When you are injured in an accident, there are several steps you should take. Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck accident, medical malpractice error or workplace accident, the steps are generally the same.
- You should seek medical attention for your injuries. After an accident, it is critically important that you tend to any injuries you may have experienced as a result of the accident. Even if you don’t immediately feel injured, it’s recommended that you go to the doctor to get checked out.
- If possible, you should try to document the conditions surrounding the accident. If you were injured in a car accident, you can take photos of your vehicle, talk to witnesses and get their names and phone numbers and document the road conditions. This is important to preserve information that may be relevant later.
- If you are unable to document the scene of the accident because your injuries are too severe, it may be useful to ask a family member or loved one to hire a personal injury lawyer. Even if you are able to document the scene, finding an attorney to hire after an accident will help you understand what to do next.
After a serious accident, you may wonder about suing for your personal injuries. While the determination of a good case should be evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney, there are some basics that may help you understand suing after an accident.
For the court to consider your personal injury suit, the party that you’d like to hold responsible for your injuries must have been negligent. Under the law, negligence must fulfill four elements:
- The at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care. In most accident cases, the care is general and is owed to the public. For example, a driver owes others on the road a duty to drive carefully and FREE from distraction.
- The at-fault party must have neglected his or her duty to act with care. In the case of a driver, texting while driving is an example of a “breach” of duty.
- The at-fault party’s failure to fulfill the obligation to act with care must have directly caused your injuries.
- You must have been actually harmed or injured by negligence.
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If you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence of others, filing a suit can help you take back the situation and recover the compensation you deserve for economic loss and suffering. Before you do, however, you need to answer one simple question: Who can you sue? The answer depends on the specifics of your case, including who is liable for your injury as well as where the accident occurred.
When someone else’s actions have resulted in you being harmed, you have likely needed medical treatment to recover. The most important thing Attorney Timothy Raub will fight on your behalf for is the right to have your medical treatments, both present and future, taken care of. You should not have to pay for your health and well-being! In addition, we will recover pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and other inconveniences associated with the injury.
Because all personal injury cases are different, they are all settled under different timelines. The duration of a case also depends on the cooperation of the insurance company. At the firm, Mr. Raub works closely with clients from start to finish in order to settle their case as efficiently and quickly as possible. Even if your case has to be fought in court, Mr. Raub does everything possible to litigate on behalf of his client and help them receive fair treatment and compensation.
The most important thing that any attorney, court, and judge will want to see is the documentation you can provide that illustrates the extent of your injuries and how the other person or business is responsible. For a meeting with a Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer, you should bring police reports, insurance information, photos of the accident, photos of injuries, copies of medical records, correspondence with insurance companies, receipts, estimates, and any other documentation related to the case that you feel may be relevant.
Different aspects of the law apply, depending on where and how your accident occurred. However, in ALL cases, it must be established that the property owner, agent or manager failed to keep the area where you fell in a safe condition. Law requires that the property owner knows of the dangerous or unsafe condition, or should have known, of the conditions.
Your attorney can speak with you about this, but even attorneys can’t necessarily pinpoint what your case is worth until it is close to a resolution. Many factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the state of the drivers involved and the insurance companies influence the outcome. So do your medical bills, your loss of income and the nature of your injuries. An experienced lawyer can work with you to decide whether to pursue legal action and how to proceed.
The Corpus Christi and Federal Practice Rules provide a variety of tools that the lawyers may use to probe either the claims or defenses of the opposing party. Which tools are used, and how they are used, will vary depending on the issues involved in the particular case. The tools include:
• Demands for Production of Documents and Bills of Pariculars
• Independent Medical Exams (IME’s)
• Notices to Admit
Attend to all injuries immediately, whether they are yours, your passengers, or members of the other vehicle’s party. The moments after an accident are the most crucial and can determine the entire outcome of your case. Do not admit to anything, especially fault, even if you were not at fault. Sometimes, it is easy to “I am sorry” once an accident has occurred out of impulse, but this can be detrimental to your chances later on when making a claim. Try to gather witnesses, capture as many photos as possible of the injuries and damages, and hold on to any medical records or other costs related to your accident. These will all serve as evidence later on down the road.
- You receive a complete fresh start. After the bankruptcy is discharged the only debts you owe will be for secured assets on which you choose to sign a “Reaffirmation Agreement.”
- You have immediate protection against creditor’s collection efforts and wage garnishment on the date of filing.
- Wages you earn and property you acquire (except for inheritances) after the bankruptcy filing date are yours, not the creditors or bankruptcy court.
- There is no minimum amount of debt required.
- Your case is often over and completely discharged in about 3-6 months.
- You lose your non-exempt property which is sold by the trustee. If you want to keep a secured asset, such as a car or home, and it is not completely covered by your Corpus Christi bankruptcy exemptions then Chapter 7 is not an option.
- If facing foreclosure on your home, the automatic stay created by your Chapter 7 filing only serves as a temporary defense against foreclosure.
- Co-signors of a loan can be stuck with your debt unless they also file for bankruptcy protection.
- If you filed a prior case and received a discharge of your debts, you can only file a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy case eight years after you filed the first case.
- If you choose and you can afford the payment plan, you can keep all your property, exempt and non-exempt.
- While debts are not canceled as in a Chapter 7 discharge they can be reduced under a Chapter 13 payment plan.
- You have immediate protection against creditor’s collection efforts and wage garnishment.
- More debts are considered to be dischargeable (including debt you incurred on the basis of fraud and credit card charges for luxury items immediately prior to filing).
- If the Chapter 13 plan provides for full payment, any co-signers are immune from the creditor’s efforts.
- You have protection against foreclosure on your home by your lender as long as you meet the terms of the plan.
- You have more time to pay debts that can’t be discharged by either chapter (like taxes or back child support).
- You can file a Chapter 13 at any time.
- You can file repeatedly.
- You can separate your creditors by class where different classes of creditors receive different percentages of payment. This enables you to treat debts where there is a co-debtor involved on a different basis than debts incurred on your own.
- You create a payment plan where you use your post bankruptcy income. This ties up your cash over the Chapter 13 plan period.
- Legal fees are higher since a Chapter 13 filing is more complex.
- Your plan and therefore your debt will last for 3 to five years.
- You are involved in the bankruptcy court process for the term of the 3-5 year plan.
- Stockbrokers, and commodity brokers cannot file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.
Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:
- Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a “discharge” of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.
- Stop foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments. (Bankruptcy does not, however, automatically eliminate mortgages and other liens on your property without payment.)
- Prevent repossession of a car or other property, or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed.
- Stop wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
- Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
- Allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.
Bankruptcy cannot, however, cure every financial problem. Nor is it the right step for every individual. In bankruptcy, it is usually not possible to:
- Eliminate certain rights of “secured” creditors. A “secured” creditor has taken a mortgage or other lien on property as collateral for the loan. Common examples are car loans and home mortgages. You can force secured creditors to take payments over time in the bankruptcy process and bankruptcy can eliminate your obligation to pay any additional money if your property is taken. Nevertheless, you generally cannot keep the collateral unless you continue to pay the debt
- Discharge types of debts singled out by the bankruptcy law for special treatment, such as child support, alimony, certain other debts related to divorce, some student loans, court restitution orders, criminal fines, and some taxes.
- Protect cosigners on your debts. When a relative or friend has co-signed a loan, and the consumer discharges the loan in bankruptcy, the cosigner may still have to repay all or part of the loan.- Discharge debts that arise after bankruptcy has been filed.
You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if you received a discharge under a Chapter 7 case filed in the last eight years or a Chapter 13 filed in the last six years. You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if you received a discharge under a Chapter 7 case filed in the last four years or a Chapter 13 filed in the last two years. If didn’t received a discharge in the previous bankruptcy filing, depending on why this is the case, you can file and receive a discharge without any time restrictions.
Yes. Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for bankruptcy. This is not true. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after your bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt. You can also keep any property covered by Corpus Christi bankruptcy exemptions through the bankruptcy.
Yes, with some exceptions. Bankruptcy will not normally wipe out:
(1) money owed for child support or alimony, fines, and some taxes;
(2) debts not listed on your bankruptcy petition;
(3) loans you got by knowingly giving false information to a creditor, who reasonably relied on it in making you the loan;
(4) debts resulting from “willful and malicious” harm;
(5) student loans owed to a school or government body, except if:– the court decides that payment would be an undue hardship;
(6) mortgages and other liens which are not paid in the bankruptcy case (but bankruptcy will wipe out your obligation to pay any additional money if the property is sold by the creditor).
Generally, student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. In 11 U.S.C. sec. 523(a)(8) there are two exceptions to this general rule:
- The student loan may be discharged if it is neither – Insured or guaranteed by a governmental unit, nor
– Made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or nonprofit institution.
- The student loan may be discharged if paying the loan will “impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents.”
Student loans more than 7 years old used to be dischargeable under certain circumstances, but this provision was removed by an appropriations bill passed in October of 1998.
Whether an exception applies depends on the facts of the particular case and may also depend on local court decisions. Even if a student loan falls into one of the two exceptions, discharge of the loan may not be automatic. You may have to file an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court to obtain a court order declaring the debt discharged.
Unpaid Wages/Overtime FAQ
According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, an employee must be paid overtime if he or she is a non-exempt employee. These individuals are entitled to overtime in the amount of one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Typically, a non-exempt employee cannot be required to waive his or her right to overtime. The FLSA, however, does not protect an employee who over-reports overtime or who works overtime in violation of an employer’s clearly posted rule or policy prohibiting overtime work.
Overtime pay can include work performed either before or during an employee’s usual shift, as well as time spent working during an employee’s lunch break. Employers are generally required to provide their employees with as much advance notice about the potential need for the employee to work overtime as possible. In addition, employers are expected to spread overtime work among employees to prevent one employee from bearing the brunt of overtime work.
Overtime law revolves around the concept of a workweek. In general, a workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 7 days. The workweek does not need to coincide with traditional calendar days constituting a workweek, i.e., Sunday to Saturday, and it can begin and end during the middle of a calendar week. Ultimately, a workweek constitutes seven consecutive 24-hour periods. An employer can adopt different workweeks for different employees. For example, a retail employer may use a Saturday to Friday workweek for its sales staff, while it may adopt a Monday through Sunday workweek for its management staff.
In order to qualify for overtime compensation, an employee must be non-exempt. An employee who is classified as exempt receives a salary of at least $23,600 per year, performs exempt job duties, and is paid in salary format. In general, an employee receives a salary when he or she has been guaranteed a minimum amount of money. Additionally, exempt job duties consist of those high-level and executive, administrative, or professional tasks that are typically performed by individuals in managerial or supervisory positions. In most cases, executive job duties involve the supervision of two or more employees, and the individual exercising those executive job duties enjoys the right to provide input regarding other employees’ job status. Whether an employee is exempt from overtime can be a very specific fact-based inquiry. The assistance of an attorney can be very helpful.
If you are not paid overtime compensation when it is due, you may be entitled to compensation and an additional sum equal to that amount as a form of liquidated damages. In some instances, an employee who does not receive fair overtime pay may be entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs. Employers whose violations are willful and intentional may also be required to pay punitive damages. A court may require an employer to compensate the plaintiff-employee for all unpaid overtime wages for up to three years before the claim.
Texas state law is very clear on this subject, and the answer is no. Any agreement between an employer and an employee to only include eight hours in a workday, or only 40 hours in a workweek, is considered an illegal attempt to waive the employee’s right to overtime pay. Additionally, an employer cannot require an employee to obtain advanced approval of overtime pay and threaten to forgo paying the employee for any overtime worked without prior approval.
Not necessarily. Whether or not you go to court will depend largely on how your employer or former employer reacts to a letter sent by counsel asking for payment. The employer may settle with you outside of court, allowing you to avoid taking the issue through the full legal process.
Regardless of whether you ultimately go to court or not, having the help of a skilled attorney from Timothy Raub can be invaluable in making sure your rights are protected and your case is handled correctly.Call us at (361) 880-8181 to discuss how we can help you.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if you are forced to go into court the employer is required to pay for your attorneys fees as part of a judgement you obtain against the employer. Timothy D. Raub frequently takes such cases on contingency which means you pay nothing unless we win the case in court or the employer agrees to settle your case.
Often employers will create false records and try to use them to show they properly paid their employees. Those records, for the purposes of the law, establish nothing. Employees who have been cheated out of pay are not prevented from suing to collect their unpaid wages just because an employer has created false records that the employer claims show the employee was properly paid. Whether those records are correct is an issue that a court, often with a jury, would decide at a trial. If the court determines the employer’s records are false, the employee can win his case and collect the wages he is owed, based upon his testimony in court.
The law requires employers to keep exact records of what they pay their employees and the hours worked by the employees. Employers are not allowed to escape their responsibility to pay employees overtime or other wages by failing to keep proper records. An employee can collect their unpaid overtime or other wages by giving the court an approximation of the average amount of time he worked and was not paid. The employee does not need to have exact records or give an exact statement of what he is owed. If the court determines that the employee is telling the truth, the employee can win a judgment against the employer based upon the employee’s estimate of his working hours and unpaid wages.
Often the answer is yes, you can still bring a lawsuit. Employers may force employees to sign statements they were paid everything they were owed, or that they have released and settled any dispute over their pay with the employer. Courts often will not enforce those agreements, particularly if the worker is owed unpaid minimum wages or overtime pay. This is because the employer has an unfair amount of power over the worker and can force the worker to sign such statements or agreements.
Many workers paid on a commission or piecework basis are entitled to extra “time and one half” pay when they work over 40 hours a week even though they are not “paid by the hour.” Their overtime rate would be based upon an hourly rate determined by dividing all of the hours they worked during the week into the total amount paid for the week. For example, if you worked 50 hours a week and earned $1000 in commissions or piecework your regular hourly rate is $20 an hour ($1000 divided by 50). Overtime pay would be one-half of that amount ($10) for every hour you worked over 40 hours, or $100 for the week. If you were paid commissions or piecework and worked over 40 hours a week without extra overtime pay please contact us to confidentially discuss your situation.