Quick Answers to Your Top Questions About Injuries in Texas
Wayne Wright LLP keeps our clients and the public informed. We provide answers to frequently asked questions to help our clients face their own legal battles. Contact Wayne Wright LLP to speak with an experienced injury attorney in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, El Paso, or Austin offices. We will schedule a free case review and answer your specific questions. Our law firm will not stop working until you receive the justice you deserve.
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What is a commercial driver’s license and how does a driver get one?
Before drivers are allowed to get behind the wheel of a 40-ton, 80,000-pound semi-truck to haul goods, regulations require that they obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The process of applying for, gaining, and retaining a CDL is a relatively intensive one, with rules and regulations designed to ensure that only qualified drivers are allowed to operate such large and dangerous machinery.
As an automobile driver, here’s what you should know about the CDL process, including how it works, the gaps in the process that can let unqualified drivers on the road, and what to do if you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck.
How Getting a CDL Works in Texas
The CDL process is managed by each individual state, so the process can vary based on state rules. In Texas, it is managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Drivers must apply for a Commercial Learner Permit, submit a medical certification, take several written knowledge tests, and complete several practical skills examinations, based on the class of vehicle they wish to operate and any endorsements they wish to earn.
There are three classes of CDL available for those who wish to operate commercial vehicles. Briefly, those classes include:
- Class A. A Class A is required for most truck drivers to drive vehicles such as tractor-trailers (semi-trucks), tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, and livestock trailers.
- Class B. This class typically allows for the operation of vehicles like straight trucks, large or segmented buses of over 24 or more passengers, box trucks, and small dump trucks.
- Class C. Drivers of large passenger vans or other vehicles that hold between 16 and 23 passengers, small hazardous material carrying vehicles, and other vehicles not included in the other license classes carry a class C licenses.
Many drivers need endorsements on their CDL to cover specific types of cargo or equipment, such as driving a tanker truck, carrying hazardous materials, or hauling more than one trailer at a time. Some drivers may have restrictions placed on their commercial license, as well.
Restrictions can require a driver to only use an automatic transmission, disallow the use of vehicles with air brakes, restrict the driver to passenger vehicles or school buses, or disallow operating a vehicle with a “fifth wheel” connection. Medical restrictions can also be placed on a license, requiring the driver to gain additional medical clearance before being allowed to drive.
When a CDL Driver Is Disqualified
After a truck driver causes an accident on the road, sometimes it comes to light that the driver wasn’t actually qualified to operate the vehicle.
This could be the result of lying during the CDL application process, such as on a medical certification form, and can result in the driver getting in big trouble if caught—and serious civil or even criminal liability if that lie hurts or kills somebody in an accident.
Drivers may also lie on job applications or to their employer about the class of license that they hold, endorsements, or restrictions on their CDL, and end up driving a class of vehicle that they are not trained appropriately for or legally permitted to operate. In cases like this, it exposes not only the driver to legal liability after an accident, but the employer, as well. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure that their employees are operating legally, or they can be held responsible for any injuries that happen as a result of their negligent hiring practices.
Get Legal Help After a Trucking Accident
Commercial truck driving laws are complex, governed by a variety of state and federal regulations. Determining who is liable for injuries and property damage after an accident can take a lot of in-depth knowledge of the law, as well as some serious investigative work to determine whether the truck driver was truthful and had the appropriate qualifications to operate the vehicle at the time of the crash.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have the legal experience and knowledge to help those who have been injured in commercial truck accidents seek the justice that they deserve in a court of law. Our no-obligation consultations are free, and we work on a contingency basis, so you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case or a settlement is reached. To talk to a legal professional about your accident situation, call us by phone today, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
Can overprescribing opioids be considered medical malpractice?
After suffering a serious injury, accident, or after a surgical procedure, there aren’t always a lot of options when it comes to managing pain. There are also many chronic conditions that can cause long-lasting and sometimes debilitating pain for sufferers. For many people in these types of situations, opioid drugs have been one of the few choices available for relief. However, opioid drugs carry the severe risk of addiction, and evidence is mounting that doctors may be to blame for over-prescribing these potent and dangerous substances. There are even cases when doctors may face legal liability when patients become over-reliant and addicted to opioid drugs.
Here’s what you should know about medical malpractice and the opioid epidemic, including what opioid drugs are, what role doctors play in addiction, and how you can get legal help today.
Opioid Overdose Deaths on the Rise
The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track the use and death rates of many types of drugs, particularly opioid drugs. The latest data from 2017 shows an alarming upward trend in the national death rate due to overdose, particularly in regards to synthetic opioid drugs like fentanyl and related drugs. Over 20,000 people lost their lives in 2016 just due to synthetic opioids alone, and over 64,000 people were lost due to drug overdoses of any kind, a number which has almost doubled over the course of a decade.
There are many types of opioids available in both brand name and generic formulations. Some of the more common names for opioid drugs include:
- Morphine - Avinza, Kadian, Morphabond, or Roxanol
- Fentanyl - Actiq, Fentora, Abstral, or Onsolis
- Codeine – Vopac or Tylenol With Codeine Number 3
- Oxycodone – Oxycontin or Percocet
- Hydrocodone Vicodin or Norco
- Oxymorphone - Opana
All of these drugs are capable of causing an overdose that may result in death. The World Health Organization recognizes three main symptoms of opioid overdose, forming what it calls the “opioid overdose triad.” These symptoms include:
- Very small or “pinpoint” size pupils
- Loss of consciousness
- Decreased respiration (slowed breathing)
These symptoms indicate that an overdose is occurring and represent a medical emergency. If left untreated, opioid overdose can quickly lead to death as breathing slows and then stops. Symptoms can be made significantly worse by interactions with other medications, especially sedatives, or by the use of alcohol.
Physician Responsibility for Opioid Prescriptions
There are no over-the-counter opioid drugs for pain relief available in the United States. All opioids are heavily regulated and must be prescribed by a physician following both the law and while upholding a standard of care that keeps the patient’s best interests in mind.
Doctors are expected to uphold a standard of care to their patients, and that includes managing the medications that they prescribe. There are some cases, though, when the patient’s best interests may take a back seat, especially when the doctor has a financial stake in keeping a patient returning.
So-called “pill mill” doctors have been known to write prescriptions for tens of thousands of doses without regard for the patient’s safety, nor the risks of addiction and potential overdose. These doctors often prey on vulnerable patient populations who may be suffering from long-term chronic pain and addiction, with no regard for ethical guidelines such as the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics. Unscrupulous doctors may not offer alternative pain management strategies or appropriately follow through and monitor continued opiate use by their patients, violating their duty of care.
Get Legal Help Today
Proving a medical malpractice case for the over-prescription of opioid drugs is a difficult legal challenge, so you should seek an attorney with experience handling cases like yours. Your attorney can investigate your claim, present your legal options, and help you through every step of the process of making your medical malpractice claim in a court of law.
Wayne Wright LLP has been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured by medical malpractice for decades, and we are here to help you and your family begin the recovery process today. To talk to an experienced legal professional about your potential medical malpractice case, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with us today.
When is the vehicle owner liable instead of the driver?
After a car accident, we usually look to the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash for legal liability. He or she is most likely to play a significant part in what happened, for a variety of reasons: perhaps alcohol or drug use was involved, or maybe distracted driving caused the crash. He or she was likely the owner of the vehicle, there’s an insurance policy, and liability is clear.
However, there are some situations when who is responsible for damages may become less clear, such as when someone other than the owner of the car is driving. Is the owner still potentially liable for your injuries? Here are some situations that you may not have thought about—until they happened to you.
Negligent Entrustment Laws in Texas
There are certain circumstances in which the owner of a vehicle may not even be present when an accident happens, but he or she still shares in the responsibility for what happened. “Negligent entrustment” is a legal term that covers many of these situations, such as when the owner hands over the keys to someone who is:
- Intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- A suspended or revoked driver’s license, or other legal prohibition from driving
- An unlicensed minor
Negligent entrustment could also apply if the owner of the car is aware that the driver is someone who isn’t fit to drive, is known to be incompetent, or has an extensive history of accidents or reckless driving behavior.
Note that a car owner isn’t obliged to perform a background check on someone before loaning the keys to a vehicle, however. A valid driver’s license is generally presumed to be evidence enough that someone is qualified to drive, unless there are other factors at play at the time that the person received the keys.
A related legal concept in Texas is called the “family purpose doctrine.” Family purpose doctrine comes into play when a parent loans a vehicle to a minor child. If the child is then responsible for causing an accident, the parents can be held legally liable for damages to the victims. However, this doctrine does not usually apply if the vehicle was taken without permission.
Other Situations When Car Owners May Share Liability
Car owners are expected and legally obligated to maintain their vehicles to a safe standard of operation, or they may face negligent maintenance liability. If the car owner doesn’t keep the vehicle in safe working condition, he or she could be held responsible for an accident that happens as a result. For example, if the brakes on the car are faulty and the owner has neglected to replace them before loaning the car to someone, the owner could face legal consequences for the resulting accident.
Vicarious liability is a form of accident liability that often comes up when a business vehicle is involved. Should a business let an employee drive a company vehicle, the business (as the vehicle owner) may be held responsible for damages that result from an accident.
One situation in which it is rare for a vehicle owner to face liability is when the vehicle is stolen, since either express or implied consent is generally required to hold the owner responsible for what happens.
Get Legal Help After an Accident
There are many situations in which it may not be immediately clear who is responsible for damages after an accident. It is very important to be sure that when you make your legal claim you’re filing a lawsuit against all those responsible, and your attorney can help you make the right legal choices. This not only saves time and prevents frivolous lawsuits, but it may also help maximize your potential settlement or award so that you can get the compensation you’re owed for medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, and other expenses related to the crash.
Wayne Wright LLP is here to stand up for the legal rights of those who have been injured in preventable car accidents, and we would like to help you and your family begin the recovery process today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional and talk about your accident, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.
My loved one didn’t pass away right after the accident. Can I still file a wrongful death claim?
After an accident in which someone is gravely injured, there can be a protracted medical fight as doctors struggle to keep a person dear to you alive against all odds. Unfortunately, this is a battle that can’t always be won, and the injured person may pass away weeks, months, or even years after the accident that caused the injury. In situations like this with a significant gap in time between accident and death, it isn’t always clear-cut to survivors whether they can still seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Here’s what survivors should know about the time restrictions on a wrongful death lawsuit.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
Even though your loved one did not pass away right at the time the accident happened, you may still be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages for your loss.
While the law in Texas does put a time limit on how long the surviving family has to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s important to note that this timeline typically begins from the time of death, not from the time of the accident or injury. Once the clock starts, the family has up to two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, unless one of the rare exceptions applies.
Like any other wrongful death lawsuit, there will be four important elements to building a successful case when there has been a gap between injury and death. Typically, you and your attorney must:
- Show a duty of care. This means that you must show that the defendant had a duty to make sure that his actions didn’t harm someone else, such as obeying traffic laws while operating a motor vehicle.
- Show that the duty of care was violated. Once a duty of care has been established, it has to be proven that the responsible party violated that duty of care, such as if he or she ran a stop sign or a traffic light or was intoxicated behind the wheel.
- Prove that the violation caused the injury. You must be able to prove to the court that the actions of the defendant were what caused the death.
- Show that there were damages. You must also show that the accident caused you damages that can be compensated for financially. This includes the costs of emergency medical treatment and follow-up visits, repeated surgeries, long-term care with a home aide or at a nursing home, hospice expenses, and funerary costs.
As time passes between the initial accident and death, it becomes even more critical for families to contact a personal injury attorney to begin a wrongful death claim as soon as possible after their loved one passes away. Not only is the two-year statute of limitations in effect starting with the date of death, but evidence can also degrade over time. The memories of those involved can fade, physical evidence can become lost or deteriorate in quality, the original doctors that treated the injuries can change practices or retire, and other factors mean that there can be a real challenge to make a case.
Challenges of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Proving any wrongful death case can be challenging based on the situation, but there’s still hope for families who wish to seek recovery in a court of law. Whenever there is a significant time gap, the key factor is going to be showing that the person passed away due to the original injury and not due to an unrelated cause.
An experienced attorney with investigative skills can be a big help in any wrongful death case, but it’s especially important in cases when there is a time gap between the initial injury and death. He or she can help you protect your rights in this complex legal situation and discuss your legal options to move forward with your claim.
Get Legal Help Today
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been defending the legal rights of survivors for decades, and we’re here to help you and your family seek the compensation you may be owed in a court of law. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our legal professionals, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.
What should I do if I have been struck by a hit and run driver?
A hit and run accident, in which the person responsible for the crash leaves the scene without stopping, is one of the most frustrating things that can happen on the road. Victims are left shaken, sometimes seriously hurt, and are potentially on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills, repair costs, and other expenses from the accident.
Here is what you should know you are the victim of a hit and run. This includes what to do if you are involved in a crash, common reasons why these types of accidents happen, what consequences a hit and run driver can face if caught, and how you can get legal help if you have been hurt.
What to Do After a Hit and Run
The first thing you should do if you are hit by a driver who fails to stop is to stop your vehicle safely and pull over. Never try to chase the other driver down. Not only could you get into big trouble for fleeing the scene yourself, but you do not know who the other driver is or why they are fleeing. You could be putting your life seriously at risk at the hands of someone who has already shown that they are willing to violate the law once.
Once you are pulled over safely and have made sure that you are okay, here are some steps you can take:
- Call the police. Don’t wait on this, especially if you or someone else has been injured. Contact the authorities immediately to report that you have been a victim of a hit and run. A hit and run crash is a criminal offense, so even if nobody has been hurt you should still call the police now. Not only is it the right thing to do, but your insurance company may not cover the damage if you wait.
- Collect your evidence. Do your best to recall the make, model, and color of the car that hit you, and any other identifying marks. Try to recall as much of the license plate as you can, because even a partial match can help. If you saw what part of the other car struck yours, it could help identify the vehicle later. Write as much as you can down and take pictures of the scene if you are able and can do so safely.
- Find witnesses. If there are any witnesses to the accident, ask for contact information and write down what they say they saw. It could help the authorities identify the other driver later.
South Carolina requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage as a part of your insurance policy, so you will want to contact your insurer to get the claims process started. If the other driver is not found, your insurance could be the only way that you can receive financial help after the crash.
Why Hit and Run Accidents Happen
One of the most common questions that victims have after a hit and run is to wonder why the other driver fled. While there are as many answers to this question as there are stars in the sky, there are a few reasons that pop up time and time again. Frequently, it is that the driver thinks that the consequences of fleeing are less than the consequences of some other illegal activity that they were doing at the time of the accident—such as driving with a suspended license or without insurance.
It was also once “common knowledge” that the legal consequences of being caught after fleeing the scene were less than the consequences of a driving under the influence charge (DUI) in Texas, but this is no longer the case. Leaving the scene of an accident is now considered a felony, especially if that accident resulted in serious bodily harm or death. Even if there is no injury, failure to stop and render aid when you are in a crash is still a felony and carries the risk of considerable jail time.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, a personal injury attorney can help you discover what your legal options are. Even dealing with your own insurance company to get a fair settlement can be a challenge without legal representation. Remember, insurers do not make money by paying out claims and may do everything they can to minimize the value of your claim. You may need help protecting your legal rights. A personal injury attorney can also help you pursue compensation from the other driver when he or she is caught.
Wayne Wright LLP has been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of others for decades—and we are here to help your family receive the justice you deserve in a court of law. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us today, use our contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
What is an FDA recall?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with the important job of protecting public health by regulating drugs, medical devices, food, cosmetic products, and more. One of the key tools that the FDA has in its arsenal is to issue a product recall. But what does it really mean when the FDA recalls a product? Here’s what you should know about recalls and the recall process—including the different kinds of recalls. We go over how recalls may affect dangerous drug lawsuits and how you can get legal help if you have been hurt by a medication.
Classes of FDA Recall
When the FDA receives evidence that a drug may not be safe for use, it may issue a recall to stop the sales and distribution of a drug. There are three classes of FDA recalls, in increasing order of severity:
- Class III recall. This is the lowest category of recall and indicates that, while the FDA has found a compelling reason to stop a drug from being sold, serious harm is less likely to result from contact or exposure to the drug.
- Class II recall. This type of recall means that the FDA has determined there is a likely risk of temporary health complications, or that there are chances for more serious health complications.
- Class I recall. Drugs under a class I recall are those that have been found to pose severe health problems or could cause death if used.
It is important to note that just because a drug is under the “lowest” recall warning—class III recall—it does not mean that it is not dangerous. For example, in 2008 certain transdermal fentanyl patches (fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid pain reliever) were under a class III recall because the patches could potentially leak fentanyl-infused gel. Anyone who came in contact with the leaked gel was at risk of dangerous health complications, including a potentially fatal overdose.
There are several ways that a recall of any class can begin. Sometimes, manufacturers will decide to recall a drug voluntarily. Companies that do so must report the recall to the FDA and submit progress reports until the recall is successful. The FDA may also request that a manufacturer recall a drug on a voluntary basis if it receives enough evidence to warrant a recall. If the company refuses, the FDA may legally attempt to order the company to issue a recall through the courts, and in rare cases, the FDA may seek legal approval to seize the drug directly.
How Drug Recalls Affect Your Lawsuit
While an FDA recall of any class may indicate that there is evidence that a drug may cause harm, a recall is not actually necessary for you to succeed in a lawsuit against a manufacturer. For example, if you have been hurt by an undisclosed side effect, or the company failed to warn doctors and consumers about a potential health complication and you have been hurt as a result, you may have grounds for a lawsuit—even if there is no recall or a recall is still pending.
However, the fact that a drug has been recalled doesn’t mean that there are always grounds to file a lawsuit, either. Not every poor medical outcome is the result of manufacturer negligence, even if a drug is under recall.
Get Legal Help Today
Regardless of drug recall status, the question of whether you have a legal case may best be answered by a personal injury attorney with experience handling dangerous drug lawsuits. By seeking the help of an attorney who has the industry knowledge and legal skills to examine the facts in your case and advise you of your legal options, you will have the best chance at financial recovery for your injuries.
Wayne Wright LLP has been representing those who have been injured by dangerous drugs and defective medical device for decades, and we would like to help you begin the financial recovery process today. To speak to a legal professional about your case, call us today, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
Do I need to file a wrongful death case if the state of Texas is pursuing a criminal case?
The legal system can be confusing to anyone, and it doesn’t get any easier when you’re dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one.
A lot of legal myths and misconceptions get passed around to survivors by well-intentioned friends and family, and it can be difficult to tell fact from fiction during a difficult time in your life. One big misconception is about the nature of wrongful death lawsuits versus criminal charges. Sometimes, those who have survived an accident but lost a loved one believe that the court will take care of everything when the responsible person is arrested and charged. Is that really the case?
Here’s what you should know about wrongful death lawsuits when there are criminal charges involved, and how you can get the legal help you need today.
Criminal Court Versus Civil Court in Texas
Just because there are criminal charges filed against a person doesn’t mean that he or she is going to be ordered to pay restitution to survivors. The criminal justice system is concerned with corrections and punishment of those who violate the law. It is not a victim-centric system, in other words. The criminal courts are designed to protect society as a whole, but they do not typically provide relief to specific people who have been wronged.
However, there is another legal system that is separate but parallel to the criminal system that is designed for victims to seek compensation for their losses: the civil court. Civil court is where victims are able to file wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits (legally known as “torts”) to receive a ruling that grants them a financial award for the damages they’ve suffered.
Since both the criminal and civil legal systems are separate, it’s entirely possible and often expected that there will be a civil lawsuit against someone who has committed (or allegedly committed) a crime that cost a life or lives. The two court systems are complimentary, but unrelated.
It’s important for families to realize that although a successful criminal conviction could help your civil case, it’s not necessary, so don’t give up hope. Even if a conviction is not made in criminal court, representatives of an estate may succeed in a civil lawsuit against the responsible party, because standards of evidence in a civil case are different than those of a criminal case. Criminal prosecutors must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a crime was committed. Civil court requires a “preponderance of evidence” to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant (the person being sued) is responsible for the claims made by the plaintiff (the victim filing the lawsuit.)
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
One important element in a wrongful death lawsuit is that the authorities will not usually file this type of lawsuit on your behalf. If a survivor wishes to seek compensation for a wrongful death, he or she will need to file the civil lawsuit, usually with the help of an attorney. Texas law says that those who may file a wrongful death claim must typically be related to the deceased, including:
- A surviving spouse.
- Adult children and children who have been legally adopted.
- Parents, including the legally adoptive parents of a deceased child.
The only exception to this is when the surviving family declines to file a lawsuit within three months. In this case, personal representative of the estate of the deceased may elect to file a wrongful death lawsuit after the three-month time period has passed, unless a surviving family member requests otherwise. Siblings may not bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Texas.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have lost somebody that you love through the carelessness, recklessness, or wrongdoing of someone else, you have the deepest sympathies of Wayne Wright LLP. We’ve spent decades helping survivors seek financial compensation for their loss, and we’d like to help you and your family receive the justice that you deserve in a court of law. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us today, use our contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
Can I recover damages if I am partially responsible for my truck accident?
Liability is a big issue in car accidents, especially those involving commercial trucks. Who is responsible for paying damages to those who have been hurt? Sometimes the answer is clear and all the responsibility falls solely on a single party, but there are many cases where it’s not so obvious. There may be shared fault between two or more parties.
The question is, then, who can seek financial compensation when fault is shared in a crash? Can victims recover anything, even if they’re found to be partially liable for the accident?
Comparative Liability in Texas
In the state of Texas, whether you can recover damages after an accident with a truck or other vehicle depends on the portion of the responsibility that you share for what happened. Texas law calls this “proportionate responsibility” and it means that you may still recover damages under certain circumstances, even if you are found to be partially at fault.
Proportionate responsibility in Texas uses a legal method called “modified comparative negligence” when determining damage awards. This type of law says that victims who share a part of the responsibility may make a claim, but any awards for damages will be reduced by the percentage of liability that is shared.
For example, under proportionate responsibility law, if you’re in an accident with a truck and the court decides that you are 20 percent responsible for the crash, you still will be able to recover an award for damages. However, your final award will be reduced by 20 percent. This means that if you are given an award of $500,000, it would be reduced to $400,000.
Proportionate responsibility law also obeys the “51 percent rule.” This means that someone is not able to receive damages at all if his or her share of the responsibility is 51 percent or higher. In our example, if you are found to be 20 percent responsible and the truck driver is 80 percent responsible, the truck driver would not be able to receive a damage award at all.
Determining Negligence in Truck Accidents
There is a three-step process to determine whether there was negligence in an accident. You and your legal team will typically need to show that:
- There was a duty of care. Truck drivers (and others on the road) have a responsibility to operate their vehicles with a reasonable level of care, as required by the law. This is called a “duty of care.”
- There was a breach of duty. After you demonstrate that there was a duty of care, it must be shown that the truck driver breached that duty of care. That is, he or she failed to take appropriate care, or operate the truck in a reasonable and safe manner.
- The breach caused your injuries. The truck driver’s breach of duty must be shown to be the reason you are hurt or otherwise suffered a loss, such as property damage to your vehicle.
Even if you think you shared some part of the responsibility for the accident, you still may be able to receive compensation. By bringing these elements together and demonstrating that you suffered financial and other losses in the accident, you can make your claim for damages in a court of law.
Damage awards can include financial compensation for your medical bills, physical therapy or rehabilitation, lost or damaged property, lost wages from time away from work, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able help you determine what types of damage awards are available in your situation and what legal options are available to you.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, semi-truck, or delivery vehicle, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We believe in standing up for the rights of those who have been hurt due to the negligence and carelessness of others, and we’d like to help you get the justice you deserve in a court of law.
For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone, use the contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
What compensation could I receive if I’ve been hurt by a prescription drug?
Companies that make prescription drugs should have a duty to ensure that their products meet certain safety standards and don’t cause more harm than they cure. There are times, though, when companies seem to put profit before people and release a drug that hasn’t been properly tested, or a failure in manufacturing leads to a drug causing harm to consumers. Common prescription drugs like Abilify, Invokana, Risperdal, Benicar, Prilosec, Nexium, and others are leading to thousands of lawsuits as injured patients seek help recovering from injuries that never should have happened.
Here’s what you should know about dangerous prescription drug lawsuits, damages that patients could potentially recover in a court of law, and how to get started with your own lawsuit if you’ve been hurt.
Prescription Drug Use Statistics
Prescription drugs are far more common than many people realize. According to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half (48.9 percent) of people in the United States took at least one prescription drug between 2011–2014, and over three-quarters (76.2 percent) of all doctor visits resulted in drug therapy for patients. This widespread use of medication means that when a dangerous drug enters the marketplace and causes harm, it can cost a great deal of pain and suffering for many thousands of people. Likewise, a drug injury can cause real money problems, as astronomical medical bills and time away from work put severe strain on the family finances.
Damage Awards in Prescription Drug Lawsuits
The best recourse that many patients and their families have when they’ve been hurt by a prescription drug is to file a lawsuit and seek recovery from the manufacturer. By pursuing a lawsuit and proving that the manufacturer is responsible for releasing a dangerous drug, it’s possible to receive financial compensation for your health issues. Compensation is typically in the form of legal damages, which are a type of monetary award granted to make up for an injury or loss incurred by a defendant.
There are several types of damages that you may be eligible to receive for your injury. The two main categories are:
- Economic damages. Economic damages are expenses that can be easily quantified and added up, such as hospital and doctor bills, the cost of any surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages from time spent away from work, the loss of future earnings if your ability to work has been reduced or you can no longer work at all, and so on.
- Non-economic damages. These damages aren’t as easy to quantify as economic damages, but they are just as important. Non-economic damages that you could receive compensation for include the pain and suffering that you endured, mental anguish caused by your situation, and even loss of consortium or companionship if the drug has affected your relationship with your spouse, significant other, or family in some way.
There is a third type of damage award, known as exemplary or punitive damages. Exemplary damages are not designed to compensate victims for any specific cost or expense, but instead is used to punish a defendant who has engaged in particularly bad behavior. Punitive damages serve as both a warning and deterrent to prevent other people from engaging in similar behavior in the future. This type of damage award isn’t as common as the other two, as it requires a higher than usual standard of evidence in court, but it’s not uncommon for punitive damages to be awarded against drug companies with deep pockets who have caused serious harm to patients.
How to Start Your Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Pharmaceutical companies are frequent targets of lawsuits, so it takes solid evidence and persuasive arguments to have the best chance at winning your case in front of a jury. A personal injury attorney with experience litigating dangerous drug cases will be able to help you make your case by investigating your situation, examining medical records and other treatment documents, looking at other similar claims, and even calling in expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
Get Legal Help Now
If you’ve been hurt by a dangerous prescription drug, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We believe in standing up for the rights of patients who have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of drug companies who have put profits before people, and we are here to help you and your family seek the justice you deserve in a court of law. To arrange a free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team, call us by phone, use our contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
Can I still recover damages if a government vehicle hits me?
When you’re involved in a car accident with a private individual or a commercial entity (such as a semi truck or a delivery van), you typically have the right to file a personal injury claim. This lets you seek compensation for your injuries as well as the other expenses involved in a crash that wasn’t your fault to begin with. However, the situation can get a little more complicated if the vehicle that caused the crash belonged to a city, state, or federal agency.
If a police car, ambulance, postal worker, or other official vehicle or agent caused your crash and you want to pursue compensation, you still may be able to. You should be aware that the rules and regulations are different in this situation, and you may need to act fast. Here’s what you should know.
Government Immunity Laws and Car Accidents
Broadly speaking, police officers, fire trucks, ambulances, and other government employees usually have what’s called government or sovereign immunity. This law protects government workers for liability in many cases. However, there are often exceptions that may depend on the agency involved in the crash, and federal, state, county, city, or other local regulations can play a part, too.
In 1969, the state of Texas realized that there are times when it’s right and appropriate for there to be liability for state or local agencies and organizations. The Texas Tort Claims Act allows governmental units to be held legally responsible for personal injury or wrongful death, provided some conditions are met. These conditions include:
- The person responsible for the accident (government employee) must have been acting within the scope of his or her employment; and
- If the employee had been a private individual at the time of the accident, he or she would have faced liability for the accident.
The Texas Tort Claims Act also limits the amount of recovery that you can receive, to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per incident for injury, and $100,000 per incident for property damage.
There is a similar federal law, called the Federal Torts Claim Act, which also allows for lawsuits against federal employees in situations where negligence on the job is involved. However, the federal law may be even more restrictive than the Texas version and there are strict policies and legal procedures to follow to make a successful claim. Your attorney can help you determine the best way to get started with a federal claim.
Making Your Personal Injury Claim
If a city or municipality is involved, you and your attorney will need to take the claim to that municipality. If you were injured in the city of Austin, for example, you can visit the City of Austin Legal Department online to find out the right procedures and what you need to do to file a claim.
It’s important to note that, unlike a regular personal injury claim, the statute of limitations for making a claim against a government entity can be very short. You may have as few as thirty days or as long as six months, so every day counts between when your accident happened and when you contact a personal injury attorney to begin investigating your claim. If the statute of limitations has already expired, it’s likely that you will not be able to make a successful claim or receive any compensation at all.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident with a federal, state, county, city, or other local employee or agency, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, but you have to act fast. An experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the tight deadlines and strict procedures of filing a claim against a government agency can help you seek the justice that you deserve in a court of law.
Wayne Wright LLP has been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured by negligence, carelessness, and recklessness for decades, and we’re here to help you recover from your accident.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.