Archive for the ‘Verdicts’ Category

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An Attorney’s Outlook On How Insurance Companies Value Personal Injury Cases

March 23, 2009

All insurance companies have different methods for placing a value on your claim, but there are a few factors that are constants in every case. The insurance company will be looking at any property that was damaged, physical and or emotional damage to you, both long and short term, medical bills, and other damages.

To begin, medical bills, if applicable, are factored in separately. These are usually ranked in severity and long term, lasting effects. For example, trips to the ER would pay higher than regularly scheduled doctor visits. Likewise, an injury that took or will take a long time to heal is more “valuable” than an injury in which the victim recovers quickly.

It is very important that the doctors are told every detail about all injuries that may have been caused in the accident. The value of a case increases when the doctor assigns more than one injury code to a patient at the time of the first examination. These injury codes must be in the doctors chart notes. They will not get into the chart notes unless you, the injured party, tell the doctor what your physical complaints are.

There are two types of injuries. The first category comes from an injury that causes pain. Report all of your pain to your doctor. The second type of injury is one that causes functional loss. That means any condition after an accident that limits your normal functioning level in daily activities at home, at work and at play. For example, if you can’t turn your neck fully after an accident, then that is a limiting function that should be reported to your doctor.

Remember, it is in the insurance company’s best interest to set a lower value on your claim than you will want, since they want to limit the amount they have to pay out. It will be up to you (or your personal injury attorney) to build the case for your claim to be a higher value.

They key to building your case will be careful documentation of everything involved in your case. Keep diligent records of every expense, every doctor’s visit, every loss you feel you have suffered due to the accident. The more organized and prepared you are, the less “wiggle” room an insurance company will have in negotiating your settlement. For example if your case is based on your memory alone, or just verbal statements of losses, you case may have much less value, than if you had organized receipts, photographs, witnesses’ statements, etc.

The negotiation process can be very stressful and confusing if you are not used to dealing with these types of situation. Remember, to, that the insurance companies have people on staff who’s job it is to be the best at lower the exposure (financial losses) to the insurance company – they are not in business to be sympathetic to you or your situation. It is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases.

It is both an art and a skill in successfully negotiating a personal injury settlement with an insurance company. Unless you have the experience and knowledge of the laws of your state regarding your case, you will find that you may settle for a lot less than you deserve if you try to represent yourself.

Protect yourself after any accident! Before you speak with anyone concerning your case, find out what your rights are and what compensation you may be entitled to.

Attorney Scott Edgett is a civil trial attorney with the Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Edgett is licensed to practice law in Texas and Florida. Over the last decade, Mr. Edgett has emphasized on providing superior client representation in a professional and ethical manner, while experiencing high job satisfaction and trying to make the world a safer place for all. Mr. Edgett has been representing families and consumers whose lives have been devastated by reckless drivers, dangerous products, and other negligent tortfeasors. When a tragedy occurs because of the irresponsible behavior of a tortfeasor, an insurance company, or a corporation, Mr. Edgett and the firm of Humphreys & Peterson are advocates for the people and will help pursue justice for all. To speak directly to Attorney Scott Edgett, please feel free to contact him at (866) 259-0661, via email at Scott@TexasJusticeForAll.com, or visit our website at www.TexasJusticeForAll.com for further information regarding our law firm.

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Pit Bull Attacks 88 Year Old Woman & Slays Her Little Chihuahua In Garland Texas

March 23, 2009

On February 11, 2009, an 88 year old Garland, Texas woman started her daily lunchtime stroll with her 5 year old pet Chihuahua who weighs less than 8 pounds. After placing a leash on her little dog inside her garage, she opened her garage door to what was suppose to be a warm and sunny afternoon walk. However, this is one time she wished her garage would not have worked.

As this 88 year old woman walked into her own driveway, she was startled when she looked at a large 65 pound pit bull charging right towards her and her little Chihuahua. She instinctively bent down to attempt to pick up and protect her little companion. However, before she could even reach her little dog, the large male pit bull dog lunged on her knocking her backwards to the ground. The pit bull dog then began to bite the woman’s arms, hands and fingers. Once the pit bull had enough with the elderly woman, the large pit bull began to maul the little Chihuahua right in front of the 88 year old woman. The frail woman could do nothing to stop the brutal attack as she was lying on the ground watching her family pet of 5 years be eaten up by a pit bull.

After several minutes of this brutal attack, finally a bystander came by and was able to pry the pit bull off of the elderly woman and her dog. The pit bull dog was tied to a neighbor’s fence across the alley way.

Then, the hysterical 88 year old woman was finally able to get up off the ground, bend down to pick up her bloody dog in an attempt to save the dog’s life. The dog was still breathing at the time, although barely. Thus, at that time her injuries were not her primary concern. Her main concern was that she wanted to try anything to save her pet’s life.

Having sustained her own injuries, having witnessed a brutal mauling of her family pet, and the hysteria she was undergoing at the time she was in no way able to drive her dog to the veterinarian for treatment. Thus, this 88 year old woman had her 89 year old husband who suffers from Alzheimer disease and dementia, driver her a few miles to the closest animal hospital. Notwithstanding her courageous efforts, the 5 year old Chihuahua suffered a heart attack while initially being examined at the animal hospital.

Thereafter, the elderly woman was taken for medical treatment. As a result of this pit bull dog attack, the 88 year old woman sustained the following injuries: bite lacerations to her arms, hands, and fingers; lacerations to her elbows and knees from being knocked down to the ground; a torn meniscus to her right knee from being knocked down to the ground; an aggravation of a preexisting wrist injury which may require surgery; as well as several other scrapes and bruises. Despite these physical injuries, this woman is now dealing with mental anguish that will affect her the remainder of her life. These symptoms include: inability to sleep; nightmares; continuous crying and grief from the loss of her family pet; lack of appetite; nervousness of entering her own driveway where the attack occurred or even stepping foot outside anymore. To date, this elderly woman’s medical bills exceed $15,000.00.

In addition to the foregoing facts, it is important to note that this pit bull dog had at least two other incidents with local neighbors’ little dogs. Luckily, neither of those incidents resulted in a tragedy like this. Furthermore, the City of Garland has deemed this dog vicious in nature and has ordered that this pit bull dog be immediately removed from the City of Garland.

The State of Texas is one of the few remaining states who have what is called the “one free bite rule”. What this refers to is that generally, a dog owner will not be found liable for damages the dog causes, unless the dog is vicious AND the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the viciousness. If the animal is vicious or has aggressive tendencies and the owner has knowledge of that propensity, the owner is subject to liability under the law of strict liability. However, if an animal is non-vicious, the owner may still be subject to liability for his or her negligence in handling the dog. In Texas, a dangerous dog is defined as:

(1) a dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and the attack occurs outside of the dog’s enclosure; OR

(2) a dog that commits unprovoked attacks outside of its enclosure that cause a person to reasonably believe the dog will attack and cause bodily injury.

What do you believe is a fair and reasonable amount of financial compensation to this elderly woman in this case? Your opinions are greatly valued and appreciated as it helps an insurance adjuster, mediator, and/or defense attorney come to realize what a Dallas jury would do these days.

Attorney Scott Edgett is a civil trial attorney with the Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Edgett is licensed to practice law in Texas and Florida. Over the last decade, Mr. Edgett has emphasized on providing superior client representation in a professional and ethical manner, while experiencing high job satisfaction and trying to make the world a safer place for all. Mr. Edgett has been representing families and consumers whose lives have been devastated by reckless drivers, dangerous products, and other negligent tortfeasors. When a tragedy occurs because of the irresponsible behavior of a tortfeasor, an insurance company, or a corporation, Mr. Edgett and the firm of Humphreys & Peterson are advocates for the people and will help pursue justice for all. To speak directly to Attorney Scott Edgett, please feel free to contact him at (866) 259-0661, via email at Scott@TexasJusticeForAll.com, or visit our website at www.TexasJusticeForAll.com for further information regarding our law firm.

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Dallas Jury Awards $17.5 Million, But This Award Unfortunately Reduced By $10 Million Because Of The Texas Legislature

February 18, 2009

According to the Dallas Morning News, a former maintenance man for a North Dallas apartment complex who lost his arms and legs to an MRSA infection has been awarded $17.5 million by a Dallas County jury.

Dr. Meenakshi S. Prabhakar, a Bedford infectious-disease specialist, was ordered to pay nearly $7.5 million to David Fitzgerald, 53, who now lives with his brother in East Texas. Dr. Prabhakar treated Fitzgerald in 2003, when he developed an infection following surgery at RHD Medical Center in Farmers Branch.

Because of caps on medical malpractice cases, Fitzgerald cannot collect about $10 million the jury awarded for pain, mental anguish and physical impairment. The state allows no more than $250,000 to be paid for non-economic damages in such cases.

The Texas statutory caps on non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering) in medical malpractice cases are tragically unfair and this case emphasizes that tremendously. Mr. Fitzgerland cannot bathe himself, cannot leave his own house without assistance, and will need daily care for the rest of his life.

As a civil trial attorney representing seriously injured individuals and their families over the years, I have seen many cases that would clearly justify an award of pain and suffering well in excess of $250,000.00, which is now the statutory cap in Texas for medical malpractice cases. That is a tragedy in itself. As a result of these statutory caps, these seriously injured victims become victimized for a second time.

If our civil justice system permits a jury of our peers to determine what is fair and reasonable for an injured person to recover, then it is outrageous to take that decision away from a jury. If a jury of our peers determines that someone is entitled to a certain some of money as compensation for pain and suffering, then there decision should be final. Our civil justice system needs to change immediately before more statutory caps are implemented by the Texas legislature for any and all injury cases.

Attorney Scott Edgett is a civil trial attorney with the Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Edgett is licensed to practice law in Texas and Florida. Over the last decade, Mr. Edgett has emphasized on providing superior client representation in a professional and ethical manner, while experiencing high job satisfaction and trying to make the world a safer place for all. Mr. Edgett has been representing families and consumers whose lives have been devastated by reckless drivers, dangerous products, and other negligent tortfeasors. When a tragedy occurs because of the irresponsible behavior of a tortfeasor, an insurance company, or a corporation, Mr. Edgett and the firm of Humphreys & Peterson are advocates for the people and will help pursue justice for all. To speak directly to Attorney Scott Edgett, please feel free to contact him at (866) 259-0661, via email at Scott@TexasJusticeForAll.com, or visit our website at www.TexasJusticeForAll.com for further information regarding our law firm.

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Jury Awards $20 Million Dollars To Homeowners On Hurricane Damage Claims

February 13, 2009

According to BizJournals.com, a Miami federal court jury on Friday, February 13, 2009, awarded Buckley Towers homeowners $20 million in their claim against global insurance giant QBE Insurance, one of the largest condo insurers in Florida.

At issue was damage caused by Hurricane Wilma to the 40-year-old twin towers in North Miami.

During the nearly two weeks of testimony, lawyers for the mostly elderly condo residents claimed the storm’s winds caused structural joints to come loose. But, attorneys for the insurance company argued that the building’s age and homeowners’ failure to maintain the building caused the damage. The county has been threatening to condemn the building. Lawyers for the insurance company also argued that Hurricane Wilma’s winds in the area never grew strong enough to cause the kind of damage that was being claimed.

Katzman Garfinkel Rosenbaum, the law firm representing the homeowners, hailed Friday’s verdict as a major precedent in hurricane insurance cases.

As a trial lawyer, the impact of this verdict will not only affect those in Southern Florida, but will hopefully begin to set a precedent that homeowners insurance companies all over Florida, Texas, and Louisiana (all of which have been hard hit by hurricanes over the past several years) can no longer fraudulently delay and deny claims as they have been doing. It is clear that some of these insurance companies are using tactics that are reprehensible and can no longer be tolerated.

There are many other pending lawsuits against homeowner’s insurance companies for the same or similar types of fraudulent insurance conduct. I hope the juries in these upcoming cases make the same statement as this Miami jury made today.

Attorney Scott Edgett is a civil trial attorney with the Humphreys & Peterson Law Firm in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Edgett is licensed to practice law in Texas and Florida. Over the last decade, Mr. Edgett has emphasized on providing superior client representation in a professional and ethical manner, while experiencing high job satisfaction and trying to make the world a safer place for all. Mr. Edgett has been representing families and consumers whose lives have been devastated by reckless drivers, dangerous products, and other negligent tortfeasors. When a tragedy occurs because of the irresponsible behavior of a tortfeasor, an insurance company, or a corporation, Mr. Edgett and the firm of Humphreys & Peterson are advocates for the people and will help pursue justice for all. To speak directly to Attorney Scott Edgett, please feel free to contact him at (866) 259-0661, via email at Scott@TexasJusticeForAll.com, or visit our website at www.TexasJusticeForAll.com for further information regarding our law firm.