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.
Please click one of the following categories of our Frequently Asked Questions:
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If I file a complaint with the Texas Medical Board, can I still pursue a malpractice lawsuit?
When the actions of a physician or other healthcare professional fall below the standards of the field, filing a complaint with the Texas Medical Board can help start an investigation so that the authorities responsible for licensing doctors in our state are aware of the issue. This can be a positive move, and it can help protect yourself and others against future bad behavior by health care providers. However, is a complaint to the state medical board really enough? What do victims need to do to secure their legal right to compensation after a board complaint of medical malpractice?
Starting a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Texas
While filing a complaint with the Texas Medical Board may be the right thing to do, it’s wise to consult with an attorney before you do anything. Anyone can file a complaint and the authorities may choose to investigate the claim. Filing a complaint starts a documentation process with the Board, alerts them that there may be an issue with a certain doctor ’s practice or behavior, and ultimately may either temporarily or permanently interrupt that physician’s ability to practice.
But when the level of care falls so far below the accepted norms of the medical field that someone has been hurt as a result, victims should be aware that a board complaint may only prevent others from suffering the same fate after a lengthy investigation—and it does not offer any restitution for injuries that the physician caused. To receive compensation for medical malpractice injuries, patients need to begin a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The legal process of starting a medical malpractice claim is separate from filing a complaint with the Texas Medical Board. Both a complaint and a medical malpractice lawsuit can exist at the same time. Your medical malpractice attorney can help you with the complaint process as you begin your lawsuit. Your attorney should understand the process of filing the complaint and be able to get you through the process quickly. Your attorney can also begin investigating your malpractice claim and building the evidence you need to make your case in court, so that you can receive the compensation that you are owed.
The malpractice lawsuit can help you recover from losses you suffered as a result of the incident. Talk with your attorney about the types of damages that are appropriate in a case like yours, as every case is unique. Some of the typical costs related to a medical malpractice injury can include:
- Emergency medical care
- Repeat or revision surgeries
- All follow-up care
- The costs of wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, or other mobility devices
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation to regain lost physical abilities or skills
- Medications and medical supplies
- Mental health care for issues related to the injury
You may also be eligible to receive compensation for the pain and suffering that you endured, and other non-economic losses, though the state of Texas does impose limits on these types of damages.
In rare cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, as well. Be sure to discuss this with your attorney, as punitive damages can be a challenging process and requires special attention. Texas law also limits punitive damages in medical malpractice cases.
Get Legal Help Today
Whether you have already filed or would like to file your complaint and want to get started with the medical malpractice process, contact an attorney to get help right away. Medical malpractice cases are often long and complex affairs that require legal experience to succeed, and there is only a two-year statute of limitations in the state of Texas to seek the compensation that you may be owed for your malpractice injury.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP understand the challenges of a medical malpractice case like yours, and we are here to help you and your family begin the recovery process today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals, call us by phone today, use our online contact form to send us an email, or simply click the live chat box on this page right now.
What should I do if my loved one is killed in an accident?
A preventable accident that takes the life of a loved one is a tragedy that nobody should have to go through. Yet, every day there are Texas families torn apart by drunk driving accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, negligence, recklessness, willful wrongdoing, and other causes.
As a surviving family member, you are entitled to seek compensation in a court of law when you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or wrongful actions of someone else. Here’s what you should know, and how to get started with the legal process of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The law in Texas states broadly that liability for a wrongful death lawsuit exists if the death was caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” However, only certain people with relation to the deceased are able to make a wrongful death claim. A surviving spouse is the most common initiator of a lawsuit, but the children—including adult children and legally adopted children—or the parents of the deceased are also eligible to file a lawsuit. Siblings, however, are not included in this law.
There is a two-year statute of limitations that starts on the date of death. If no lawsuit is started within that time, you will not be able to pursue the case, outside of very limited exceptional circumstances. However, if the spouse, parents, or children don’t begin a wrongful death action within three months, the administrator of the estate of the deceased may begin a lawsuit, unless all parties request otherwise.
Before you begin, be sure to preserve any evidence you may have regarding your belief that this was a wrongful death case, such as police reports, witness statements and contact information, photographs of the scene, the autopsy report, or any supporting medical records or documentation. Be ready to discuss this with your potential attorney.
Choosing a Wrongful Death Attorney
Getting started with a wrongful death suit begins by contacting an attorney to discuss your situation. If you have family or friends who have experienced a similar tragedy, you may ask for recommendations, or ask your regular family attorney who he or she would suggest. Look for an attorney who has experience handling wrongful death suits like yours: medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace, or premises liability, for example. Read his or her website and look for case histories, client testimonials, and other information that shows a strong history of success. You may also look for reviews on third-party websites. Many top-notch firms and individual attorneys also offer free initial consultations, so take advantage of that to shop for the best fit for your case.
Once you agree to a consultation with an attorney, don’t be afraid to ask questions. See how his or her personality and experience line up with your expectations, and ask about fees, expenses, and other costs. Find out whether he or she works on contingency, with no up-front fees until there’s a win in court or a settlement agreement is made.
You don’t have to choose the first attorney you speak to. It’s never a bad idea to talk to multiple attorneys or firms before you make your choice—even if you do end up choosing that first attorney that you spoke to after all.
Get Legal Help Today
The days and weeks after the loss of your loved one are often a difficult time. There are many life changes that are going on, arrangements to make, and worries about the future of yourself and your family, especially if the one you lost was the chief breadwinner of the household. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the faster the legal process can get underway so that you can get the financial help that you need to cover funerary costs, any lingering medical bills, and other losses related to the loss of your loved one, such as lost wages and future earnings, compensation for the loss of companionship, and more.
At Wayne Wright LLP, our attorneys and staff understand that you need serious legal help right away. We have made it our job to stand up for the rights of families who have lost loved ones due to tragic and preventable accidents, and we are here to help you, too. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional, call us by phone today, send us an email via our online contact form, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
How can drug companies be held liable in a dangerous drug lawsuit?
Prescription drug use is extremely common in the United States, with figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that nearly half of all Americans took at least one medication at some point between 2011 and 2014. What is discussed less often, though, is what happens when something goes wrong with these drugs. Bad drug design, poor manufacturing processes, and loopholes or other issues with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process can all lead to consumers suffering serious harm that could have been prevented.
If you have been hurt by a prescription drug, under certain circumstances you may be eligible to receive compensation in a court of law. Here’s what you should know about prescription drug lawsuits and the damages you could be owed.
Prescription Drug Lawsuits
Many drugs have side effects, and a negative outcome is not always something that can result in the need for a lawsuit. However, there are several specific situations in which a lawsuit may be warranted. A product liability lawsuit enables consumers who have been hurt by a drug to seek restitution when:
- The drug has been marketed improperly. There are strict rules about the marketing of prescription drugs. A “failure to warn” lawsuit alleges that a company did not appropriately warn doctors or patients of a particular risk associated with a product, improperly labeled the packaging, or didn’t include the right safety warnings.
- There are manufacturing defects with the drug. When something goes wrong with the process of manufacturing the drug, the consequences can be severe. Bacterial or fungal contamination, contamination by other drugs or substances, or other material problems with the way drug is made can result in harm that consumers can seek relief for.
- There are defects in the drug design itself. Many medications have the potential to harm as well as heal. A key consideration is whether the benefits outweigh the risks. In some cases, it has been discovered that a drug has been released into the market, yet it carries clear risks that far outweigh any benefits.
When something has gone wrong with a drug in one of these ways, the manufacturer may be held liable. However, there are other parties that may share a legal burden, as well. The doctor who prescribed the drug, the clinic or hospital in which you received the medication, the pharmacy that dispensed the drug, or even a pharmaceutical company sales representative all potentially share responsibility for what happened, depending on the specifics of the situation.
Damages in a Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
It’s likely that you may join a class action lawsuit, or your case may be heard as part of a multi-district litigation, rather than an individual lawsuit. The damages that you may be able to receive depend on your individual case, so talk with your attorney about your situation. You may be able to receive compensatory or economic damages, non-economic damages, and in some situations, punitive damages, as well. Some of the common damage awards that injured patients may receive in a drug lawsuit can include:
- Medical costs. This is the most fundamental economic damage award and includes any and all medical expenses related to the incident, including trips to the hospital, doctor or clinic visits, surgery, medication, and follow-up care, including physical therapy or rehabilitation.
- Lost wages. If the injury cost you time away from work, you may be eligible for compensation for the time you missed. Similarly, if the illness cost you your ability to do your job, you may be able to receive compensation for future lost income, as well.
- Other expenses. If the injury resulted in other non-medical expenses, you may be able to receive compensation for those, as well. This can include travel or transportation charges related to the injury, the costs of household help for activities you can no longer perform, and child care expenses while you’re seeking treatment. If you lost a loved one due to the drug, funerary expenses may also be covered.
- Pain and suffering. A dangerous drug injury can be painful and traumatic, and you may be awarded damages for the pain and suffering that the injury caused you.
Punitive damages are a form of damage award that is sometimes awarded in dangerous drug lawsuits, as well. This type of damage award is used to punish companies for the worst kinds of misdeeds, and to discourage similar behavior in the future.
Get Legal Help Today
To protect your legal right to seek compensation, it is important to start the process of making a claim as soon as possible. A dangerous drug lawyer with experience in dealing with dangerous drug lawsuits can investigate your injury and help you determine what your best legal option is to move forward with your claim.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been representing those who have been hurt by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices for years, and we are here to help you and your family start your claim today. To begin the recovery process with a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us by phone, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.
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 truck accident lawyer 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 experienced medical malpractice attorneys 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 auto accident attorney 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 a wrongful death lawyer, 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, an auto accident lawyer 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 a dangerous drug lawyer 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 wrongful death lawyer 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.