Do Criminal Charges Interfere with Civil Lawsuits?

Suing Someone Who has Been Charged Criminally

If you’re like many people every year, you may find yourself in this situation or something very similar to it. You end up getting in a car crash with a driver who was over the legal limit for blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash. After the crash, the driver ends up getting arrested for drunken driving and faces criminal chargescriminal charges. They may be facing their first drunken-driving charge or they may be facing their fifth, it really makes no difference.

You might be wondering whether you can sue someone if they’ve already gotten thrown in jail for drunken driving. The answer is yes. Lawsuits are civil actions, not criminal actions. The state takes care of the criminal part of the law but somebody being convicted of a crime – or acquitted – has no bearing on whether or not you can bring them to court for damages. It may increase your chances of winning if the person actually is convicted of a crime that was directly related to you coming to harm or suffering damage to your property.

The Effects

While you can sue someone who has been convicted of a crime, it’s important to be realistic about these matters. If a person is convicted of a crime and ends up getting sent to jail, they obviously have no way of earning income. If they don’t already have money, property or some other asset that could be used as a means of paying off a judgment against them, suing them may do you very little good at all. The entire point of filing a lawsuit is to get financial compensation for property or personal damages that you have suffered. If that person has no property and no financial assets, there’s really nothing to sue them for.

This is one of the reasons why personal injury attorneys generally do offer a free consultation. Theselawsuits attorneys usually work on a contingency agreement, which means they have to win your claim in order to get paid. If there’s no way for the person you are suing to actually pay you the money that a jury awards you, that attorney isn’t going to get any money, unless you pay it off yourself. One of the things you have to take into account when you sue someone who is convicted of a crime is whether they actually have the financial means to pay you and, if they don’t, it may not even be worth suing.

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Wrestling Camp Sued Over Alleged Injury

Summer Camp Injuries

According to the Times Free Press, a wrestling camp in Tennessee has been sued over alleged injuries sustained by a participant. According to the story, the camp has been suedKids at camp by the father of a buy who attended the camp. The boy’s father is also an attorney and filed the lawsuit himself.

The lawsuit alleges that the lawyer’s sun sustained injuries to his head and to his brain during a match. According to the lawsuit, the boy was not properly supervised and was dropped on his head during the course of the match. The suit further alleges that the incident resulted in substantial medical expenses.

The defendant’s counsel was getting more information regarding the lawsuit at the time the story was published, but said that he doesn’t believe that the lawsuit has any merit. He further claimed that approximately 75% of the lawsuits filed nationwide are without merit and said that he was in the early stages of investigating the lawsuit.

Activities, Children and Injuries

Lawsuits alleging that children were injured due to inadequate supervision at camps, daycares, schools and other venues are not uncommon. In fact, there are many of these lawsuits filed every year. There are some commonalities between what these lawsuits allege and, in some cases, they do end up winning compensation for the families that file them.

The claim that 75% of them are meritless, even though it cites a specific number, is not backed up with any evidence. There are some individuals, however, who do believe that the majority of personal injury claims filed every year are baseless and this has made it easier for those who want to change the law to make it harder to sue to do so. Several states, including Michigan, Florida and Texas, have passed legislation in recent years that have made it harder to file injury claims based on medical malpractice, for instance.

Determining Negligence

These lawsuits generally allege that some sort of negligence – oftentimes inadequate supervision, led to the injuries suffered by the parties who file the lawsuit and seek compensation for whatever medical and other expenses they had to handle because of the injuries. Establishing negligence is sometimes difficult, though there are cases where it is so clear cut that a jury award or settlement is almost a given. In other cases, the lawsuit may well allege negligence when it did not in fact, play any part in an injury.

Call us at 713-771-5453 for a FREE consultation if you or your loved one have been injured in a similar situation.

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Contingency Agreements Need to Be Taken Seriously

Understanding Contingency Agreements

Many of the attorney advertisements you’ll see will make a significant effort to let you know that the attorney works on a contingency basis. This is the common arrangement for attorneys who work in the personal injury field. The very basic elements of this type of agreement are easily understood. The attorney takes a percentage of any winnings that they make on your case and, if you don’t win, you don’t have to pay them anything.

If you’re not careful about it, this can make it seem all too easy to seek out the compensation that you need for an injury that was done to you. Consider the following before you engage the services of any attorney, whether they are offering you a contingency agreement or not.

Check the Rates for Additional Services

Just about every attorney out there will charge you an hourly rate for their services. You will want to get an estimate as to how long they believe it will take them to prepare your case. You will also want to know how much they intend to take in courtroom fees, in fees related to administrative tasks and so forth. One of the things you want to avoid is thinking that, because an attorney works on contingency, their prices aren’t going to be high. Attorneys are very specialized and very educated individuals who charge appropriately for their time. Just make sure you understand what all the charges and fees are before you sign on.

Adding in Fees

Some attorneys will go ahead and recommend that you add their fees into the amount you are seeking in your jury award. Remember that the jury will determine how much money you receive, if any, and they may choose not to put this amount into the award. In such a case, you’ll end up paying it out of your award.

Simply because you have found a good attorney who is willing to work with you on a contingency agreement doesn’t mean that you are getting their services for free. You will have to pay for them, so it’s a good idea to shop around a little bit and see which attorney can offer you good services for the most competitive rates, as you would for any other service provider.

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Is It Worth The Effort To Sue?

If you are certain you are entitled to damages because somebody’s negligence brought you to harm, you may find yourself very disappointed if none of the attorneys you talk to are willing to take your case. It’s important that you understand that filing a lawsuit isn’t always going to do you any good, even if you are entitled to compensation from the individual you want to sue by any rational measure.

In order to collect on a judgment, you have to be suing somebody with the financial capability to pay that judgment. Here are some situations where you may find an attorney telling you what you don’t want to hear and some information to help you understand why.

The Person Is Broke

In some cases, a person may not have any substantial amount of money in the bank or any assets that can be used to pay off the judgment, but they will have a decent job. In such cases, the court may order that their wages are garnished to pay the judgment that they owe you.

If the person happens to have a very low income job, however, there is a chance that they will be exempt from wage garnishment. Combine this with the fact that such an individual is unlikely to have any money in the bank, is most likely a renter and not a homeowner and probably doesn’t have any assets to speak of and you have a situation where, even if you do win, the person simply has no way to pay you. Because most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless you actually get a jury award, they’re not likely to take a case against somebody in this sort of a financial situation.

Counterintuitive Elements

You will need to talk to an attorney about such a matter, however, because some parts of this are rather counterintuitive. For example, if you’re suing someone and it turns out that they recently declared bankruptcy, which may lead you to believe that they can’t possibly pay you back. What that actually means, however, is that they can’t use another bankruptcy to get out of the money that they owe you for the judgment. They’ll have to wait until they are eligible to file bankruptcy to do so again and, in all likelihood, you should be able to collect your judgment from them by that time.

Remember that, when an attorney tells you that it might not be worth your while to file a lawsuit, it may simply be because the person you want to sue doesn’t have a way to pay you, and not because you don’t have a valid case.

That is why it is important to talk to a lwayer before making any decisions or coming to any conclusions. Competent lawyers have the expperience behind them to make this type of recommendation.

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Can You Really Sue?

Can You Really Sue?

Do You Really Have A Basis For Suing Someone?

Threatening to sue is practically a pastime with some people, but there are specific conditions that have to exist before it actually becomes an option. Unfortunately, for some people who have been seriously intimidated by such threats, the conditions under which one can actually file a lawsuit are not quite as widely understood, as is the fact that suing is sometimes an option.

Damage

The entire point of filing a lawsuit is to get compensation for a real form of damage that has been done to the person suing. These damages have to be quantified in terms of dollars. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you should consider whether the following conditions are actually true:

You Suffered a Loss

While some of the reasons that people sue a rather difficult to put into financial terms – pain and suffering, for instance – this can be done. However, merely the threat of having been injured does not constitute a valid reason to sue. There are plenty of occasions when business owners, property owners and others may find themselves having a very angry client, tenant or other individual threatening to file a lawsuit and when the person being threatened really has no valid reason to worry about getting legal representation.

Without damages, there is no point in filing a lawsuit. Being offended, threatened, feeling that one has been sold a worthless product or service absent any means of actually proving that is the case and myriad other situations under which people threaten to file lawsuits are really, in fact, nothing to worry about, in the vast majority of cases.

If you did not suffer a loss or, conversely, if you suffered some sort of a loss that cannot be converted into a dollar amount, then you probably do lack any legal grounds to file a lawsuit.

When to Get a Lawyer

Generally speaking, practicing law as a hobby is every bit as useful as practicing psychology as a hobby. While many people may feel they are experts in both fields, very few are. The best way to determine whether filing a lawsuit is actually a valid option is simply to talk to an attorney and to get their opinion on it. Because the vast majority of attorneys who help clients file lawsuits work on a contingency basis, it typically doesn’t cost any money to consult with an attorney to determine whether suing is actually an option.

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Salmonella in Texas Linked to Raw Milk

Texas officials say that salmonella is to blame for three children and one adult becoming seriously ill. That salmonella is believed to have come from raw milk- milk that has not been put through the usual cleansing processes that ensure the safety of food. Pasteurization is normally used to kill the bacteria in milk that could lead to serious and even life threatening, injuries and illnesses. There are some real risks involved in raw foods that you should be aware of.

Is it Healthy?

Raw foods and raw milk are sometimes touted as having health benefits compared to the food that you’ll normally find in the grocery store. In truth, the jury is very much out on this matter. There have been studies that have shown that some pesticides and other chemicals used on fruits and vegetables may present hazards to people but there are also plenty of studies that demonstrate that many processing procedures increase the safety of food many fold. Some of the risks of raw milk, in particular, are worth noting.

The Risks Involved

Food poisoning is not a minor illness. Even in healthy adults, food poisoning usually means at least one day of missed work and a lot of misery. Vomiting, nausea, headaches, fever and even more unpleasant symptoms are common. In individuals who have compromised immune systems or who are very old or very young, the symptoms are sometimes deadly. It can take a long time for the illness to run its course in such individuals and, because of that, it may mean a lot of time spent caring for those individuals for their families and a lot of medical expenses. Anyone who is part of an at-risk population such as those named above will have to be brought to a physician to get treatment for food poisoning.

Raw milk has been implicated in many deaths. The raw milk itself is a perfect vector for bacteria and, of course, children tend to be big fans of milk, which sets the stage for a very bad scenario to play out. There are ways that families can get compensation for these injuries, in some cases.

Food Producers and Lawsuits

Like anyone else who puts a product out on the market, food producers are responsible for the safety of the products that they sell people. If you believe that you have been the victim of a food producer who did not properly process their foods before they hit the shelves, you may wish to speak with an attorney.

A personal injury attorney may be able to get you compensation with a product liability lawsuit in these cases. Talking to an attorney is the first step and it should be taken soon after the incident.

 

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100-Car Accident Under Investigation

A 100-car pileup over the week of Thanksgiving is still under investigation, according to reports. Currently, Texas Highway Patrol officials are looking into whether fog may have played a role in causing the devastating accident.

The Wreck

The trouble started just before 9 AM on Thanksgiving. In the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10, an accident occurred involving multiple vehicles. Shortly thereafter, a chain reaction crash started to take place, eventually spilling over into the westbound lane, as well. The trouble happened southwest of Beaumont, located in Jefferson County.

According to reporting on WPTV, officials suspect that a dense fog may have contributed to the crashes. Even in video shortly after the accidents, a light fog can be seen. One couple, in their 60s, unfortunately lost their lives during the accident, after a semi truck struck their vehicle from behind.

The accident ended up sending people to the hospital in Houston, which is located approximately 75 miles away from where the accident actually occurred. Officials estimate that anywhere between 80 and 120 people were injured in the accident. The cause of the accident continues to be investigated.

Pile-Ups and Chain Reactions

Accidents where multiple vehicles and a piling up on one another and when one accident turns into a chain reaction are among the most deadly situations that you can be involved in on the highways and freeways. In many cases, inclement weather is to blame for these accidents, though negligent driving on the part of a single driver can set one of these devastating events into motion.

Finding out exactly what happened that led up to such an accident is an extremely difficult task, even for experienced investigators. In the 100-car pileup over Thanksgiving, fog is suspected to be an issue and visibility is quite often what leads the first one or two cars to get into a crash, eventually leading to a multicar pileup.

While investigating these accidents is difficult, a personal injury attorney may be able to find out whether or not somebody was negligent and how that negligence may have contributed to the injuries and deaths of other people involved in the accident. If you happen to have been injured in such a crash, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney right away and to figure out whether or not it is likely that there was some sort of negligent action that led to the disaster happening at all.

In chain reaction accidents, you have to be exceptionally attentive and know what to do to avoid becoming hurt or killed. Unfortunately, there are some situations where either of those eventualities is completely unavoidable. If you have survived such a wreck, however, and want to investigate your options, make sure to speak with an attorney.

 

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Lawsuit Filed over Hormone Replacement Therapy

A Texas family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over hormone replacement therapy. The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies that manufacture the products used in this therapy downplayed or concealed the risks of the drugs and that they have little or no actual benefit to the patient. This type of therapy has been in use since the 1940s and is used to treat the symptoms of menopause.

What it Does

Hormone therapy aims to decrease the severity of menopausal symptoms. Those symptoms include the loss of bone density, hot flashes, irritability and many others. Some of the symptoms, such as the loss of bone density, have serious health implications and others, such as hot flashes, primarily affect the woman’s quality of life. According to the lawsuit, the therapies that employ hormone replacement offer little or no value to the patient and present real risks.

The Risks

The hormones used in these therapies include a mix of natural and synthetic hormones that are designed to replace those that the woman’s body no longer produces in adequate amounts. Some of the same hormones are used in birth control pills and have been linked to potential life-threatening conditions, such as deep venous thrombosis, where a blood clot forms in the deep veins in the legs and, when broken loose into the bloodstream, can lead to fatal conditions such as pulmonary embolisms, heart attacks and strokes. The drug manufacturers, for their part, hold that the medicines used in the treatment of menopause have always carried warning labels and that patients are given every opportunity to understand and decide whether or not they want to accept the associated risks.

Old Therapies and Lawsuits

Most of the time, when you hear about a claim over a dangerous drug, it will be over a drug that is relatively new on the market. This is not always the case, however. Accutane, for instance, was prescribed for many years before a slew of lawsuits and a black box warning changed the way it was used. It was established in many of these lawsuits that Accutane did present very real risks to the patient’s health and even their life, even though it had been in use for so long.

If a treatment has been around for a long time and you have been injured by it, that doesn’t mean that you cannot pursue a lawsuit for damages or wrongful death. You’ll need to speak with an attorney about the matter, of course, because they are the only professionals who can let you know whether or not it’s likely that you’ll have a chance of winning your claim. If they believe that you do, they may take you on as a client and help you to pursue compensation.

 

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Trucking Companies and Lawsuits

The investigation into the 100-car pileup over Thanksgiving south of Beaumont involves one couple who were killed by an 18-wheeler in the accident. Whether or not the trucking company, the trucker or anyone else was negligent in causing this accident remains to be determined. Investigators are still hard at work trying to figure out how the accident occurred at all. Where 18 wheelers are concerned, however, there are some particular hazards that people should be aware of and some options that they may have available to them if they lose a family member or are themselves injured in such an accident.

Drivers and Fatigue

A frightening number of drivers who make their living behind the wheels of semi trucks find themselves driving long after the point where they are exhausted, according to multiple reports. Studies have also demonstrated that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. When you combine the hazards that a massive vehicle such as a semi truck poses on its own with a drowsy driver, you have a recipe for disaster.

Sometimes, the drivers themselves are to blame for driving when they should be resting, and sometimes the companies they work for push those drivers far too hard. Either way, anyone who is hurt or the family of a person who is killed by a drowsy trucker should contact a personal injury attorney about the matter. There are labor standards that apply to how much rest time anyone driving a commercial vehicle must have and, if the company or the driver violates those standards, an attorney may be able to help.

Unmaintained Vehicles

One of the other major hazards posed to drivers on the highways by semis comes from 18-wheelers that are not properly maintained. Maintaining a semi truck requires qualified mechanics and requires that those mechanics adhere to a very strict schedule. These vehicles need to be inspected each and every time they go out on the road and they need to be fixed according to standards set forth by state and federal authorities when there is a problem.

There are cases where investigations will reveal that a truck was not properly maintained when it was sent out on the road. In such cases, a jury may very well find that the trucking company was negligent in not providing its driver with a safe vehicle and that the negligence directly contributed to injuries or deaths resulting from an accident.

Never take a settlement check from the trucking company without speaking to an attorney first. The attorney may be able to get you enough money via jury award or settlement to pay for your property damage, medical injuries or the loss of a loved one.

 

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Longer Nights Put Pedestrians at Risk

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The nights are getting longer and drivers will be relying on their headlights to see hazards on the road. Unfortunately, pedestrians are sometimes hard to see and end up getting injured or killed by negligent drivers. Bicyclists face the same hazard. Here are some ways that you can keep safe during the fall and winter.

Halloween

Most trick-or-treating is done during daylight hours. In fact, the candy industry lobbied hard to get Daylight Savings Time extended to encourage trick-or-treating! Even though this is the case, be sure your child’s costume has the following features, even if you’re going with them to keep an eye out:

·        Good visibility for the wearer

·        Reflective surfaces if the costume is dark colored

·        Allows agile movement

Some trick-or-treaters will be out during the dusk and early night hours, so each year when Halloween comes around, be sure to keep the following section in mind.

Right After Dark

It takes the human eye a long time to adjust to darkness. It also takes under a second to ruin your night vision. Drivers who are on the road just as the sun sets don’t have their night vision yet and their headlights usually aren’t giving a lot of illumination, due to the dusky light. Make sure you’re extra careful of drivers during this period.

Remember that drivers can only see to the end of their headlights. You can see a car coming down the road and the headlights actually may not be reaching you with enough intensity for the driver to see, particularly when night has just fallen.

At Night

When you’re out and about at night, be aware of the fact that it is actually hard to judge the speed of a vehicle when you can only see their headlights. When you’re crossing intersections, even in areas with low speed limits, be extra careful. Take an extra second or two to see how fast oncoming traffic is coming at you. It may be moving faster than you think.

If you’re on a bike, make sure you have a light and at least some reflective clothing. It’s very hard to see bicyclists at night and, even though there may be adequate street light illumination for you to ride safely, other drivers will not be able to see you without a light. Consider getting one of the safety vests available at most discount stores to increase your visibility. You’ll be glad you did when a driver can successfully avoid you instead of slam into you.

If you’re injured by a driver who wasn’t paying attention, contact an attorney. Pedestrians are far too often the victims of negligent drivers and they’re the most vulnerable victims to sustaining serious injuries or being killed. A Houston auto accident attorney can help you with any valid claim involving a negligent driver.

 

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