The Kipness Law Firm, P.C

GENERAL

Q: What is a catastrophic injury?

A: Usually, it involves injuries such as loss of vision, paralysis, brain damage, major burns, amputations, multiple fractures, spinal cord injuries, and nerve injuries in the chest, shoulder, legs or arms.  Injuries are typically life altering. These cases require use of experts in the fields of medicine, economic losses, and rehabilitation.

Q: What if the injured person dies before a lawsuit is filed?

A: Family members, including children, parents, and spouses can still pursue the claim for the deceased.  These claims are known as wrongful death and survival claims.

Q: What is the difference between compensatory damages and punitive damages?

A: Compensatory damages are used to compensate the harmed individual or family and punitive damages are used to punish the wrongdoer.

Q: If am an illegal alien or a citizen of a foreign country, can I pursue a personal injury claim?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there a charge to evaluate my case and what happens during the first meeting?

A: No.  We will discuss the facts of your case and the laws that apply.  If the case is accepted, we will discuss a contingency fee contract with you, which will explain how the attorney is compensated for his services.

Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

A: If you were injured and believe it is someone or something’s fault, you should contact a personal injury attorney.

Q: If I write something about my case on your website, is it confidential?

A: Yes, even if we do not accept your case.

Q: What if I have an attorney but I am not happy with their service?

A: You have a right to change attorneys but your old attorney may request all or part of his fee to be paid.

Q: Why will attorneys not take my personal injury case?

A: Attorneys turn down cases for many reasons.  Cases may be turned down because you have been in multiple accidents, your medical bills and lost wages are in small amounts, the police have stated you are the cause of the accident, you have pre-existing conditions and injuries in the in area hurt by the accident, days and weeks have gone by without medical treatment, and damage caps make the case not economically viable for the attorney.

Q: Can I receive compensation for an injury or condition that was aggravated or made worse by the negligence of another?

A: Possibly.  It depends on the facts of the case.  You can recover compensation for aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition.

Q: How will I pay my attorney and costs associated with my case?

A: Usually, the attorney takes a percentage out of the recovery and advance expenses to work on the case.  Once the case is resolved, the attorney’s fees and expenses are taken from the settlement amount and the balance is your recovery.  Details of the attorney’s fees and expenses are explained when the case is resolved.

Q: An attorney told me my case is worth millions, is he telling me the truth?

A: No.  If an attorney is telling you this, do not hire him as your attorney.  This statement is unethical and wrong because there are no guarantees in Court.

Q: My neighbor received a lot of money from his accident, why I am not getting the same amount?

A: Each case is different.  Accident facts and injury facts are different.  This is true even if injuries are in same body area.

Q: What if I am injured and an attorney or his agent or representative contacts me about my injury?

A: You should not hire this attorney because attorneys cannot contact you first about your accident or injuries.  You should also report this attorney to the State Bar of Texas.  The number is (800) 204-2222.

Q: How long will my personal injury case take?

A: It depends on the type of case, severity of your injuries, position of the insurance company and the attorney for the defendant.  If there are disputes about responsibility for the accident or your injuries, then a lawsuit will need to be filed.  Cases that go to trial take longer than cases that are settled. Also, some courts have bigger dockets, which mean it may take longer to get a trial.

Q: What is a deposition and mediation?

A:  Deposition is sworn testimony given by a party or a witness.  It a process that allows attorneys to learn about the facts and assess the credibility of the witness.  The deposition is transcribed and may be videotaped.  Mediation is a settlement conference between the parties and their attorneys.  An impartial person meets with both sides to get the parties to resolve the dispute.  Parties are usually required to mediate before they go to trial.

Q: If a lawsuit if filed for my personal injury matter, will I have to go to Court?

A: If you cannot settle your case, you will have to come to Court and testify.  We will spend as much time as you need to get you ready to testify and attend trial.  There is no charge for getting you ready for trial.

Q: Will you advance me money on my case?

A: No.

Q: What is contributory negligence or comparative responsibility?

A: It is a legal term that means your compensation may be reduced if the jury finds you are partially responsible for the incident that leads to your injuries.

Q: Who decides to settle my case or accept an offer from an insurance company or business?

A: You.  We work for you on your case and we will not settle the case without your approval.  We will advise you and give you our professional opinion.

Q: How does an insurance company value a personal injury claim?

A: Insurance companies look at the facts causing the accident; who is at fault for the accident; the severity of the accident, type and length of medical treatment, need for future medical care, how permanent is the injury.  If the parties cannot agree on the value of the claim, a jury will determine its value.

Q: What if my claim has received an unfair offer or the insurance company has denied my claim or refuses to talk to me?

A: You should contact an attorney that has experience in dealing with insurance companies.  Insurance companies know that if they frustrate individuals they will either drop their claim or take a low offer to put the unpleasant experience behind them.

Q: Can I settle my claim without an attorney?

A: Yes.  You may be able to settle your claim without an attorney.  This may be the case if you are only claiming property damage or your injuries are minor.  If you have serious injuries or unsure if you should settle your claim, you should contact an attorney.

Q: The insurance adjuster is being nice to me, should I trust them?

A: No.  Insurance companies and their adjusters do not care about your best interest.  They are concerned with poking holes in your claim and making profits by either denying legitimate claims or paying low values on the claims. Also, they will always refuse to give you any information such as their policy limits or a statement of their negligent driver.  You should speak to a personal injury attorney before talking with an insurance company.

Q: Do I have to give the insurance company everything they ask for?

A: Insurance companies will want your recorded statement and will request you sign authorizations to allow them to search through your medical and work records.  While insurance companies need some of these documents to evaluate your claim, you should speak to a personal injury attorney before signing anything or giving them a statement.

Q: If my health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, workers compensation or some other entity paid for my medical bills, will I have to reimburse them?

A: Possibly.  It depends on the entity that paid your medical bills.  Some require 100% reimbursement and some will reduce the amount of money you owe them for payment of your medical bills.

Q: What if I think most lawsuits are frivolous and a problem in this country?

A: Most personal injury attorneys agree with your opinion.  We do not file frivolous lawsuits, screen all cases for merit and decline cases brought to us that are frivolous or meritless.  We will not accept these types of cases because we do not want to spend our time and expenses in taking these types of cases to Court.

Q: Isn’t the McDonald’s case a good example of a frivolous lawsuit and why we need tort reform?

A: This case has received a lot of attention with the truth being stretched and distorted.  Yes, a woman was awarded money in a jury trial. The truth is the woman was given $160,000 as compensation for third degree burns on her legs and genitalia.  The millions of dollars given by the jury were to punish McDonalds because it knew the coffee temperature was dangerous hot and made a business decision to sell it at this high temperature.  Finally, after the trial, the judge reduced the amount of the jury verdict.

Q: What is tort reform?

A: Tort reform is a misleading concept that is sold to Texans by the insurance industry to scare you into thinking that personal injury settlements or verdicts will affect the availability of insurance for Texans, jobs for Texans, cause companies not to open businesses in Texas, cause goods and services to increase in price, and prevent doctors and hospitals from treating patients in Texas.

Q: What is the reality of tort reform and what is its purpose?

A: Tort reform is used to brainwash Texans that serve on juries and convince them of need for low awards.  Insurance companies and businesses persuade legislators and other government officials to place caps on damages so they can make more money and continue to raise insurance rates and pay less on claims.  

Q: Who does tort reform really affect?

A: Tort reform affects families and individuals from holding other persons or entities responsible for their wrongdoing.

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