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Frequently Asked Questions

The information provided on this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is for general informational purposes only. It is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. Laws and regulations vary by jurisdiction and can change over time, and the answers provided here may not apply to your specific situation.

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In some instances, the need for a lawyer may be obvious, such as cases where you have been physically or emotionally injured by someone else’s negligence. In other situations, the path forward may be less clear. Whether the need is obvious or you have questions about your rights, it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer to discuss your options. An experienced lawyer has the expertise needed to evaluate your circumstances and provide sound guidance on how best to protect your rights. 

Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you win. We do not require a retainer or charge an hourly fee. Additionally, we cover all of the up-front expenses to pursue your case. If the case is successful, then the attorneys’ fees and expenses are taken out of the settlement or verdict.   

We understand lawsuits can be stressful and most people have a strong desire to leave painful experiences in the past. We strive to litigate our cases to get the best possible outcome for our clients, and sometimes that takes time.  We work tirelessly to get the best result as quickly as possible so our clients can move forward to a brighter future. 

Absolutely! We work for you and part of our job is to provide the information you need to feel secure in your decision to pursue your case. As a general rule we send out updates to our clients once a quarter or more frequently depending on the needs of the case. We also strive to respond to client messages as quickly as possible via phone call, email or text message.

Our firm handles cases involving personal injuries, workplace accidents, automobile and 18-wheeler accidents, products liability, dangerous or defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as business disputes and breach of contract claims. We also collaborate with lawyers across the country on multidistrict litigation. We do not handle family law, criminal or probate matters but we can refer you to experienced attorneys in those areas that we know very well and highly recommend.

We prioritize quality over quantity at our boutique law firm. Having said that, we have handled hundreds of thousands of cases since we opened our doors. Regardless of how many cases we are handling at any given time, every case in our office is given individual attention and treated with priority. We strive to work with manageable caseloads so our clients are never just numbers.

Multidistrict, or “mass tort” litigation is  a legal action in which multiple plaintiffs (injured parties) bring lawsuits against one or more defendants (usually a corporation or other business entity) for harm or injuries caused by a common product, practice, or event. Our firm has been involved in mass tort litigation for more than 20 years, often serving in nationwide leadership roles. 

We are based in Houston, Texas but practice nationwide.

In the United States and many other countries, there are legal time limits, known as statutes of limitations, that determine how long you have to file a lawsuit after a particular event or injury. The time limits can vary depending on the type of case, the jurisdiction, and the specific circumstances. An attorney will be able to help you determine if your claim is within the statute of limitations. 

Medical records are often the best evidence available to prove that a person has been injured. We gather medical records in all of our personal injury cases so that we are ready to prove your case in Court or during settlement negotiations. All records pertaining to your case are held in the strictest confidence and returned to you or destroyed at the end of the case. 

If you've been in an accident, taking the right steps immediately afterward can help ensure your safety, protect your legal rights, and facilitate the claims process if you need to seek compensation for injuries or damages. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do after an accident:

  • Check for Injuries: First and foremost, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. Call 911 or seek medical attention for anyone who is injured or appears to be in distress.
  • Move to a Safe Location: If it's safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further accidents. Turn on hazard lights and set up flares or warning triangles if you have them.
  • Contact the Police: Call the police to report the accident, even if it's a minor one. Having an official accident report can be important for insurance claims and legal purposes.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved, including names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance information, and vehicle details (make, model, license plate number).
  • Gather Evidence: If it's safe and practical, take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, license plates, and any relevant road signs or conditions. Collect contact information from witnesses if there are any.
  • Keep Records: Maintain records of all medical treatment, expenses, and communications related to the accident. This documentation can be essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
  • Consult an Attorney: If you believe you may have a personal injury claim or if the accident involved significant damage or injuries, consider consulting a personal injury attorney. They can help protect your legal rights and guide you through the claims process.
  • Follow Medical Advice: If you receive medical treatment, follow your healthcare provider's advice and attend all necessary follow-up appointments.

Civil litigation settlements are calculated based on a variety of factors and considerations. The specific process for calculating a settlement amount can vary widely depending on the nature of the case, the laws of the jurisdiction, and the unique circumstances of the parties involved. However, here are some common factors and considerations that typically come into play when calculating civil litigation settlements:

  • Damages: The primary factor in calculating a settlement is the extent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. Damages can be categorized as follows:
    • Compensatory Damages: These are designed to compensate the plaintiff for their losses. They may include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other quantifiable losses. Calculating these damages often involves gathering evidence and documentation, such as medical bills, pay stubs, and expert opinions.

    • Punitive Damages: In some cases, punitive damages may be available if the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious or malicious. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. Calculating punitive damages can be more complex and typically requires proving the defendant's conduct was especially reckless or intentional.

  • Liability and Fault: The strength of the plaintiff's case and the likelihood of success at trial can significantly impact the settlement amount. If the plaintiff has a strong case and the defendant is likely to be found liable, the defendant may be more inclined to settle for a higher amount to avoid the uncertainty and potential costs of a trial.

  • Insurance Coverage: If the defendant has insurance that covers the type of claim being pursued, the insurance policy's limits can influence the settlement amount. The insurer may negotiate on behalf of the defendant, and the available coverage can cap the maximum settlement amount.

  • Legal Costs: Parties often consider the costs and expenses associated with continuing litigation when calculating settlement offers. Litigation can be expensive, and both sides may weigh the potential cost savings of settling versus going to trial.

  • Economic Factors: Economic conditions, such as interest rates and inflation, can affect the present value of future damages. Parties may consider the time value of money when negotiating a settlement.

  • Negotiation and Compromise: Settlement negotiations involve give-and-take between the parties. The willingness of both sides to compromise and reach an agreement can play a significant role in the final settlement amount.

  • Precedent and Case Law: Parties may look to similar cases and court decisions in the same jurisdiction as reference points when negotiating settlements. Past settlements and judgments in comparable cases can provide guidance on reasonable settlement amounts.

  • Emotional Factors: Emotional factors, such as the desire to avoid the stress and uncertainty of trial or the desire for closure, can influence settlement decisions.

It's important to note that there is no fixed formula for calculating civil litigation settlements, and each case is unique. Settlement negotiations often involve back-and-forth discussions between the parties and their attorneys, and the final settlement amount is typically reached through mutual agreement. Consulting with an experienced attorney who can assess your specific case and negotiate on your behalf is crucial in achieving a fair and favorable settlement.

You should not speak to a potential defendant or its insurance company until you have gotten advice from an attorney.

Yes, you can still file a lawsuit even if your injuries are not severe, but the viability of your case and the potential outcome may vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Damages
  • Negligence
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Insurance Coverage

Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to assess your case, understand your rights, and decide the best course of action.

Negligence is a legal concept that forms the basis of many personal injury and tort cases. It refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care in a situation, which results in harm or injury to another person. Negligence is typically defined using a set of elements or criteria that must be proven to establish liability in a civil lawsuit. While the specific elements can vary somewhat by jurisdiction, they generally include the following:

  • Duty of Care: The first element of negligence is establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances. The duty of care can vary depending on the specific relationship or situation. For example, a doctor owes a duty of care to their patients, and a driver owes a duty of care to other road users.

  • Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached or violated their duty of care. This means that the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. It involves demonstrating that the defendant's actions or omissions fell below the standard of care expected.

  • Causation: There are two types of causation that must be proven:
    • Cause in Fact (Actual Cause): The plaintiff must show that the defendant's breach of duty was a factual cause of the harm. In other words, if the defendant had not acted negligently, the harm would not have occurred.

    • Proximate Cause (Legal Cause): The plaintiff must demonstrate that the harm was a foreseeable result of the defendant's breach of duty. This element ensures that defendants are not held liable for remote or unforeseeable consequences of their actions.

  • Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered actual damages or harm as a result of the defendant's negligence. Damages can include physical injuries, property damage, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses.

If all these elements are successfully established in a negligence case, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for their losses from the defendant. It's important to note that the specifics of how negligence is defined and applied in legal cases can vary by jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.

The answer to this question is largely dependent on the type of case you have and the categories of damages you are compensated for. For example, many categories of damages for personal Injury claims are typically not taxable, but some are. The best course of action to determine whether or not your settlement is taxable is to speak with a certified public accountant or some other financial professional who is familiar with state and/or federal tax laws. 

If you pass away before you receive a settlement or verdict in your case, the settlement will generally pass to your estate and your personal will will dictate where the money goes. This is one of the many reasons why estate planning is important.  


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Testimonials or endorsements on this website do not guarantee, warrant, or predict the outcome of your legal matter.

Laminack, Pirtle & Martines, LLP disclaims all liability and responsibility for any actions you take or decisions you make based on the information provided on this FAQ page or on this website.

You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information provided on this website without seeking the advice of an attorney. If you have specific legal questions or concerns, please contact Laminack, Pirtle & Martines, LLP to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Laminack, Pirtle & Martines, LLP reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content on this FAQ page or on this website at any time without notice.

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