Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about estate planning or the probate process? Do you need to know more about family law in Dallas? Are you wondering if you have a personal injury case? Are unsure if you need a lawyer?
The Ashmore Law Firm, PC provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about estate planning, probate law, family law and personal injury law. Please select a category from the box below to narrow your FAQ search.
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Do I Need an Attorney Before I Settle a Personal Injury Case?
In certain instances, we do recommend you contact an attorney when settling a personal injury case. There are things that the insurance companies will not tell you about. For example, a potential client contacted us that had already settled their case, but it turned out that the insurance company failed to let them know that the settlement money was needed to pay the health insurance company first. They ended up with nothing from the settlement.
BUT, if you have a small injury case, you may not need an attorney. In fact, our office does not even accept cases where there’s little or no property damage and the injuries are minor. Why not? Because in the small cases, the attorney fees and costs might leave little or nothing for you after your medical bills are paid, and we don’t believe that would be fair to you. If your case is small and you would like to try to handle it yourself, with our advice, we may charge a small consulting fee and assist you, if that’s what you want. This may save you thousands!
No matter how big or small you think your injury case is, a qualified personal injury attorney can help you figure out the correct way to handle it. Please call our office at 214.559.7202 for additional information. There is no charge for a consultation and we generally work on accident and injury claims on a contingent fee basis.
What Exactly is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury, car accident or wrongful death case is any type of claim where a person has been injured or killed due to someone else’s carelessness. If the only damage in your case is that your car got banged up, then you don’t have a personal injury case. But, you may have a property damage case. We do not handle property damage cases, but there are many lawyers who do so. If both you and your car have suffered an injury or damage, respectively, then you have both a personal injury and a property damage claim. In those circumstances, either your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company will usually take care of the property damage claim.
If someone’s negligence causes the death of another, then this is called a "wrongful death" claim. The law in each state or jurisdiction differs significantly regarding what can be recovered in a wrongful death case. You need an attorney who understands the specialized wrongful death laws in Texas.
I was hurt while walking down an isle at a shopping store because of debris on the floor. Can I sue?
It depends upon the specifics of the situation. If you can prove that the debris was left on the floor of the store for a sufficient amount of time or that the unreasonably dangerous condition was caused or created by store employees, you may be able to sue. Consult with a personal injury attorney to learn more.
I have developed health issues that I believe are related to prescription medicine I took. Is there anything I can do?
Many medications that are now off the market have undergone class action law suits based on ill effects. Consult with a personal injury attorney to find out if you are eligible for damages.
My ex-husband has custody of our children, but my circumstances have changed. How can I seek custody?
You can petition the court system to re-examine the prior custody order in effect and to ask for a determination of whether it is in the best interest of the child or children to modify the custody agreement.
I was injured in a car accident and their insurance company told me not to get a lawyer. What should I do?
It is in the best interest of the insurance company that you not engage a lawyer. For your own best interest, seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer today!
I had a car accident over a year ago and underwent treatment. The other driver's insurance company told me to get the treatment I needed and them submit my claim, but now they won't even pay for my treatment. What should I do?
Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights, reputation, credit and seek the compensatory damages you are entitled to.
My insurance agent says I don't need personal injury protection on my automobile policy. What is personal injury protection (PIP)?
Personal injury protection (PIP) is insurance that will cover you regardless of whether you cause an accident (are "at-fault") or not. PIP is designed to reduce the initial out of pocket losses for medical bills and lost wages from auto accidents.
I have the option of choosing between Med Pay and PIP on my car insurance. What is the difference between Med Pay and PIP?
Medical Payments (Med Pay) will cover the medical payments of you and your passengers in your vehicle if they are injured in a crash. PIP includes medical payments coverage but also will cover other documented losses such as 80% of your lost wages. You may also be required to repay any benefits you receive under your Med Pay policy in the event you recover from the at fault driver's liability insurance. However, there is no subrogation right as to PIP benefits. Again, as for reimbursement of your Med Pay benefits, it may depend upon the specifics of your situation as there are legal arguments that can be made against repayment if you are not "made whole" by the third party settlement due to lack of insurance coverage. Consult with a personal injury attorney to learn more.
What is the difference between bodily injury coverage and personal injury protection?
Bodily injury coverage pays for injury to another person, but does not pay for your own injury or death. This coverage protects you against lawsuits filed against you if you are responsible for the accident.
Personal injury protection (PIP) pays the hospital, medical and funeral expenses for you, your passengers and/or any pedestrians that you hit. This insurance covers you regardless of whether you cause an accident.
For more information, read our most recent blog, Car Insurance...Do you have Enough?
You can also request our free book, Buying Car Insurance.
What is Bodily Injury Liability coverage?
This coverage pays for serious and permanent injury or death to others when your car is involved in an accident for which you are at fault. The insurance company will pay for injuries up to the limits of your policy. It also pays for legal defense if you are sued. Bodily injury Liability pays for injuries caused by you and members of your family who live with you, even if they are driving someone else's car. It may also cover others who drive your car with your permission.
What is Uninsured Motorist coverage?
The coverage in your automobile insurance policy under which your insurance company will pay you, your passengers or permissive drivers, the amount the insured is entitled to recover for injuries caused by an uninsured motorist. This coverage applies to Bodily Injury losses only, up to the policy limits. Your policy may provide coverage if you are a pedestrian and are injured by an uninsured motorist. Be sure to refer to the "Uninsured Motorist" section of your policy booklet. By law in Texas, insurance companies must offer this coverage and get a written rejection from you if you refuse this coverage.
What is PIP or Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage?
If you are in an accident, personal injury protection insurance covers you whether you cause the accident or not, up to the limits of your policy. PIP pays: 100% of the medical expense and 80% of lost wages up to your policy limits. This coverage is available to the insured driver and any passengers in the insured's vehicle for injuries sustained, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. These limits are usually in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000. PIP coverage is not subject to reimbursement or repayment to your auto insurance carrier and is, therefore, a preferable coverage to Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage.
What damages are recoverable in after an auto wreck?
Economic and non-economic damages are generally recoverable from the at-fault driver. Examples of economic damages would include, but may not be limited to, lost wages, medical bills, funeral expenses and rental car expenses. Other damages you may collect in a bodily injury claim are non-economic damages or "general damages." These include, but may not be limited to, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment, humiliation and distress.
Why do I have to purchase automobile liability coverage?
Every state has determined that automobile accidents are sufficiently tragic and frequent to warrant government oversight. For example, states require you to drive below specified speed limits and pass a test to obtain a driver's license. They also require that you prove you are financially responsible for any accident that you cause. Without insurance, most drivers would not be able to guarantee that they can pay for the accidents they cause.
Why does my bank require me to purchase physical damage insurance?
In short, because they own the vehicle. Once you have completely paid for the vehicle and hold the title to it, you can choose not to insure it for physical damage. Typically, you should decide not to purchase this coverage only if replacing it would not cause you financial strain or if you would not plan to replace it.
If you choose not to insure a vehicle, you may want to plan now for the services you are losing: subrogation against other drivers who damage your vehicle, maximizing the salvage value of your totaled vehicle, and locating an inexpensive towing service.
Can I add an additional insured to this policy?
The Automobile policy covers almost anyone who uses your vehicle with permission. It also covers anyone liable for the conduct of your use of vehicle. For that reason, any party that would want to be added as an additional insured for the use of your vehicle is already covered without the need of an additional insured endorsement.
Can I waive my rights of subrogation in this policy?
As long as you waive your rights of subrogation prior to a loss, your insurance company will accept that waiver.
Why should my vehicles be titled in the same name as the named insured?
Insurance companies need to make sure that you have an insurable interest in the property insured. If you own it then you will be more likely to maintain it, know when a loss occurs, and control who uses it. Also, claim payments are made to the named insured.
Why should I buy higher Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists limits?
This coverage extends your policy to cover you when an uninsured driver injures you or damages your vehicle, if no other coverage applies, in an automobile accident. Even though state law requires that all licensed vehicles have insurance, many drivers drive without it, so most states require that you purchase this Uninsured and Underinsured coverage. States also govern how and when this coverage applies.